Foreign support in the Winter War
The foreign support in the Winter War contained materiel
Materiel is a term used in English to refer to the equipment and supplies in military and commercial supply chain management....

, men and moral support
Moral support
Moral support is a way of giving support to a person or cause, or to one side in a conflict, without making any contribution beyond the emotional or psychological value of the encouragement....

 to the Finnish struggle against the Soviet Union in the Winter War
Winter War
The Winter War was a military conflict between the Soviet Union and Finland. It began with a Soviet offensive on 30 November 1939 – three months after the start of World War II and the Soviet invasion of Poland – and ended on 13 March 1940 with the Moscow Peace Treaty...

. World opinion at large supported the Finnish cause. The World War had not yet begun in earnest and was known to the public as the Phony War
Phony War
The Phoney War was a phase early in World War II – in the months following Britain and France's declaration of war on Germany in September 1939 and preceding the Battle of France in May 1940 – that was marked by a lack of major military operations by the Western Allies against the German Reich...

; at that time, the Winter War was the only real fighting in Europe besides the German and Soviet invasion of Poland, and thus held major world interest. The Soviet aggression was generally deemed unjustified. Various foreign organizations sent material aid, such as medical supplies. Finnish immigrants in the United States and Canada returned home, and many volunteers (one of them future actor Christopher Lee
Christopher Lee
Sir Christopher Frank Carandini Lee, CBE, CStJ is an English actor and musician. Lee initially portrayed villains and became famous for his role as Count Dracula in a string of Hammer Horror films...

) traveled to Finland to join Finland's forces: 1,010 Danes
Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

 (including Christian Frederik von Schalburg
Christian Frederik von Schalburg
Christian Frederik von Schalburg was a Danish army officer and the second commander of Free Corps Denmark.-Biography:...

, a captain in Christian X of Denmark
Christian X of Denmark
Christian X was King of Denmark from 1912 to 1947 and the only King of Iceland between 1918 and 1944....

's bodyguard and later commander of the Free Corps Denmark, a volunteer unit created by Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

 in Denmark during World War II), 8,700 Swedes, about 1,000 Estonia
Estonia , officially the Republic of Estonia , is a state in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by the Gulf of Finland, to the west by the Baltic Sea, to the south by Latvia , and to the east by Lake Peipsi and the Russian Federation . Across the Baltic Sea lies...

ns, 725 Norwegians
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

, 372 Ingria
Ingria is a historical region in the eastern Baltic, now part of Russia, comprising the southern bank of the river Neva, between the Gulf of Finland, the Narva River, Lake Peipus in the west, and Lake Ladoga and the western bank of the Volkhov river in the east...

ns, 346 Finnish expatriate
An expatriate is a person temporarily or permanently residing in a country and culture other than that of the person's upbringing...

s, 366 Hungarians
Hungarian Volunteers in the Winter War
The Hungarian Volunteers in the Winter War travelled to fight for the Finns after the Soviet invasion of Finland in 1939. For a variety of reasons, volunteers from the Kingdom of Hungary fought on the side of Finland during the Winter War with the Soviet Union.- Hungarian-Finnish Relationship...

, more than 20 Latvians
Latvians or Letts are the indigenous Baltic people of Latvia.-History:Latvians occasionally refer to themselves by the ancient name of Latvji, which may have originated from the word Latve which is a name of the river that presumably flowed through what is now eastern Latvia...

 and 190 volunteers of other nationalities made it to Finland before the war was over. Foreign correspondents in Helsinki wrote, and even greatly exaggerated, reports of Finnish ingenuity and successes in combat.

The Pope is the Bishop of Rome, a position that makes him the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church . In the Catholic Church, the Pope is regarded as the successor of Saint Peter, the Apostle...

 Pius XII condemned the Soviet attack on 26 December 1939, in a speech at the Vatican
Holy See
The Holy See is the episcopal jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome, in which its Bishop is commonly known as the Pope. It is the preeminent episcopal see of the Catholic Church, forming the central government of the Church. As such, diplomatically, and in other spheres the Holy See acts and...

 and later donated a signed and sealed prayer on behalf of Finland.


