Saturday, May 7, 2016

December 30, 1939: Finnish Booty

Saturday 30 December 1939

30 December 1939 Soviet dead Suomussalmi
Dead Soviet soldiers in Suomussalmi after the battle - abandoned by their comrades. Their dark uniforms still stand out in the snow.
Winter War: General Stern has been brought west from the Soviet Far Eastern Army on 30 December 1939 to direct operations north of Lake Ladoga.

Winter War Army Operations: The Finnish 9th Division has been pursuing the fleeing Soviets from Suomussalmi. A platoon under Captain Kuistio embarks in two trucks and manages to catch the tail end of the 4 kilometer-long Soviet column at the northern end of Lake Kiantajärvi. There is nowhere to hide on the ice, and Kuistio and his men kill another 500 Soviet men using 4 machine guns, 1 twin antiaircraft- machine gun and various submachine guns. In addition, the Finnish air force (Bristol Blenheim Mk 1 bombers) and Finnish artillery blast away at the fleeing Soviets, killing some outright and sending others through holes in the ice. Total losses for the Soviet 163rd Rifle Division are estimated at 15,000, versus 420 Finnish dead or missing along with 600 wounded.

The total war booty from Suomussalmi brought back to headquarters is staggering for the poorly armed Finns:
  • 625 Rifles, 
  • 33 LMG's, 
  • 19 MG's, 
  • 2 AntiAircraft-MG's (four barrels), 
  • 12 AntiTank-guns, 
  • 27 Field and AntiAircraft-guns, 
  • 26 Tanks, 
  • 2 Armored cars, 
  • 350Horses, 
  • 181 Trucks, 
  • 11 Tractors, 
  • 26 Field kitchens, 
  • 800,000 rounds of 7.62 mm rifle ammo, 
  • 9,000 artillery shells, 
  • a field hospital, and 
  • a bakery. 
In addition, the local Finnish troops get their fill of rifles ammunition and machine guns which they can put to immediate use without headquarters ever knowing about it.

The Soviet 44th Rifle Division on the Raate road is still intact, but their standard Red Army 1902 model Moisin-Nagant 7.62 mm rifles are freezing in the extreme cold (gun-oil can freeze). In addition, most of their vehicle engines have seized because there is not enough fuel to keep them running through the frigid days and nights. This means the men and their animals are stuck - and with few ways to warm up. Thus, the Soviets are immobile and freezing. If they can be defeated, there will plenty of more booty to be had.

Winter War Air Operations: Soviet bombers attack Hango and drop about 60 bombs.

Winter War Naval Operations: Soviet battleship Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya and destroyers bombard Finnish shore batteries at Saarenpaa.

Battle of the Atlantic: In a distant echo of the Admiral Graf Spee drama, the Uruguayan government gives the German freighter Tacoma 24 hours to leave Montevideo. It believes the freighter was assisting the German pocket battleship (including embarking her crew after she was scuttled) and thus is a military vessel.

Convoy OA 63 GF departs from Southend, and Convoy OB 63 departs from Liverpool.

Indochina:  In Hanoi, Chinese leader Chingwei signs an agreement with the Japanese. Chingwei is a former foreign minister of the Kuomintang who has left China because he lost a power battle with Chiang Kai-shek. Chingwei is convinced that the Nationalist Chinese cannot beat the Japanese, and thus he is agreeing to set up a rival Nationalist government under Japanese overlordship. He hopes to have the undisputed rule over China as a Japanese satrap after the Japanese win the war.

China: The Nationalist Chinese Air Force, which Claire Chennault has been working on, sends 40 fighters into the air over Liuchow. They encounter 13 Japanese Type 96 fighters. The Chinese apparently need more practice, because they lose 14 planes to none by the Japanese.

In the continuing Battle of South Kwangsi, the Japanese 5th Infantry Division escapes from Kunlunkuan during the night.

Japanese 21st Army captures Wongyuan in the Chinese 4th War Area.

30 December 1939 Finnish soldier
The Finns were prepared for the cold... and for hand-to-hand combat.

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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