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Thread: What's Your Favorite Germanic Battle Of All Time?

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    Question Your Favourite Germanic Historical Battle?

    It's interesting to know which battle are you most proud of?

    I'll start first.

    FRANCE: The Battle of Tours 732 AD

    In the Battle of Tours Charles Martel the grandfather of Charlemagne defeated the advancing Muslim armies.This battle stopped the northward advance of Islam from the Iberian peninsula, and is considered by most historians to be of macrohistorical importance, in that it may have halted the invasion of Europe by Muslims, and preserved Christianity as the controlling faith, during a period in which Islam was overrunning the remains of the old Roman and Persian Empires.


    - From an Arabian Chronicler

    Musa being returned to Damascus, the Caliph Abd-el Melek asked of him about his conquests, saying "Now tell me about these Franks---what is their nature?"

    "They," replied Musa, "are a folk right numerous, and full of might: brave and impetuous in the attack, but cowardly and craven in event of defeat."

    "And how has passed the war betwixt them and thyself? Favorably or the reverse?"

    "The reverse? No, by Allah and the prophet!" spoke Musa. "Never has a company from my army been beaten. And never have the Moslems hesitated to follow me when I have led them; though they were twoscore to fourscore."

    - Isidore of Beja's Chronicle

    Then Abderrahman, [the Muslim emir] seeing the land filled with the multitude of his army, crossed the Pyrenees, and traversed the defiles [in the mountains] and the plains, so that he penetrated ravaging and slaying clear into the lands of the Franks. He gave battle to Duke Eudes (of Aquitaine) beyond the Garonne and the Dordogne, and put him to flight---so utterly [was he beaten] that God alone knew the number of the slain and wounded. Whereupon Abderrahman set in pursuit of Eudes; he destroyed palaces, burned churches, and imagined he could pillage the basilica of St. Martin of Tours. It is then that he found himself face to face with the lord of Austrasia, Charles, a mighty warrior from his youth, and trained in all the occasions of arms.

    For almost seven days the two armies watched one another, waiting anxiously the moment for joining the struggle. Finally they made ready for combat. And in the shock of the battle the men of the North seemed like North a sea that cannot be moved. Firmly they stood, one close to another, forming as it were a bulwark of ice; and with great blows of their swords they hewed down the Arabs. Drawn up in a band around their chief, the people of the Austrasians carried all before them. Their tireless hands drove their swords down to the breasts [of the foe].

    At last night sundered the combatants. The Franks with misgivings lowered their blades, and beholding the numberless tents of the Arabs, prepared themselves for another battle the next day. Very early, when they issued from their retreat, the men of Europe saw the Arab tents ranged still in order, in the same place where they had set up their camp. Unaware that they were utterly empty, and fearful lest within the phalanxes of the Saracens were drawn up for combat, they sent out spies to ascertain the facts. These spies discovered that all the squadrons of the "Ishmaelites" had vanished. In fact, during the night they had fled with the greatest silence, seeking with all speed their home land. The Europeans, uncertain and fearful, lest they were merely hidden in order to come back [to fall upon them] by ambushments, sent scouting parties everywhere, but to their great amazement found nothing. Then without troubling to pursue the fugitives, they contented themselves with sharing the spoils and returned right gladly to their own country.

    -Chronicle of St. Denis

    The Muslims planned to go to Tours to destroy the Church of St. Martin, the city, and the whole country. Then came against them the glorious Prince Charles, at the head of his whole force. He drew up his host, and he fought as fiercely as the hungry wolf falls upon the stag. By the grace of Our Lord, he wrought a great slaughter upon the enemies of Christian faith, so that---as history bears witness---he slew in that battle 300,000 men, likewise their king by name Abderrahman. Then was he [Charles] first called "Martel," for as a hammer of iron, of steel, and of every other metal, even so he dashed: and smote in the battle all his enemies. And what was the greatest marvel of all, he only lost in that battle 1500 men. The tents and harness [of the enemy] were taken; and whatever else they possessed became a prey to him and his followers. Eudes, Duke of Aquitaine, being now reconciled with Prince Charles Martel, later slew as many of the Saracens as he could find who had escaped from the battle.

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    Re: Which battle are you most proud from your nation's history?

    I will have to say the Battle of Narva in 1700. Denmark, Poland and Russia had formed an alliance in order to attack and defeat Sweden.

    The three allies decided that in the summer of the year 1700, they would attack Sweden at three different places. Denmark declared war and prepared to ship troops to the south most province of actual Sweden, Skåne. Poland also declared war and marched into Livonia, and last but not least, Russia declared war and started to besiege the Swedish town of Narva, which nowadays lies approximately 30 km from St Petersburg.

    The Battle

    The Swedish army stood on top of a hill (Hermansberg), which lies approx. two kilometers from Narva. Before the Swedish army lay the town of Narva to the right, and to the left was the Russian camp. The Russians had the city walls of Narva at their right flank, and the river Neva at their left. This meant that the Swedish army had to attack in the center, where most forecastles were situated. These forecastles were built along the entire camp, which in length was almost seven kilometers. In the middle of this line of defense lay the biggest forecastle. The walls of that middle forecastle were so high, that a scaling of its walls wasn’t an option, so the army had to be divided into two colons which would go on both sides of the middle forecastle.

    The Swedes organized themselves, and at the same time the Russian Commander in Chief, the Duke of Croy, tried to predict what the Swedes might be up to. The Swedes were rather quickly done with the line up, and they had also managed to take a hill, which was situated in front of the middle forecastle of the Russian line, were they assembled and prepared the canons. From this point the canons were able to fire at any given location inside the Russian camp.

    The Swedish army was ready, but the Russian army didn’t think that they would attack. The Duke of Croy, who had information on how big the Swedish army was, didn’t think that they would dare to attack the camp with such few men. Instead he and his closest officers went to dinner. During this time the Swedish army was ready to make its move, but just before Rehnskiöld, the Swedish commander, gave the order to attack the weather started to change. Snow started falling and the wind from the south grew in strength. This made it impossible for the Russian scouts to see what the Swedes were up. Rehnskiöld, with the consent of the king, quickly used this advantage, and the army started marching down the hill.

