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The Winter War

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The Winter War
Movie Poster
Country FIN.jpg Finland
Directed by Pekka Parikka
Release Date November 22, 2023
Language Finnish
Studio National Filmi Oy
Distributor Finnkino
Main Cast
Character Actor
Martti Hakala Taneli Mäkelä
Jussi Kantola Vesa Vierikko
Pentti Saari Timo Torikka
Vilho Erkkilä Heikki Paavilainen
Erkki Somppi Antti Raivio
Juho "Jussi" Pernaa Esko Kovero
Arvi Huhtala Martti Suosalo

The Winter War (Talvisota) is a 1989 Finnish war film depicting the Winter War of 1939-1940. The film begins with the mobilization of the Finnish Army in October 1939 and ends on the 13th of March 1940 with the Moscow Peace Treaty. The film follows a few soldiers from their mobilization through trench warfare and massive Soviet artillery barrages until their surrender. It was the most expensive Finnish film production to date and produced with the consultation of Finnish veterans of the actual conflict and utilized authentic period vehicles.


The following weapons were used in the film The Winter War:


Mauser C96

While never actually seen on screen, the distinct shoulder stock/holster of the Mauser C96 is seen on the belt of a Finnish officer in a few scenes.

Mauser C96 fitted with holster/stock combo - 7.63x25mm
A Finnish company officer during an inspection of the trenches with his Mauser holster.

Luger P08

The Luger P08 makes an appearance at the end of the movie in the hands of a Finnish officer.

Luger P08 - 9x19mm Parabellum
A Finnish officer summarily executes a wounded Soviet soldier.

Tokarev TT-33

2nd Lieutenant Jussi Kantola (Vesa Vierikko) carries a Russian Tokarev TT-33

Tokarev TT-33 - 7.62x25mm Tokarev
2nd Lieutenant Jussi Kantola (Vesa Vierikko) on the right is seen thawing his Tokarev on the stove so it can function properly. During the Winter War (Dec 1939 - March 1940), the cold was a major concern. The temperatures often dropped to -40º C (-40º F).
Another view of 2nd Lt. Jussi Kantola (Vesa Vierikko) with his TT-33. Note the hammer and very large rear sight.
Jussi Kantola (Vesa Vierikko) fires his TT-33 at the Soviets during close-quarters fighting.


Mosin Nagant M1891/30

The Mosin Nagant M1891/30 is the main rifle used by Red Army soldiers throughout the film. The rifle is also seen in the hands of some Finnish soldiers. Historically, the Finnish Army during the war suffered from a severe lack of equipment and weapons and thus used captured Soviet weapons whenever possible.

Mosin Nagant M91/30 - 7.62x54mmR
A Finnish soldier advising his comrades to use enemy bolts. Note the translation referring to bolts as "breeches". In addition, the M91/30 he is holding appears to be a Finnish two piece "pot belly" stock variant.

M/28-30 Civil Guard Mosin Nagant

The main character, Martti Hakala (Taneli Mäkelä), his brother Paavo (Konsta Mäkelä), and a few other characters are members of Suojeluskunta ("Civil Guard", also known as the "White Guard") and can be seen using the Mosin Nagant M/28-30, a variant of the Mosin Nagant designed for members of the organization. The "White Guard" was a voluntary militia that had its roots in the Finnish Civil War of 1918, and later acted as a training organization for Finnish reservists who wished to improve their military skills. In the beginning of the movie, the Hakala brothers are seen leaving their home as the Finnish Army mobilizes, and they bring with them their own M/28-30 Mosin Nagants. The M/28-30 was an improved version of the earlier M/28 Mosin Nagant variant designed by the White Guards, which can be distinguished from other Mosin Nagant rifles by their distinctive foresight guards and shorter stocks, among other things. It is similar to the M/27 Infantry Rifle adopted earlier by the Finnish Army, the main differences being the barrel band design, which is a single piece compared to the M/27's hinged band, and an improved trigger design. In turn, major improvements of the M/28-30 over the earlier M/28 were the straight Mansner rear sight and screw-adjustable front sight.

Mosin Nagant M/28-30 - 7.62x54mmR
One of the rifles being picked up in the beginning of the film.
Another image of the two rifles seen in the beginning.
Close up of the bolt.
Image of the front sight.
Close up of the front sight.
Close up of the cocking knob/safety of the bolt. Note how the screw head which is part of the firing pin is lined up and flush with the index mark on the knob. This indicates proper bolt assembly and firing pin protusion.
A side view of an M/28-30 rifle.
Martti Hakala (Taneli Mäkelä) fires his M/28-30 at the advancing Russians.
Martti reloads his M/28-30. Note how it appears to be dummy rounds.
The Hakala brothers, Martti Hakala (Taneli Mäkelä) and Paavo Hakala (Konsta Mäkelä), with their M/28-30 rifles during a lull in the fighting. Note the blocky rear sight base and straight rear sight leaf of the m/28-30.

