The official AHF Winter & Continuation War quiz thread

Discussions on the Winter War and Continuation War, the wars between Finland and the USSR.
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JTV
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Post by JTV » 03 Aug 2006 11:15

Janne wrote:It's rather obvious that the picture depicts a bunker in the Salpalinja:-) The whitewash paint is simply too white to be vintage, so it must be a bunker restored for museum purposes.

It's also rather basic knowledge that there were three types of weapon employed in these bunkers, 7.62mm machineguns, 45mm antitank guns and 9mm machinepistols - but that's where the easy part ends!

The hole looks largish, it could be big for a machinegun cooler, but it could be that a steel plate is missing, so that's not a cert. The platform could support a special design machinegun carriage(?), but it doesn't rule out an antitank gun, either.


I consider that correct reply since you listed the correct weapon - it was 45 mm antitank-gun. Especially the arch-shaped "table" below the hole is a real giveaway. Official name of the gun in question was "45 K/40" (45 mm cannon model 1940), but it was also commonly known as "45 mm korsutykki" (45 mm bunker gun). VTT (Valtion Tykkitehdas = State Artillery Factory) manufactured 100 of these guns from captured Soviet 45-mm tank guns starting year 1940. While the idea was originally to recycle some of the captured 45-mm tank guns to good use the modifications needed for this proved so extensive that in pretty much nothing from the original gun was included in the final design. The m/40 machinegun-mounts usually used in Salpa-line bunkers demand totally different kind of structures for attaching them.

The photo is from bunker 171 - 172 (bunker with at-gun chamber, machinegun chamber, mg-turret and shelter for 20 men) and the paint is actually probably original. :D Attached is photo from "Bunkkerimuseo" (Bunker Museum) showing 45-mm placement.

Back over to you Janne. :)

Jarkko
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Post by Janne » 04 Aug 2006 08:18

I'm pretty sure there would have been a true correct answer from someone, if you'd only waited for a day or two...

Anyway, you are right that a good question should be neither too easy nor too difficult to answer. Your question was good also because the answer - or even looking for an answer on the net or in literature - should be an opportunity to learn something new, interesting or at least curious not only about the small detail but also the big picture around it.

I.e. the answer to your question for instance shows us how the lack of large scale arms industry and the limitations of what could be imported often led the Finns to seek kind of improvised and tailor-made solutions using captured weapons, often ending up with results that weren't really cost-effective, served the intended purpose poorly or not at all in the battlefield of the day and seldom arrived in the planned time or numbers.


Well, here - after a long intro - is the next question: who was captain Ojanen and how did he get himself written into Finnish military history?

(This time, the *best* answer given before 1200 hours (East European Summer Time) on August 8th will win the coveted first prize.)

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Post by JTV » 08 Aug 2006 10:08

Janne wrote:I'm pretty sure there would have been a true correct answer from someone, if you'd only waited for a day or two...

Well, here - after a long intro - is the next question: who was captain Ojanen and how did he get himself written into Finnish military history?

(This time, the *best* answer given before 1200 hours (East European Summer Time) on August 8th will win the coveted first prize.)


Well, I guess I have to try again... Was this the Captain Ojanen after whom one of the Soviet bunkers in Ohta sector was named as "Ojanen's bunker"? If so: Autumn of 1942 Captain Ojanen was commanding 2nd Battalion/Infantry Regiment 28 which at the time was in Ohta sector. One certain large Soviet bunker in sector of this battalion had proved a constant nuisance, so one day Ojanen and certain artillery officer (fire orders officer) decided to go and conquer the bunker, which had troubled Finnish troops in this sector so long. According story the two men has celebrated a bit, so its quite possible they were not totally sober at the time. Anyway, they succeeded getting to the bunker and Captain Ojanen dashed in its doorway shooting inside with his pistol - but this proved too little firepower as several Soviets inside immediately returned fire killing him instantly. The artillery officer was lucky enough to get back Finnish trenches safely.

Body of Captain Ojanen lay visible next to the bunker several months after this, so Finnish troops named the bunker after him. Finnish troops tried retreving his body several times, but without success. Finally the bunker was considered such a nuisance that Commander of 2nd Division (Major-General Aarne Blick) ordered it to be destroyed. The task was given to Jaeger Platoon of 2nd Battalion/Infantry Regiment 7, which 31st of March 1942 resolved the problem by capturing the trenches around the bunker and blowing up the bunker with 450 kilos of TNT.

