Gathering storm

Russian-Finnish relations had been cold during 20's and 30's because Russians had been supporting the losing side in the civil war of Finland in 1918. There was also strong right-wing movement in Finland and the communist party was banned in 1930.When international political situation got more tense in the '30's, the Soviet Union became increasingly worried about safety of it's north-west border and especially concerned about the safety of city of Leningrad, which was just 32 km away from Finnish border. Discussions with Finnish government had took place already in 1938, but after Stalin made the non-aggression pact with the Hitler in August 1939 which included famous secret protocol. The protocol stated that Finland and Baltic states belonged to the Soviet sphere of interests. Stalin started negotiations with these 4 countries in the October 1939 and Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania quickly made pacts that later cost those countries their independence for more than 50 years. Finland was demanded to give 2700 km² of it's territory, mainly in the Carelian Isthmus, some islands in the Gulf of Finland and town of Hanko in south coast. Stalin offered in exchange Porajärvi and Repola districts in the East Carelia, some 5500 km². Finns were to some extent willing to discuss other areas than Hanko, but no deal was made. Readiness for war was extremely low in Finland, not even uniforms could be dispatched to all units, there were no armor units and artillery lacked ammunition badly. After last negotiations at 13 Nov, Soviet Commissar for Foreign Affairs Molotov replied: 'Since we civilians can't achieve anything, the matter has to be left to the military personnel'.


The Winter War 30 Nov 1939-13 Mar 1940


30 Nov 1939 Soviet Army attacks Finland on all fronts with army, airforce and navy. Stronger forces in the northern areas than Finns had expected. Helsinki bombed, 91 persons killed. 'Guard Groups' delay enemy in the Carelian Isthmus.

1 Dec 1939 Puppet government installed by Stalin in Terijoki, which had been captured by Soviets on 30 Nov. This 'Democratic Government of Finland' has no support in Finland. Naval fight between Russarö coastal batteries and enemy cruiser Kirov & destroyers. Kirov and one destroyer damaged.

2 Dec 1939 Petsamo lost in the extreme north.

6 Dec 1939 Last of the 'Guard Groups', Group Rautu, withdraws behind Mannerheim Line. The delaying phase is over in the Isthmus. Group Talvela formed in North Carelia to coordinate operations against stronger than expected enemy forces.

7 Dec 1939 First battles in the later famous battlefields of Taipale, Kollaa and Suomussalmi.

11 Dec 1939 First Finnish victory of the war at Tolvajärvi.

14 Dec 1939 Two enemy 'G'-class destroyers approach Utö fortress. Fortress opens fire and the other vessel is sunk.

15 Dec 1939 Heavy enemy attacks at Taipale.

17 Dec 1939 Heavy attacks at Summa, the most important sector of the front. Last retreat in the Petsamo sector.

18 Dec 1939 40th Infantry Regt of Lapland Group forces enemy's 273rd Infantry Regt to retreat in Pelkosenniemi.

19 Dec 1939 First large-scale attack at Summa sector, 20 tanks out of 100 destroyed. Gunnery battle between Saarenpää coastal batteries and enemy battleship Marat.

20 Dec 1939 Attacks cease in Summa, Mannerheim Line totally in Finnish hands except Oinala Bulge.

23 Dec 1939 II Corps attacks in the Isthmus, total failure. Group Talvela ends it's attack, which began at Tolvajärvi 11 Dec, and holds positions till peace.

25 Dec 1939 A new enemy division attacks at Taipale sector. Enemy airforce bombs 11 towns and villages.

27 Dec 1939 9th Division attacks in Suomussalmi sector and takes the village completely after few days. Enemy 163rd Division retreats in panic.


1 Jan 1940 Numbers of 3 divisions are changed to deceive enemy's intelligence.

5 Jan 1940 9th Division starts an attack in Raate road, which leads to nearly complete destruction of enemy's 44th division in 2 days. First air attack on the GHQ town of St. Michel causing 29 dead.

6 Jan 1940 Fokker-pilot ltn Sarvanto shoots down six SB-2 bombers in 5 minutes.

10 Jan 1940 Enemy's 122th Division starts retreat in Joutsijärvi. IV Corps launches an attack , which leads to the encirclement of enemy's 34th Tank Brigade, 18th and 168th Divisions. By the end of the war 18th Division and 34th Tank Brigade are destroyed. 168th suffers from starvation and lack of ammunition, but is saved by relieve attack and peace.

