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By Charles Richard Smith; United States. Marine Corps

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The assaulting Soviet parties quickly captured the ruins of the Sj4 'Poppius' bunker. The company of Lieutenant Malm, which was defending the centre of the Lahde sector at 'Poppius', lost over 80 per cent of its men in one day on 11 February 1940. Soviet armour and infantry continued from 'Poppius' to the Test bunker and the Sj6 'Torsu' command bunker. Soviet troops surrounded the latter and demanded its surrender, threatening to blow up the bunker with all 29 men inside. As the bunker was full of the wounded, the Finnish medics made the decision to surrender it in order to save the lives of the men.

The crew of the cannon from the 330th Rifle Regiment fired over 200 armour-piercing rounds at the tower and thus managed to penetrate the thick armour of the turret. The Sk6 bunker was hit several times, but was still in a relatively good condition. The bunkers to the east of the highway, SklO 'The Ten' and S k i 7 Tines', were left alone for the time being. As a result of a month-long artillery barrage, by the beginning of the next Soviet offensive on 1 February 1940 most of the Finnish concrete bunkers were either damaged or had been reduced to heaps of rubble.

The Soviet artillery preparation in the sector on 11 February 1940 was one of the largest ever, smaller only than the artillery barrage that was laid down at the battle of Verdun. This came as a shock to the Finnish defenders who had only been stationed in quiet sectors of the Mannerheim Line before. The assaulting Soviet parties quickly captured the ruins of the Sj4 'Poppius' bunker. The company of Lieutenant Malm, which was defending the centre of the Lahde sector at 'Poppius', lost over 80 per cent of its men in one day on 11 February 1940.

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A brief history of the 12th Marines by Charles Richard Smith; United States. Marine Corps


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