Red Army Winter War

The Red Army coat, worn with a padded jacket without a collar ("podshinelnik") coupled with a cloth helmet ("budennovka"), with added knitted balaclava for cold climate zones, adequately protected the Soviet soldier from cold, especially when this outfit was complemented with felt boots and padded trousers and, for the luckier ones, usually machine-gunners, with a sheepskin coat. Helmets of characteristic 1936 design were in plentiful supply, as well as canvas backpacks, which were replaced in early 1941 by haversacks. Although the standards of food "of the builder and defender of socialism" always left much to be desired, Stalin's soldiers of that period often first ate well when they were recruited in the army, because of food shortages experienced by the civil population caused by ruthless collectivization of farms and subsequent fall in production. The Russian peasant, who by force became a Soviet collective farm worker in accordance with the will of Comrade Stalin and then became a soldier of the Red Army, did not see any sense in performing his "international duty of the liberation of their brothers-in-class in Finland" of their own land and cows.

Choosing between possible death in front or in the rear, lines of soldiers often waist-deep in snow, walked one after another in the suicidal frontal attacks on well prepared Finnish defenses that cost 120,000 lives and after over three months of heavy fighting placed at the feet of the "genius of all times" not all of the neighbouring country, as it had been originally planned, but a few dozen kilometers of the Karelian isthmus in the Arctic. Comrade Stalin could have been pleased with the obedience of his subjects.