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  • Mannerheim Line trip

    Here are some pics I took from a tour to the Mannerheim line. The guides were Roman Petrov and Vladimir Chekunov (who consulted the producers of "Fire and Ice" documentary about the Winter War). Both worked for the "Silver Ring" company.

    The tour took place in the end of November, obviously scheduled for the anniversary of the beginning of the war, however there was no snow in sight. We rode on our bus to the Kamenka area about 100 kms from St. Petersburg. Our first destination was the Summakula sector in the western part of the Mannerheim line:





    Our guides, dressed in Schutzkorps uniforms with Viipuri province sleeve patches



    Shell craters on the way to Sk2 bunker



    Remnants of an anti-tank ditch



    Finally, the bunker itself. It was assaulted unsuccessfully by the Soviet infantry with great losses and after a thorough artillery preparation which lasted for a couple of weeks in January it was finally blown up on February 2, 1940. The assault squad, which suffered a 75% KIA rate, managed to pull a 50kg demolition charge to the top of the bunker and blew a hole in its wall. Despite this, the Finns managed to recapture the bunker in a counterattack for a short time, but in a couple of days the bunker was totally destroyed and held firmly in the Soviet hands.







    Chekunov and the group are standing close to the same place where a T-28 was stopped to block the fire from the bunker's embrasures. The place of the demolition is quite clearly visible.





    The top of the bunker where additional charges were detonated

    www.histours.ru

    Siege of Leningrad battlefield tour

  • #2
    Periscope cap



    The bunker is pretty big and has a corridor leading to an infantry shelter





    Chekunov points to the crappy quality of concrete - even rifle bullets could leave relatively big scars and depressions on it





    Wall of the shelter



    General view from the direction of Soviet attacks



    Our next destination was Sk10 bunker, which secured a large swath of open field. On the way to the bunker we passed by a Finnish war grave





    Entrance to the bunker



    View from the bunker, which was practically blown to bits





    To be continued
    www.histours.ru

    Siege of Leningrad battlefield tour

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    • #3
      Fascinating stuff:- really excellent.
      "I dogmatise and am contradicted, and in this conflict of opinions and sentiments I find delight".
      Samuel Johnson.

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      • #4
        Excellent threads as always. Keep up the great work!
        "War is sorrowful, but there is one thing infinitely more horrible than the worst horrors of war, and that is the feeling that nothing is worth fighting for..."
        -- Harper's Weekly, December 31, 1864

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        • #5
          A Winter War reenactment was scheduled for the same day so the tour organisers decided to include it in the itinerary. It took place on a historical battleground to the northwest of the bunkers we'd visited earlier. According to the scenario, it was one of the early skirmishes of the war in the forefield of the main fortified line, sometime around the first 10 days of December 1939.

          Finnish army mans the trenches



          Soviet troops begin the attack, supported by a BA-20 amoured car



          A Ba-3M joins them in a few minutes





          An all-out attack begins



          The first trench is captured



          The end of the whole action was a bit garbled, with some of the participants ending the fighting earlier than they were supposed to. The finns were driven back and a Red Banner was planted on a tree above the first trench.





          Some after-action shots







          www.histours.ru

          Siege of Leningrad battlefield tour

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          • #6
            Check out this rather professionally edited video of the reenactment - a news report on the tour and the reenactment at a locat TV station. See one of the Finns shoot a real freaking Lahti-Saloranta machinegun, which I forgot to take a picture of. It's better watched in an expanded view - lots of pixels, but still better than this tiny box.

            http://www.fontanka.ru/2011/11/27/009/

            More pics









            The battle ended in fraternisations with the bloody henchmen of the oppressors of the Finnish proletariat



            Which was clearly a provocation of enemy liquor and sausage producers



            Let's roll!





            To be continued - "Poppius" and "Millionaire" bunkers
            Last edited by ShAA; 21 Jan 12, 05:40.
            www.histours.ru

            Siege of Leningrad battlefield tour

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            • #7
              Our next destination was the Summa fortified region and the bunkers located in the narrow defile between the never-freezing bog Munasuo and lake Summajarvi. The two "millionaire" bunkers (Sj4 "Poppius" and Sj5 "Millionnaire") with several flanking fire embrasures stopped the advance of the Red Army for a month and a half.



