Jeljärvi raid in March 1943

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Lotvonen
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Jeljärvi raid in March 1943

Post by Lotvonen » 19 Apr 2020 06:35

Jeljärvi supply base, raid in March 1943

For some reason this topic has not been dealt with in the forum although it is fairly well documented (in Finnish) and quite interesting.
First a brief description, later complemented by eyewitness accounts and war diary extracts.
It would be interesting to learn the Russian points of view in this incident.

Location:
64°2'1,5"N, 33°53'29,53"E (East of Kochkoma in Carelia, Rukajärvi Front )

Description:
Detachment Puustinen of 14.D carried out a raid at the Red Army supply base at Jeljärvi (in Russian: Vatcha (Вача) ??). During the raid the equipment of the nearby railway station were partially demolished.
The detachment, led by Maj. Jukka Puustinen, comprised 581 men, including I/JR 10, 14.D Long range patrol outfit and Sappers, Signallers and Quartermaster men. The detachment set out from the W shore of lake Ontajärvi in the evening of 14.3., skiing across the ice of the lake to the E shore. From there their advance continued for 40 km through the wilderness to NE. As they had arrived at a location S of the objective at a distance of less than five kilometri, the supply and attack strongpoint was set up there early on 16.3.
The actual strike was carried out by two detachments during the very same AM. One of them hit the supply base, the other one the railway station. The enemy was surprised by the raiders and the operation went on as planned. In the objectives some two hours were spent for demolitions, then the raiders pulled back. When retreating from the supply base it was found that an enemy outfit, strength of a company, was approaching from the direction of the nearby airfield. The Jaeger Platoon that constituted the reserve was left behind to delay the enemy.
The main force returned to the supply strongpoint, had a meal, then headed for their own lines as soon as the delaying Platoon had arrived. At the same time the enemy had concentrated a force comprising one Battalion to pursue. They directed some of their troops in front of the Finnish outfit to block their return and to secure lake shores.
After skiing about 10 km the Finnish outfit was divided in two., because it was estimated that the outfit hauling the WIA (6) and KIA (7) on ski sleds and ahkio sleds would get through with less struggle through a pass to the South in the steep ridges ahead. So the 3.K and Medical Platoon, alias Detachmen Raevaara was charged with transporting the casualties to the friendly terrain where the main force would find their way by a more Northern route.
Havin advanced about 1 km Det. Raevaara was ambushed by the enemy at the side of the ridge at night in darkness near the pass. The detachment was dispersed in four parts. Some of the casualties being transporte were abandoned to the enemy while some of them could be evacuated. The dispersed groups returned individually to the W shore o lake Ontajärvi by 18.3. evening.
The main group crossed the steep ridge as planned and by skirmishing found their way home to the W shore of lake Ontajärvi by 17.3. evening.
The raid results for the enemy were estimated as some 240 KIA, 30 destroyed warehouses and barracks, demolished railway station equipment and four small railway bridges. In the air battles the fighters covering the raiders shot down 6 enemy a/c.
14.D reported that Finnish casualties included 32 men. Some of the MIA returned as POWs after the war.

Souce: Suomen Sotahistoriallinen Seura

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Re: Jeljärvi raid in March 1943

Post by Mangrove » 19 Apr 2020 08:56


Lotvonen
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Re: Jeljärvi raid in March 1943

Post by Lotvonen » 20 Apr 2020 05:29

Toivo Korhonen

Jeljärvi in flames

Journal “Kansa Taisteli” 10, 1961

Former part

In the winter of the year 1943 at the Rukajärvi front in the rear was skiing and being one Battalion of JR 10 . There was much wondering and pondering for what purpose this outfit was needed. The Battalion was having R&R and it had received young fit men as replacements. Daily long ski marches were done and various commando raid techniques were trained. The Battalion CO was an experienced survivor of several battles, a Major [Maj. Jukka Puustinen]. The purpose of the training was revealed to the undersigned finally in March of the same year as I was ordered to arrive at the 14.D HQ in Tiiksjärvi.

I reported to the Intel officer, Maj. Vehanen. He told me:
-You are familiar with the route but the task is going to be pretty tough.
I was a little taken aback and asked:
-Major, Sir, what is it that makes this task pretty tough, because usually every act of war is more or less tough?
-Sit down and listen, the officer said and continued:
-JR10 shall send out a Battalion to Jeljärvi. The Battalion CO will be Maj. T.J. Puustinen. The task is to destroy the enemy supply utilities in Jeljärvi village. The Sissi outfit shall join the Battalion, tasked to guide and destroy the railway station area with the depots there.

The 14.D long range reconnoitring outfit or Sissi outfit comprised half a hundred of men and it was led by Lt. E. Penttilä.

After thorough preparations, on the beautiful night of March 14th the transfer to Ondajärvi lake started. The entire 795 man strong outfit was mustered there and every remaining preparation was completed. Since Lt. Penttilä had made a recon mission to the objective and was familiar with the terrain there, he had to spend a lot of his time in Maj. Puustinen's HQ and I was assigned to lead the outfit.

The orders for the strike issued by our CO repeated our task and we found that the raid would be carried out in one go without any major rest break. I slightly doubted how the young men would be physically able to carry out the task since the distance including the return covered more than 100 kilometre. On the other hand I suppressed my thoughts because the Battalion CO had tested the stamina of his men in practice. The Sissi outfit men, I knew, would withstand any strain of the raid because they were in practice professionals in their task.

As the darkness fell the hour of departure was at hand a 2100hrs, and long files of troops started from Korpilahti village to the North on the ice of the wide Ondajärvi lake. The files twisted and turned in the darkness like ghostly giant snakes. Everyone's skiing and handling of ski sticks expressed decisiveness and consciousness of the task.

At midnight our outfit reached the first enemy ski tracks, perpendicular to our direction of advance. The next day (16th March) we had a major break in the wilderness. We were skiing to East and the enemy securing ski track was directed to South. During our journey we spotted heavily trafficked enemy ski tracks informing us that the Russians had secured their rear with a very dense network of ski tracks.

Our outfit arrived in the morning of 16th March at the terrain South of Jeljärvi at a small brook where the support point was set up and we had a meal break. Here at the same time the details of the task were verified and the timetable for the attack was checked. It was essential for the unity of the action because the target of the Battalion was 3 to 5 km farther off from that of the Sissi outfit. The attack was to be carried out in broad daylight. We thought that if we are lucky, fortune favours the audacious.

The main force of the Battalion set out at once for the Jeljärvi village. Two Companies advanced to the main road to secure it while the two others attacked the supply centre in the village. At the defined hour our Sissi outfit surrounded the railway station area, One detachment, about 20 men, was tasked to secure the Western side of the station, most importantly the railway bridge, and to charge and blow up the bridge as soon as the Battalion on return had crossed the railway line.

As mentioned above, the main parts of the detachment were tasked to destroy the railway station with all equipment and stores there.

As the H hour hit the targets were attacked. Ahead of us there was the open station yard on which men were running about. A sentry was standing at the corner of a warehouse. As our outfit reached the station area the first shots rang out at the hillock behind the station. Then the battle broke out! Sissis' SMGs started playing out their angry music and the life at the station was extinguished in a few minutes. About 10 to 11 enemies tried to attack the station-house we were holding but Lt. Penttilä with his Sissis on the extreme right and they cut any attempts to retake the station short.

At this hour a tremendous noise of battle started emerging from Jeljärvi village. Sounds of weapons reached the railway station in a storm, explosions were heard and soon huge smoke columns started rising from the village.

Our task was to destroy our objective after the fighting elements of the battalion had pulled back from the Jeljärvi village area. While waiting for this the station rail switches, rails and the long ammunition store were charged. When checking the station house we found the station master hiding under a bed in one of the rooms. He was squeaking ever so terribly, as if he were being whipped. One of the Sissis managed to persuade him to get out. Having been treated with a fag the man calmed down and joined the other Russians who had rallied in the yard.

Noises of fighting were still emerging from Jeljärvi village where the Battalion had attacked and the entire area was shrouded in smoke. At the same moment a crowd of ragged old men, old women and children were coming from the direction of the village to the railway station. Sissis offered chocolate to children and fags to gramps, then they were told to get out of there:
-The station are is dangerous, it will be blown up soon.

After a while the signal to disengage was given. With the exception of the men triggering the explosives and others torching the buildings everyone started at 1200 hrs move to the rallying point which was situated in the pine forest South of the railway line. That was the point where we had separated from the rest of the Battalion.

As soon as the last men had reached the cover of the forest the demolition men were seen running after them, this meant that there was going to be a mayhem at the railway station. The long ammunition store blew up to the sky with terrible force. The explosion appeared to rise up from the ground as a sea of fire, breaking up the smaller buildings nearby and spreading all around the marshalling yard. Station buildings, rails and switches blew up and flew past us overhead with a loud wailing noise. In a few moments destruction had swept over the entire Jeljärvi railway statin area turning it upside down

The smoking ruins informed that Finnish Sissis had been at it again. The task of the Battalion had been completed successfully, one could tell that by the satisfied countenance of the CO. One officer had been wounded but there had not been any other casualties. The wounded officer was Lt. Ahvenainen, a good man, who perished during the return journey.

As we left the rallying spot at 1300hrs another loud explosion was heard. It was one of the railway bridges, blown up by our boys as they departed. At the same moment we heard a loud sound of bomber aircraft in the Eastern sky. We saw the a/c flying parallel with the railway line obviously looking for the traces of the Finns. Was it by chance or by design but at the same moment from the West came our [sic] Messerschmitt fighters. They attacked the Russians and soon there was crashing in the forest. At first the bombers jettisoned their loads and a moment later six of them crashed, shot down by the fighters. It was a delicious sight for our eyes, an aerial fight was a diversion and an aftermath on enemy territory after our work of destruction.


To be continued.

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Re: Jeljärvi raid in March 1943

Post by Lotvonen » 20 Apr 2020 05:32

Sr. Sgt. Onni Palaste (alias Bovellan), the leader of the I/JR33 Jaeger Platoon. Interviewed by Robert Brantberg:

It was an early morning in the uninhabited wilderness in Rukajärvi. The date was 16th March 1943. Maj. Jukka Puustinen is briefing the subalterns of his Sissi outfit. Six hundred Finnish wilderness warriors find themselves about 50 km in the enemy rear. The target is the enemy supply centre at Jeljärvi.
-We cannot take any prisoners, every enemy is going to be shot, Puustinen utters in his familiar dry voice. Then the Major issues his orders:
Company Ahvenainen shall attack from West, company Raevaara from East. Detachment Penttilä shall attack the railway station and destroy all buildings and the switches. Jaeger Platoon Bovellan shall attack from South.

