Discussions on the Winter War and Continuation War, the wars between Finland and the USSR.
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Post by Klaus169 » 10 Dec 2006 19:57

[QUOTE="In Kansa Taisteli magazine 10/1960 there is an article of fight that looks like to be against Colonel Zhukov's unit. The article is written by Viljo Vierimaa who was then acting commander of Finnish III/JR 54.
[...] Cheers/Juha[/QUOTE]

Juha -- There is no doubt that you located a detailed account of the encounter; the only discrepancy I see with my father's brief notes is the exact date but it could be that Private Eelis Yrjänäinen died of his wounds on October 28, 4 days after the fight. Thank you for this information, I will add it to the biography that I had prepared for my father's 90th birthday. At the Volksbund website, I had been able to find out the fate of several of his comrades (after putting up a brave fight, the 169th Infantry division was destroyed in April 1945 near Halbe) and get some additional feedback. One of his old comrades actually escaped, breaking through three pockets, and finally changing into civilian clothes (I have his original December 1945 letter). My father passed away in his sleep last year.

Was this Colonel Zhukov identical with the famous Soviet commander?

Again, many thanks,

Korpraali V
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Location: Finland

Post by Korpraali V » 11 Dec 2006 06:28

Klaus169 wrote: Was this Colonel Zhukov identical with the famous Soviet commander?
Nope, he was another Zhukov. (I have no info about possible relations etc)


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re: Partisans

Post by Mika68* » 22 Sep 2011 22:28

This post was moved from ... 0#p1631260



Soviet partisans which returned from their war journeys from Finnish Lapland said to their commanders that they destroyed German military bases.
In fact they killed innocent Finnish women and children in Kuosku (September 1941), Seitajärvi (July 1944) and Lokka (July 1944).

As funny as Seitajärvi was as German military base in Soviet impression was that Savukoski was town.

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Re: Partisans, Lokka July 1944

Post by Lotvonen » 25 Mar 2023 05:21

Uula Aapa

Partisan raid at Lokankylä

Magazine “Kansa Taisteli”, 07 1963

The author is a pseudonym for Major (ret.) A.O. Väänanen (1900-1987). He was an author describing patrol and partisan war in Lapland.

Lokka village in Lapland wilderness comprised about ten habitable houses and a school. A bad 50 km road from Vuotso led there, ending at the Luiro river where there was a ferry across the less than 100m wide river.

In the 14th July 1944 the inhabitants were busy in their usual tasks, on potato patches or herding cattle. At home were only women, children and oldsters. Able-bodied men were in the front lines defending the country.

For the safety of the villagers there was a NCO sentinel post 1+7 accommodated in the schoolhouse. Minor positions had been constructed in the immediate vicinity of the schoolhouse against any partisan attacks. The schoolhouse was situated in the W perimeter of the village, apart from the rest of the buildings grouped closer to the river. To secure the sentinel post one sentry was constantly patrolling around the sentinel stronghold and alert in case of a threatening danger. The said day Pvt. Riesto relieved the previous sentinel at 18.00hrs.

It was a light and warm summer night. Everything appeared to be peaceful. Also it was not likely that the foe would bother to extend a raid into such an insignificant and poor wilderness village. This is what the villagers believed. But it was to be otherwise.

As the sentinel ambled on his path his attention was caught on something on the low forested ridge West of the village. Having watched the ridge for a while the sentry spotted some suspect back and forth movement, so he decided to find out. Pvt. Riesto started sneaking carefully over the schoolhouse yard in the direction of the ridge and once mid-way on the open meadow he spotted a largish group of armed men dressed in brown grouped beyond the ridge.
-Partisans! Shouted the sentinel and dashed in the nearest foxhole and opened fire. Partisans retaliated with a few bursts of LMG fire.

Kin the schoolhouse were present the Post leader Sgt. Sundrops, three soldiers and three old villager men on a visit. The rest of the soldiers were doing various chores in the village. Upon hearing the LMG bursts the Post leader yelled:
-Alert! Take positions, every man!
Led by their NCO the men with their weapons rushed out and found positions in the nearest foxholes.