              Description of the fighting in this area from the book by A. Isaev "Anti-Suvorov: 10 myths of WWII", chapter 2 "Millionaires":

              Both bunkers shot through the whole valley with their flanking fire, covering the approaches to each other's front walls. The infantry attacking along the valley was met by a storm of lead which came from unknown directions. Beside the "Le Bourge" casemate, Sj4 had a frontal fire casemate which controlled the sector of Boboshino-Vyborg road. Because of that "Poppius" was identified rather quickly. Conversely, Sj5 "Millionaire" was only detected by the detachment commander Parminov in the end of December, in a night reconnaissance raid. This comes as a small surprise: from the side of the attacking troops this flanking casemate was invisible and its blind wall was covered with stones and snow.

              On December 18 the Sj4 and Sj5 "millionaires" which suddenly came to life, produced a shocking impression on the advancing Red Army troops. According to the Soviet intelligence on the fortifications in this area, the Summajarvi fortified region had to consist of 2-3 frontal firing bunkers (built in 1920s and designated Sj2, 3 and 7 in 1939), which didn't require any significant forces for their destruction. However, the two strong flanking fire bunkers appeared to be an insurmountable task for one Rifle division, albeit reinforced with the 91st tank battallion of the 20th Heavy Tank brigade, equipped with T-28s. The tanks broke through ahead, but the machineguns of Sj4 and Sj5 cut off their infantry support. After that the Finnish infantry shot the unsupported tanks with their 37mm Bofors AT guns and threw Molotov cocktails at them.
              Both bunkers were only captured in the first days the "Timoshenko offensive" (February 10, 1940), after meticulous reconnaissance and a month of daily pounding with high caliber shells.

              The top of the "Poppius" bunker





              The bunker was really huge, spanning for almost 50 meters long





              The "Millionnaire" was about a kilometer and a half away from it. We walked along a line of Dragon's Teeth which was broken in a few places by Soviet engineers.



              Gap in the line



              Approaches to the "Millionaire", which was thoroughly demolished after the battle



              Vladimir points in the general direction of Red Army's attacks on the bunker



              View of the bunker in the winter of 1940



              Hole blasted by demolition charges



              The end

              www.histours.ru

              Siege of Leningrad battlefield tour

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              • #8
                Appendix


                Schematics of the Sj5 "Millionaire" bunker

                www.histours.ru

                Siege of Leningrad battlefield tour

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                • #9
                  Fantastic thread, ShAA! Thanks for sharing your photos.
                  Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.

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                  • #10
                    Yes, very good stuff and timely, as I just started reading a book on The Winter War.
                    Blackcloud6

                    Refighting World War II - One hex at a time!

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Blackcloud6 View Post
                      Yes, very good stuff and timely, as I just started reading a book on The Winter War.
                      If you get too carried away, you might order this kind of artwork for your car













                      www.histours.ru

                      Siege of Leningrad battlefield tour

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                      • #12
                        f you get too carried away, you might order this kind of artwork for your car
                        Is that your car?

                        The book I am reading is: The Winter War: Russia's Invasion of Finland, 1939-1940 by Robert Edwards.
                        Blackcloud6

                        Refighting World War II - One hex at a time!

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                        • #13
                          Very nice Sasha...
                          "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few."- Sir Winston Churchill, about R.A.F. fighter pilots."
                          "It is well that war is so terrible, else we grow to fond of it." - Robert E. Lee

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Blackcloud6 View Post
                            Is that your car?

                            The book I am reading is: The Winter War: Russia's Invasion of Finland, 1939-1940 by Robert Edwards.
                            Good Book, so good I thought, that I felt moved to write a review on thee Amazon (U.K.) website.

                            A rare event for me.

                            (Mind you ,the author did compare the Mannerheim Line with Offa's Dyke, which is drawing one hell of a long bow- and there are numerous typos ).
                            "I dogmatise and am contradicted, and in this conflict of opinions and sentiments I find delight".
                            Samuel Johnson.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by BELGRAVE View Post
                              Good Book, so good I thought, that I felt moved to write a review on thee Amazon (U.K.) website.

                              A rare event for me.

                              (Mind you ,the author did compare the Mannerheim Line with Offa's Dyke, which is drawing one hell of a long bow- and there are numerous typos ).

                              I'm just a few chapters into the book and it does have a wealth of information, about the political and Finnish strategic situation leading up to the conflict. These are parts of the story I knew little about so the book has already shown value. The writing style, though, comes across to me as if this book was originally a doctoral thesis.

                              I look forward to the parts about the the fighting.
                              Blackcloud6

                              Refighting World War II - One hex at a time!

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