    The Russians didn’t notice that the Swedes were actually coming, and when they finally did the Swedes were only 50 meters away. The Russians sounded the alarm, but before fresh troops arrived at the wall, the Swedes were already all over the place. The way in which a soldier of Karl XII fought is a bit strange. They had strict orders not to fire their sidearm until they were five arm lengths away from the enemy, or when they could see the white of the eye. This was done in order to give the rather crude firearms of the 17th/18th century, as much velocity and power as possible. This also came as a surprise to the Russians, they were used to soldiers firing and then reloading, but instead the Swedish soldiers fired their arms, and when that was done they drew their swords/rapiers and went into close combat. This was too much a chock for the Russians, who started to fall back, or even desert.

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    AW: Which battle are you most proud from your nation's history?

    Definitively the Battle of Vienna 1683.
    The further destiny of Middle- and Western-Europe was fought out in that battle: Islamisation trough the Ottomans or European preservation and victory over the Osmans and Islamisation attempts. Vienna was the gate to Middle Europe. If the Ottomans would have won Vienna, the last big bastion of Europe...well....I think I dont need to formulate that out.

    70.000 Europeans (The "Holy League". Members: Habsburg (mainly Austria), Bavaria, Saxony, Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth) won, after a very hard siege, defense war and rough battles, over 130.000 Osmans/Ottomans.

    The leaders of the Holy League were Charles V of Lorraine and Jan III Sobieski. Leader of the Ottomans was Kara Mustafa Pasha.


    The Battle of Vienna took place on September 11 and September 12, 1683 after Vienna had been besieged by Turks for two months. It was the first large-scale battle of the Great Turkish War, yet with the most far-reaching consequences.

    The siege itself began on 14 July 1683, by the Ottoman army commanded by Grand Vizier Merzifonlu Kara Mustafa Pasha. The decisive battle took place on 12 September, after the united relief army of 70,000 men had arrived, pitted against the Ottoman army of approximately 138,000 men — although a large number of these played no part in the battle, as only 50,000 were experienced soldiers, and the rest less-motivated supporting troops.[1] King Jan III Sobieski of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth had been made Commander in Chief of his own 30,000-man Polish forces and the 40,000 troops of Habsburg and their allies, led by Charles V, Duke of Lorraine.

    The battle marked the turning point in the 300-year struggle between the forces of the Central European kingdoms and the Ottoman Empire. Over the sixteen years following the battle, the Habsburgs of Austria, and their allies gradually occupied and dominated southern Hungary and Transylvania, which had been largely cleared by the Turkish forces.

    he main Turkish army finally invested Vienna on July 14. Graf Ernst Rüdiger von Starhemberg, leader of the remaining 11,000 troops and 5,000 citizens and volunteers, refused to capitulate.

    The Viennese had demolished many of the houses around the city walls and cleared the debris, leaving an empty plain that would expose the Turks to defensive fire if they tried to rush the city. Kara Mustafa Pasha solved that problem by ordering his forces to dig long lines of trenches directly toward the city, to help protect them from the defenders as they advanced steadily toward the city.

    As their 300 cannons were outdated and the fortifications of Vienna were up to date, the Turks had a more effective use for their gunpowder: undermining. Tunnels were dug under the massive city walls to blow them up with explosives, using sapping mines.

    The Ottomans had essentially two options to take the city: the first, an all-out assault, was virtually guaranteed success since they outnumbered the defenders almost 20-1. The second was to lay siege to the city, and this was the option they chose.

    This seems against military logic, but assaulting properly defended fortifications has always resulted in very heavy casualties for the attackers. A siege was a reasonable course of action to minimise casualties and capture the city intact, and in fact it nearly succeeded. What the Ottomans did not take into account however was that time was not on their side. Their lack of urgency at this point, combined with the delay in advancing their army after declaring war, eventually allowed a relief force to arrive. Historians have speculated that Kara Mustafa wanted to take the city intact for its riches, and declined an all-out attack in order to prevent the right of plunder which would accompany such an assault.[2]

    The Ottoman siege cut virtually every means of food supply into Vienna,[3] and the garrison and civilian volunteers suffered extreme casualties. Fatigue became such a problem that Graf Ernst Rüdiger von Starhemberg ordered any soldier found asleep on watch to be shot. Increasingly desperate, the forces holding Vienna were on their last legs when in August, Imperial forces under Charles V, Duke of Lorraine beat Imre Thököly of Hungary at Bisamberg, 5km northeast of Vienna.

    On 6 September, the Poles crossed the Danube 30km north west of Vienna at Tulln, to unite with the Imperial forces and additional troops from Saxony, Bavaria, Baden, Franconia and Swabia who had answered the call for a Holy League that was supported by Pope Innocent XI. Only Louis XIV of France, Habsburg's rival, not only declined to help, but used the opportunity to attack cities in Alsace and other parts of southern Germany, as in the Thirty Years' War decades earlier.

    During early September, the experienced 5000 Turkish sappers repeatedly blew up large portions of the walls, the Burg bastion, the Löbel bastion and the Burg ravelin in between, creating gaps of about 12m in width. The Austrians tried to counter by digging their own tunnels, to intercept the depositing of large amounts of gunpowder in subterranean caverns. The Turks finally managed to occupy the Burg ravelin and the Nieder wall in that area on 8 September. Anticipating a breach in the city walls, the remaining Austrians prepared to fight in Vienna itself.

    Staging the battle

    The relief army had to act quickly to save the city from the Turks and to prevent another long siege in case they would take it. Despite the international composition and the short time of only six days, an effective leadership structure was established, indisputedly centered on the King of Poland and his heavy cavalry. The motivation was high, as this war was not as usual for the interests of kings, but for Christian faith. And, unlike the crusades, the battleground was in the heart of Europe.

