Grigorejev's partisan brigade

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Re: Grigorejev's partisan brigade

Post by Juha Tompuri » 10 Jun 2015 21:37

Thank you very much for the detailed information.
Here is something related from the past:
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 8618&hilit

Regards, Juha

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Re: Grigorejev's partisan brigade, resurrecting old thread

Post by Juha Tompuri » 27 Jun 2015 21:11

igor_verh wrote: Even in tutorial "Partisan's satellite" ("Спутник партизана", 1941 год) there is a description of these rifles (http://static.my-shop.ru/product/pdf/119/1186412.pdf - on page 22).
AFAIK something about that manual in english:
http://sovietguns.blogspot.fi/2014/01/p ... ombat.html

Regards, Juha

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Re: Grigorejev's partisan brigade, resurrecting old thread

Post by igor_verh » 24 Jul 2015 08:30

Juha Tompuri wrote:
igor_verh wrote: Even in tutorial "Partisan's satellite" ("Спутник партизана", 1941 год) there is a description of these rifles (http://static.my-shop.ru/product/pdf/119/1186412.pdf - on page 22).
AFAIK something about that manual in english:
http://sovietguns.blogspot.fi/2014/01/p ... ombat.html

Regards, Juha
Yes, this is exactly "Спутник партизана".
Mangrove wrote:I found Ivan Kazimirov's, Aleksei Ljabekin's, Pjotr Nekrashevitch's, Pavel Oberemko's and Ivan Sobolev's POW cards from the National Archive's database.
Can you remember, at which folders did you find this information - was it department of intelligence of Maselgskaya Army group or something else? I wish to visit National Archive for searching information about all POWs partisans during this raid and their interrogation reports.

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Re: Grigorejev's partisan brigade, resurrecting old thread

Post by Mangrove » 24 Jul 2015 15:15

igor_verh wrote: Can you remember, at which folders did you find this information - was it department of intelligence of Maselgskaya Army group or something else? I wish to visit National Archive for searching information about all POWs partisans during this raid and their interrogation reports.
As I wrote before, the Finnish Red Cross POW cards have been digitised, but can be only accessed in the National Archives' intranets in Helsinki and in various Provincial Archives around the country. The cards are listed by the group/army that captured the soldier or by the camp/hospital that attended him/her.

However, the actual interrogation reports are located among the documents of the intelligence office/department of the battalion, brigade, division and/or group.

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Re: Grigorejev's partisan brigade

Post by igor_verh » 14 Nov 2015 17:34

With a high probability it can be argued that remains of Olya Pahomova were found at last year by Sergey Simonyan's searsh group. These works you can see at first part of short film ''History of unfinished search''("История незаконченного поиска") by Valeriy Frolov. Also during that expedition were found remains of three other partisans, who were killed near road Paatane-Kuusiniemi.


This film - the story of an expedition for the search of remains partisans from Grigoriev' brigade.
Just one of the many other, which were organized by Sergey Simonyan for 36 years.
And search is not finished yet.

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Re: Grigorejev's partisan brigade

Post by Lotvonen » 26 Nov 2015 14:42

A personal account of one phase of this campaign follows. The writer hardly did any fact-checking but just relied on his memory.

Three-hour encirclement
Viljo Vierimaa
Journal Kansa Taisteli, vol. 07, 1967

Preface
A Russian partisan brigade with an estimated strength of 800 men and women attacked in July 1942 from Onda lake in Northern Olonez through the Finnish front in the wilderness of Pieninkä. Their target was to proceed via Porajärvi as deep as Finnish territory, to destroy the supply depot of Suojärvi and to liberate POW camps. The brigade was, however, soon detected as they carried out acts of destruction , e.g. by torching the village of Tumba. Finns took hastily action and set up a task force at Porajärvi to counter the partisans. This task force was made up of units from 12th Brigade. IV Battalion of 12.Br. stopped the advance of the partisan brigade at Täshäjoki river, about 40km from Porajärvi on 30. July 1942. The partisan brigade suffered heavy losses and was forced to retreat while being pursued by Finnish troops. The following account has been written by the Commander of the 7th Company /12.Br participating in the action.

I
IV Battalion of 12.Br. had managed to stop the 700 to 800 men of the partisan brigade, but failed to annihilate them with a force of two companies. The commanders of 12.Br had to change their plans and try another trick to destroy the partisans. All units sent to pursue the enemy - except 7th Company of 12.Br, the unit in my command - were moved in the Northern direction, at the Laasari road and even farther, to receive the enemy that was expected to march at them. 7th Company was assigned to pursue the enemy and hit it when opportune.

My Company was strengthened with a Jaeger platoon of the Battalion and as many as two C class radio transceivers plus one Kyynel transceiver (lightweight patrol transceiver, tr.rem.). We were to be supplied by air as to proviant, ammunition and evacuation of the wounded and killed. The beginning our mission was clear: we could easily see the path that the enemy had marched. A wide trampled path was heading North.

Fairly soon we found that the enemy was using a South-North line marked in the old Russian topographic map as an aid to their orientation. Our problem was that this line that had been cleared maybe 40 to 50 years ago as the map had been drawn, had become reforested almost totally. It was only from the tops of the highest hills that we were able to detect some sort of shadow of it, if looking very carefully. As the "neighbours" found that we were at their heels, they scattered into smaller units so that their tracks disappeared. They did this a few times, yet they reassembled on the same line and continued their march to the same direction in one unit.

II
Our first actual contact with the partisan brigade was in fact rather amusing. We were tracking the main enemy unit about 12 hrs after the above mentioned battle where the enemy had been stopped. Sec.Lt. Eino Hanhivaara and his platoon were searching for the enemy as they found themselves on a swamp where an enemy airdrop was going on. One enemy plane was busily dropping boxes of proviant and ammunition while two or three enemies were hiding at the opposite side of the swamp. They retreated voluntarily, so the platoon could honestly evacuate the material and return with handsome booty. The airmen had dropped mainly boxes, resembling our ammunition boxes, filled with hardtack biscuits or tinned meat. Probably due to the said battle the enemy was still so disorganised that Hanhivaara's platoon was left alone. This explains also why an enemy recce plane appeared over our campfires next night, buzzing about for a long time trying to find out who the sleepers were. The company commander happened to be in deep sleep during the incident and was regretting deeply when his men told him about the low level flight: - You could for example have fired at him, couldn't you!