Once in position the NCO started observing the situation. He spotted some 60 to 70 partisans on the ridge at 300m and at a distance of about 100m some 20 enemies advancing toward the schoolhouse at which they opened lively firing. Having seen the severity of the situation the NCO ordered the man nearest to him to return to the sentinel post and alert by telephone the Det. Somppi accommodated in Korvanen village. After a while the soldier returned reporting that an outfit shall start out from Korvanen situated some 18 km N of Lankylä at the best possible marching speed.

As the battle went on the soldiers returned from the village and joined the fighting. Now the schoolhouse was defended by the NCO, seven soldiers and three civilians who had been given rifles. This firepower stopped the partisans heading for the schoolhouse The NCO assessed the situation. In the worst case it would take three hours until the support troops would arrive. He and his men would have to delay a force of almost one hundred partisans to enable the civilians to leave the village.

As the NCO kept watching the enemy he saw that the main partisan troop left the ridge and started fanning out N and S of the schoolhouse. He made a crucial decision and said:
-Now we have to abandon this building, at once, because we shall be surrounded in a minute. The road to East is still open and it is there where we have to get out.

Having made up his mind Sgt. Kuopsu ordered Pvt. Kumpula to fetch ammunition from the schoolhouse for every man, then he ordered his men to disengage unseen by the enemy, then retreat to a hill some 400m East and take positions there.

The disengagement was successful but Pvt. Kumpula, tasked to fetch ammunition, was left behind in the schoolhouse Having managed to enter the building he found a couple of boxes and hastily started filling them with ammunition. Then he filled his pockets while he noticed that the firefight outside was going on. But soon bullets started to hit and pierce the schoolhouse walls at a quick rate, hitting the opposite wall with a nasty whine. Kumpula was in a hurry now. He grabbed the cartridge boxes and run to the door. To his consternation he found that his pals had left and abandoned him in the schoolhouse.

-I have to get out of here by any means, he decided while retreating in the house. He started going from one classroom to another to find which of them would provide the best escape route. Passing the kitchen he heard children crying behind the door, having opened it he was surprised:
-Are you still here ? And the children, too! Why did you not join Kuopsu as he left with his men ?
-I did not yet know that Kuopsu and his men have left the school, said Mrs. Kumpula, weeping . The kids are so scared by the shooting outside that they are about to perish from weeping.
-This is a fine mess, Kumpula regretted aloud.
-I was convinced that you and the kids would have joined Kuopsu. What a situation, whatever may happen...
Now kids do nots weep any more, your dad is here, Kumpula tried to calm down his kids, all five of them, the youngest three weeks old. Kumpula addressed his wife:
-I am going to find out through which hole we can slip out. Just wait here and try to calm them down.

Next Kumpula went reconnoitring and saw that the schoolhouse was under fire from every side. A storming of the building was not yet going on. There was no possible way to save his family unnoticed by the partisans He decided to hide his family in the cellar where bullets could not penetrate.

Kumpula led his family in the cold dark cellar. There was no time to find any means of illumination. Mrs. Kumpula and the children were left there, crying, as Kumpula ran to the nearest classroom and opened fire from the window at the partisans with his rifle. Having fired for a few times five rounds he dashed to the window of another schoolroom, then went on shooting trying to confound the partisans. As the enemy was getting too close Kumpula repelled them with hand grenades, he had found a dozen of them in on the floor.

The firefight went on for half an hour as Kumpula kept firing from different windows until suddenly the rifle was ripped off from his hands. Having recovered from the shock the soldier found he had been wounded in his right arm. Having bandaged his wound with his first aid kit he found that he was unable to use his weapon.

Now Kumpula hurried to his family in the cellar, and having calmed down his weeping children he told his wife:
-I am going to get the villagers and the soldiers to come to help you. In the meanwhile you just wait here in cellar, in safety as long as you stay quiet. I shall be back to take care of you, soon.

