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Discussion Starter #1
Posted here because of the link to our favorite gun period.....Larry Thorne / Lauri Törni fought in the winter and continuation war eventually coming to the US and becoming a USA Special Forces soldier and serving in RVN. Amazon has it and I ordered but have not read it yet. Just an FYI

Born a Soldier: The Times and Life of Larry A ThornePaperback – October 15, 2008

byJ. Michael Cleverley(Author)
 

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Decent read. Its one of several books about him. Also check youtube for some interesting videos about him.
 

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So what was the "bad juju" about Larry Thorne with his home country? I presume he was on the hot seat for his participation with the SS in Russia? The guy was an amazing soldier from everything I read about. Both for Finland and SOG/spec forces. A most interesting life he led. Very little mentioned on why or what the problem was in Finland after the war? I always wondered if he had been accused of war crimes by Finland or I read more into his coming to the US? Maybe he was invited too? Not trying to or insinuating he was or wasn't anything just curious. I think a lot of "warriors" who are hero's on the battle field are not understood in civilian peace time and wondered if this had been the case with Larry Thorne. His military life is an incredible story. A new meaning to "gung ho". Regards, John.

John Plaster USA, ret, wrote a book on SOG in RVN and Larry Thorne is mentioned. Great book wish I could find it here at home so I could give proper name and credentials to John Plaster. What those teams did and where they went was some real dicy stuff.
 

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So what was the "bad juju" about Larry Thorne with his home country? I presume he was on the hot seat for his participation with the SS in Russia?
...
Very little mentioned on why or what the problem was in Finland after the war? I always wondered if he had been accused of war crimes by Finland or I read more into his coming to the US?
In short, Törni commited a treason, when after his demobilization following the armistice with Soviets in late 1944 he joined the German-organized resitance movement and fled to Germany, when Finland was fighting the Lapland war against Germany.
 

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Thank you Haupitsi so much for the info, had always wondered but never read anything explaining why? He must of been one hell of a trooper is all I can say. The missions they ran in SEA to me makes my heart rate slow down and hushes the mind.

I have a niece who when young showed me a picture of a jungle with what I presume was double/triple canopy as the ground and greenish hues were probably beautiful to her as she had stated. To me it was frightening and a very hostile environment. For anybody to function in that environment while staying vigilant for surprises gets my salute. Again Haupitsi thank you. Regards, John.
 

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I always wondered about that too. Another thanks to Haupitsi for explaining it. Being under the roof or canopy is something that can never be appreciated unless experienced. There are quite a few good reads out there on the SOG organization, Running Recon is among them. They are all kind of difficult to sniff out and when reading them tough to fathom out. It wasn't a favorite subject among the powers to be in this country after the war and with many sworn to secrecy there were few talkers. Many unsung hero's exist in our history and some can be found there. Bill
 

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Discussion Starter #7
In short, Törni commited a treason, when after his demobilization following the armistice with Soviets in late 1944 he joined the German-organized resitance movement and fled to Germany, when Finland was fighting the Lapland war against Germany.
Considering how many 'sides' the Finn's fought on during that time frame it is a bit of a stretch to call anyone a 'traitor' given the circumstances. He obviously had a 'thing' for the Soviets. I suspect he got tired of changing sides with the political wind.
 

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Treason is a treason, Törni joined an enemy army and was trialed for it, receiving a minimum sentence and losing his military rank. In the eyes of the Finnish law, he was a traitor, and that was his "bad juju" what Handsome Devil asked.
 

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Considering how many 'sides' the Finn's fought on during that time frame it is a bit of a stretch to call anyone a 'traitor' given the circumstances. He obviously had a 'thing' for the Soviets. I suspect he got tired of changing sides with the political wind.
That is a very simplistic and shallow analysis of history.

By June 22,1941 Finland was a para-defeated nation that had lost much of its territory to Soviet Russia. Those consequences included the deaths and maimings of both the military and civilians during the Winter War. Finland was also alone. England and France promised help, but did not deliver the promised intervention. Granted, material aid was provided, but it can be argued that such help only prolonged the conflict and losses.

By 1941, Nazi Germany had occupied Norway and was poised to strike into Sweden if its diplomatic pressures did not achieve the desired goals. For Finland, it found itself in the inescapable lose-lose situation. If Finland refused Germany's request for transit of its forces through its territory, Germany would have invaded. That would have given the Soviet Union irrefutable justification to invade Finland as well, in order to engage its enemy outside its borders. So by resisting the Germans, Finland would fall prey to the same fate as Poland.

