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Taipale

Discussion in 'Winter and Continuation Wars' started by higge, Feb 18, 2008.

  1. higge

    higge Member

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    [SIZE=+10][SIZE=+1][SIZE=-1] Taipaleenjoki (now "Burnaya") is small river flowing from lake Suvantojarvi (now Suhodolskoje) to lake Ladoga, situated in the North-East part of Karelian Isthmus. Before the war, there were four tiny finnish villages: Kirvesmaki, Koukkuniemi, Terenttila and Taipale itself . Erection of military fortifications in this sector was started as early as 20's but unlike the fortifications in such sectors as Summa or Koivisto (North-West part of Isthmus) it was not so strong. The main profit of this position was the river itself, with the abrupt banks and open space over there.[/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE]

    [SIZE=+10][SIZE=+1][SIZE=-1] There were ten concrete bunkers on the whole region. Basically they were the small thin-walled machine gun bunkers erected on the most critical points: river elbows, some saliences and ledges. Despite its poor withstanding of modern (even for that time) artillery fire, they were perfect prepared as well as they had pre-fired sectors of open land in front of. Finnish army expected Soviet invasion for dozen and half years...[/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE]

    [SIZE=+10][SIZE=+1][SIZE=-1]The main defense line (called "Mannerheim line" during the war) was laid not only upon Taipaleenjoki but through the wooden part of Taipale penninsula, between east end of the river and east shore of lake Suvantojarvi. The line consisted of trenches, barbed wire obstacles and machine gun stone and log positions. There were no anti-tank obstacles but some small stones' chains and wooden log's abates plus anti-tank ditches. Trenches were dug in upon the edge of woods and ridges.[/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE]

    [SIZE=+10][SIZE=+1][SIZE=-1] The very important role of Taipale's defense played two coastal batteries - first, "Kaarnajoki", called that because of tiny river near the position, and second, "Jariseva", situated right on the shore of lake Ladoga. The main task of "Jariseva" battery was the defense of coast and left flank of Taipale sector while "Kaarnajoki" would cover under fire the whole Taipale sector at 360 degrees (the fire radius of this battery was almost 20 km). The battery has four gun positions with 152 mm guns. Western flank of Taipale sector was defended by gun bunkers erected on shore of lake Suvanto near village Kelja and Patoniemi. This bunker has three gun as well as few mashine gun and would cover under fire the whole open space of lake Suvanto. Also, there were few logged machine gun positions alongside lake Suvanto shore as well as lake Ladoga shore.[/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE]

    [SIZE=+10][SIZE=+1][SIZE=-1] The fortifications of this region were unique - not because of those strenghtness but of those closest position to the Soviet-Finnish border. All constructing works made between 20-30's were made under cover of top secret. There were no any serious "delay positions" between main defense line and state border as it would be in the South-Western part of Karelian Isthmus. The first defense line would became the last line - there were no another decision. The Taipale position has its own trap for expected invader: no-mans-land from the south est elbows of river Taipaleenjoki to the Kirvesmaki defense trenches. It was Koukkuniemi peninsula, low and marshy mostly open land pre-fired by machine guns and Kaarnajoki battery. It was the one and only comparatively comfortable place to get across river, to group and to start attack. Finnish HQ waiting for this manouvre of enemy.. In the future, events became as it were expected by Finns.

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    [/SIZE][SIZE=+10][SIZE=+1][SIZE=-1]When the war broke down on November 30, 1939, the Soviet troops prepared to invade Finland from the South-East part of Karelian Isthmus initially consisted of two divisions, 49th and 150th, combined into "North-East operating group" under command of army commander of II rank Vladimir Davydovitch Grendal. He was born in 1884 in Finland, graduated Mikhailovski military academy, then was participate in the First World War in rank of colonel. After the revolution of 1917 he was involved in Civil war (on the Reds' side). A few monographes of artillery application have been written by him before "Winter war" which would became fatal for him...