    Kara Mustafa Pasha, on the other hand, was less effective, despite having months of time to organize his forces, ensure their motivation and loyalty, and prepare for the expected relief army attack. He had entrusted defence of the rear to the Khan of Crimea and his cavalry force, which numbered about 30,000.

    There are serious questions as to how much the Tatar forces participated in the final battle at Vienna. Their Khan felt humiliated by repeated snubs by Kara Mustafa and reportedly refused to make a strike against the Polish relief force as it crossed the mountains, where the heavy cavalry would have been vulnerable to such an assault from the lighthorse Tatars.[2] Nor were they the only component of the Ottoman army to openly defy Mustafa and to refuse assignments.

    This left vital bridges undefended and allowed passage of the combined Habsburg-Polish army, which arrived to relieve the siege. Critics of this account say that it was Kara Mustafa Pasha, and not the Crimean Khan, who was held responsible for the failure of the siege.

    The Holy League forces arrived on the "Kahlen Berg" (bare hill) above Vienna, signaling their arrival with bonfires. In the early morning hours of 12 September, before the battle, a mass was held for King Sobieski.

    The Battle

    Battle of Vienna, painting by Józef Brandt.

    The battle started before all units were fully deployed. Early in the morning at 4:00, Turkish forces opened hostilities to interfere with the Holy League's troop deployment. A move forward was made by Charles, the Austrian army on the left, and the German forces in the center.

    Mustafa Pasha launched a counter-attack, with most of his force, but holding back parts of the elite Janissary and Spahi for the invasion of the city. The Turkish commanders had intended to take Vienna before Sobieski arrived, but time ran out. Their sappers had prepared another large and final detonation under the Löbelbastei,[4] to provide access to the city. While the Turks hastily finished their work and sealed the tunnel to make the explosion more effective, the Austrian "moles" detected the cavern in the afternoon. One of them entered and defused the load just in time.

    At that time, above the "subterranean battlefield", a large battle was going on, as the Polish infantry had launched a massive assault upon the Turkish right flank. Instead of focusing on the battle with the relief army, the Turks tried to force their way into the city, carrying their crescent flag.

    After 12 hours of fighting, Sobieski's Polish force held the high ground on the right. At about five o'clock in the afternoon, after watching the ongoing infantry battle from the hills for the whole day, four cavalry groups, one of them Austrian-German, and the other three Polish, totaling 20,000 men, charged down the hills. The attack was led by the Polish king in front of a spearhead of 3000 heavily armed winged Polish lancer hussars. This charge broke the lines of the Ottomans, who were tired from the long fight on two sides. In the confusion, the cavalry headed straight for the Ottoman camps, while the remaining Vienna garrison sallied out of its defenses and joined in the assault.

    The Ottoman army were tired and dispirited following the failure of both the sapping attempt and the brute force assault of the city, and the arrival of the cavalry turned the tide of battle against them, sending them into retreat to the south and east. In less than three hours after the cavalry attack, the Christian forces had won the battle and saved Vienna from capture.

    The Turks lost about 15,000 men in the fighting, compared to approximately 4,000 for the Habsburg-Polish forces.

    On 25 December 1683, Kara Mustafa Pasha was executed in Belgrade by order of the commander of the Janissaries.

    Although no one realized it at the time, the battle shaped the outcome of the entire war as well. The Ottomans fought on for another 16 years, losing control of Hungary and Transylvania in the process, before finally giving up. The end of the conflict was finalized by the Treaty of Karlowitz.

    The Battle of Vienna is seen by many historians as marking the beginning of the decline of the Ottoman Empire.[citation needed] The battle also marked the historic end of Turkish expansion into southeastern Europe.

    The behaviour of Louis XIV of France also set the stage for centuries to come: German-speaking countries had to fight wars simultaneously in the West and the East. While German troops were fighting for the Holy League, Louis ruthlessly used the occasion, before and after the battle of Vienna, to annex territories in western Europe, such as Luxembourg, Alsace with Strasbourg, etc. Due to the ongoing war against the Turks, Austria could not support the interest of German allies in the West. The biography of Ezechiel du Mas, Comte de Melac illustrates the devastastions of large parts of Southern Germany by France.

    In honor of Sobieski, the Austrians erected a church atop a hill of Kahlenberg, north of Vienna. The train route from Vienna to Warsaw is also named in Sobieski's honour. The constellation Scutum Sobieskii (Sobieski’s Shield) was named to memorialize the battle.[5] Because Sobieski had entrusted his kingdom to the protection of the Blessed Virgin (Our Lady of Czestochowa) before the battle, Pope Innocent XI commemorated his victory by extending the feast of the Holy Name of Mary, which until then had been celebrated solely in Spain and the Kingdom of Naples, to the universal Church; it is celebrated on September 12.

    The period of Polish-Austrian friendship did not last long, as Charles V of Lorraine began downplaying the role of John III Sobieski and his troops in the battle. Neither Sobieski nor the Commonwealth profited significantly from saving Austria, on the contrary, the battle of Vienna also cleared the path towards the forming of the future Austrian Empire (1804 to 1867) and the destruction of the Commonwealth. In 1772 and 1795 the Habsburg Monarchy took part in the first and third partitions of Poland, which wiped the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth off the maps of Europe.


    "Judge of your natural character by what you do in your dreams" - Ralph Waldo Emerson

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    Sv: Which battle are you most proud from your nation's history?

