12 MARCH 1940, VIIPURI, SOUTHEASTERN SUBURBS
The last days of the Winter War saw an epic struggle between both sides; Finnish troops were trying to hold ground at all costs and Russians were attacking to capture more soil. Both sides were aware of the unofficial meetings between the diplomats in Sweden and they wanted to get a stronger hand when a ceasefire was agreed. The big price was the historic city of Viipuri; the gateway to Helsinki. Russian troops have been fighting to reach the city since December. Now the Finnish lines were cracking and the end of the road was visible. General Timoshenko ordered the capture of the city before the ceasefire.
Meretskov's 7th Army started its attack for Viipuri on 11 March. 50th Rifle Corps attacked in north, and 34th Rifle Corps in south. Total Russian strength between Viipuri and Repola was 4 rifle corps with 13 rifle divisions. The plan was to outflank Viipuri from north and isolate its defenders. 34th Rifle Corps attacked towards Viipuri with Sergey Verzin's 7th Rifle Division which had 257th, 27th and 300th Rifle Regiments in front line.
When the 7th Army offensive started, suburbs of Viipuri were defended by the 7th Regiment (JR7) from the 3rd Division. Everste K.A Heiskanens was commanding the JR7 which was supported by Light Detachment 3 (Kev.Os.3). Hjalmar Öhquist, commander of the 2nd Corps proposed a withdrawal to the Patterinmäki defense line southeast of the center of the city, but this was refused by Mannerheim and Erik Heinrichs, commander of the Army of the Isthmus. As a result, JR7 dug in around the suburbs of Ristimaki and Kiesila and waited the Russian attack. Their Northern flank was covered by JR15 (5th Division) which was defending the town of Karjala.
JR 7 was able to hold its lines on 11 March 1940 against a strong Soviet assault. The weight of the Soviet attack fell largely north of their sectors on the dividing line between JR7 and JR15. On the morning of 12 March the Soviet assault continued in full force along the dividing line between the 3th and 5th Divisions. The southern flank of the JR7 was also under attack. While JR7 was able to repel all Russian attacks that morning, a serious crisis emerged at their Northern flank. Red Army had penetrated the 5. Division's southern flank and advanced into the suburb of Karjala. The left flank of the JR7 was in the air. A large Soviet force was probing into the gap between two Finnish divisions. Heiskanens sent his reserve, Kapteeni Karl Viisterä's "Kev.Os.3" to block the Russian advance and restore the situation