A Blaze in the Northern Sky - Winter War
A Blaze in the Northern SkyBy F.Lee Harmon jr
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|Second Side:||Red Army|
02 JANUARY 1940, NEAR HAULIKA FARM, RAATE ROAD, SOUMUSSALMI SECTOR As the Finnish forces continued to surround the RKKA 163rd Division at Soumussalmi, the Ukrainian 44th Motorized Rifle Division had for the most part; sat idle a mere 6 miles to the east. Though some historians credit the Soviet hesitation to the degree of fierceness with which the Finns repelled the initial probes of the Ukrainians, others have found no reason why the Soviet Commander (Vinogradov) failed to issue a plan for breakout. Quickly capitalizing on the paralyzed state of the 44th Motorized Rifle Division, the 1st Battalion/27th Infantry Regt. (Capt. Lasilla) went forward to cut off the road to the east in order to form a "motti" of the western most units of the enemy formation. Moving into position without detection, the cool headed Capt. Lasilla would take a full 90 minutes to orchestrate his attack plan while observing from a mere 400 meters away. The attack began shortly after 2400 hours on 2 January, 1940. The men of I/JR-27 quickly removed the Russian sentries with only token resistance and then the entire attack hit the road with conviction. As the situation developed, Lasilla realized that he was not assaulting the entrenched infantry unit as he had planned, but had broke into a rear area and found himself amidst an unknown formation. Due to an error in night navigation, Lasilla had ended up 500 meters off of course and was now wreaking havoc on rear echelon artillery troops. The assault continued to progress well despite the appearance of Soviet AA trucks armed with quad Maxim MG's that set the night sky ablaze. By first light, I/JR-27 had opened 500 meters of road and roadblocks both east and west were not only manned, but highly operational and covered by minefields.