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    [/SIZE][SIZE=+10][SIZE=+1][SIZE=-1] The main aim of those forces was Kakisalmi (or Kexholm, now Priozersk). Along the way , that troops would eliminate Finnish forces and occupy such region centers as Rautu (now Sosnovo), Kiviniemi (now Losevo, important point with railroad and freeway bridges across the narrowest part of river Vuoksi - lake Suvanto waterways), then get across water line Vuoksi-Suvanto-Taipale and get the Kakisalmi. The overall time schedule for this thing was planned for one week. After this blitzkrieg Soviet troops would link to other forces, managed to cross Finland from the East Karelia and North shore of lake Ladoga and then make advance to Viipuri and further, to Helsinki.

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    [/SIZE][SIZE=+10][SIZE=+1][SIZE=-1] [​IMG] [SIZE=-1]Aerial photo of Koukkoniemi penninsula (Left side- Suvanto-jarvi, right side - Ladoga lake)[/SIZE] However, this great plan never turn into reality... From the very beginning, long and vulnerable from flanks columns of Russian troops, vehicles and carts lose advance tempo. On the second day of war, December 1st, Soviet columns moving in Taipale direction could advance Palkeala village. Need to say, that all territory between border and Taipaleenjoki was defended by the Finnish task force "R" (called as center of border guard in this sector, Rautu). Palkeala was defended by Finnish 6th separate battalion. The first encounter between two opposite sides from the start of hostility was by evening of 30th. On the almost same time, from other flank, Soviet troops advanced to Rautu where the 4th separate battalion has dug in. The main task of two small Finnish units was to delay as long as possible Russian advance to allow make maximum preparation for battle on the main defense line and to evacuate civilians. Red Army had started attack but could not achieve advance during the period of two days. In the Palkeala Russians applied tanks to destroy that small Finnish unit... Rautu and Palkeala were taken by 3th of December. Finnish guards retreated beyond Taipale and Suvanto to link the main troops. Russian soldiers were confused. They were surprised. Those "politruks" told them that Finnish people would met them with great joy because "Red Army is army of liberation of all people from the capitalists' oppression". They met bullets and hate instead of. To those surprise, Finns could fight pretty good and use terrain better.[/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE] [SIZE=+10][SIZE=+1][SIZE=-1]After two days of slow advance Soviet troops covered distance of 20 km. After short skirmish they took Metsapirtti, the last relatively big Finnish settlement on those way to Taipale. And at last, December 6th, first Soviet units advanced to Taipaleenjoki. They came from the south-west, moving toward Neosaari village located just across Terenttila. From this moment there started three-months' period of bloody fighting...
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  2. higge

