Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Day 114 December 23, 1939

At 6.30 AM, 4 Finnish divisions counterattack on a 28 mile front on the West side of the Karelian Isthmus, trying to trap resting Soviet forces in a massive encirclement. They immediately run into the Red Army in force and are repulsed. Soviet tanks are brutally effective against Finnish troops without antitank or artillery support. General Öhqvist calls off the attack at 2.40 PM, at a cost of 1300 dead and wounded (+ 200 cases of frostbite).

The Finns have more success further North. Captain Mäkinen’s 2 machine gun companies (9th division) attack the arriving Soviet 44th division, consisting of about 15,000 men, strung out over several km of the Raate road. 44th is back to front; 25th rifle regiment leads, followed by artillery and tanks, with mobile reconnaissance units at the rear. 25th regiment, unsure of Finnish numbers and unable to bring up guns and armor, stops and takes up defensive positions. The whole column grinds to a halt, never to move again.

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