November 1939 ... Stalin's powerful Red Army invades the tiny nation of Finland. The Russians have 600,000 troops; the Finns have a standing army of just 30,000. The Russians have 1700 tanks; the Finns have 60. The Russians have 3000 first-line aircraft; the Finns have fewer than 150 obsolete planes. The entire world, including the watching Germans, expects the Russians to win a crushing victory in a matter of weeks, if not days.
December 1939 ... The Finns fight back. While most of Field Marshal Mannerheim's forces defend a fortified line north of Leningrad, the rest of the Finnish Army withdraws into the dense, frozen forest. Under its dark, brooding canopy of pine and spruce, the Russian "liberation army" soon grinds to a halt, as long as columns of tanks and trucks flounder in waist-deep snow. Wherever the Russian advance stalls, fast-moving parties of Finnish ski troops tear at the bewildered Soviets like so many wolves. For thousands of miserable, freezing, often half-starved Russians, the last thing heard is the Finnish command "Hakkaa paalle!" (Cut Them Down!) followed by the sound of a Suomi submachinegun. The Russian troops have a term for this bitter, freezing war: they call it "Belaya Smert" -- White Death!
January 1940 .... Six weeks into what the world is calling the "Winter War," western journalists get their first chance to visit the front. At a place called Soumussalmi, the beaming Finns proudly show off heaps of captured booty. Here and there along the nearby Raate Road, the entire Soviet 45th Rifle Corps, with its 48,000 men and 335 tanks and guns, has simply ceased to exist. The men are mostly dead. The guns are captured and destroyed. And the tanks: most of these, the Finns have burned out using petrol bombs, which they call "Molotov cocktails" in ironic tribute to the Soviet Foreign Minister. In the Kremlin, Stalin and his cronies are demanding to know what went wrong. In the rest of the world, millions are learning their first Finnish word: "sisu," meaning "guts."
Arctic Storm recreates the four-month Winter War between Finland and the Soviet Union in 1939-40. Using an elegantly simple game system, Arctic Storm accurately portrays all of the important elements of the first major war ever fought in arctic conditions ... a war that presaged a very different winter war between the Russians and the Germans two years later.