"Only Hungarians sent volunteers as an organized unit according to the initial Finnish requirements." When the Winter War broke out between Finland and the Soviet Union, many Hungarians felt great sympathy towards the Finns and wanted to help them.

The Hungarian government
Government refers to the legislators, administrators, and arbitrators in the administrative bureaucracy who control a state at a given time, and to the system of government by which they are organized...

 officially did not support Finland, but secretly started to search for ways of helping. In addition, non-governmental organisations began to organize support for Finland. Hungary helped Finland by giving monetary donations, armaments and military volunteers
Military volunteer
A military volunteer is a person who enlists in military service by free will, and is not a mercenary or a foreign legionaire. Volunteers often enlist to fight in the armed forces of a foreign country. Military volunteers are essential for the operation of volunteer militaries.Many armies,...

. Nobel Prize
Nobel Prize
The Nobel Prizes are annual international awards bestowed by Scandinavian committees in recognition of cultural and scientific advances. The will of the Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite, established the prizes in 1895...

 winner Albert Szent-Györgyi
Albert Szent-Györgyi
Albert Szent-Györgyi de Nagyrápolt was a Hungarian physiologist who won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1937. He is credited with discovering vitamin C and the components and reactions of the citric acid cycle...

 offered all of his prize money to Finland.

A count or countess is an aristocratic nobleman in European countries. The word count came into English from the French comte, itself from Latin comes—in its accusative comitem—meaning "companion", and later "companion of the emperor, delegate of the emperor". The adjective form of the word is...

 Pál Teleki
Pál Teleki
Pál Count Teleki de Szék was prime minister of Hungary from 19 July 1920 to 14 April 1921 and from 16 February 1939 to 3 April 1941. He was also a famous expert in geography, a university professor, a member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, and Chief Scout of the Hungarian Scout Association...

's government sent armaments and war equipment valued at 1 million
One million or one thousand thousand, is the natural number following 999,999 and preceding 1,000,001. The word is derived from the early Italian millione , from mille, "thousand", plus the augmentative suffix -one.In scientific notation, it is written as or just 106...

 Hungarian pengő
Hungarian pengo
The pengő was the currency of Hungary between 1 January 1927, when it replaced the korona, and 31 July 1946, when it was replaced by the forint. The pengő was subdivided into 100 fillér...

s during the Winter War (with knowledge and accord of governor
A governor is a governing official, usually the executive of a non-sovereign level of government, ranking under the head of state...

 Miklós Horthy
Miklós Horthy
Miklós Horthy de Nagybánya was the Regent of the Kingdom of Hungary during the interwar years and throughout most of World War II, serving from 1 March 1920 to 15 October 1944. Horthy was styled "His Serene Highness the Regent of the Kingdom of Hungary" .Admiral Horthy was an officer of the...

). The recruiting of volunteers started on the 16 December. During the Winter War, around 25,000 Hungarian men applied to fight in Finland, finally 350 applications were accepted. Their military training started at 10 January and it took almost a month. The volunteers formed a battalion
A battalion is a military unit of around 300–1,200 soldiers usually consisting of between two and seven companies and typically commanded by either a Lieutenant Colonel or a Colonel...

 what was commanded by Lieutenant
A lieutenant is a junior commissioned officer in many nations' armed forces. Typically, the rank of lieutenant in naval usage, while still a junior officer rank, is senior to the army rank...

 Imre Kémeri Nagy. The Hungarian Volunteer Detached Battalion had 24 officer
Officer (armed forces)
An officer is a member of an armed force or uniformed service who holds a position of authority. Commissioned officers derive authority directly from a sovereign power and, as such, hold a commission charging them with the duties and responsibilities of a specific office or position...

s, 52 non-commissioned officer
Non-commissioned officer
A non-commissioned officer , called a sub-officer in some countries, is a military officer who has not been given a commission...

s, 2 doctor
A physician is a health care provider who practices the profession of medicine, which is concerned with promoting, maintaining or restoring human health through the study, diagnosis, and treatment of disease, injury and other physical and mental impairments...

s and 2 padre
Padre may refer to:* Partnership for Acid Drainage Remediation in Europe PADRE* An IDE for the Perl programming language, see Padre * A Military Chaplain* A member of the San Diego Padres baseball team...

s; a total of 346 officers and men.

