|Mushroom Models Publications|
|Notes:||#3108 ISBN 978-83-65281777, 144 pages, A4 format|
A lot of history enthusiasts seem to forget that the end of WWI did not stop the fighting in Europe and other places in the world. The rise of Bolshevism in what was Russia accounted for a great deal of conflict as forces inside the country fought each other and outlying areas of the former Russian empire saw this as the perfect time to make a break of things.
This was no more evident than in the surrounds of the Baltic Sea. Finland was one of the earlier nations formed by breaking away from what was Imperial Russia. Before the Germans surrendered, they were also very active in the eastern Baltic and saw this as a great opportunity to snag a goodly portion of the Russian Baltic fleet. Much of this fleet had fled to what is now Helsinki, which was still Russian territory. The emergence of the Finnish government meant the fleet could no longer stay there and there was a mass exodus of as many ships as possible to the Russian bases at Kronstadt and Petrograd.
This was seriously hampered by the Gulf of Finland freezing over, a lack of trained crews for the ships and a number of other issues. Amazingly, a goodly number of ships did manage to escape, but the process was harrowing at best.
It was also at this time that Estonia became an independent nation. Helped initially by the Germans to fend off the Soviets, the nation was able to build up enough of an army from local sources to be a viable defense. This was helped immeasurably by the Royal Navy as well as some ships from the US and France, which were able to provide off shore protection against the Soviets. They also provided bombardment of troops, and were able to capture several Soviet destroyers and other ships which were then turned over to Estonia. One could easily say that were it not for the Royal Navy, the Baltic countries would have never received nation status prior to WWII.
There is, of course, a lot more to the book than what I've described. It could easily get confusing, but the author does a good job of keeping this straightened out for the reader. I did find a few odd sentences here and there, and at least one photo of a Soviet destroyer is claimed to be different ships in different parts of the book but the selection of photos and the maps that are provided are something that really helps make for a great read.
If you have an interest in the smaller conflicts of this period then this is a book you really need to have.
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