    Stiklestad, 1030

    Olav the Unholy are killed by Thore Hund, after first killing his stallare ( Primeminister)

    Heimskringla : Olav the Holys saga. part 9, Chapter 225 - 251


    Now came Thorner Hund, went forward in front of the banner with
    his troop, and called out, "Forward, forward, bondemen!"
    Thereupon the bondemen raised the war-cry, and shot their arrows
    and spears. The king's men raised also a war-shout; and that
    done, encouraged each other to advance, crying out, "Forward,
    forward, Christ-men! cross-men! king's men!" When the bondes
    who stood outermost on the wings heard it, they repeated the same
    cry; but when the other bondes heard them they thought these were
    king's men, turned their arms against them, and they fought
    together, and many were slain before they knew each other. The
    weather was beautiful, and the sun shone clear; but when the
    battle began the heaven and the sun became red, and before the
    battle ended it became as dark as at night. King Olaf had drawn
    up his army upon a rising ground, and it rushed down from thence
    upon the bonde-army with such a fierce assault, that the bondes'
    array went before it; so that the breast of the king's array came
    to stand upon the ground on which the rear of the bondes' array
    had stood, and many of the bondes' army were on the way to fly,
    but the lendermen and their house-men stood fast, and the battle
    became very severe. So says Sigvat: --

    "Thundered the ground beneath their tread,
    As, iron-clad, thick-tramping, sped
    The men-at-arms, in row and rank,
    Past Stiklestad's sweet grassy bank.
    The clank of steel, the bowstrings' twang,
    The sounds of battle, loudly rang;
    And bowman hurried on advancing,
    Their bright helms in the sunshine glancing."

    The lendermen urged their men, and forced them to advance.
    Sigvat speaks of this: --

    "Midst in their line their banner flies,
    Thither the stoutest bonde hies:
    But many a bonde thinks of home,
    And many wish they ne'er had come."

    Then the bonde-army pushed on from all quarters. They who stood
    in front hewed down with their swords; they who stood next thrust
    with their spears; and they who stood hindmost shot arrows, cast
    spears, or threw stones, hand-axes, or sharp stakes. Soon there
    was a great fall of men in the battle. Many were down on both
    sides. In the first onset fell Arnljot Gelline, Gauka-Thorner,
    and Afrafaste, with all their men, after each had killed a man or
    two, and some indeed more. Now the ranks in front of the king's
    banner began to be thinned, and the king ordered Thord to carry
    the banner forward, and the king himself followed it with the
    troop he had chosen to stand nearest to him in battle; and these
    were the best armed men in the field, and the most expert in the
    use of their weapons. Sigvat the skald tells of this: --

    "Loud was the battle-storm there,
    Where the king's banner flamed in air.
    The king beneath his banner stands,
    And there the battle he commands."

    Olaf came forth from behind the shield-bulwark, and put himself
    at the head of the army; and when the bondes looked him in the
    face they were frightened, and let their hands drop. So says
    Sigvat: --

    "I think I saw them shrink with fear
    Who would not shrink from foeman's spear,
    When Olaf's lion-eye was cast
    On them, and called up all the past.
    Clear as the serpent's eye -- his look
    No Throndhjem man could stand, but shook
    Beneath its glance, and skulked away,
    Knowing his king, and cursed the day."

    The combat became fierce, and the king went forward in the fray.
    So says Sigvat: --

    "When on they came in fierce array,
    And round the king arose the fray,
    With shield on arm brave Olaf stood,
    Dyeing his sword in their best blood.
    For vengeance on his Throndhjem foes,
    On their best men he dealt his blows;
    He who knew well death's iron play,
    To his deep vengeance gave full sway."

    240. KING OLAF'S FALL.

    On the one side of Kalf Arnason stood his two relations, Olaf and
    Kalf, with many other brave and stout men. Kalf was a son of
    Arnfin Arnmodson, and a brother's son of Arne Arnmodson. On the
    other side of Kalf Arnason stood Thorner Hund. King Olaf hewed at
    Thorner Hund, and struck him across the shoulders; but the sword
    would not cut, and it was as if dust flew from his reindeer-skin
    coat. So says Sigvat: --

    "The king himself now proved the power
    Of Fin-folk's craft in magic hour,
    With magic song; for stroke of steel
    Thor's reindeer coat would never feel,
    Bewitched by them it turned the stroke
    Of the king's sword, -- a dust-like smoke
    Rose from Thor's shoulders from the blow
    Which the king though would end his foe."

    Thorner struck at the king, and they exchanged some blows; but the
    king's sword would not cut where it met the reindeer skin,
    although Thorner was wounded in the hands. Sigvat sang thus of
    it: --

    "Some say that Thorner's not right bold;
    Why never yet have I been told
    Of one who did a bolder thing
    Than to change blows with his true king.
    Against his king his sword to wield,
    Leaping across the shield on shield
    Which fenced the king round in the fight,
    Shows the dog's (1) courage -- brave, not bright."

    The king said to Bjorn the marshal, "Do thou kill the dog on whom
    steel will not bite." Bjorn turned round the axe in his hands,
    and gave Thorner a blow with the hammer of it on the shoulder so
    hard that he tottered. The king at the same moment turned
    against Kalf and his relations, and gave Olaf his death-wound.
    Thorner Hund struck his spear right through the body of Marshal
    Bjorn, and killed him outright; and Thorner said, "It is thus we
    hunt the bear." (2) Thorstein Knarrarsmid struck at King Olaf
    with his axe, and the blow hit his left leg above the knee. Fin
    Arnason instantly killed Thorstein. The king after the wound
    staggered towards a stone, threw down his sword, and prayed God
    to help him. Then Thorner Hund struck at him with his spear, and
    the stroke went in under his mail-coat and into his belly. Then
    Kalf struck at him on the left side of the neck. But all are not
    agreed upon Kalf having been the man who gave him the wound in
    the neck. These three wounds were King Olaf's death; and after
    the king's death the greater part of the forces which had
    advanced with him fell with the king. Bjarne Gullbrarskald sang
    these verses about Kalf Arnason: --

    "Warrior! who Olaf dared withstand,
    Who against Olaf held the land,
    Thou hast withstood the bravest, best,
    Who e'er has gone to his long rest.
    At Stiklestad thou wast the head;
    With flying banners onwards led
    Thy bonde troops, and still fought on,
    Until he fell -- the much-mourned one."