Travel to Finland was very difficult, because the German Reich forbade transit of armaments and war equipment across its territory (including the occupied Polish territories).
Therefore, volunteers had to travel across Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia refers to three political entities that existed successively on the western part of the Balkans during most of the 20th century....

, Italy, France, the United Kingdom, Norway and Sweden to make their ways to Finland. They travelled without any weapons by a special trai], officially classified as "tourists going to ski-camp". Finally the battalion arrived in Finland at 2 March after 3 weeks travelling.

In Finland the battalion was quartered in Lapua
Lapua is a town and municipality of Finland.It is located next to the Lapua River in the province of Western Finland and is part of the Southern Ostrobothnia region. The town has a population of and covers an area of ofwhich is water...

, in the training center of the international volunteers. In Lapua they took a part in another military training
Military education and training
Military education and training is a process which intends to establish and improve the capabilities of military personnel in their respective roles....

, learned ski
A ski is a long, flat device worn on the foot, usually attached through a boot, designed to help the wearer slide smoothly over snow. Originally intended as an aid to travel in snowy regions, they are now mainly used for recreational and sporting purposes...

ing and winter warfare. Before the Hungarian battalion could see military action, the Moscow Peace Treaty was signed, on 12 March in Moscow so many volunteers felt frustration
This article concerns the field of psychology. The term frustration does, however, also concern physics. In this context, the term is treated in a different article, geometric frustration....


In the last days of March, Field Marshal
Field Marshal
Field Marshal is a military rank. Traditionally, it is the highest military rank in an army.-Etymology:The origin of the rank of field marshal dates to the early Middle Ages, originally meaning the keeper of the king's horses , from the time of the early Frankish kings.-Usage and hierarchical...

 Mannerheim visited Lapua where he met the Hungarian battalion. He expressed his thanks to the volunteers for coming to Finland and he promoted Lieutenant Imre Kémeri Nagy to Captain. From 17 April to 19 May the Hungarian battalion served in Karelia
Karelia , the land of the Karelian peoples, is an area in Northern Europe of historical significance for Finland, Russia, and Sweden...

, at the new state border in Lappeenranta
Lappeenranta is a city and municipality that resides on the shore of the lake Saimaa in South-Eastern Finland, about from the Russian border. It belongs to the region of South Karelia. With approximately inhabitants Lappeenranta is the largest city in Finland...


The Hungarian battalion was embarked at Turku
Turku is a city situated on the southwest coast of Finland at the mouth of the Aura River. It is located in the region of Finland Proper. It is believed that Turku came into existence during the end of the 13th century which makes it the oldest city in Finland...

 at 20 May 1940, from where a steamboat
A steamboat or steamship, sometimes called a steamer, is a ship in which the primary method of propulsion is steam power, typically driving propellers or paddlewheels...

 sailed to Stettin, German Reich (now Szczecin
Szczecin , is the capital city of the West Pomeranian Voivodeship in Poland. It is the country's seventh-largest city and the largest seaport in Poland on the Baltic Sea. As of June 2009 the population was 406,427....

, in Poland). They traveled across the German Reich by a special train with a German guard. The volunteers arrived at Budapest
Budapest is the capital of Hungary. As the largest city of Hungary, it is the country's principal political, cultural, commercial, industrial, and transportation centre. In 2011, Budapest had 1,733,685 inhabitants, down from its 1989 peak of 2,113,645 due to suburbanization. The Budapest Commuter...

 in 28 May.

Outside the Hungarian Volunteer Detached Battalion other Hungarian volunteers fought in the Winter War in the Finnish army
Finnish Army
The Finnish Army is the land forces branch of the Finnish Defence Forces.Today's Army is divided into six branches: the infantry , field artillery, anti-aircraft artillery, engineers, signals, and materiel troops.-History of the Finnish Army:Between 1809 and 1917 Finland was an autonomous part of...