The village comprises some sixty log buildings and a railway station. The H hour is at 1015hrs. Sun is shining on the cloudless sky.
-Let's not ski crouching, the Battalion Jaeger Platoon leader Onni Bovellan tells his men, donning white snow camo.
-We shall go in without hesitation, they shall believe we are their men.
A lumberjack from Paltamo wants to lighten the mood
-That's right said Sgt. Möttönen as his wife squeezed his balls.

Bovellan signals for start. The men ski downhill right in the village and soon all hell will be loose. The most destructive Sissi raid of our wars has started.
-By following the glens we managed to ski close to the South perimeter of the village. We were tense as we climbed up the last ridge, Palaste told.
-The supply centre was as if on platter in front of us. The order “burn, blow up, kill” concerned every man.
The sounds of firing in the East side of the village was the signal to start.
-We got on our skis and slung our SMGs round our neck under our arm, Palaste says.
The Jaeger Platoon skied down the slope and crossed at full speed the snow covered Rukajärvi – Kotskoma road.
-We were thinking it was plain crazy to attack an enemy supply base in open terrain in the middle of a clear spring day.
The first log houses were situated right on the far side of the road.
An unarmed man stepped out to the yard, bare-headed, wearing a pullover.
-No decent man is willing to shoot an unarmed man, Palaste says.
-Fortunately there was a sentry walking behind him. This man understood that we were strangers and he started dropping his rifle from his shoulder. Matti Myllylahti's SMG buzzed. We heard on the right and on the left how Finns had opened up a hell of a firing. We joined in.

The Jaeger Platoon left their skis at the perimeter of the village, one Squad was left there so secure their rear. The rest of the Platoon advanced running from one house to the other toward the village centrer. They threw in through the windows satchel charges and thermite boxes, which had the effect of a fire bomb.
-The resinous old log houses caught fire easily. As courageous young men find themselves in that kind of urban warfare setting, they start acting as if in trance. They would blow up and torch everything they encountered and fired at anything that was moving. There was no time to choose, just getting the nearest Russki at first.
-The attack rolled through fire and smoke. Unfortunately we had to shoot fleeing men in the back. As we reached the centre of the village the enemy had managed to set up some kind of defence line. We took bursts of MG fire and rifle shots from quite unexpected spots. We had to do an about turn but the worst was still ahead.
Log houses in full flames were blazing on both sides of the street. The generated heat was so intense that we had to cover our faces with our leather mitts to avoid burns. Snow was melting at the street, green grass was showing. Embers were burning holes in our snow-suits, the men had to put out flames in each others' backs.
-We had to dispatch with some wounded Vanyas grabbing for their rifle as we hurried by, and we did make it to our skis.
The men rallied at Maj. Puustinen's command post. Enemy aircraft appeared on the sky with the intent of bombing Finns. It was a threatening situation until friendly fighters came to assist.
-it was a pleasure to see a brisk aerial battle. In a moment two or three enemy planes were smoking, then crashing pell-mell. The escaping enemy bombers dumped their loads in the forest.

(To be continued)

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Re: Jeljärvi raid in March 1943

Post by Lotvonen » 21 Apr 2020 04:55

Jeljarvi_A.jpg
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Re: Jeljärvi raid in March 1943

Post by Lotvonen » 23 Apr 2020 06:56

Toivo Korhonen

Jeljärvi raid

Journal “Kansa Taisteli” 11, 1961

Latter part

A 14.D strike force comprising one Battalion had on 16.3.1943 destroyed Jeljärvi village and the enemy supply base at the railway station, which had been essential in supplying the enemy troops fighting against 14.D. The strike force had started the return journey to Ondajärvi PM the same day.

The return trip was directed to a more Northern route, because due to the wounded we wanted to bypass the high ridge E of Kuutsjärvi lake. We skied, and had a meal at intervals. Finally the day turned into night but no exhausted men were to be seen. Some men appeared to have fallen asleep on their backpacks during a break but they woke up as soon as the others started moving on.

It was dusky already as our outfit, at the spearhead of the Battalion, arrived in front of a high ridge. The trail-breaking detachment started climbing up the slope but then the silence of the evening was broken. From the comb of the ridge enemy LMGs started cackling, lively SMG bursts were heard, flares were flying, the entire area was boiling like a witches' cauldron. We had bumped into a strong enemy field strong-point that tried to disperse our detachment in the darkness with their powerful fire. It was a miracle indeed that at this stage no one got killed or wounded. A command was passed in the darkness: “Korhonen to the front!” Having made it to the CO he ordered the Sissi detachment to assault to the top of the ridge, annihilate the enemy and secure to South and North.
The Battalion was then to pass through the created gap to the W side of the ridge.

The ridge was so steep that it made skiing impossible, instead we had to walk in the snow and attack the enemy positions without skis. This is what we did. As the last men of my outfit reached the ridge comb the fighting was at its fiercest. Penttilä came to me and ordered:
-You have to pull back, the Battalion shall cross the ridge North of this place.
The Sissis were in stormy action on the ridge, SMGs were buzzing angrily and hand grenades were bursting. The terrain attacked was a sheet of flame. I told Penttilä:
-It would be difficult to stop the boys in mid-fight in this darkness until the Platoons have reached their objective.

Penttilä had to agree, and he just selected one Sissi as a guide for one Company that had been ordered to bypass the fighting ground by South. The Battalion had sent Lt. Aaltonen's Platoon to advance via North because the terrain there was more passable. Yet they could not cross the ridge without fighting.

As soon as the Sissis had ended their battle the outfit continued their journey for Kuutsjärvi. The surviving enemies fled South, leaving behind their wounded who stayed there, yelling and lamenting as we left. Well, there was no gentlemen's agreement to stay on the battleground to nurse the enemy wounded; instead we thought that each side would take care of their own.

As I arrived at Kuutsjärvi lake with the Sissi detachment, the leading elements of the Battalion started appearing from the forest on the lake ice, but far from us, near Kuutsjärvi village. I was horrified to see that as I knew what kind of a bunker fort the village seen far on our right was. At the very moment muzzle flames started flickering from the bunker embrasures and soon MG s opened up. Flares illuminated the open ice and I was able to see scattered groups of men South of the village. Had they made an error in orientation, I thought, or why else would they have chosen such a Northern route.

The Battalion elements withdrew from there to the cape situated in the South shore of the lake where we stayed overnight.

I stayed with my outfit on the shoreline, waiting for the last men of the Battalion who were directed to the bivouac. There were exhausted men among them. One of them was holding a bough of fir branches in his hand like the dearest treasure. I asked him why he was carrying the branch – no answer. His exhausted countenance told me that the boy was no more able to perceive anything, he was hallucinating. Looking at my own outfit I saw one of my Platoon leaders sitting on a stone, very tired, and insisting that he was seeing a motor vehicle moving in the Northern direction, heading our way and flashing. The boy was tired to the bone and saw things that really did not exist. This officer had just recently joined us as replacement and he did not yet have the same stamina as the rest of us.

The next morning, 17.3., we woke up as the first rays of sun illuminated the lake shore, but the Russians, too, were awake. A ten-man enemy patrol appeared on the far side of a bog nearby and woke up the ones still asleep with a tremendous LMG noise. I was ordered to secure the bog perimeter with my outfit and delay the enemy until the Battalion would manage to get moving.

It was 0600hrs before they had left, then one of the Sissis reported:
-Cpl. Hukkanen and Sissi Horttanainen are surely dead or badly wounded, because no swearing can be heard from their position.
-Do they have to swear and curse ? I asked him.
-Well, no, but in firefight the lads tend to use bad language, he answered.
I went to the spot and called out the men. Both responded while I heard that they were firing shaper bursts with their SMGs .
I shouted to Hukkanen:
-Over here we already were fearing the worst, since your voices were not heard.
Hukkanen commented:
-Tell that man to wipe his ass with snow to cool off his head!
Yes, boys are boys, capable of fighting and joking.

The Battalion having departed I disengaged my outfit after a hour-long firefight and we followed them. Having reached the S tip of Kuutsjärvi lake I spotted some grey bundles on the ice. I could guess what they were, our men who had in the darkness blundered into MG fire. War indeed cannot be fought without losses. We the Sissis had been lucky so far.

At the lake shore I met the Battalion surgeon who told that he and his medical squad had found a man wounded in the night, his eyes had been stuck out with bayonet and he had been bayoneted all over, too. The surgeon had bandaged the boy and put him in a sled under blankets. There was the young man lying, savaged as if by a beast. It had not been enough that he was wounded, the cold-blooded enemy had increased his sufferings in a terrible manner. His lips were moving, apparently painfully. He tried to talk, but we could not make out what he was saying. We took him along but a little later death ended the suffering of this young man. He was buried in his home parish. Maybe this was what he was hoping for when his lips tried to produce words.

Watching the battleground took such a long time that the enemy managed to get between our outfit and the Battalion. We saw Russians in white snow suits dig positions in snow with the purpose of ambushing my outfit. Fortunately we spotted their scheme in time and avoided destruction.

When we arrived at the cape on the E side of lake Ondajärvi, designated as the rallying point, the Battalion was not yet there. Instead they had been engaged by the enemy in the terrain between the rallying point and lake Kuutsjärvi. Russians were trying to harass and intercept the Battalion with all means possible but unsuccessfully.

Wen we had waited and waited finally the Battalion arrived. Company Raevaara that last night had been ordered to pass the Russian field stronghold line via South, joined the Battalion only the next night. As the Battalion was mustering to traverse the lake a largish enemy patrol appeared at the opposite shore, threateningly approaching our rallying point.

Our observer on a small island near the point of the cape reported:
-Keep your field kettles warm, we shall have visitors.
Immediately I sent the Squads of Sgt. Hirviniemi and Cpl. Pulli to prevent the enemy from entering the island. Soon the fight for the island started. As soon as enemies arrived on the ice, they were not allowed to return, instead they collapsed there.