Also we were astonished and quite amused to see that the tins were marked "made in USA". We now understood where the enemy received support from.

The same day - or night, the light summer nights confused us - there was a shootout on a strip of forest. The Jaeger platoon had finally discovered the main path of the enemy and started pursuit, then bumped on the enemy rearguard . In this skirmish the leader of the platoon and some of his men were wounded. We had to order airlift for them to a nearby lake. For some reason the C stations failed to function anymore, the Kyynel transceiver was our only decent communication channel.

III
The Brigade HQ had been informed by radio that we were following the enemy track on the above mentioned line in the forest. Now the aim was to get two Companies of the Battalion to Tumba river where the line and projected enemy marching route intersected it. We kept following the enemy and tried to catch them but they also were hurrying up. They also had started planting mines on their track, and some of our men stepped on them, so we began to march on the sides of the enemy track. The enemy had been so fast, as well as the 7th Company, that at Tumba river we did not find our troops. All we saw were log rafts used by the enemy on the opposite side - they had crossed the river. We used the same means of crossing and left the other companies to advance as they pleased.

The beaten path heading for North from the river now began to climb on higher ground. We followed it at a better speed. Now it was the 1st Platoon that was scouting two to three hundred meters ahead. We were just climbing up on the slope of a hill that was partly logged but still growing tremendously sturdy Scots pines. The forest was so sparse that I was able to see the platoon climbing uphill. Then an enemy Degtjarjov gun opened up. Our SMGs retaliated, and rifle fire started.

IV
The first question the Company commander asked himself was, are we engaging the main enemy troop? If so, we must play our hand so that our card should remain on the top of the deck. In every battle contact the enemy had proven that they mastered the skill of fighting. The hillside to the right of us was steep and bare, we would not be surprised from that direction. However, to the left the hillside rose deeply and covered with dense forest. As we ran forward the Company Commander shouted to the two platoons following us, instructing them to spread to the left and catch up with Lt. Teeriaho's scouting platoon .
But the main thing now was to get to talk with Lt.Teeriaho, and there he was. He told in his usual calm manner.
- It seems we came and caught them by surprise. They were busy doing things, some were making tea. But as soon as one of them spotted us then it started..
- Have you seen anyone on the left wing? Damn, if the entire gang is in front of us there. So far they always tried to go around us.

LMG fire at us was fast and accurate. The two platoons soon caught up with Teeriaho's and the Company Commander could with satisfaction state that there was nothing serious on the left wing. At the moment the attention of all the men near the Commander was caught by the LMG that fired bursts 70 to 80 meters away, so that one thought one’s top of skull would be blown off. Some men tried to throw hand grenades, but throwing on knees did not make it far enough. Also the terrain was as flat as tabletop, with some rocks to cover us, it did not make any sense to start creeping closer. The Company Commander heard how his messenger NCO, Sgt Rötkönen swore between his teeth . Suddenly he bounced up - no time to warn him - and raced behind the huge pine standing ahead of them. He lifted his rifle but fell on his knees with a muffled cry, his chest pierced by a burst of LMG. His trusted and calm messenger had been killed, the Company Commander felt this blow for weeks.

But now the situation had to be cleared. The Company Commander crept to Huilaja's and Sarviaho's platoons. They had been advancing all the time and soon at right angle at Teeriaho's platoon. At the extreme left wing the Company Commander could see that a complete encirclement was achievable. The left wing could not advance any more, else they would be subjected to friendly fire. It did not matter anyway because the sloping hill was exposed and no one could withdraw unseen.

Still there was a lingering doubt - taking into account the previous tricks of the enemy. If the enemy would strike at us from our rear, then the Finski boys would be surrounded. The Company Commander sent a patrol to watch the rear and report if necessary.

Then the surrounded enemies were earnestly engaged. Our exhortations to surrender were answered by fire from all weapons the enemy had at hand, and many of us had to suffer consequences of carelessly exposing himself.
- So what then, let us give fire at the enemy - we shall clear this out .
Lt Huilaja was wounded, fortunately we had the wireless and nearby a lake that could be suggested as the landing spot.

The enemy kept suffering losses all the time and as their fire decreased in intensity we started to think that the encirclement is soon finished. Then it was time to finish it off. The men dashed ahead, some hand grenades were thrown and then everything was quiet. The enemy had calculated their forces accurately, we found just a couple of wounded. The I Battalion Jaeger platoon appeared and joined us viewing the battlefield.

V
The Company Commander was in a hurry to pursue the enemy and since the Jaeger platoon was assigned to keep contact with the II Battalion it was agreed that they should report to the Battalion Commander and inform about the battle.

We spent time just enough to make ersatz coffee, in the meanwhile we counted our and enemy losses. There were almost 80 dead enemies, eight of them women. Having contacted the Brigade HQ and requested for airlift for the wounded we continued the pursuit.

We did not have to proceed more than five kilometers before we engaged the enemy again behind a wide open swamp.