21 Jan 1940 Enemy's 8th Army launches attack against Group Talvela. No success. 9th Division transferred from Suomussalmi to Kuhmo.

29 Jan 1940 Molotov says that Soviet Union is ready to discuss peace. 9th Division launches an attack attempting to destroy enemy's 54th Division in Kuhmo.


4 Feb 1940 Western encirclement of enemy forces ("motti") is destroyed in Lemetti.

6 Feb 1940 9th Division encircles 54th Division.

8 Feb 1940 Heavy attacks at Summa and Taipale sectors.

11 Feb 1940 Final enemy assault begins at Summa sector. Mannerheim Line is breached.

12 Feb 1940 Finnish government receives terms of peace from Soviet government. Heavy fighting in Summa.

15 Feb 1940 Finnish Army begins retreat in the Isthmus.

18 Feb 1949 Enemy breaches Middle Line in the Isthmus. "Regimentmotti" is cleared in IV Corps area, lots of captured equipment.

19 Feb 1940 I Corps is established , because the front has become wider after retreat. Heaviest attack since beginning of the war in Taipale sector.

26 Feb 1940 Only tank battle in the Winter War. Finnish tanks defeated, five out of six destroyed.

27 Feb 1940 Middle Line has to be abandoned, II & I Corps withdraw to Back Line.

28 Feb 1940 Swedish volunteer force SFK is sent to Märkäjärvi front in Salla sector.

29 Feb 1940 Finnish government decides to start peacetalks after a vote of 17-3. Eastern motti is cleared in Lemetti, very large booty.


1 Mar 1940 First fighting in the Back Line. Coastal Group is created to conduct operations in the Gulf of Viborg.

2 Mar 1940 Over 100 planes bomb Tampere. 70 buildings destroyed in town of Lahti.

4 Mar 1940 Heavy fighting in Kollaa, Vuosalmi and Gulf of Viborg.

6 Mar 1940 Soviets agree to start talks, delegation under prime minister Ryti heads for Moscow. In the IV Corps area enemy breaches the siege of 168th Division.

9 Mar 1940 Back Line breached by two enemy divisions north of Viborg.

10 Mar 1940 Major attack and advance of 4 kilometers by enemy in Vilajoki sector.

11 Mar 1940 Heavy fighting in Vilajoki, Tali and Vuosalmi.

12 Mar 1940 Enemy achieves breakthrough in Kollaa sector after monts of fighting. Retreat in Vuosalmi.

13 Mar 1940 Peace signed at night in Moscow. Firing ceases on all fronts at 11:00. Troops begin to retreat to new borders.

A map of the front in the Carelian Isthmus
A map showing all major locations in the Winter War

The Uneasy Peace 13 Mar 1940 - 25 Jun 1941

Finland lost in the Winter War Carelia and Salla regions and rented Hanko to the Soviet Union for 50 years. 420000 inhabitants left their homes and had to be resettled in to the remaining country. Severe peace terms were a hard blow and the nation was bitter towards Soviet Union. There was all the time a threat of a renewed attack by the Soviet Union. Armed forces were kept at high levels of readiness and had more men than normally in peacetime. Army consisted of 12 brigades and special units (cavalry , tank battalion, etc) at this time. Finland tried to seek protection from the Germany, because France and Britain were defeated in summer 1940. Hitler was more willing to deal with Finns than earlier, since he decided in Aug 1940 to deal with Soviet Union next summer and tried to get allies. There was a secret draft in Finland in order to get volunteers for a Finnish SS-battalion. Battalion was formed and it was part of the 5th SS-Panzergrenadierdivision 'Wiking'. Also Hitler refused to let the Soviets to deal finally with Finland, when Molotov asked Hitler's opinion on that matter in Nov 1940. Finns granted also a permission for German troops to traverse through the Finnish territory to the occupied Northern Norway. Finland mobilised it's army on the 17 June in anticipation of German attack on Soviet Union or Soviet attack on Finland. But 22 June when Germans attacked, Finland declared neutrality, though German planes had refueled in Finnish airbases when they returned from bombing Leningrad and German troops were ready to attack Murmansk in the Arctic. Russians bombed many towns on 25 June , and president Ryti stated that Finland is at war again. Finland's aims of the war were to get back areas lost in the Winter War and to get good positions to negotiate peace if Germans can't destroy the Soviet Union. Finns never considered themselves as Germany's allies, but as a co-belligerent waging own war with our goals.

