Finnish artillery simply could not finish it to Leningrad.
Dear Daniel Alexandrovich!
I am a sincere and long-term admirer of your creativity. You command respect not only as a patriarch of Russian literature, but also as a front-line soldier who defended the independence of our country during the years of the Great Patriotic War. Your word has a fair weight in any discussions on socially significant issues. This circumstance prompted me to write this letter. As a researcher who has been studying the Soviet-Finnish 1930-1940 relations for fifteen years, I assure you that you were misled about the intentions of the Commander-in-Chief of the Finnish army Karl Gustav Mannerheim during the siege of Leningrad.
I quote your words:
"I understand those who oppose the Mannerheim memorial plaque. Their reproaches are clear to me. The Mannerheim troops were part of the besieged ring. But there is another very important fact that many people forget. The Finns, for their part, did not shoot at the city, and despite Hitler's claim, Mannerheim forbade shelling Leningrad from cannons, "the writer explained his position.
Quote on http://www.fontanka.ru/2016/06/17/158/
I hasten to assure you that science does not have evidence of such a statement. Moscow researcher Oleg Kiselev made a detailed analysis of what the Finnish artillery had during the siege of Leningrad and proved in detail that in 1941-1944 the field artillery of the Finnish army could not reach Leningrad. The same information can be found in the Finnish artillery reference book published by the Finnish Artillery Museum (Tykistömuseon 78 tykkiä, Unto Partanen, ISBN 951-99934-4-4, 1988). None of domestic or foreign scientists disputes this thesis. The only thing that can be debated is the Soviet railway transporters T-I-180 and T-III-12 captured by the Finns, which, at first glance, really blocked the entire city with fire.
Let's try to figure out what Finnish railroad artillerymen were doing in 1941-1944, if they could reach Leningrad with their own fire, and whether the Finnish marshal sent telegrams to the firing positions to stop shelling.
305 mm railway transporters were captured by the Finns on Hanko after the evacuation of the Soviet military base. Before the evacuation of the Soviet guns were disabled. Samuil Vladimirovich Tirkeltaub, a veteran of the defense of Hanko, recalls:
... And with our guns - I know about my gun. The first thing that was done - spilled alcohol from the shock absorbers. Alcohol though technical, but at that time ... There was no longer any work to continue. However, all the aiming systems, all electrical circuits were broken. Two half-charges were laid in the trunk - they entered it through the muzzle, covered it with sand, scattered and undermined. As a result, the trunk was bent and torn. True, the Finns then restored these weapons. And then after the war we were given them back. One of them is in the Museum at the Warsaw station, the second on the Red Hill in a heavily ravaged form, and the third in Moscow on Poklonnaya Hill. So they do not act, but as museum exhibits are preserved.
Quote on: http://iremember.ru/memoirs/svyazisti/tirkeltaub-samu ..
The Finns had been restoring these giant guns for two years, and by October 1942 had brought them to mind, making the first test shots. Training shots and trips on giant transporters continued until September 1943. However, there is no indication in any Finnish document that these guns were commissioned and entered service with the Finnish army. Thus, it can be argued that 305 mm transporters carried out the entire war on Hanko, and after the Armistice 1944 were returned to the Soviet side.
Captured 305 mm transporter at a firing position in Taktyom, Hanko. Winter 1941-1942's. Source: Finnish Defense Forces photo bank.
By virtue of the foregoing, the possibility of shelling Leningrad with captured 305 mm caliber railway guns is no longer possible.
Two transporters TM-1-180 Finns captured on the Karelian Isthmus in intact condition. Of the two transporters, the 1-i railway battery was formed, which began its combat magazine 21 September 1941. Thus, it is documented that two 180 mm conveyors were put into service by the Finnish army in the autumn of 1941 and reached the Primorskaya railway. The combat positions of the battery were in the area of the fort Ino, Savyasto and in the area of Anttonal (now - the village of Green Grove).
According to background information that the reader can easily find on the Internet, the firing range of these guns is up to 38 kilometers at the elevation angle of the trunk in 49 degrees. Let's look at the combat magazine of the 1 railway battery of the Finnish army more closely.