VI
The Russian partisan brigade continued their fighting retreat until the remainder - believed to be 70 men - managed to cross Lake Jolmajärvi on the 18 August using log rafts. Our losses were 37 men
(1816 words)

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Re: Grigorejev's partisan brigade

Post by igor_verh » 26 Nov 2015 19:09

Lotvonen wrote:A personal account of one phase of this campaign follows. The writer hardly did any fact-checking but just relied on his memory.
Three-hour encirclement
Viljo Vierimaa
Journal Kansa Taisteli, vol. 07, 1967
Thanks for translate, this short story is about destruction of detachment "Avengers" ("Mstiteli/Мстители") on 195,1 hill. In "Kansa Taisteli" were published some other articles http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... n#p1620054 from finnish soldiers, who fought against Grigorejev's partisans, the most accurate and detailed by Tauno Pukka and Pentti Perttuli.
For 30 years were found remains of more than 210 KIA partisans from brigade, about 200 still somewhere in the Karelian forests.
This raid has left a lot of questions, many of which we will never know. Major Grigorejev was killed near 264,9 hill, captain Kolesnik was killed by nazi one year later at sept. 1943 during air landing operation near Dnepr (Днепровская воздушно-десантная операция), komissar Aristov shot himself after a visit to Lavrentiy Beriya. Memories of private partisans do not give a full picture of what happened at those days. Many of those who survived during raid were KIA later. Very helpful is war diary of 12 finnish brigade, but according Pentti Perttuli it contains many mistakes. I think a lot of interesting things can be found in the interrogation reports of POW partisans, but I'm not sure that they have been preserved in the finnish archives.
Only thanks to the book ''Sissiprikaatin tuho'' these events remembered in the USSR at 70s.

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Re: Grigorejev's partisan brigade/an account

Post by Lotvonen » 21 Jan 2016 07:56

A personal account of another phase of this campaign follows.
Breakthrough in darkness

Viljo Vierimaa
Journal "Kansa taisteli" vol.11 1971
I
As you may remember 12. Brigade positioned a kind of receiving positions at the Laasari-Pieninkä road (date : 10 Aug? 1942). The task of IV Btn/12.Br. was to stop the Russians heading North while the pursuing II Btn/12.Br. was to squeeze the enemy from behind - that appears to have been the plan.

But the area to be secured was apparently too wide for the IV Battalion because the Russians upon reaching the Finnish line were able to push through it relatively easily - without any significant losses I think. Then they vanished while IV Battalion sent out patrols to find out quickly the direction the enemy had taken. As it was obvious that they were heading for their own lines and the isthmus between lakes Seesjärvi and Jolmajärvi was the only feasible chance to get out of the Finnish -held territory without having to cross a waterway the HQ of 12.Br anticipated as much and began to move their troops in advance.

The sappers had somehow acquired boats and motorized them, soon among other units my 7. Company was provided with "sea transport" over lake Voijärvi and beyond 15 August 1942. Boat transport was nothing new to men hailing from Northern Finland because that is how loggers used to move about on the lakes and rivers during the spring log floating. The men boarded the boats nimbly and the boat convoys followed each other in the darkening August night. It happened to be full moon and the weather excellent, like bird's milk.
(...)
II
The night passed and at dawn the Companies of our Battalion disembarked near village Särkijärvi. Our Commander Maj. Pyökkimies gave his orders. Each Company was given an area to secure, and the 7th was assigned to an isthmus between two lakes that according to our Major was the most likely approach route of the enemy. The area was over two kilometers wide. As we did not have any confirmed information about the enemy we were in a hurry to get there before the enemy. The Company Commander (=the author) did a quick reconnaissance. It was by necessity quite superficial.

The terrain was covered by old growth mixed coniferous and deciduous trees, mostly virgin birch forest with tall trees sweeping the clouds with their branches and blocking the light, impairing visibility. There were a couple of small treeless bogs providing just some firing area for machine guns, we had received two MG teams to support us, and that was all. The expected enemy approach was divided roughly equally in two by a wildish ridge. By just looking at a map it was easy to guess that it was the ridge that was likely to attract the Vanyas, so the weak reserve that the Company could afford, as well as the Company command post were positioned accordingly.

Then the Platoons took their positions, the machine gunners likewise and everybody set to work. A telephone line was set up connecting the Company with the Battalion command post in the village of Särkijärvi, if my memory does not fail me. The day passed and it was evening, the Company Commander and the Platoon leaders had managed to familiarize themselves with the new positions before the enemy would engage us.

During the day (16 Aug) the Battalion HQ informed us that the tracking patrols had found out with ever increasing certainty that the enemy appeared to head just for the isthmus where the 7th Company had their positions. This may have been the reason why the Battalion was given one Company of the Border Guard Battalion which was stationed in our section. The Company Commander was encouraged by this and he requested reinforcement for some very weak spots but the Commander kept the reserve in his command.

The Company Commander contacted the Border Guard Company, that had arrived from another direction and according to their Commander was totally exhausted. Having learned that they were now in Battalion reserve the men quickly set up their tents half a kilometer behind the 7th Company positions and immediately hit the hay.

III
The listening posts did not notice anything in the course of the day and as the sun was setting the Commander of 7th Coy sent a five man patrol along the ridge with orders to proceed until they find the Neighbour since they were claimed to be coming this way. The patrol, led by Cpl. Huilaja set off and every Platoon was ordered to keep their ears open. The patrol left and having been on the move for half an hour there were men stomping along the ridge coming at us The nearest Platoon leader steadied his nerves as he knew that Huilaja's patrol was out and no shots were fired before the running men were identified. Friends they were. Huilaja's patrol returned at full trot and the Leader had lost his field cap, too. - The patrol had orders not to shoot if they did not have to - the idea was to wait for the Partisan brigade to run just in our arms. It would be about time to end their march there and then.

- There the devils are, Huilaja reported. We had to run hard for one kilometer at least .
- Did the Paruski see you? (= pa-russkii, "in Russian")
- We are not sure but they were coming really fast.

- A Runner was sent to pass the word in the Platoons: -The enemy is in front of us and they are probably trying to break through.

The Company Commander had properly informed the Battalion HQ and he considered that for the moment he had done his duty. He set the IV Platoon led by Sec. Lt. Vahlroos in readiness next to the command post. The development of the situation also depended on the Vanya but it seemed to be certain that they would be coming by the ridge. By now it was evening and soon it would be dark. The cloud cover was heavy, blocking the moonlight. Not a sound could be heard in the frontal direction. One hour later the darkness was complete.