Before leaving Kumpula embraced his wife and kids to calm them down. Next he went to the second cellar on the opposite side of the house. The edge of a field growing tall grass was here closest to the schoolhouse and the soldier decided to make use of the cover provided by it. Carefully he opened the window of the basement, crept out into the tall grass of the field and then down a ditch, all the time farther from the surrounded schoolhouse The partisans failed to spot Kumpula leaving the house because all their attention was attached to the classroom windows from where they had been shot at and harassed with hand grenades.

Having luckily reached the bank of the Luirojoki river he found that the sentries had crossed the river and were now engaging a smaller partisan outfit on the Western bank. Kumpula proceeded upstream to the place where the villagers kept their boats, then took one to get to his outfit. Crossing was difficult for a man with one arm only but finally he succeeded.

Once on the opposite bank he reported to his NCO.
-What a wonder ! Is that Kumpula himself coming, all alive ! I already had written you off from the rolls.
-It was touch and go that it would have been so. I survived by miracle, but how come you got away so fast ?
-The partisans started enveloping the school from the East and South, we got in a hurry to get out of there and I forgot all about you then. It was not until we were crossing the river that I found you were not among us. There were already some partisans at our heels, turning back was not feasible as we are so few. I must say I am much concerned about the fate of your family. This is a miserable situation. All we can do for now is to keep the partisans from crossing the river and wait for relief by Detachment Sompio. Let us hope your family would survive in the cellar until we shall be able to save them.
-Do you know where the rest of the villagers are ? Kumpula asked.
-Most of them have escaped in the forest and maybe most of them have managed to cross the river to this side. Now, just look at the village! Those smoke clouds ! Partisans are torching houses !
-The schoolhouse is one of them ! Kumpula cried out in anguish.
Turning to the soldiers he went on saying:
-My family is in the cellar of that burning house. Who are joining me to save them?
-All of us are volunteering but it would be totally hopeless, the NCO tried to calm down Kumpula. We are six men against one hundred partisans. We are far too few. Of us, Ponku, too, is wounded.
-The relief should certainly be coming here any time now, one of the men remarked.

After a quarter of an hour arrived the detachment from Korvasenkylä, strength 1+17 and also a German outfit of 53 men. After an intense fire preparation the river was crossed and advancing to the W part of the village started. In the village only weak resistance was met because the main partisan troop had withdrawn having set houses in fire with phosphorus plaques. The soldiers witnessed terrible human fates.

The schoolhouse for one burned down, taking with it the family of Pvt. Johannes Kumpula. In a cow shed two women burned to death and in another house one old woman, a boy and a girl in a nearby house.

A 68 years old man had been making sauna whisks at another cow shed, he was found scorched to death.

Two women and a boy were killed in their boat having almost made it to the other bank .

One 25 year old wife had been shot in stomach. He was operated in a hospital and it was found the baby's head had been pierced by the bullet. The woman, too, died.

Two woman working on a potato patch had been shot in knees but they managed to get in safety on the far bank of the river nevertheless.

One girl whose mother burned to death was shot in a leg by five partisans in a cowshed, managed to escape.

Aleksi Lokka (74 yrs.) was wounded in a leg but escaped.

Old pepole, sick people and small children unable to flee sought their refuge in houses. As partisans set the houses on fire they also blocked the doors. As the people tried to escape from the burning houses the partisans threatened them with weapons and the result was that the people were burned in the houses.

Seven of the ten houses of the village were burnt down to the ground. Three houses did not catch fire despite attempt.

Forty-seven villagers escaped during the firefight, most of them on the other bank of the river.

Partisans burned to death in houses the following people:

Katri Yliriesto (32 yrs),
Elino Lokka (60 yrs),
Irma Lokka (11 yrs),
Eeva Pyhäjärvi (53 yrs),
Marie Vitikka (40 yrs),
Emma Neitola (42 yrs),
Matti Saarela (68 yrs)
Lyydia Saarela (50 yrs),
Paula Korpinen-Sergejeff (28 yrs),
Rauno Sergejeff (6 yrs),
Hilja Kumpula (31 yrs)
and her children:
Ritva (7 yrs),
Lauri (9 yrs),
Martti(5 yrs),
Ånna (3 yrs) and
Siiri, 3 weeks in age.

