Petsamo–Kirkenes Offensive

Petsamo–Kirkenes Offensive

Military Conflict
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Petsamo–Kirkenes Offensive

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Description:
The Petsamo–Kirkenes Offensive was a major military offensive during World War II, mounted by the Red Army against the Wehrmacht in 1944 in northern Finland and Norway. The offensive defeated the Wehrmachts forces in the Arctic, driving them back into Norway, and was called the "Tenth Shock" by Stalin. It later liberated the northern part of Norway from German occupation and seized the nickel mines of Pechenga/Petsamo.

Situation

Following the failure of the Wehrmachts Operation Silver Fox in summer 1941, the frontline in the Arctic had seen little change. The environmental and supply conditions made it difficult, if not impossible, to undertake major military operations, and as far as land warfare was concerned, the Arctic had become a back-water. Sizable German forces were kept in the sector to protect the Finnish nickel mines of Petsamo, which produced a metal that was of high importance to German armour plate fabrication, and to protect the coast of northern Norway against an Allied landing operation.

After the armistice between the Soviet Union and Finland on 4 September 1944, the Finnish government agreed to remove the remaining German forces from its territory by 15 September. During the retreat operations of the German 20th Mountain Army called Operation Birke, a decision was taken by the German Armed Forces Command to withdraw completely from northern Norway and Finland in Operation Nordlicht. During the preparations for this retreat operation, the......
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