Salpalinja
Overview
 
The Salpa Line or its official name, Suomen Salpa (Finland's Bolt), is a bunker line on the eastern border of Finland
Finland
Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

. It was built during the Interim Peace
Interim Peace
The Interim Peace was a short period in the history of Finland during the Second World War. The term is used for the time between the Winter War and the Continuation War, lasting a little over a year, from 13 March 1940 to 24 June 1941...

 between the Winter War
Winter War
The Winter War was a military conflict between the Soviet Union and Finland. It began with a Soviet offensive on 30 November 1939 – three months after the start of World War II and the Soviet invasion of Poland – and ended on 13 March 1940 with the Moscow Peace Treaty...

 and the Continuation War
Continuation War
The Continuation War was the second of two wars fought between Finland and the Soviet Union during World War II.At the time of the war, the Finnish side used the name to make clear its perceived relationship to the preceding Winter War...

 to defend Finland against a possible Soviet invasion. The line is 1200 km long, stretching from the Gulf of Finland
Gulf of Finland
The Gulf of Finland is the easternmost arm of the Baltic Sea. It extends between Finland and Estonia all the way to Saint Petersburg in Russia, where the river Neva drains into it. Other major cities around the gulf include Helsinki and Tallinn...

 to Petsamo in northern Finland (now Pechenga
Pechengsky District
Pechengsky District is an administrative and municipal district , one of the five in Murmansk Oblast, Russia. It is located to the northwest of the Kola Peninsula on the coast of the Barents Sea and borders with Finland in the south and southwest and with Norway in the west, northwest, and north...

, Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

). It never saw military action because the Soviet offensive in 1944 was stopped at the VKT-line
VKT-line
The VKT-line or Viipuri–Kuparsaari–Taipale line was a Finnish defensive line on Karelian Isthmus during the Continuation War, spanning from Viipuri through Tali and Kuparsaari along the northern shore of Vuoksi River, Suvanto and Taipaleenjoki to Taipale on the western shore of Lake Ladoga, using...

 on the Karelian Isthmus
Karelian Isthmus
The Karelian Isthmus is the approximately 45–110 km wide stretch of land, situated between the Gulf of Finland and Lake Ladoga in northwestern Russia, to the north of the River Neva . Its northwestern boundary is the relatively narrow area between the Bay of Vyborg and Lake Ladoga...

.
Encyclopedia
The Salpa Line or its official name, Suomen Salpa (Finland's Bolt), is a bunker line on the eastern border of Finland
Finland
Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

. It was built during the Interim Peace
Interim Peace
The Interim Peace was a short period in the history of Finland during the Second World War. The term is used for the time between the Winter War and the Continuation War, lasting a little over a year, from 13 March 1940 to 24 June 1941...

 between the Winter War
Winter War
The Winter War was a military conflict between the Soviet Union and Finland. It began with a Soviet offensive on 30 November 1939 – three months after the start of World War II and the Soviet invasion of Poland – and ended on 13 March 1940 with the Moscow Peace Treaty...

 and the Continuation War
Continuation War
The Continuation War was the second of two wars fought between Finland and the Soviet Union during World War II.At the time of the war, the Finnish side used the name to make clear its perceived relationship to the preceding Winter War...

 to defend Finland against a possible Soviet invasion. The line is 1200 km long, stretching from the Gulf of Finland
Gulf of Finland
The Gulf of Finland is the easternmost arm of the Baltic Sea. It extends between Finland and Estonia all the way to Saint Petersburg in Russia, where the river Neva drains into it. Other major cities around the gulf include Helsinki and Tallinn...

 to Petsamo in northern Finland (now Pechenga
Pechengsky District
Pechengsky District is an administrative and municipal district , one of the five in Murmansk Oblast, Russia. It is located to the northwest of the Kola Peninsula on the coast of the Barents Sea and borders with Finland in the south and southwest and with Norway in the west, northwest, and north...

, Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

). It never saw military action because the Soviet offensive in 1944 was stopped at the VKT-line
VKT-line
The VKT-line or Viipuri–Kuparsaari–Taipale line was a Finnish defensive line on Karelian Isthmus during the Continuation War, spanning from Viipuri through Tali and Kuparsaari along the northern shore of Vuoksi River, Suvanto and Taipaleenjoki to Taipale on the western shore of Lake Ladoga, using...

 on the Karelian Isthmus
Karelian Isthmus
The Karelian Isthmus is the approximately 45–110 km wide stretch of land, situated between the Gulf of Finland and Lake Ladoga in northwestern Russia, to the north of the River Neva . Its northwestern boundary is the relatively narrow area between the Bay of Vyborg and Lake Ladoga...

