Having gained independence, Finland became the enemy of Russia. First, the Finns acted in conjunction with Germany, then with the Entente. The White Finns captured the entire territory of the former Grand Duchy of Finland. However, this was not enough for the Finnish nationalists. They dreamed of “Great Finland. And for this it was necessary to take the land from Russia. Already 7 in March 1918, the head of the White-Finnish government, Swinhouvud, announced that Finland was ready to conclude a peace treaty with Soviet Russia on “moderate terms”. The Finns demanded to give them Eastern Karelia, part of the Murmansk railway and the whole Kola Peninsula. On March 15, the Commander-in-Chief of the White Army, General Mannerheim sent three invasion groups to conquer Eastern Karelia. Mannerheim approved the plan "Wallenius", which provided for the seizure of Russian territory along the line Petsamo - Kola Peninsula - White Sea - Lake Onega - River Svir - Lake Ladoga. Politician and military Kurt Martti Wallenius (1893-1968) advocated the creation of "Great Finland", in 1918-1921. he was chief of the border guard service in Lapland.
Mannerheim was also full of expansionist designs. In particular, he proposed to liquidate Petrograd as the capital of Russia and turn this city and its adjacent areas and satellite cities into a “free city-republic”. On March 18 in Ukhta, which was occupied by the Finnish troops, the Provisional Committee for Eastern Karelia was assembled, which adopted a resolution on the accession of Eastern Karelia to Finland. The Finnish leadership not only planned to significantly expand their lands, but also to seize warehouses from weapons, various materials and equipment, food in Murmansk. The allies of the Russian Empire delivered goods by sea. Before the revolution, the tsarist government did not have time to take out valuable property, and after it the export was completely stopped.
In April 1918, a large Finnish detachment moved to the port of Pechenga (Petsamo). The British were not interested in the seizure of valuable property by the Finns, moreover, it could fall into the hands of the Germans, so they transferred a detachment of Russian Red Guards to Pechenga on their cruiser and reinforced them with a detachment of English sailors. With the joint efforts of the Russians and the British, the Finnish attacks of 10-12 in May were repulsed. In addition, the British helped defend Kandalaksha. The Finns decided not to mess with the British and did not attack Kandalaksha. As a result, the local Russian authorities, with the support of the Entente, which was not going to strengthen Finland at its own expense, were able to keep the Kola Peninsula.
Together with the Entente against Russia
15 May Finland officially declared war on Soviet Russia. The Finnish leadership believed that Russia should compensate for the “losses” inflicted on Finland by the war (the civil war in Finland). As compensation for losses, the Finnish leadership wanted to get East Karelia and the Kola Peninsula.
However, Germany intervened here. Berlin judged that widespread seizures of Finnish troops, including an attack on Petrograd, would cause a mass patriotic upsurge in Russia. And this may lead to the fall of the Soviet government and the establishment of the Russian government, which will focus on the Entente. Brest Peace will be broken. More 8 March 1918, the German emperor Wilhelm II officially declared that Germany would not wage war for the interests of Finland with Soviet Russia, which had signed the Peace of Brest, and would not support the Finnish troops if they were conducting combat operations beyond their borders. In late May - early June, Berlin ultimately demanded that Finland abandon the attack on Petrograd. The Finnish leadership had to accept and begin negotiations with the Soviet government. "Finnish hawk" Baron Mannerheim was dismissed. The general went to Sweden.
In the summer of 1918, Finland and Soviet Russia began preliminary negotiations on the terms of a peace agreement. On July 12, the Finns prepared a project to transfer the Finnish border with Russia on the Karelian Isthmus in exchange for substantial compensation in Eastern Karelia. The project was approved in Germany. In essence, this territorial exchange project repeated the proposals of the USSR, which it would make to Finland before the start of the Soviet-Finnish war of 1939-1940. In August, 1918 was negotiated by the Finnish and Soviet delegations with the mediation of the Germans in Berlin. However, the Finns resisted and refused to conclude a peace agreement. Then the Germans, without the consent of the Finns, concluded an "Additional Agreement" to the Brest Peace Treaty. According to him, Berlin guaranteed peace from Finland if the Soviet government took all measures to remove the Entente troops from the North of Russia. After the expulsion of the forces of the Entente, Russian power was to be established in the North. The Finns were outraged and broke off negotiations. As a result, a fragile neutrality was established on the border between Russia and Finland. Germany still kept Finland from attacking Russia.
It must be said that during this period Berlin planned to turn Finland into its protectorate. 18 August 1918, the Finnish “circumcised” parliament (almost half of its Social Democratic deputies were arrested or fled to Russia) declared Finland a kingdom. October 9 The Parliament 1918 elected the Finnish king Hessian Prince Friedrich Karl, brother-in-law of the German Kaiser. Before the arrival of the elected king to Finland and his coronation, the duties of the head of the kingdom was to be performed by the regent. They became the current de facto head of state, the chairman of the Senate (government) of Finland, Per Evind Swinhowood.
Flag of the kingdom of finland
However, the collapse of the German Empire put an end to the Finnish kingdom. The November revolution in Germany led to the fall of the monarchy and the establishment of a regime of parliamentary democracy. Germany could no longer control the Finnish leadership. The Finns understood that it was time to change the hosts. 18 November 1918 was dismissed by the sympathetic Germany Senate. 12 December 1918 King Frederick Charles abdicated the throne. December 16 German troops left Finland for Germany. Svinhuvud announced his resignation from the post of regent and transferred it to Mannerheim, who was guided by the Entente. Legislatively, Finland became a republic only in 1919.