In the National Archives of Finland, two battery combat logs are preserved. The second year for 1944 is a copy of the first, rewritten in a more legible hand. The first, most complete journal can be viewed at the link:
First of all, it was necessary to master these new tools for the Finns. Military training went slowly and was reduced to a constant change of firing positions, the transfer of weapons from marching to martial position and back to marching. Much time was spent cleaning the gun barrels. The technique was new for the Finns, and its development was slow. The transfer of weapons from one position to another took from 30 to 40 minutes. This is well traced in the log of the fighting. Shooting positions also needed equipment. It was necessary to put in order and the loading mechanism, which was done by October 8.
Conveyor 180 mm in firing position. 25 April 1942 of the year. Source: Finnish Defense Forces photo bank.
Already by October 22 1941, the battery was on alert.
25 November on the battery played a combat alarm:
In the south there are two transport routes heading east. Order: Puumala's coastal battery opens fire, if Krasnaya Gorka responds, then the 1-i railway battery opens fire. No fire followed.
For the first time, the battery opened fire with a single 30 gun on November 1941, symbolically marking the second anniversary of the start of the Soviet-Finnish war:
08.45. Combat alarm. Transportation and a small tow, 2270 bearing, distance about 26 kilometers. Icebreaker Ermak and one destroyer in the direction of Kronstadt.
13.35. Began to measure the distance to Ermak.
13.59. The first shot bearing 2260, range 26300.
14.22. The last shoot. The supports did not stay on the ground, they began to rebound after the third shot, and for this reason the shooting had to be interrupted after the 13 shot.
on December 5rd.
08.15. Combat alarm. Appeared icebreaker Ermak and a large convoy.
09.33. First shot. Nine shots were fired, after which the target disappeared in a snowstorm.
09.36. The last shoot.
09.48-09.50. Four projectiles were fired at Krasnaya Gorka, which responded with fire and fired five projectiles. The closest gap in 250 meters from us.
December 28 1941 year.
12.30 order on fire raid on Fort Reef.
12.45. First shot.
13.30. Last shot (8 shells)
The personnel of the 1-th railway battery is assembled to celebrate the Mannerheim 75 anniversary. 4 June 1942 of the year. Source: Finnish Defense Forces Photo Bank
After this, there is a lull in battery activity. The winter passed in repairs, studies and other concerns. The guns refused to work in extreme cold.
Only in the early morning of May 1, 1942, the commander of the artillery of the Army of the Isthmus, after a hectic nightly drink, orders to open fire on Kronstadt.
1 May 1942 years
05.50 An order was received by the artillery commander of the Isthmus Group to prepare for shooting, 30 fragmentation shells at Reef Fort.
07.15. First shot.
A total of 27 fragmentation shells were produced, including 23 in the area of the forts, 6 direct battery hits. 2 first projectile - with a moderator, 6 last - to hit. Transporter №86 released 8 shells, transporter №102 - 19 shells.
08.17 - the last shot.
15 June 1942 of the year came General Walden to the battery, who ordered open fire on Soviet minesweepers and sea hunters in the Gulf of Finland. The battery fired 8 dual charge frag projectiles. When loading another projectile into conveyor No.102, a powder charge ignited due to a technical malfunction, three gunners received light burns. By order of Valden projectile left in the barrel. Shot him the next day.
After that, the battery was engaged in a constant change of positions, combat training, and only occasionally fired upon Soviet ships in the bay. The firing range, as a rule, was 26 ... 27 kilometers. 1942 and 1943 years passed in a routine change of position, rare shooting, combat training. Accidents, accidents and breakdowns have happened. It is possible that the raid on the Red Army House in Kronstadt 30 on April 1944 was canceled because of a collision of a railcar with an anti-aircraft gunner car:
Transporter firing on Soviet ships in the Gulf of Finland. 15 June 1942 of the year. Source: Finnish Defense Forces photo bank.
11.55. The order of the IV Army Corps arrived at the headquarters of the regiment: Today in the afternoon, to 18.00 - 19.00, move two guns to the firing position in Taikkin. With a take a list of goals transmitted by the body. To prepare for the shooting of 25-30 semi-armored projectiles, the target is the House of the Red Army in Kronstadt. The beginning of the shelling assigns the corps.