. They went to Finland individually. 2nd Lieutenant Mátyás Pirityi served in the Finnish Air Force
Finnish Air Force
The Finnish Air Force is one of the branches of the Finnish Defence Forces. Its peacetime tasks are airspace surveillance, identification flights, and production of readiness formations for wartime conditions...

 and took part in more than 20 sorties. Warrant Officer
Warrant Officer
A warrant officer is an officer in a military organization who is designated an officer by a warrant, as distinguished from a commissioned officer who is designated an officer by a commission, or from non-commissioned officer who is designated an officer by virtue of seniority.The rank was first...

 Vilmos Békássy's plane disappeared over the Gulf of Bothnia
Gulf of Bothnia
The Gulf of Bothnia is the northernmost arm of the Baltic Sea. It is situated between Finland's west coast and Sweden's east coast. In the south of the gulf lie the Åland Islands, between the Sea of Åland and the Archipelago Sea.-Name:...

. Géza Szepessy, along with four fellows from the Military Technical College of Berlin, went to Finland where he was wounded in action.

The story of the Hungarian volunteering troops was published by Antal Ruprecht in a bilingual (Hungarian, Finnish) book in 2003.


As a fascist government, the Kingdom of Italy had staunchly supported Francisco Franco
Francisco Franco
Francisco Franco y Bahamonde was a Spanish general, dictator and head of state of Spain from October 1936 , and de facto regent of the nominally restored Kingdom of Spain from 1947 until his death in November, 1975...

 in Spain in his fight against Republican
Second Spanish Republic
The Second Spanish Republic was the government of Spain between April 14 1931, and its destruction by a military rebellion, led by General Francisco Franco....

Communism is a social, political and economic ideology that aims at the establishment of a classless, moneyless, revolutionary and stateless socialist society structured upon common ownership of the means of production...

 and anarchists
Anarchism is generally defined as the political philosophy which holds the state to be undesirable, unnecessary, and harmful, or alternatively as opposing authority in the conduct of human relations...

 supported by the Soviet Union. Italy therefore promptly responded to requests by the Republic of Finland for military assistance and equipment for use against the communist government of the Soviet Union. The Royal Italian Air Force
Regia Aeronautica
The Italian Royal Air Force was the name of the air force of the Kingdom of Italy. It was established as a service independent of the Royal Italian Army from 1923 until 1946...

 (Regia Aeronautica Italiana
Regia Aeronautica
The Italian Royal Air Force was the name of the air force of the Kingdom of Italy. It was established as a service independent of the Royal Italian Army from 1923 until 1946...

) sent thirty-five Fiat G.50
Fiat G.50
The Fiat G.50 Freccia was a World War II Italian fighter aircraft. First flown in February 1937, the G.50 was Italy’s first single-seat, all-metal monoplane with an enclosed cockpit and retractable landing gear to go into production...

 fighters, while the Royal Italian Army
Royal Italian Army
The Regio Esercito was the army of the Kingdom of Italy from the unification of Italy in 1861 to the birth of the Italian Republic in 1946...

 (Regio Esercito Italiano
Royal Italian Army
The Regio Esercito was the army of the Kingdom of Italy from the unification of Italy in 1861 to the birth of the Italian Republic in 1946...

) supplied 94,500 new M1938 7.35 mm rifles for use by Finnish infantry. Also a handful of men fought in the Winter War.


The Norwegian government did not allow officers or under-officers to volunteer for the war in Finland out of fear that that would aggravate the Germans (they wanted to remain neutral at all costs). Of the 725 Norwegians that volunteered to fight for Finland, only 125 made to the relatively tranquil Salla front and that just three weeks before the war ended. None of the volunteers were killed or wounded. Many of the volunteers were unfit for fighting and many ended up in rest homes and institutions for alcoholics during their stay in Finland. Several of the future leaders of the Norwegian resistance movement such as Max Manus
Max Manus
Maximo Guillermo "Max" Manus DSO, MC & Bar was a Norwegian resistance fighter during World War II.Manus was born in Bergen to a Norwegian father and a Danish mother...

 and Leif "Shetland" Larsen
Leif Larsen
Leif Andreas Larsen DSO, DSC, CGM, DSM and Bar , popularly known as ShetlandsLarsen, was a Norwegian sailor and the most highly decorated allied naval officer of World War II...

 were among the volunteers. The most highly decorated Norwegian in the later resistance movement, Gunnar Sønsteby
Gunnar Sønsteby
Gunnar Fridtjof Thurmann Sønsteby DSO was a member of the Norwegian resistance movement during the German occupation of Norway in World War II...

