Friday, May 6, 2016

December 23, 1939: Failed Finnish Counterattack

Saturday December 23 1939

23 December 1939 Molotov Cocktail
Molotov cocktail.
Winter War: Today, 23 December 1939, is the Finnish Army's first attempt at a strategic offensive. It was pitched to Marshall Mannerheim only two days ago by General Öhqvist, who is in charge of the Karelian Isthmus. It is the first planned, set-piece offensive by the Finns.

Winter War Army Operations: At 06:30, four Finnish Divisions launch a major counterattack on the western side of the Karelian Isthmus in front of Viipuri. It is the most sensitive spot on the entire front, and both sides have their top firepower there.

The Soviets may not be very good on the offensive recently, but they show that tanks are excellent defensive weapons. After gaining no ground, General Öhqvist abruptly calls off the operation at 14:40. There are roughly 1300 deaths on both sides, which, for the Finns, is a disaster.

At Suomussalmi, the 9th Division launches an attack on the struggling 44th Division which is strung out on the Ratte road. The column had been moving ahead slowly, but with only two machine companies, Captain Mäkinen of the 9th Army forces the entire column, led by the 25th Rifle Regiment, to halt and dig in. It is like a gigantic traffic jam with all lanes blocked.

Winter War Air Operations: The Soviets bomb Helsinki again, but this time with leaflets which contained a message from the Soviet's puppet Finnish government.

Battle of the Atlantic: British repair ship Dolphin hits a mine and sinks off Blyth, Scotland. Everyone survives.

Minesweeping trawlers HMS Glen Albyn and HMS Promotive hit mines and sink in Loch Ewe, Scotland.

The British release US freighters Explorer and Oakwood from detention at Gibraltar.

German Government: Hitler tours the West Wall.

Ireland: The IRA steals 1.1 million rounds of small arms ammunition from the Irish Army's depot at Phoenix Park.

Romania: The government makes inquires to the Italian government for support against Soviet aggression.

League of Nations: The League is busy rounding up support for the Finns, one of the more effective things it has ever done.

United States/Latin American Relations: The US and 20 other nations in the Americas make a statement reaffirming their coastal water neutrality from belligerent actors inside the "security zone" at the River Platte. This message appears directed at the British.

China: The Japanese are launching counterattacks in most places:
  • Japanese landings on the Yangtze River in Third War Area;
  • Japanese 21st Army captures Tsotanhsu and Lungmen from Chinese 4th War Area;
  • Chinese 5th War Area retreats across the Han River;
Chinese 8th War Area is still on the attack outside Patou. In addition, the Chinese are attacking the Japanese 5th Infantry Division around Kunlunkuan.

23 December 1939 Finnish anti-aircraft fun
A Finnish modified Maxin 1910 machine gun used in an antiaircraft role.

December 14, 1939: Quisling Meets Hitler
December 15, 1939: Chinese Winter Offensive in High Gear
December 16, 1939: Battle of Summa
December 17, 1939: End of Admiral Graf Spee
December 18, 1939: Battle of Heligoland Bight
December 19, 1939: British Disarm Magnetic Mines
December 20, 1939: Finnish Counterattacks Continue
December 21, 1939: Finns Plan More Counterattacks
December 22, 1939: Enter Chuikov
December 23, 1939: Failed Finnish Counterattack
December 24, 1939: Soviets on the Run
December 25, 1939: Fresh Soviet Attacks
December 26, 1939: Vicious Battles at Kelja
December 27, 1939: Grinding Finnish Victories
December 28, 1939: Liberators
December 29, 1939: Finns Tighten the Noose
December 30, 1939: Finnish Booty
December 31, 1939: Planning More Soviet Destruction


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