Last Grasp of Plantinfuchs - Winter War
Last Grasp of PlantinfuchsBy Ozgur Budak
2 - 0 - 1
|Second Side:||Red Army|
22 SEPTEMBER 1941, LITSA RIVER, PETSAMO- MURMANSK SECTOR Operation Platinfuchs (Platin Fox) was a German and Finnish military operation which had the objective of capturing the Russian White Sea port of Murmansk. Murmansk was a vital harbor and station point for the lend- lease equipment Western Allies were sending Russia. Its presence was especially a line of life for the besieged city of Leningrad. After the commence of Operation Barbarossa, in order to cut the railroad and capture Murmansk, German High Command transferred the Gebirgskorps Norwegian to Northern Finland to occupy Petsamo. Korps was consisted of two mountain divisions; 2nd and 3rd Gebirgsjager Divisions and several independent Finnish battalions. As part of the Finnish- German offensive, Gebirgskorps Norwegen crossed the border between Norway and Finland into the Petsamo area on June 22. Their orders were to attack and capture Murmansk. However, the area between Petsamo and Murmansk had one the most terrible terrain German troops had operated. Deep swamps, rough terrain and lack of suitable roads seriously hampered Axis offensive and the attack bogged down at Litsa River. Korps commander Eduard Dietl ordered his troops to prepare defensive positions on July 17. Here, for a couple of weeks German troops consolidated their strenght and secured their flanks by the arrival of several Finnish battalions from the islands in the Barents Sea. In the beginning of September a new offensive was started from River Litsa. 2nd Gebirgsjager Division, with the 3rd Gebirgsjager Division on its right started its advance on the swampy river bed of the Litsa River. Facing them was the Russian 14th Rifle Division entrenched on the higher ground on the road to Murmansk. The elite mountain troops of the Wehrmacht was soon to realize the strength of the Russian soldier defending rough terrain.