Stalin has been paranoid. What a surprise.
This time, he’s been worrying about Finland. He’s been worrying that they’re planning to invade Leningrad, since they’re so close to it. He came up with a “brilliant” plan: to demand the Finns to hand over large swathes of their land, to form a demilitarized zone between the two of us.
Finland’s answer: ei (no).
And so, Stalin turned to the most logical, rational response: to invade them.
Thus, here I am. I’ve been dragged out of my poorly-made shack in the middle of nowhere, to march into Finland. It’s currently early January, the year 1940. We marched for quite a while, down one of the few roads available, and we made it to Kollaa about a month ago. Things have not been going well.
There are very few roads in the area, and they’re all guarded by the Finns, so we aren’t very mobile. The Finns, however, are very skilled with skis, and need not worry about roads or guards. We outnumber them 4 to 1, but they all wear snow camouflage, whereas we wear the brown uniform of The Red Army, making us very visible. All of the good Russian commanders were killed of in the Great Terror, so all of our commanders are loyal to the Party, but incompetent. Furthermore, the Finns have White Death. We don’t know his name. Few of us have even seen his face. Yet, he terrifies us all. He’s killed over 100 of us so far, and with no signs of stopping. Our artillery and tanks still can’t beat a single man with a rifle and skis.
After weeks of fighting without much progress, we’ve decided to attempt to penetrate the Finnish defence line. We’ve tried it before, but we don’t have much of a choice.
I’m marching through Kallaa. Not too much has happened. We still have quite a way to go.
I think I just saw a glint of sunlight out of the corner of my eye. Almost like something metal.
Well, nothing has happened yet, so I probably shouldn’t wor-
[At this point, Simo Hayha, known by the Soviets as Belaja smert, marks another tally into his journal, the fifth today, and skis away in silence.]