IV
At the very moment about half a kilometer to the East from the ridge machine guns and every other type of weapons opened up. A loud "URAA" rang out while the Company Commander was waiting for report confirming eventual enemy bluff. But the noise of shooting went on and moved a little, it could be said it was in our front line, the Company reserve was set to motion. We did move quickly. Something devilish was going on. It was not possible to run on a poor forest path as fast as in the light of the day , but we did not delay while the noise of shooting kept moving to the East until dying out by the by.

When we were running along our shooting line we did not see anything but men in their posts, clutching their arms and assuring that they had not seen anything. Then we met a man behind his "Emma" (Degtjaryev LMG) who said
- They went past there, I kept shooting all the time but in this darkness I saw nothing except muzzle flashes and heard yelling.

We went on, some shots rang out from the direction the enemy had come from, finally we met our men who knew something and some wounded.
- Where is the Platoon leader?
Soon we found him and now we were able to find out what was going on.

The Second Lieutenant told us that he had just begun to hear quiet sounds beyond the bog in front of his positions and he had just intended to report it as a God-awful "URAA" rang out accompanied by intense firing. As the enemy opened up, our men did the same and it was no longer than five minutes that we were face to face. Since it was not possibly to tell friend from foe everyone fired from his post as fast as he could.

- But there was a MG next to the bog, where the hell is it now?

The MG remained silent and the Company commander and the Platoon leader went to look for it. The MG found and the team had fulfilled their duty. Two men were found wounded and quietly moaning, they were tremendously delighted in meeting their own, the rest were dead. The wounded men told that the enemy had run directly at the MG and the gunner had played his weapon to the very last.

At the same moment there was a flash in the mind of the Company commander:
- What the hell was the banging that had been emerging from the rear of the line?
- They must have been shooting as they went.
- But they must have headed right at the tents of the Border Guard Company!
A runner was promptly sent out.

Soon we found out. The Russians rushing through our line had unknowingly run smack into the tents of the sleeping Border Guards. Also they must have been slack in securing themselves and the results were according to it. The passing enemy had randomly fired at the tents with SMGs.

Moaning could be heard from the bog but since it was certain that no our own men were there the Company Commander denied any attempts to go fooling in the dark.

- Just stay in the firing line and we shall see in the morning what has been accomplished!
The wounded were evacuated in the cover of darkness without incident and we began to find out what had happened really.

Despite the care we had taken and the quietness we had applied the Russian boys had began to doubt taking the direction of the ridge. Our listening posts had not heard anything - not one sound. But despite everything quite soon after Cpl- Huilaja had spotted the enemy they had turned left in their course and arrived on the far side of the bog. Next morning we were able to find out what had happened next.

V
This Partisan Brigade was one of the few Russian troops who really mastered fighting in forest, completely I may add. The troop had succeeded despite the darkness in rallying in front of our positions so silently that the Platoon opposite to them, or anybody else for that matter, could suspect anything of importance. The quiet movement the Platoon leader was about to report was just the enemy preparing for action. A ruthless charge came next - a complete surprise whereby the enemy did not spare their own any more than us.

We must keep in mind the desperate situation in which the Brigade found themselves. Finns were all around them trying to engage them. They had to break through by any means possible.

The Finnish MG had had time to do a decent job despite the darkness. There were 30 to 40 fallen Russians on the bog in front of our positions. We had heard quite a lot of moaning in the night but in the morning we found but two wounded. Obviously some shots we had heard were suicides by the wounded - we had seen many examples during this campaign. One of the wounded was a man shot in the leg and the other one - a woman with a bullet wound through her chest. Both were sitting on the bog , the man was looking at us like one expecting death. When he saw it was not the case he devoted his attention to the woman, Both were taken by stretcher in the rear and out of our view. Later we were told they had been sent to a hospital.

The Border Guard Company had also suffered. There were some twenty men struck from the rolls, some fallen, others wounded. 7th Cou/15.Br lost no more than about ten men.

The Company was not let to lick their wounds for any longer period. In the afternoon (17 Aug.) we were assigned to set up another block that was the last piece of action for us in this campaign.

(2058 words)

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Re: Grigorejev's partisan brigade

Post by Juha Tompuri » 21 Jan 2016 09:41

Lotvonen,

Thank you very much for the above and your translation work at the Forum in general.
You reveal to the "foreigners" personal level things and thoughts, that have been earlier availlable for us, who have been able to study them.

Regards, Juha

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Re: Grigorejev's partisan brigade/an account

Post by igor_verh » 27 Jan 2016 09:22

Lotvonen wrote:A personal account of another phase of this campaign follows.
Breakthrough in darkness
Great thanks for the translation :thumbsup:
There were 30 to 40 fallen Russians on the bog in front of our positions.
We worked there two years ago and really most part of partisans were killed between trenches and camp of Border Guard Company, on the hillside. Already were found remains of more than 50 partisans, all of them were buried near monument on top of a hill. А dreadful place.
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Re: Grigorejev's partisan brigade

Post by Lotvonen » 01 Feb 2016 06:54

Another account by Viljo Vierimaa:
Breakthrough in darkness

Viljo Vierimaa
Journal "Kansa taisteli" vol.11 1971

(The following account has been written by the Commander of the 7th Company /12.Brigade participating in the partisan brigade chasing action in the wilderness of Pieninkä in August 1942.)

I
As you may remember 12. Brigade positioned a kind of receiving positions at the Laasari-Pieninkä road (date : 10 Aug?). The task of IV Btn/12.Br. was to stop the Russians heading North while the pursuing II Btn/12.Br. was to squeeze the enemy from behind - that appears to have been the plan.

But the area to be secured was apparently too wide for the IV Battalion because the Russians upon reaching the Finnish line were able to push through it relatively easily - without any significant losses I think. Then they vanished while IV Battalion sent out patrols to find out quickly the direction the enemy had taken. As it was obvious that they were heading for their own lines and the isthmus between lakes Seesjärvi and Jolmajärvi was the only feasible chance to get out of the Finnish -held territory without having to cross a waterway the HQ of 12.Br anticipated as much and began to move their troops in advance.

