The prospects for Finland, a country of 3.6 million people, did not look good, she had a 1,200 km frontier with Russia to defend. Her army of 160,000 men faced an initial Russian force of 460,000 troops and over 2,000 tanks.
“There was the father-and-mother of a row. They were all after my blood at GHQ. But my Corps commander (Brooke) saved me by insisting on dealing with the matter himself. This he did in no uncertain manner and I received from him a proper backhander.”
‘There was a possibility that the mine had devices other than the magnetic one, which added to the hazard. If we were unlucky the notes which the two watchers had taken would be available for those who would have to deal with the next available specimen. ‘
‘After a short while the German ships opened fire – one on each side of us. Their aim was good. They first hit the wireless cabin, then two hits demolished the bridge. Our guns opened up in retaliation, and we hit one of the ships several times causing some casualties. I had gone to the ammunition hoist to get some Star Shells, but when I returned my gun and fellow gun crew had all been blown over the side.’
The 109′s scatter like spray. Twisting in my seat; my companions can’t have heard my order – I’m alone. Enemy fighters every-where. Two race low overliead; four more on my right. As three more 109s dive head-on under my nose I watch the fourth turning towards me; in a few seconds he will pass below to my left. There’s plenty of time to shoot him down.
I had gone about fifty miles inland before I was spotted by an enemy fighter. The method of foiling aircraft attack in the open desert is quite simple. The plane, or planes, would generally attack from behind. What you had to do then was a complete 180-degree turn to face the oncoming attacker. This put the plane at a distinct disadvantage: he couldn’t dive towards you as he would finish up diving into the ground.
Ploughing their way up slopes, over a track inches deep in slippery mud, soaked to the skin, rotten with fever, ill-fed and shivering as the air grew cooler, the troops went on, hour after hour, day after day. Their only rest at night was to lie on the sodden ground under the dripping trees, without even a blanket to cover them.