Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Day 92 December 1, 1939

Finland. Stalemate continues on the Karelian Isthmus as Red Army infantry advance though dense mine fields and are mown down by Finnish crossfire. Soviet tanks operate independently from infantry, occasionally penetrating Finnish defenses (Finnish soldiers have never seen tanks before and often are terrified) but to little effect.

North of Lake Lagoda, Finnish forces panic and retreat, presenting a dangerous opportunity to the Red Army. A Soviet flotilla sails towards Taipale on Lake Lagoda, at the eastern end of the Isthmus. They are to shell Finnish shore batteries and land at Taipale, turning the Mannerheim Line. However, the Finnish guns fire first, forcing the battleship Orangenbaum onto a sandbar (she remains useless for several weeks).

Similarly, Soviet cruiser Kirov is shelled at a range of 24km trying to attack Finnish coastal batteries on the Hanko Peninsula. Damaged by near misses, Kirov returns to Liepāja for the rest of the Winter War.

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