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Old 11-27-2014, 11:18 AM   #1
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Default Winter War, day by day.

26 November 1939

"Leningrad military district HQ announced that on November 26 at 15:45 all
of a sudden artillery fire was opened from Finnish territory aimed at Soviet
troops stationed 1km Northwest of the town of Mainila. The Finns fired seven shells."
-Soviet information agency, TASS


"Due to the provocative and deliberate shelling aimed at Soviet troops from
Finnish territory, the Soviet government has been forced to declare that
the Finnish troops concentrated near Leningrad are not only a threat to
the city, but a hostile act towards Soviet Union, which has already caused Soviet casualties.
[..]
As a result, the Soviet government suggests that the Finnish government
immediately moves it's forces in Karelian Isthmus farther from the border,
20-26km away to prevent further provocations."

-Diplomatic note to Finnish ambassador Yrjö-Koskinen from Soviet Foreign Minister Molotov


Foreign Press in Mainila



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Old 11-27-2014, 11:47 AM   #2
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Good job! Some of us had talked about doing a '75 Years' WW2 thread, but keeping up with WW1 was more than enough. I look forward to reading this.
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Old 11-27-2014, 11:26 PM   #3
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27 November 1939

Finnish investigation concludes that the shells were fired from the Soviet side
of the border and answers Molotov's note:

From the Finnish side, it was possible to see the town of Mainila, which is just
800 meters away across an open field.
Based on the sounds of the shelling heard on the Finnish side, it can be said
the shots originated 1,5-2km Southeast of the impact area.
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Old 11-28-2014, 08:36 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sailor Steve View Post
Good job! Some of us had talked about doing a '75 Years' WW2 thread, but keeping up with WW1 was more than enough. I look forward to reading this.
I'll try to keep it as updated as possible, though when the war starts on the
30th, it might get a bit hectic.

28 November 1939


The fact that the Finnish government denies it's part in the shelling which caused
casualties, can not be explained, other than to mislead public opinion and mock the victims.
Only the lack of responsibility and contemptuous attitude towards the general public have been
able to dictate this attempt to explain this heinous case as nothing more than Soviet artillery training accident right at the border.
-Part of a second Diplomatic note from Soviet Foreign Minister Molotov

Soviet Union terminates the 1934 Non-Aggresion Pact with Finland.

Soviet officials in Finland are called back to Soviet Union.
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Old 11-29-2014, 12:32 PM   #5
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29 November 1939

Three Finnish border guards go missing from Puumanki border guard post.
Doors and window frames show damage consistent with rifle butt strikes.
Investigation concludes that they were kidnapped by Soviet soldiers.

Moscow Radio announces that Finnish soldiers had attacked across the border
in the same area and that the defenders had pushed the attackers back over the border.




Soviet Union severes diplomatic ties with Finland.
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Old 12-01-2014, 08:30 AM   #6
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30 November 1939 - DAY 1 of Winter War

Soviet Union opens artillery fire in Karelian Isthmus at 0650hrs and in other areas at 0700hrs.
Soviet forces cross the border in the Isthmus at 0700hrs.
By 0730hrs, they have crossed the border on all major fronts.
Finnish security units begin delaying actions on all fronts.

16 cities and towns are bombed during the first day of the war.

Soviet SB-2 bombers over Helsinki, 30 Nov. 1939


Soviet soldiers crossing Rajajoki river.


Daily losses: 87

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Old 12-01-2014, 05:41 PM   #7
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Time to call in Häyhä!
Thanks for writing this, I shamefully admit that I've never known anything about that war...
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Old 12-02-2014, 10:36 AM   #8
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1 December 1939 - DAY 2 of Winter War

Soviet cruiser Kirov and two destroyers exchange fire with Finnish coastal fortress near Hanko,
and retreat south shortly after. Kirov and a destroyer are damaged during the fighting.


Abbreviations:
JP - Jääkäripataljoona - Jaeger Battalion
Er.P - Erillinen Pataljoona - Separate Battalion
JR - Jalkaväkirykmentti - Infantry Regiment
Kev.Os. - Kevyt Osasto - Light Detachment
RajaK. - Rajakomppania - Border Company
Esk. - Eskadroona - Squadron (cavalry)

Karelian Isthmus

II Corps


In Group Uusikirkko's area, Soviet forces break through the northern flank of JP1, located in Puhtula.
The battalion retreats to delaying positions in Vemmeljoki, where Er.P 3 is currently holding.

