Friday, March 25, 2011
2 Kilometers east of Karrbacka, Finland
September 11th, 1946
The 1st Finnish Front Deputy Commander General Chuikov has been slowly working its way towards the city of Porvoo over the last 5 hours. His command vehicle is in a convoy of 10 heavily armed armored cars and halftracks. That command vehicle is a lead lease M3 halftrack that the Generals aid had heavily modified with extra armor, machine guns, and radios.
The co-driver swings his dual mounted 12.7 mm Dshk heavy machine guns towards the burned out hulk of a fuel truck.
He yells out, “Comrade Major, there is another one coming up about 100 meters on our right”
The General raises his head to look over the armored side of his command halftrack.
“How many does that make?” asks General Chuikov.
The General's aid gazes at his notebook “75 so far, Comrade General.”
“Is that from the border, Major?” asks the General.
“No Comrade General that is 75 from Louiisa. The number is 305 from the border. And please General stop lifting your head over the side.” replies the Major
The General sighs, “Damn, 305 destroyed trucks on just the roads we have traveled. Who knows how many have been lost throughout the whole front? That bastard Lopatin is lying; this is no operational pause. The damn Finns are starving our units of supplies. No wonder the advance has been stalled for the last 2 weeks. What unit will we visit next?”
The Major looks at his notebook and his map, “There are two units in the next village; one is a vehicle repair unit the other the 208th Rifle Corps hospital. If what General Lopatin’s staff was able to tell me is correct, which I doubt, they are co-located in the same camp.”
The General chuckles, “Now, now Major. You can’t blame Lopatin’s staff for this mess.”
“They are at best cowards, Comrade General. We have been in battle with the Finns for 2 months now and none of them have visited the front lines. Driver, why are we slowing?” the Major yells.
The main body of the convoy stops about 200 yards before a sharp bend in the road, while the 2 BA-64 armored cars of the recon element stop and moves to take an over watch position coving the fallen trees.
The co-driver swings his weapons to cover the right side of the vehicle. He then looks back into the troop compartment, “The lead element has reported over the radio that the road is blocked about 300 meters past the next bend, Comrade Major.”
The Major grabs a submachine gun from under his seat, “Damn. Sergeant Baikov radio Senior Lieutenant Dyalov in vehicle 5, tell him to move to the front of the convoy and remove that road block. Also radio vehicle 3 and tell them to be ready. Then radio the signal to all vehicles to prepare to drive through the ambush. No one stops. Now general you will see the value of mounting that naval DShKM-4 mount on that halftrack.” The Major hands the submachine gun to the general, “Here Comrade General, you remember how to use one of these? That German peashooter you carry will not do you any good in an ambush”
The General takes the weapon. He looks at the Major and laughs, “Of course, I remember how to use one, you young fool! And you know damn well I took that PPK pistol off a Nazi General in Prague.” Still smiling the General inserts a magazine, “And if your remember nephew, I never doubted your idea to get those naval mounts. It was the 4 SU-76 that you wanted that I said no to!”
The Major stands and loads a belt of ammunition into the side mounted SG-43 7.62 machine gun then trains it to cover the left side of the vehicle. Smiling he looks at the general, “Of course uncle, just remember to keep your head down. Dad says he will kill me if anything happens to his favorite little brother. Oh, and be ready to pass me another belt.”
“Comrade Major, vehicle 5 reports they have arrived at the road block. They are hooking chains to the trees and plan on pulling them to the side. Also Comrade, all vehicles report they are ready to go.” yells the radio operator.
The Major lifts his TT-33 pistol, racks the slide to the rear to chamber a round and re-holsters. He “Very well Comrade Sergeant, send out the signal. No one stops we drive through.” He grabs the handle of the SG-43 machinegun and aims into the trees, “I hate forests.”
Thursday, March 24, 2011
September 11th, 1946
Battery A, 4th Super-Heavy Artillery Battalion
20 kilometers west of Porvoo, Finland.
Colonel, sorry to interrupt, but we are ready. All we need is the signal from command.
No changes, Sir. We fire 6 rounds at target 1, then another 6 at target 2. Then we break down and move to the spur line near Litti and stand by to support the forces attacking Kouvola.
And what is target 1?
A suspected rifle corps headquarters, Sir.
Recon flights show what is believed to be the main supply depot for that rifle corps hidden near a small factory, Sir.
What are the specifications on our gun?
The specs Captain, what are the specifications of the cannon?
