Sunday, December 27, 2009

Day 118 December 27, 1939

Finland. Soviet 4th division desperately tries to reinforce it’s bridgehead on the Finnish side of the Suvanto River, at the Eastern end of the Karelian Isthmus. Thousands of Soviet troops cross the ice in bright moonlight and are punished by Finnish artillery & machinegun fire, leaving the ice “littered with piles of bodies”. In response, Finnish artillery shells the dug in Soviet troops on the bridgehead. Finnish 6th separate battalion attacks at 11.45 AM & clears the trenches in several hours of close combat. Battle of Kelja is over at 6 PM with 2000 Soviets dead. Finns have 400 dead and wounded but capture 6 anti-tank guns & hundreds of machineguns & rifles.

In Suomussalmi, Finnish 9th division with artillery support moves in on the trapped Soviet 163rd division. Despite cold, hunger and poor leadership, the Soviet troops hold out in fierce hand to hand combat. 44th division hears the battle but again fails to march to the sound of the guns.

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