The Continuation War 25 Jun 1941 - 4 Sep 1944


25 Jun 1941 Soviet air force bombs Finnish towns. President Ryti declares that Finland is at war again to defend itself.

29 Jun 1941 Local Finnish attacks along the border begin. German Gebirgskorps Norwegen (2nd & 3rd Gebirgsdivisions) with Finnish Independent Detachment Petsamo under German AOK Norwegen start an attack against Murmansk.

30 Jun 1941 Mannerheim establishes Carelian Army (Karjalan Armeija, KarA) to organise offensive in the northern Carelia. Army has 2 Corps, the VI and VII and Group O, which are composed of 5 divisions, 2 jaeger brigades and a cavalry brigade. Army has also one German division , 163rd, in reserve.

1 Jul 1941 German XXXVI Corps (169th, SS Nord and Finnish 6th Divisions) start to attack in the Salla sector aiming to cut Murmansk railroad. III Corps crosses border in Uhtua sector.

3 Jul 1941 14th Div crosses border in Repola sector.

5 Jul 1941 German advance stops in Salla. Finnish 14th Infantry Regiment is sent to help.

7 Jul 1941 Germans take Salla and are exhausted. 14th Div takes Repola and Omelia.

10 Jul 1941 Carelian Army launches it's first large offensive, which leads to breakthrough in Korpiselkä and collapse of enemy defences north of Lake Ladoga.

16 Jul 1941 Enemy gets 3 new regiments to the front north of Lake Ladoga. Germans move to defensive formation in Litsa River near Murmansk.

17 Jul 1941 Old 1939 border is crossed in Käsnäselkä.

25 Jul 1941 Finnish forces stop at Tuulos River in Soviet Carelia, because their flank is exposed.

28 Jul 1941 Group F of III Corps starts advancing in Uhtua sector.

30 Jul 1941 British aircraft from carriers bomb Petsamo. Group J crosses Sohjana River in Kestenga sector.

31 Jul 1941 Attack starts towards Ladoga in II Corps sector.

7 Aug 1941 Group J of III Corps takes Kestenga and continues towards Murmansk railroad.

8 Aug 1941 I Corps (7th, 19th, later 2nd Divs) is established to destroy encircled enemy in shores of Ladoga.

12 Aug 1941 I Corps attacks encircled enemy units , which flee via using boats and small ships. Largest aerial confrontation of 1941; 7 Brewster Buffalos shoot down 9 aircraft out of a formation of 24.

14 Aug 1941 The name of the Group J is changed to Division J.

15 Aug 1941 7th Division takes town of Sortavala, first of the three towns in territory ceded in 1940, which is taken back.

21 Aug 1941 Enemy starts retreating in the Carelian Isthmus, because 18th Division is attacking it from the rear.

24 Aug 1941 8th Division crosses Gulf of Viborg in Lihaniemi and enemy in Viborg is soon encircled.

29 Aug 1941 Viborg is taken.

1 Sep 1941 11th Division prepares to attack in direction of Petrozavodsk. Group F attacks for last time in Uhtua sector.

3 Sep 1941 Division J begins to retreat in Kestenga. Retreat is only 10 kilometers.

4 Sep 1941 Carelian Army lauches large scale offensive in Tuulos River. Group F takes defensive positions in Uhtua.

7 Sep 1941 Finnish forces arrive to Svir River. Finnish advance is halted in Carelian Isthmus near Leningrad, and quiet phase begins. Finns do not attack against Leningrad for political reasons.

11 Sep 1941 14th Division reaches Rukajärvi and remains on defense until armistice 4 Sep 1944.

13 Sep 1941 Coastal ship Ilmarinen is hit by a mine and sinks with 271 sailors.

15 Sep 1941 Finnish troops take Svirstroi, the Svir power plant, and take defensive positions on the Russian side of the river.

19 Sep 1941 German 169th and Finnish 6th Divisions take defensive positions in Verma River. Idea of cutting the Murmansk railroad in Kandalaksha sector is given up.

1 Oct 1941 Finnish troops take Petrozavodsk after a month of continuous fighting in the wilderness.

2 Oct 1941 Offensive in the northern direction from Petrozavodsk by VII Corps is launched, the aim is to take favourable defensive positions along Maaselkä Isthmus. It continues until December with continuous fighting.

4 Oct 1941 A Finnish unit refuses to cross Svir under enemy fire. Same event repeats itself following day. Morale is beginning to shake among the troops, because war was to be short.

