Monday, January 25, 2016

Finnish Sniper Simo Hayha

One of the most impressive soldiers I've ever seen in history and one of my personal heroes was the legendary Simo Hayha. When you think of Finland, you usually don't think of "hard core snowbound winter warriors." But around 300,000 plus Russians learned that the hard way in the little known but brutal engagement known as The Winter War of 1939.

I've been thinking for some time about writing an article on the man and the war, but fellow blogger Jim of Frontier Partisans beat me to it. And I'm actually glad he did. Whereas my article style is what you'd expect from an over the top high schooler, Jim writes with an elegance and professionalism that you would expect from a mature and dignified expert who has delved through tomes of books, which he has. I heavily encourage you to read his take on it here. It's a fascinating read and well worth the ten minutes it takes to read it.

Since I learned of this conflict I became fascinated with Finland, sisu, and Simo. He was actually the primary inspiration behind my character Ansgar Tapio in Primal Frontier. The idea of such determined, stoic and efficient men fighting in such difficult circumstances was awe inspiring, even after I'd researched so many other wilderness warriors. Even today Finland has some impressive soldiers and Simo is a national hero, as he darned well should be. Many of us would do well to learn about that conflict and the man, as there is much to be gleaned from that conflict.

I've taken one of Mr. Hayha's pieces of advice to heart. After putting roughly 500 Russian soldiers in the ground with a Mosin Nagant bolt action rifle with nothing but iron sights and guts, he was asked afterwards how he got to be so good. His response was "Practice."

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