The reorientation of Finland to the Entente immediately affected relations with Russia. Already on October 15, 1918, Finnish troops occupied part of Karelia. The Finns began to shell Soviet ships. Mannerheim in London held informal negotiations with the British, in which he made a number of proposals. So, he asked for official approval of the intervention from the UK, support for the Finnish offensive on Petrograd, the introduction of the British fleet to the Baltic Sea, the disarmament of Russian forces in the Baltic, the expansion of Finland at the expense of Russia, the autonomy of the Arkhangelsk and Olonets provinces, etc.
Already at the end of November 1918, Britain began to prepare for intervention in the Baltic. British ships under command of Rear Admiral A. Sinclair arrived in Copenhagen. In Revel for the White Estonians began to supply weapons. Estonians received guns, machine guns and thousands of rifles. In December, British ships began bombarding red troops on the southern coast of the Gulf of Finland. The Baltic Fleet had more ships than the British had. But the ships have not been repaired for several years, and most of them simply could not go into the open sea. In addition, the discipline among the sailors was extremely low. The officer corps was greatly weakened. The Baltic Fleet lost most of its combat capability. Therefore, British ships, mostly of the newest construction - 1915-1918, quickly established dominance in the Gulf of Finland. December 26 British captured the Soviet destroyers Spartak and Avtoil, which in fact did not resist. Soviet destroyers were towed to Revel and transferred to the Estonian Navy. Destroyers were repaired, and together with the British ships actively acted against the ships of the Baltic Fleet and the Red Army.
At the end of 1918, the Finnish corps under the command of Major General Wetzer landed in Estonia. Formally, it was a volunteer corps, in fact, they were regular Finnish troops. General command carried Mannerheim. The Finnish corps participated in the battles with the Red Army until the end of February 1919. In January, 1919, the Finnish troops captured another part of Karelia. In February, at the Versailles conference at the Conference in Versailles, the Finnish delegation demanded to transfer all of Karelia and the Kola Peninsula to Finland.
Under the leadership of Mannerheim, the Finnish military has developed a plan for a massive strike on Soviet Russia. According to this plan, after the snow fell, the southern group (regular army) was to launch an offensive in the direction of Olonets - Lodeynoye Pole. The northern group (the Finnish Security Corps - sückcor, Swedish and Karelian volunteers) was supposed to strike in the direction of Kungozero - Syamozero. The Finnish offensive was to begin simultaneously with the offensive of the troops of the white General Yudenich, which were located in Estonia. For the help of the white army, Mannerheim demanded from Yudenich to give Karelia and the Kola Peninsula. Yudenich agreed to give Karelia, but he agreed to give the Kola Peninsula only after the construction of the railway to Arkhangelsk.
21-22 April, Finnish troops in several sectors crossed the border with Russia and without meeting the resistance of the Soviet troops, which were not here, began to move deep into Soviet Russia. 21 of April was captured by Vidlitsa, 23 of April - Tolox and Olonets, 24 of April - Veshkelitsa. On April 25, Finnish troops reached Yarn, threatening Petrozavodsk. The situation was critical. Karelia could fall for several days. It is also necessary to take into account that simultaneously with the British and Canadian units and the White Guards attacked Kondopoga-Petrozavodsk from the north. However, during the stubborn fighting, the Finnish attack on Petrozavodsk was stopped. 2 May 1919 The RSFSR Defense Council declared Petrozavodsk, Olonets and Cherepovets gubernias in a state of siege. May 4 announced a general mobilization of the North-West region of Soviet Russia.
In May –June 1919, in the area of Lake Ladoga there were fierce battles. The small detachments of the Red Army (the main forces were engaged on other fronts and directions) held back the pressure of the well-armed, trained and numerical superiority of the Finnish army. The White Finns advanced on Lodeinoye Pole. Several Finnish troops were able to force Svir below Lodeynoye Pole. The offensive of the Finnish troops helped restrain the Soviet ships.
The Soviet command prepared an offensive operation with the aim of defeating the White Finnish forces and destroying the enemy’s “Inter-grain bridgehead”. The operation was supposed to involve ground troops and naval forces. The basis of the Soviet forces were the regiments of the 1 th rifle division, the 1 th Finnish Soviet rifle regiment, ships of the Onega military flotilla and two destroyers of the Baltic fleet. Vidlitskoy operation (June 27 - July 8 1919 g.) Was headed by the chief of the Olonets area MP Gusarov, Commissioner E.A. Rakhya and the commander of the Onega military flotilla E.S. Pantserzhansky.
27 June 1919, the Soviet ships launched a fire attack on the enemy's defense system at Vidlitsa and landed two landings. At the same time, the forces of the 1 th infantry division went over to the offensive. In the future, the Soviet ships supported the advance of the ground forces with naval artillery fire. Both landings were successful. The Finnish batteries were put down, the Finnish troops were defeated and retreated in panic to the north. Four German 88-mm cannons, five 57-mm naval cannons and other weapons became the trophies of the Red Army. As a result of the offensive operation, the forces of the Finnish army were routed and thrown out of the state line. The Red Army received an order not to cross the border.
To be continued ...