    higge Member

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    [SIZE=+10][SIZE=+1][/SIZE][/SIZE][SIZE=+10][SIZE=+1][SIZE=-1]Finnish forces located on this part of Isthmus were combined into III Army Corpse under command of general-lieutenant Eric Heinrich (1890-1965). He had graduated military academy in France. Collagues characterized him as calm, strong, purposeful officer. Front line along Taipaleenjoki was held by Finnish 10 infantry division without any reserves. This division would withstand all thrusts of Red Army in this sector...[/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE]
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    [SIZE=+10][SIZE=+1][SIZE=-1] December 6th. The first blow of Soviet 49th Division was started at 8.15 against front line of Finnish col. Sihvonen's 28th infantry regiment (JR28). Russian offensive started from powerful artillery barrage aimed to Neosaari and Koukkuniemi. Some shells dropped even on Villakaa, as far from the front line as 8 km. At 11.00 Soviet armored vehicles approached to Neosaari where were some troops of JR28. Finns retreated. Russians attempted a crossing river at the Lossi ferry landing but were thrown back. Approximately an hour later Russians began to cross Taipaleenjoki in the sector of Koukkuniemi from two directions. Finnish machine gunners started to fire from its nests. Soviet troops used small rubber boats to cross the river so even one successful shot was able to send boat to the ice-cold river's bed. Soviet losses started increase. Despite this, to the day's end Soviet forces on opposite bank of Taipaleenjoki was estimate as one regiment. Finnish counterattack has began by the evening in Terenttila and lasted all night.[/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE]
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    [SIZE=+10][SIZE=+1][SIZE=-1] December 7th. Finnish counterattack from Terenttila and Koukkuniemi has failed. Finnish battalion advanced from main defense line for 2 km to the south end of Koukkuniemi but Russian troops dug there with furious resistance so Finns were forced to retreat. Finnish losses accounted 8 officers and 72 ranks, 34 of them were killed in action and 8 were lost. The most displeasing thing for Finns was the fact that most part of those casualties remained on enemy's territory. Chief of 30th infantry regiment (JR30) col. Kempi and chief of JR28 received new order. According to this, those troops should be to stop counterattack, straighten the front line and to create those own emergency reservation. From that moment front line was stabilized. Vladimir Gtrendal was glad. His troops was first of all Soviet forces on Karelian Isthmus who advanced to "Mannerheim line". He imagined quick breakthrough in the nearest future. However, he recognized difficulty of such breakthrough so he requested additional troops. Soviet HQ promised he would get it.[/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE]
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    [SIZE=+10][SIZE=+1][SIZE=-1] December 8th. Russian troops began to fortify bridgehead of Koukkuniemi. Command staff planned to send there all troops of 49th Division plus enough armor to start offensive. Russian artillery began powerful barrage. Being under Russian gun fire, Finnish soldiers sometimes began to blame those own artillery. There was no response shells from the Finnish side. They just couldn't know that those artillerist's had received strict order to open fire on attacking enemy troops only because of ammunitions' shortage. Soviet troops launched an offensive but were totally eliminated by Finnish artillery and machine guns. Attack repeated again and again during two days but Red Army could not advance through the Finnish defense. Open land between Russian and Finnish trenches was covered by bodies of Soviet soldiers. Sometimes attacking troops could not reach even barbed wire - they were destroyed by guns. Finnish machine guns were red of heat - they shooted constantly and each bullet doesn't miss its target...[/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE]
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    [SIZE=+10][SIZE=+1][SIZE=-1] December 10th. Finnish artillery fired some Russian observation posts as well as small approaching groups of Russian troops. Russians settled almost for four days: they waited for reinforcement.[/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE]
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    [SIZE=+10][SIZE=+1][SIZE=-1] December 11th. First concrete bunkers occupied by Russians. Battalion of capt. Netreba took "Alcazar", two machine gun bunkers located near mouth of Mustaoja creek on the bank of Taipaleenjoki. River made crook in this point and "Alkazar" would keep under fire both river's branches. Russians tried to advance further north upon Mustaoja, but Finns kept powerful machine gun fire and repulsed them.[/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE]
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    [SIZE=+10][SIZE=+1][SIZE=-1] December 12th. Soviet forces at Taipale were reinforced. Fresh 150th and some parts of 142nd divisions had arrived. Also, amount of Russian artillery seriously increased.[/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE]
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    [SIZE=+10][SIZE=+1][SIZE=-1] December 15th. Soviets launched big offensive. First time from beginning of fighting at Taipale Red Army applicate full scale armor attack. Russian sappers made passages through slopes of Mustaoja creek to allow armor vehicles drive in. Unfortunately, that passages were too narrow for allowance to move at least two tanks simultaneously. Later, if Finns would destroy only one vehicle in one passage, that would stop the whole column moved behind. At 11.30 armor vehicles moved through deep ravine of Mustaoja creek and began to drive toward Terenttila. Finnish artillery fired on clusters of infantry. Soviet armor passed above Finnish trenches and stopped because of gas lack. Finnish anti-tank squads showered vehicles with the "Molotov cocktail", grenades and satchel charges. At 14.40 Soviet attack at Kirvesmaki, on the right flank of Finnish defense was threw back. Russians have heavy casualties. At least 12 tanks were destroyed.