In Group Muolaa's area, Er.P 4 is forced to retreat from Siiranmäki. The battalion retreats
to delaying positions in Ahijärvi.
Soviet 43.Div concentrates its main push towards Kivennapa, instead of taking advantage
of the now open route to Finnish flanks in Vuottaa-Punnusjärvi area.
JP3 abandons positions in Lintula after trying to counter the enemy's advance without artillery support. They take delaying positions between Ahijärvi and Kotselänjärvi.

Group Lipola counters several enemy attacks with the help of artillery support.
At noon, JP2 disengages from Lipola and is pulled back to reserve to Pasurinkangas.
Er.P 5 retreats to Nikkola.

I/JR32 and Kev.Os.11, first planned to take part in a counter-attack towards Ahijärvi,
are ordered to take positions in Kyllästilä to plug the Vuottaa-Punnusjärvi gap between
Group Muolaa and Group Lipola.


III Corps

Heaviest attacks in Group Rautu's area concentrate on the positions of JP4 in Liippua,
forcing 6.RajaK to abandon its positions in the afternoon.
At the same time, the enemy breaks the lines of Er.P 6 in Palkeala.
Because of this, Group Rautu retreats to secondary delaying positions in Porku-Orjansaari line.





East Karelia

IV Corps

Soviet 168.Div continues its advance and comes in contact with Er.P 8 in Miinalanjoki during the afternoon.
168.Div crosses the Miinalanjoki river in Pebru at 1300hrs, which forces Er.P 8 to retreat to Tulemajoki.

Er.P 9 located in Käsnäselkä is in danger of being encircled and retreats to Uuksujoki with I/JR39.

Detachment Majewski consisting of Esk./Kev.Os.12 and 5./JR34 halts Soviet advance in Artahuuhta.

In Verkkolampi, 6./JR34 holds back the Soviet 56.Div for the entire day.
III/JR34 halts enemy battalion's advance towards Iso Pyhäjärvi and Suvilahti.
II/JR34 counters all enemy attacks in Verkkolampi and across lake Iso Pyhäjärvi.
I/JR36 takes defensive positions on the western shore of lake Iso Pyhäjärvi, in Kokonniemi.

Soviet 139.Div reaches Er.P 10's lines in Varpakylä during the morning.
Er.P 10 holds off the enemy until they are attacked from the south, after which they retreat to Karastinlampi.





North Karelia


Group North Karelia


Er.P 13 and 12 are ordered to attack at 0600hrs towards Kivivaara, located at the border.
Er.P 13 however is delayed until 1400hrs.
The company on point meets the enemy (Soviet JR529) advancing from Kivivaara at 1500hrs.
Soviet forces counter the attack and the Finns are ordered to fall back.

Near Inari, Detachment Seitamo is also ordered to attack towards Kivivaara at 0600hrs.
The detachment fights its way to Kuotiinlampi, where the attack stops as the night falls.
During the night, Detachment Seitamo retreats to Palkinjärvi.

Daily losses: 80




Captured Soviet tank at Summa.

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Old 04-08-2015, 02:23 PM   #9
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Time to update this a bit. I've decided to start using the Supreme HQs war diary as a source from now on. Doesnt go in as much detail, but gives a good overview.

I also start including Google Earth maps with as many places marked as I can find that are mentioned on the pages of the war diary. Note that the marked locations are approximate.

The translation and finding the different places takes time, so dont expect this to be updated very frequently.


2 December 1939 - DAY 3 of Winter War

Karelian Isthmus

II Army Corps

Delaying battles continue. During the day enemy managed a minor breakthrough on Vammelsuunjoki - Sahajoki - Kajavalammet line defended by Group U. This attack was driven back. In the evening Group U was given permission to retreat to new positions on Rieskjärvi - Vammeljärvi - Vammeljoki - Suulejärvi line.