. Fortifications on the Salpa Line were much stronger than Mannerheim Line
Mannerheim Line
The Mannerheim Line was a defensive fortification line on the Karelian Isthmus built by Finland against the Soviet Union. During the Winter War it became known as the Mannerheim Line, after Field Marshal Baron Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim. The line was constructed in two phases: 1920–1924 and...

.

Construction

The construction of the Salpa Line began in the end of the Winter War
Winter War
The Winter War was a military conflict between the Soviet Union and Finland. It began with a Soviet offensive on 30 November 1939 – three months after the start of World War II and the Soviet invasion of Poland – and ended on 13 March 1940 with the Moscow Peace Treaty...

 in 1940. At first, volunteers worked there - then people ineligible for the war service were mobilized. The maximum number of workers, on site was near 35 000 in the spring of 1941. After the beginning of the Continuation War
Continuation War
The Continuation War was the second of two wars fought between Finland and the Soviet Union during World War II.At the time of the war, the Finnish side used the name to make clear its perceived relationship to the preceding Winter War...

 on June 25, 1941 the fortification work was stopped, pillbox
Blockhouse
In military science, a blockhouse is a small, isolated fort in the form of a single building. It serves as a defensive strong point against any enemy that does not possess siege equipment or, in modern times, artillery...

es and bunker
Bunker
A military bunker is a hardened shelter, often buried partly or fully underground, designed to protect the inhabitants from falling bombs or other attacks...

s were stripped of armaments, which were sent to the front. As the tide of the conflict turned, and the front began to approach the prewar Finnish borders in early 1944, the work on the Salpa Line resumed and continued until the end of the Continuation War on September 4, 1944.

Line composition and terrain

728 various concrete installations, 315 km of wire obstacles, 225 km of anti-tank
Tank
A tank is a tracked, armoured fighting vehicle designed for front-line combat which combines operational mobility, tactical offensive, and defensive capabilities...

 obstacles, 130 km of anti-tank ditches, more than 3000 entrenchment
Entrenchment
Entrenchment or Entrenched may refer to:* Military trenches with relation to Trench warfare, especially that of World War I *Entrenchment as a feature of a Constitution, making it more difficult to amend* Entrenched clause within a constitution...

s, 254 concrete infantry shelters, trenches, rifleman's cells and dugout
Dugout (shelter)
A dugout or dug-out, also known as a pithouse, pit-house, earth lodge, mud hut, is a shelter for humans or domesticated animals and livestock based on a hole or depression dug into the ground. These structures are one of the most ancient types of human housing known to archeologists...

s composed the power and strength of this defence line. The line even employed old 11 and 9 inch coastal mortar
Coastal artillery
Coastal artillery is the branch of armed forces concerned with operating anti-ship artillery or fixed gun batteries in coastal fortifications....

s from the late 19th century, due to unavailability of more modern artillery. Numerous lakes, marshes and small rocks were also incorporated in the defence line. For example, the Lake Saimaa area is a labyrinth of lakes of varying sizes, islands, straits and rivers, making the area very easy to defend. 90% of all the concrete installations of the Salpa-Line were on the line between the Gulf of Finland and the Lake Saimaa waterway system. This part, as the original post-Winter War defence line, was also referred with the name "Luumäki-Suomenlahti-linja" (Luumäki-Gulf of Finland line) or simply as "Luumäen linja" (Lake Saimaa is situated north of Luumäki).

Impact on the war

The fortifications were never used in combat, because the Red Army
Red Army
The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army started out as the Soviet Union's revolutionary communist combat groups during the Russian Civil War of 1918-1922. It grew into the national army of the Soviet Union. By the 1930s the Red Army was among the largest armies in history.The "Red Army" name refers to...

 was stopped at the end of the Continuation War
Continuation War
The Continuation War was the second of two wars fought between Finland and the Soviet Union during World War II.At the time of the war, the Finnish side used the name to make clear its perceived relationship to the preceding Winter War...

 well before its advance units reached Salpa (see Battle of Tali-Ihantala
Battle of Tali-Ihantala
The Battle of Tali-Ihantala was part of the Continuation War , which occurred during World War II. The battle was fought between Finnish forces—using war material provided by Germany—and Soviet forces...

). The line was partially manned with old reservists in the summer of 1944. However, the existence of the fortified line was an advantage for the Finns in the subsequent peace talks.

Present day

The remains of the decommissioned line are currently undergoing renovation and serve as a tourist attraction.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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