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    [/SIZE][SIZE=+10][SIZE=+1][/SIZE][/SIZE][SIZE=+10][SIZE=+1][SIZE=-1] December 16th. New Russian offensive at Taipale. Total fail.[/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE]
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    [SIZE=+10][SIZE=+1][SIZE=-1] December 17th. Another Russian attack. Digging holes in slopes of hills, Soviet soldiers suffer from cold. They brought with them bricks from burned Finnish houses to made some kind of stoves, but they could not collect enough firewood because each head's rise was dangerous because of constant action of Finnish snipers. Also, smoke of stove could bring fire of enemy's mortars. They burned out own ammo's gun powder, newspaper and even own skies (if they could have it). The one and only way to heat was fight. And they was rising to attack. That day Russians launched attack against all front line. Action of Finnish gunners reminded carousel when they turned their guns at different angles to hit advanced Soviet infantry rows at Terenttila and Kirvesmaki. Russians were defeated. In Terenttila Finnish antitank guns hit at least five enemy armor vehicles.[/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE]
    [SIZE=+10][SIZE=+1][SIZE=-1] Grendal asked for help. It was clear for him that during the frontal assaults on early December his troops lost about half of their order of battle. Soldiers was deadly tired and confused. Powerful artillery barrages were insufficient. Based on this conclusion, he decided to drive from the western part of Taipale sector by fresh division. The intension was to cross ice of lake Suvanto in few sectors, make arrangements for bridgeheads and then to advance to the rear of Taipale defense line. To realize this task, new, 4th rifle division has arrived. All Soviet divisions located on Taipale front were combined into 13rd Army under command of Vladimir Grendal. X-day was appointed on 25th of December.[/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE]
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    [SIZE=+10][SIZE=+1][SIZE=-1] December 25th. In early morning fresh Soviet 4th division crossed Suvanto on 8-10 km North-West from Taipale front. First Russian battalions began to dig on bridgeheads of Patoniemi, Volosula and Kelja. The biggest Russian concentration was in Kelja where Russians could bring field guns. As early as 8 AM two Finnish battalions of JR30 launched counterattack in Patoniemi and Volossula. Third battalion of JR29 have blocked Patoniemi bridgehead.[/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE]
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    [SIZE=+10][SIZE=+1][SIZE=-1] December 26th. Kelja's bridgehead had seriously troubled commanders of 10 division. At 7.30 AM Finns had started another counterattack. Russians tried to reinforce their troops by infantry and artillery but Finnish guns from Kaarnajoki made powerful barrage on all open space of Suvanto lake. Whole ice field was covered by corpses of Soviet soldiers.[/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE]
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    [SIZE=+10][SIZE=+1][SIZE=-1] December 27th. Finnish troops fighted against Russian bridgehead were reinforced by 6th separate battalion arrived after exacting march. All conscripts of this unit were born on Karelian Isthmus. First Finnish counterattack had failed because of late arrival of field guns. Fighting lasts few hours and soon it turn into hand-to-hand battle. All bridgeheads were wiped out by night only. Soviet troops suffered of heavy casualties. On the ice of Suvanto and its north coast 4th division lost 2000 men while Finnish troops lost 500. Finnish boot was estimated as 140 captured machine guns, 12 antitank guns, 500 automatic rifles and 200 rifles as well as thousands of ammos.[/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE]
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    [SIZE=+10][SIZE=+1][SIZE=-1] December 29th. After two days of bloody fight, there's lull at Taipale. Some skirmishes and artillery duels took place. In Terenttila Soviet troops had tried to advance along Mustaoja creek with help of field artillery, firing almost point blank to the concrete machine gun nests. However, at night five Finnish platoons were sent to help. Russians were pushed back again.[/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE]
    [SIZE=+10][SIZE=+1][SIZE=-1] 1939 has came to its end. Thousands of Russian soldiers lay dead on soil of Karelian Isthmus... Need to say, Taipale sector never haven't been almost quiet. The short skirmishes, small attacks and counterattacks were here permanently. Russians still could not swarm over the Finnish positions but they started to think hard how to do it. Stalin never put away from initial planning. Submissiveness Finland should be defeated, no matter that how many people would be sacrificed. At least at Taipale Russian troops could keep push, unlike the surrounded and defeated Soviet divisions in Suomussalmi, Kolaa and Lemetti... Russian resources were still inexhaustibly...[/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE]
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  3. higge

