Photos WW2 Finnish armed forces

Two Companies from the Finnish Infantry Regiment 65 engaged the Dolin's Ski Brigade in the western end of the Vetko isthmus, Kuhmo municipality, on Feb 14 1940. Finnish assault was stopped in the outskirts of the Vetko village, the fierce infantry fire being very accurate.
Finns were reinforced with a field cannon in the early evening and using it in direct firing the resistance collapsed. After the fight some 400 fallen were found from the enemy positions. Finnish losses were six fallen and 27 wounded.
Meanwhile, on the Karelian Isthmus the Finns retreat from the Lähde sector, Mannerheim Line, manning the secondary defense line. Fortunately the enemy assaults were paused there at the time.
In the set of pics we see some Finnish wilderness warriors assaulting, pics are not dated or located.
SA-kuva photos fu_2698, fu_2655 and fu_2654

Staff Sgt. Aimo Juhola and observer 2nd Lt. Kalle Mustonen from the Finnish Flying Squadron 12 were ordered to take off for an aerial photographing sortie on Feb 14 1940. Capt. Auvo Maunula was extremely worried as those two 21-years old aviators had to reach the Kämärä-Kaukjärvi line on the Karelian Isthmus where the Soviets had managed to break through the Mannerheim Line at the Summa sector - and since one of the escorting interceptors was downed during the previous sortie killing Tapani Harmaja, Maunula was told that fighter escort is not available.
So Juhola and Mustonen climbed to their Fokker C.V. recon-dive bomber aircraft, planning to take the photos at the altitude of 7500 meters (24606 ft) since the Soviet interceptors usually used the 6000 meter altitude. However, the Fokker fails to reach the wanted altitude and they were forced to fly at about 6700 meters. Enemy formations, patrolling at 5000 meters, didn't to spot the Finns, but the AA artillery opened fire showing an easy target for them.
Fortunately, the photographing was done before the enemy reached the altitude so Juhola was able to use full throttle, diving gently northwards landing safely to the base a bit later.
SA-kuva # 79497 was taken on March 25 1942 at the Viiksjärvi airfield showing Fokker FK-109

Detachment Kivinen, led by Lt. Ensio Kivinen was a nine-biplane strong flight equipped with Gloster Gladiator Mk.IIs. On Feb 9 1940 they were positioned to the Värtsilä airfield, main task being to support the Finnish IV Corps and Task Force Talvela which were struggling against the overwhelming enemy in the Ladoga Karelia.
On the 13th of February lentomestari Lauri Lautamäki and Staff Sgt. Oiva "Oippa" Tuominen took off for a sortie over the Matkaselkä area at 2 PM. Soon after that the base was alarmed as a large Soviet bomber formation was approaching. Danish volunteer Lt. Carl Knut Kalmberg and Lt. Kivinen had been in readiness, managing to took off first, and rest of the flight followed.
These seven Gladiators engaged nine I-15bis fighters from the 49 IAP. Six of them formed the Spanish Ring defensive circle and Kalmberg attacked. As he was about to open fire three other Soviets managed to hit his GL-260. Trying to disengage by diving his aircraft went into a spin and crashed to the ground in the Havuvaara area killing the pilot.
Knut was born in Vladivostok, Russia, on Jan 13 1913, starting his military career as a Cadet joining the Danish Navy in 1933. When the Winter War broke out on Nov 30 1939 he and his fellow pilot Jörn Ulrich decided to volunteer but their resign attempts from the Navy were rejected. On the 1st of January 1940 they became AWOL as they travelled from Copenhage to Malmö, Sweden, reaching the Täydennyslentolaivue 29 (Training SQ 29) at Parola on Jan 6.
Pics show Kalmberg and a Hawker Nimrod, the aircraft the Danes flew before joining the FiAF.