Group M countered enemy's attack to their positions in Ahijärvi. However, the group was later pulled back to Pamppala - Jaarila - Tarpila line, from where the Army's line continued through Nirkkola and Rampala to Aholampi. The enemy suffered great losses on the Ahijärvi - Vuotjoki line and in the area of Lautsilta and Vammelsuunjoki

Ten enemy tanks were destroyed in Ahijärvi, eight in Vammelsuu.


III Army Corps

Group R's defensive line was Orjasaari - Rautu - Raaju. The enemy attacked heavily against this line, especially from the direction of Pirkkolanmäki where it had at least 30 tanks. These attacks were stopped.

South of Taipalejoki, attempt was made to recapture lost positions in Umpilampi. This was not achieved.

White = II Army Corps, Yellow = III Army Corps
 


IV Army Corps

Information received yesterday and today shows that two strong enemy formations are moving towards Suojärvi area. One from Hyrsylä towards Suvilahti, the other through Naistenjärvi to the north of Suojärvi. From the beginning IV Army Corps' actions have been seen as careful and passive despite being instructed to defend more rigorously. In HQ's eyes, the IV Army Corps have given too easily to enemy's pressure and thus retreated from Tulemajoki, Suvilahti and the north side of Suojärvi. Further information received during the day indicates that enemy has advanced to Aittojoki, north of Suojärvi. Supreme Commander has ordered IV Army Corps to attack and push the enemy back behind the border.

 


North Finland Group

Commander of the group informed HQ that his forces could push back the enemy, if reinforcements were received. HQ responded by instructing to begin planning the counter-attack and promised all available help.


***


Suvilahti burns. December 2 1939

Daily losses: 84

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Old 04-09-2015, 04:10 PM   #10
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Right, I feel like I need to explain little bit of how the war was fought during the first days of the war, heck even I feel confused when I look at my magnificient maps!

On Karelian Isthmus, majority of the fighting during the first week were delaying battles. I have now added (roughly) the Mannerheim-line to the map, everything Southeast of that are battles fought by the delaying forces.

East Karelia is even more confusing as the reports seem to be quite bare bones and there is no main defensive line such as the Mannerheim-line.

It all should get easier to follow past the first week of the war.

***

3 December 1939 - DAY 4 of Winter War

Karelian Isthmus

II AK


Delaying battles continue. Forces now on Gulf of Finland - Rieskjärvi - Suulajärvi - Jaarila - Valkiamatka - west end of Valkjärvi - stream running from the east end of Valkjärvi to east line.

Apart from a small attack to Sahajoki, the day was calm. Enemy is most likely regrouping. Small enemy recon unit was observed moving towards Merijoki from Ino, using the coastal roads. Order was given to beat it back.

The troops were given a chance to rest. High number of enemy tanks towards Kivennapa - Liikola region.


III AK

Group R repositioned to the north side of Vuoksi and two of it's battalions repositioned to the Pitkäjärvi - Nurmijärvi - Vuoksi line.

10.Div beat back attack in Neusaari with artillery.

 


IV AK

Our troops attacked in Suojärvi area with two battalions and artillery support. Some progress was made, but eventually the attack stalled and the troops retreated to Piitsoinjoki. During the retreat in the dark, about 25 enemy tanks managed to drive past one of the battalions. Russian attack beaten back in Ägläjärvi.

 


***


Men from 5/JR.34 in Suvilahti. Lieutenant Viljam Toiviainen facing the camera.

Daily losses: 90

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Old 04-10-2015, 09:56 AM   #11
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4 December 1939 - DAY 5 of Winter War

Karelian Isthmus

II AK & III AK


Fighting began in the morning on II AK's area. Already during the night attacked a strong armor unit towards Liikola. This attack was pushed back, but another attack started at 0930hrs.

Enemy's main push was in Nurmijärvi - Pasuri and Kivennapa - Liikola areas, with some weaker advance attempts elsewhere. They also tried to capture the Kiviniemi bridge and push over the Taipaleenjoki. These attempts were beaten back.

Strong attack supported by at least 100 tanks continued towards Liikola and from there to the west and northwest, trying to breakthrough the lines in Uusikirkko area. In this they succeeded. In Pamppala direction about 50 tanks were observed, the attack towards Pasuri from east was also supported by strong armor force.