    higge Member

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    [SIZE=+10][SIZE=+1][SIZE=-1]January 1st. Finnish commanders re-grouped forces on Karelian Isthmus. 10th division has no reserves so Mannerheim just changed it number. Now it became 7th.[/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE] [SIZE=+10][SIZE=+1][SIZE=-1] January 2nd. After five and half hours of artillery fire Soviet troops launched attack against Kirvesmaki but were pushed back.[/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE]
    [SIZE=+10][SIZE=+1][SIZE=-1] January 4th. Another attack against Kirvesmaki positions. Same result. [/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE]
    [SIZE=+10][SIZE=+1][SIZE=-1] January 15th. Finns dispersed small Russian attacking groups. [/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE]
    [SIZE=+10][SIZE=+1][SIZE=-1] January 20th. Russians get clever. At night Soviet sappers dug long trenches right in front of the Finnish defense lines. The enemy's position became locate just in 50 m from opponents. Same time, Russian artillery had changed tactics so fire was made on squares of region. At 15 PM four hours bombardment from guns and planes has began on Kirvesmaki and Terenttila both. Right after that Russians started attack. They attempted to get few Finnish positions but were thrown back. [/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE]
    [SIZE=+10][SIZE=+1][SIZE=-1] January 21th. Almost all time of Taipale battles Russians used aerostat to correct the artillery fire. This day Finns could bring it down. According to one eyewitness' memories, "suddenly we saw a large gray clouds curling from the balloon's rear. Just in seconds flame appeared on it and got whole sausage-shaped surface. After that we saw Finnish fighter turned from the sun along the big bow..." [/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE]
    [SIZE=+10][SIZE=+1][SIZE=-1] January 25th. Soviet military command decided to bypass Finnish defense from the right flank, across the ice of Ladoga. There was small island at two kilometers from Taipaleenjoki mouth. It was the best place to accumulate force and to start attack. Day before Russian platoon under command of lt. Eleinikov occupied that island, but at night Finnish counterattack under command of NCO Heminen eliminated Russian positions there. After fighting Finns captured two machine gun and five Russian soldiers. This fail does not stopped Russians. After short period of time Soviet soldiers again occupied island. Another Finnish group under command of NCO Kilvi attempted to assault this tiny part of land. From their own side of shore Russians could see that group of soldiers surrounded by the Finns. Soviet commanders sent few tanks to help to komrades. Finns were forced to retreat and hadn't attempted to capture the island no more. However, Russian could not use this position to attack Taipale lines from rear: open ice of Ladoga reminds firing ground for coastal battery of Jariseva. After retreating, Finnish high command ordered to Jariseva battery and 23 infantry regiment (JR23) to look carefully on this part of defense.[/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE]
    [SIZE=+10][SIZE=+1][SIZE=-1] On that moment, Finnish 7th (former 10th) division had lost: 37 officers and 779 men killed in action and 40 officers and 1980 men wounded. Soviet casualties were numbered of thousands...[/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE]
    [SIZE=+10][SIZE=+1][SIZE=-1] January 29th. After four relatively calm days Russian got started to assault against Terenttila position. Again, Soviet sappers have dug in 100 m of trenches close to the Finnish position. The aim of attack was to break down two main defense lines - Terenttila and Kirvesmaki. The general assault was just between them, in Terenttilansuo swamp. Bloody fighting lasts two days. (After that, southern part of Terenttilansuo got nickname "Surmansuo", "Swamp of the Dead"). [/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE]
    [SIZE=+10][SIZE=+1][/SIZE][/SIZE][SIZE=+10][SIZE=+1][SIZE=-1] January 30th. Finnish artillery kept fire barriers of Russian's attack zone. At 3.50 AM Russians began to retreat but got mine field. Finnish machine guns had finished the rest bloody work... Fighting lasts till morning. Finns captured 5 machine guns and 150 grenades. Russians lost 40 men.[/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE]
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    [SIZE=+10][SIZE=+1][SIZE=-1] February 8th. January probes were over. Sofiet military command ordered at any cost to break out Mannerheim line. Main thrust would be on Viipuri direction, but Taipale was itself important sector. If Russian would destroy Taipale defense, they could advance with no serious obstacles to Kakisalmi and eventually attack Summa positions and Viipuri from the East, by that take Mannerheim line from the rear. Stalin could not wait anymore. Spring came soon, and in condition of slosh and flows of water the victory would impossible...[/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE]
