The Lapland War

Waffen-SS Gebirgsjägers
During the first few weeks the withdrawal of German and advance of Finnish troops was organized jointly by the headquarters of both armies, a fact that was kept secret from the Soviets. The Germans fell back according to a common timetable, and the Finns attacked and fired at the empty trenches. After two weeks the Soviets realized the deception, and demanded the Finns conduct immediate heavy action against the Germans. Soon there were casualties on both sides. The Finns fought their former co-belligerents in the Lapland War. Nevertheless, in
6.SS-Gebirgsdivision Nord
contrast to the rest of the Eastern front countries, where the war was fought to the end, a Soviet occupation of Finland did not occur and the country retained sovereignty.
Top image: Forward observers of the SS mountain troops. Any high ground was precious to the mountain divisions. The photo is taken by SS-Kriegsberichter Heiss who was assigned to both 6.SS-Gibirgs-Division Nord and 7.SS-Freiwilligen-Gebirgs-Division Prinz Eugen. Note the Czech machine gun Zb26. Initially, the Zb26 was used primarily by the Waffen-SS or second line troops, this due to the SS not having the same access to the conventional supply chains which the Wehrmacht enjoyed. US National Archives and Records Administration. Fair use. Bottom image: SS-Gibirgsjägers on rail transport somewhere in northern Karelia before the withdrawal began in 1944. Note Czech MG AA tripod. Commons: Bundesarchiv.

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