So for Finland, joining Germany as a "co-belligerent" was not by any means voluntary; it was coercion at its fullest.

Now, Finland is not entirely 100% pure at this point. An historical black mark on Finland was the recruitment of Finnish volunteers for the German Waffen SS. That is history, and so is the fact that these Finnish SS volunteers were recalled home for "leave" and then not permitted to return to serving the German. The subordination of a Finnish division to the Germans can be argued as evidence of voluntary cooperation, but there is also the simple and solid basis of a basic of military operations - unity of command - that necessitated this. I might also point out that a significant factor was the personality of the German commander Edouard Dietl. His relations with the Finns were critical in holding this "shotgun alliance" together. When Dietl was killed in a plane crash, on his way back from a commanders' conference, his replacement - Lothar Rendulic - would ignite what is now called the Lapland War.

Finland did not get "tired of changing sides with the political wind." There was no voluntary choice available. Finland was a small boat tossed and thrown about in a typhoon of historical adversities. Somehow it did not founder. Do you fault Finland, then, for surviving as an independent nation when every decision they were forced to make had only bad choices?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
To bad we can't ask Thorne.... I'm not blaming anyone actually and not Thorne either....as he was caught up in this just like his country. I simply don't buy into the cut and dried 'treason' aspect of this due to the multiple dancing partners Finland entertained (willingly or not so) and I don't want this to get too political....no matter how you slice this period it is complex.
 

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To bad we can't ask Thorne.... I'm not blaming anyone actually and not Thorne either....as he was caught up in this just like his country. I simply don't buy into the cut and dried 'treason' aspect of this due to the multiple dancing partners Finland entertained (willingly or not so) and I don't want this to get too political....no matter how you slice this period it is complex.

The treason was both de jure and de facto.

The armistice made collaboration with the Germans treason. But more significantly was the open combat that followed after the German general Rendulic ordered a scorched earth retreat. Rendulic then decreed that any Finnish civilians that opposed or interfered with the Germans' operations would be summarily shot. This was something the Finns would not tolerate, and what made the hostilities de facto. Finland would not allow Rendulic's soldiers to lay waste to northern Finland without opposition. This was war against a former "co-belligerent" that had turned enemy.

BTW the Finns had captured a German field hospital. When Rendulic's order was received, the Finnish high command replied that they would shoot every German soldier in the hospital in reprisal. That stopped Rendulic. A curiosity in all of this was that a Finnish medical officer, Major Leo Skurnik, had earlier been awarded the Iron Cross for his role in saving the lives of German soldiers. Major Skurnik was a Jew. He, naturally, declined the award.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
The treason was both de jure and de facto.

The armistice made collaboration with the Germans treason. But more significantly was the open combat that followed after the German general Rendulic ordered a scorched earth retreat. Rendulic then decreed that any Finnish civilians that opposed or interfered with the Germans' operations would be summarily shot. This was something the Finns would not tolerate, and what made the hostilities de facto. Finland would not allow Rendulic's soldiers to lay waste to northern Finland without opposition. This was war against a former "co-belligerent" that had turned enemy.

BTW the Finns had captured a German field hospital. When Rendulic's order was received, the Finnish high command replied that they would shoot every German soldier in the hospital in reprisal. That stopped Rendulic. A curiosity in all of this was that a Finnish medical officer, Major Leo Skurnik, had earlier been awarded the Iron Cross for his role in saving the lives of German soldiers. Major Skurnik was a Jew. He, naturally, declined the award.

The Armistice you refer to was with the Russians in '44....and the Russians pushed the Finns into open combat I believe...against their old allies....so first we fight the invading Russians....then we fight with the Germans against the Russians....then we fight the Germans for the Russians.

I wonder how hard it would be to have to kill the guys you had been serving next to for some years.....especially when you hated the Russians so badly and now they wanted you as a proxy...
 

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The Armistice you refer to was with the Russians in '44....and the Russians pushed the Finns into open combat I believe...against their old allies....so first we fight the invading Russians....then we fight with the Germans against the Russians....then we fight the Germans for the Russians.

I wonder how hard it would be to have to kill the guys you had been serving next to for some years.....
No; the Russians did not "push" Finland into open combat with the German forces in Finland. The requirement was to expel or remove the Germans. Neither the Finns nor the Germans were enthusiastic about getting into open combat. The expectation, and hope, was that the Germans would withdraw in an orderly manner and the Finns would follow at a respectful distance. The combat was the direct consequence of General Lothar Rendulic's scorched earth policy.