The following villagers were shot by the partisans:
Hellin Lokka (27 yrs),
Selma Kovakka (58 yrs),
Årpu Manninen (9 yrs),
Antero Lokka (3 yrs),
Linnea Lokka (30 yrs) and
Urpo Yliriesto (3 yrs).

These villagers were wounded by the partisans:
Ilma Manninen (50 yrs), Raili Neitola (22 yrs), Aino Kovakka (3 yrs), Timo Kovakka (5 yrs) and Åleksi Lokka (74 yrs).
The wounded were evacuated as soon as possible in the military hospital in Ivalo

The casualties include civilians and two of the sentry detachment as WIA. The Partisans left behind in the village eight KIA. They took their wounded with them.

As soon as the fighting had ended a pursuit of the partisans started. It was continued up to the national border but due to bad weather no battle contact was made. [In the Lapland wilderness there was no continuous front line, just field strongholds here and there. Tr.rem.]
Lokka1 (2).jpg
An eyewitness account by Ms. Martta Ruha

In the summer of the year 1944 the villagers in Lokka felt unsafe. They contacted and asked the Sodankylä chief of Police [Raappana, tr.rem.] for evacuation. The request was declined, it was said that the lorries were needed elsewhere.

In the beginning of July Russian partisans had attacked Seitajärvi village in Savukoski, some 30km from Lokka. The raid had resulted in fifteen victims. One week later Partisans attacked Lokka. Martta was 8 years old then and he remembers the incident even today.
“It was the 14th July 1944. I was waiting on the yard with other children the first cry of a baby being born, and us being invited in Pemmala's farmhouse where auntie Hilda was just giving birth. My mother was in the cowshed, milking cows with Auntie Enna and my cousin Raili while granny was making coffee in the outdoor kitchen.
Suddenly a terrible shooting broke out followed by a horrible confusion! Soon I saw Raili running for the riverbank like a colt, her fair hair flowing. I followed her to the river where a soldier, one of the guards of the village, was pushing out a row-boat. He had been wounded by the attacker's bullets as well as Raili who had been hit in her hip as she ran out of the cowshed.!
“We crossed the river with the boat, then went on in the cover of forest as fast as possible. Afterwards I have wondered why the dry pine cones on the path did not sting the soles of our feet at all. Finally we arrived at the road to Korvanen.”
“There we met seven Finnish soldiers riding bicycles. They had been sent out to reconnoitre to see what was going on in Lokka, 17 km away, as smoke columns were seen and the phone line did not work.”
They made a campfire by the road and the soldiers phoned Vuotso, German lorries were to be sent to evacuate the inhabitants. Raili was given first aid by bandaging her wound, Martta was administered with a big white pill.
“I wondered why I had to take that pill as I was totally healthy. Maybe it was something tranquillizing . It took two weeks until I started crying.”
“I was sitting by the road as the German soldiers came. They were sitting on lorry platforms, pointing their guns at us until they found us unharmful. One of the men from Korvanen joined us, the rest had proceeded to Lokka”.
“I heard the grown-ups to say that Hilda could not possibly have survived, she had just given birth. As the first lorry returned from Lokka, there was Hilda with her baby in her arms!”.
(Magazine Kodin Pellervo, 3.11. 2016)

The Partisan outfit carrying out the raid was called “Stalinets” led by Tov. (tovarich) Vasilii Gontaryenko. His outfit comprised 140 to 150 men. More than 60 of them had been jailed for ordinary crimes before the war. They had volunteered after the outbreak of the war.

The story of the raid described from the Partisan side was written by Igor Efremov, a reporter of the “Polyarnarya Pravda” in 1995. His employer refused the story, instead it was published after translation in magazine “Sompio” in Finland 10th April 1995.

Two Partisan outfits converged in Kovdor, then started off together for their objectives. They crossed the national border N of Peuratunturi and kept going several days. The CO tov. Daniil Podoplyokin was sure that the firepower of his force was enough to stop any Finnish outfits, most likely no greater than a platoon sized patrol.