13 Oct 1941 Divisions of II Corps, which is transferred from Carelian Isthmus to Eastern Carelia, starts attacking towards Medve'zhegorsk.

23 Oct 1941 Finnish forces take defensive positions in front between lakes Ladoga and Onega after heavy action with new Siberian 114th Division.

26 Oct 1941 8th Division of II Corps makes contact with 14th Division west of Lake Segozero.

1 Nov 1941 Last offensive commences in Kestenga sector. Finns encircle two enemy regiments and destroy them.

8 Nov 1941 Germans take Tikhvin south of Finnish positions along Svir. Finns make no attempt to achieve contact with Germans since it would have meant surrender of Leningrad.

11 Nov 1941 Attack in Kestenga is halted by secret order of Finnish GHQ, because it is consired not wise to irritate Western allies by cutting the Murmansk railroad.

22 Nov 1941 Stalin presents a plan to the British to pull the Finland out of the war. British gave Finland two weeks time to cease offensive operations or it will declare war on Finland.

28 Nov 1941 8th Division ends its offensive in the northern part of Maaselkä Isthmus. Also battles in Kestenga cease and quiet phase begins.

4 Dec 1941 Swedish volunteer battalion (SFB) takes the rental area of Hanko, which has been evacuated by the Russians after supplying the base became impossible.

5 Dec 1941 4th Division of II Corps takes town of Medvedzhegorsk.

6 Dec 1941 Britain and Canada declare war on Finland. Russian start attacking Germans near Moscow ending German offensive.

8 Dec 1941 4th Division takes defensive positions alogn southern part of Maaselkä Isthmus. Good defensive positions have been reached on all directions and Marshal Mannerheim & president Ryti decide not to continue attack towards White Sea, because it has become politically unwise, since it has become probable that Germans will lose the war and the US has threatened to declare war if Finns cut the supply of Lend and Lease equipment by taking Archangelsk.

Offensive phase of the Continuation War is over.

14 Dec 1941 Enemy 114th Division attacks in Svir sector and takes village of Gora. Battles continue for nearly a month.

29 Dec 1941 Losses have been 25475 men killed or missing since beginning of the war.


1 Jan 1942 Enemy's winter offensive begins in Maaselkä Isthmus. Attack force includes 6 divisions (71st, 186th, 263th, 289th, 313th, 367th), 3 Marine Brigades (61st, 65th, 66th) and a ski brigade. Finnish II Corps defends with 2 divisions (4th, 8th), 2 (1st, 2nd) Jaeger Brigades and couple independent battalions. Some minor breakthroughs are achieved, but largely attack is contained.

21 Jan 1942 Enemy attacks cease in Maaselkä after heavy battles. Enemy hasn't achieved any of it's objectives.

7 Feb 1942 3rd Brigade destroys enemy's 367th Division which is in an exposed position after it's advance in the beginning of January.

27 Mar 1942 Finns take Suursaari (Högland) Island in Gulf of Finland in a surprise attack.

11 Apr 1942 Enemy launches a large scale attack in Svir sector against VI and V Corps.

24 Apr 1942 An attack by three divisions is launched in Kestenga by the enemy against Fenno-German forces of Division J and SS-Division Nord.

25 Apr 1942 Finnish counterattacks destroy last Russian units in Svir. Enemy achieves nothing remarkable, but suffers heavy casualties, after last counterattacks on 25th April the front is as it was in the beginning of the attack.

5 May 1942 German 163th Division leaves Svir front and joins the German troops in Lapland.

22 May 1942 Battle ends in Kestenga. Enemy retreats and the attack has been repulsed.

4 Jun 1942 Marshal Mannerheim's 75th birthday. Hitler visits Finland, his Fw-200 Condor nearly crashes into chimney of Kaukopää paper mill because of low clouds. Finnish army, which normally doesn't allow any alcohol to be used in service (unlike other armies of WWII), offers drinks to men. Mannerheim is promoted to the rank of Marshal of Finland. He is the only officer in the Finnish Defense Forces who has ever been promoted to this rank.