By evening our troops held the line: Sortavala - Ylisjärvi - South end of Kaukjärvi - Särkijärvi - North end of Suulajärvi - Vuotjärvi - South end of Kirkkojärvi - Punnusjärvi - Raakolanjärvi - Pasuri. Our troops hold bridgeheads at Oravaniemi and Kiviniemi. Rest of the line to the east follows the main line (Mannerheim-line).

NOTE: Onega on the map should read Ladoga.
 


IV AK

Enemy continues to advance. Own troops are regrouping.

Dowly: See what I mean about bare-bones reports? Worth mentioning, Major General Heiskanen was relieved from command of IV AK due to the poor performance of the AK in delaying the enemy advance. Major General W. Hägglund
replaced him.


North Finland Group
(sorry, no map for this area atm, but unlike the Karelian locations that switched names after the war, you can find most of these locations through google maps)

Enemy advancing from Uhtua is closing on Kuusamo road. Russian advance from Kantalahti towards Kuolajärvi is a cause of concern as well.

Supreme Commander has accepted NFG commander's proposal to attack towards Repola.

***

No photo of the day as there was nothing really to show. But here's a propaganda song written in 1942 about the Winter War, this particular take on it was performed in 1989. Translation by me below.


 
Finlandia, Finlandia,
again Ivan was going there.
Molotov promised everything's fine,
tomorrow we'll eat icecream in Helsinki.

(2x)
No Molotov, No Molotov,
you told more lies than Bobrikov himself.


Finlandia, Finlandia,
Mannerheim-line proved stronger than it seemed.
Resistance in Karelia,
shut many Ivans' mouth.

(2x)
No Molotov, No Molotov,
you told more lies than Bobrikov himself.

Finlandia, Finlandia,
feared by the unstoppable Red Army.
And Molotov said, look at that,
the tsuhna* are grabbing us by the collar.

(2x)
No Molotov, No Molotov,
you told more lies than Bobrikov himself.


Beyond the Ural, Beyond the Ural,
that's where Molotov's homestead lies.
There's room there for Stalin and the others too,
politruks, comissars and others likeminded.

(4x)
No Molotov, No Molotov,
you told more lies than Bobrikov himself.

*Tsuhna is a derogatory term used for Finns and Estonians.


Daily losses: 110

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Old 12-11-2015, 08:32 AM   #12
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(Better late than never, right? )

***

5 December 1939 - DAY 6 of Winter War


Parliament assembles for the first time in Kauhajoki.

Karelian Isthmus: the covering force on the Isthmus launches its final counterattack at Perkjärvi, ending in a Finnish withdrawal behind the main defensive position.In places the withdrawal shows signs of panic.

Ladoga Karelia: Finnish troops disengage from Ägläjärvi.

Official sources say 80 enemy tanks have so far been destroyed or put out of action.

General Headquarters sets up a central office of censorship and a number of local offices to supervise war censorship.

The Finnish Broadcasting Company urges its listeners to be on their guard against Russian propaganda, and indicates it will use as many familiar announcers as possible in its own broadcasts.

Abroad: Chile, Bolivia, Peru and Paraguay have today protested over the Soviet Union's attack on Finland.

Daily losses: 46

***

6 December 1939 - DAY 7 of Winter War

Helsinki: Foreign Minister Väinö Tanner hosts an Independence Day reception for the diplomatic corps in the banqueting hall of the Kämp Hotel.

Kiviniemi: the last part of the covering force in front of the main defensive position on the Isthmus pulls back to the north of Vuoksi.The work of the covering force comes to an end.

Eastern Isthmus: fighting begins at Taipale. A Soviet division launches an attack across the River Taipaleenjoki.

By nightfall a Russian battalion has crossed River Taipaleenjoki at Koukkuniemi.

Ladoga Karelia: General Headquarters forms Group Talvela to cover the Tolvajärvi-Ägläjärvi sector.

Sweden: 80 leading public figures call on the country to help Finland.