Jarkko

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Post by Janne » 08 Aug 2006 12:01

And the winner is...JTV!

However, a few points must be omitted for the typo "Autumn 194_2_" and for probably relying a little too much on the version of the story Aake Jermo gave in his (IIRC) "Siiranmäen miehet".

The bigger picture is that in early September 1941 the regiments of 2.D had advanced to Soviet territory but stopped at roughly abround the pre-1939 border. Some of the forward positions of the fortifiend defense zone before Leningrad were captured and recce patrols ventured further for intelligence purposes. When the order to take up defensive positions reached the regiments and the battalions, the commanders were reluctant to give up any of the ground they'd captured, and so the defense line came to be drawn pretty much where the companies had been at the moment, and little regard was given to the local features. If it was absolutely necessary, certain Soviet positions could be taken or demolished.

Thus the HQ of III/JR28 and its companies were housed in captured Soviet bunkers, positions were taken using Soviet strongpoints and trenches were dug in only about 60m away from a Soviet bunker wich had four sectors of fire and probably housed two anti-tank guns. Something clearly had to be done about it.

The mind of the battalion's acting commander was preoccupied with it. Captain Aimo Ojanen was a 32-year-old career officer and he was of "small build, but with the look of a man not to be f-ed with". The division commander had kindly left a few bottles of alcohol during his visit to the fornt line on Sptember 5th and according to some sources someone had had time to fetch more. Therefore the sound of Capt Ojanen's voice hadn't been entirely sober on the field telephone line when he'd tried to order one of his company commanders to join him on an assault on the annoying bunker.

Anyway, early on the morning of September 9th the regiment commander was told that Captain Ojanen had been killed "during reconnaissance of enemy positions", but while no one could know what Ojanen and the arty officer who'd joined him had had in mind, everyone knew Ojanen had got himself killed. His dead body lay visible to the Finnish lines, caught in barbed wire and "hanging like a dead bird". Several nighttime attempts to retrieve the body were made without any success, so Ojanen was left where he was.

The fire from what was henceworth known as "Ojanen's bunker" or "Captainkiller" continued to cause casualties, but despite anti-tank guns firing straight into its loopholes, heavy artillery on its roof and demolition assault attempts. it remained unconquered. According to Soviet POWs, it was called an "Istrebetel", a "destroyer", with more than two meters of reinforced concreteto protect also its roof, thich steel doors and other features to protect it against demolition attempts. It was supposed to be permanently manned by a force of 1+30 dedicated soldiers.

However, in the end of March 1942, as JTV tells, a succesful nighttime assault was made: this time on skis and without an artillery barrage. A Jaeger Platoon supported ny 13 pioneers (sappers?) managed to demolish it with 250kg of explosives during an action that took over an hour. The rear half of the bunker collapsed and fire shot out of the loopholes. Three men were killed and five wounded, mostly in the rearguard during the retreat to own lines.

However, that wasn't the end of the Istrebetel...


But it's time for the next question!

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Post by JTV » 09 Aug 2006 06:12

Janne wrote:And the winner is...JTV!

However, a few points must be omitted for the typo "Autumn 194_2_" and for probably relying a little too much on the version of the story Aake Jermo gave in his (IIRC) "Siiranmäen miehet".


But it's time for the next question!


Thanks Janne, also for correcting the typo. I had read "Siiranmäen miehet" while ago and remembered the story, but wasn't 100% certain about name of the Captain. Anyway, checking it proved surprisingly easy: http://www.rajajoki.com/siiranmaki.htm

Anyway, I thought maybe I should try a verbal question for a change (practically all my previous ones are with photo or drawing). So here the question: The soldiers using me call me (among other things) "Molo" or "Molotohvi" and I carry a plaque containing text "sotasaalis" (= captured), what am I?

BTW: It seems that the body of Captain Ojanen was never retrived (not even during that successful attack).

Jarkko

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Post by Esa K » 09 Aug 2006 13:17

JTV asked and wrote:The soldiers using me call me (among other things) "Molo" or "Molotohvi" and I carry a plaque containing text "sotasaalis" (= captured), what am I?


So, Esa K answer: "I" am a GAZ-AAA truck...


