The Great Patriotic War is considered the most bloody for the Soviet people. She claimed about 40 million lives according to some sources. The conflict began because of the sudden invasion of the Wehrmacht armies on the USSR on June 22, 1941.
Prerequisites for the creation of the Karelian Front
Adolf Hitler without warning gave the command to strike a massive blow along the entire front line. The USSR, unprepared for defense, suffered one defeat after another in the first years of the war. 1941 became the most difficult year for the Red Army, and the Wehrmacht could reach Moscow itself.
The main battles were fought at Stalingrad, Moscow, Leningrad and other areas. However, the Nazis also tried to conquer more northern regions. To prevent this from happening, the Northern Front was created, the subordination of which was the Karelian Front.
History of creation
During the Great Patriotic War, the Karelian Front was called upon to prevent the enemy from penetrating the Arctic Circle. The combat formation was created on August 23, 1941. It was based on separate combat units of the Northern Front. The backbone comprised the forces of the 7th and 14th armies. At the time of the formation of the connection, both armies fought for a rather long front line: from the Barents Sea and to Lake Ladoga. It will later be called "Dear Life". The front headquarters was located in Belomorsk, which was located in the Karelo-Finnish Soviet Republic.
The support for the Karelian Front during the Second World War was provided by the Northern Fleet. The main task with which fighters had to cope was to ensure the northern flank of strategic defense in the North of the USSR.
The 7th Army withdrew from the Karelian Front in 1941. In September 1942 he was joined by three more armies, and at the end of the same year - units and the 7th Air Army. The 7th Army returned to the front only in 1944.
Commander-in-Chief of the Front
The first commander in chief of the Karelian Front of the Great Patriotic Army was Major General of the Red Army V.A. Frolov, who commanded the Soviet forces in this direction until February 1944. From February to November 1944, the front was led by Marshal of the USSR K. A. Meretskov.
Already in August 1941, a month and a half after the outbreak of hostilities, the enemy reached the Karelian Front. With great losses, Red Army soldiers were able to stop the advance of the Wehrmacht forces and moved to a deaf defense. The enemy wanted to take over the Polar region, and the task of protecting the region from Army Group North was on the fighters of the Karelian front.
The operation for the defense of the Arctic continued from 1941 to 1944 - before the complete victory over the Wehrmacht units on the territory of the USSR. In 1941, the Air Force of Great Britain also participated in the defense of the Arctic, which provided important support to the land forces and the fleet of the Red Army. Assistance to Britain was appropriate, because the fascists prevailed in the air.
The troops of the Karelian Front held the defenses along the following line: the Western Face River - Ukhta - Povenets - Onega Lake - the Svir River. July 4, the enemy was able to reach the Western Face, for which fierce fighting began. Bloody defensive actions led to deterrence of the enemy's offensive by the 52nd Infantry Division of the Karelian Front. She was greatly supported by the Marine Corps.
The forces of the Karelian Front participated in the Murmansk defensive operation. They managed to stop the offensive in this direction. After that, the German command decided that it would no longer attempt to take the city of Murmansk in 1941.
In the spring of next year, the fascists once again wanted to take the previously unreached border - Murmansk. Parts of the Red Army, in turn, planned to conduct an offensive operation in order to drop Wehrmacht troops beyond the borders of the USSR. The Murmansk offensive operation was carried out earlier than the Germans planned to launch their attack. She did not bring any particular successes, but she did not give the chance to deploy the fascists their own offensive. Since the time of the Murmansk operation, the front in this sector has stabilized until 1944.
On January 3, the forces of the Karelian Front launched another operation - Medvezhyegorskaya, which lasted until January 10 of the same 1942. The Soviet army in this sector was substantially inferior to the enemy both in the number and technique, and in the personnel training of the army. The enemy had much more experience in fighting in the wooded area.
On the morning of January 3, the Red Army began an attack with a small artillery preparation. Parts of the Finnish army quickly reacted to the offensive and launched sharp and unexpected counter-attacks for Soviet soldiers. The command of the Karelian Front was not able to carefully prepare an offensive plan. The troops acted in a stereotyped manner, striking at the same directions, which is why the enemy managed to successfully counterattack them. The successful defense of the Finnish army led to huge losses on the part of the Red Army.
