Actions in the Karelia in Jan/Feb 42

The Finnish offensive towards the northern end of the lake Onega had ended in December 1941. How the Finnish offensive ended had left the Soviets forces under the impression that the Finns might restart their offensive in 1942. On the Finnish side this was not the case as once the offensive had been stopped there were no plans for continued offensive for 1942 - instead there were plans for partial demobilization and digging up trenches.

The Soviet forces launched an attack at near Karhumäki (ru: Medvezhyegorsk) on 1st of January 1942. The attack took place near the railroad stop or station of Kriv north of Medvezhyegorsk. However despite of 3 weeks of fighting the Soviet forces gained just the station. Finns took back the positions with their own 2 day long attack starting on 7 February. Soviet ski battalions were also used in an attempt to flank the Finnish forces near Povonets by sending them over the frozen lake but this attempt failed despite of week long battles. According to Nenye the Finns lost in various actions in this region in January and February altogether around 3 000 men. Soviet losses for the mere first 8 days were over 10 000 men.

Finns on their side launched raids (long range patrols) behind the Soviet lines. Largest of these was two battalion strong raid led by Major Majewski. It successfully raided the railroad station of Mai Guba and demolished the railroad tracks near it - which required around 100 km travel on skis. This success also contributed to the later Finnish raid by a much smaller unit in February 1942 against a Soviet supply base located at Petrovski Jam. While the raid performed in the darkness of the arctic night was in itself a success, it ended up being somewhat controversial since one of the buildings destroyed proved to have been a Soviet military hospital (fact which was not known by the raiding party at the time of the attack) and this was subsequently used in Soviet propaganda.

1 Like