After the Battalion had started out and reached the ice my Sissi outfit was tasked to delay the enemy heading our way. Disengaging my fighting detachment was about to be critical. Russians had hauled two mortars to the shore, and supported by them they attempted to start chasing us. Fortunately the snow on the lake had been formed into dunes by wind, using them as cover we managed to get away from the shoreline, by dashing and shooting for mutual cover squad-wise. Anyone attempting to follow us were felled by our accurate fire. The enemy must have been full of rage and curses having failed at their attempt. They did not dare to pursue us and though the mortar fire fell short, it was unpleasant enough for us.

During a break we heard calls for help from the lake between us and the enemy. Staff Sgt. Jussi Vähäniitty, always prepared for tough situations, said that he and his Runner would get the wounded man from the ice. I set up fire support and the boy was picked up in a sleigh. Upon inspection it was found that the only problem was a scrape on his head. He must have had a fit of panic, fearing for worse. A whack in the backside with a ski stick and he was good to go.

As my detachment arrived at the W side of Ondajärvi lake, manned by RjP.6 another heavy and nuanced mission had been completed, fortunately without casualties for us. The Battalion had not been as lucky but when estimating the performance of the Battalion one can say that they successfully did their hard and onerous task. The enemy must have suffered casualties many times more than we did. In practice the entire supply base and railway station area with stores had been destroyed. Also the enemy lost many of their elite troops in fighting when chasing us.
Jeljarvi_B.jpg

Palaste:
The men set out for the return journey. There was a break after ten km of skiing. At this phase Capt. Raevaara's Company left the main body of troops and set out with the Medical Platoon, one KIA and 4 or 5 WIA to return via an easier route. It was a fateful decision.

The Company spearhead committed an orientation error in the night and was ambushed by the enemy at the foot of a ridge. Several men fell in the intense fire and the Company was scattered in the dark wilderness. The worst wounded had to be abandoned to the enemy.

Also the main body of the Battalion had to fight a few times, and lake Ontajärvi had to be crossed under enemy MG fire and strafing enemy a/c. Fortunately our Morane fighters arrived to cover us and we made it across almost unscathed.

Some 30 Finns were killed and six wounded. Nearly every casualty was suffered by Company Raevaara. Raevaara himself survived the mission although he had been skiing in the spearhead. He was KIA in November 1943 in the same way as Maj. Majewski, by a sniper bullet.

Finns destroyed at Jeljärvi about thirty warehouses or other buildings, two ammunition stores and two fodder stores, nine stables, an harness warehouse, a petrol store and a vehicle repair depot.
They also destroyed two road bridges, two minor railway bridges, switches, a railway station, five lorries, a tractor and 20 horses. More than 200 enemies were KIA and maybe the same number WIA. In the air nine Soviet aircraft were shot down,

The raid, despite the casualties, was considered a success. On 1.Aug 1943 the raid commander Maj. Jukka Puustinen was decorated with the Mannerheim Cross, handed over to him by Gen. Erkki Raappana. In the same occasion Sr.Sgt. Onni Bovellan was decorated with the Iron Cross 2nd Class, together with a diploma signed by Marshal Wilhelm Keitel [sic]. Another Iron Cross was handed over in the same occasion.

A Decoration was a rare occurrence at Rukajärvi. German willingness to grant decorations is to be seen against the background of them constantly pressurizing Finns to continue the attack in the direction of the Murmansk railroad.
( Robert Brantberg)
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Re: Jeljärvi raid in March 1943

Post by Lotvonen » 24 Apr 2020 05:30

I/JR10 war diary, continued:

16.March 1943
19.15hrs
The rear securing detachment reports that an enemy outfit of about a Battalion on skis is tracing the Detachment, skiing slowly.
19.30hrs
The rear securing detachment reports as they were ordered to do that the tracking enemy outfit is about 1 km from the detachment having a march break.
20.00hrs
Detachment P. set out in two outfits, of which the more awkward Det. Raevaara (3.K and Medic Platoon) transporting the dead and the wounded, started out first heading for the easy pass of the ridge E of Kuutsjärvi, vs.k.97,20 ps.k.31.80. Once there Det Raevaara was to proceed to the E shore of Kuutsjärvi vs.87.00 ps.23.00 where they were expected to bivouac for a marching pause and wait for the main body of troops.
The main part of Detachment P comprising 1.K, 2.K, Jaeger Platoon and Long-distance patrol, was to advance led by the Detachment CO to their objective. There was in the ridge E of Kuutsjärvi pt. 150,6 an enemy field stronghold and by engaging this they would draw the attention of any enemy outfits in the pass terrain so that the slower det. Raevaara would be able to proceed more easily across the difficult terrain to their objective. From there the main body of the troops would have proceeded to the same terrain as Det. Raevaara.
22.15hrs
Some of the main body of the detachment arrived at the foot of the ridge E of Kuutsjärvi as the enemy opened fire with one LMG at the securing ski track at the foot of the ridge N of our column as well as from the ridge with four SMGs. The ridge top was taken at a width of about ½ km by two SMG patrols comprising one Squad each. Next the entire column was pulled up the ridge to the top and they fought their way out to vs.90.
23.15hrs
The detachment disengaged and started advancing for the objective, the cape at Kuutsjärvi vs.k.91.00 ps.k.26.00. The detachment bivouacked, rested and had a meal.
-Marching distance about 17 km.

17.3.1943
05.55hrs
An enemy about 20 man patrol, having advanced from N, opened intense fire at the Detachment.
-At the same time returned the patrol sent out to the objective given to Det. Raevaara, without having found the said Detachment, instead they reported having seen about one Coy strong enemy outfit skiing on the ps. 27,40 cut forest line at vs.88.
-The 20 man enemy patrol was destroyed completely.
06.30hrs
The Detachment set out, advancing along the E shore of Kuutsjärvi around the S shore heading for the planned reception positions vs.k.89,00 ps.k.20.00, and vs.k.83.00, ps.k.18.20.
07.15hrs
On the Kuutsjärvi ice was spotted a group of 8 men apparently being pursued by an outfit without white camo. As it was presumed that the said group was friendly the Detachment CO sent out the Jaeger Platoon to meet them. The Jaeger Platoon escorted the group to the Detachment whereby it was found that they were men of Det. Raevaara.
At the same time it was learned that Detachment Raevaara had been ambushed by the enemy when attempting to cross the ridge E of Kuutsjärvi at the ordered spot.
08.15hrs
The rear guard outfit was engaged by a weak enemy tracing outfit at vs.k.89,00 ps.k.26,50.
11.00hrs
The detachment arrive at the S tip of Kuutsjärvi lake. Then an enemy outfit comprising about 1 Coy was spotted S of Pt. 113,5 skiing at the E shore of a pond there but this enemy had not been engaged during the skiing march.
11.30hrs
The Detachment was engaged by a largish enemy outfit that penetrated between the main body of the Detachment and the rear securing outfit. The enemy attack was repulsed , the enemy had at least 20 casualties KIA.
14.00hrs
The Detachment arrived at the first reception position vs.k.84.00 ps.k.20.00. The terrain was not manned by our troops.
14.30hrs
The Detachment arrived at the reception position on the shore of Ondajärvi lake vs.k.83.00 ps.k.18.20.
-When advancing from the S tip of Kuutsjärvi to Ondajärvi the Detachment had to constantly skirmish with enemy patrols attempting to ambush. There was constant engagements on the flanks and in the rear with an enemy of ever increasing strength, that had swollen to about 1 ½ Company by the time Ondajärvi shore was reached.
15.18hrs
Radio message by “Peura”. Content: “Cross Ondajärvi at vs.74.80. Enemies to the N of that. Situation ?”
15.00hrs
Radio message to “Peura”: Content: “Crossing immediately. Requesting air support”.
15.50hrs
The Detachment started crossing Ondajärvi. It had been actually fund out by observation that the enemy was moving about in largish force on the shore area North of the Soliolahti cape and carrying MG s and ammunition cans from the mainland to the Ondajärvi islands. The enemy harassed the departure of the detachment by firing from the mainland and the islands with a total of six MG s and two 81mm [sic] mortars, resulting in 4 WIA. The enemy pursued the Detachment with an about 60 man outfit for a couple of km on the Ondajärvi ice, engaging the rear guard .
18.00hrs
Reached the objective, W shore of Ondajärvi, vs.k.79,40 ps.k.9.80.
Skiing conditions during the return journey, especially in daytime, were the worst possible.
Detachment Raevaara was split in four after being ambushed.
1_ Det. Raevaara, strength about 50 men, arrived at the jump-off terrain on 17.3. at 22.00hrs.
2_ Detachment led by 2nd Lt Oskarinen [?],strength about 70 men, arrived at the jump-off terrain on 17.3. at 13.00hrs.
3_Detachment led by 2nd Lt. Nivalainen, strength about 25 men. The Detachment was ambushed by the enemy in a cape at vs.k.86.00 ps.k.16.50 and a large part of the detachment was left behind on the Ondajärvi ice about 50m from the shoreline.
4_ Detachment led by Sgt. Kärkkäinen, strength about 25 men. The Detachment arrived at the field stronghold in vs,k,99.50 ps.k.98.20 on 18.3. in the morning.

18.3.1943
14.00hrs
The shipping of the Detachment from the jump-off point to the cantonment area at Vanjärvi shore on lorries started .
17.15hrs
Lorry transport completed.
Losses suffered by the enemy:
1.)240 KIA, only certain cases.
2.)_17horses killed
3.)_5 lorries
4.)_1 road tractor
5.)_34 buildings, including 2 ammunition dumps, one with 5” shells, ski track and AT mines, the other one with rifle and SMG ammo plus arms accessories, both completely full.
6.)_6 food warehouses
7.)_2 fodder depots (hay, oats)
8.)_9 stables
9.)_1 harness depot
10.)_1 vehicle repair depot + armourer's depot
11.)_2 accessory warehouses
12.)_1 petrol dump (10 large barrels)
13.)_Every switch at the Jeljärvi rwy station and 3 semaphores
14.)_4 small rwy bridges.
15.)Rail line broken at 21 spots and telephone lines, 3/3 – 6/2 and 14/2 connections.

