During World War II, the Russians Tried to Disguise Bombs as Food

During World War II, the Russians Tried to Disguise Bombs as Food

Matthew Weber - May 5, 2017

For most of the world, 1939 was the beginning of World War II. On September 1, 1939, Hitler’s Germany invaded Poland and on September 3 of the same year, Britain and France declared war on Germany, kicking off the most devastating war in human history.

But there were other things going on too, things that were overshadowed by Hitler’s opening move. In December of 1939, the USSR invaded Finland and the so-called Winter War was started.

Explaining the Winter War’s causes is surprisingly complex, but to simplify it as much as possible, the war was about Finland having territory that the USSR wanted.

During World War II, the Russians Tried to Disguise Bombs as Food
The Winter War of 1939-40. Wikipedia

The actual fighting began in Finland’s favor because the USSR had been decimated by Stalin’s Great Purge, where as many as 30,000 of Russia’s most experienced fighters were put to death. This, along with the unsurprising advantage of higher morale, gave the Finns a leg up in the opening salvo of the war.

It didn’t last however. By the time February of 1940 rolled around, the Soviets had changed tactics and had brought in some more experienced leaders, and had driven back the Finnish Army to the point that in March of 1940, they ended up giving the USSR more territory than the Russians had originally demanded.

The Finns didn’t get a lot of international support, as most of the world’s focus was on Hitler, as he was deemed a much more deadly threat to world peace. What help did come, arrived much too late to make a difference.

A year later Finland and the USSR would be fighting once again, this time in the Continuation War. It would lead to even more concessions for the Finland people, but eventual peace.

As the case during war-time, people suffer, and governments bring aid. A lot of times, at least in those days, the aid that is brought comes in the form of air drops. This is especially true when the people who need aid are in hard to reach places. Of course, that’s not always the case, as the Soviets found out.

Find out how the cruel and very evil Russians tried to play on this tradition on the next page.

During World War II, the Russians Tried to Disguise Bombs as Food
Molotov Diagram. The Telegram

The Cruelest Trick Ever

Though there are some sources that disagree, the cluster bomb was first used early on in World War II by the Russians and Germans. Who exactly developed and used it first is a matter of debate, a debate that really comes down to naming conventions.

The RRAB-3 was a bomb developed by the USSR, that at its simplest is a container of dozens of smaller incendiary bombs. When it was dropped from a plane, it would open up and disperse the smaller bombs around a large areas, causing fires everywhere it touched.

This was a new bomb at the time, and the devastation it caused was extraordinarily terrible and terrifying. As you might suspect, using such a horrible device, even in war, was not a popular decision.

In order to confuse the issue, the Russians claimed they weren’t actually dropping packets of bombs, but were instead dropping food packets. The Soviet Foreign Minister at the time claimed that they were dropping food to starving Finns in the region where fighting was the most intense.

Now, two things are wrong with this. The Finns were not starving, for one. Or at least they weren’t because of the war. They were instead mostly involved in fighting back, and (at least at the beginning of the Winter War) were well equipped. The second thing wrong with this was that it was so easily proven wrong. Food doesn’t cause fires when it hits the ground.

During World War II, the Russians Tried to Disguise Bombs as Food
Molotov Bread Basket. Wikipedia

The Finns were not fooled, or at least not for long. The nicknamed the bombs the “Molotov Bread Basket,” and improvised a weapon of their own based on the concept that they used against Russian tanks. They named it the “Molotov Cocktail.” When they tossed such a device, it is said they shouted “A Drink to got with the Food!”

The “Bread Basket” name stuck around, and was the moniker used when the Germans also used cluster bombs on the British during 1940 and the rest of World War II.

Cluster Bombs are no longer used in warfare by civilized nations due to their devastating effect on people and resources. They were also banned because they were used to drop chemical weapons as well as incendiary bombs soon after their first deployment.

The Russians tried to trick the Finns into thinking they were being humanitarians, but nobody was fooled. In the end, the bombs were simply that, bombs that held great and devastating power on the inside.