Yes Sir, the gun is a 356mm m/1946 super heavy railroad howitzer, it fires a 640 kilogram HE or AP round at a muzzle velocity of 808 meters per second out to a maximum range of 45 kilometers. It’s has a rate of fire with a well-trained crew of one round per minute. The gun has a firing crew of 30, a support crew of 100, and an attached security/air defense company of 500 which brings the total to 630 soldiers per battery. Four were manufactured in the United States from naval cannon under the name 14 inch M1920. The Americans sold all four 2.5 months ago, 2 to us and 2 to the Swedes. Our 2 were stationed in Panama until sold to us for the scrap value cost.
Outstanding work Captain, you and your crew have out done yourselves once again.
Thank you, Sir.
Did you know I commanded a full artillery regiment during the last war?
Now I command a single gun…
Sir, are you alright? You look horrible…
Of course, I am alright Captain. I was just thinking of home. Where is your family from Captain?
Vaasa, Sir. My father is a doctor there.
Did you know where I am from?
Yes, Sir. Everyone knows you family was from Viipuri.
Yes, my family was one of the wealthiest in Viipuri, but my father disagreed with his bothers about how to run the family business. My father feared being so close to the Russians so he moved his wife and children to just outside of Porvoo in 1930. I was 16 years old he moved us. He started a successful shoe company near Porvoo.
I am sorry, Sir. I did not know. Was your family able to get out before the Russians took the town?
No, I haven’t heard anything from any of them. I keep hearing the rumors on how the Russian treat civilians caught behind the lines… I fear for them.
I am sorry, Sir.
Seven years of war have cost all too many of us loved ones, Captain. Why should I be any different? Before the last war all I wanted to be was a university professor; mathematics was my specialty. I left the university to join the army during 39 to defend my family and my nation. And now in about 13 minutes I am going to give the command to fire 6 356 mm shells into my father’s factory.
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Battleship Giulio Cesare
Regia Marina base
September 10th, 1946
Excuse me, Admiral. We have received a telegram from Rome. The replacement Russian team will be arriving tomorrow night. The transfer date is still the same.
So we are still required to turn our ship over to the Russians on the 25th, and I am ordered to retire the next day. The Russian have demanded all senior officers that served during the fascist era be removed. Did we ever find out what happened to the first group, Lieutenant?
Yes, Sir. The wreckage of an aircraft matching the type they were on was found by a fishing boat 4 days ago.
We believe so, Sir. The NATO blockade is finally starting to tighten. But there wasn’t really enough wreckage recovered to be sure.
What is that? Are those aircraft?
Yes, Sir. They are NATO reconnaissance aircraft out of Malta. So far they have made regular daily flights over most of our naval bases. They also have picket submarines and destroyers patrolling to make sure none of our ships leave port.
But they allow the fishing ships to leave?
Yes, Sir. NATO made it clear that they did not want our people to suffer.
What a noble statement; yet they cut of the food shipments from the UNRRA.
That is true, Sir. But they also cut the UNRRA food aid to the Yugoslavians. While we will all get thinner this winter, the Yugoslav are now starving.
Good, let those bastards starve. Take Trieste will they. We will not forget that insult.
September 10th, 1946
The leaves are stating to turn and the air is full of the smells of fall. Two lone figures sit on the bench in animated conversation. It is clear from their manner that this conversation is not to be overheard. Not far away agents of the NKVD are stationed to keep roving eyes and ears out of range.
One of the debaters is a big man with big features. You would have no trouble seeing the former heavy weight boxer he was . He is not a figure who blends in well in a crowd. He is also not the type of person that you can ignore. Yet his advice is being ignored.
In contrast the other is a weasel of a man. Small close set eyes and fast movements with extreme hand gestures that distract most people from listening to what he has to say. Over the years he has climbed his way through the Communist Party leadership. What he lacks in physical stature he more than compensates for in political stature. He is not a man who can be easily intimidated anymore.
Both men are wary of each other like the boxer that one once was and the political animal that the other has become and who’s skills he has mastered. To most ears the conversation would not make much sense yet the outcome would have major consequences for the winning or losing of WWIII. In the end both are just guessing. It’s a roll of the dice as to who history is going to label one a military genius and the other one of the greatest fools of all time.
If the dice roll one way the view point of the Boxer will look like he possessed a crystal ball. If the dice roll the other way his name will be lost and his logic will never see the light of day. The same is true for the Weasel. If his number is rolled he will be hailed as the greatest military mind of WWIII. If his number fails to be rolled he will be looked at as the French General Maurice Gamelin of World War Three. A General who used old ideas to fight a new war.