    Sigvat also made these verses on Bjorn: --

    "The marshal Bjorn, too, I find,
    A great example leaves behind,
    How steady courage should stand proof,
    Though other servants stand aloof.
    To Russia first his steps he bent,
    To serve his master still intent;
    And now besides his king he fell, --
    A noble death for skalds to tell."

    (1) Thorner's name was Hund -- the dog; and a play upon Thorner
    Hund's name was intended by the skald. -- L.
    (2) Bjorn, the marshal's name, signifies a bear. -- L.

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    Re: Which battle are you most proud from your nation's history?

    The battle of Tali-Ihantala. Finns won and the Finnish nation managed to preserve its independence. Otherwise Finland would have most likely became a part of the Soviet Union.

    The battle was also the largest military battle in the history of the Nordic countries.

    The Battle of Tali-Ihantala (June 25th to July 9th, 1944) was part of the Continuation War (1941-1944) - between Finland and the Soviet Union -, which occurred during the World War II. The battle ended in a decisive Finnish victory, which ultimately ensured Finland's continuous independence.

    German units also took part in the battle on the Finnish side. The Soviets - on the other hand - were heavily sponsored by USA, mainly material-wise. This USA's help to the USSR (the Soviet Union) was meant for the Aelied's war against Hitler, but it ended up also sponsoring the Soviet agressions against Finland. The Soviets had attacked Finland in 1939 (the Winter War, 1939-1940) and in 1941 (the Continuation War, 1941-1944), initianting two separate wars between the Soviet Union and Finland.

    Main article: Continuation war

    After the initial Soviet attack in June of 1941 and the following Finnish counter-offensive same summer and fall, the Continuation War was stabilized to trench warfare, with very little activity on either side. When the Siege of Leningrad was lifted in January 1944, Stavka received orders to plan an offensive against Finland, to push it out of war.

    The Soviet attack on the Finnish front commenced on the Karelian Isthmus on June 9th, 1944, (coordinated with the Allied landing at Normandy). Three Soviet armies were pitted there against the Finnish fences, among them several Guard formations - Soviet crack troops, the "elite". Stalin's obvious plan was to occupy Finland before the Western Allies could advance very far against the German lines.

    The artillery barrage aimed at Finnish targets has been described by some researchers as the most massive in world military history up to that time. For every 100-meter stretch of the battle stage at Finland's Karelian Isthmus, the Red Army had placed no less than 10 pieces of artillery - in one sector all of 400 over a distance of only one kilometer. Since the Finns had only 268 cannon available, they could mount only 5 for every kilometer. The artillery odds were thus 20 to 1 in the attacker's favor.

    Besides, - to compliment its powerful artillery and armored forces - with some 400 bombers and 600 fighters thrown into the fray, the Soviet forces had also an overwhelming air superiority. Official Russian records reveal that during the summer offensive, aircraft of the 13th Soviet Air Force carried out "more than 9,000 combat missions" against the Finnish forces.

    The attack soon breached the Finnish front line of defense in Valkeasaari on June 10th and the Finnish forces retreated to their secondary defense line, the Vammelsuu-Taipale (V-T) line.

    The VT-line was breached in Sahakylä and Kuuterselkä on June 14th, and after a failed counterattack in Kuuterselkä by the Finnish armored division the Finnish defense had to be pulled back to the VKT-line (Viipuri (Vyborg) - Kuparsaari - Taipale).

    The abandonment of VT-line was followed by a week of retreat and delaying battles. The Soviet offensive was crowned on June 20th, when the city of Viipuri (Vyborg) also was abandoned by the Finns, with only a short tactical delaying battle.

    Mannerheim had asked for German help on June 12th, and on June 16th the Flight Detachment Kuhlmey arrived in Finland. A few days later the battalion was sized by the 303rd Assault Gun Brigade, and the 122nd Division Greif had also arrived. However, after that the Germans offered only supplies, among which the Panzerfaust anti-tank weapons were the most welcomed.

    Finland sued for peace on June 21th, but the Soviet Union replied that only unconditional surrender was acceptable. Finland refused. The German Foreign Minister Ribbentrop arrived in Finland on June 22nd and demanded a guarantee: he wanted Finland to fight untill the end, as a precondition of continued German military support. President Ryti gave this guarantee as a personal undertaking.

    On June 21st Stavka ordered the Leningrad front to breach the VKT-line at Tali, and to advance to the Lake Saimaa.



    * Finnish IV AK (Lt.Gen. Taavetti Laatikainen)
    o 3rd Brigade "Blue Brigade"
    o Finnish 3rd Division
    o Finnish 4th Division
    o Finnish 18th Division, since June 27th 11th Division.
    o Finnish 6th Division
    * Finnish Armored Division (Mj.Gen. Ruben Lagus)
    * LeR 3 (Lt.Col E. Magnusson) (33 Messerschmitt Bf 109, 18 Brewster Buffalo 239 Fighters and 1 Fokker C.X reconnaissance)
    * LeR 4 (Col. O. Sarko) (33 Bristol Blenheim, 12 Junkers Ju 88, 8 Dornier Do 17Z Bombers)


    * German air unit Gefechtsverband Kuhlmey (Lt.Col. Kurt Kuhlmey) arrived in Finland on June 16th. (23-43 Fw-190 A-6/F-8 fighters and ground attack aircraft, 24-30 Ju-87 D Stukas and 1-8 Bf-109 G-8 reconnaissance fighters)
    * German Sturmgeschütz-Brigade 303 (Cpt. Hans-Wilhelm Cardeneo) arrived in Finland on June 22th. (22 StuG III Ausf. G assault guns, 9 StuH 42 assault howizers)


    * Soviet 21st Army (Col.Gen Dmitrii N. Gusev) (15 divisions)
    o XXX Guards Corps
    o XCVII Corps
    o CVIII Corps
    o CIX Corps

    The terrain

    The Battle of Tali-Ihantala was fought in a small area (100 km²) between the Gulf of Viipuri and the River Vuoksi.