16 Jun 1942 Enemy sinks it's first sinking of 1942, SS 'Argo'. Total sinkings of 1942 are 23 ships.

22 Jun 1942 Italian detachment of torpedo boats arrives to Lake Ladoga.

28 Jun 1942 German summer attack in Ukraine begins. Armored Division is formed in Petrozavodsk.

30 Jun 1942 Enemy's 1st Partisan Brigade of 592 men and 46 women enters Finnish-occupied territory.

4 Jul 1942 Germans troops take over the front in Kestenga.

19 Jul 1942 Finnish artillery destroys tunnel that enemy has been digging under the Finnish trenches at Svir.

15 Aug 1942 Italian torpedo boats sink Russian gunboat.

18 Aug 1942 Remnants of 1st Partisan Brigade cross the frontline at Jolmajärvi. Only 120 partisans make it back to their own side.

19 Aug 1942 Brewster Buffalos shoot down 16 enemy planes in one action over Kronstadt.

6 Sep 1942 Guard Motor Boat 13 sinks an enemy submarine.

12 Oct 1942 Guard motor boats sink an enemy sub.

21 Oct 1942 Enemy sub S-7 is sunk, this time by Finnish sub Vetehinen.

26 Oct 1942 Subhunting continues, sub Iku-Turso sinks Shtsh-320.

5 Nov 1942 Sub Vetehinen rams Shtsh-305. Russian sub sinks.

6 Nov 1942 8 Jewish refugees, who don't have citizenship of any country and are accused of spying, are given to Germans. These are the only Jews that are surrendered to Germans by Finns.

18 Nov 1942 Three Finnish motor torpedo boats sink enemy gunboat Krasnoye Znamya.

12 Dec 1942 HQ supply department reports that average 464 Finnish servicemen were killed per day in 1941 and 59 in 1942.


18 Jan 1943 Russians put an end to the siege of Leningrad.

31 Jan 1943 Germans surrender in Stalingrad. Finnish leadership is now sure that Germany will lose the war and starts to think how to make peace with Allies.

15 Feb 1943 Marshal Mannerheim states for the first time openly that he won't order any offensive operations anymore. Earlier he had promised to attack after Germans have taken Leningrad. Germans have been putting hard pressure to Finnish leadership throughout the 1942 to cut the Lend and Lease supply route. USA has on the other hand threatened to declare war if Finns try to stop Lend and Lease shipments. Ryti is elected for the president of the republic for the second term.

13 Mar 1943 Finland receives first Messerschmitt Bf-109-G2 fighters.

20 Mar 1943 United States offers to act as an agent between Soviet Union and Finland in preparing the peace.

24 Mar 1943 Molotov gives to the USA the terms of peace with Finland. They include borders of 1940, war against Germany and reparations. US government doesn't transmit terms to Finns, because it considers terms too harsh.

26 Mar 1943 Foreign Minister Ramsay tells to German Foreign Minister Ribbentrop about plans for peace. Ribbentrop gets furious.

10 Apr 1943 Plans for peace are abandoned. German position is still too strong to make a separate peace. Public opinion in Finland would never accept peace terms that Soviets had proposed.

22 May 1943 Enemy sub Shtsh-408 is sunk by by minelayer Ruotsinsalmi.

1 Jun 1943 Finnish SS-bataillon returns to Finland and is disbanded.

5 Jul 1943 Last German major offensive of the Eastern Front in Kursk begins.

23 Aug 1943 Enemy torpedo boats sink minelayer Riilahti.

3 Sep 1943 Italy surrenders.

21 Sep 1943 Swedish Stockholms Tidningen publishes an article received from London which states that Soviet terms of peace to Finland are: 1) driving the Germans out of the country, b) replacing the present government with a more democratic one, c) territorial claims.

28 Sep 1943 Hitler gives General Order #50 which includes plans Tanne Ost and Tanne West, the taking of Aland and Suursaari if Finland makes a separate peace.

14 Oct 1943 General Jodl from OKW says that Finland has no other choice but continue fighting or get destroyed.

3 Nov 1943 London says that Finland is an Axis power and the principle of unconditional surrender applies also to Finland.

10 Nov 1943 Ambassador Litvinov says in Moscow that the principle of unconditional surrender does not include Finland.

29 Nov 1943 Finland leaves an offer for peace based on borders of 1939. Soviet Union doesn't want to discuss the peace on these terms.

1 Dec 1943 Finland is discussed on the last day of the conference in Teheran. Stalin says that although Finland have committed as cruel acts against Russians as Germans, she deserves to be taken into account, since she had fought so bravely for it's independence.


1 Jan 1944 According to the calculations of the GHQ the losses (dead&wounded) from the beginning of the war to to end of 1943 have been 38144.

14 Jan 1944 Soviet armies finally lift the siege of Leningrad. Finnish front in the Carelian Isthmus is exposed to attack.