The sappers had somehow acquired boats and motorized them, soon among other units my 7. Company was provided with "sea transport" over lake Voijärvi and beyond 15 August 1942. Boat transport was nothing new to men hailing from Northern Finland because that is how loggers used to move about on the lakes and rivers during the spring log floating. The men boarded the boats nimbly and the boat convoys followed each other in the darkening August night. It happened to be full moon and the weather excellent, like bird's milk.
(...)
II
The night passed and at dawn the Companies of our Battalion disembarked near village Särkijärvi. Our Commander Maj. Pyökkimies gave his orders. Each Company was given an area to secure, and the 7th was assigned to an isthmus between two lakes that according to our Major was the most likely approach route of the enemy. The area was over two kilometers wide. As we did not have any confirmed information about the enemy we were in a hurry to get there before the enemy. The Company Commander (=the author) did a quick reconnaissance. It was by necessity quite superficial.

The terrain was covered by old growth mixed coniferous and deciduous trees, mostly virgin birch forest with tall trees sweeping the clouds with their branches and blocking the light, impairing visibility. There were a couple of small treeless bogs providing just some firing area for machine guns, we had received two MG teams to support us, and that was all. The expected enemy approach was divided roughly equally in two by a wildish ridge. By just looking at a map it was easy to guess that it was the ridge that was likely to attract the Vanyas, so the weak reserve that the Company could afford, as well as the Company command post were positioned accordingly.

Then the Platoons took their positions, the machine gunners likewise and everybody set to work. A telephone line was set up connecting the Company with the Battalion command post in the village of Särkijärvi, if my memory does not fail me. The day passed and it was evening, the Company Commander and the Platoon leaders had managed to familiarize themselves with the new positions before the enemy would engage us.

During the day (16 Aug) the Battalion HQ informed us that the tracking patrols had found out with ever increasing certainty that the enemy appeared to head just for the isthmus where the 7th Company had their positions. This may have been the reason why the Battalion was given one Company of the Border Guard Battalion which was stationed in our section. The Company Commander was encouraged by this and he requested reinforcement for some very weak spots but the Commander kept the reserve in his command.

The Company Commander contacted the Border Guard Company, that had arrived from another direction and according to their Commander was totally exhausted. Having learned that they were now in Battalion reserve the men quickly set up their tents half a kilometer behind the 7th Company positions and immediately hit the hay.

III
The listening posts did not notice anything in the course of the day and as the sun was setting the Commander of 7th Coy sent a five man patrol along the ridge with orders to proceed until they find the Neighbour since they were claimed to be coming this way. The patrol, led by Cpl. Huilaja set off and every Platoon was ordered to keep their ears open. The patrol left and having been on the move for half an hour there were men stomping along the ridge coming at us The nearest Platoon leader steadied his nerves as he knew that Huilaja's patrol was out and no shots were fired before the running men were identified. Friends they were. Huilaja's patrol returned at full trot and the Leader had lost his field cap, too. - The patrol had orders not to shoot if they did not have to - the idea was to wait for the Partisan brigade to run just in our arms. It would be about time to finish their march there and then.

- There the devils are, Huilaja reported. We had to run hard for one kilometer at least .
- Did the Paruski see you? (= pa-russkii, "in Russian")
- We are not sure but they were coming really fast.

- A Runner was sent to pass the word in the Platoons: -The enemy is in front of us and they are probably trying to break through.

The Company Commander had properly informed the Battalion HQ and he considered that for the moment he had done his duty. He set the IV Platoon led by Sec. Lt. Vahlroos in readiness next to the command post. The development of the situation also depended on the Vanya but it seemed to be certain that they would be coming by the ridge. By now it was evening and soon it would be dark. The cloud cover was heavy, blocking the moonlight. Not a sound could be heard in the frontal direction. One hour later the darkness was complete.

IV
At the very moment about half a kilometer to the East from the ridge machine guns and every other type of weapons opened up. A loud "URAA" rang out while the Company Commander was waiting for report confirming eventual enemy bluff. But the noise of shooting went on and moved a little, it could be said it was in our front line, the Company reserve was set to motion. We did move quickly. Something devilish was going on. It was not possible to run on a poor forest path as fast as in the light of the day , but we did not delay while the noise of shooting kept moving to the East until dying out by the by.

When we were running along our shooting line we did not see anything but men in their posts, clutching their arms and assuring that they had not seen anything. Then we met a man behind his "Emma" (Degtjaryev LMG) who said
- They went past there, I kept shooting all the time but in this darkness I saw nothing except muzzle flashes and heard yelling.

We went on, some shots rang out from the direction the enemy had come from, finally we met our men who knew something and some wounded.
- Where is the Platoon leader?
Soon we found him and now we were able to find out what was going on.

The Second Lieutenant told us that he had just begun to hear quiet sounds beyond the bog in front of his positions and he had just intended to report it as a God-awful "URAA" rang out accompanied by intense firing. As the enemy opened up, our men did the same and it was no longer than five minutes that we were face to face. Since it was not possibly to tell friend from foe everyone fired from his post as fast as he could.

- But there was a MG next to the bog, where the hell is it now?

The MG remained silent and the Company commander and the Platoon leader went to look for it. The MG found and the team had fulfilled their duty. Two men were found wounded and quietly moaning, they were tremendously delighted in meeting their own, the rest were dead. The wounded men told that the enemy had run directly at the MG and the gunner had played his weapon to the very last.

At the same moment there was a flash in the mind of the Company commander:
- What the hell was the banging that had been emerging from the rear of the line?
- They must have been shooting as they went.
- But they must have headed right at the tents of the Border Guard Company!
A runner was promptly sent out.

Soon we found out. The Russians rushing through our line had unknowingly run smack into the tents of the sleeping Border Guards. Also they must have been slack in securing themselves and the results were according to it. The passing enemy had randomly fired at the tents with SMGs.

Moaning could be heard from the bog but since it was certain that no our own men were there the Company Commander denied any attempts to go fooling in the dark.

- Just stay in the firing line and we shall see in the morning what has been accomplished!
The wounded were evacuated in the cover of darkness without incident and we began to find out what had happened really.