    [SIZE=+10][SIZE=+1][SIZE=-1] All Russian artillery was firing on area between eastern part of Kirvesmaki and western part of Terenttila. Nine Soviet planes constantly were bombing Finnish guns' positions. Simultaneously Soviet fighters were shooting on Finnish machinegun nests. After that preparation Soviet infantry rised and after furious battle managed to take the first and the second Finnish positions of Terenttila, just in Terenttilansuo swamp. Finns lost 219 men (32 dead). In Kirvesmaki Finns withstood attack and destroyed two armor vehicles.[/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE]
    [SIZE=+10][SIZE=+1][SIZE=-1] February 10th. From the morning Soviet bombers dropped bombs of Finnish position in Kirvesmaki, targeting in Kapalamaki's staff point. At 10.30 Russian guns began bombardment and at 12.15 Soviet infantry reinforced by two tanks started to advance. At 14.30 attack was fought off. At that day in Terenttila after heavy bombardment Russians launched small attack but were thrown back. [​IMG] [SIZE=-1]Finnish soldiers sheltered from bombardment preceding the Russian attack on the Mannerheim line in early February 1940.(Photo: SA-kuva)[/SIZE] [/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE]
    [SIZE=+10][SIZE=+1][SIZE=-1] February 11th. Soviets managed to take first position of Kirvesmaki just by the shore of Suvantojarvi. During the following night Finnish counter-attack pushed them back. [/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE]
    [SIZE=+10][SIZE=+1][SIZE=-1] February 12th. After mortars bombardments, Russians managed to take fifth position of Kirvesmaki. The best part of Finnish defenders were killed and there no way to resist.[/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE]
    [SIZE=+10][SIZE=+1][/SIZE][/SIZE][SIZE=+10][SIZE=+1][SIZE=-1] February 13th. During furious counterattack Finns took fifth position back. [/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE]
    [SIZE=+10][SIZE=+1][SIZE=-1] February 18th. "Black day on Taipale". After two days of lull Red Army launched powerful offensive. At 9 AM tens of Russian planes bombed Finnish positions for half day. By the evening Russian infantry took all five positions at Kirvesmaki and three western positions at Terenttila. The major part of Finnish machine guns was broken by air attack. Commanders of occupied positions were killed. The experienced batallion of 21 regiment of capt. Sorri was forvarded to stop the Russians. In Terenttila 23rd inf. regiment under command of col. Laurila managed to stop Soviet attack against 4th and 5th positions. [/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE]
    [SIZE=+10][SIZE=+1][SIZE=-1] February 19th. Fighting lasts all night and by the morning col. Laurila's battalion took back positions at Terenttila. Russians lost 300 men but right after first attack they rose for another offensive against Terenttila line. Finnish troops had heavy casualties: 1 battallion of 61 regiment under command of Leminen located in Kirvesmaki lost from 260 to 290 dead. Battalion of Larko (1/62 inf. reg.) lost 41 men dead, 57 wounded and 45 lost in action. Same time with the great offensive on land, Russians attempted encircled Taipale position from two direction - from Suvanto (at Patoniemi) and from Ladoga. That attempts were destroyed by Finnish coast artillery. Again, like in December, at Patoniemi alone, ice was blackened by Russian corpses where they leave about 1000 dead and wounded soldiers. At Ladoga Finns managed to destroy two Russian tanks... Besides, Finnish coastal battery on Jariseva, that role for Taipale defense was very important, had fired last shot. The ammunition was over. After that only Kaarnajoki battery still stood for entire Taipale front. Guns of Jariseva were removed but the position was left as false target for enemy's planes... [/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE]
    [SIZE=+10][SIZE=+1][SIZE=-1] At this moment Mannerheim had changed commanders of III Army corps. Now it became general-major Paavo Talvela (1897-1973). He had graduated Finnish Military Academy. He had strong will and energy.[/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE]
    [SIZE=+10][SIZE=+1][SIZE=-1] February 20th. Day began from powerful air raid of Soviet bombers. After that Russian launched offensive and manage to break all defense line in Terenttila, advanced into the Finnish territory for 1,5 km. Fortunately, Finns could forward division's reserve of maj. von Shroven that could to take back the rear line of defense. From this moment Russian offensive had delayed and soon after that had stopped. The only thing Red Army could do was to continue small attacks by battalion and company's forces.[/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE]
