Thursday, December 10, 2009

Day 102 December 11, 1939

Finland. Soviet 163rd division’s nightmare begins, having advanced 10-30 km since crossing the border. 662nd regiment is held at the North end of Lake Piispajarvi by Finnish 16th battalion. To the South, 81st and 759th regiments are held up in Suomussalmi by a company of 58 Finnish border police, since Dec 7. Suomussalmi village is a critical road junction sitting in a network of lakes. Beyond, easier terrain and a rail junction at Puolanka provide the Red Army access to the Gulf of Bothnia. To prevent this, Finnish 27th regiment (4500 men traveling on skis, no artillery, no anti-tank or anti-aircraft guns) attacks the Soviet supply line along the Raate Road, isolating Soviet troops in Suomussalmi.

Battle of the Atlantic. U-38 commits a political blunder, sinking neutral Greek freighter SS Garoufalia (4 lives lost) in neutral territorial waters of Norway. 25 survivors, including 2 Norwegian pilots, are picked up by Norwegian steamer SS Tellus and report the sinking.

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