Finns Stall Vigorous Soviet Offensive for 5th Straight Day

Discussions on WW2 in Eastern Europe.
Globalization41
Member
Posts: 1298
Joined: 13 Mar 2002 02:52
Location: California

Finns Stall Vigorous Soviet Offensive for 5th Straight Day

Post by Globalization41 » 07 Jul 2004 17:24

Helsinki, United Press, The Merced
(California) Sun-Star,
By Webb Miller,
Monday, December 11, 1939: Finland,
awaiting the outcome of its appeal to the
League of Nations for support against
Russia, and a broadcast appeal to the
civilized world for aid, held back attacking
Russian forces
in the Karelian isthmus today
for the fifth consecutive day. ... Reports said
the Russians continued to attack vigorously
on the Taibela river, the outlet of the Vouksi
lake chain to Lake Ladoga. This lake runs
through the Mannerheim defense line. It was
apparent the Russians sought to advance
northwestward along the south side of the
lake system, and thus cut into the heart of
Southern Finland.
It was reported that the
Russians were now about 25 miles into
Finland on the eastern side of the isthmus,
as they had been for days. ... Two unique
Finnish weapons, the "puuko," a razor sharp
dagger, and a remarkable little machine gun
which weighs less than a portable typewriter,
seemed destined to play important parts --
along with skis -- in this strange and
unpredictable war being fought in the ice and
snow and obscurity of the Arctic night. ... You
have to forget all preconceived ideas to
comprehend how little Finland is able to
oppose great Russia. Tactics [combining
with]
geographical and climatic conditions
are not those of usual wars. ... In the north,
the Finns fight with long white cloaks over
their uniforms, to make them invisible against
the snow. They hide behind rocks or trees,
permit the Russians to pass through them,
then on their skies sweep down on the
Russians at a dizzy speed,
to attack them
with the puuko, their six-inch knives which
they wield with upward slashes. ... Seventy-
thousand lakes cover nine per cent of the
area of Finland and they are interspersed by
interminable forests, thickly dotted with huge
outcroppings of rock -- all ideal for defense
and the Finns are especially trained to fight
in such country. Tanks cannot surmount the
great rocks and the Finns have cut down
trees so that they interlock with each other to
form a wide belt of anti-tank obstructions.
Artillery fire only solidifies the log defense
line. ... Much of the fighting is in Arctic
obscurity. Even in the south here we have
only five hours of daylight, and in the far north
there is practically none. It turned much
colder yesterday and there is more snow.
The Finns hope it will snow heavily -- the
more the better. Then the lakes will freeze.
When the Russians try to cross over the ice,
the Finns hope to break the ice with hand
grenades and artillery. ... The Finns are
excellently outfitted. Their smart gray
uniforms are covered with heavy, long great
coats. They wear fur caps, high leather
boots, and fleece lined gloves. When
necessary they haul long slender light sleds
carrying supplies and ammunition.
They
have a special tent, which has a tiny stove,
and will house eight men. In four minutes the
tent can be set up and a fire started.

[Stay tuned for late breaking war bulletins.
... Globalization41.]

User avatar
Hanski
Financial supporter
Posts: 1887
Joined: 24 Aug 2002 19:18
Location: Helsinki

Post by Hanski » 07 Jul 2004 17:43

The reporting is otherwise accurate, but this bit sounds more like vivid imagination than reality...

"They hide behind rocks or trees,
permit the Russians to pass through them,
then on their skies sweep down on the
Russians at a dizzy speed, to attack them
with the puuko, their six-inch knives which
they wield with upward slashes. ... "


Besides being an extremely risky tactic, it would take an acrobat to engage in knife fighting with skis on.

Return to “WW2 in Eastern Europe”