Our losses:
1.) KIA 1 officer, 6 men (at the target only)
2.) WIA 1 NCO + 5 men
3.) MIA 1 NCO + 24 men
(Appx. 8. = Det. Puustinen's Battle report on the patrol mission to Jeljärvi)

[Enemy harassed the cantonment area by bombing from air on 22th to 24th March.]

Lotvonen
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Re: Jeljärvi raid in March 1943

Post by Lotvonen » 25 Apr 2020 05:05

T LeLv 14, operating from Tiiksjärvi A/B, mission reports for the period:

(16 March 1943)
Reconnoitring report no. 1225
1_Mission: to strafe vehicles and troops on the main road between Sumskaja and the E crossroads at Perttijärvi .
2_Hakola-Tulkki-Harvia [pilots], 3 FRw [a/c], alt. 300 m
3_12.25 – 13.40hrs. Route Kuutsjärvi – Jeljärvi – Perttijärvi, E crossroads.
At Jeljärvi on the SE perimeter the big warehouses were burning. W of Jeljärvi on the road two destroyed lorries. On the road Jeljärvi – Onihmajoki bridge 3 lorries full of men. They were strafed while the men jumped in the forest. On the same road stretch 2 lorries (one armoured car?) the other one with men onboard. E of Onihmajärvi on the road 2 tanks and 1 lorry. On the Onihmajärvi – Perttijärvi road at the E crossroads 10 horse vehicles. All lorries, tanks, horses heading East.
Our a/c met four I-153 which tried to engage the other wing a/c. The second wing a/c turned against the enemy but did not get within range as the Tchaikas turned away and escaped.
4_Handed over to 14.DE. At 1400hrs (Capt. Hassinen)

Reconnoitring report no. 1226
1_Mission as previously [#1225]
2_Hakola-Parviainen-Reku, 3 FRw, alt. 200m.
3_15.00-15.55hrs Route Kuutsjärvi – Jeljärvi – Perttijärvi , E crossroads.
On the main road Jeljärvi – front line 1 car heading E. As the a/c approached men left the car for forest. The car was strafed.
4_Handed over to 14.DE. At 1400hrs (Capt. Hassinen)

Reconnoitring report no. 1228
1_Mission: to reconnoitre for eventual enemy troop concentration on area Ondajärvi – Kuutsjärvi – Jeljärvi – Perttijärvi E crossroads.
2_Hakola-Lilja-Niittynen, 3 FRw, alt. 300m.
3_16.40-18.10hrs Route Ondajärvi – Kuutsjärvi – unloading stations – Kalivolahti.
South of the Eastern unloading station a ski track along Onihmajoki river to SE. The roads from the unloading stations to N used by horses, and a ski track followed the E road parallel to it. Nothing else special detected E of Kuutsjärvi.
A bivouac area SE of Vagozero. From the middle point of the Kalivolahti – Kuutsjärvi road three weak ski tracks heading S.
From Kelivolahti several ski tracks to the cape in x=8699m y=1700, from there on in one strong track following the shoreline to SE.
N of Hargolahti from Pt. 129,2 weak ski track to N, could not follow it due to dusk.

17.3.1943
Reconnoitring report no. 1230
1_Mission: to reconnoitre for ski tracks on area Ondajärvi – Kuutsjärvi – Hargolahti.
2_Hakola-Niittynen-Lilja, 3 FRw, alt. 100m.
3_12.50-14.15hrs Route Ondajärvi – Kuutsjärvi – Hargolahti.
A Ski track from S to Kokkosaari (in Kuutsjärvi) continuing to another island NE of it. Plenty of tracks on the islands but no men spotted. In the terrain S of Kuutsjärvi plenty of ski tracks in various directions. One strong track crossed the river S of Pt. 113,5. (S of Kuutsjärvi). Pt 112,7 at the lake: Tracks across the river on S and N sides. W of the lake 2 strong tracks to the Shollajiolahti bay terrain.. On that bay some 30 men skiing W. From there to NE on a bog pt 125,4 some 50 men skiing SW. N of Pt. 121,7 on a bog some of our men.
Terrain at X=7500, y=2700: Ski track in from SE, but not possible to follow it.
Cape at x=8600: a ski track W of it, direction N to S.
4_Handed over to 14.DE. At 1435hrs (Capt. Hassinen)

Reconnoitring report no. 1231
1_Mission: Patrolling at Jeljärvi
2_ 6 MS aircraft, alt. 1000m.
3_07.10-09.00hrs
At Jeljärvi rwy station a locomotive and 5 wagons. The locomotive steam kettle shot up.
Kuutsjärvi W shore: from the mid-point a ski track to S, much used.
Kuutsjärvi SW tip: ski track to Ondajärvi shore (E of Ond-osero d). In the same location 5 to 6 for branch lodges. SW from there footprints across the lake to the W shore.
4_Handed over to 14.DE. At 0930hrs (Capt. Hassinen)

17.3.1943
Reconnoitring report no. 1233
1_Mission: to airdrop a message to our troops on the E shore of Ondajärvi .
2_Parviainen-Reku, 2 FRw, alt. 200m.
3_17.20-18.20hrs. Message airdropped at point x=8100, y=2100 terrain where our troops had formed the letter L.
4_Handed over to 14.DE. At 1845hrs

Lotvonen
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Re: Jeljärvi raid in March 1943

Post by Lotvonen » 26 Apr 2020 04:45

1.K/I/JR10 war diary extract.

12.3.1943:
10.15hrs Briefing by Coy CO on action and a new patrol mission.
[13.3.1943 nothing]

14.3.1943:
10.20hrs Coy set out skiing to the S tip of lake Rukajärvi and was transferred from there by lorry transport to Ontajärvi at the Korpilahti village terrain.
13.40hrs Arrival, bivouacked in tents.
19.10hrs Division CO inspected the outfits to be in action.
21.30hrs Coy joined the Btn starting to cross Ontajärvi lake for East to Kutsjärvi terrain.

15.3.1943:
02.40hrs Arrival at target where bivouacked until the next night.
19.00hrs Coy set out skiing for Jeljärvi village which is the main objective.

16.3.1943:
02.30hrs Brief break.
04.00hrs March for the target continued, without disturbances.
07.10hrs Coy arrived at the Btn base where the Coys divided and where they were to return after accomplisihing their tasks.
08.20hrs Coy moved up to the edge of the part of the village assigned to them, where the Platoon leaders were issued detailed orders on destroying the village.
10.40hrs H Hour. Coy advanced into the village without encountering resistance, only single Russkies trying to escape, they wounded one of our men severely who later died on the journey back. Not a single enemy escaped from the village.
In the village were destroyed several storage houses, an ammunition depot and a motor vehicle repair depot, several dozens of barracks, an oil depot – in genereal everything of military value. Among the fallen enemies was the CO of the Lorry Company, a Captain by rank.
11.10hrs The Coy having fulfilled their task returned to the mission base where surrogate coffee was made.
14.00hrs Coy set off skiing directly for the Kutsjärvi terrain.
16.45hrs Brief break, including a meal and some refreshing [real] coffee.
20.00hrs New direction, for the enemy field stronghold sitated E of Kutsjärvi on top of an exceptionallly steep and hight ridge.
22.20hrs Coy arrived at the first field stronghold whereby they opened MG fire at the spearhead outfits. Yet they at once scattered the [enemy] stronghold.

17.3.1943:
02.30hrs Coy arrived at Kutsjärvi shore where bivouacked.
06.30hrs While being harassed by an enemy patrol Coy started out for Ontajärvi as the spearhead Company.
12.25hrs Arrived at the East shore of Ontajärvi where coffee was made and had an hour of rest.
During this time the enemy manned an island, setting up there a machine gun. Then enemy patrols began appearing on the ice from the forest and Coy was ordered to be on the standby to leave.
13.50hrs As soon as Coy had descended on the ice the enemy opened intense fire among other weapons with a mortar, yet without accomplisihing anything worth mentioning, just one man was slightlly wounded.
16.15hrs Coy arrived at the tents in detached groups fatigued but having accomplished their task.
The day had been extraordinarily exacting due to warm spring weather that made the snow cling at the ski bottoms and skiing turned into – walking.
The nights had been clear and in the light of the full moon we could move about just as in daytime.
At night the skiing weather was very well sliding.

18.3.1943:
14.00hrs Coy set out on lorries for the camp area.
15.55hrs Arrival at the camp area.

[R&R until 1.4.1943 when 1.K was deployed in the first line]

Lotvonen
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Re: Jeljärvi raid in March 1943

Post by Lotvonen » 27 Apr 2020 07:35

2.K/I/JR10 war diary does not exist for the period.