Sounds of Soviet artillery pounding Finnish lines at Taipale:


Daily losses: 97

***

7 December 1939 - DAY 8 of Winter War

Taipale: by evening Finnish troops have beaten back the first Russian offensive.

Ladoga Karelia: during the night Soviet troops achieve combat contact with the Finnish positions on the River Kollaanjoki.

Ilomantsi: Finnish troops in the Ilomantsi sector fall back to Möhkö and overnight to Kallioniemi ferry. They begin a defensive action.

Northern Finland: Commander-in-Chief Mannerheim reinforces the troops around Suomussalmi with sections of the 9th Division commanded by Colonel Siilasvuo.

Soviet troops take the parish village at Suomussalmi.

Ladoga Karelia: Finnish troops at Kollaa beat back the first Soviet offensive.

Lieutenant-Colonel Pajari takes command of the Finnish forces in the Tolvajärvi area.Finnish troops launch active countermeasures.

Northern Finland: the Russian 122nd Division launches its main offensive against Finnish positions on the Kairala parallel.The defending Finnish battalion cannot hold. The detachment pulls back to the parish village at Salla.

The three largest American radio networks have sent their own correspondents to Helsinki.One is the journalist Warren Irving, who is sending a radio commentary from Helsinki to the USA.


Captured Red Army soldier in Alasalmi. (December 7)

Daily losses: 172

***

8 December 1939 - DAY 9 of Winter War

Southern Isthmus: the advance guard of the Finnish 4th Division, which has been fighting in the southern Isthmus, pulls back during the night behind the main defensive position.The Russians regroup to break through the Finnish lines.

Northern Finland: the Finns are caught completely off guard by the Red Army's offensive through the wilderness between Lake Ladoga and the Arctic Ocean with as many divisions as it deployed on the Karelian Isthmus.Finnish troops successfully repulse an attempted Russian breakthrough launched at 7.20 at Haukiperä in Suomussalmi.The Finns then take the initiative.

Eastern Isthmus: the Soviet artillery at Taipale launches a week-long barrage in an attempt to destroy the Finnish positions.

Ladoga Karelia: Soviet troops overcome the Finns at Tolvajärvi and almost capture Tolvajärvi village and the vital crossroads.During the night, Lieutenant-Colonel Pajari turns the tables with a decisive flanking attack on an encamped Russian battalion.

The Soviet force attacking Finland is placed under the direct command of the General Staff of the Red Army.

Commander of the Army, 2nd Class K.A. Meretskov is placed in command of the Soviet 7th Army on the Isthmus.

Northern Finland: the Russians enter the parish village at Salla.

Sweden: the Finnish Consulate in Gothenburg announces that 493 Swedish families have so far offered to take in Finnish refugees.

Finland is reintroducing the Cross of Liberty previously used during the War of Independence in 1918.


2nd Lieutenant Renkonen (pilot in center) giving a debrief to Colonel Kuussaari (left). (December 8)

Daily losses: 136

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Old 12-11-2015, 09:37 AM   #13
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9 December 1939 - DAY 10 of Winter War

Karelian Isthmus: troops from the covering force reorganized to form the 1st Division under the command of Major-General Laatikainen are to assume responsibility for the eastern section of the front in the 5th Division's defence sector on the Karelian Isthmus.

Ladoga Karelia: the 13th Division takes up defensive positions between Lake Ladoga and Varpajärvi.

Northern Finland: Colonel Siilasvuo's first transport arrives at Hyrynsalmi a day late. Further north, Soviet troops finally take the parish village at Salla.

All Soviet troops on the Finnish front are placed under the direct command of the General Staff of the Red Army.

New York: the first detachment of Finnish American volunteers - around one hundred officers, pilots and mechanics - board ship bound for Finland.

Daily losses: 111

***

10 December 1939 - DAY 11 of Winter War

Prime Minister Ryti visits General Headquarters in Mikkeli.Commander-in-Chief Mannerheim says the late morning situation on the front is critical. General Headquarters issues the order to establish the first guerrilla battalions.

Ladoga Karelia: Finnish troops overcome a Russian battalion which had outflanked the defensive position at Tolvajärvi.

Soviet troops launch a series of offensives on the River Kollaanjoki.