6 Feb 1944 Mannerheim says to the president Ryti that it is very important to make peace now. First large scale bombing attack on Helsinki begins on the night. 103 killed, 350 bombs hit the center of town and 2500 hit countryside. Five enemy bombers shoot down. Purpose of attacks is to make Finland ready for peace.

12 Feb 1944 Paasikivi travels to Stockholm to discuss peace terms with Soviet ambassador.

16 Feb 1944 Second large bombing attack on Helsinki. 25 killed, 130 hits on center, and 4000 outside city. Four bombers shot down.

26 Feb 1944 Last and largest attack on Helsinki. Over 1000 flights are reported. 18 killed, 350 bombs hit the center of the city and nearly 10000 hit the countryside. 12 bombers shot down.

1 Mar 1944 Soviets publicly announce the terms for peace.

9 Mar 1944 Finnish airforce bombs airfields from which the Helsinki bombers took off.

22 Mar 1944 Uhtua sector is taken over by Germans and 3rd Division is moved to reserve.

26 Mar 1944 Delegates Paasikivi and Enckell fly to Moscow, where Molotov gives them exact peace proposals.

11 Apr 1944 Finland receives first modern AT-weaponry from Germany, 1700 Panzerfausts and 300 Panzerschrecks.

14 Apr 1944 Finnish government decides not to accept peace terms.

18 Apr 1944 Hitler bans export of arms to Finland, because Finland had tried to negotiate peace.

28 Apr 1944 Stalin signs the order to carry out the 4th strategic attack of 1944 against Finland.

3 May 1944 Commander of the Leningrad Front, General Meretskov has finished a plan of attack against Finland.

22 May 1944 A new Russian 21st Army starts to deploy for attack near Leningrad.

7th Jun 1944 21st Army is ready for attack in Carelian Isthmus. Date is set to 9 Jun.

Static phase of the Continuation War is over.

9 Jun 1944 Enemy large scale attack by 21st Army begins on Carelian Isthmus with one of the most intensive artillery bombardments of the Second World War.

10 Jun 1944 Infantry and tanks of the XXX Guards Corps achieve a breakthrough at Valkeasaari sector in Carelian Isthmus. Mannerheim gives orders to move 3rd Brigade, Armored and 4th Divisions to Carelian Isthmus. Order is given to forces in Carelian Isthmus to retreat to 'VT'-line.

12 Jun 1944 Enemy starts attacking 'VT'-line instantly after reaching it.In Eastern Carelia, 20th Brigade and 17th Division are given orders to move to the Carelian Isthmus.

13 Jun 1944 IV Corps has withdrawn completely to the 'VT'-line. First enemy attack in Siiranmäki sector is repulsed.

14 Jun 1944 Enemy attack against 'VT'-line begins at Kuuterselkä. A breakthrough is achieved, and counterattack by Armored Division is unsuccessful.

15 Jun 1944 Counterattack has to be called off because heavy losses. Southern part of 'VT'-line is lost.

16 Jun 1944 Germany begins to deliver modern weapons.

17 Jun 1944 Order is given to retreat to 'VKT'-line. German Luftwaffe detachment Kuhlmey (70 planes, Fw-190 and Ju-87) arrives to Finland. 6th Division is ordered to move to the Isthmus. Finnish forces leave Svir in secrecy.

19 Jun 1944 Mannerheim asks additional help from Germany. 20th Brigade takes up defensive positions in Viborg. German planes from Detachment Kuhlmey take part in action over Finland for the first time and bring down 24 enemy planes.

20 Jun 1944 Viborg is lost after short battle, troops of 20th Brigade flee in panic. Units begin to retreat in Maaselkä Isthmus.

21 Jun 1944 Finland asks terms for peace via Sweden. Enemy tries to continue it's success after taking of Viborg, but all attacks are repulsed in this sector during the rest the end of war. Enemy attack by 7th Army in Svir sector begins. First German weapons shipments arrive to Finland.

22 Jun 1944 Soviet Union replies that only unconditional surrender is accepted.

23 Jun 1944 Soviet Marines make a landing in the rear of Finnish forces in Eastern Carelia. Enemy attack by 32th Army in Maaselkä Isthmus begins. German Sturmgeschütz-Brigade 303 (using StuG-IIIG Assault Guns) arrives from Estonia.

24 Jun 1944 Order to retreat from 'PSS'-line in Eastern Carelia is given. German 122nd Division arrives and is deployed in Gulf of Viborg.

