The Finnish, the Germans and Leningrad

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Walther Darré
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The Finnish, the Germans and Leningrad

Post by Walther Darré » 30 Jun 2002 14:50

I just saw on a map that the Finnish and the German "storms" almost "met" at Leningrad, but didn't. Was there any big battle in Leningrad that crushed any ideas of Finns and Germans meeting eachother there, or did Finland fail against the Soviet at an earlier stage and therefore had to retreat, or was that the case for Germany?
(I don't even know if the two intended to meet in Leningrad, but from looking at the map it doesn't seem all too crazy to think so, or?)
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Mark V
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Post by Mark V » 30 Jun 2002 15:47

Hi.

Finns stopped their attack when they reached the positions that they feel would serve as best defensive positions, so called 3-isthmus line.

Finland had own goals on war and attack against 2nd most important city of Soviet Union was not one of those. Finland held his own positions on Karelian and Aunus Isthmuses, but didn't attack against the city. Ofcourse Finnish in that way participated in the siege of Leningrad. If Finns would have continued their attack in Aunus to meet German troops the city of Leningrad would propably had fallen, because this would have closed Soviets out of Lake Ladoga and cutted the last line of supply to besieged city.

But would Stalin in 1944-45 then even thinked the possibility to make peace with Finland? Propably not. Defeating Finland would have been much higher in Soviet priorities after that...

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Post by Mike R » 30 Jun 2002 17:51

Well, Leningrad was under a siege for about 900 days. By something of a miracle the soviets were able to hold back the Germans during their initial advance on the city. Marshall Zhukov deserves a lot of credit. Hitler had planned on using units from this front for the assault on Moscow after Leningrad fell. However, Leningrad didn't fall. Big battles ensued as the Soviets tried to break the siege, especially in 1943.

I recommend the book "900 Days" by Harrison Salisbury if you want a complete source on the battle of Leningrad.


-Mike

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Antti V
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Post by Antti V » 30 Jun 2002 19:47

I want to add to Mark V´s comment that Finland´s and Soviet Union´s border before Winter War was also there where Finns were 1941-44 in near Leningrad (ok, Finns made it bit more straight line than originally).

As Mark said, Finns had their own reasons to join German attack to SU, and most important was recapturing the lost areas in Winter War and that was done in Karelian Isthmus and Ladoga´s Karelia. Same time was captrured bit reserve for negotiations (= Karelias of Aunus/Olonets and Viena).
I have readed from several sources that siege of Leningrad by Finns was only possible if Germans does capture the eastern shore of River Svir and Lake Ladoga would be therefore controlled totally by Finns and Germans. That never happened because Germans couldn´t do that.

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Lord Gort
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Post by Lord Gort » 30 Jun 2002 20:27

The battle between the germans and the Russians was vicsious, the germans wanted to reach the objective of the OKW siege perimeter, they nevr made it.

However any one know about calims that the Finns lost all morale after they had reacehd the territiory that was formally theres before the end of there won little war with the SU?

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Post by Juha Hujanen » 30 Jun 2002 21:03

If political decision had been made to countinue attack towards Leningrad,troops would have attacked.In deed many officers and men couldn't understand why stop the attack,when enemy was on the run.

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Post by Mark V » 30 Jun 2002 21:40

Lord Gort wrote:
However any one know about calims that the Finns lost all morale after they had reacehd the territiory that was formally theres before the end of there won little war with the SU?


That is a overstatement, but there is some truth in it.

Finns were independent breed, men that think on their own brain. The war was to us a Continuation War, continuation of Winter War and recapturing the lost areas was to our soldiers a legitime reason to fight. So, when old border was crossed there was some problems with refusals to go further, but those were isolated cases.

To Antti V.

If attack in Aunus would have been continued and all available forces would have been concentrated to this purpose our troops would have tied up a lot more Soviet troops, which in turn would have made German advance to eastern shore of Lake Ladoga much easier. This would have ofcorse at least postponed the advance to Lake Onega and Maaselkä Isthmus.


