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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Here is the first of two that I will be posting.

Background for review:
Finnish armor is a very interesting subject but also a subject that until recent years has been only slightly covered in various books. This is starting to change as in the past few years a number of interesting books have been published in Finland – with this review covering two such works.

Suomalaiset Panssarivaunut 1918-1997
The Finnish Armored Vehicles 1918-1997
By Esa Muikku and Jukka Purhonen



For those that are English readers this might well be the best reference source on Finnish armor. The text of the book is in Finnish but with outstanding English summaries and sections. In September 2007 when I attended the Finnish armor auction I had the chance to meet Major Muikku and found him to be a knowledgeable and friendly person. In just a couple of brief conversations with the Major it was clear he knew his stuff and he was also willing to share information. It was interesting that he stated that he felt some of his children were leaving in regards to the Finnish Defense Forces tank auction as his connection to Finnish armor is longstanding. In this work he and co-author Purhonen share this fantastic insight with the readers.

The authors state the book is mainly to serve as photographic standard of the history of Finnish armor and while it does this it also shares quite a bit of information on not only the history of armor in Finland but also details the various tanks and vehicles that served in Finland. The photos along with the color paintings are outstanding and show details that are often overlooked in other works. In fact even if the text were only in Finnish the photos and paintings alone would make the book worth owning.

The book is broken down as follows –

Armored Vehicles In Finland Before The Second World War.

The Winter War.


The Beginning Of The Continuation War


Static Warfare – Deliveries And upgrades.


The Soviet Summer – 1944 Offensive


The War Ends


The Post War Period

Each section of Finnish history is broken down well and the authors explain how the armored forces in Finland saw great changes in different time periods. This is quite important to remember as the Finnish armored forces in 1944 were far different than they had been before and during the Winter War. The book shows how and why this happened – a key to understanding the time of 1941-1944 fighting between Finland and the Soviet Union.

What is very impressive are the photos as each page has numerous pictures detailing the armored forces seen in Finland. Some photos show some quite rare items that saw Finnish service. All the photos are clear and allow the reader to see outstanding detail. Under each photo there is a caption both in Finnish and English – with the English being just as detailed as the Finnish version. This in itself is uncommon as in many cases when one sees dual translations one is more detailed than the other. Thankfully for the English reader this is not the case with this book so the English reader will get the same understanding as a native Finn. In the last section of the book a series of color photos and paintings are used which show the various armored vehicles in their fully glory. As many readers are interested in color schemes this area is a great addition.

This is in my opinion the book one should own if they are an English reader and wish to have a good book detailing Finnish armor. The book has everything a reader would want in regards to a great introduction to this subject. The first version of this book was published in 1997 and the second printing has corrected errors that slipped into the first edition. One can find the book here

www.apali.fi
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
Second review
The Sturmgeschütz in Finnish Service
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Erkki Käkelä & Andreas Lärka:
Suomalaisten rynnäkkötykkien kohtalot

When I think of Finnish armor for some reason I often think of the Sturmgeschütz as to me these are a great symbol of the Finnish Armored Forces in WW2. I am not sure of the exact reason as there were other armored vehicles that were more important to Finland but still the Sturmgeschütz leaps forward to many as the standard bearer of Finland in WW2. Thankfully a book has been published that covers the use of the Sturmgeschütz in Finland.

Erkki Käkelä & Andreas Lärka are no strangers to Finnish armor as both are long time researchers of the subject. I have met Mr. Käkelä in the past as he took my friend Vic Thomas and I on a tour of the Finnish Armor Museum and while I have not met Mr. Lärka he is known to me from his outstanding website and email discussions. Both of these gentlemen are credits to their field as both are on a mission to tell the true story of the Finnish armored troops, a subject that is often filled with incorrect or incomplete information. With the work of these men, along with others in Finland, those of us interested in this subject will gain from their experience. The same can be stated for the role of all Finnish soldiers in their various wars against the Soviet Union and Germany as there is quite a movement in Finland to publish works detailing their military history. For the many of us that are interested in Finland this new movement is quite exciting to see and only good things can come from this new dedication from the Finns.

This book goes into great and exact detail of the "Sturmi" in Finland. What is amazing is that this book is broken down showing the history of each assault gun by serial number (registration number might be a better term)! One sees the total history of these items from when they arrived to Finland until today. Commanders, drivers, and other users are shown along with details of war use – including information on kills or in some cases the destruction of the "Sturmi". I have never seen a book done in this manner before and it goes to show the detail of study done by the authors. The photos used in the book are excellent being quite clear and showing much detail. This allows the reader to see close ups that are often lacking in other works. I was quite impressed with the quality of photos and even with my past research into the subject many of these photos were new to me – as I had never seen many before.