The 2nd largest pocket in the Ruokojärvi-Ruhtinaanmäki area, Ladoga Karelia, was the so-called Rykmenttimotti where the Soviet 208th and 316th Infantry Regiments struggled with the 3rd Artillery Regiment, 12th Howitzer Regiment, 381st Separate Tank Battalion, 56th Recon Battalion and 64th AT Artillery Battalion (Tankintuhoojapatteristo). When they were surrounded the amount of soldiers was about 2800 men.
HQ of the 8th Army had ordered the 168th Division to aid their comerads, issuing an extra battalion for the attempt. The D-Day was set to be the 13th of February 1940. Also the 168th was surrounded but they had a supply route across the icy Lake Ladoga.
First attack failed miserably, as well as the two latter launched on Feb 14 and 15. E.g. the 800-men strong battalion issued just for the purpose lost some 600 fallen. After those offensives the Soviets didn't try to aid the Lemetti pockets from the Kitilä-Koirinoja area.
The surrounded troops got the permission for a break-through attempt. The officers argued about the direction, should they try to reach the Eastern Lemetti pocket in the east or the largest pocket in the Kitilä-Koirinoja in the south. Eventually, they decided to to do both. On Feb 17 they sent a message saying "help won't be needed", that being the last radio signal from them. Larger formation, some 1700 men, headed south but was totally wiped off in the Pukitsanmäki area.
SA-kuva pics # 4259, 4771 and fu_2309

Commander of the Repola Operations Nikishev sent a radio message on Feb 13 1940 to the 54th Mountain Division which was struggling surrounded in the Kuhmo area saying "inform Gusevski that a Ski Brigade will break through the Finnish lines, confirm their arrival".
Dolin's Ski Brigade mentioned above lost its commander on Feb 12 when a Finnish patrol led by Corporal Lauri Timonen engaged the HQ in the late afternoon while they were about to accommodate to a lumberjack hut in the Mäntyvaara Ridge area. The hut probably was the so-called "Toivonkosken kämppä". Dolin and most experienced officer fell and the Brigade was later commanded by the Commissar.
Pics show some Finns from the area.
SA-kuva photos # 4490, 7306, 7328 and 7334

Finnish Minister of the Foreign Affairs Väinö Tanner negotiated with the British Ambassador Gordon Vereker and Brigade General Ling on Feb 24 1940. Vereker informed that the Western Allies are ready to send 20000 soldiers to Finland starting on March 15, the estimated time of arrival being in the beginning of April.
Meanwhile in Copenhagen, Denmark, the Swedish, Danish and Norwegian Ministers of the Foreign Affairs had agreed that their countries won't either aid Finland or allow the pass-through of any foreign military formations.
After their return the British War Cabinet decided to increase the attempts in sending war material. Also their Chief of the Imperial General Staff Gen. Edmund Ironside started convincing the Americans to sell all extra weaponry to Finland.
Tanner, Vereker and Ironside can be seen in the pics.
SA-kuva photo # 6529 (March 13 19940)

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A Soviet 180-men strong ski company flanked the Finnish defense line in the Höyhenjärvi area, Lapland, in the night of 23rd-24th of February 1940 managing to cut the supply route in Heteoja.
Capt. Pennanen was on vacation but his substitute Lt. M. Tiitola alarmed the men from the 5th Separate Battery forming four platoons which attacked the enemy from both sides. After some 2-hour fight the Soviets started to retreat, just to found out that they were surrounded.
Around half of them managed to break through heading to the Puurovaara Ridge where they took defensive positions. Attempts to clean the Ridge failed so the Finns paused their assaults.
Serie of pics shows some Finnish wilderness warriors and Capt. Antti Pennanen. Pennanen was pictured on April 15 1940, soldiers during the war. Map shows the rough location, red dot pointing Nautsi village.
SA-kuva photos # 5077, fu_3921 and 9980

Finnish fire observators from the Pukkio sea fortress spotted a Soviet SB-2 bomber making an emergency landing on the icy Gulf of Finland between the Islands Kiuskeri and Narvi on the 23rd of February 1940. As no enemy action wasn't detected the fortress commander Lt. Veikko Vuorela grants a permit to send a recon patrol, so engineer Lt. Estlander takes seven volunteers and a horse-towed sled leaving the fortress at 7 PM, planning to stay overnight on the Kiuskeri Island.
During the next day they removed the other engine, spotting a text 'Ford, USA 1939' on it, and some gauges from the inside. After a succesful sortie the patrol returned the fortress sending the war trophies to a gun workshop located in the Kotka city.
(the other engine was evacuated a day later, both were lost when the workshop was hit by a bomb on March 1)
Undated and unlocated pic shows a downed bomber of the type mentioned, probably having "2" painted on the rudder.
SA-kuva photo # 4236