3.K/I/JR10 war diary extract:
13.3.1943:
Coy was ordered to prepare for departure tomorrow. Coy was distributed food rations for 6 days and for demolitions: satchel charges and fire boxes also ski track mines are to be included.
Coy started immediately preparations to set out.
The Battalion shall be transferred by lorries to the edge of Korpilahti village where they are to ski to Vieljärvi village [sic] that was to be destroyed. Long-range patrol Penttilä is to be subordinated to the Battalion.
14.3.1943:
Weather: hard W wind, clear.
10.00hrs Coy started skiing across Vanjärvi to Rukajärvi where embarked on lorries. Also field kitchens and tents were transported to the terrain at Korpilahti village.
12.45hrs Lorries were loaded and the column set out. Our a/c covered the transport against enemy planes.
15.45hrs Bivouacked in tents at Korpilahti terrain.
17.30hrs Briefing for outfit leaders in the Btn C.P.
19.15hrs Battalion inspected by Division CO.
21.00hrs Battalion set out in the following order:
1.K – 2.K – Jaeger Platoon – Medic Platoon – Long-Range patrol – 3.K.
Battalion route: Vertically [sic] to the terrain N of 80 (P-36-7) and via it to the point vs=80 and ps=26 (P-36-8) where bivouacked pm 15.3. at 03.40hrs
15.3.1943:
Weather: Cloudly , strong wind
Day spent resting and having meals.
18.00hrs Briefing for outfit leaders.
18.00hrs Set out in the following order:
2.K – 3.K – Jaegers – Medic platoons – Long range patrol – 3.K
Advancing to direction 10.00 to Pt vs=90 ps=40 where on 16.3.1943 at 0120hrs a meal break. At Ps=36 we crossed an enemy securing ski track, direction right North.
16.3.1943:
Weather [blank]
04.00hrs Start, marching order 3.K- 1.K- Jaeger and Medical platoons- Detachment Penttilä – 2.K.
Bearing 4,00 for 10 km to the objective, Basaki terrain [temporary base?] in half way between vs=88 and vs=00, between ps=44 and ps=46 where we arrived at0645hrs.
07.40hrs Btn CO issued orders to Coy CO s on the destruction of Vieljärvi village [sic!]. Det. Pietilä is to cut the road to East and destroy the defensive position. 2 Platoons of 2.K shall cut the road to West and the telephone connections. 1.K shall attack in the village from South and 3.K from West, from the lakeside. Action was scheduled to start at 1015hrs. At the Basaki terrain shall remain 2 platoons of 2.K and the C.C.S.
08.15hrs Set out of the base.
08.30hrs The railway line to Kutsjärvi was crossed.
10.00hrs Coy arrived at the perimeter of the village, Coy CO assigned the groups of buildings to the Platoons. IIIU and IV Platoons were to destroy the houses on the lakeside and then roll to East. I and II Platoons were to attack the centre of the village, then roll to West.
The enemy was completely surprised, but since the terrain behind the village was open and sloping that way, the Company did not manage to pass through the village , only some 10 of the nearest houses were destroyed with satchel charges and fire boxes. During the battle the enemy fired heavily from the windows and the corners of the houses, whereby Lt. Pärninen was badly wounded in stomach and died having lived another 45 minutes. Also three men were KIA and their bodies could not be recovered. One man was slightly wounded in back.
10.45hrs Coy started pulling back to the base terrain where we arrived about at noon, and had a meal break.
14.00hrs Battalion left the base terrain in order 1.K – 2.K – Jaeger and Medical platoons – Det. Penttilä – 3.K – 2 platoons of 2.K. The direction for advance was 37,00 across the lake at [Pt.]103,0 to Pt. Vs=13 and ps=38 where we arrived at 16.40hrs
20.00hrs The return journey continued so that 3.K + Medical Platoon with the Battalion dead and wounded. We were to proceed via the S tip of the ridge W of ps.v.38 at vs=87 bearing right West to the terrain W of Kutsjärvi. There we were to join the main body of the Battalion that was advancing on a more Northern route and destroy the enemy field stronghold on the ridge at vs=92.
23.20hrs Company was ambushed by the enemy in the terrain West of the pond at 115,1. Coy CO with the forward part of the Coy found themselves to the West whereby most of the Coy were scattered in four separate parts.
A detachment of some 60 men was led by 2nd Lt. Oskama [?] and they started heading South like this: Via the pond NE of vs=84 ps=34, then 2km South. From there they headed West, across the pond at 112,7 passing the lake by the W side. At a distance of about 1 km was skiing an enemy patrol some of which were wounded. There was no engagement. The detachment arrived at 1020hrs at the E shore of Outajärvi. En route one NCO went missing W of the pond at Pt. 112,7.
Another detachment of some 20 men led by the Battalion Surgeon set out from North via Pt.150,6 over the ridge, then heading W over Kutsjärvi at vs=80 and on to West, arriving at the shore of Outajärvi at vs=80. Then it is likely that 6 men were KIA.
A third detachment comprising some 50 men set out led by the Coy CO first to South from the point of ambush and settled for a break some 4km off. Of the ahkio sleds there still remained three with one KIA and two WIA. Lt. Pärssinen's body had been left behind at the ambush point.
After a couple hours of rest the detachment set out again for South but met with enemy securing who opened fire. The Detachment turned back to North and crossed the ridge in the morning of 17.3.1943 at about 0800hrs at vs=90. From there on their route was: S tip of Kutsjärvi – S tip of Skaliojärvi – right to West. The detachment arrived at the S shore of Outajärvi at vs=80 at about 1900hrs. Of the detachment one man was MIA in the morning of 17.3.1943 as the detachment was engaged by the enemy securing.
The fourth Detachment comprising some 20 men led by Sgt. Kärkkäinen set out and crossed the ridge between vs=86 and vs=84. +From there they continued to the S tip of Kutsjärvi which they believed was Ontajärvi lake, and the Detachment started skiing to North on it. At the S tip of the lake were left behind four probably KIA and at the island in the middle of the lake another three men KIA. From there the detachment went on to NW passing the Kutsjärvi village by South in which terrain three stragglers of the Company joined them.
From there the detachment continued their journey from map Pt. 119,1 bearing 67-00, bivouacking in a patch of forest W of map pt. 131,6. At the bivouac it was found that one man had gone missing, most likely at the terrain at the pond situated SW of the crossing of vs=86 – ps=10.
Next morning the outfit started off again bearing 50-00 and at daybreak arrived at the friendly field stronghold at pt.125,0 in the morning of 18.3.1943, and from there on by horse transport to the Company bivouac. They arrived at noon.
The total casualties for the Company include:
KIA 1 officer and 5 men, WIA 4 men, MIA one NCO and 15 men.
17.3.1943
Weather: Clear +3 deg C.
12.00-13.00hrs The patrol led by 2nd Lt. Oskama arrived at the Company tents at the W shore of Ondajärvi lake.
21.30hrs Coy CO arrived at the bivouac with a part of the Company with him,
18.3.1943:
Weather: Clear +4 deg C.
14.00hrs Coy set out on lorries for home.
16.30hrs Coy arrived at the camp and settled to rest.
19.3.1943:
Weather: Clear +4 deg C.
12.30-14.30hrs Weapons maintenance, no other service.
20.3.1943
Weather: Clear +5 deg C.
Coy in R&R all day.
21.3.1943
Weather: Clear +3 deg C.
13.30hrs For the fighting parts of the Coy coffee service in the Battalion canteen. In the occasion Rgt CO thanked the Company for the patrol mission.
19.00hrs Coffee service for the Admin Platoon of the Coy.

Seppo Koivisto
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Re: Jeljärvi raid in March 1943

Post by Seppo Koivisto » 30 Apr 2020 10:33

Map originally from the archive of Rukajärven suunnan historiayhdistys (Rukajärvi direction historical society).
Image
https://seura.fi/ilmiot/historia/sissiosaston-jaljilla/
http://www.rukajarvensuunnanhistoriayhd ... ayhdistys/

Lotvonen
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Joined: 25 Jun 2007 11:17
Location: Finland

Re: Jeljärvi raid in March 1943

Post by Lotvonen » 01 May 2020 09:08

I/JR10
23.3.1943
5/TJP/VP
Battle report
on the destruction of the supply centre at Jeljärvi
by Detachment Puustinen

I. Preparatory training and organizing work

1._ To carry out the planned mission Det. Puustinen was in training starting mid January and the following subjects were trained:
Stamina building
Bivouacking without tents
Fighting in urban environment
Stamina was built up by skiing about 1100km.
Battle training in urban environment was carried out in built-up area and the outfit was trained in their tasks up to every single man.
2._Organizing was aimed at carrying out a seven day skiing march taking into account that the Detachment would not have any resupply during the period. The problem of transport of ammunition and food was solved by the Detachment constructing two ski sleds as in Appendix no.1 for each Platoon. In training the men were made used to pulling them and simultaneously experience was gained on loading the ski sled and its carrying capacity in various conditions of temperature and snow.
The armament of the detachment was amended so that LMGs were left out and replaced by SMGs.
The extra gear included for each man a fur coat, a piece of tarp, knee and neck covers.
For the demolitions available were made 2 kg satchel charges, as incendiary devices thermite fire boxes and for mining our ski track captured wooden anti-personnel mines were fortified with ½ kg pieces of explosive.

II.Det.P setup
Commander: Maj. J.J. Puustinen
Troops: I/JR10 Rifle companies, Jaeger Platoon, Medical Squad
-14.D Long-range patrols
-Medical Platoon/14.D Medic Coy
-Sapper Squad / JR10 Sapper Platoon
-4 “Kyynel” radio transceiver stations with crews of VP30
Strength:
24+69+468
Equipment:
Personal equipment for each man plus
27 pcs ski sleds
10 pcs light ahkio sleds
20 pairs of spare skis and ski sticks
60 pcs spare ski tips
For each man one can of medium weather or warm weather ski wax.
Armament:
141 pcs SMGs
419 pcs rifles
20 pcs pistols
For each SMG 3 rations of ammo, for rifles 2 ½ rations
Special equipment:
200 pcs satchel charges, each 2 kg
375pcs thermite fire boxes
200 pcs ski track mines
2 hand grenades for each man
For liaison with our airmen (to indicate the rear of the marching column) 20 pcs signalling clothing.

III. Situation and task
According to information gained by air, reconnoitring and POW interrogation the Jeljärvi village was weakly secured and entry from South would be easy, because only five securing ski tracks had been detected and the E shore of Ondajärvi was only partially manned.
Det. Puustinen, according to the order issued on 10.3.1943, was to advance starting on 14.3.1943 at 2100hrs from the E shore of Ondajärvi to the terrain S of Jeljärvi from where they, on 17.3.1943 at 0200 to 0400hrs, were to destroy and annihilate the stores, barracks and communications situated in the Jeljärvi village and its vicinity, while causing as much as possible personnel losses to the enemy. Having carried out the task the detachment was to return to the jump-off point terrain.