While the text of the book is in Finnish only this does not mean the book is only for Finnish readers. Even if the text might be hard to read for a non Finn (I use a Finnish to English dictionary) the photos are worth the cost alone. As stated above the quality of photos is impressive and so detailed that the lack of English text is not a reason to skip buying the book. The "Sturmi" has a special place in Finnish history and the Finns made great use of these assault guns in the hard battles during the summer of 1944. This book shows this history in great detail and the work is a must have if one is interested in Finnish history, Finnish armor, WW2 armor, or the Sturmgeschütz in general. I bought my copy at the Armor Museum and looked through it cover to cover that night in my hotel room. This was during the Finnish Armor Auction of September 2007 and I was able to view the history of the three STUGS being auctioned.

I have spoken to Mr. Lärka about an English translation and although he stated there were no plans to this he did say the idea was not totally out of the question. If this is indeed translated to English it would be one of the more popular armor books on the market. As it is the book is something I recommend and I am glad to have it in my library. In short - Get the book as you will love it. I know I did.

For more info see the links below - Also purchase info -
The Sturmgeschütz in Finnish Service

http://www.andreaslarka.net/kakela_larka_mainos.html

http://www.andreaslarka.net/sturmi.html
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Summary of the books and a few thoughts:

My hope is that these reviews are helpful to the members here. Finnish Armor is a great subject and worthy of more study. For a number of years those of us in English speaking world were limited in the information we had access to; however, this is starting to change across the board as many outstanding works are being produced in Finland. While the second of these books is only in Finnish I still feel the book is one that most members here would enjoy. As I stated in the review above I looked it over cover to cover sitting in my hotel room in Hämeenlinna and I found it of great use when I was at the later auction. I know that I am a geek as I spent an evening looking over an armor book in Finnish while on a working vacation but I guess that is the exciting life that I lead :D Today Hämeenlinna is the home of a great many Finnish armored troops, so I guess it was fitting that I read the book in this fine town.

Many people know of the brave deeds of the Finnish anti-tank forces but few have a good understanding of the armor troops. What they did in 1944 is a great story and these books show the tools the Finns made use of. It is nice to see these books on the market and I hope we see even more on like subjects in the future.



The Finnish Armored Forces have been, and still are, a very important part of the Finnish story and my hope is that we can learn more about this important topic. The books above are a great start and should assit those that want to learn more about Finland. Finland is a grand nation with quite an interesting history and having such well researched works to further one's education is a plus. -

Regards Brent Snodgrass
 

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Tuco, I can't make heads or tails out of the website. My Finnish is worse than my English. What do they cost? How about a Gunboards group buy on these?
 

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Tuco, I can't make heads or tails out of the website. My Finnish is worse than my English. What do they cost? How about a Gunboards group buy on these?
The Finnish Armoured Vehicles at publishers (Apali) - price 44 euros:
http://www.apali.fi/kauppa/product_details.php?p=19

Publisher (WSOY) sells the assault guns book for 40 euros, but if you are planning group buy you might want to try some bookshop instead of publisher. It would be likely cheaper unless you succeed negotiating a very good discount, the publishers don't usually compete price-wise with their main customers (bookshops) - it's bad for their business.

If planning to order them from Finland you could consider for example this bookshop, Bookplus (which sells it for 31.50):
http://www.bookplus.fi/product.php?...tID=62095fbb5382c53e53ae2f845f60bbed&&lang=EN

They also have the other book bit cheaper (41.50 euros):
http://www.bookplus.fi/product.php?isbn=9525026337

Or is another bookshop, suurikuu.fi, which has the assault gun book for 29.80 €:
http://www.suurikuu.fi/PublishedService?pageID=9&itemcode=9510314234

and the armoured vehicles book for 38.50 €:
http://www.suurikuu.fi/PublishedService?pageID=9&itemcode=9525026337

I have the both books already and I can recommend them.

One more review:
http://www.missing-lynx.com/reviews/other/finnish_armoured_vehicles.html

Jarkko
 

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Thanks JTV, I just talked to Tuco about this and he said that we would need about 20 people to sign on for a group buy on these. I'll post something on the group buy forum and see if there is any interest.
 

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I posted it over on Tracklinks website so there will maybe be some more folks interested in it and also some more folks coming to GunBoards since I posted a link pointing to this thread....
 
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