Monday, December 21, 2009

Day 113 December 22, 1939

Finnish 9th division chips away at Soviet 163rd division entrenched at Suomussalmi. 163rd has put up solid resistance despite having been surrounded for 10 days; however, time is on the Finns side as temperatures drop and Soviet supplies run out. Soviet 44th division is within a few km of Suomussalmi, having struggled 9 days up the road from Raate to relieve 163rd.

Finnish "Group Talvela" overruns Soviet 75th division in hand to hand combat at Ägläjärvi. 75th division retreats pell mell back down the road towards the Russian border. Group Talvela, part of IV Corps, has now put 2 Red Army divisions to flight in 10 days.

As Red Army attacks on the Karelian Isthmus falter, Finnish Commander in Chief Field Marshall Mannerheim takes the initiative. He hastily agrees to Öhqvist and Österman’s plan to counterattack to deal a demoralising blow to the weary Soviet forces.

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