Despite the care we had taken and the quietness we had applied the Russian boys had began to doubt taking the direction of the ridge. Our listening posts had not heard anything - not one sound. But despite everything quite soon after Cpl- Huilaja had spotted the enemy they had turned left in their course and arrived on the far side of the bog. Next morning we were able to find out what had happened next.

V
This Partisan Brigade was one of the few Russian troops who really mastered fighting in forest, completely I may add. The troop had succeeded despite the darkness in rallying in front of our positions so silently that the Platoon opposite to them, or anybody else for that matter, could suspect anything of importance. The quiet movement the Platoon leader was about to report was just the enemy preparing for action. A ruthless charge came next - a complete surprise whereby the enemy did not spare their own any more than us.

We must keep in mind the desperate situation in which the Brigade found themselves. Finns were all around them trying to engage them. They had to break through by any means possible.

The Finnish MG had had time to do a decent job despite the darkness. There were 30 to 40 fallen Russians on the bog in front of our positions. We had heard quite a lot of moaning in the night but in the morning we found but two wounded. Obviously some shots we had heard were suicides by the wounded - we had seen many examples during this campaign. One of the wounded was a man shot in the leg and the other one - a woman with a bullet wound through her chest. Both were sitting on the bog , the man was looking at us like one expecting death. When he saw it was not the case he devoted his attention to the woman, Both were taken by stretcher in the rear and out of our view. Later we were told they had been sent to a hospital.

The Border Guard Company had also suffered. There were some twenty men struck from the rolls, some fallen, others wounded. 7th Company/15.Br lost no more than about ten men.

The Company was not let to lick their wounds for any longer period. In the afternoon (17 Aug.) we were assigned to set up another block that was the last piece of action for us in this campaign.

(2058 words)

Mangrove
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Re: Grigorejev's partisan brigade

Post by Mangrove » 30 Mar 2016 11:25

According to Kujala's 2008 book Vankisurmat: Neuvostosotavankien laittomat ampumiset jatkosodassa ("Killings of POW: Illegal killings of the Soviet prisoners of war during the Continuation War"), Major Pyökkimies was convicted to five years in solitary confinement ("kuritushuone") after the war of ordering the killings of two prisoners of war during August 1942.

The first prisoner, his name is not mentioned on the book, was a young Russian who had lost his way and was captured on 9 August 1942. The other prisoner was captured "a few days later". He was half Finnish (Heikkinen is mentioned to be the name of his father) from Ukraine. He had fallen asleep near a fire and had burned himself, but also wounded after the ammunition in his pocket had exploded.

Mangrove
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Re: Grigorejev's partisan brigade

Post by Mangrove » 29 Nov 2016 19:50

Found this 15 page long paper written by Major S. Jahnukainen from Maaselän Ryhmän Esikunta on 30 September 1942. It contains a short summary of the battles against the brigade, but mainly deals with the lessons learned in the art of forest warfare.
MaaRE.jpg
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Lotvonen
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Re: Grigorejev's partisan brigade/Lt Perttuli's account

Post by Lotvonen » 21 Nov 2017 06:29

The following account is translated at public request . There is a map sketch in the source.

Pentti Perttuli
Bloody assault

Journal “Kansa Taisteli”, vol. 8, 1986

The Pudozh Partisan Brigade had been fighting in the Finnish rear for a month and lost two thirds of their men KIA. Now the remains were heading for their own. The fighting of the desperate partisans was in its rage more than ever experienced.

The Red Army Partisan Brigade ( Partisan outfits actually did not belong to the Soviet Army organization ? Tr.rem.) that had penetrated in the Finnish rear at the seam between Maaselkä Group and 14.D was heading for home one month later. Their strength was one third of the original number, that is 200 to 250 warriors. Yet they still were extremely dangerous – desperate, tired and starving partisans were fighting fanatically.

The CO of Maaselkä Group, Gen. Lt Taavetti Laatikainen had issued an order on 26.7. “The return of any enemy patrols or enemy men on their own side must be prevented. To achieve this it must be made sure that the enemy in no spot shall cross the Paatene-Kuusijärvi-Ontajärvi road.”

As battles continued early August the idea that the remains of the partisan brigade would attempt to take the route through the isthmus of lakes Voijärvi-Laasarinjärvi-Jolmajärvi was being confirmed. A strong line was being set up there to block the escape route of the partisans. The line was completed by 15 Aug. The main body of the troops included II Battalion of 12.Br, CO Maj. Pyökkimies. To complete them other available units were transferred to the area.

Border Jaeger Company again in the first line

One of the unit sent as reinforcement was a Company of Border Jaeger Battalion 6, of 14.D., whose CO I was. It happened that it was just this outfit that was to take the furious breakthrough assault of the partisan brigade during the last hours of 15. Aug. - a true march under fire.

My Company included three platoons led by 2nd Lt Rafael Sourander ( later Sora), 2nd Lt. Mauri Rönty and Sgt. Einari Korhonen. We were reinforced by MG half platoon led by Sr.Sgt. Risto Somiska. The platoons were in young but competent hands. Sourander was a brave soldier and one of the best sportsmen of the Division, Rönty was considerate and calm. Korhonen and Somiska were among the most skilled and brave reserve NCO leaders. Both were promoted to Staff Sergeants during the same year.

We were transported by lorries to the area of action and I reported to Maj. Pyökkimies at point 161.7, situated next to the road W of lake Jolmajärvi about 15km S of the Kuusiniemi ferry.

The Major ordered:
- You shall move to SW from the road to the isthmus between lakes Valkialampi and Vitsajärvi, some two and a half kilometres from here, and when there, contact Lt. Viljo Vierimaa who has manned the isthmus with his Company, facing West. His unit is the 7th Coy of II Btn of 12.Pr. You shall place your men as reserve behind Vierimaa, preparing for counter-attacks and reconnoitre paths for counter-strikes. You shall place the MG half platoon in Vierimaa's position to reinforce defence.