, spent his stay as an office clerk (like many of his countrymen in the Winter War).

In addition to the military volunteers, 30 doctors and 40 nurses went to help the Finnish medical system, under the auspices of the Norwegian People's Aid.

There were numerous nationwide collections campaigns of supplies and money in Norway to help the Finns. In all the Finland collection brought in some , the largest popular collection in Norwegian history.

An important venue for collections for Finland were sporting events, several of which were held for the benefit of Finland in Norway during the war. Some 50,000 backpacks filled with supplies were collected in Norway and dispatched to Finland. Collections of rifles (mostly Krag-Jørgensen
The Krag-Jørgensen is a repeating bolt action rifle designed by the Norwegians Ole Herman Johannes Krag and Erik Jørgensen in the late 19th century. It was adopted as a standard arm by Denmark, the United States of America and Norway...

 models) and home knitted shooting gloves also took place. Sigrid Undset
Sigrid Undset
Sigrid Undset was a Norwegian novelist who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1928.-Biography:Undset was born in Kalundborg, Denmark, but her family moved to Norway when she was two years old. In 1924, she converted to Catholicism and became a lay Dominican...

, Norwegian author and Nobel laureate, donated her Nobel medal
Nobel Prize in Literature
Since 1901, the Nobel Prize in Literature has been awarded annually to an author from any country who has, in the words from the will of Alfred Nobel, produced "in the field of literature the most outstanding work in an ideal direction"...

 to Finland on 25 January 1940.

The Norwegian government secretly donated the Finns 12 German-made 7.5 cm field gun m/01s
Ehrhardt 7.5 cm Model 1901
The Ehrhardt 7.5 cm Model 1901 was a field gun designed by the German company Rheinische Metallwaren- und Maschinenfabrik and sold to Norway in 1901. It remained the main field artillery gun of the Norwegian Army until the German invasion of Norway in 1940. The Germans impressed the surviving...

 (designated 75 K 01 in Finnish service) in February 1940. Included in the covert artillery transfer were 12,000 shells
Shell (projectile)
A shell is a payload-carrying projectile, which, as opposed to shot, contains an explosive or other filling, though modern usage sometimes includes large solid projectiles properly termed shot . Solid shot may contain a pyrotechnic compound if a tracer or spotting charge is used...

. Norway also allowed the transfer of aircraft to Finland via Sola Air Station
Sola Air Station
Sola Air Station in Sola municipality in Norway is operated by the Royal Norwegian Air Force. Air Wing 134 is stationed at Sola along with helicopter Squadron 330....

, near Stavanger
Stavanger is a city and municipality in the county of Rogaland, Norway.Stavanger municipality has a population of 126,469. There are 197,852 people living in the Stavanger conurbation, making Stavanger the fourth largest city, but the third largest urban area, in Norway...

. Norwegian volunteers took part in the assembly of some of the aircraft at the Saab
Saab AB is a Swedish aerospace and defence company, founded in 1937. From 1947 to 1990 it was the parent company of automobile manufacturer Saab Automobile, and between 1968 and 1995 the company was in a merger with commercial vehicle manufacturer Scania, known as Saab-Scania.-History:"Svenska...

 factory in Trollhättan
Trollhättan is a city and the seat of Trollhättan Municipality, Västra Götaland County, Sweden with 44,498 inhabitants in 2005. It is located 75 km north of Sweden's second-largest city, Gothenburg....

, Sweden.

One of the main reasons that Franco-British plan, Operation Avon Head, to send troops to Finland never materialized was that Norway would not allow them to use their ports and territory for troops transfer. They explicitly threatened to gun down any ship that came near Trondheim or Narvik on that mission.