But what are these new realities and who’s vision will turn out to be brilliant and who’s will turn out to have the same effect as General Gamelin’s? If the right choices are made recent developments by Sergo Peshkova and his team will win the war for Stalin. If the wrong choices are made it doesn’t matter how many breakthroughs or new weapons systems are developed.
The Boxer lives in a world of simple rules and logic. You need certain basic necessities to run a modern military. The Weasel lives in a world of politics where ideas matter more than logic. Where the human mind is more important than any physical reality. If you think you are defeated then you are.
Both view points have won wars in the past. And both have also lost wars in the past. Once again a choice has to be made.
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
First Meeting of the Combined Defense Staff of the Scandinavian Defense Union
September 10th, 1946
Gentlemen, please take your seats so we may begin. I would like to start be welcoming all of you to today’s meeting. Over the last 4 weeks since the signing of the defense treaty we have established a common staff headquarters here to coordinate a common defense and to allow for the most efficient use of resources. Our 4 nations have agreed to fight towards a common goal. Today we will receive a series of presentations to provide everyone with the most up to date picture of where the war now stands. Major Puurunen please begin.
Thank you, Sir. First of all let us cover the status of the war in Finland so far. As we all know that on July 10th the Russians launched an invasion of Finland. Based on captured documents and radio intelligence we believe the Russians were hoping for a quick drive to capture the city of Helsinki. Our intelligence services have found that the Russian forces are organized into a single organization called the 1st Finnish Front. We have been able to so far identify elements of at least 10 Russian infantry divisions, 2 cavalry divisions and 2 tank corps in the forces attacking out of the Karelian Isthmus. Through radio intelligence we have been able to identify an additional 2 infantry divisions based near Petsamo, but so far they have made no offensive moves. Strangely most of the units we have fought so far seem to be second class divisions with limited tank, artillery, and aircraft support. This is in stark contrast to the Russians behavior during the final battles of 1944. At that time the Russians used 3 Fronts made up of close to 35 front line divisions, supported by 18 tank regiments, 3000 artillery pieces and close to 1500 planes to force the Finns out of the war.
The Russians underestimated the ability of the Finns to resist their invasion. We believe this underestimation was based on faulty reports from the Russian members of Allied Control Commission that were observing Finnish disarmament beginning in late 1944. Thankfully members of the Finnish military were able to hide large amounts of arms and equipment in several hundred cashes. The Russians made no attempt to hide the preparations for the attack; this information gave the Finnish military time to complete a limited mobilization before the attack came. The Finnish Army units on the border managed to delay the Russians just long enough for additional Finnish and Swedish units to deploy. This combined force of Finnish and Swedish divisions was able to stop the Russian advance. The front in Finland has been stable for the last 2 weeks; right now the Russians are about 50 kilometers outside of Helsinki. As we speak the front roughly runs from Porvoo on the Baltic, north through the villages of Askola and Artjarvi, east through the town of Kouvola and is anchored on Lake Saimaa at Savitaipale. So far the Russian advances have been contained to this narrow bulge.
The status of our land forces right now is good. We have been receiving vast amounts of modern weapons and supplies from the NATO nations. Those items have allowed our units to reach a level of combat effectiveness in excess of anything we fielded in the last war. The militaries of Finland and Sweden have been at full mobilization for the last 2 months. The Finnish Army now stands at 15 infantry divisions, 12 independent battalions and 2 armored brigades. The Swedish Army now stands at 10 Infantry Divisions, 3 motorized brigades, 3 armored brigades. The Norwegian Army now stands at 2 infantry divisions, 2 independent infantry brigades, 1 motorized brigade and 2 armor battalions. There are another 6 Norwegian infantry brigades forming and once completed they will be organized into an additional 2 divisions. The Danish Army fields 1 infantry brigade, with another in training. Also we have, 1 brigade of Poles, 2 brigades of Germans, a battalion of Czechs, and a battalion of Estonians trained. We are now forming another 4 brigades of Germans that should be ready in another month or so.
Once the weakness of the Russian force was identified we began preparing for a counter attack. We have built up a force of 5 infantry divisions, 4 independent infantry brigades, 3 armored brigades, supported by 600 artillery pieces and 400 modern aircraft. At 0400 tomorrow morning that force will begin an attack to retake the town of Kouvola and then will drive south to Kotka thereby cutting the Russian Front in two. Our goals are simple; remove the Russian threat to Helsinki, destroy as many Russian units as we can, and drive them out of Finland. At the very least we have to retake the fortifications of the Salpa line. With those fortifications we can dig in and wait for the Russians next move.