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Vaeltaja wrote:If there is interest i might post a bit more...
This is the battle from the Finnish point of view as told in "Laguksen miehet-Marskin nyrkki" by Erkki Käkelä. This books also mentions a magazine article describing the battle.
I/218 was attacked by JP 5 on the 7th. This happened near the text "Ylimaa" on [the German] map. This action is described as follows in my book "JP5 had contact to enemy troops near Salmela on 7th at 0520 hours. Heavy machine gun fire was encountered. Troops were taken by surprise by the high rate of fire of the German machine guns. The delaying units used artillery and mortars. Our T-34 tanks did not arrive help Lounilas' (commander of JP5) troops until 0940 hours". JP5 and I/218 remained in static combat the for the next two days.
This is the part of the action that T-34s took part in.
JPs 2, 3 and 4 tried to outflank defenders of Ylimaa (the arrow showing the 1. Finn Jägerbrigade). JPs 2 and 3 led the way, JP 4 arrived later. This resulted in confused figting around fighting and Yiliportimojärvi between 7th and 9th of October.
On the 7th at 1400 hours JP2 hit the German positions northeast of Portimojärvi north of Kantomaa. This attack took the Germans by suprise. Germans tried to counterattack using 6./II/218 and 7/II218, but the activity of JP2 and darkness halted this attack.
On the 8th of October 8th company of II/218 was surrounded near Palovaara (the place is not Vaarapalo as [the German] map says!) by JP3. 2nd company of JP2 managed to cut the road near the HQ of 218th, but was forced back by an counter attack. JP4 was also commited on the 8th but it did not meet any success.
On the 9th at 0915 hours 2/JP4 started to advance towards the crossroads near Saukkoniemi. Rest of the JP4 was to follow, but German artillery, mortars and rockets dispersed these troops. 2./JP4 reached its objectives noon, and attacked german rocket artillery battery. Germans withdrew I/218from Ylimaa as they were now cut out from other troops and JP5 followed on close pursuit. Now the situation along the Palovaara-Saukkoniemi road was quite confused: At Palovaara 8/218 was surrounded by JP3, then there was the main part JP4 getting ready for another try against Saukkoniemi crossroads, rest of the II/218 was up next getting ready to relieve 8/218, 2./JP4 at the crossroads and III/218 getting ready to throw 2/JP4 out of the crossroads.
After noon III/218 counterattacked against 2./JP4, and this company was forced to whitdraw west along the road leading to Palovaara. At the same time II/218 attacked against the rest of JP4, aided by heavy artillery barrage. 2/JP4 suffered heavy losses (two of the platoon leaders were killed and the commader of this company was wounded) and it was forced to withdraw. II and III/218 were thus able to join forces. Rest of JP4 was dispersed, and JP3s encirclement around the 8th company relieved before darkness fell. Especially JP4 was getting low on ammunition at this point, riflemen had 5 rounds per man and SMG men only 15 rounds remaining. Germans pulled off but the weary troops of JPr were not able to pursuit them. Especially JP4 suffered heavy casualties (36 killed, 44 wounded and 21 POWs) This is nearly one-third of the complement of this battalion.
We stopped our tanks on the road and looked around. We heard gunfire ahead (note: JP5s' first attack at 0720 hours). Wounded Jääkäris were carried from the frontlines. We heard a shout from the lead vehicle.
"Tank commanders, come here at once!"
Low woods grew on the both sides of the road, ahead the woods became thinner and a marsh began there.
" We'll support the Jääkäris as they attack. Enemy is behind that marsh. Now we go to scout the attack area."
After the cover offered by the woods ended, the scouts continued by crawling between hummocks. On the other side of the marsh they could see the German positions built of rocks. They stopped by Jääkäris entrenched on the marsh. A blown up road passed over the swamp, and the scouts asked if Germans had any ATGs. They did not have any. All the Jääkäris seemed to be wet and tired. Some exited Jääkäris shook hands with the tankmen and thanked for the help. Scouts stared at the opening until they knew every feature of the area, and then they returned to their tanks.
One Platoon advanced along the road, two others in the woods. Tanks crashed forwards using a small gear. Black smoke came out from the exhausts. The excitement in the tanks went up, even the old-timers were nervous. We drove past the Jääkäris and started to firing. Near the tanks trees started falling down and blasts blew debris and sand around. The enemies heavy artillery had opened fire. Jääkäris leapt forwards after the tanks, but a hail of fire erupted from the other side of the marsh making Jääkäris to take cover. I saw two Jääkäris lying nearby to disappear when an artillery shell hit them. Only a crater was left of these two men. I heard an order on the radio:
We advance to the edge of the marsh and fired until our gunbarrel became hot. Rocks flew around in the enemy positions. the German artillery barrage moved to the rear. The edge of the marsh started to shudder and black mud covered the colorful hummocks. We looked backwards to see how the Jääkäris were doing. They were seen to be crawling back to their foxholes. On the left a Sotka advanced to a shed near the edge of the marshy opening and fired along the road. Two enemy ATGs opened up.
"Back away, hurry!"
Tank withdrew towards the woods. The shed was torn down by the tank. We wiped the sweat from our eyes and kept on firing. We withdrew back to the Jääkäri positions.
" That was a close one. No-one is going to cross that opening now. They had some ATGs after all".
All the Sotkas whitdrew. We stayed in the tanks and waited. The German artillery went silent as fast as it had began. We heard the moaning of wounded men on the other side of the opening.
A few hours after this attack the Germans pulled out and and withdrew north of the twin lakes. They blew the bridge and thus Jääkäris and Sotkas could not follow.
Here is the first summary from "Laguksen miehet-Marskin nyrkki" by Erkki Käkelä:
And the second summary from Panssarisotaa 1941-1944" by Reino Lehväslaiho
larth wrote:Good initiative!
On Ylimaa, here is first a map from ”Schicksalsweg und Kampf der Bergschuch-Division” by Roland Kaltenegger:
I will dig up and add excerpts/translations from "Laguksen miehet-Marskin nyrkki" by Erkki Käkelä and from Panssarisotaa 1941-1944" by Reino Lehväslaiho. The battle I mentioned in the other thread occurred between the two lakes on the east.
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