    The Soviet attack was concentrated on the area east of the city of Viipuri (Vyborg), from the southern village of Tali to north towards Ihantala. This was the only suitable terrain for armored forces on the Karelian Isthmus, 10 km wide and limited by lakes and the River Vuoksi on the east.

    Tali: June 25-June 30
    Sturmgeschütz-Brigade 303 on the move.
    Sturmgeschütz-Brigade 303 on the move.
    Finnish StuG III Ausf. G assault guns.
    Finnish StuG III Ausf. G assault guns.

    The fighting in the area began on June 25th, and on June 30th the Finnish forces retreated from Tali. The heaviest fighting took place between July 1st and July 2nd when the Finns lost some 800 men per day.

    Ihantala: July 1st - July 9th

    The following Finnish concentration of artillery fire was the heaviest in the country's military history[4]. It has been described as even heavier than the Soviet fire in the siege of Berlin. The Finnish fire was based on a fire correction method of the famed Finnish Artillery General Vilho Petter Nenonen. The method enabled easy fire correction and quick changes of targets[1]. At the critical Ihantala sector of the battle the Finnish defenders managed to concentrate their fire to the extent of smashing the advancing Soviet spearhead[4].

    By this time the Finnish army had concentrated half of its artillery in the area, along with the army's only armored division - with StuG III assault guns as its primary weapon - and the German 303rd Assault Gun Brigade. The defenders now also finally had the new German anti-tank weapons in hand.
    Finnish soldiers in a foxhole. One of the soldiers is holding a Panzerfaust
    Finnish soldiers in a foxhole. One of the soldiers is holding a Panzerfaust

    On July 2nd the Finns intercepted a radio message, according to which the Soviet 63rd Division and 30th Armored Brigade were to launch an attack on July 3rd at 04:00 hours. The following morning, two minutes before the supposed attack, 40 Finnish and 40 German bombers bombed the Soviet troops, and 250 guns fired total of 4,000 artillery shells into the area of the Soviets. On the same day, beginning at 06:00, 200 Soviet planes and their infantry attacked against the Finnish troops. By 19:00 the Finnish troops had restored their lines.

    On July 6 the Soviet forces had some success, despite of the Finnish 6th Division's support of 18 artillery battalions and one heavy battery for their defense. However, the Soviets were thrown back on the following day, and their counterattacks at 13:30 and 19:00 that day did not mount to success. By July 7th, the focus of the Soviet attacks was already changing to the area of Vuoksi. From July 9th on the Soviet troops no longer attempted a break-through. Nevertheless, smaller fighting continued.

    In the praised Russian book Bitva za Leningrad 1941-1944 ("The Battle of Leningrad") edited by Lieutenant General S.P. Platonov:

    "The repeated offensive attempts by the Soviet Forces failed ... to gain results. The enemy succeeded in significantly tightening its ranks in this area and repulse all attacks of our troops ... During the offensive operations lasting over three weeks, from June 21 to mid-July, the forces of the right flank of the Leningrad front failed to carry out the tasks assigned to them on the orders of the Supreme Command issued on June 21st."

    It was then - not before - that Stalin ordered the withdrawal from the Finnish front of the decimated Soviet elite divisions to Estonia, to fight the Germans, and to join the forces advancing on Berlin.


    The Finnish sources estimate that Soviet army lost about 300 tanks in the Tali-Ihantala[1], mainly to air attacks and close defense weapons. 120-280 Soviet aircraft were shot down.

    The Finnish army reports 8,561 of its men killed, wounded or missing in action in result of the battle of Tali-Ihantala.

    Based on the daily and the 10-day summaries of the casualty reports of the Soviet 21st Army, the Soviet losses were about 18,000-22,000 killed or wounded. However, this figure has been highly critisized by the researchers. Based on many sources and much information, such as that offered in the Soviet President Nikita Hruštšev's memoirs, the real high Soviet casualty numbers of the Finnish-Russian battles were altered, for reasons having to do with boosting of morale, war propaganda, etc.


    Finland did not capitulate. Finland preserved her autonomy and her democratic social system. "We succeeded in stopping the enemy cold at key points, and in the final battle at Ilomantsi even in pushing him back", Finland's President Mauno Koivisto itenerated in a 1994 public speech for the Finnish war veterans.

    The Battle of Tali-Ihantala finally convinced the Soviet leadership that conquering Finland was extremely hard - if not even impossible, under the circumstances -, and further attempts would not be worth the cost. The Red Army, which for the previous two years had marched from one victory to another at the other scenes of World War II, had concentrated an overwhelming force against Finland and failed. Moscow could only decide that the Finns had plenty of fight left in them, and that they would never accept an unconditional surrender.

    The Battle of Tali-Ihantala was possibly the single most important battle fought in Finland's Continuation War, as it largely determined the outcome of the entire war - or more precisely, the final outcome of two sequential wars, including the Winter War of 1939-1940 - and the following and final peace negotiations between Finland and the Soviet Union, while the World War II was still going on.

    A part of the reasons leading to the Soviet failure was that the Finns were able to intercept the Soviet radio messages and to forewarn and prompt the Finnish Army to put a firmly resolved defense. Also, the existence of the Finnish Salpa Defense Line was an important matter in the peace negotiations in Autumn, 1944.

    What had taken place on the Finnish Karelian Isthmus in the end of the summer 1944, led to the final peace talks between Finland and the Soviet Union, and to Finland's continued existence as an autonomous and independent nation. The cease-fire between the Soviet Union and Finland began 07:00 September 4th, 1944, although for the following 24 hours the Red Army failed to comply with it.

    Related operations

    At the same time, the Soviet 59th Army attacked across the islands of the Bay of Viipuri from July 4th on, but the attack to the mainland was thrown back to the sea by the German 122nd Division of the V AK on July 10th.

    After the Soviet failure at Tali on July 3rd, the Soviet 23rd Army attempted crossing the River Vuoksi on July 4th at Vuosalmi, but was not able to expand the beachhead, despite of the fact that it had three divisions there against the Finnish 2nd Division. The Soviet breakthrough attempts lasted there until July 21st.