IV. Carrying out the task
Detachment P. was shifted by lorry transport on 14.3.1943 to the terrain W of the start terrain from where they started off at 2100hrs for a skiing march heading for the objective terrain E of Selisjärvi lake. En route two old enemy securing ski tracks were encountered, they had been skied on 4 to 5 days ago. There was no contact with the enemy. The Detachment reached the objective on 15.3.1943 at 0300hrs.
15.3.1943 was spent resting and no contact with the enemy was made during the time. At 1900hrs the detachment set out according to the order for the terrain at vs.92 ps.39 where they arrived at 0130hrs. During the journey three enemy securing tracks were crossed as marked on the [appx.] map. Since the securing track S of Kuutsjärvi had been skied on the previous day as well as on the two other encountered tracks, the Detachment CO, in deviation from the plan, head for the target as soon as possible to make use of surprise when carrying out the task. That is why the Detachment had only two hours of rest.
On 16.3.1943 at 0400hrs the Detachment set out heading for the designated target terrain (vs.99 ps.45) where they arrived at 0700hrs. During the march fresh enemy securing tracks at vs.94, vs.96 and 98.50 were crossed. At vs.96 was found on a bog the track of a motor sled parallel with the rail line. It was estimated that the enemy used those sleds to secure the rail line because three men on skis had been towed by the sled. The sled ski span was about 70 cm, ski width 12 cm and the sled had passed a 120 cm wide gap.
Once at the base terrain, the base was immediately secured with two Platoons of 2.K. They stayed behind to cover the C.C.S. Set up there. The strike at the objective started as planned in three formations. At 0815hrs 2 Platoons of 2.K led by 2nd Lt. Viitanen set out for a point by the road on the S shore of lake Pustjärvi, some 1,5 km W from the E tip of lake Pustjärvi.
At 0830hrs set out the main outfit comprising 1.K and 3.K and the Jaeger Platoon led by the Detachment CO heading for the Jeljärvi village.
At 0845 the last outfit, the Long range patrol Penttila (55 men) set out for the railway station terrain. According to the order the actin was to start at 1015hrs the tasks of the outfits being the following:
Det. Viitanen:
At 1015hrs the telephone connections at the road were to be cut, the positions by the road were to be manned to West while mining the road and keeping it cut off until ordered to disengage. In case of being engaged by an overwhelming enemy the Detachment CO, who was with the main outfit, was to be informed and they would pull back to the village, delaying the enemy.
Det. Penttilä:
To cut the road and the railway at the brook line some ½ km to E, at 1015hrs to cut the telephone connections next to the road and the railway. Then to proceed to demolish the station, switches, unloading platform and the buildings on the station area. Det. Penttilä is to hold the positions at the brook line and keep the road and railway cut off until ordered to pull back and mine the road. In case of being engaged by an overwhelming enemy the Detachment CO, who was with the main outfit, was to be informed and they would pull back to the village, delaying the enemy.
Main outfit:
To advance,led by the Detachment CO, along the road marked on the map sketch to the terrain S of the village and group there for attack.
The first objective of 1.K is the two storage-house areas S of the road, then they are to advance rapidly and take the 12 house group and from there on start rolling to W through the village.
3.K is tasked to advance on the left flank of 1.K along the brook flowing from the E tip of Pustjärvi to the storage-houses and barracks situated at the SE side of Jeljärvi.
There 3.K shall take over the group of houses at the SE tip of Jeljärvi, secure to North and then destroy he buildings used for storage or accommodation, and start with two platoons to roll to E in the direction of 1.K.
At 10.15hrs the cutting of telephone connections was carried out on both flanks and in accordance with the orders issued the positions at the cut-off points were manned and the roads mined. At the positions manned by Det. Viitanen a lorry drove up, with a driver and a woman in military uniform, both of which got shot. The lorry was torched. Det. Viitanen encountered no other enemies during the time at the positions .
Det. Penttilä advanced in accordance with the orders issued to the target terrain where at 1015 hrs they carried out he cutting of telephone connections at the road and the railway, then manning the positions at the ordered brook line to East and mined the road. Simultaneously with manning about half of the detachment led by Lt. Penttilä advanced to the station area where a skirmish took place with the enemies at work there. The enemy withdrew to the hillock N of the platform in positions that had been prepared there and harassing the demolitions work of Det. Penttilä on the station area. The strength of the enemy was about one Platoon and the hillock they manned was situated about 150m from the station area. Det. Penttilä was engaging the enemy continuously while carrying out demolitions at the major objects. During demolitions work two lorries and one road tractor drove up to the scene and were destroyed.
The main outfit advanced as planned to the attack jump-off positions without meeting resistance or being found out. At 10.15hrs the first Coy took over the terrain assigned to them with a quick dash, during which they had to dislocate an enemy force of about 1 ½ platoons, some fled to NW while others were mixed up with 1.K and were destroyed.
Immediately having taken the target terrain the destruction of storage-houses started as planned in advance by burning and blowing up the buildings.
From their first target 1.K started rolling the village in accordance with the orders issued , advancing delayed by an enemy force of about three platoons up to the middle of the village where they liaised with the two platoons of 3.K who had in the ordered manner rolled the village from the Western perimeter to East.
3.K advanced in accordance with the plan to jump-off positions on the W side of the village near the mouth of the brook flowing in Jeljärvi lake, from where they started their attack, pushing ahead of them a strongish enemy force (about 3 platoons) at 10.15hrs, and took over the ordered target terrain. Having as ordered divided in two outfits both halves of 3.K continued rolling the house groups, the right wing detachment liaising with 1.K in the middle of the village. The left wing detachment, after an extremely intense firefight, took over the last groups of houses at the NW perimeter of the village. The last mentioned detachment secured then to N at the road.
In accordance with the plan the objects were then destroyed by burning and blowing up.
Next the dispersed groups of enemies hiding in the buildings were annihilated, the enemy suffered 86 casualties.

As the destruction of the objects had been completed, the Detachment CO ordered by radio the detachments on the flanks to disengage. About 15 min from the order Det. Viitanen arrived. About at the same time from N, direction of an air base, a 250 man strong enemy detachment was approaching on foot and grouped. 1.K, 3.K, and 2 platoons of 2.K left the village while the Jaeger platoon that had mostly been in reserve, stayed there to delay the enemy coming from N. Disengagement took place at 1155 hrs without any major enemy pressure and also the Jaeger platoon managed to disengage easily. The Detachment skied on their incoming tracks to the base terrain while mining the track after the Jaeger platoon had passed. Since the enemy did not have any skiing troops the battle contact was disrupted at the S perimeter of the village. While the Jaeger Platoon was acting as a reconnoitring force in the rear the Detachment had a meal at the base terrain undisturbed by the enemy.
Det. Penttilä disengaged in accordance with the order radioed to them at 11.40hrs without the enemy in any manner disturbing, and arrived at the base a little after the main outfit. During the fighting at the target we had suffered casualties, 4 KIA and 1 WIA.

After the meal at 1410hrs the Detachment set out on the return march on the route described in the map in the appendix. The two 2.K platoons who had covered the base constituted the rear securing unit. The first objective vs. 93 ps.39 was reached on 16.3.1943 a 16.45hrs, and there was a break for rest and meal for three hours. During the march the enemy had not disturbed the Detachment.
The rear securing outfit reported at 19.15hrs that an enemy skiing outfit comprising about a battalion is tracking the detachment, skiing slowly. In accordance with the orders issued the rear securing outfit again reported of the tracking enemy as they had arrived at about one km from the Detachment having their rest. Det. P started out at 2000hrs in two outfits of which the cumbersome
Det. Raevaara (3.K and Medical Platoon), hauling the dead and the wounded, set out on the route marked on the map, the first objective being the previously spotted easily passable spot in the ridge on the E side of lake Kuutsjärvi at vs.97,20 ps.31,60. From here Det. Raevaara was to advance to the terrain at vs.87 ps.23 on the W shore of Kuutsjärvi lake where the Detachment was to bivouac for rest and wait for the main detachment.

The main outfit of Det. P. comprising 1.K, 2.K, Jaeger platoon and Det. Penttilä was to advance led by the Detachment CO on the route described on the map, the first target being the enemy field stronghold at Pt. 150,6 on the ridge E of Kuutsjärvi lake. By engaging this stronghold it was hoped to divert the attention of the enemy that may have been at the ridge terrain to enable the slow moving det. Raevaara to cross the difficult terrain with more ease on their way to their objective. From that spot the main outfit was to advance to the same terrain that Det. Raevaara was heading for.

On 16.3.1943 at 22.15hrs the main outfit arrived at the foot of the ridge whereby the enemy opened fire simultaneously with one LMG on a securing ski track at the foot of the ridge and with four SMGs at the comb of the ridge. The very steep 50m high slope provided the enemy excellent defence positions, and attacking up the slope seemed well nigh impossible, two small one squad SMG patrols were sent to creep up the hill with a distance of 300 m from each other. In the meanwhile from the centre the enemy was being engaged by firing. The left SMG patrol reached the ridge comb and advancing heedlessly in two four man outfits they took in matter of minutes about ½ km of the ridge comb. Next the entire marching column was pulled up on the ridge and they fought their way along the ridge to S up to vs.90.
Fighting had taken some 3 hours and by then the Detachment CO considered he had won enough time for Det. Raevaara to enable them to cross the ridge. The tracking enemy battalion had not made it to the battle and the securing patrol remaining on the securing track at the foot of the ridge withdrew to N. While on the ridge the Detachment CO saw that the enemy was using flare guns extensively either on the islands of Kuutsjärvi or on the entire W shore which made him deduce that the enemy had manned the entire terrain W of Kuutsjärvi. The CO decided, considering that his troops were fatigued, give them some rest at the E shore of Kuutsjärvi before the eventual battle, and in deviation of the plan issued orders to disengage and set out, heading for the cape on the E shore of Kuutsjärvi at vs.91 ps.26 terrain.
The Detachment arrived there on 17.3.1943 at 0200hrs, set up campfires, had a meal and rested until 0555hrs. Then an enemy outfit comprising some 20 men, approaching from North, opened intense fire at the Detachment. At the same moment the patrol sent to liaise with Det. Raevaara at their objective terrain returned, reporting not having liaised Det. Raevaara but instead they had seen an enemy outfit of one Coy skiing on the cut forest line at ps.27,40 at vs.88. Since it was obvious that the enemy was trying to cut the route to South for the Detachment the CO decided to advance soonest possible along the E shore of lake Kuutsjärvi and around the S shore for the designated and planned reception positions.
The 20-man enemy patrol was totally annihilated whereafter the Detachment set out at 06.30hrs. When skiing at the E shore of Kuutsjärvi to the S shore on the ice of the lake were spotted an eight man outfit apparently pursued by an outfit without snow camo. Supposing that the outfit was friendly the CO sent out the Jaeger platoon to meet these men. The Jaeger Platoon escorted the outfit to the CO, and it was learned that they were of Det. Raevaara. Also it was learned that Det. Raevaara had been ambushed by the enemy when trying to cross the ridge E of Kuutsjärvi at the ordered location.
The Detachment continued next their skiing march, the rear securing outfit being engaged by a smaller pursuing enemy outfit at the E shore of the lake, at the path leading there. Arriving at the S tip of the lake it was found that at Pt. 113,5 there was an enemy outfit comprising one Coy skiing down the East shore of the lake, but there had been no battle contact with this enemy during the march.
The enemy had manned the terrain from the W shore of Kuutsjärvi up to the shore of Ondajärvi with small, 5 to 20 man patrols with high firepower at convenient points of terrain. The Detachment had to fight their way through the said terrain, eliminating constantly small ambushing enemy outfits. It was obvious that the enemy ambush patrols had been placed in the terrain for the purpose of forcing the Finnish detachment, skiing through the terrain, to engage some of these patrols whereby the enemy ambush patrols finding themselves more to the East of the engaging patrol, would ski fast to the battleground and join the battle.

