War Diary 1st to 3rd January, 1940

Monday 1st January 1940
  • Royal proclamation issued extending liability of men for military service up to age 27.
  • Violent attack by Soviet forces in Taipale sector of Karelian Isthmus repulsed.
  • North Suomusaalmi Finnish troops were in pursuit of defeated Russians.
  • Bombing raid made on Turku (Alabo), with result that historic castle was burned down.
  • German planed raided Shetland; one bomber shot down. Helskinki seaplane brought down in North Sea by Planes of Coast Command.
  • British Steamer ‘Box Hill’ sunk.
  • Norwegian Steamer ‘Luna’ torpedoes without warning.
  • Reply to League of Nations stated that British Government would give all possible help to Finland, and was already taking steps to do so.
  • German Steamer ‘Tacoma’ returned to Motevideo and was interned.
  • Italy recalled her ambassador in Moscow in reply to Soviet’s action in recalling its new ambassador in Rome, following anti-Soviet demonstrations in that city.

Tuesday 2nd January

  • Nazi plane sighed over Shetlands
  • Russians launched attack on Mannerheim Line, but a blizzard over southern Finland brought fighting to a standstill.
  • Finnish successes at Lake Kianta and other points on eastern front have relieved pressure on railway line from Joensuu to Nurmes and Oulu, of great strategic importance to Finland.
  • Details were published of great Finnish victory in region of Lake Tolva, north of Lake Ladoga where fighting raged from December 12th to 23rd. Soviet division annihilated, and vast quantities of war material destroyed or captured.
  • Report from Berlin stated that Stalin had applied to German Government for 200,000 experts to reorganise Russian economy. Later denied.
  • The King visited an Army Division in the Southern Command and made an 80 mile tour of various units.
  • Fight over North Sea near German coast between three RAD bombers and 12 Messerschmitts long-range fighters. One fighter shot down in flames; two others driven down and probably lost; one-British machine shot down and another missing.
  • Survivors of crew of Swedish steamers ‘Lars Magnus Trozelli’ sunk by enemy action, landed in Haugesund.
  • Estonian steamer ‘Mina’ reported missing.
  • Freezing of Danube had cut off Germany from over three-quarters of products supplied to her by Balkans.
  • Prague announced that new wave of arrests had swept over Protectorate, victims including ex-officers of Czecho-slovak army and journalists.

Wednesday, 3rd January

  • HMS ‘Ajax’ arrived at Montevideo, and HMS ‘Achilles’ at Beunos Aires, for refuelling and provisioning. Both ships received a tumultuous welcome.
  • During five weeks of war Finns claim to have destroyed 400 Russian tanks and brought down at least 150 planets.
  • Finnish air force raided Soviet base at Uhtua, opposite Finnish ‘Waistline’ and also Murmansk and Russian base at Liina-hamari, port in Petsamo region. Machines used were fast bombers.
  • Reported that Arctic weather conditions were responsible for as many Russian deaths as were the Finns.
  • RAF reconnaissance planes forced down in Belgian territory after being engaged by three enemy fighters in neighbourhood of frontier between Germany and Belgium.
  • Paris reported that patrols and reconnaissance parties were active on Western Front.
  • French fighters brought down two enemy planes.
  • President Roosevelt opening third session of Congress, warned Americans that isolation was impossible and that the mission of USA was to promote peace by means of trade co-operation.
  • Swedish steamer ‘Svarton’ sunk by U-boat off north coast of Scotland.
  • M Daldier stated that France would help Finland by every means in her power.
  • British Contraband Control announced that 20,800 tons of goods were intercepted during week ended December 30.
  • Germany said to have warned Scandinavian countries that if Allies gain advantages there ‘under pretence of’ helping Finland she will interfere.
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