MG bunker Mä 15 at the Salmenkaita sector, Mannerheim Line, was lost on Feb 23 1940. Leader of the MG squad, 2nd Lt. in reserve Helmer Honkkila tells:
"We fought alone the whole day. I tried to call reinforcements but was told that the men of the 8th Company from the accommodation bunker Mä 36 refuse to leave. So I ordered all available men to grab an extra MG and take positions in the ruins of the Rantala house in order to stop the enemy before they reach the roof of the Mä 15. Bunker was vulnerable since the observation cupola was blown away by a direct hit from a field gun. This tactic worked 'til the sunset, but when the bunker vanished into the darkness the men couldn-t see the approaching infantry. Soviet combat engineers managed to drop a huge amount of TNT to the bunker which was totally demolished and caught fire. As all my men now were fallen or wounded I thought I had the right to abandon the positions. We couldn't evacuate the fallen or the MGs."
At around 9 PM Lt. Hakalahti counterattacked with his Company managing to re-capture the stronghold.
Honkkila survived the WWII. Pics show a demolished bunker from the Salmenkaita area pictured in the summer of 1943 and the layout of the Mä 15.
SA-kuva pics # 137465, 137464 and 137463

Stavka granted the permission for an outbreak attempt on Feb 27 1940 to the troops which were surrounded in the Eastern Lemetti pocket aka Kenraalimotti. According to the documents of the 18th Division's HQ a total of 3261 men of which 200 were severely wounded had struggled there for about two months.
18th Army was ordered to make a plan, so the commander of the 8th Corps suggested that the D-Day should be Feb 29 and three ski companies and several other units should aid the retreating troops. However, the 18th Division disagreed and informed that two columns will start advancing on Feb 28 at 7 PM. The other column commanded by Col. Aleksejev would head southwards targeting the Mustasuo area and the Col. Smirnov's column, consisting of most of the officers and the healthiest soldiers, would try to reach the Vuortanajärvi Lake in the northeast. Aleksejev's formation consisted of the lightly wounded and men in poor physical condition. Some 200-300 severely wounded would just be left behind, against the straight order given by the 15th Army.
Smirnov's formation started the attempt at 8 PM, loosing some 400 men during the breakthrough. On the southwest area of the Vuortanajärvi Lake the unit was totally wiped off the ground. Aleksejev's column managed better reaching Mustasuo and one of the ski units. A total of 1237 men, of which 900 were ill or wounded, arrived the Soviet lines.
Aleksejev was promoted to Colonel on March 3, and on the 24th he reported the losses of the 18th Division being 8754 men, that making the Division the one which suffered heaviest losses during the Winter War.
Division Commander Georgi F. Kondrasev also reached the own lines and was hospitalized due a light wound. On March 4 he was sentenced in the hospital and executed immediately
SA-kuva photo # 8459 shows a foxhole stormed by a satchel charge from the Kenraalimotti.

Finland Aid Bureau led by Leo Amery managed to gather a total of some 500 volunteers 'til the late-Feb 1940 and the British Volunteer Contingent was formed. Kermit Roosevelt, the son of the former US President, was considered to be the unit Commander - and he actually gave his oath to the State Flag of Finland.
Also the Finland Fund operated actively during the Winter War collecting funds for medical and military gear, and the organization even got some aircraft in use. Lt. Gen. Sir George Mark Watson Macdonogh maybe was the most known spokesperson of the Fund.
BTW, a story tells that Winston Churchill donated his skis to Finland. Pics show us some British volunteers (except Christopher Lee?) pictured in Helsinki on March 1 1940, Sir George and Leo Amery.
SA-kuva photo # 7800

