Battle of Salla

The Battle of Salla was fought between Finnish and Soviet troops near Salla in northern Finland during the Winter War. The Soviets had orders to advance through Salla to Kemijärvi and Sodankylä, and from there to Rovaniemi in just two weeks. From there they were to advance to Tornio and cut Finland in two. The Finnish troops managed to stop the Soviet advance just east of Kemijärvi. During the last days of February 1940 the Finnish troops were replaced with the Swedish, Norwegian and Danish volunteers of the Stridsgruppen SFK.

There were only a few Finnish troops in the area at the start of the war. The 17th Separate Battalion (Er.P 17) or the "Salla Battalion" was mobilized before the war. Its main components came from a company of the Frontier Guard. The Finnish troops were part of the Lapland Group (Lapin Ryhmä) which was commanded by Major General Kurt Martti Wallenius.

The Soviets attacked with 122nd Rifle Division; it was planned to use also the 88th Rifle Division, but this division didn't participate in combat because of low supplies.

Soviet troops pushed the Finns up to the Kemijoki river, but were unable to break through the Finnish defences on the river. On January 13, the Soviet 9th Army ordered the 122nd Division to retreat to the Märkäjärvi village. After this no major combat operations took place, apart from small skirmishes.

Battle of Salla
Part of Winter War
Salla Phase1.png
Initial Soviet advance November 30 – December 17
DateNovember 30, 1939 to 28 February 1940
LocationSalla, Finnish Lapland
ResultFinnish victory
 Soviet Union
Commanders and leaders

Sweden Swedish GeneralErnst Linder
Several battalions,
from 10.2 1940 9,400 Scandinavian volunteers
122nd division
Casualties and losses
187 dead,
211 wounded,
21 captured
23 dead,
39 wounded,
7 captured
300-500 dead or injured more than 1,000 captured by Finns and 200 by Swedes, 56 tanks destroyed and 12 

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