Finnish war through the platoon commander
Often, publications on the Soviet-Finnish war boil down to evidence that the Red Army demonstrated complete military helplessness. It did not take into account the fact that the army was given an almost impossible task - to attack a perfectly prepared line of defense at the most inconvenient time for this - during the Finnish winter!
The authoritative British military historian Liddel Garth wrote about it like this: “An impartial analysis of military actions makes it possible to establish the true reasons for the failure of the Russians in the initial period. The terrain conditions in all respects impeded the advancement of the advancing troops. Numerous natural obstacles limited the possible directions of attack. On the map, the area between Lake Ladoga and the Arctic Ocean seemed rather wide, but in fact it represented a dense network of lakes and forests, which created ideal conditions for conducting stubborn defenses. Moreover, on the Soviet territory near the border, there was only one railway line (the Leningrad-Murmansk line), from which, along the entire length of 800 miles, only one line reached the border. This led to the fact that only three divisions took part in the breakthroughs on the narrowest parts of Finnish territory (in the messages of the Finnish press, the scale of the actions of the Russians was greatly exaggerated), while four divisions were used for the bypass maneuver north of Lake Ladoga.
Alas, the English historian to the reasons for the initial failures of the Red Army, which managed, after all, to break through the impregnable line of Mannerheim, reacted much more objectively than many domestic authors.
In the same UK, the computer used for solving military tasks was offered the raw data of the Soviet offensive of the 1939 year. To begin with, the computer refused to "fight" at minus forty degrees. And after the data that did not suit him were removed, he “broke through” the Mannerheim line with the help of several atomic strikes on it. The computer did not find another solution!
The soldiers and commanders of the Red Army broke through the system of Finnish fortifications without atomic "mushrooms". Here's how one of those who managed to win in unbelievable conditions after the first tragic lessons — platoon commander Nikolai Mitrofanov, who was sent to the front on the very first day of the war - November 30 of the year 1939, described what happened then:
“The train has become. The team: “Unload!” The railway station burnt by the Finns, a pile of stones, highly sticking burnt pipes and logs, deep craters from the shells - all this immediately caught my eye and was imprinted in the brain, and all around it was white and dead. The division headquarters had to go all the way to 30 kilometers. Having built on divisions, started. Well, Finland! We walked in the middle of a dense forest. And he had neither end nor edge. Pine, spruce, birch, slim and beautiful, he rose high to the sky. And around the snow; one has only to get off the road, and one can knee-deep, waist-high ...
Dawn found us dancing "wild dance" in one place. Frost is not lower - 50 ° mercilessly burned his legs, arms, grabbed his nose. The icy balaclava warmed little. Ahnul shrapnel gap. Answering Finnish, our battery struck. We were between two fires, and our and Finnish shells flew over us. Anyone who has not gone through the harsh school of war is probably hard to imagine how you can crawl on your stomach in deep snow. Leaning their hands, people fall over their shoulders. In order to push the foot, you need to get a firm ground. Snow pours over the collar, mittens, boots. Every meter gets later, despite the fifty-degree frost. Great will power, nerves of steel, courage and perseverance - these are the qualities that a Red Army fighter should have in winter conditions ...
We lay in some kind of drainage ditch, and snipers hit us like an open target. I asked Mishin: “Well, Sergey, will we move forward?”. Thinking, he replied: “The main forces remained in their original positions. We jumped out and now paid for it. Today we lost a lot of people. We are shot dead, well, disguise as killed "...
The frost burned our hot bodies in earnest. An ice crust formed on the overcoats; it crunched at the slightest movement. There was no way to roll over either, since the enemy immediately opened fire, and then, willy-nilly, you had to dig in the snow. My nose was cold, my hands were cold, my knees were cold, but my legs were still unbearable. And we all lay there, unable to move either hand or foot, chained by the enemy's fire. Chills beat like in a fever, our teeth clanged. The last hours before the darkness, I lay in some half-forgotten ...
We follow tanks and beat. We hit the attics, the roofs, the windows. Cracking, rattling machines, hit guns. It's getting hot. Crossroads of the road. Gasped mine. The caterpillar scattered like a head-mounted tank. The tank froze. Our movement froze, he blocked our path. We run into a dilapidated barn. A tank gun was staring right at us. No maids. Shells are scattered around. The decision comes by itself. A gun in the opposite direction, a shell in the chamber, a jerk for the cord and ... a terrible explosion shook the barn, smoke, dust, boards, sticks and rubble fell upon us from above. When the smoke cleared, I saw one of the "artillerymen" wounding a bandage on his leg. The second one was already done by the comrades who arrived in time. It turned out: leaving the gun, the Finns poured sand into the barrel ... ".
And in the early morning of March 13, 1940 of the year, the day the war ended, and the peace treaty with Finland entered into force on Soviet conditions, the Commissar of Mitrofanov, he was shot through the shoulder with a Finnish bullet. He described the day as follows: “Machine guns were beating from the ground. Deafeningly loud - tra-ta-ta-ta. Silence again. The wounded returned. The orderly said that in one tent they killed one and wounded one. It's getting light. Somewhere a tool was dull and distant, and then another and another. The blows were increasing all the time, and soon a continuous continuous hum stood over the surroundings. Vyborg bombed! It is difficult to describe such a bombing. No description can not be this rumble. Motors roared continuously in the air. The glow of the fire engulfed the entire garrison. The air was filled with smoke and fumes. Well, finished chatting. Give the Finn heat. And, as if on cue, everything was silent, calmed down, only leaving airplanes were rumbling in the air. Silence around. Strange somehow! ”
But we say goodbye to our hero. He returned to Moscow with a military order on his chest: “The train was slowly approaching the platform. Passengers crowded at the exit to the vestibule. I could not wait. Hurry up. Countless stream of passengers and greeters rushed to the platform. Whistles of locomotives, car sirens, trams, people, people, people. The first time I was even confused. I'm used to the whistling of shells, howling mines, the rattle of machine guns and the shells breaking. Behind, unexpectedly, someone hung on his neck, and hot kisses burned his lips, cheeks, nose, and his wife’s quiet, dear, almost already forgotten voice repeated: “Kohl, dear Kohl! Kohl is back. "
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