Photos WW2 Finnish armed forces

Aftermath of the "Kemi River Battle" during the Winter War, January 1940
These pictures were taken after the Battle of Salla near the Kemi River, where the Finnish Army attacked and destroyed the Soviet Forces in a series of battles from December 13-16, 1939, forcing the Soviets to withdraw
While photographing the bodies on the Kemi River Road, Carl Mydans overheard a Finnish officer say, "The wolves will eat well this winter", the Soviets never attempted a major offensive in the area until the Continuation War in 1944
LIFE Magazine Archives - Carl Mydans Photographer

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Today in history 81 years ago, in the dawn of the 20th day of the Winter War the Soviet Infantry Regiment 273 panicked and abandoned its bridgehead on the western shore of the Kemijoki River, Pelkosenniemi municpality.
The Finns had launched a counterattack on Dec 18 at 8 AM. Their plan was to flank the enemy from the north using the 1st and the 3rd Battalions of the Infantry Regiment 40. The odds were against the defenders: Regiment was just formed, poorly equipped, having no AT or artillery support whatsoever.
The battle broke out accidentally, the 3rd Battalion misoriented and was engaged by a Soviet battalion, which also had started an assault along the Kemijärvi main road. So half of the flanking troops was now tied to fight elswhere than planned, but the 1st Battalion managed to reach the target area. Meanwhile, the Finns struggled in the church village trying to repel the overwhelming enemy, hoping that the flanking operation will succeed.
During the day the enemy managed to break through the Finnish lines at noon but was pushed back. The second assault started in the afternoon and the Finns were under the threat of being surrounded. Service corps panicked starting to rush towards Kemijärvi - but then the Soviets found out that they've lost their artillery batteries and supply depots. That loss and the Finnish counterattack forced them to abort the offensive and retreat towards the Savukoski village.
The HQ of the Lapland Corps ordered the Regiment to pursue the enemy, but the troops needed some rest. The Savukoski village was in Finnish hands on Dec 22. Regiment was considered to be too weak for a major offensive against the entrenched enemy in the Salla area.
Pic shows some Finnish squad from the Joutsijärvi area.
SA-kuva # a_249
Talvisodan historia, osa 3, s. 317-319

In the beginning of December 1939 the Finnish 8th Division was positioned to the Sakkola municipality, Karelian Isthmus. Infantry Regiment 24 took defensive positions at the Kiviniemi sector on the western bank of the Vuoksi River.
During the first week of the war the situation there was relatively peaceful, but on Dec 7 at 8 AM the Soviets started heavy artillery bombardment, invading at 3 PM using pontoons and ferries. Assault was repelled, but the cleaning of the bridgehead took a few days.
’Til the mid-Dec the Finnish recon had estimated that the enemy had pointed the spearhead to the western sectors of the Main Defense Line.
Pics show the commad post of the Regiment and some sentry from the area. As seen the so-called Mannerheim Line was mostly an attitude, sisu in Finnish.
SA-kuva, Dec 17 1939

Finnish Chauchat team, soldiers Haitava and Korhonen, during the Continuation War (1941-44) against the Soviet Union, 1942. The magazine has a protective cover. The Finns received 100 MAC 24/29 and 5,000 Chauchat FM/LMG donated by France during the Winter War (1939-40).
Finnish boat with personnel manning a Lahti L-39 20mm AT Rifle ready to fire approaching Kuorilahti village - September 28, 1941
Sa-kuva pic # 54478

After a 3-days long rest and recon the Finnish Task Force Kekkonen was ready to clean the Kiekinkoski village, Kuhmo municipality on Dec 28 1939.
Kekkonen’s two companies and the Recon Detachment 4 attacked from north and south in the morning. ’Til the evening the enemy was defeated, only some of them managed to cross the Finnish-Soviet border.
Soviet losses were around 100 fallen, one tank, an AT gun and a lot of infantry weaponry. 24 horses were a valuable asset for the defenders.
After the Kiekinkoski battle the Task Force Kekkonen’s main tasks were securing the area, recon and guerilla operations in the Rasti-Saunajärvi-Riihivaara area.
Pic shows a Finnish supply route on an icy, quite likely the Saunajärvi, lake.
Talvisodan historia, osa 3, s. 215

