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The Karelian Isthmus

30 November 1939

 

 

The Isthmus front, November 30th 1939
Nov 30th 1939, unit legends 1) the 1st Division
2) the 2nd Brigade, the symbol below indicates that it's on reserve
3) the 11th Infantry Regiment (JR=Jalkaväkirykmentti, Infantry Regiment)
4) Häme's Cavalry Regiment (Häme is one of Finland's provinces)
5) Uudenmaa's Dragoon Regiment (Uusimaa is also a  province)
6) I/JR13 is the 1st battalion (infantry) of the 13th Regiment
Nov 30th 1939, map legends 1) shows the main defense line, the "Mannerheim-line"
2) shows the main delay line
3) shows various delaying positions
4) shows the boundary-line between the Corps
5) shows the boundary-line between divisions and delaying groups
The following unit types are missing from the "legends" box above:

"JP #" = Jaeger battalion
"Er.P #" = Separate battalion
"PPP 5" = 5th bicycle battalion

(Note: the Finnish had also multiple separate small units committed in the front line, but I have chosen not to include them, since it would make the map chaotic.)

 


The Finnish side

 

At the end of November, the Finnish army had deployed on the Karelian Isthmus some 133 000 men, which was some 42 % of the total number of men in the defense forces.

The II Corps under the command of Lt.General H.Öhquist , had 65 400 men and the III Corps under the command of Major General  A.E.Heinrichs , 45 600 men.
    The delaying / covering groups of Uusikirkko (U-Group), Muolaa (M-Group), Lipola (L-Group) and Rautu (R-group) had a combined total of 21 600 men, which have been counted into the Corps numbers above. The delaying groups were consisted of separate companies, divisional light detachments, Jaeger Battalions, separate artillery batteries and border guard companies in addition to the HRR, URR and the 3.Pr shown on the map.

In addition to the above, the commander of the Isthmus Army, Lt. General H. Österman , had 22 000 men under his command in other duties.

 

 


The Soviet side

On the Karelian Isthmus, The Red Army had the 7th Army, led by Army Commander 2nd Class V. F. Jakolev , facing the Finnish defenders. The supreme commander of military actions in the Leningrad military district was Army Commander 2nd Class K. A. Meretskov .
    The 7th Army had two Corps, the 19th Corps on the west and the 50th Corps on the east. The 7th Army was supported by the 10th Tank Corps (3 Tank Brigades), and at least by 4 artillery regiments of the Soviet High Command.
    The total strength of the Soviet forces on the isthmus, when the war started was some 180 000 - 190 000 men, over 900 artillery pieces (including mortars) and between 1 400 - 1 450 tanks. The Leningrad area coastal batteries and the Red Navy on the Gulf of Finland and Lake Ladoga was to provide support along the coastline. The air strength in the Leningrad district was estimated to be around 700 planes.

From these forces, some 60 - 70 % were in the first wave to fight the Finnish delaying forces. The numerical superiority in men was only a little over 1,5 times bigger, but in the weight of fire the defenders were woefully outmatched. The most critical handicap was, that against the armored forces of the Red Army, 1400 + tanks, the Isthmus Army had a total of 67 antitank guns!

 

 

 

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