ST21 wrote:This was my take on Finland before the poll:
- no domestic equipment whatsoever besides the XA-180/185 (and it is already ingame)
- most of its units are already present in the game
- operate mostly obsolete hardware, especially Air Force, so not competitive as a standalone nation... unless Eugen ignores the rules and give it many OOTF prototypes or fantasy units which is exactly what happened
- neutral nation with a foot in both camps so doesnt really fit in the Red vs Blue paradigm, few coalition options
- defensive doctrine -> would not get involved in a war beyond its borders, let alone in Asia (minor point though, i could compromise on that)
"Given all this, why would people want this nation added?" the more rational side of me thought. Well, the rest is history and here we are now with a completely unrealistic portrayal of Finnish Defence Forces circa 1991 with a heavy reliance on OOTF prototypes, fantasy units (R-77-armed MiG-29, fictional mortar carriers, Telak 84, Mi-8 gunship, MD500 TOW...) and meme units in order to make it a viable nation. While all armies in the game arent perfect representations of their real world equivalents, Finland is by far the less accurately represented nation. I am more or less OK with the addition of Israel & Yugoslavia (with some reservations) but Finland is a big thumb down for me. It damaged the "realistic" setting of the game and the immersion and suspension of disbelief suffered as a result. Poor decision.
There are indeed some issues. Some of them are however clearly due to lack of non-Finnish sources for the development of the military hardware - and the scarcity of Finnish pictured sources also. Tampella was a huge player in indirect fire systems, and the Israeli Soltam was a subsidiary of Tampella until 1974, and that's a reason for a lot of the Finnish mortars/artillery in the game.
The TELAK 84 could have been replaced with the 122 K 60 installed on M4 Sherman chassis (122 TELAK 60, although this designation was never officially used) in the joint Tampella-Soltam development trials in 1966 (which were also FDF observed trials as well as IDF) - as that was a real, firing prototype and would have fit the time frame really well. The 122 K 60 had a remarkably long firing range for a 122 millimetre gun-howitzer, maximum being 26.7 km.
Also, as the Tampella 155 K 68 (however FDF just ordered trial models of the older Tampella 155 mm series, unlike the 122 K 60 which was introduced into service properly) was the same gun as the Soltam M-68 and the L-33/Ro'em using the 155 KAN 68, which however entered only Israeli service, was a joint Finnish-Israeli development project too, so it would have been better than the TELAK 84/Sholef.
Even later development, while Tampella and Soltam still continued their joint development, was an SPH named M-72, this time with a proper, rotating turret. This was taken into service in neither Finland nor Israel, so it stayed as a Soltam prototype. The system was actually just a turret, which was able to be installed on many existing MBT chassis, and it was trialled in Israel on the Centurion chassis. It was originally supposed to use the 155 K 68/M-68, but the new M-71 with L/39 barrel was installed to it instead.
Any of these would have fit Finland much better, as the 122 K 60 was a weapon which really entered FDF service (although the SPH prototype didn't), and the two latter were prototype projects of a Finnish company which were also affliated to FDF. Also, as Soltam and Tampella were officially separated in 1974, those earlier developments would have been a lot more realistic than the 1980's Sholef (although its gun is based on the old Tampella design).
Regarding the fictional mortar carriers, there's a slight problem indeed, as the Finnish mortars were usually man-portable/towed. However the 81 KRH 71 is portrayed correctly (although the name is slightly stretched, and it's a 81 mm mortar rather than 82 mm - it couldn't have been TELA
KRH, as that means "tracked mortar", it'd have been better just KRH 71), as the mortars indeed are set up ready to fire while transported on truckbed. The current (since the 1980's) custom is to transport the whole mortar platoon on one SA-150, with all three mortars set ready to fire. They are fired from the truckbed if there's no time to set them up correctly on ground. I'm not exactly sure if the Terra is strong enough for this, but substituting the Terra for the SA-150 would have done the trick.
The 160 KRH 58-67 (Soltam M-66) isn't either portrayed really unrealistically, as again, Tampella and Soltam prototyped and trialled it together on M4 Sherman chassis - it was incorporated in Israeli service as the Makmat, but then again not into Finnish service, despite FDF taking part in the aforementioned trials in Israel. The ATS-59 chassis is a bit of a stretch AFAIK, but it was properly trialled on another platform. Eugen just took some liberty to introduce a chassis which was properly in FDF service for it.
The 120 TELAKRH 84 (MT-LB Podnos) was apparently introduced as Eugen said there wouldn't be articulated vehicles, and it just happens so that the only traditional tracked mortar carriers introduced in the 1980's (Sisu NA-122 with 120 KRH 85 and later 122 KRH 92) were Sisu tracked articulated mortar vehicles.
There would have been the AMOS prototype available also, as it was a joint project between Finland and Sweden (and later finished only by Finland when Sweden withdrew from it) - but Eugen decided that the 160 mm mortar was better suited.
Also, there'd have been the Finnish WWII-age 120 KRH 40 on Soviet T-26 chassis which was properly in service back then and in storage for later, but that's also slightly out of time frame, and the vehicle itself turned out to be a disappointment, because it couldn't carry enough ammunition, if the whole crew was carried onboard.
I've thought about writing a more complete writeup of these on the Finland thread, as I've got pictures also of those early Tampella/Soltam prototypes as well as information from a source within the Finnish mortar/artillery industry. Some pictures I've already posted there, but there's more still. I suppose Eugen knows most of that, but it's interesting nevertheless.
The Eugen alternative history is also source of many of the problems as pointed out. Since Finland in RD is based on completely alternative history so it could be integrated into REDFOR, it's no wonder Finland is inaccurately portrayed, as that makes some real late 1980's and 1990's developments incompatible with the ingame storyline, so they had to be altered.
If Finland had decided its side in 1992, there would have been just the MiG-29 (and maybe MiG-31, as that was the Soviets'/Russians' final offer to Finland when MiG-29 lost the fighter competition in 1992 - they'd have sold those even in the real history, so they'd have sold those in the alternative history for sure if Finland had really joined the alternative history WP), and then again, in the real history F-18C and F-18D were bought.
The only way in which both the MiG-29 and F-18 would have been bought would have been the continuation of the Cold War and the Finnish status quo as a neutral country - as that was how it was meant to be in the late 1980's.
The R-77 was indeed integrated on the MiG-29 9.13, but introduced to Russian service 4 years later than in the game to Finnish service (in 1994 instead of 1990). However it's more erroneously on the Soviet Sukhois, as it was integrated on the Su-27 as late as in 2003 with the Su-27SM upgrade standard. All of the R-77-mounting Sukhoi models in the game are fantasy units as they aren't capable of using the R-77 in reality. So the spearhead of Soviet fighters is also hugely OOTF.
Similarly, the 220 RAKH 91 (BM-27 Uragan) in Finnish service is completely fictional - although it was already financed for purchase in the late 1980's, as well as more 152 TELAK 91, T-72 based support vehicles, BTR-80 APC's and so on, but those funds were repurposed when USSR fell apart. However it's in the game due to the alternative history.
The PSTOHJ 94 (Spike-MR; the system was taken into service in Finland 6 years later as the PSTOHJ 2000, nowadays there's just the PSTOHJ 2000M which is the Spike-LR) is in the game to replace the real Finnish newer ATGM infantry, as in reality there have been completely foot-mobile Finnish TOW 2 (PSTOHJ 84) squads since 1985. That would have been a meme unit par exellence