Best regards

Esa K

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Post by JTV » 09 Aug 2006 14:46

Esa K wrote:
JTV asked and wrote:The soldiers using me call me (among other things) "Molo" or "Molotohvi" and I carry a plaque containing text "sotasaalis" (= captured), what am I?


So, Esa K answer: "I" am a GAZ-AAA truck...


Best regards

Esa K


Correct, captured Soviet GAZ-AAA truck is the correct answer. Finnish Army officially named and equipped these trucks with plaque "Sotasaalis Ford" (= Captured Ford), while "Molo" and "Molotohvi" (both coming from Russian foreign minister Molotov) were common nicknames used by Finnish soldiers. Finnish military captured some 5,500 GAZ trucks during World War 2. Some 1,400 of those were repaired and taken in Finnish use, they were not very popular among Finnish soldiers driving them (hence the "among other things"), but they served their purpose. Finnish - Soviet peace treaty of 1944 among many things demanded immediate returning of captured Soviet trucks, so practically all were returned to Soviet Union soon after Continuation War.

Over to you Esa K.

Jarkko

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Post by Esa K » 09 Aug 2006 17:38

Thanks JTV/Jarkko...

(...and nice to have some time again to spend here at my favourite quiz...)

...new Q:

What first is connected to the trio Salminen, Kokko & Laukas...?


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Esa K

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Post by Esa K » 10 Aug 2006 16:26

Hint # 1: Their ranks: Warrant Officer - Lieutenant - Senior Sergeant


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Esa K

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Post by Janne » 11 Aug 2006 11:14

The combination of ranks would seem to indicate Air Force personnel, so it could be the crew of a light bomber aircraft..such as Bristol Blenheim, which had a crew of three...and yes, we can easily find Viljo Salminen, Olavi Kokko and Veikko Laukas in a bomber squadron.

But what did their "first" consist of? Flying the first Blenheim mission? No, that honour cannot belong to a single crew...

A long shot: they were the first bomber crew to shoot down an enemy aircraft!

(BTW: it appear that in this case the best and the most detailed information on the net can be found in *Polish*!)

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Post by jdoe » 11 Aug 2006 11:56

They brought the first Blenheim to Finland?

It's a long shot, I know...

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Post by Esa K » 11 Aug 2006 14:36

Now, lets see how this should be put..

Janne wrote:The combination of ranks would seem to indicate Air Force personnel, so it could be the crew of a light bomber aircraft..such as Bristol Blenheim, which had a crew of three...and yes, we can easily find Viljo Salminen, Olavi Kokko and Veikko Laukas in a bomber squadron.


Thats correct.

Janne wrote:A long shot: they were the first bomber crew to shoot down an enemy aircraft!


Nope (...and, hell, thats was the answer to a question I had prepared to ask in the future if I have the skills to get a round here again... :wink: )

Janne wrote:But what did their "first" consist of? Flying the first Blenheim mission? No, that honour cannot belong to a single crew...


As a hint # 2: Above is not totally correct, but on the right track...

jdoe wrote:They brought the first Blenheim to Finland?


And, here too, it´s correct that it have something to do with Blenheims...


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Esa K

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Post by Esa K » 14 Aug 2006 16:14

Hint # 3: BL-106

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Esa K

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Post by Janne » 15 Aug 2006 09:46

My new avenue of inquiry went along these lines: Viljo Salminen was the first bomber pilot (and the second pilot overall) to be awarded the Mannerheim cross and at that point (in November 1941) he had flown 105 missions -> answer: the three were the first bombers to make it a century - but apparently the crew wasn't exactly the same on all missions.

What could be so special about BL-106? Apart from Sgt Viljo Mörsky:-) Well, it was one of the two (or three?) Blenheims fitted with a ski untercarriage for landing on more or less unprepared airfields on ice - bu could the three have been the crew that flew the first mission on such a Blenheim?

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Post by Esa K » 15 Aug 2006 15:40

Hi

Janne wrote:...could the three have been the crew that flew the first mission on such a Blenheim?


Don´t know that, they could be the crew to above, but think it would be a strange coincidence if they where the same crew on that mission, as to the one I have in mind as an answer to my question... So not beeing sure if the q have two possible answers, I say no...

Hint # 4: June 30 1941.


Best regards

Esa K

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