When advancing on the route marked on the map the Detachment was involved in six battles in the terrain between the S tip of Kuutsjärvi and Ondajärvi shore against enemy ambushing patrols, also constantly engaging in the flanks and in the rear with an ever growing enemy outfit that had swollen to a size of 1 ½ Companies by the time the Ondajärvi shore was reached. When approaching the Ondajärvi shore via unmanned reception positions some enemies managed to get between the main column and the rear securing outfit. The Rear securing CO decided to join the main column by passing the skiing enemy file from the left. The result was that three parallel files reached the ice of Ondajärvi lake, the enemy file being in the middle, with an evident purpose of cutting off the Detachment return route before the Ondajärvi shore.

The Detachment reached the Ondajärvi shore on 17.3.1943 at 14.30hrs. It was found that the enemy was moving about with largish force on the shore area N of the Soliolahti cape and by observing it was stated that they were carrying MG s and cartridge cans from the mainland to the Ondajärvi islands. So the Detachment CO decided to cross the lake as fast as possible and in daytime, and for this purpose requested by radio air cover over the lake for the period of crossing. Since it was obvious that the Detachment would be harassed by the enemy once on the ice from the islands and the mainland, the CO ordered that the crossing be carried out as scattered as possible and by starting all at once, to minimise the effect of the enemy fire. Before starting the detachment had a meal in the Soliolahti cape and as the air cover arrived at 15.50hrs the Detachment started crossing Ondajärvi. The enemy harassed the skiing of the detachment by firing from the islands and the mainland with a total of six MG s and two 81mm [sic] mortars, resulting in four WIA. As the enemy found that the Detachment had disengaged they started pursuing with a 60 man patrol that kept engaging the rear securing for a couple of km on the ice. The target, Ondajärvi W shore, was reached at 1800hrs.

Detachment Raevaara, in accordance with their orders, advanced on the route marked on the map up to the foot of the ridge E of Kuutsjärvi without encountering the enemy. Here Capt. Raevaara personally reconnoitred the crossing point with a 7 man patrol and he found that there were signs of frequentation but it was free from enemies. After this Capt. Raevaara signalled the detachment behind the pond SW of pt. 115,1 to proceed. As the head of the detachment was some 25m from the foo of the ridge the enemy opened fire from positions dug at the foot of the ridge, in snow and under trees with two MG s and 4 to 5 LMGs plus SMGs. Capt. Raevaara was separated from his detachment but by shouting tried to make his Company to group of attack the ambushing enemy. After a while Capt. Raevaara managed to slip through the enemy manning back to the friendly side but he saw that the Company had been dispersed by the ambush and he was no more able to rally his entire Company. He managed to muster about 50 men in an outift with which he started to bypass the ridge from South. Capt. Raevaara and his outfit advanced on the route marked on the map, constantly reconnoitring the direction of the ridge, finding it manned all over the place. As he found himself unable to advance to South, having encountered the enemy at the vs.84 ps.34.80 terrain, he headed back to N and let his outfit rest from 0500 to 0700hrs at the vs.90 ps.32 terrain. Capt. Raevaara continued his skiing march as described on the map up to vs.90 ps.32 terrain where he deduced that the enemy probably had not manned the highest point of the ridge, crossing the terrain at vs.90 without encountering the enemy. Det. Raevaara next advanced without encountering the enemy on the route drawn on the map back to the start-off terrain arriving on 17.3.1943 at 2200hrs.

The rest of Det. Raevaara was after the ambush split in three outfits of which the one led by 2nd Orkamo, comprising 70 men, advanced on the route drawn on the map, encountering positions manned by the enemy at the terrains vs.86,40 ps.32,50 and vs.85,70 ps.33,80, but he managed to get through the enemy positions by the route drawn on the map, and without encountering the enemy after that he arrived at the start-off terrain on 17.3.1943 at 1300hrs.

Led by the Battalion Surgeon, 2nd Lt. Miinalainen, after the ambush an outfit comprising about 25 men set out by the route drawn on the map aiming to reach the start-off terrain via the E shore of Ondajärvi. The enemy traced the outfit for a couple of km after the ambush but then the outfit did not have any contact with the enemy until they were surprised by the enemy in the cape at vs.86 ps.16,50 where a large part of the outfit were left on the ice of Oudajärvi about 50m from the coastline. After the battle the enemy attempted to turn behind the outfit from Kalivolahti and from South, but unsuccessfully.

Some 25 men led by Sgt. Kärkkäinen (without map) advanced by the route drawn on the map and were surprised by the enemy at the S tip of Kuutsjärvi, vs.84 ps.26. The outfit suffered a loss of 6 men. The outfit continued their advance by the route drawn on the map spotting, when at vs.88,30 ps.24, an enemy patrol of some 30 men in wide grouping skiing from Kuutsjärvi village at the Outfit. At that stage the farthest off 8 men turned back to South (they later joined the main outfit) while the rest turned to W. Having spotted the outfit the enemy tried to cut off the return route to W without succeeding. Sgt. Kärkkäinen with his remaining men continued their journey to vs.93,70 ps.16,30 where they had a rest for the day. In the evening Sgt. Kärkkäinen continued his advance by the route drawn on the map crossing several enemy securing ski track and past three field strongholds (Sgt. Kärkkäinen was not able to define their locations exactly) and arrived at our field stronghold at vs.99,50 ps. 89,20 on 18.3.1943 in the morning.

Scattering of Detachment Raevaara was due to the total success of the enemy ambush and the panicked withdrawal to E caused by it. As Capt. Raevaara managed to get back to our side the outfits Orkamo, Miinalainen and Kärkkäinen had already gone, all he could do was to rally the remains of the Company scattered in the forest.


V. Losses suffered by the enemy:
1.)240 KIA, only certain cases.
2.)_17horses killed
3.)_5 lorries
4.)_1 road tractor
5.)_34 buildings, including 2 ammunition dumps, one with 5” shells, ski track and AT mines, the other one with rifle and SMG ammo plus arms accessories, both completely full.
6.)_6 food warehouses
7.)_2 fodder depots (hay, oats)
8.)_9 stables
9.)_1 harness depot
10.)_1 vehicle repair depot + armourer's depot
11.)_2 accessory warehouses
12.)_1 petrol dump (10 large barrels)
13.)_Every switch at the Jeljärvi rwy station and 3 semaphores
14.)_4 small rwy bridges.
15.) Rail line broken at 21 spots and telephone lines, 3/3 – 6/2 and 14/2 connections.

VI. Our losses:
1.)_ KIA 1 officer, 6 men (at the target only)
2.)_WIA 1 NCO + 5 men
3.)_MIA 1 NCO + 24 men

VII. Co-operation with airmen
During the entire operation enemy a/c were unable to strafe or bomb the Detachment because the action of our a/c suppressed all enemy flying in the vicinity of the Detachment

VIII. Special observations
Enemy ski troop movement was slow and timid. Their action to cut off our return route was very professional, because manning the terrain between Kuutsjärvi and Ondajärvi with small patrols (5 – 20 men)with high firepower would reveal our Detachment whatever route we chose. As these patrols opened fire at us heedlessly they managed to delay our advance enough to enable the other ambush patrols nearby to join in guided by the sounds of battle. The weakness of the method was the lack of unified action which resulted in no serious battle.

The bivouacking method used by the Detachment in the operation proved to be very practical. In the skiing training the Detachment had learned to group without further orders during a marching break or when bivouacking to group in the following manner:
the leading Company spread to the right and forward of the incoming ski track in an 45 deg angle, the second Company to the left and forward and the third Company bivouacked behind the rear elements of the two other companies at an direct angle with the incoming ski track. This formed a triangle in which the remaining outfits bivouacked. Securing during bivouacking consisted of each platoon skiing on an ellipse shaped interleaving securing tracks .

During the execution of he operation the Detachment did not get the planned rest after the first day which stressed out the Detachment very much. Brief marching rests and meal breaks were however enough to maintain the Detachment in fighting order. During the last day of skiing the Detachment was exhausted to the extent that some men had to be medicated with Pervitin, the effect of which was undeniably apparent.

During the operation the temperature was constantly at +/- zero and the skiing weather, specially in daytime, very poor. The Detachment had been equipped with ski wax, one tin for middle weather and one for mild weather. The necessity of wax was obvious and they were used during the entire skiing march. Since the snow was rough spring snow the wax was soon worn off. In the day the wet snow sticking on the skis greatly slowed down skiing.

The ski sled used by the Detachment proved to be very practical, if the men had been trained enough in pulling it and the terrain was not too bushy and the ski tracks were tripled. The ski sleds proved to be resilient, only one of those used by the Detachment broke down. The skis used for the construction helped a lot when spare skis were needed, but even more skis would have been necessary. According to the experience gained it was deduced that if each ski sled should include one pair of skis and ski sticks, the ski reserve would be sufficient. (There were 2 ski sleds for each Platoon).

The footwear, felt ski boots, were not practical for the operation because they got wet during the very first night of skiing and remained soaking wet the rest of the time. The result was that the feet of the men specially during the last day of skiing were chafed and hurting. The boots can be a little waterproofed by smearing them with ski wax. In such a warm temperature that occurred during the operation the suitable ski boot would have been greased leather ski boot, although it is unlikely that it would have been able to keep the feet dry.

5 appendixes
Signed by:
I/JR10 Commander, Maj. T.J..Puustinen
Adjutant 2nd Lt. Ennu Virtanen

(Judging by the difficult to read convoluted style of the original, the author must have been a lawyer by civilian occupation. Tr.rem.)

