By Bair Irincheev
In the wake of the bloody civil warfare that Finland's independence from Russia in 1917, the border among the 2 nations used to be tested around the Karelian Isthmus, a space lengthy fought over by way of Russia, Finland and Sweden of their makes an attempt to dominate the northern tip of Europe. Neither the Soviets nor the Finnish have been happy with one of these divide, which supplied an open direction for a possible invader to Helsinki at the Finnish part, and used to be in simple terms 32km from the real army and business urban of Petrograd in Russia. As such, each side all started a thorough interval of fortification and shielding making plans. because the iciness warfare broke out in November 1939, the complicated and seriously defended Mannerheim Line suffered extreme bombardment and armored attacks. The armistice of may well 1940 observed Finland cede keep watch over of the whole Karelian Isthmus to the USSR even if, and a propaganda conflict ensued; the Russians emphasizing the energy of the road, and the Finnish downplaying its value, accentuating as a substitute the heroism and bravado of the typical Finnish soldier.
Through an in depth research of the history, layout and operational background of the Mannerheim Line, Bair Irincheev makes an attempt to dispel such myths and supply a correct evaluation of its titanic ancient importance.
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Extra resources for The Mannerheim Line 1920-39: Finnish
The Finns brought up two battalions and counterattacked, but this was repelled with heavy casualties for the Finns. The Soviet units on the bridgehead started running into supply problems, as the two cannons of the eastern casemate of Kekkiniemi fort would open rapid fire at any Red Army movement of reinforcements and supplies across frozen Lake Suvanto. The fort itself faced a difficult supply situation, as ammunition and food were not getting through from the rear. KEKKINIEMI FORT, ON THE NORTHERN SHORE OF LAKE This fort played a crucial role in the battle of Kelja between 25 and 27 December 1939.
Although the Soviet commanders were aware of the presence of the Finnish fortified line, the precise location of the Finnish bunkers was not known to them. The only elements of the Finnish defence that scouts of the 138th Rifle Division managed to spot were anti-tank obstacles and the barbed-wire fences. During the three days of the battle the Soviet armour (105th Light Tank Battalion, 90th Heavy Tank Battalion and the Independent Heavy Tank Company) negotiated the Finnish obstacle line, broke through the Finnish defences and drove towards Viipuri.
The invader was to be deprived of any warmth or shelter in the harsh Finnish winter conditions. The attacking Red Army units (138th Rifle Division, 35th Light Tank Brigade and 20th Heavy Tank Brigade) made contact with the Finnish Main A close-up view of the Ink6 casemate. Note the crack on the frontal armoured plate, missing bolts, traces of direct hits and evidence of field repair. Two observation slits and a gun-port are clearly visible. The gun-port provided only a very narrow sector of fire, of about 60 degrees.
The Mannerheim Line 1920-39: Finnish by Bair Irincheev