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Tali-Ihantala

Discussion in 'Winter and Continuation Wars' started by Artema, Mar 12, 2010.

  1. Artema

    Artema Member

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    I was interested with this battle and tried to find out some information which could clarify the situation.
    The only interpretation we have now is Finnish propaganda version. I don't think it's absolutely realistic. Russian historians seldom mention this battle as it's not pleasant speaking about the defeat, so let's do some investigation.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Tali-Ihantala tells us that the following forces took part in the battle:

    1) Finland:
    Finnish IV AK (Lt. Gen. Taavetti Laatikainen)
    • 3rd Brigade "Blue Brigade" (Col. Lauri Haanterä)
    • Finnish 3rd Division (Mj. Gen. Aaro Pajari)
    • Finnish 4th Division (Mj. Gen. Pietari Autti)
    • Finnish 18th Division (Mj. Gen. Paavo Paalu sacked June 26, Col. Otto Snellman),
    • since June 27 11th Division (Mj. Gen. Kaarlo Heiskanen).
    • Finnish 6th Division (Mj. Gen. Einar Vihma)
    Finnish Armoured Division (MJ. Gen. Ruben Lagus)
    LeR 3 (Lt. Col E. Magnusson) (33 Messerschmitt Bf 109, 18 Brewster Buffalo 239 Fighters and 1 Fokker C.X reconnaissance)
    LeR 4 (Col. O. Sarko) (33 Bristol Blenheim, 12 Junkers Ju 88, 8 Dornier Do 17Z bombers)
    2) Germany:
    German air unit Gefechtsverband Kuhlmey (Lt. Col. Kurt Kuhlmey) arrived in Finland on June 16. (23-43 Fw-190 A-6/F-8 fighters and ground attack aircraft, 24-30 Ju-87 D Stukas and 1-8 Bf-109 G-8 reconnaissance fighters)
    German Sturmgeschütz-Brigade 303 (Cpt. Hans-Wilhelm Cardeneo) arrived in Finland on June 22. (22 StuG III Ausf. G assault guns, 9 StuH 42 assault howitzers)
    3) USSR:
    Soviet 21st Army (Col. Gen Dmitrii N. Gusev) (15 divisions)
    • XXX Guards Corps
    • XCVII Corps
    • CVIII Corps
    • CIX Corps

    50 000 Finnish and German soldiers against 150 000 Soviet soldiers.
    Ratio 1:3. How could it happen that the Soviets were beaten?

    I suppose there were several reasons for this (I exclude well-known Finnish firmness as firmness alone can seldom help against steal and fire).
    So:

    1) You may see that Soviet 21th army did not include any tank formation. Infantry corps consisted of 3 or 4 infantry divisions and artillery regiment or brigade. "Guards" (elite) division also included tank regiment.
    So, the 21th army could include 3 tank regiments in 3 divisions of the 30th guards corps.
    Since February 1944 Soviet tank regiment consisted of 35 T-34. In July 1944 they should be T-34-76. Thus, the 21th army could have 105 T-34 tanks. 76-mm tank guns were nearly obsolete against entrenched StuGs, so 5 T-34 to 1 StuG wasn't a problem.
    If someone has any additional detailed information about Soviet forces (formation numbers and their effectives), you are welcome to argue.

    2) Look at the picture:

    [​IMG]

    That is the battle field. I doubt that there is enough place for an army and even for a corps. Attacks might go by smaller waves, thus they were easier to repel.

    I am waiting for opposing opinions! :)

    That is the monument in the place of the battle:

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Artema

    Artema Member

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    "Historical reconstruction":

    [​IMG]
     
  3. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

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    Great pictures and interesting thread. this is a specialist one and I think Kai Petri would be the one to give the best comments.
     
  4. Artema

    Artema Member

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    I hope he will.
     
  5. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    I´ll be back with details tomorrow. I have a huge book on numbers and reasons why things happened like they did.One of the main reasons though is considered the radio message of the Red Army units time (and place?) of main attack, which was sent without any code, and Finns were able to concentrate all artillery and air force bombers to the launch area just moments before, and as they are gathered in a small area, the losses were huge. Unfortunately haven´t seen any Soviet figures but would be interested in reading about those. A classic example of not taking care of security measures can lead to the death of many.
     
  6. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    This is what I find in my books.I am sure some will call this Finnish propaganda but the fact is that the offensive was stopped.

    Starting with the full line-up on both sides before the start of main attack 9th June 1944:

    ( Pekka Kantakoski: Red tanks 1918-1945 )

    This is the first phase ( early June ), Tali-Ihantala area battles start 25th June.

    In the Karelian isthmus the Finns had 102,000 men, the Red Army 260,000 men. The Finns started with 22 tanks, the Red Army 624. During the operation the Red Army received at least 224 more tanks.92% of the tanks were in the 21st Army´s sector, 25 tanks/front kilometer. The Red Army Air Force had 1,220 planes. The Finns had 117 planes plus the Kuhlmey´s 99 planes which joined the battle later on. The Finns had ca 140 pieces of artillery, the Red Army 3,000.

    The Tali area battles started 25th June but the culmination takes place at Ihantala.

    The major battle at Ihantala started 30th June.The 30th Guards Army ( Corps?) started the attack with the following armoured units: 30. Guards tank brigade, 27th tank regiment,124. tank regiment,27. Guards "Breakthrough" tank regiment, 260. Guards "Breakthrough" tank regiment and 1 222. Assault gun regiment.

    On 3rd July the 21st Army started the final breakthrough attempt,but the Finns found out about the attack time and just before 3 am some 5,000 grenades by artillery and 80 bombers attacked the area where the Red Army troops were situated for the offensive. No offensive was noted by the Red Army until 7 am.

