Monday, May 16, 2016

March 2, 1940: Soviets Swarm West in Finland

Saturday 2 March 1940

2 March 1940 Viipuri Finnish soldiers
A Finnish patrol in Viipuri during the Winter War.
Winter War: France and Great Britain once again on 2 March 1940 ask Norway and Sweden for the right of passage to Finland, and again are refused. Finland still has not made a formal request for military assistance.

A Hungarian Volunteer Detached Battalion arrives at a Finnish training camp at Lapua. They have traveled through Europe posing as tourists going skiing. The trip took three weeks by train.

Canada authorizes volunteer participation in the Winter War. A unit of volunteer soldiers boards a ship bound for Finland.

Winter War Army Operations: The fluid battle that has developed on the Karelian Isthmus is not working out to the Finns' favor. Soviet troops enter the southern suburbs of Viipuri at Sainio, 5 miles south of the city along the coast, and Heinjoki River, 17 miles east of the town. They continue swarming west. Fires break out in Viipuri, which is being abandoned and destroyed.

The front at Taipale settles down, as the Soviets have had no success there and the prospects are better further south at Viipuri.

The Soviets capture the islands of Tuppuransaari and Teikarsaari after the former runs out of ammunition and a counterattack fails. The Soviets are now digging in on the mainland on the western shore of Viipurinlahti Bay. Finnish Major General Wallenius cannot dislodge them and is said to be drinking heavily.

At Kollaa, Soviet artillery begins at 06:30, followed by a large-scale, multiple-division assault. The Finnish trenches hold.

At Kuhmo, the Finnish defensive line at Kuusijoki is hit with 3,000 artillery shells, then a massive assault. The Soviets capture the Finns' forward positions.

Winter War Air Operations: Soviet bombers again try to bomb Helsinki, but Finnish fighters drive them off.

Winter War Peace Talks: Finland’s Foreign Minister Väinö Tanner informs the Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee that the acceptance of the Soviet peace terms has not yet been communicated to them, and explains why. He has asked the Swedish Foreign Minister Christian Günther to hold off on transmitting the acceptance.

Battle of the Atlantic: The German crew of 6,201-ton freighter Wolfsburg scuttles the ship rather than have it captured by British heavy cruiser HMS Berwick (Captain Irving M. Palmer,) north of Iceland. There are 54 survivors picked up by the Berwick. The Wolfsburg was disguised as Norwegian ship Aust. The Berwick hurries the job of scuttling by sinking the ship with gunfire.

The German crew of the  6,530-ton German freighter Heidelberg scuttles the ship in the Windward Passage in the Caribbean Sea rather than be captured by the light cruiser HMS Dunedin. The Dunedin picks up 25 survivors and takes them to Jamaica. Heidelberg was one of the two ships that had left Aruba to run the blockade.

U-32 torpedoes and sinks 2,818-ton Swedish freighter Lagaholm.

U-17 torpedoes and sinks 695-ton Dutch freighter Rijnstroom.

British freighter Albano hits a mine and sinks.

Liner Queen Elizabeth, accompanied by destroyers HMS Mohawk, HMS Punjabi, HMS Fortune, and HMS Foxhound, heads out of the Clyde. While the cover story is that she is heading for Southampton, in reality, she is going to New York.

U-29 (Kapitänleutnant Otto Schuhart) lays mines in the Bristol Channel.

The British at Gibraltar detain the US passenger liner Manhattan. It is released later in the day after the British remove some 80 items of cargo.

European Air Operations: A RAF reconnaissance Supermarine Spitfire gets good photographs of the industrial Ruhr River valley industrial region. In addition, RAF bombers drop leaflets and parachute flares over Berlin.

The Luftwaffe continues searching for shipping targets. The British India passenger liner Domala is bombed by a Heinkel He 111H off the Isle of Wight, with 108 killed or missing of the 291 onboard after fires rage out of control. There are reports of machine-gunning of passengers in lifeboats. There are 183 survivors. A rescue ship, Dutch freighter Jong Willem, also is attacked while picking up 48 survivors.

The Luftwaffe also sinks the Dutch vessel Elzienna.

Convoy OA 102 departs from Southend, Convoy 102 departs from Liverpool, and Convoy HX 24 departs from Halifax.

US Government: Undersecretary of State Sumner Welles meets with Hitler in Berlin. Hitler tells him that, for Germany, "there is no other solution than a life-and-death struggle." Welles forms a favorable impression of Hitler's health and mind, of whom he says, "while his eyes were tired, they were clear."

Australian Military: Chief of the General Staff General Squires passes away.

British Homefront: Cambridge beats Oxford in the annual university boat race at Henley-on-Thames.

American Homefront: Cartoon character Elmer Fudd debuts in the Warner Bros. animated short "Elmer's Candid Camera."

2 March 1940 Viipuri Finnish soldiers
Ruins of Viipuri, Finnish soldiers on the right.

March 1940

March 1, 1940: Soviet Breakthroughs Past Viipuri
March 2, 1940: Soviets Swarm West in Finland
March 3, 1940: Soviets Across Gulf of Viipuri
March 4, 1940: USSR Apologizes to Sweden
March 5, 1940: Katyn Forest Massacre Approved
March 6, 1940: Finns Head to Moscow
March 7, 1940: The Coal Ships Affair
March 8, 1940: Peace Talks Begin in Moscow
March 9, 1940: Soviets Harden Peace Terms
March 10, 1940: Germany Draws Closer to Italy
March 11, 1940: Winter War Peace Terms Finalized
March 12, 1940: War is Over (If You Want It)
March 13, 1940: Winter War Ends
March 14, 1940: Evacuating Karelia
March 15, 1940: The Bletchley Bombe
March 16, 1940: First British Civilian Killed
March 17, 1940: Enter Dr. Todt
March 18, 1940: Mussolini To Join the War
March 19, 1940: Daladier Resigns
March 20, 1940: Soviets Occupy Hango Naval Base
March 21, 1940: Paul Reynaud Leads France
March 22, 1940: Night Fighters Arise!
March 24, 1940: French Consider Alternatives
March 25, 1940: Reynaud Proposes Action
March 26, 1940: C-46 First Flight
March 27, 1940: Himmler Authorizes Auschwitz Construction
March 28, 1940: Allies Ponder Invading Norway
March 29, 1940: Soviets Prefer Neutrality
March 30, 1940: Allied Uncertainty
March 31, 1940: The Tiger Cage


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