As it happened Soviets were able to man front against Finns with quite few troops and concentrate to stop Germans. BTW which was also the case in Karelian Isthmus near the Leningrad itself.

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Antti V
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Post by Antti V » 30 Jun 2002 22:43

I think Russians surely did know about Finnish-American agreement about Murmansk Railroad: Finns won´t cut Murmansk track and USA doesn´t declare war against Finland. I´m sure Russians realized how important were the relations with USA for Finland, and Germans were not so important. I think that was right decision by Finnish politicians.
I think knowing this helped Russians to make decision to reduce amount of their troops in Aunus and Viena Fronts and transfer those to Leningrad Front.
Situation would surely be different if Finns would have gone deep and over River Svir and over Maaselkä Isthmus toward Murmansk Railroad track near the shore of White Sea.
But anyway those areas controlled by Russians during Trench War were not so Karelian (read Finnish) that it would have given moral right to capture more land than Karelias. That wasn´t even what the supporters of Great Finland thinked. Way too much for even them.
That was propably what Mannerheim and politicians did think when old borderline was acrossed in Border Karelia and Lake Olonets was reached. The line was in the borders of the Golden Lands Of Karelia, also in Karelian Isthmus :lol:

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Post by AndyW » 30 Jun 2002 22:47

Antti V wrote:I think Russians surely did know about Finnish-American agreement about Murmansk Railroad: Finns won´t cut Murmansk track and USA doesn´t declare war against Finland.


I'm interested in this "agreement". Do you have details?

Cheers,

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Antti V
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Post by Antti V » 30 Jun 2002 23:03

I only know here was made such in diplomatic level. There shouldn´t be any special agreement with signatures. It was "agreed" writing letters to each other suring autumn 1941 between Finns and Americans. Also Great Britain was in first accepting that priciple but then Stalin started his own campaign against Finns in diplomatic level (after he did find out this diplomatic connection, I think). This caused that Churchill did declare war against Finland in 6th December 1941, but Roosevelt said still no to Stalin.

Thsi 'agreement´s terms' were that Finland simply promises not to cut Murmansk railroad and USA doesn´t start war actions against Finnish troops (like using long range bombers to bomb cities or Finnish terrotory like Petsamo on the shore of Arctic Ocean (and near Murmansk). If Finland cuts the track, then USA counts Finland to its enemies.

Americans did anyway internate(sp) Finnish ships and sailors in Allied areas when Finland joined to the war with Germany against Soviet Union. But that was all. If I remember correct, after war Americans did pay for every originally Finnish ship which were sunk during wartime by actions of Germans U-boats/planes. etc. and rest were given back to Finns!

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Mait
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about the capture of Leningrad...

Post by Mait » 01 Jul 2002 14:57

If I rememer correctly Hitler had no intention to capture Leningrad. Major cities in Russia (Leningrad, Moscow) were not to be stormed (it is said that Hitler had no wish for street battles), but encircled and starved to capitulation.

Best Regards,

Mait.

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Roberto
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Re: about the capture of Leningrad...

Post by Roberto » 01 Jul 2002 15:52

Mait wrote:If I rememer correctly Hitler had no intention to capture Leningrad. Major cities in Russia (Leningrad, Moscow) were not to be stormed (it is said that Hitler had no wish for street battles), but encircled and starved to capitulation.

Best Regards,

Mait.


That's correct, with the qualification that in regard to Leningrad and Moscow a capitulation was not even desired because the Germans did not want to have the population of these cities on their hands.

A collection of German documents revealing their policies in regard to Leningrad can be found under the following link:

The Siege of Leningrad in German Documents
http://milhist.phpwebhosting.com/phpBB2 ... 71796d407d

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Post by AndyW » 01 Jul 2002 23:04

Antti V wrote:I only know here was made such in diplomatic level. There shouldn´t be any special agreement with signatures. It was "agreed" writing letters to each other suring autumn 1941 between Finns and Americans.