Then the Partisans split. Tov. Podoplyokin headed for Seitajärvi. Tov. Gontaryenko's outfit proceeded NW and crossed Kemijoki river N of Nivatunturi until bivouacking at Sorvortatunturi for several days.

The actual operation started on the 3rd July 1944. The distance from Sorvortatunturi to Lokka is 30 km and the outfit spent five days en route. Having arrived in the vicinity of Lokka village – a little more than one kilometer - the partisans spent a week reconnoitring their objective, which is far more than needed for a village comprising ten houses. Tov. Gontaryenko was tarrying since he had been informed by radio that the Podoplyokin outfit had raided Seitajärvi and was being pursued by the Finnish Detachment Sau, while “Stalinets” has not been detected . The more the defender concentrated on Podoplyokin's outfit the better for Tov. Gontaryenko.

“There were three platoons of us each with 40 to 45 “soldiers”. Jaakkola's [he was a Finn] Squad comprised 22mn. We had three heavy machine guns, six Degtarjev machine guns and41 Russian SMGs and some war booty weapons. And of course two radio transceivers.”

The partisans observed how Finns were guarding at the schoolhouse that was the base of the guard outfit. They counted that Finns had four or five SMG s and a few rifles. Some guards were on duty all the time and at night a patrol in the village.

The partisans tried to capture the local postman, Andreas Alariesto [later known as a naivist painter] but he escaped, wounded. Alariesto informed the authorities but he was ignored. Later a villager, going fishing, spotted a well trodden trail, but also his report was ignored.
“Stalinets” attacked the village on the 14th July 1944 a little before 1800hrs. Against this force the few sentries had no chance, two or three only were able to put up resistance. Platoon Nikolai Dmitrijenko's second squad was the first to reach the village, the two others outfits followed from N and S. The partisans had virtually surrounded the village. The only direction to escape was East where the Luiro river is. That is where the villagers tried to get, some creeping on the fields, others in ditches, some in the cover of houses. Dmitrijenko's MG set the schoolhouse afire using incendiary bullets. He saw to it that no one could get in or out of the house.

Another death trap was the direction of the river. On the open field and on the river the villagers were easy targets. Some boatloads of people managed to get across before the first partisan's LMG opened fire.

For an unknown reason the partisans interrupted their raid before the entire village was wiped out. It has been presumed that the CO Vasili Gontaryenko lost his nerve fearing for Finnish troops arriving at the scene. Despite that the damage they inflicted on Finnish civilian settlement was the worst during the war. Of the 21 victims only one was a man, and he, too, close to retirement age.

The partisans withdrew to their ´temporary base between the hills and immediately started their return journey. They had taken a POW, a nine year old girl, Varpu Helinä Manninen – who survived only because someone took pity of her and the WIA partisans slowed the march down enough to enable the girl to hang on.

Partisans casualties included eight KIA, and ten WIA – two of which were killed by the partisans themselves, for being too badly wounded.

Finns were unable to launch a pursuit during the 14th to 15th July.

Tov. Gontaryenko radioed the following report to his CO in Byelomorsk:
“16th July 1944. Near the national border. I shall write a report in addition to my radio message.
We destroyed Lokka and the garrison in it is also destroyed.
We killed 131 Finnish soldiers, officers and other ranks, five dogs, 35 cows, six horses
(…) We burned down 24 houses, two barracks, two storage houses, a mail office and a schoolhouse Our booty includes stamps, newspapers, magazines and private letters. We captured 5100 FIM in Finnish currency.”

Mr. Kari Kallonen (the author of the book quoted, ) for some reason calls this report “cynical”...

“Stalinets” was back at their base on the 20th July 1944.

Varpu Manninen was returned to Finland in 1945, mentally suffering from her experiences for the rest of her life (until 2017).

(Kallonen, Kari and Neitola, Tuure:
Partisaanisota. Sotarikokset, siviiliuhrit ja toisiaan vastaan sotivat suomalaiset.
ISBN 978-952-373-441-8. 2012 )
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