    Before the end of the war the Finns were still able to encircle two more Soviet divisions near Ilomantsi. By July 12th the Soviet Union was ready to discuss peace terms with Finland.

    In addition to the defensive victory gained at Tali-Ihantala, the front line held fast at Kivisilta and Tienhaara to the north of the Bay of Viipuri, and at Vuosalmi on the shores of the River Vuoksi. Further defensive victories were achieved at the Bay of Viipuri, on the northeast side of Lake Ladoga and in Ilomantsi the Soviet contingent was besieged.

    On July 12th, the Soviet troops received an order to stop their attempts to advance and to dig in. Soon, the Finnish scouts noticed trains with empty trucks advancing towards the city of Viipuri to take troops away from the Finnish front. They were needed for the great push towards Berlin.
    Last edited by Ovid; Sunday, December 3rd, 2006 at 11:40 PM.

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    AW: Which battle are you most proud from your nation's history?

    Definitely the War of 1813. It has been the first time in our history,in which the whole german people has fought together for its independence against the french occupants.

    It was the begin of the german unity. Still in our times, we know many popular songs of this time, especially of the legendary Freikorps of Lützow. For example "Lützows wilde verwegne Jagd". Many students joined voluntary. Later the "Burschenschaften" were founded. When I become a student, I hope that I'll be able to put myself into this tradition.

    Many important members of our people fought in this Freikorps, f.ex. Joseph von Eichendorff, Theodor Körner and Turnvater Jahn.

    So it is also representative for a whole epoch of our history, the romantic epoch, in which our german national pride and our unity has been found, even if it hasn't been finished before 1871.

    Honour and glory to all those heroes which fought for our Fatherland!
    "Mein deutsches Vaterland und seine heilige Sache verlasse ich nicht, so lange noch ein Tropfen Blut in mir warm ist. Ich fühle jetzt inniger als je, daß ich den Deutschen angehöre und keinem andern Volk angehören könnte noch möchte." E.M. Arndt

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    Re: Which battle are you most proud from your nation's history?


    The battle Canada won against the Americans! This battle was the last battle in which the USA attacked Canada.. From this battle and on, USA has never attempted to attack Canada.

    First American landing

    On October 13th, Brock was at Fort George with Sheaffe and his main force. There were other British detachments at Queenston, Chippawa, and Fort Erie.
    The village of Queenston lay at the mouth of the gorge of the River Niagara, which was fast-flowing and 200 yards wide. Immediately south of the village, the ground rose 300 feet (100 m) to Queenston Heights. Lewiston was on the other side of the river, with the ground to its south rising to Lewiston Heights. In time of peace, there was a regular boat service between Queenston and Lewiston.
    The British detachment at Queenston consisted of the grenadier company of the 49th Regiment of Foot (formerly Brock's own) under Captain James Dennis, the light company of the 49th under Captain John Williams, a flank company of the 2nd York Militia (the "York Volunteers") and a detachment of the 41st Foot with a 3-pounder "grasshopper gun". An 18-pounder gun was mounted in a redan halfway up the Heights, and a 24-pounder gun and a carronade were sited in a barbette at Vrooman's Point, a mile north of the village. The local militia, companies from the 5th Lincoln Regiment, were not on duty but could assemble at very short notice.
    The American forces involved were the 6th, 13th and 23rd U.S. Infantry, with detachments of U.S. Artillery serving as infantry. There were also five regiments of New York Militia and a volunteer battalion of riflemen. Because the United States Army was being rapidly expanded, most of the regulars at Lewiston were recent recruits, and Van Rensselaer considered the Militiamens' drill and discipline was superior to that of the regulars. The Americans had twelve boats, each of which could carry thirty men, and two large boats which could carry eighty men and which were fitted with platforms on which field guns or wagons could be carried.
    A last-minute squabble over seniority and precedence led to the command of the first landing party being split. Colonel Solomon Van Rensselaer led the militia contingent, Lieutenant Colonel John Crystie led the regulars.
    The Americans began crossing the river at 3 a.m. on October 13th. Ten minutes after they began crossing, ten boats under Colonel Solomon van Rensselaer began landing at the village. A sentry noticed them and, rather than fire his musket to raise the alarm and thus warn the American troops that they had been spotted, ran to Dennis's headquarters. A few minutes later, Dennis's troops fired a volley into the Americans as they were still coming ashore. Colonel Van Rensselaer was hit by a musketball as soon as he stepped out of his boat on the Canadian shore. As he tried to form up his troops, he was promptly hit five more times, and—though he survived—he spent most of the battle out of action, weak from loss of blood. Captain John E. Wool of the 13th U.S. Infantry took over and fought to retain the American foothold in Queenston.
    Meanwhile, the British guns opened fire in the direction of the American landing stage at Lewiston, and the American guns (two 18-pounders in an earthwork named "Fort Grey" on Lewiston Heights, and two 6-pounder field guns near the landing stage) opened fire on Queenston village. Dennis's troops were driven back into the village but kept firing from the shelter of the houses.
    As the light grew, the British guns became more accurate. Calamity for the Americans ensued as the crews of three of their boats, including their two largest—one of which was carrying Lieutenant-Colonel Chrystie—panicked as they came under fire. Chrystie's pilot turned the boat back for shore, despite the efforts of Chrystie to restrain him. This later caused controversy when Captain Lawrence, commanding the next boat following, asserted that Chrystie had ordered him to retreat, leading to accusations of cowardice.
    Much of the second assault wave, led by Lieutenant-Colonel John Fenwick, was either shot out of the water by the British cannon or drifted downstream and was forced to land in a hollow where British troops quickly surrounded them and forced the survivors to surrender.