25 Jun 1944 Largest battle of Continuation War begins in Tali-Ihantala with some local defeats for Finns.

26 Jun 1944 President Ryti makes an agreement with Ribbentrop, in which he declares that he will not start negotiating peace without acceptance from Germany. Finnish Army counterattacks in Tali.

27 Jun 1944 Attempt to encircle enemy in Tali fails.

28 Jun 1944 Russians make a breakthrough in Ihantala and Finnish counterattack is stopped. Finns leave Petrozavodsk.

29 Jun 1944 A local retreat is ordered in Tali-Ihantala sector. 81 bombers drop bombs at enemy concentrations in Ihantala.

30 Jun 1944 Battles in Tali are over when Finnish Army retreats.

1 Jul 1944 Battles in Ihantala begin. 6th Division repulses several enemy attacks mainly with artillery fire. Enemy 59th Army starts crossing of Gulf of Viborg, but is repulsed.

2 Jul 1944 Enemy forces encircle 21st Brigade in Medvedzegorsk road but Finns manage to escape through forests.

3 Jul 1944 Enemy tries to achieve breakthrough in Ihantala, but fails.

4 Jul 1944 Enemy 59th Army takes islands of Ravansaari and Suonionsaari in the Gulf of Viborg. Enemy launches a large scale attack in Vuosalmi.

7 Jul 1944 Battles in Ihantala end.

8 Jul 1944 German 122nd Division repulses last enemy attempt to cross the Gulf of Viborg.

9 Jul 1944 Enemy crosses River Vuoksi in Vuosalmi sector.

10 Jul 1944 Enemy takes Vasikkasaari in Vuosalmi, enemy bridgehead cannot be eliminated anymore. Forces of VI Corps are grouped for defense in the 'U'-line.

10 Jul 1944 Soviet Stavka orders forces in Carelian Isthmus to take defensive positions. Best troops are moved to fight against Germans.

12 Jul 1944 Soviet Union informs the Swedish that it is willing to discuss peace with Finland.

17 Jul 1944 Battles end in Nietjärvi north of Lake Ladoga.

22 Jul 1944 Finnish forces defeat enemy's 30th Brigade in the northern part of 'U'-line.

25 Jul 1944 Cavalry Brigade arrives to Northern Carelia. 1st Division checks enemy advance in Tolvajärvi.

30 Jul 1944 Last enemy attempts to advance are thwarted in the Northern Carelia. Last Finnish major attack of the war is launched in Ilomantsi.

31 Jul 1944 President Ryti resigns so that peace negotiations may be started. Marshal Mannerheim is nominated as new president by the Eduskunta (parliament).

2 Aug 1944 Cavalry Brigade and 21st Brigade encircle two enemy divisions (176th and 289th) in Ilomantsi.

5 Aug 1944 First attack to destroy the encircled 289th Division fails. Enemy leaves motti before second attempt. All heavy equipment is captured by the Finns.

9 Aug 1944 Remnants of 176th Division break out of the motti. All fronts are stabilized and quiet.

20 Aug 1944 Hitler gives Oak Leaf of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross to the Mannerheim.

29 Aug 1944 Soviets inform that they will receive Finnish delegation.

1 Sep 1944 Manner heim sends a letter to Stalin, in which he proposes an armistice to end bloodshedding.

2 Sep 1944 Eduskunta accepts armistice terms with votes 108-45 Diplomatic relations with Germany are cut, and all Germans troops are required to withdraw by th 15 Sep, or interned and given to Soviet Union as POW's

3 Sep 1944 Mannerheim orders 6th Division and 15th Brigade to be moved to Northern Finland. Hitler orders to start Operation Birke, the evacuation of 20. Gebirgsarmee from Finland to Norway.

4 Sep 1944 Stalin accepts armistice. Finnish GHQ issues order to cease fire at 7:00. Soviets continue to fire all the day using some 19500 artillery shells. 20 Finnish servicemen are killed. Finnish fighters shoot down one enemy bomber. German Sturmgeschütz Brigade 303 leaves Finland. GHQ orders the evacuation of Finland beyond 68th latitude.

