Island on the Ice - Winter War
Island on the IceBy Ozgur Budak
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|Second Side:||Red Army|
12 DECEMBER 1939, KOTISAARI ISLAND, SOUTHERN SECTOR, BATTLE OF TOLVAJARVI Colonel Paavo Talvela's attack againts the Russian bridgehead at Tolvajarvi had three directions. To the north, a diversionary attack was to be launched over the Lake Hirvasjarvi to fix the 718th Rifle Regiment. In the center, troops from the 16th Infantry Regiment were ordered to attack and capture the Hevossalmi Strait, and the tourist Hotel dominating the area. However, Talvela intended the real blow at the Southern section of the Lake Tolvajarvi. According to the plan, the "Separate Battalion 112" (Er.P 112) from Task Force Pajari was to attack the Kotisaari Island over the frozen lake Tolvajarvi; clear the area and send a company to cut the road in Kivisalmi strait at the Eastern shore of the lake; effectively cutting the logistical line of the Russian 139th Rifle Division. The Er.P 112, commanded by Captain A. Kanerva, was deployed on the extreme right of the Finnish forces with the 1st and 2nd companies. The 3rd company was entrenched to defend the Tolvajarvi village on the western shore. Utilizing the thick ice on the Lake, Kanerva's battalion launched it's attack at 0800 hrs, and got a foothold on the southern tip of the island. At this point, 2nd Company crossed the eastern shore of Lake Tolvajarvi, to cut the road leading to Kivisalmi. The 1st Company continued the attack towards the northern end of the island to secure this important land feature dominating the shores surrounding the Tolvajarvi Lake.