The Finnish artillery carries out counter-preparation fire against enemy artillery and infantry positions at Koukkuniemi.

A half-hour artillery bombardment scatters the enemy's offensive formations.


Photo from Kollaanjoki. Soviet tanks are seen on the road. (December 10)

Daily losses: 94

***

11 December 1939 - DAY 12 of Winter War

Northern Finland: Finnish troops launch a counteroffensive at Suomussalmi at 10.00 to recapture the parish village.

Ladoga Karelia: Soviet troops launch a series of determined offensives at Kollaa.The frontal assault is accompanied by attempted flanking actions.

In the Tolvajärvi battle area, Colonel Talvela issues the order for the decisive attack.

Northern Finland: in the Salla sector, a Russian regiment shatters the Finnish defense at Märkäjärvi.The Finns retreat about 10 km west to Salmijärvi.

Swedish border: the author Frans Emil Sillanpää arrives in Haaparanta en route to receive his Nobel Prize for Literature.

Daily losses: 133

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Old 12-13-2015, 09:05 AM   #14
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12 December 1939 - DAY 13 of Winter War

Central Isthmus: Soviet troops launch reconnaissance probes at Summa in the central section of the Isthmus.

Ladoga Karelia: Group Talvela's Detachment Pajari begins its successful offensive at Tolvajärvi.

Ladoga Karelia: troops of IV Army Corps launch an offensive on the Lemetti road.

Ilomantsi: Detachment A's advance from Oinaansalmi to take Möhkö 4 km to the east grinds to a halt due to command problems.

Suursaari: the Finnish motor torpedo boats Raju and Isku lay the first offensive mine fields in front of Suursaari harbour.

The League of Nations calls on the warring parties to cease hostilities and open peace negotiations.

Finland wins authorization to buy 43 Brewster fighter aircraft from the USA.

Daily losses: 310

***

13 December 1939 - DAY 14 of Winter War

Central Isthmus: Soviet troops continue their attacks with the support of artillery and tanks in the Summa-Muolaanjärvi sector. The last Finnish forward combat posts in the Perkjärvi sector are pulled back. The attacks are repulsed in all sectors of the front.

Ilomantsi: Detachment A's attack fails.

Northern Finland: Major-General K.M. Wallenius takes command of the Lapland Group.

Helsinki: Hietaniemi cemetery receives it first five fallen heroes.

Helsinki: a private umbrella organization, the Finnish Centre for Nordic Aid, is set up to organize the evacuation of Finnish children to Sweden. The first shipment of children arrives by sea in Stockholm.

Abroad: the Soviet Ambassador in Rome returns to Moscow, apparently in protest over a demonstration in support of Finland.

Washington: the US Government refuses to grant Finland a credit to purchase military materials and equipment.

Daily losses: 157




Men of 1/Er.P.8 at Ruokojärvi.

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Old 12-14-2015, 03:43 AM   #15
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14 December 1939 - DAY 15 of Winter War

Central Isthmus: at Summa, the Soviet artillery continues its bombardment of the main Finnish positions with increasing ferocity. Enemy tank and infantry attacks are successfully repulsed.

Ladoga Karelia: Soviet troops launch an offensive on the northern flank of the River Kollaanjoki line.

In the Tolvajärvi sector, Detachment Pajari reaches Ristisalmi.

Turku Archipelago: Utö Fortress sinks a Soviet destroyer.

Northern Finland: the Soviet 273rd Infantry Regiment crosses the River Kemijoki at Savukoski. The Finns fall back past Savukoski to the crossroads at Lunkkaus without engaging the enemy.

The League of Nations expels the Soviet Union and urges its members to give Finland all possible humanitarian and material assistance.

Swedish border: the first foreign volunteers cross the border at Haaparanta and arrive at the reception centre in Tornio.

Stockholm: Frans Emil Sillanpää receives the Nobel Prize for Literature.

New York: the film star Greta Garbo gives 5,000 dollars to the Finnish aid fund.

(Click for larger photo)

Messenger dogs. Summa, December 14.

(Click for larger photo)

Patrol returning from "No Man's Land". Summa, December 14.

Daily losses: 207

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