    Death of Isaac Brock

    At Fort George, Brock had been awoken by the noise of the artillery at Queenston. As he considered this might only have been a diversion, he ordered only a few detachments to move to Queenston but galloped there himself, accompanied by only a few aides. He passed through the village as dawn broke and moved up to the redan to gain a better view.
    Meanwhile, American Captain Wool, seeing that the British cannon in the redan was causing great carnage amongst the American boats but that it had very few troops guarding it, suggested to Colonel Van Rensselaer that an attack be made using a fisherman's path that Wool had heard about from locals in the area. Van Rensselaer, about to be evacuated because of his wounds, assented, and Wool successfully moved along the river bank and then up to the summit of the heights. They attacked just as Brock arrived. Brock's small party and the artillerymen were forced to flee into the village, managing only to quickly spike the gun. Brock sent a message to Major General Sheaffe at Fort George, ordering him to bring as many troops as possible to Queenston. He then resolved to recapture the redan immediately rather than wait for reinforcements.

    Brock's first charge was made by Dennis's and Williams's two companies of the 49th and two companies of militia. They nearly managed to dislodge Captain Wool and his men, but a swift counter-strike pushed Brock back again. Brock, having been wounded in the hand during the first charge, ordered his aide to "Push on the York Volunteers". He then led a second assault on Wool. His bright red coat with its gold lace and epaulettes (and a gaudy scarf given him by Tecumseh) and his tall figure and energetic gestures made him a conspicuous target, and he was killed by a US sharpshooter. Brock's aide, Lieutenant-Colonel Macdonell, led another charge despite being a lawyer by trade with little military experience. Wool had been reinforced with more troops which had just made their way up the path to the top of the Heights, and Macdonell was now outnumbered. His attack failed, and he was mortally wounded, Captain Williams was badly injured, and Dennis was slightly injured. Carrying the bodies of Brock and Macdonell, the British fell back through Queenston to Durham's Farm a mile north.
    According to legend, Brock's last words were "Push on, brave York Volunteers", but this is very unlikely, since Brock was not with them when he fell. According to historian J. Mackay Hitsman, Brock's earlier command to push on the York Volunteers, who had just arrived from Queenston, was transformed into the later legend.

    Sheaffe's attack

    By 10 a.m., the Americans were opposed only by the 24-pounder at Vrooman's Point which was firing at the American boats at very long range. The Americans were able to push several hundred fresh troops and a 6-pounder field gun across the river. They unspiked the 18-pounder in the Redan and used it to fire into Queenston village, but it had a limited field of fire away from the river. Colonel Chrystie briefly took charge of the troops on the Canadian side but returned to collect reinforcements and entrenching tools. At noon, General van Rensselaer crossed. He and Chrystie ordered the position on Queenston Heights to be fortified before they returned to the American side of the river.

    Colonel Winfield Scott (who later became one of the most highly regarded generals in American history) now took command of the regulars on Queenston Heights, and Brigadier General William Wadsworth, who waived his right to overall command, took charge of the militia. There were few complete formed units; there was only a collection of unorganised detachments, some without their officers. Likewise some officers had crossed but their men had not followed them. Little more than a thousand of General Van Rensselaer's men had crossed the Niagara River, and the militia, which knew nothing of the death of Brock or the silencing of most of the large British cannon, refused to cross in the few boats that remained.
    Meanwhile, British reinforcements had begun to arrive from Fort George. A detachment of the Royal Artillery under Captain Holcroft with two 6-pounder guns moved into Queenston village, supported by a company of the 41st under Captain Derenzy. Militia Captain Archibald Hamilton guided them to a firing position in the courtyard of his own house. When they opened fire at 1 p.m., it once again became hazardous for the American boats to attempt to cross the river.
    At the same time, Mohawks under Captains John Norton and John Brant climbed up to the top of the heights and suddenly fell on Scott's outposts. None were killed, and the Mohawks were driven back into some woods, but the Americans' spirits were badly affected by their fear of the natives. Warcries could be clearly heard in Lewiston. General Van Rensselaer was unable to cajole any more of the militia into crossing the river. He then tried to induce the civilian boatmen to cross the river and retrieve his soldiers from Canada, but they refused even that.
    Major General Roger Sheaffe arrived at Queenston at 2 p.m. and took charge of the British troops. He ordered yet more reinforcements to join him, and when they had done so, he led his force on a three mile (5 km) detour to the Heights, shielding them from the American artillery. Here, he was joined by another column of reinforcements from Chippawa. In all, he commanded over 800 men. In addition to the remnants of the force which had been engaged under Brock in the morning, he had five companies of the 41st and seven of Militia, with two 3-pounder guns.
    Sheaffe took his time forming his men up and preparing them for battle and attacked at 4 p.m., thirteen hours after Van Rensselaer launched his assault. The American militia, hearing war-cries from the Mohawks and believing themselves doomed, retreated en masse and without orders, leaving Colonel Scott with only three hundred stout defenders to resist the British force. Scott tried to cover the American withdrawal against Sheaffe's larger force, but with no boats arriving to evacuate his men and with the Mohawks furious over the deaths of two chiefs, he feared a massacre and surrendered to the British. Even so, excited Indians continued to fire from the heights into the crowd of Americans on the river bank below for several minutes. Once the surrender was made, Scott was shocked to see five hundred U.S. militiamen, who had been hiding around the heights, coming out and surrendering as well.
    Wielki i starożytny rodzaj, wy zgnietliście podstępnych wrogów. Z starożytną mistyczką może, złączoną byłam waszymi hałasami..

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    Re: Which battle are you most proud from your nation's history?

    No doubt Karl Martel is one of Europe's greatest sons. But him using Christianity ( = the smaller evil) to confront the Islam ( = bigger evil ) is like in our modern world voting for the "smaller evil" to get rid of those currently in charge of our countries. In the end we are just walking in circles and it will bring us nowhere!

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    Re: Which battle are you most proud from your nation's history?

    Will have to second Ovid and say the battle of Tali-Ihantala (June 25th to July 9th, 1944). It was the biggest battle ever fought in history of the Nordic countries, and the invasion was stopped and the alien kept away from the mainland Finland. Also the help of Germany played big part, as Stukas with German pilots crippled the Soviet logistics.

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