The North Norwegian county of Finnmark
or Finnmárku is a county in the extreme northeast of Norway. By land it borders Troms county to the west, Finland to the south and Russia to the east, and by water, the Norwegian Sea to the northwest, and the Barents Sea to the north and northeast.The county was formerly known as Finmarkens...

 received over 1,000 Finnish refugees from Petsamo
Pechengsky District
Pechengsky District is an administrative and municipal district , one of the five in Murmansk Oblast, Russia. It is located to the northwest of the Kola Peninsula on the coast of the Barents Sea and borders with Finland in the south and southwest and with Norway in the west, northwest, and north...

 by 6 February 1940; as the Red Army advanced
Battle of Petsamo (1939)
The Battle of Petsamo was fought between Finnish and Soviet troops in the area of Petsamo in the far north of Finland in 1939 and 1940. The Finnish troops were greatly outnumbered but managed to contain the Soviet troops due to the extreme terrain and weather....

 through that lightly defended area Finnish civilians sought shelter on the Norwegian side of the Pasvik/Paatsjoki River
The Paatsjoki River is the outlet from Lake Inari in Finland and flows through Norway and Russia to discharge into the Varangerfjord, not far from Kirkenes. The Varangerfjord connects with the Barents Sea...

. By the end of the war some 1,600 Finnish civilians had fled to Norway. Finnish soldiers of the independent Lapland Group
Lapland Group
The Lapland Group was a formation of the Finnish Army during the Winter War between Finland and the Soviet Union. The Group was formed on 13 December 1939 from troops of the North Finland Group. The Group was placed under the command of Major General Kurt Martti Wallenius and had its headquarters...

 that retreated across the border into Finnmark were transported south and interned at Hegra Fortress
Hegra fortress
Hegra Fortress is a small mountain fortress in the village of Hegra in the municipality of Stjørdal in Nord-Trøndelag county, Norway. Originally known as Ingstadkleiven Fort , it was built between 1907–1910 as a border fort as a defence against the perceived threat of a Swedish...

 in the Nord-Trøndelag
is a county constituting the northern part of Trøndelag in Norway. As of 2010, the county had 131,555 inhabitants, making it the country's fourth-least populated county. The largest municipalities are Stjørdal, Steinkjer—the county seat, Levanger, Namsos and Verdal, all with between 21,000 and...

 county of Central Norway. The internees were released and returned to Finland at the turn of the year 1939-1940. As the Finns had retreated in the northern areas they had carried out a scorched earth
Scorched earth
A scorched earth policy is a military strategy or operational method which involves destroying anything that might be useful to the enemy while advancing through or withdrawing from an area...

 policy, destroying all housing and infrastructure to obstruct the Soviet advance.

After the end of the war the Norwegian aid continued, and was shifted to reconstruction aid. When Norway was herself invaded by the Germans
Operation Weserübung
Operation Weserübung was the code name for Germany's assault on Denmark and Norway during the Second World War and the opening operation of the Norwegian Campaign...

 on 9 April 1940 the Finnish government immediately notified that the remaining money set off for Norwegian aid work in Finland could be diverted to use in Norway.


Sweden, which had declared itself to be a non-belligerent
A non-belligerent is a person, a state, or other organization that does not fight in a given conflict. The term is often used to describe a country that does not take part militarily in a war...

 rather than a neutral country
Neutral country
A neutral power in a particular war is a sovereign state which declares itself to be neutral towards the belligerents. A non-belligerent state does not need to be neutral. The rights and duties of a neutral power are defined in Sections 5 and 13 of the Hague Convention of 1907...

 (unlike for the rest of World War II where Sweden tried to uphold neutrality) contributed military supplies, cash, credits, humanitarian aid and some 8,700 Swedish volunteers prepared to fight for Finland. The Swedish Army, which had been downsizing its armed forces since the 1920s, transferred approximately 1/3 of its equipment to Finland among them 135 000 rifles and 330 guns and large quantities of ammunition. A small number of aeroplanes was given to Swedish Voluntary Air Force
Swedish Voluntary Air Force (Winter War)
The Flight Regiment 19 , also known as the Swedish Voluntary Air Force or F 19 was a Finnish Air Force unit, manned by Swedish volunteers, which operated from Kemi in northern Finland for the last 62 days of the Winter War. The aircraft also came from the Swedish Air Force inventory...

