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SRA – The Finnish 4-gun shooting for the reservists

I’ve been shooting the Practical Shooting aka. IPSC for the past 15 years and unlike most of my peers, I haven’t competed in its Finnish cousin SRA or Sovellettu Reservilaisammunta, that is roughly translated as Applied Reservist Shooting. This weekend I finally managed to schedule the mandatory safety course for the SRA. But what actually is the SRA?
To understand the sport, we have to first take a short hike across the Atlantic in to the USA, where Practical Shooting was formed. It’s, as the name implies, a shooting sport that focuses on the practical and efficient use of modern self-defense and law enforcement style firearms. The competitions consist of a number of stages that pit the shooter against a scenario with multiple targets. T he stage is timed with a shot timer and the targets are scored. The final result is a hit factor that is calculated by dividing the score with the time used.
While the origins of the IPSC/UPSA was in the practical applications, they have since develop…
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The End of the Winter War: Sacrifice Instead of Genocide

By the beginning of the March 1940 the Finnish leadership knew that the end was near. Both frontline troops and logistics were on the brink of a collapse. Standing alone against the Soviet giant was impossible without reinforcements and supplies from abroad. The massed assaults by tanks and infantry were preceded by artillery barrages on the scale of the WW1 western front that simply turned all defensive positions into gravel.

The Soviet demands for a peace treaty were staggering. Finland was expected to hand over the homes of 400 000 of its citizens, including the second largest city Viipuri. The new border would also be much more difficult to defend in the future and the USSR would get a naval base in Hanko at the South Western coast.
The western allies kept promising help through Norway and Sweden, but both nations refused to allow troops to transit. While Finland used the Western support as a bargaining chip, the Finnish government never fully relied on the sincerity of the help of…

Fiery Flowers: The New Russian Self Propelled Guns

The Russian army has relied on its Soviet-era artillery systems, that have been modernized with new communications and fire control equipment and refined ammunition. The only system that is currently under production is the very capable 152 mm MSTA-SM2, that is based on the chassis of the T-80 MBT. The biggest issue with MSTA-S variants is its complexity and weight. At 42 tons it has some logistical challenges and it’s not exactly cheap to manufacture either. Its proposed successor the T-90/Armata based 2S35 Koalitsiya-SV isn’t exactly cheaper, nor lighter.

The lighter and cheaper SPGs in Russian service, like the 152 mm 2S3 Akatsiya and 122 mm 2S1 Gvozdika are basically sixties technology and they have reached the end of their life-cycle. The Russian army has been painfully aware of this and there has been several programs to replace the ageing systems that bridge the gap between the mortars/122 mm towed guns and the top tier MSTA-S. 
The Russian army has finalized designs for three n…

Battle of Kämärä – Russian arms to revolutionaries

In January 1918 Finland was in turmoil. While the nation had mostly avoided the horrors of the Great War and successfully declared itself independent in December of 1917, the population was divided between socialists and the rest, the Reds and the Whites. After mid January both the Red Guards and the Suojeluskunta, also known as White Guards, began to clash, especially in Karelia.

The Imperial Russian army was still occupying Finland and the White Guards managed to disarm the passive Russian forces in Sortavala, Antrea and Joensuu. On the 26th the socialist Red Guards begun an open revolution.

In January 26th the Suojeluskunta Battalion from Viipuri, that had regrouped at Venäjänsaari after communists took over the city, began to march, mostly on skis, towards the railway stations at Kämärä and Säiniö in order to disrupt the vital railway line between Petrograd and Vyborg.

The battalion had roughly 500 white guards and its forward elements managed to capture the Säiniö railroad stati…

Upgunning: Russian tracked IFV:s in 2020

The Russian army has three different types of motorized infantry formations. The new and experimental light ones ride on 4x4 MRAPs and Pickup-trucks. The wheeled ones are now mostly equipped with BTR-82A 8x8 IFV:s, while the tracked ones have more varied equipment including the BMP-2, BMP-3, BMP-4 and MT-LB. The tracked platforms were supposed to be replaced with the new Armata family vehicles the heavy T-15 and the lighter Kurganets-25.

Both the T-15 and Kurganets-25 have had serious development delays and the Kurganets-project has on several occasions been labeled as abandoned. While the new vehicles are troublesome, their turret development seems to have been more successful.

The “Epoch” turret, that was developed for the Kurganets-25 has been up-gunned with a medium velocity 57mm gun. The resulting turret has been integrated with BMP-3 IFV and several of the new vehicles are entering service trials in the first quarter of 2020. The 57mm gun will not completely replace the dual gu…

T-90M ”Breakthrough” the Armata Russia has to live with

The T-14 Armata was supposedly going to be the next main combat vehicle platform that would replace the dozen or so main battle tank versions currently in the Russian service. The development and testing process of the T-14 has been difficult and the manufacturer Uralvagonzavod will deliver the first five pre-production vehicles in the first half of 2020. It’s quite a far cry from the originally planned production run of 2300 Armata’s by the end of 2020.

First newly-built T-90M tanks with redesigned turrets and engines will be delivered for state tests alongside the initial batch of T-14’s. The T-90M, that shouldn’t be confused with the export version upgrade package T-90MS, is actually very capable package with significantly less complicated problems than the more radical T-14.


The T-90M offers the same firepower and mobility with most likely slightly superior optics and situational awareness compared to the Armata. With the conventional layout, many of the camera, display and stabili…

Forgotten war crimes – Soviet Partisans murder and rape Finnish civilians

The Kinnunen brothers, 14 years old Eino and two years younger Väinö were expecting the 6th of June in 1943 to be another boring day in a long line of similar summer days, spent working and playing in their family farm in the eastern Kainuu.


Eino was running some errands for his father outside the farm, when a group of armed men grabbed his shoulder. Eino was brutally interrogated by the commander of the Soviet partisan unit about the presence of Finnish soldiers in the village. After receiving confirmation that there were no soldiers in the village the Partisans shot the fourteen-year-old twice to the back with a rifle and left him to die in a pool of his own blood.

At the same time the rest of the 14 members of his extended family were in the family sauna, where they were living after their homestead was burned during the 1939-40 Winter War. Minutes later the door of the Sauna was kicked in and 17 Russian partisans stepped in. The leader of the group shook hands with each of the civ…