On Dec 26 1939 the Finnish 9th Division was preparing a major attack in the Suomussalmi area.
Four battalions would attack the Hulkonniemi area from the west, two battalions from the east while three battalions tied the enemy around the area and one along the Raate road. One battalion stayed in reserve and a company was closing the Kiantajärvi ice road.
Offensive was launched on Dec 27 at 7.30 AM after an 8-minutes long artillery (one battery) and light mortar company bombardment. Hulkonniemi area was captured at 8.30, but the thickening resistance stopped the Finns on the western side of the Hulkonniemi village. Meanwhile, the Separate Battalion 15 had reached the Kuusamo road on the northern side of Hulkonniemi but was forced to retreat as the enemy counterattacked with tanks.
Eventually, in the evening, the road was cut by the 2nd Battalion of the Infantry Regiment 64. Assault in the outskirts of Hulkonniemi was paused for the night.
A some kind of miracle is that the attack was even possible, four battalions had stayed awake for 48 hour in some -30 degree Celsius due the lack of accommodation. Pics show a Finnish mortar crew amd a mass grave for the Soviets from the area.
Talvisodan historia, osa 3, s. 220-221

’Til the mid-December 1939 the Finnish 2-company strong Task Force Kekkonen and the Recon Detachment 4 had taken defensive positions in the Laaja crossroad area, Kuhmo municipality.
The Soviet 4th Company from the Infantry Regiment 118 assaulted on Dec 16, managing to break through. So the Finns retreated some kilometers to the Tyrävaara area, where the enemy attacks were repelled on Dec 17 and 19.
Meanwhile, the Finnish recon had found out that only a company-sized spearhead, supported by artillery and mortars, was used. Task Force Kekkonen was then strenghtened with a field gun and a mortar platoon and a counterattack was planned. Kekkonen’s companies started advancing along the shores of the Pieni Kupsunen Lake on Dec 24, managing to engage the enemy near the Ranta farm. Enemy MG fire stopped them there and while re-organizing the units for a charge the Soviets abandoned their positions.
The Recon Detachment 4 had flanked but was unable to neutralize the retreating enemy. Some 80 fallen Soviets were counted from the battlefield and the Finns continued towards the Kiekinkoski village where they engaged the entrenched enemy on Dex 25.
Pics show some Finns from the area, one of them using a captured gramophone.
Talvisodan historia, osa 3, s. 214-215

81 years ago, on Dec 26 1939 the Soviet 168th Division had captured the Pitkäranta area in the northern end of the Lake Ladoga and their 18th Division struggled in the Lemetti area, trying to reach Pitkäranta. If managing to get there the Finnish defense would collapse, allowing the enemy to advance southwards along the western shore of Ladoga.
Finnish IV Corps had there the 13th Division which, together with the Ladoga Coastal Defense Corps, fought fiercely being able to stop the 168th Division on the eastern bank of the Kitilänjoki River.
’Today’ in 1939 the Finnish Detachment Tykki launched a counterattack, heading southwards along the Pyhäjärvi-Kotajärvi Isthmus, main target being the Uomaa-Lemetti main road and cut the Soviet supply route. Meanwhile, the Task Force Valkama was preparing to capture the enemy supply depots located in the Uomaa village.
However, the road wasn’t cut until Dec 28 and the Uomaa village wasn’t captured. Road stayed closed ’til the end of the War, eventually causing the total neutralization of the 18th Division.
Pic shows some intruders after a battle in the Lemetti area.
Talvisodan historia, osa 3, s. 60-61.


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