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  • Combat on ice

    I wonder, are there any examples of Soviets or Germans attacking across the frozen lakes during winter?
    Wisdom is personal

  • #2
    Originally posted by Karri View Post
    I wonder, are there any examples of Soviets or Germans attacking across the frozen lakes during winter?
    I think it was more natural for Northern theatre (Karelian Front, Leningrad area)...

    I heard about coastal operations through frozen Ladoga lake...

    Regards,
    Alex
    If you fire a rifle at the past, the future will fire a cannon at you.....

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    • #3
      The Russians attacked across the frozen straits to crack the Mannheim Line in the Winter War, and it worked.

      Years ago, a minister from Finland asked me what I thought the biggest Finnish mistake of WWII was. Being an "evil man" (as someone called me in another post) I replied "They didn't help the Germans take Leningrad."
      He was so shocked he almost didn't answer. Once he recovered, he pointed out the Finns failed to guard against a Russian attack across the ice and that cost them the Mannheim Line.

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      • #4
        You're referring to the action in the bay of Vyborg. At that point the Mannerheim line was already 'cracked', nor did it really work. The Soviets used some 2 corps there, finns had one division plus training battalions(at that point they were throwing everything in). The Soviets did not gain a breakthrough there.

        The finns suffered big losses there(around 8% of all losses I think), I'd be interested to know if the Russian guys here know what the Soviet losses looked like. Considering that the russians were making their supply and troops movements in the open and the FAF and artillery attacking them, the losses must have been big.
        Wisdom is personal

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        • #5
          Karri,

          I bow to your superior knowledge. I was merely repeating what the minister told me and haven't read up on the Winter War.

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          • #6
            Are there any instances where the defending side waited to shell the enemy when he was on the ice, in hopes of drowning them?

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Swampwolf View Post
              Are there any instances where the defending side waited to shell the enemy when he was on the ice, in hopes of drowning them?
              That would be like dropping a hand grenade from 30,000 ft. and hoping it lands in the open hatch of a tank.
              "Kill them all, god will recognize his own."

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              • #8
                Well, actually...yes. The finnish coastal guns often fired for that effect.
                Wisdom is personal

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Braun View Post
                  That would be like dropping a hand grenade from 30,000 ft. and hoping it lands in the open hatch of a tank.
                  No, no. It worked phenomenally effectively. Coastal arty dropped rounds out on the ice and whole companies, battalions just slid under. Tanks, men, the whole lot.

                  Also don't forget the temperature. In the water you'd have no chance. Even on ground. Cold. Ice cold. So cold men whose throuts were slit just died standing up. And stayed that way.

                  Plus the arty tactics worked well. It would seem the Finns invented something of a 'cold call' in arty. That's when every round is fired simultaneously from a battery and lands so, giving nothing time to get to cover. Devastating in both casualty and morale terms.

                  One could argue the Finns helped win the war for the Soviets. The 'Katyushas' ('Stalin Organs') were tremendously feared by the Germans, as were the Nebelwerfers ('Screaming Mimies')- developed for the same effect- by the Allies. Now I know these were developed before the war, but the proving ground would have been early on in places like Finland.

                  Finland in the Winter War was a terrible testing ground for the Russians- and those pesky fellows the Finns.
                  Tactics are based on Weapons... Strategy on Movement... and Movement on Supply.
                  (J. F. C. Fuller 1878-1966)

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                  • #10
                    I was thinking that it actually did happen. It made it into a wargame on the Winter War that I own, so I guess it was some danger for the men. It sounds to me like a very good way to make use out of the terrain. And then, of course, is the whole parallel with Alexander Nevski coming out right before the war (although I've read that the part with the ice was a myth).

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                    • #11
                      Whole companies being swallowed into cold water seems a bit unrealistic, I'd imagine they would be in more danger due to lack of any cover, and thus vulnerable to shrapnel, and more conventional ways of war.
                      "Kill them all, god will recognize his own."

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Braun View Post
                        Whole companies being swallowed into cold water seems a bit unrealistic...
                        These were huge coastal guns throwing shells as heavy as Volkswagons. I wouldn't want to be out skating pirouettes in the Gulf of Finland when one landed nearby.
                        Tactics are based on Weapons... Strategy on Movement... and Movement on Supply.
                        (J. F. C. Fuller 1878-1966)

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                        • #13
                          Yeah, if I remember correctly the bigest gun was 305mm.

                          And at least two regiment size attacks were stopped by just coastal artillery(in the other case the Russians lost about 800 men)

                          http://www.navweaps.com/Weapons/WNRu...2-52_m1907.htm
                          Wisdom is personal

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                          • #14
                            Were there any cases of large units actually being drowned though? How deep was the water, did the shells smash through the ice and detonate under the water?

                            I may have been a bit quick to judge on my first post, and for that I apologize.
                            "Kill them all, god will recognize his own."

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                            • #15
                              I am not so sure of that, I need to go to the library some day. I think the ice was broken rather to create an obstacle for the enemy(what are they gonna do, swim across? Don't think so). The finns were even about to send an ice-breaker to stop the attacks, but the war ended before the plan was implemented.

                              Also at that point finns had shortage of everything, and I read that they had shortages of the right types of fuses to break the ice.
                              Wisdom is personal

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