    The 63rd Guards Division ( infantry ) started an attack at 7 am, backed up by tanks. The Finnish artillery causedhuge losses and the tanks retreated but the infantry kept on attacking. After heavy fighting by the evening the Red Army infantry had stopped their offensive after major losses. Several attacks take place during the next days but without success, and 11th July the Red Army starts sending troops to the German front.

    The battle lasted some 20 days and was fought in 10x10 kilometer area. The Red Army had 60-70 000 men and the Finns 30 000.( Tali-Ihantala battle ).

    According to Red Amy POW´s the Red Army losses were huge, Guards regiments were from 2,200 down to 40-100 men, tank regiments had a couple tanks each, and the tank regiments did not have much more either.During 28th June and 5tj July seven additional divisions were sent to the Karelian isthmus making it 27 divisions altogether. Six of them were sent away after big losses.
     
  7. Artema

    Artema Member

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    Your confidence have failed :) I would never deny an obvious fact. And honestly, I am glad it was stopped.
    I have ho sympathy to Stalin's plans concerning Finland, whatever they were. You see, I often visit Karelian Isthmus and see how ugly this territory became under Soviet government. I would prefer that no Winter war had ever broken and no WWII, also.
    Alas, it's out of my will, and now I can only study these events.
     
  8. Artema

    Artema Member

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    Just what I supposed. This numbering concerns the whole so-called "Vyborg--Petrozavodsk operation", the forces which the Red Army possessed before the battle in Karelia began, not Tali-Ihantala. The whole Leningrad front had about 800 tanks.
    If you remember, Vyborg was taken on June 20, and by that tanks were mostly relocated to Estonia by Stalin's personal order. So, Soviet loss at Ihantala couldn't be 600-800 tanks (as you wrote previously), because there couldn't be such a number of tanks, not even close to this.
     
  9. Artema

    Artema Member

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    Corps. 30th elite infantry corps under command of General Lieutenant Simonyak.

    Oh, thank you very much, that is very valuable information which I lacked!
    So we are now able to count Soviet tanks.
    1) Tank brigade consisted of 3 battalions 21 tanks in each -- 63 tanks.
    2) Tank regiment had 35 T-34 tanks -- 70 tanks.
    3) Breakthrough tank regiment had 21 IS-2 heavy tanks -- 42 tanks.
    4) Assault gun regiment -- 24 machines.
    Totally 199 machines, considering the formations were of full strength (which was not very probable).

    Okay, the situation is clarified, thank you!
     
  10. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    The Finns had also a nice big figure of panzerfausts which were used very effectively,too. Even though they were brought to the front at the last minute so that the Red Army would not get any knowledge of these.

    The figures stay the same for me as this is one of the books where I have read about this loss number I have mentioned. I trust you have your book and figures you believe.


    Deliveries of "Panzerfaust klein" and "Panzerfaust 30" to Finland:



    11th of August 1944
    1700

    13th of June 1944
    476

    18th - 26th of June 1944
    10312

    19th of July - 7th of September 1944
    13800

    Total
    26288
     
  11. Artema

    Artema Member

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    Excuse me, what do you mean by these numbers? I don't believe you really mean that the Finnish army destroyed 26 000 Soviet tanks... :eek:
     
  12. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    No, but we had the weapons to destroy tanks without needing to have own tanks just like the Germans did in several battles.
     
  13. Artema

    Artema Member

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    I never believe any books, and no one should when it goes for history.
    I only believe to facts and numbers. If it is proved that there was, say, 2 tank regiments in a certain place, then I am sure it could not be more than 70 tanks, because a regiment could not contain more in 1944.
    The last thing I would believe is a soldier fairy tale of those hundreds of enemies that he killed. For example, Soviet army reports of Berlin operation (1945) figure out the number of German tanks destroyed, 2 times more than Germans ever had. The same are your numbers. They are what you believe in. Mine are supported with evidence.
     
  14. Artema

    Artema Member

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    I still don't understand, excuse me for my stupidity.
    Were you offended by my mentioning German Sturmgeschutze? Okay, let's suppose they were idling somewhere aside while Finnish soldiers were fighting with Panzerfausts :)

    Please, don't think that I'm trying to depreciate the heroism of Finnish soldiers! They stopped the attack of the enemy forces of threefold superiority. It's a feat, regardless of how many Soviet tanks there were. To admit it, I have no need in misrepresenting facts.
     
  15. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Yes, the Germans were stopping the Red Army navy trying to make an invasion beach near Vyborg. The Finnish Sturmgeschütze were fighting in Ihantala.
     
  16. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    You mean the NKVD book?
     
  17. Artema

    Artema Member

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    Why NKVD? :eek: NKVD has nothing to do with it.
    It was you who was so kind to tell me which Soviet formations took part in the Tali-Ihantala battle. Weren't you? ;)
    As for the structure of Soviet Army formations, this information is open to everyone and can easily be verified.

    Well, if you'd like to speak about how to verify historical data, you're welcome. I will easily tell you how I do it, and you will tell me how did you verify your data of Soviet forces in Ihantala. Ok?
     
  18. Artema

    Artema Member

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    Well, it matters nothing to me. As far as I understand, the information about German Sturmgeschütz-Brigade 303 goes from here: Koskimaa, Matti, Veitsenterällä, 1993. Wikipedia article refers to it. If you think this Koskimaa lad lies, it's none of my business.
     
  19. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    I use books but as you don´t trust them I don´t think we can discuss this much.
     
  20. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    THAT I believe.
     

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