, in action from 7 January, with 12 Gloster Gladiator
Gloster Gladiator
The Gloster Gladiator was a British-built biplane fighter. It was used by the Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy and was exported to a number of other air forces during the late 1930s. It was the RAF's last biplane fighter aircraft and was rendered obsolete by newer monoplane designs even as it...

 II fighters, five Hawker Hart
Hawker Hart
The Hawker Hart was a British two-seater biplane light bomber of the Royal Air Force , which had a prominent role during the RAF's inter-war period. The Hart was designed during the 1920s by Sydney Camm and built by Hawker Aircraft...

 bombers, and eight other planes, amounting to one third of all the Swedish Air Force's fighters at that time. Volunteer pilots and mechanics were drawn from the ranks. The renowned aviator Count Carl Gustav von Rosen, nephew of Carin Göring
Carin Göring
Carin Axelina Hulda Göring was the Swedish first wife of Hermann Göring.She was born Carin Fock in Stockholm in 1888. Her father Commander Baron Carl Fock was a Swedish Army colonel, from a family who had immigrated from Westphalia. Her mother, Huldine Fock Carin Axelina Hulda Göring (21 October...

, Hermann Göring
Hermann Göring
Hermann Wilhelm Göring, was a German politician, military leader, and a leading member of the Nazi Party. He was a veteran of World War I as an ace fighter pilot, and a recipient of the coveted Pour le Mérite, also known as "The Blue Max"...

's first wife, volunteered independently. There was also a volunteer work force, of about 900 workers and engineers. In March the unit was to be reinforced with five Junkers Ju 86
Junkers Ju 86
The Junkers Ju 86 was a German monoplane bomber and civilian airliner designed in the early 1930s, and employed by both sides during World War II. The civilian model Ju 86B could carry 10 passengers. Two were delivered to Swissair and five to Luft Hansa...

 bombers on the 11 March the bombers were in the Swedish town of Boden
Boden, Sweden
Boden is a locality and the seat of Boden Municipality in Norrbotten County, Sweden with 18,680 inhabitants in 2005.- History :The town of Boden started as a railway junction where the Northern Line met with the Ore Line from the rich iron ore fields in northern Sweden.The town experienced...

 with all preparations completed but the end of hostilities on the 13th precluded their deployment.

The Swedish Volunteer Corps
Swedish Volunteer Corps (Winter War)
The Swedish Volunteer Corps during the Winter War numbered 9,640. Sweden was officially non-belligerent, however not neutral, during the course of the war so only volunteers could be used by Finland. The volunteers were in the front lines in northern Salla area starting on February 28, 1940...

 with 8,402 men in Finland — the only common volunteers who had finished training before the war ended — began relieving five Finnish battalion
A battalion is a military unit of around 300–1,200 soldiers usually consisting of between two and seven companies and typically commanded by either a Lieutenant Colonel or a Colonel...

s at Märkäjärvi in mid-February. Together with three remaining Finnish battalions, the corps faced two Soviet divisions and were preparing for an attack by mid-March but were inhibited by the peace agreement. Thirty-three men died in action, among them the commander of the first relieving unit, Lieutenant Colonel
Army officer ranks
Armies have military rank systems that are often used by other military services such as air forces or marines.-NATO rank codes:To aid in the comparison of ranks in the armed forces of different countries, NATO rank codes are used...

 Magnus Dyrssen.

The Swedish volunteers remain a source of dissonance between Swedes and Finns. The domestic debate in Finland had in the years immediately before the war given common Finns hope of considerably more support from Sweden, such as a large force of regular troops, that could have had a significant impact on the outcome of the war — or possibly caused the Soviets not to attack at all.