    [SIZE=+10][SIZE=+1][/SIZE][/SIZE][SIZE=+10][SIZE=+1][SIZE=-1] February 21th. Artillery bunker located at Patoniemi got direct hit by 250-mm shell. One men was killed and another six wounded. Above 600 charges were destroyed as well as two guns (indeed, one of them got spare parts and was repaired). At this moment, one of eyewitness, Urho Kahonen, wrote: "The artillery bombardments and air raids of enemy were still powerful. It affected on us too strong but we could not to counteract of that. Sometimes we even could not to hide because we had to repulse flows of enemy's infantry..."[/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE]
    [SIZE=+10][SIZE=+1][SIZE=-1] February 26th. Soviets took two positions of Terenttila but were forced to retreat.[/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE]
    [SIZE=+10][SIZE=+1][SIZE=-1] February 29th. The dug-out in Kirvesmaki got three direct hits, entombing 14 men. At this time fighting continued at 5th and 6th positions in Terenttila. Russians managed to capture the part of 5th position. This day was the last for former Olympic champion 42-years old Martti Marteli - he was killed in action. [/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE]
    [SIZE=+10][SIZE=+1][SIZE=-1][/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE][SIZE=+10][SIZE=+1][SIZE=-1] March 1st. Russians managed to break Mannerheim line at Summa. The main battle was there and on their way to Viipuri. Indeed now Taipale sector became secondary. But it does not means that Russians would rely from their attempts to break Finnish defense here. War has to continue! Spring came with the another shock: command dug-out "Seurahuone" got direct hit. 2 officers and 11 ranks were killed, 6 wounded. [/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE]
    [SIZE=+10][SIZE=+1][SIZE=-1] March 2nd. Commander of the Soviet troops at Taipale V.Grendal was released. The Corpse commander F.A. Parusinov took command position instead of him. [/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE]
    [SIZE=+10][SIZE=+1][SIZE=-1] March 4th. Russians attacked positions of JR23. Finns had heavy casualties but withstood it. [/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE]
    [SIZE=+10][SIZE=+1][SIZE=-1] March 6th. Spring has came. Snow and ice began to melt and Finnish position in sector of "Terentillansuo" swamp need to remove. First was the second position which was removed on new place. [/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE]
    [SIZE=+10][SIZE=+1][SIZE=-1] March 7th. Finns repulsed attack of Soviet battalion. Even in this "calm" day Finnish troops lost here 10 dead and 35 wounded. [/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE]
    [SIZE=+10][SIZE=+1][SIZE=-1] March 8th. Trenches in Terenttila were with water at half. Also, almost all machine gun positions, dug-outs for soldiers were destroyed by Russian guns, targeting directly from its positions. The best way to stay against fresh Soviet troops was to leave old positions. At 11 PM Finns decided to retreat beyond new defense line. Retirement was made in secret under cover of night so Russians didn't note anything. Few hours later Russians launched attack but they found nothing. Finnish positions at Terenttila were empty... [/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE]
    [SIZE=+10][SIZE=+1][SIZE=-1] March 10th. Soviet troops occupied former Finnish 4th, 5th and 6th positions in Terenttila and launched attack from there. Finns pushed them back. Fortunately, Russian artillery "helps" to Finns. It opened fire on former Finnish positions where already Russian infantry dug in. [​IMG] [SIZE=-1]Soviet soldiers are attacking.(Photo: SA-kuva)[/SIZE] [/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE]
    [SIZE=+10][SIZE=+1][SIZE=-1] March 13th. During the last five days Russians attempted to break Finnish defense line at few points with no progress. At this day at 6.30 AM Russians opened artillery fire targeting Terenttila. Hour later Soviet infantry launched attack against 6th position. They knew that at 11 AM war would be over but those "politruks" forced them to use each minute till end of hostilities. Simultaneously Finnish position in Kirvesmaki were under heavy bombardment. Only at 11 AM fighting At Terenttila and Kirvesmaki had finished. Unusual silence rose above moon landscape of Taipale. Next day Finnish troops started to withdraw beyond new border. They left Finnish soil they die for, but still weren't defeated... [/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE]
    [SIZE=+10][SIZE=+1][SIZE=-1][/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE][SIZE=+10][SIZE=+1][SIZE=-1] [/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE]
     