These letters must be found for sure in U.S., British and Finish archives. As I never read anything about this exchange of letters, I'm particulary interested to get any hint leading towards them.

Is there any study containing a footnote pointing to the relevant letter(s) and the archival location?

Any help is appreciated.

Thanks & Cheers,

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Antti V
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Post by Antti V » 02 Jul 2002 16:57

I did found few documents from net about Finnish-American cooperation during WW2 generally:

http://www.helsinki.fi/~sedergre/filmir.html
This is (Finnish language) link to Finnish-American movie cooperation. Finnish movie theaters did play american movies. Problem was that Finland hadn´t dollars to pay for movies, so americans did release money what they were 'captured' from Finnish banks and state in USA soil etc.
There is also some source mentionings to archive documents from early 1942.

Source sample from website´s sourcelisting:

14.Schoenfeld Hullille 18.2.1942, 860D.4061 Motion Pictures/20. Mf USA T 1184:27, KA.

14. Schoenfeld to Hull 18th feb. 1942, 860D.4061 Motion Pictures/20. Mf USA T 1184:27, KA. ( Mf means Microfilm, I guess and KA means Finnish National Archive).

So if there is something available about this 'agreement' too in archives, those documents are most likely in National Archive, Helsinki.

Tuomo Polvinen´s book 'Suomi kansainvälisessä politiikassa I, 1941 -- 1943', Porvoo - Helsinki - Juva 1979
(Finland in international politics Part I 1941-1943, printed in Porvoo - Helsinki - Juva 1979) can perhaps tell more about this 'agreement'. I have not readed it by myself.
Has some of our Finnish members readed that book and can perhaps give some better details about sources?

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Juha Hujanen
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Post by Juha Hujanen » 04 Jul 2002 16:01

Bit off topic but...

Finnish radio intelligence was able to read messages between US state department and US embassys.When England declared war to Finland 6.12.41,USA telegrammed to Helsinki embassy war declarations of Canada,Australia,New Zeeland and India.When coded messages of state department were almoust indentical and source was known ,Finnish radio intelligence commanted by lietenant colonel Reino Hallamaa cracked the code.He get original text from foreign ministry and coded text from postal ministry.Their work was helped material recieved from Japan and the way how Americans send the same message with different codes,key codes were shifted from embassy to another.So Finns were able read American messages between spring 42-October 44.Finns even have to tell Americans that problably Germany too was able to monitor secret negolations between USA and Finland.October 44 Hallamaa told to Americans in Stocholm that they could read their messages 8) .
Spring 40 Finland trated intelligence material with Japan.Finland get metre high pile of 5 digits codes used by Russia in Vladivostok.Experts cracked the code and when Germany invated to Russia,Russians simply transfered their far east codes to western front.Finland was able to read 80% messages between army and divisional level from Murmansk to Black sea!
Sometimes Finnish general staff had better info of Russian troops movements than their own general staff :roll:.Too eager intelligence detachment even send message to Russian baltic fleet, using their own code,and demanted them to surrender.Autum 41 Russian chanced their codes.Autum 41 German panzer spearhead was advancing to Tihkvin when Russian counterattack isolated them from main body.Germans were unable to establish radio link to them and heavy clouds made aerial reconnaissance impossible.Their panzers were lost!.Finns intercepted Russian message where location of spearhead was revailed.Location was told to Germans and spearhead was rescued.Germans were quite puzzled how the Finns know where their panzers were.In October 42 radio intelligence cracked Russian airforce code where locations and names of ships were listed.Info was send to Germans and it was convoy PQ18 to Arcangel.13 of 40 ships were sunk by Luftwaffe.

Sources:Jukka Rislakki-Erittäin salainen-Vakoilu Suomessa
Joppe Karhunen-Salasanomasotaa

Regards Juha

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