Saturday night in the wilderness

It was 21.30 hrs . We had arrived one hour ago to the isthmus through the terrain. I had met with Lt. Vierimaa and partly negotiating with him carried out the preparation according to my orders. I had placed the Platoons of my Company on a hill covered by sparse pine forest some 150m from the positions. Here was also my Company Command Post. The tents were placed some 50 to 70m from each other.

Together with Vierimaa I had familiarized myself with the defence line that he had placed in the trench that the Russians had dug across the isthmus against Finnish advance the previous summer. The isthmus was a bit less than 2km wide. The manning was rather sparse, the men were placed in pairs 20 to 30m from each other.

The August night was falling. The uninhabited wilderness, reaching 100km up to Finnish border at Lake Pielisjärvi, was oddly quiet. I remembered that it was Saturday although I admitted that weekdays do not matter in war.

Skilful and tough enemy was hiding somewhere in front of us

We had not been updated about the enemy. We did know that they were hiding somewhere in the wilderness in front of us and it was skilful, tough and ruthless. We also were aware that days of hunger was forcing them in a desperate state and now they were estimated to attempt to return to their side somewhere here. The terrain comprised forest, swamps, lakes and ponds between ridges. I had informed my Company of these facts. I had ordered them in standby battle readiness. The men were not to remove their boots. Weapons were to be at hand every moment.

SMG burst alerts

All preparations were carried out. The men in the front line were staring ahead in the darkness. MG gunner assistant were carefully removing branches and saplings in front of their position to open up shooting field. At my command post the Border Jaegers were waiting at their tents, in readiness.

Suddenly a brief SMG burst cut the silence some 2km off. Nothing more could be heard, the sound vanished. Enigmatic silence continued: What did the burst mean? Us or the enemy? Accidental burst? Why no more shooting?

The entire manning of the front line sharpened their alertness to the extreme. Fingers were moved to triggers. Men were quietly waiting and staring in the darkness, both in the front line and behind it at the tents of my Company.

Firewall of thousands (sic!) of muzzle flashes rushing on from the darkness

One of the men leaning at the trench wall thought he was hearing odd sound of creeping in front of the line. What is that? An animal of the forest ? Enemy creeping?

The answer was there one second later, everything changed in a moment. Ahead of the men, 20 to 30m from the trench thousands of shots were suddenly fired. The muzzle flames comprised a wall of fire some 30 to 40m wide that began to roll on as a deafening wave. The enemy had managed to sneak in the darkness just next to the trench and was now furiously rushing at the defender like a storm of fire.

The moment is described in book “Suomi taisteli”:
“The surprise is shocking and complete. The enemy cannot be repelled. After a few shots the few defenders of the front line duck down in the trench. It is their only chance. The rattle passes overhead. Hundred of steps are hitting the top of the trench. Enemy is jumping over the trench in a tight wedge and continues their assault up the hill toward the Company command post. The enemies are moving as dark shadows standing and all the time firing off the hip.”

Cold blooded machine gunners

Sr. Sgt. Somiska's other MG, placed 50m to the side of the enemy assault route was the first to take defensive action. The gunner, Pfc. Martti Hyvönen and his assistant Pfc. Viljo Ollikainen had noticed the aforementioned SMG burst and they had been on the standby at their MG ever since. Hyvönen had grabbed the spade grips of the MG and Ollikainen was guiding the ammo belt, having more belt boxes next to his side. In the vicinity of the MG were also Sr.Sgt Somiska, Cpl. Sulo Kurkinen and Jaeger Veikko Piiro, the observer.

As the enemy assault started the men stayed in their positions despite the crackling wave of fire. Hyvönen opened fire immediately while Ollikainen fed the belt. The brave men managed to spend three belts at the shadowy enemy mass rushing past. The MG was unable to beat back the breakthrough but several enemies were killed by the bursts fired at short distance.

Counterstrike

We heard the enemy assault at the Company command post as a sudden noise of battle, Filling the entire forest. Immediately I ordered 2nd Lt. Sourander and Sgt. Korhonen to move down the hillside in the trench to the positions we had reconnoitred to reinforce the front line. We had no information about the quick crumbling of the front line at our command post.

The platoon leaders grabbed their SMGs and set out, running at the head of their Platoons into the darkness. The men were following them at their heels. There was no hesitation whatsoever. 2nd Lt. Sourander reached in his own direction the trench without meeting resistance: there were no enemies here, although one could not tell that in the darkness.

Battle in darkness

Sgt. Korhonen, hurrying at the peak of his platoon for the noise of shooting, bumped at half-way of the slope into a dark shadow climbing uphill. It took a moment until the Sergeant realised that the shape in front of him was not a friend retreating from the front line but an enemy. He acted quickly, whacking at the adversary with the butt of his SMG and yanking off the enemy weapon.

The leading men of the platoon were by now at the same level with the Sergeant. Behind and on both sides of the knocked down partisan shadowy enemies were moving about.

Quote from “Suomi taisteli”:
“Soon a heavy firefight at a range of a few meters is going on. The enemy is rushing on heedlessly. There is yelling and women screaming. The men of the platoon are crouching low behind tree trunks. The enemies are moving as dark shadows, standing up and running from tree to tree, disregarding everything. The platoon is yielding to the left. The melee ends in a couple of minutes. The enemy has rushed past and partly through the platoon, continuing uphill and vanishing in the darkness. There are wounded men moaning on the hillside.”

Fighting at the command post

At the command post of my Company near our tents I was listening the intense sound of fighting at the front line after Sourander and Korhonen had left with their platoons. At the command post there were the Company admin squad, medic squad and two Signals men.

A moment ago I had sent 2nd Lt. Rönty to get his platoon from the tent 100m farther off. I had planned to place this platoon in a position to an embankment at the command post as the backup defence line for the possibility that the enemy might break through the front line despite the reinforcement. Our tents were set up behind this embankment covered by it.

Suddenly a dark shadow emerges on the embankment between trees – soundlessly like a ghost.
- Who is there?
My yell is not answered. The shadow presses itself against a tree, standing immobile?
- Who is that? Are you one of ours? I am enquiring again.
No response.
Then the shadow moves, holding a long objective that he starts pointing at me.
It is a rifle!