However the help from volunteers, especially the Scandinavian ones, was appreciated by the Finns. This is shown by the fact that during the Norwegian Campaign
Norwegian Campaign
The Norwegian Campaign was a military campaign that was fought in Norway during the Second World War between the Allies and Germany, after the latter's invasion of the country. In April 1940, the United Kingdom and France came to Norway's aid with an expeditionary force...

 against the German invasion in April 1940
Operation Weserübung
Operation Weserübung was the code name for Germany's assault on Denmark and Norway during the Second World War and the opening operation of the Norwegian Campaign...

 a Finnish group of volunteers formed an ambulance unit and helped the defenders until forced to return home because of the success of the German armed forces. A group of Swedish and Finnish volunteers also fought alongside Norwegian soldiers against the German invaders near Os, on 2 May as well.

France and United Kingdom

The British government sold the Finnish air force 30 Bristol
Bristol is a city, unitary authority area and ceremonial county in South West England, with an estimated population of 433,100 for the unitary authority in 2009, and a surrounding Larger Urban Zone with an estimated 1,070,000 residents in 2007...

 Blenheim bombers
Bristol Blenheim
The Bristol Blenheim was a British light bomber aircraft designed and built by the Bristol Aeroplane Company that was used extensively in the early days of the Second World War. It was adapted as an interim long-range and night fighter, pending the availability of the Beaufighter...

. U.S.-made Brewster B239's, came too late to participate in combat missions, and the same applied to ten Hawker Hurricane
Hawker Hurricane
The Hawker Hurricane is a British single-seat fighter aircraft that was designed and predominantly built by Hawker Aircraft Ltd for the Royal Air Force...

 I fighters. The British government also provided quantities of small arms and ammunition, including a large number of obsolete Boys anti-tank rifles in 1939 and 1940.

France also sent aircraft, including the Morane Saulnier M.S.406 fighter. In 1940, it was decided to send a new fighter, the Caudron
The Caudron Airplane Company was a French aircraft company founded in 1909 by brothers Gaston Caudron and René Caudron . It was one of the earliest aircraft manufacturers in France and produced planes for the military in both World War I and World War II...

Renault S.A. is a French automaker producing cars, vans, and in the past, autorail vehicles, trucks, tractors, vans and also buses/coaches. Its alliance with Nissan makes it the world's third largest automaker...

 C.714. Six C.714s previously marked for shipment to the Polish Air Force
Polish Air Force
The Polish Air Force is the military Air Force wing of the Polish Armed Forces. Until July 2004 it was officially known as Wojska Lotnicze i Obrony Powietrznej...

 were placed in containers and diverted to Le Havre
Le Havre
Le Havre is a city in the Seine-Maritime department of the Haute-Normandie region in France. It is situated in north-western France, on the right bank of the mouth of the river Seine on the English Channel. Le Havre is the most populous commune in the Haute-Normandie region, although the total...

harbour for shipment to Finland. On 12 March 1940, the first six aircraft were already on their way to Finland when news of the armistice between Finland and the Soviet Union was received. At the time deliveries were halted, ten aircraft were in containers at Le Havre waiting to be lifted to the ships and three more were on their way from Paris. The French Army also supplied small arms and ammunition. Mostly of obsolete design.

Franco-British plans for intervention

Within a month, the Soviet leadership began to consider abandoning the operation, and on 29 January 1940, via intermediaries in Sweden, Finland's government was approached on the subject of preliminary peace negotiations. Until this point, Finland had fought for its existence as an independent and democratic country. However, at the news that Finland might be forced to cede its territory or sovereignty, public opinion in France and Britain, already favorable to Finland, swung in favor of intervention. When rumors of an armistice reached governments in Paris and London, both decided to offer military support.

When France and Britain realized that Finland was considering a peace treaty, they gave a new offer of 50,000 troops, if Finland asked for help before 12 March. Through Soviet agents in the French and British governments, indications of Franco-British plans reached Stalin, and may have contributed heavily to his decision to increase military pressure on the Finnish Army, while at the same time offering to negotiate an armistice. Because of the Soviet Union's vast numbers of troops and reserves, it has been argued that without massive Allied intervention, nothing could have deterred the Soviet Union from conquering the entirety of Finland.

United States

The Soviet attack outraged Americans, with some businesses refusing to sell supplies to the Soviet regime. Responding to a call from a manufacturer who refused to sell to the aggressor, the American-Russian Chamber of Commerce compared his objections to "[refusing] to sell to a man because he beats his wife".
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