Friday, January 22, 2010

Day 145 January 23, 1940

U-19 spots 20 unescorted steamers off Northumberland and sinks Norwegian SS Pluto (8.43 AM) & British SS Baltanglia (8.55 AM) with one torpedo each. Finnish steamer picks up all SS Pluto’s 22 crewmen. The 27 man crew of SS Baltanglia makes land in two lifeboats.

Colonel Siilasvuo‘s Finnish 9th Division arrive in the village of Kuhmo to prepare an attack Soviet 54th division.

New Soviet commander Simyon Timoshenko completely revises plans for the invasion of Finland. He abandons Meretskov’s strategy to fight along the entire frontier. He instead concentrates all his forces in a direct assault on the Karelian Isthmus to wear down the Mannerheim line in a battle of attrition; essentially Chief of Staff Shaposhnikov’s original plan. There is no intention to continue offensives along the Northern frontier or reinforce the divisions already engaged in this region. Thousands of Soviet troops trapped North of Lake Lagoda are left to their fate, although 54th division will be supplied by airdrop.

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