By Bair Irincheev
In the wake of the bloody civil conflict that Finland's independence from Russia in 1917, the border among the 2 nations was once confirmed around the Karelian Isthmus, a space lengthy fought over via Russia, Finland and Sweden of their makes an attempt to dominate the northern tip of Europe. Neither the Soviets nor the Finnish have been happy with any such divide, which supplied an open path for a possible invader to Helsinki at the Finnish facet, and was once simply 32km from the $64000 army and commercial urban of Petrograd in Russia. As such, each side started a radical interval of fortification and shielding making plans. because the iciness struggle broke out in November 1939, the advanced and seriously defended Mannerheim Line suffered severe bombardment and armored attacks. The armistice of might 1940 observed Finland cede keep watch over of the full Karelian Isthmus to the USSR even though, and a propaganda struggle ensued; the Russians emphasizing the energy of the road, and the Finnish downplaying its value, accentuating as an alternative the heroism and bravado of the typical Finnish soldier.
Through a close research of the historical past, layout and operational heritage of the Mannerheim Line, Bair Irincheev makes an attempt to dispel such myths and supply a correct overview of its giant ancient importance.
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Extra info for The Mannerheim Line 1920-39: Finnish
The Finns managed to push the infantry of the 245th Rifles from Harkkila strongpoint in the evening of 17 December. Two battalions of the 255th Rifles held out for six more days. On 2 1 December 1939 the Soviet tanks fired at the eastern casemate of the 'Poppius' bunker at point-blank range using their main guns, causing substantial damage to the bunker's gun-ports. On the same day a Soviet assault party blew up the eastern entrance to the bunker, but the damage was insignificant and the Finns quickly made it good using sandbags.
The right part of the bunker, made of soil, collapsed on the first day of battle. Two machine guns are operational. Bunker N o . 13. The observation tower has collapsed, the inner doors are broken. The outer door cannot be shut. One machine gun is operational. Bunker N o . 14. The observation tower has been shot off. The part in the corner with the headlight port is beginning to break. One machine gun is operational. There are two captured machine guns at shelter N o . 34, both operational. Bunker N o .
Rafael Forth, one of the six men, followed the order and left the bunker with the runners, but was taken prisoner by the advancing Red Army. The remaining men decided to stay in the bunker a bit longer. Finally, the last defenders were surrounded in the bunker by Soviet infantry and sappers. After they refused to surrender, the bunker was blown up and all the men, except for Private Gunnar Storm, were killed. Storm was wounded and taken prisoner. Small units from the 8th Infantry Regiment tried to counterattack and recapture the bunker, but failed under the heavy fire of machine guns on the Soviet side.
The Mannerheim Line 1920-39: Finnish by Bair Irincheev