I fire a burst with my SMG that has been in my hands in readiness all the time. At the same moment I realise that the enemy has broken through! Another nasty thought: what if the shadow that collapsed at the tree were one of our men, who had left the front line, panicked by the terror of the battle..?

Anyway, the enemy has rushed through. The spearhead of the assault has reached my command post.

The situation was a surprise. Yet my thoughts were clear – normal in a really dangerous situation in war: Now we had to do what we could.

I yelled, ordering the men at hand to take positions on the embankment.
How I wish that Rönty would come here quickly! Was the idea hammering in my mind.

Several muzzle flames were flashing behind the trees in front of us. They were approaching fast – there were dozens of them! Bullets were scraping and slamming at the tree trunks.

Some of the men were not able to withstand the pressure and they withdrew. Finally there were on the embankment only me and the admin squad leaders Sgst Urho Tolonen.

We fired brief bursts with our two SMGs, managing to check the approaching muzzle flames for a couple of minutes. Then the enemy shades started running past us on our left. They managed to get behind us at our tents. Wild yelling emerged from the darkness. The partisans had got our backpacks in their hands, they pushed down our tents while yelling madly in their ecstasy. Not a single one man of my Company, however, was in the tents. Everyone was fighting.

Now there was Tolonen, yanking at my belt and shouting through the noise of battle:
- I am soon out of ammo! The Vanyas are on our right already!

Among partisans

Both of us were using up our last mag.

We started creeping backwards away from the embankment , then we retreated in the cover of trees to the edge of the swamp in our rear, and from there together with the enemy files across the swamp. They did not spot us in the darkness and in their after battle furore as strangers. In the forest on the far side of the swamp we got rid of their company.

The partisans proceeded across the swamp and beyond in small groups in two files – soundlessly as ghosts. After a brief respite we tacked them for a kilometre, spending our last cartridges as single signal shots to inform our troops at the road about the passage of the partisans.

I must recount the role of Rönty's platoon in this wild show.

2nd Lt. Matti Rönty was a young Platoon leader. He was liked by the men due to his silent calmness
and honest, just demeanour. Having received my order to rally his Platoon to the command post he hurried to his tent that was some 100m further off, assembled his men and started advancing in a single file, led by himself, back to the command ost. The forest was full of intense noise of fighting, dense flashing of muzzle flames were seen ahead on the left.

Rönty could not imagine that the enemy would be at the command post from where he had left just some minutes before. The men were therefore not alert enough.

They collided with the partisans near the tents. In the ensuing shooting the following men were killed:

2nd Lt. Matti Röntyfrom Lapinlahti, Sgt. Eino Huotari from Kuhmo, Pfc. Viljo Seppälä from Pälkäne and Jaeger Erkki Rautio from Nurmes. Pfc. Viljo Kilponen from Kuhmo was badly wounded. He died next day in the field hospital in Paatene.

High price of breakthrough

The enemy assault started about at 2200hrs, lasing for a quarter of an hour. At dawn the course of the battle was evident in detail. The entire partisan brigade assault route of 150m, starting from the front line, up the hillside to my command post was marked with enemy bodies. The enemy had suffered casualties at every stage of the battle:
Under fire from Hyvonen's MG, in close combat with Platoon Korhonen, under fire from two SMGs at my command post and at encounter with Platoon Rönty.

There were a total of 58 fallen, four of which were women. We found on the slope one woman, moaning in her wounds, and one wounded men who surrendered.

Later we found partisans dead of their wounds along their escape route between the battlefield and the road behind us. It may never be found out exactly how many of the partisans died of their battle wounds during the final stage of their escape.

My company for their part was unable to fulfil the above mentioned order by Gen. Lt. Laatikainen.
The price of the success was high for the enemy, however. They lost about one third of their existing number as casualties. The intensity of the battle is illustrated by the fact that some of the enemy killed had burned: their clothing had been ignited by the muzzle flash of shots fired at the shortest distance. Some had been killed by the blast of a heavy mortar (sic!) bomb . This sole bomb was fired at the very beginning of the battle, landing a few dozen meters behind Finnish positions where the enemy spearhead had just reached. The powerful sound of the explosion increased to the feeling of the night battle.

Many kinds of information

The operation of the Pudozh Partisan Brigade has been widely described both in Finland and in the Soviet Union. The Finnish theatre in Petrozavodsk ran for years a play of the operation called “Korpi ei tunne armoa”.

As always, the narratives of the two sides do not coincide this time either. Russians are even talking of “partial success”, Finns are exaggerating the results of the chase.

With consternation I have found out that the war diary of II/12.PR provides totally false information about the battle. The entire text is a figment of imagination and proves that the writer did not have the slightest idea about the true course of the battle.

Probably due to the said wara diary also author Pentti H. Tikkanen, too has been misled when writing his book “Sissiprikaatin tuho”. He is spinning a yarn about “ the Border Guard Company asleep in their tents, wjho were totally surprised, suffering a loss of some twnty men”. In fact we lost five men.

The Russian author Dmitri Gusarov recounts in his book “Beyond mercy”, translated in Finnish as “Korpi ei tunne armoa”, that the Border Guard Company was totally surprised in their tents, careless and unsecured, and wiped out almost to the last man.

The truth is something else. The battle was mostly fought by the Border Guard Company alone. The mortar that was there as support fired one single shot although their war diary claims that the number of shots was 38!

The described battle must have been one of the most intense that the partisan brigade fought during the 32 days .

My Company did everything they were able to. In our brothers-of-arms meetings I have been able to emphasize to my men that as to this battle we are able to have a clear conscience and keep our heads high. It is due to the honour of my Company and the brave men in its ranks that I wanted to recount once more the phases of this battle.

Lotvonen
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Re: Grigorejev's partisan brigade

Post by Lotvonen » 21 Nov 2017 06:31

Mangrove wrote:Here are all of the summaries I found from folder T 5805/4.
Is anyone interested in seeing these summaries translated?

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