When the Germans began destroying everything they passed through, Marshal Mannerheim appointed Gen. Hjalmar Siilasvuo, of Suomussalmi fame, to oversee the operation to expel the Germans. Siilasvuo was known for his antipathy to the Nazis.
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
No; the Russians did not "push" Finland into open combat with the German forces in Finland. The requirement was to expel or remove the Germans. Neither the Finns nor the Germans were enthusiastic about getting into open combat. The expectation, and hope, was that the Germans would withdraw in an orderly manner and the Finns would follow at a respectful distance. The combat was the direct consequence of General Lothar Rendulic's scorched earth policy.

When the Germans began destroying everything they passed through, Marshal Mannerheim appointed Gen. Hjalmar Siilasvuo, of Suomussalmi fame, to oversee the operation to expel the Germans. Siilasvuo was known for his antipathy to the Nazis.
Actually I have read otherwise.....that the Fin's did not act aggressively enough so were pushed by the Russians to expel the Germans that lead to open fighting....regardless...they were basically again 'with' the Russian invader (for self preservation, I get that) but still acting upon Russian guidance.
For a man that had comrades in German uniform both Finn and German fighting against former friends would be a very hard thing...after so much time and combat together.

Anyways I am sympathetic to Thorne from a foxhole level of understanding.....
 

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Actually I have read otherwise.....that the Fin's did not act aggressively enough so were pushed by the Russians to expel the Germans that lead to open fighting....regardless...they were basically again 'with' the Russian invader (for self preservation, I get that) but still acting upon Russian guidance.
For a man that had comrades in German uniform both Finn and German fighting against former friends would be a very hard thing...after so much time and combat together.

Anyways I am sympathetic to Thorne from a foxhole level of understanding.....
From the Soviet perspective the Finns may not have been aggressive enough, but there were some obvious motives for the Russians to complain of Finnish duplicity. After all, the Soviets were masters of duplicity, and had not forgotten Tali-Ihantala.

As I mentioned, Mannerheim picked Gen. Hjalmar Siilasvuo to oversee the operations. Siilasvuo was no friend of the Germans, and Rendulic provided far more motivation to fight than the Russians.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
It is all good Leon....my perspective is from the foxhole/grunt level so I get where Thorne/Lauri Törni was coming from.....a professional soldier needs something to invest in to do what he must do...for his own soul he does otherwise he is killing for nothing....money....chance... and all of his friends who have died died for nothing. He was seriously invested in killing those that invaded his homeland...when they suddenly became 'allies' he could not make that mental leap.
I don't see that as being a traitor regardless of what many may say..... you need to walk in those shoes first. If you have you will understand my point.
 

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It is all good Leon....my perspective is from the foxhole/grunt level so I get where Thorne/Lauri Törni was coming from.....a professional soldier needs something to invest in to do what he must do...for his own soul he does otherwise he is killing for nothing....money....chance... and all of his friends who have died died for nothing. He was seriously invested in killing those that invaded his homeland...when they suddenly became 'allies' he could not make that mental leap.
I don't see that as being a traitor regardless of what many may say..... you need to walk in those shoes first. If you have you will understand my point.
My OP is not your foxhole, obviously.

Thorne/ Törni chose to fight with the Germans after his country was out of that war. By that time it was obvious that Germany was going to lose. So disregarding the moral aspect of fighting for the Nazis, he chose to fight for the loser. It would have made more sense to join the Foreign Legion.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
My OP is not your foxhole, obviously.

Thorne/ Törni chose to fight with the Germans after his country was out of that war. By that time it was obvious that Germany was going to lose. So disregarding the moral aspect of fighting for the Nazis, he chose to fight for the loser. It would have made more sense to join the Foreign Legion.

Yeah, I get that you don't get it. We agree to disagree and it has nothing to do with any NAZI aspect....not what I was referring to.
 

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Since this subject has evolved, I have something I’ve been wrestling with for a few years. I only collect Allied arms but I have a very nice Finn Mosin collection including accessories. I’ve got the Finns over time because of the Mosin Nagant connection. They fought against the Russians and against Germany at some time, so I’m not sure if I want to consider them an allied country or not. I’m contemplating selling all of these for the simple reason that I don’t collect anything I feel was used in action against the US. What’s your thoughts on this? Thanks
Richard
 
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