Fierce fighting, which did not have much success, lasted until 10 January. The Soviet Army still managed to advance by 5 km and improve somewhat their positions. By January 10, the enemy received reinforcements, and the attacks stopped. The Finnish troops decided to regain their former positions, but the forces of the Karelian Front were able to repel their offensive. During the operation, the Soviet troops managed to liberate the village of Velikaya Guba.
In the summer of 1944, fighting again revived after the calm since 1943. The Soviet troops, which had already practically displaced Wehrmacht forces from the territory of the USSR, conducted the Svir-Petrozavodsk operation. It began on June 21, 1944 and lasted until August 9 of the same year. The attack on June 21 stalled from a massive artillery preparation and a powerful air strike against the defensive positions of the enemy. After the crossing of the river Svir began, and during the battles of the Soviet army it was possible to seize the bridgehead on the other bank. On the first day, a massive attack brought success - the forces of the Karelian Front advanced six kilometers. The second day of the fighting was even more successful - the Red Army units managed to push back the enemy for another 12 kilometers.
On June 23, the offensive was undertaken by the 7th Army. The massive attack developed successfully, and the Finnish armies began a hasty retreat already the day after the operation began. The Finnish units could not hold offensive on any of the fronts and were forced to retreat to the Vidlice River, where they occupied the defense.
At the same time, the advance of the 32nd Army was developing, which managed to capture the city of Medvezhyegorsk, which was not achieved in 1942. June 28, the Red Army launched an offensive on a more important strategic city - Petrozavodsk. Together with the forces of the Red Army fleet it was possible to liberate the city the next day. Both sides suffered significant losses in this battle. However, the Finnish army did not have fresh forces, and they were forced to leave the city.
On 2 July, the Karelian Front began to attack the positions of the enemy on the Vidlice River. Already before July 6, the powerful defense of the fascists was completely broken, and the Soviet Army managed to advance another 35 km. Fierce battles were fought until August 9, but they did not bring success - the enemy held tight defense, and the Stavka gave the order to proceed to the defense of the positions already seized.
The result of the operation was the defeat of the enemy units that held the Karelo-Finnish SSR, and the liberation of the republic. These events led to the fact that Finland received another reason to withdraw from the war.
From October 7 to November 1, 1944, the Red Army, with the support of the fleet, conducted a successful Petsamo-Kirkenes operation. October 7 was a powerful artillery preparation, after which the offensive began. During the successful offensive and breakthrough of enemy defense, the city of Pestamo was completely surrounded.
After the successful capture of Pestamo, the cities of Nickel and Tarnet were taken, and at the final stage - the Norwegian city of Kirkenes. During its capture, the Soviet units suffered significant losses. In the battle for the city, Norwegian patriots rendered substantial support to Soviet troops.
Results of operations performed
As a result of the above-mentioned operations, the border with Norway and Finland was again restored. The enemy was completely superseded, and fighting was already conducted on enemy territory. November 15, 1944 Finland declared its surrender and withdrew from the Second World War. After these events, the Karelian Front was disbanded. Its main forces were subsequently incorporated into the 1 st Far Eastern Front, on whose shoulders was assigned the task of conducting the Manchurian offensive in 1945 on the defeat of the Japanese army and the province of the same name in China.
Instead of an afterword
It is interesting that only in the sector of the Karelian front (1941-1945) the fascist army could not cross the border of the USSR - the Nazis failed to break the defense of Murmansk. Also on this section of the front, dog sleds were used, and the fighters fought in the severe northern climate. During the Great Patriotic War the Karelian front was the largest in length, because its total length reached 1600 kilometers. He also did not have one solid line.
The Karelian Front was the only one of all fronts of the Great Patriotic War, which did not send military equipment and weapons to the rear of the country. This repair was done in special units at the enterprises of Karelia and the Murmansk region.