  4. higge

    higge Member

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    [SIZE=+10][SIZE=+1][SIZE=-1] During the February-March period Finnish casualties at Taipale were 199 officers and 5442 soldiers. According to the different accounts, Red Army lost here approximately from 2000 to 3000 men. Grendal was dead at autumn 1940, because of lung cancer. Soviets got good lesson. In the time of Continuation war, during the large scale offensive of Summer 1944 their troops just stopped in front of Taipale and didn't attempted to cross it till the end of hostilities...

    [/SIZE]
    [/SIZE]
    [/SIZE][SIZE=+10][SIZE=+1][SIZE=-1] The battle at Taipale was so dense that even now, after almost 60 years, one could see the remains of that. Almost all concrete bunkers were exploited - now only piles of concrete fragments and hence net of trenches reminds about defense line of 1939. During the Continuation war Finns had built here new defense line, "VT" (Vammelsuu-Taipale line). The chain of enormous antitank granite rocks was erected across entire Taipale sector during 1942-1944. At that time Finns have built here few new concrete bunkers but all those preparation weren't used: Soviet troops managed to break this line in the east part of Karelian Isthmus.[/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE]
    [SIZE=+10][SIZE=+1][SIZE=-1] After the war Soviets erected on the former Terenttila territory small monument in memory of fallen soldiers. There are just hundred names has inc used on it though thousands of them left here. In 1995 Finnish veterans had erected their own small monument here, iron cross coloured like the birch, on the place where was Finnish military graveyard near the 4th position at Terenttila.[/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE]
    [SIZE=+10][SIZE=+1][SIZE=-1]At the place of Terenttila and Kirvesmaki now the farmer's fields. But the whole ground here filled with iron and bones. Occasionally, at spring time, melted water would wash away hand grenade, or machine gun disc, or just human's bone belonged to unknown Finnish or Russian warrior... There were plenty of them here... One could see it and does not feels hate or revenge - [SIZE=+1]just sorrow...[/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE]



    [SIZE=+10][SIZE=+1][SIZE=-1] Sources:[/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE]
    [SIZE=+10][SIZE=+1][SIZE=-1]W. Trotter "A Frozen Hell", Chapel Hill, 1991[/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE]
    [SIZE=+10][SIZE=+1][SIZE=-1]U. Kahonen. "Voittamattomat pataljoonat", 1991[/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE]
    [SIZE=+10][SIZE=+1][SIZE=-1]"Talvisota. Kronikka", Helsinki, 1997[/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE]
    [SIZE=+10][SIZE=+1][SIZE=-1]"Battles in Finland", Moscow, 1941[/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE]
    [SIZE=+10][SIZE=+1][SIZE=-1] Periodical literature.[/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE]
    http://www.geocities.com/taipaleenjoki/index.htm[SIZE=+10][SIZE=+1][SIZE=-1][/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE]
     
  5. Cate Blanchett

    Cate Blanchett recruit

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    Higge....I just love the complete and utter "bluster" of the Finnish soldier, something this article does a great job of conveying......The way that Finn machine gunners were reminded of a "carousel" when using a circular motion to stop Soviet attacks in their tracks.....evacuation of Finn positions just in time for the Russians to be hit by their own artillery, and how, in 1944, the entire region was "bypassed".......and the sheer WASTE of soviet lives as they ground forward, regardless of the cost....

    This indicates to me that Russian tactics, even after the Winter War, were still plodding and thick. Any Russian commander at any level claiming to lead these unfortunate soldiers in a competent fashion should look closely at what happened in Finland over the entire course of WW2.....I honestly believe that Russian profligacy with human lives needs to be showcased to the fore as an example of just how NOT to run an army....

    It is often said by the Russians themselves that "Mother Russia has sons enough." The soviet infantryman suffering under this butchers policy for the entire war must have felt completely used and abused...no wonder that discipline in the Red Army often stood on a "knife edge", necessitating the "politruk" to carry on in a truly disgraceful fashion...Russian historians have still to explain this barbarous policy in terms that justify it.....maybe they never will....
     
  6. higge

    higge Member

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    Hopefully we track one Russian guy here sometimes to give us their side of stories too.
     
  7. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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