Finnish Field Army was mobilized in Oct 1939 after the USSR had suggested negotiations concerning "certain security issues".
At the time the Finns had a total of 17 Bofors 37 mm AT guns and although the amount was rapidly increased the lack remained desperate. On Nov 30 all 98 Boforses were issued to the front line troops as well as about 14 Obuhov/Rosenberg 37 mm cannons m/14 and m/15.
In order to get any weaponry whatsoever Col. Aladár (Antero Zoltán Béla Gyula Árpád) Paasonen who was member of the Finnish delegation to Moscow in the negotiations prior to the Winter War was stationed in Paris, France, in December 1939. His mission was to procure weapons and equipment to the Finnish Defence Forces. France awarded him the Légion d'honneur (1939), rank "Officier".
Finns tried to purchase 300 French Canon de 25 mm semi-automatique m/37 with 300000 shells but managed to get only 50. First batch of 40 with some 25000 rounds arrived Finland in Jan-Feb. 20 of them saw action and three were lost 'til March 13 1940.
Pics show Col. Paasonen commanding the Infantry Regiment 5 when the Finns were about to encircle the enemy in the Patajärvi area in September 22-26 1941 and the guns mentioned.
SA-kuva photos # 51548, 51549, 27890 and 2470

A Soviet DB-3 bomber made an emergency landing from some 18 kilometers northeast from Vuotso village, Lapland, along the Jäämerentie Road on the 21st of February 1940.
Swedish liaison officer Falk from the Swedish Volunteer Airforce (Flygflottilj 19) was sent to interrogate the captured airmen. Both the pilot and the observer refused to believe that they had misoriented and bombed the Pajala village in Sweden. Instead, they stubbornly claimed that they raided the town of Rovaniemi, Finland. Capt. Stig Wennerström from the Swedish General Staff also interrogated them and after reporting their Ministry of the Foreign Affairs the Swedish Embassy of Moscow strongly protested the incident. At first, the USSR denied that ever happened.
However, they apologized and agreed to compensate the damages with 40000 Swedish Crowns on March 6. Pajala's police officer Ragnar Lassinantti had estimated the damages being 42407,50 Crowns, though.
Pic shows some downed DB-3 pictured on Feb 5 1940, most likely near the Lapanpiha elementary school in Kerisyrjä.
SA-kuva photo # a_678

When the Winter War broke out on Nov 30 1939 the Finns practically had no air defense on the northern side of the line Joensuu-Jyväskylä-Oulu, so when the Swedish Volunteer Corps and Volunteer Air Force arrived in Jan 1940 with a heavy (75 mm) AA battery and six medium (40 mm) AA platoons they were more than welcomed.
Opening pic shows the commander of the heavy battery, Capt. Ture Mark, on the front of 'his' house after the building was hit by a Soviet bomb on Feb 22. The battery had arrived the town of Rovaniemi five days earlier with a 40 mm Bofors AA gun platoon. The location of the house is said to be "between the church and the railroad bridge".
Also the sausage factory was hit. Seven civilians were found dead from its cellar.
SA-kuva pics # 55212 and 5561

Finnish Fokker D.XXI pilot sotilasmestari Eero Aulis Kinnunen claimed his 2nd aerial victory on Feb 18 1940. His flight was alarmed to intercept a 12-aircraft strong Soviet DB-3 bomber formation, but only five of the Flight's eight Fokkers were in operational condition.
Enemy was engaged in the Nuijamaa-Simola area and a total of four bombers were downed. The other victors were Lt. Jorma Sarvanto, lentomestari Yrjö Turkka and a Danish volunteer Lt. and Count Erhard Frijs.
Erhard Kragh-Juel-Vind-Frijs was born on the 17th of April 1912 in Copenhagen, Denmark, at the family estate Juellinge. He joined the Danish Army in the early '30s getting his wings in 1937 (pilot's certificate 204/37). Being Lt. in reserve when the Winter War broke out on Nov 30 1939 he volunteered and was eventually positioned to the 1st Flight of the Flying Squadron 24.
When his friend and colleague Lt. Fritz Rasmussen fell on Feb 2 1940 the Finns suggested that Erhard could return home but he refused. Per-Erik "Pelle" Sovelius, commander of the 4th Flight, tells:
"Both Frijs and Rasmussen were brave, skilled pilots having a great sense of humor and fighting spirit. Language barrier was penetrated by using English, Swedish and Danish simultaneously." (Rasmussen served the 4th Flight)
According to the document found from the Finnish War Archive Erhard's interceptor crashed to the ground on Feb 19 at 4 PM in the Heinjoki municipality, Karelian Isthmus, pilot having fatal crash injuries and burned face.
SA-kuva pics # 79600 and 125712

Finnish soldiers surrendering to soviet army after liberation of Vyborg
Mannerheim(commander of the finnish army) and Hitler shaking hands


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