Vyborg landing: how the Finns managed to break the 3 Soviet divisions

History 27/12/19 Vyborg landing: how the Finns managed to break the 3 Soviet divisions

Finland declared war on the USSR, 25 June 1941, fighting on the Karelian isthmus began on 1 August.

the forces of the parties on the Karelian isthmus

Initially, the numerical advantage was on the side of the Soviet 23rd army. But after two armored and one infantry division from the army was taken, there were only four infantry and motorized division against seven Finnish.

the Finnish division of 1941 was much stronger than those that fought in the Winter war. The number of field artillery they were somewhat inferior to the Soviet: three light and one heavy division, against four in the light and heavy divisions of the red army. However, were armed with guns during the First World war: Russian 76-mm guns and 122 mm howitzers, the British 114-mm howitzer, the French 155-mm Austrian and 150-mm howitzers, 105 mm French guns, but in the divisions of the 23rd army artillery was similar. The Finns had a lot less anti-tank and anti-aircraft artillery, less mortars and did not have a regimental artillery. By the number of “bayonets” Finnish division is only slightly inferior to the Soviet.

At the same time, Soviet troops had an overwhelming advantage in aircraft and tanks. According to E. Driga (“Mechanized corps in combat”), even after the army seized two armored divisions, there remained the 41st tank regiment (41 tanks T-26) attached to the 198th motorized division, which their tanks were not. And five separate battalions, a total of 54 T-26 tanks and 102 BT-2 (of which only 59 were combat-ready), who formed the “army tank group” of the 23rd army. In addition, the 23rd army was and 16 small floating tanks in each infantry division.

Considering that the Finns had only two platoons of captured small floating tanks and one platoon captured the same flamethrower tanks and the only tank battalion was transferred to Petrozavodsk direction, the advantage in tanks from the 23rd army was overwhelming.

Vyborg Desant

Vyborg direction covered the 50th rifle corps, consisting of the 43rd and 123rd rifle divisions, the 101st, 108th, and 519 th howitzer artillery regiments of RGK, as well as of the Vyborg fortified area.

on the Finnish side operated, 4-th army corps, composed of the 8th and 12th divisions, the reserve was in the 4th division.

After Finnish troops conducted a successful operation at Priozersk (Käkisalmi) direction, of the 50th corps was under threat of encirclement. From the 20th of August both divisions of the corps began to retreat from the border and was centred North of Vyborg. 24-26 August, the 123rd division, in conjunction with the 115th infantry division of the 19th corps was attempted a counter-attack, which the Finns repelled.

22nd August, 8-th division reached the shore of the Gulf of Vyborg.

the Coastal defense of the Gulf was provided by the Vyborg sector of coastal defense. It consisted of two artillery battalions, which managed to come into operation ten batteries: total 12 152-mm 5 130 mm and 24 45-mm guns. Also in the sector was the 41st machine gun, 51st infantry and engineer battalions, and the 27th anti-aircraft division. Part of the sector were both on shore and on the Islands and had to provide antilanding defense.

Support was to provide the Skerry detachment of the Baltic fleet, consisting of three armored, four torpedo boats, three self-propelled barges and arrived in August, the gunboat “Kama”. Also in the area of the Gulf of Vyborg were border boats of the 1st Baltic frontier.

Coast had to prevent the entrance of the Gulf of enemy ships and not to allow to land a force. Perhaps they were counting on something more than boats and fishing boats, which the Finns crossed the Gulf. In addition, the sector headquarters, in connection with the retreat of the army at this time was preparing for the evacuation of Vyborg.

According to the “fatherthat of the 8th infantry division about the battles in the Somme-Parlami” which describes in detail each day of operation, from 24 August to 1 September, the Finns managed to shift across the Bay four battalions of 24th and 45th regiments of the 8th division, with mortars and anti-tank guns. Despite the fact that coastal batteries were firing, and patrol boats and aircraft sank a few ships to disrupt the crossing failed.

To fight the Finnish troops from parts of coastal defense, border guards, schools brigade of Marines was formed a detachment, who for two days fought a battle with troops. 27th to help the squad came two battalions of the 5th separate brigade of Marines. To support the sea were sent to the destroyers “Strong” and “Stable”.

But the Finns continued to build strength. Consolidated unit itself was under threat of encirclement and was forced to retreat.

Boiler, Parlami

the Finnish troops of the 26th of August, cut the railway and coastal highway. As a result, in the village of Parlani (now Beet) in the environment were three infantry divisions, the 43rd, 115th and 123rd, the 82nd regiment of the NKVD, of the 101st artillery regiment RGK and other parts. The Soviet command learned too late about the landing and missed the moment when Finnish environment could still break through. The troops were ordered to destroy the military equipment and property and to leave the environment alone. Most rushed to the port of Koivisto (now Primorsk), only one regiment of the 115th division were to Sortavala, and the bulk of the 123rd division was moved to the old border. Most of the units of the 43rd infantry division including the commander, surrendered.

the Ships of the Baltic fleet, according to historian V. Mosunova were evacuated more than 16,000 people. They were soldiers of the 23rd army, the guards, the personnel of the coastal units and civilians. Of this number, presumably only about 6,000 people had to break out of encirclement, the soldiers and commanders of the 123rd and 43rd divisions. The total losses of the three Soviet divisions was about 7,000 men killed, had abandoned all heavy weapons and equipment.

On the Finnish data was captured more than 200 guns, tank 51 and 8 armored cars, 150 trucks, more than 1,000 freight and passenger cars, more than 3000 horses and more. The prisoner was about 9,000 Soviet soldiers.

the Loss of the 8th infantry division of Finns amounted to about 700 men killed and 2,500 wounded.

All this, by and large, was the result of the successful landing operation by one infantry regiment. According to many experts, this amphibious operation as the most successful of the Second World war.

Cyril Shishkin

© Russian Seven

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