Mosin Nagant M1891

Several Finnish soldiers use the older Model 1891. The rifles are either Russian M91s, Finnish M91s, Finnish M24s, or Finnish P26s.

Mosin Nagant M1891 - 7.62x54mmR
Private Pentti Saari (Timo Torikka) with his Model 1891. Note the three Molotov cocktails underneath the rifle.
Private Vilho Erkkilä staying low with his Model 1891.
Private Pentti Saari (Timo Torikka) firing his Model 1891.

Tokarev SVT-40

The Tokarev SVT-40 is seen in the hands of both Soviet and Finnish soldiers as a stand-in for the historically correct SVT-38. The SVT-40 did not enter into Red Army service until July 1940, several months after the end of the conflict. During the war, the Finns did use captured weapons such as the SVT-38 due to a lack of equipment and weapons. However, since the SVT-38 is a much rarer weapon, it's understandable that the SVT-40 was used in production as a stand-in for the 38.

Tokarev SVT-40 - 7.62x54mmR
A Finnish soldier using the SVT-40. For some reason, the soldier is seen sliding the bolt back manually after each shot, even though the weapon is semi-automatic. It might have something to do with the weapon not being adapted for blank fire use or poor performance of the gas system in the cold.
Private Vilho Erkkilä (Heikki Paavilainen) with his captured SVT-40 slung on his shoulder.

Submachine Guns

Suomi KP/-31

The standard SMG of the Finnish Army during the Winter War was the Suomi KP/-31 and it is frequently seen in the movie.

Suomi-konepistooli m/31 - 9x19mm Parabellum
Corporal Erkki Somppi (Antti Raivio) fires his Suomi SMG.
Waiting for a Soviet attack with the Suomi at the ready.
Another view of the Suomi SMG.
Frontal view of the SMG.

Machine Guns

Lahti-Saloranta LS/26

The Lahti-Saloranta LS/26, the standard light machine gun of the Finnish Army in that period, is used by the Finnish soldiers.

Lahti-Saloranta LS/26 - 7.62x53mmR
A Finnish soldier firing his LS/26. Note the magazine on the ground. It seems to be loaded with live rounds, or possibly dummy rounds with no powder and/or primer but with a genuine projectile attached.

Degtyaryov DP-27

The Degtyaryov DP-27 is used by both the Red Army and the Finnish soldiers.

Degtyarev DP-27 - 7.62x54mmR
Taking cover next to a knocked out Maxim, a Finnish soldier fires his DP.
A Soviet soldier with his DP during an attack on the Finnish trenches.
A Finnish soldier seen using the DP during an advance on the Soviets.

Maxim M1910

The Maxim M1910 is used by Finnish soldiers against Red Army soldiers in one scene.

Maxim M1910 - 7.62x54mmR
A Finnish soldier firing an M1910 machine gun.
The M1910 machine gun seen at the left of the screen.


m/32 stick hand grenade (practice grenade mockup)

Several Harjoituskranaatti m/41 ("practice grenade model 41") are seen standing in for m/32 stick hand grenades. They can be identified as practice grenades from the rims and hole on the metal casings.

The Hakala brothers Martti Hakala (Taneli Mäkelä) and Paavo Hakala (Konsta Mäkelä) with a Finnish stick hand grenade in the foreground.
More stick grenades lie in wait. The holes meant for simulation charges are clearly visible.

Molotov Cocktail

The Finns use Molotov cocktails against tanks. Though the Finns didn't invent the improvised incendiary device, which was first recorded as being used in the Spanish Civil War of 1936-39, it was the Finns who named theirs after Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov. While the popular image of a Molotov cocktail uses a burning rag at the mouth of the bottle, Finns improved on the construction by attaching storm matches on the side of bottles, allowing a Molotov to detonate upon shattering, and is shown such in the film.


RGD-33 stick grenade

The Russian RGD-33 stick grenade is also featured in the movie briefly.

RGD-33 stick grenade
A Soviet soldier uses his RGD-33 to commit suicide after being captured for fear of being tortured and killed by the Finns.


37 mm Bofors L/45/M

The Finns use Swedish Bofors 37mm anti-tank guns.

Armatka 37 mm Bofors wz. 36 - 37x257mmR


The movie features authentic T-26 tanks, originally captured by the Finnish Army during the Continuation War.

A Russian T-26C tank.
A Russian T-26B tank.
T-26B on the right, T-26C on the left.
A flame-tank.

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