5 Sep 1944 All arms are silent by 7:00. The Continuation War is over.

A Map of the Frontline in the Carelia during the Continuation War
A Map of the Frontline in the Arctic during the Continuation War

The Lapland War (15) Sep 1944 - 27 Apr 1945

7 Sep 1944 Finnish peace delegation arrives to Moscow.

8 Sep 1944 First German troops start retreat in Kestenga sector.

14 Sep 1944 Finnish delegation starts negotiations on interim peace. Germans lay mines in the Gulf of Finland.

15 Sep 1944 German attempt to seize Suursaari island. Landing fails and Germans have to surrender. They lost 1253 men dead or POW, plus additional 900 drowned with 9 vessels. First losses in Northern Finland: 3-men motorcycle patrol is destroyed after refusing to surrender. Germans destroy airfield in Pori.

18 Sep 1944 Germans and Finns make an agreement concerning how Germans will leave Finland. This prevents all battles until Oct.

19 Sep 1944 Interim peace is signed in Moscow. Troops begin to withdraw to borders of 1940. Other terms include reparations for the sum of U$ 300 million, demobilization of armed forces and allowing the Communist Party to operate in Finland. Final peace is signed in 1947 in Paris.

22 Sep 1944 First members of Allied Control Commission arrive in Helsinki. Soviets take Tallinn, capital of Estonia.

28 Sep 1944 First actual battle between Finns and the Wehrmacht in Pudasjärvi.

29 Sep 1944 Last Finnish troops leave Soviet Union. Porkkala area is given to Russians.

30 Sep 1944 Soviets demand active war against Germans. Three merchant ships leave the port of Oulu, carrying 11th Infantry Rgt.

1 Oct 1944 11th Rgt lands in Tornio and takes the town. Armored Division begins to advance in Pudasjärvi.

2 Oct 1944 Germans counterattack in Tornio and battle rages for four days, then Germans leave.

3 Oct 1944 Hitler issues order that 20. Gebirgsarmee will evacuate Finland and retreat to Norway.

7 Oct 1944 15th Brigade and Det. Pennanen take town of Kemi. Finns find a German liqueur storage, and attacks is halted until storage is empty. Soviets launch a major attack in Petsamo and take nickel mines, which have been the main reason for keeping the strong German army in the northern Finland. Mines were producing 80 % of nickel required by German war industries.

9 Oct 1944 11th Division begins advance along to Swedish border.

10 Oct 1944 Town of Rovaniemi, the capital of Lapland, is completely destroyed by Germans.

13 Oct 1944 Germans issue the order to destroy everything in Lapland.

16 Oct 1944 Finns reach the ruins of Rovaniemi.

18 Oct 1944 Armored Division continues advance after battles in Rovaniemi slowly, because of thousands of mines. Border Guards Brigade takes Kemijärvi and ends it's war there.

1 Nov 1944 Demobilization of army to peacetime levels begins according to the terms of the interim peace. This begins to hamper action against Germans.

6 Nov 1944 Advance in north-west Finland stops in front of strong German defense line. No real attacks can be attempted since unit stregths are decreasing rapidly because of the demobilization. Soon only 1st Division is pushing the Germans to Norway. It's combat value is low and it waits until Germans leave voluntarily.

12 Nov 1944 Sales of alcohol is banned in Finland until 6 Dec, so that the demobilized soldiers can't make trouble.

14 Nov 1944 Central Council of Finnish Jews issues a statement that freedom and rights of the Finnish Jews have not been violated in any way during the war. 352 Jews fought in the Continuation War and 23 were killed in action.

18 Nov 1944 Germans leave the northernmost tip of Finland.

22 Nov 1944 Soviets return first batch of POW's.

5 Dec 1944 Demobilization is complete, the size of Puolustusvoimat is 37000 men (it's even now approximately of same size). Largest army in the history of Finland is history now.

31 Dec 1944 Mannerheim gives up the command of Puolustusvoimat.


6 Jan 1945 National dance-ban is lifted. It has been illegal to dance during the wartime.

10 Jan 1945 German 7. Gebirgsdivision retreats from it's positions in Lätäseno. Only a very small portion of Finland is still in German hands.

12 Jan 1945 General Heinrichs is appointed to the post of the commander of Puolustusvoimat.

25 Apr 1945 Last Germans withdraw to Norway. Two infantrymen are killed in the last clash of the Second World War in Finland.

27 Apr 1945 Last shots are fired in the Finnish territory.

28 Apr 1945 Commander of the III Corps, General Siilasvuo reports that the mission of Puolustusvoimat is complete. Second World War is over for Finland.

A Map Showing tha Advance of the Finns in the Lapland War

A map of the lost territories


Puolustusvoimat hasn't taken part in any armed confict after WWII.
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