Monday, May 9, 2016

January 3, 1940: Soviets Trapped

Wednesday 3 January 1940

3 January 1940 Finnish anti-aircraft gun
A Finnish antiaircraft battery.
Winter War Army Operations: On 3 January 1940, the Finns reinforce the effect of the elements on the trapped Soviet 44th Rifle Division by targeting Soviet field kitchens. Finnish snipers target Soviet officers. Soviet troops have received permission to butcher horses for food. The most advanced Soviet units are running short of just about everything.

Colonel Volkov, a commander within the column, requests air resupply from Ninth Army. He states that the trapped column requires:

9 tons of rifle ammunition;
8 tons of 76 mm rounds;
1.2 tons of 122 mm rounds;
2 tons of hand grenades;
1 ton of rifle grenades;
12 tons of straw for horses;
10 tons of oats;
8 tons of bread;
2 tons of meat;
800 kg of fat;
270 kg of sugar;
240 kg of salt;
500 kg of butter;
8,000 tins of preserves.

The Ninth Army has neither the items requested nor the available planes to fly them in. General Chuikov has four TB-3 and R-5 planes, but they are grounded due to the weather. He looks for alternative sources of supply, such as by truck via the taiga north of the road, but promises nothing. The issue essentially decided, there ensue various phony representations from Volkov that everything is fine, the trapped men actually have everything they need and there's nothing to worry about.

General Vinogradov, commander of the trapped Soviet division, who is behind the Soviet border, orders the doomed Soviet division to break out and re-establish communications to the USSR. He also sends armored vehicles from the Scout Battalion in the USSR to breakthrough. Both attempts fail, as the Finns have been working hard on blocking the road by felling trees and planting mines.

General Siilasvuo sends two regiment-sized forces (Task Force Kari and TF Fagernas) all the way down the ice road to the Soviet border, south of Ratte. He wishes to bolt the door closed.

Winter War Air Operations: The Finns turn the tables on the Soviets and drop 3 million leaflets on Leningrad. They claim to have destroyed 400 Soviet tanks and 150 Soviet planes.

Western Front: The French ambush two German detachments in the Vosges Forest and take prisoners.

Battle of the Atlantic: U-25 makes port in Cadiz. It spends four hours taking supplies from the German Thalia SS Thalia, then returns to the sea. This is the first instance of a U-boat taking advantage of the Spanish agreement to allow such reprovisioning in Spanish ports. It is a particularly bold move because of the proximity of Cadiz to the British base at Gibraltar.

U-58 (Herbert Kuppisch) torpedoes and sinks 2,475-ton Swedish freighter Svartön. Eleven crew survive, 20 perish. The freighter has been sailing with Convoy HN-6.

British 7,267-ton freighter El Oso hits a mine and sinks near Liverpool. The mine had been laid by U-30. Three perish, 32 survive.

HMS Ajax makes port at Montevideo, while HMS Achilles does the same across the River Platte at Buenos Aires. As victors of the Battle of the River Platte, they receive a celebratory welcome.

US freighter Mormacsun is forced into Kirkwall, Scotland by a British patrol. The British detain US freighter Nashaba at Gibraltar, where they release US freighter Executive.

Convoy OA 65G departs from Southend and OB 65 departs from Liverpool.

European Air Operations: A RAF reconnaissance aircraft if brought down in Belgian territory near the German border by three Luftwaffe fighters.

British Government: Contraband seized for the week ending 30 December 1939 equaled 20,800 tons.

French Government: Premier Daladier reiterated that the French would assist the Finns as much as possible.

German Government: The government warns the Scandinavian countries not to take advantage of Finland's distress.

Italian/German Relations: Mussolini sends Hitler a letter trying to smooth over his previous critical comments about the Ribbentrop/Molotov Pact. He states: "the solution of your Lebensraum is in Russia and not elsewhere." The implication appears to be to leave France alone.

US Government: President Roosevelt opens the third session of Congress. He warns that isolation is impossible and that he intended to further peace through trade cooperation. He requests $1.8 billion for national defense in his proposed budget.

Ireland: The Eire government introduces a bill to intern suspected IRA terrorists without trial.

British Homefront: Unity Mitford, Hitler's erstwhile British companion, returns to the UK via Switzerland. She had shot herself on the outbreak of war, and Hitler paid for her return home. The bullet remains lodged in her skull and she is immobile.

China: The Chinese 4th War Area attacks Yingteh north of Canton, while a Japanese relief force attacks the Chinese 2nd War Area near Changze and Tunliu.

3 January 1940 Finnish lotta
A Finnish lotta, a member of the Lotta Svärd women organization, watching the skies for Soviet aircraft during January 1940 in northern Finland.

January 1940

January 1, 1940: Finns Carve up the Soviets
January 2, 1940: Finnish Counterattacks Continue
January 3, 1940: Soviets Trapped
January 4, 1940: Soviet Breakout Attempts Fail
January 5, 1940: Dicing Up the Soviets
January 6, 1940: Soviet 44th Division Runs
January 7, 1940: Shakeup in Soviet High Command
January 8, 1940: Ratte Road Battle Ends
January 9, 1940: British Submarines in Peril
January 10, 1940: Mechelen Incident
January 11, 1940: Finns Surround More Soviets
January 12, 1940: New Soviet Attacks at Taipale
January 13, 1940: Fall Gelb Postponed
January 14, 1940: Japan's Government Falls
January 15, 1940: Soviets Prepare More Carefully
January 16, 1940: German Atrocities Uncovered
January 17, 1940: Bletchley Park in Action
January 18, 1940: New Hope for Allied Shipping
January 19, 1940: Finnish Attacks at Salla
January 20, 1940: Churchill Urges Cooperation
January 21, 1940: Asam Maru Incident
January 22, 1940: Dissension Within British Government
January 23, 1940: Dissension in South Africa
January 24, 1940: NKVD Blocking Detachments
January 25, 1940: Auschwitz Site Selected
January 26, 1940: Millionaire Bunker Destroyed
January 27, 1940: U-20 Sinks Four Ships
January 28, 1940: Softening Up the Finns
January 29, 1940: Moscow Willing to Talk
January 30, 1940: Hitler Throws Down the Gauntlet
January 31, 1940: Timoshenko Is Ready


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