12.45. The battery commander gives the order: “The battery prepares for battle from Eno’s firing position, the combat task is to fire the Red Army House in Kronstadt, and also be ready for a possible battle against the enemy’s batteries if they open fire: Riff, Alexander Shants, Krasnoarmeysky railway Kronstadt batteries - from the firing position of Eno; against Red Hill and Sulfur Horse - from the firing position at Anttonal.
20.30: Accident in Taikkina: Lieutenant Berg crashed into a car of anti-aircraft gunners at full speed, Lieutenant Berg was seriously injured, Junior Sergeant Yalmen and gunner Arminen were slightly injured. The car body is completely broken, the motor is damaged slightly.
Only 9 June 1944, the record of interest appears in the battle log:
9 June 1944 year
19.30. The deputy commander of the regiment said that the battery should prepare for a possible anti-battery struggle against targets on Kotlin Island. Since the firing distance from Anttonal was too large, he ordered two guns to be moved to Eno's firing position.
This proves that the 1-i railway battery led an effective MAXIMUM fire on 26-28 kilometers. If we assume that the Finns would have brought one gun to Kuokkala (Repino) and fired at Leningrad, then when shooting at 28 kilometers from Kuokkala, the Finns could reach only the park of the St. Petersburg 300 anniversary and the Piterland water park. They were then absent as a class. As well as the Primorsky district of the city of Leningrad - St. Petersburg. When firing at a maximum range of 37 kilometers, they could cover only the Petrograd side.
If we assume that the 1-i railway battery decided to commit a beautiful suicide and arrived at the front line in Beloostrov, then the situation changes. Let us even assume that the entire canvas could withstand the weight of the installation in 150 tons (the 11 of June 1944 of the year, due to the destruction of the railroad tracks, the Finns almost lost one gun - conveyor #2 came off the rail).
The railway bridge across the Sister River was undermined by Soviet units during the September 1941 retreat, and the Finns did not recover. Thus, the closest point to Leningrad, from where the Finns could have fired, is north of the bridge over the Sister in Beloostrov.
If they really did it: they came to the bridge, got into an unequipped firing position in front of the Soviet fighters on the front line, put a wagon with ammunition and a wagon with anti-aircraft guns next to it, would have had time to put the weapon into a fighting position and make a shot at Leningrad, we can say the following:
1) With a firing range of 26-28 kilometers, they could cover the Petrograd side, the northern part of Vasilyevsky Island, and possibly reach the Petropavlovskaya Fortress. At the maximum firing range, they would indeed block almost the entire city, reaching the House of Soviets on Moskovsky Prospect.
2) From Beloostrov they would not have gone anywhere else. With the location of the firing position so close to the front line, they came under the fire impact not only of the forts of the Kronstadt Fortress, but also of the field artillery of the 23 Army defending the Karelian Isthmus. Using costly, piece implements in this way is insane from all points of view.
In connection with all the above, it can be argued that in the period from 1941 to 1944, the Finnish artillery did not actually have the opportunity to bombard Leningrad. Even if we take into account the captured 180 mm railway transporters that operated on the railway Terijoki (Zelenogorsk) - Koivisto (Primorsk).
We also note that Finnish artillerymen reached out to Kronstadt (now part of St. Petersburg) and absolutely did not hesitate to fire at it. The fact that 30 on April 1944 of the year the Finns did not open fire on the center of Kronstadt is just a lucky coincidence for the residents of the city and unhappy for the Finns.
In connection with the foregoing, it is absolutely impossible to explain the absence of shelling of Leningrad from the Finnish side by the good will of Carl Gustav Mannerheim. Similarly, historians do not know the documents in which Hitler would have demanded the shelling of Leningrad from the north at Mannerheim. It was not possible to find sources that the Nazi command demanded that the Finns place German guns on the Karelian Isthmus and bombard Leningrad.
I ask you, dear Daniil Aleksandrovich, to consider all the data contained in my letter, the documents and photographic documents that I attach to it. In my opinion, they prove that an unscrupulous source misled you.
- Bair Irincheev Director of the Military Historical Center of the Karelian Isthmus, historian, writer.
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