Seppo Koivisto
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Re: Jeljärvi raid in March 1943

Post by Seppo Koivisto » 16 May 2020 11:27

Photos from SA-kuva 125431-59 dated 20 Mach 1943.
First men have arrived over the lake (125432)
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Hilly terrain of lake Ontajärvi (Ondajärvi) (125438)
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Alikersantti Karvonen, who acted vigorously to unite a scattered company and to bring it home (125442)
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Main part of battalion crosses the lake by dusk (125447)
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Men are drinking from a hole in ice (125449)
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Fighters are covering the detachment crossing the lake (125451)
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Major Puustinen arrives by dusk (125459)
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Major Timo Johannes Puustinen on 5 August 1943 after being nominated for the Mannerheim Cross (138014)
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Seppo Koivisto
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Re: Jeljärvi raid in March 1943

Post by Seppo Koivisto » 17 May 2020 10:13

1952 Olympic winner in 4 x 10 km relay Paavo Lonkila opened track for Detachment Raevaara, that transported wounded and dead and got ambushed. Lonkila got several hits in his gear, but made it home. In early 50's the Soviet Union sent a spy with the dog tag of Einari Kärkkäinen, Paavo's close friend who had fallen in the ambush.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paavo_Lonkila
http://www.rukajarvensuunnanhistoriayhd ... -kaikille/
http://www.rukajarvensuunnanhistoriayhd ... n-kuollut/
https://www.sotahistoriallisetkohteet.f ... /-/id/1501

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Deep-impact
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Re: Jeljärvi raid in March 1943

Post by Deep-impact » 21 Nov 2020 13:55

Lotvonen wrote:
19 Apr 2020 06:35
Jeljärvi supply base, raid in March 1943

For some reason this topic has not been dealt with in the forum although it is fairly well documented (in Finnish) and quite interesting.
First a brief description, later complemented by eyewitness accounts and war diary extracts.
It would be interesting to learn the Russian points of view in this incident.

Articl by Andrey Ulanov "DIVERSION BATTALION: HOW THE SOVIET REAR AREA TROOPS CATCHING OF FINNISH SKIERS "

https://warhead.su/2019/04/30/diversion ... kov-lovili

Sory, but "automatical transtale":

"DIVERSION BATTALION: HOW THE SOVIET REAR AREA TROOPS CATCHING OF FINNISH SKIERS "

Every winter, Finnish skiers went ... on raids on the Soviet rear. This was their tradition. The winter of 1943 was no exception: a whole battalion of saboteurs was somehow sent to the village of Verkhniy Idel. What came of this - now we will tell.

Even the already traditional Finnish "folk fun" - the race of ski saboteurs across the Soviet rear - from a fun entertainment turned into a dangerous and unpleasant business. Increasingly, Finnish reconnaissance groups attacked ambushes by border guards and Red Army soldiers. A bullet or a prisoner was not at all the prize for which it would be worth running through the Karelian forests.

Nevertheless, the Finnish command has not yet seen a reason to stop such a "folk craft". On the contrary - remembering that it is more fun to pile on in a crowd, Suomi decided to send a whole battalion for the next sabotage. The choice fell on the 1st Battalion, 10th Infantry Regiment.
Of course, it was unrealistic to prepare real snow ninjas from ordinary infantrymen in a short time. The Finns clearly believed that it would work against "these Russians" anyway, so the training before the raid was limited to ski training - during the day and in good weather. However, once the command was visited by the idea that future saboteurs should be taught something else.

“At the end of January 1943, a battalion consisting of three infantry companies conducted an exercise on the topic:“ Attack on the garrison of a settlement ”. On the lake in the area, about 3 km west of the village. Ruga-lake were made from brushwood huts - village. The exercise took place at night and in a blizzard. After setting the task, the battalion set off on skis in a column of three to the object. The battalion commander with a dressing station remained 2 km from the village. Not reaching 500 m to the object, the companies dispersed and attacked the huts from three sides.

Considering the time and the weather, it can be assumed that the Finnish soldiers really pounced on the training "facility" with genuine enthusiasm - everyone wanted to warm up a little by the fires.

Where Piglet and I are going is a big, big secret!
The target for the massive ski race was to be the village of Verkhniy Idel.

In early March, Finnish skiers from the long-range reconnaissance company of the 14th division checked the route of the future raid and even reached the village itself - but almost fell into the hands of Soviet border guards and barely managed to break away from the chase. Now this detachment was to become the guides for the entire battalion.

On the occasion of the raid to the rear, the soldiers were given a dry ration for six days, which included 20 grams of chocolate, seven sweets and eight cigarettes. Each platoon had two scraps loaded with explosives and incendiary bombs. In total, there were 24 such drags in the Finnish detachment - this stock made it possible to hope for a serious fireworks display, although not on New Year's Eve.

All is well, beautiful marquise!
The battalion reached the Soviet village at dawn on March 16. In addition to the Verkhny Idel itself, the rear units of the 27th Infantry Division in the area of ​​the 16th and 21st kilometers of the Reboly-Kochkoma highway were attacked.

If you believe the brochure, subsequently compiled by the headquarters of the Karelian Front, then the Finns were able to accomplish almost nothing.

“The enemy managed to approach the outskirts of the village from the south and southeast and set fire to several houses. Faced with heavy fire from the garrison and suffering losses (12 killed and 12 wounded), the enemy was forced to retreat, leaving 3 killed on the battlefield. The detachments that went out on the road 16 and 21 km, managed to make minor sabotage and break the connection. The task of destroying the village was not fulfilled. "

In fact, things were far from so good. For example, in the area of ​​the 16th km, the Finns burned down the engineering warehouse of the 27th division, and also broke and set fire to a part of the Rugozero railway line. Also, the sabotage detachment was lucky, the purpose of which was the auto repair shop of our 27th division. The report telling about this is very similar to the complaint of the "robbed Shpak" from the famous Soviet comedy.

“As a result of a surprise attack, the enemy managed to burn down a workshop building with all the tools and equipment in the area, 3 ZIS-5 vehicles, a B-type workshop, one anti-aircraft machine-gun vehicle and up to 20 different wooden buildings, using thermite checkers of delayed action ".



Veterinarian and baker is power!
However, other groups of skiers were less fortunate. Thus, the Finns, who were trying to get closer to the bakery, were met with "organized fire from personnel" and preferred to look for easier targets. Failure awaited the saboteurs, who chose the veterinary hospital as their goal. As indicated in the report, the 2nd rank military doctor Dubyansky with a small group of fighters threw the Finns back with fire. Even the winners of the workshop were eventually stopped by the fire of four drivers from the vulcanization and DARM, which had one light machine gun.

By and large, in addition to the engineering warehouse and the workshop with the equipment being repaired, the Finnish battalion was able to write down only the sawn-off telegraph poles.

Oddly enough, it was the lack of other major successes that helped the Finns in part. Having received the first reports of sabotage, the commander of the 27th Rifle Division, Colonel Korshunov, simply could not guess that an entire enemy battalion was operating in his rear. In terms of the scale of the unfolding "battle", the division headquarters suggested that a group of saboteurs of 60-70 people was operating. However, even these could have done business, so to the aid of the logisticians, a rifle and machine-gun company of a training battalion, as well as three "thirty-fours" of the 375th OT and one BA-10 armored car, were urgently sent by cars.

More realistic information was available from the command of the neighboring 32nd Ski Brigade - they reported to the front headquarters that several hundred people had passed along the track they found to our rear.
In the village of Verkhniy Idel, the soldiers of the training battalion met with a detachment of border guards who had previously approached. In principle, they had a good chance of catching up with the Finns - they retreated, not particularly hiding and dragging the wounded and some of the dead on drags. However, judging by subsequent events, the saying “I know the way, I love the forest” did not apply to the training battalion of the 27th Rifle Division.

“Having passed 5-6 km, to the location of the command post of the Finnish battalion, the detachment settled down for a halt. The detachment had no food. The entire detachment had one topographic map (the commander of the machine-gun company). One of the soldiers of the detachment on the enemy track was blown up by a mine.

The border guards had supper and moved on. The detachment of the training battalion took up the issues of providing food, for which it lost a lot of time and was able to deliver food only by 2-3 o'clock at 17.3, after which he returned to 16 km, where he rested until 8 o'clock.

In other words, they were in no hurry to catch up with the Finnish saboteurs in the training battalion.

There are many of them, but we are alone
Meanwhile, having received reports of a naughty in the rear, they sighed at the front line and went about their usual business - they set up ambushes on the way of the Finns' withdrawal. At 23:25, the departing Finnish battalion flew into just one of the ambushes - from 30 border guards of the 73rd border detachment of the NKVD. Other detachments of border guards and the 345th Infantry Regiment began to pull up to the sound of shooting to the battlefield.

It was then that the Finns got through.

"According to the testimony of the prisoners, the enemy detachment, feeling the threat of a detour, began to scatter randomly in groups in different directions, throwing and burying weapons and equipment in the snow."

Later, the picture of the battle was clarified.

"The unexpectedness of the collision, the loss of control of the squad, platoon and company commanders led to the fact that the 3rd company and part of the 1st company, going to the back of the head behind the lead company, fled in small groups, throwing the wounded and killed, and some soldiers even weapons."

This night in the Karelian forest turned out to be rather noisy and hectic. The solders of Suomi running away now and then ran into another ambush and ran away again, dropping their skis and other items of equipment.

On the evening of March 18, at the 27th, the front commander called, who was happily informed that the Finnish sabotage detachment had been defeated, and the enemy's losses reached 120 people. Apparently, the general went nuts from the named figure and, as diplomatically recorded in the document, "expressed doubt about the number of 120 killed Finns." The division objected to this that they had already caught more than 20 heads of prisoners here. And their interrogations confirm the scale of what happened um the battle.

It is interesting that in the final report with 21 prisoners, seven pairs of skis, eight knapsacks and two axes were recorded as trophies. Either the Finns really abandoned everything, or some of the useful things in the economy were "privatized" right on the spot.

It is not known exactly what the saboteurs themselves thought about what happened. But the desire to make ski runs to the Soviet rear in large crowds on this sector of the front temporarily disappeared.

And then the snow melted - and another story began

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