A large part of this
build up moved on and positioned itself in the Litza-valley,
not far from Murmansk. Another front line positioned
itself further Southwest of this position.
This was called the Salla Front. Both German and Russian
soldiers dug in, only to bleed to death going no where.
In the spring of 1942 the German forces received winter
were distributed equally amongst the German forces,
due to the Wehrmacht system being such it was.
This proved to be an unfortunate system because the
climate at the artic front is not the same as the climate
around the Black Sea
A horrific snowstorm became a reality and this gave
the Soviet forces an advantage - whilst the German soldiers,
who had no winter clothing, foughting desperately for
survival when the Russians attacked.
A terrible battle followed. The whole front line began
to fall apart. The German Commander of the sixth Gebirgs
division, General Schörner, was ruthless. Anyone
who could so much as stand upright was sent to the front
line. Cooks, horse wranglers, office staff and stores
personell. A rifle was given them and they simply marched
towards the front line.
Many committed suicide during this march. Both German
and Russians simply got lost in the snow storm and in
the ice cold and barbaric conditions, the result was
death. Many died whilst bringing replenishments to the
German front line. One Russian infantry division didn't
even see battle. Half of the infantry were lost due
to freezing temperatures and snow blindness.
The storm continued and the conditions combined with
confusion resulted in some of the German and Russian
soldiers united - trying to save their lives. They were
found later on after the battle - frozen to death. The
strength of the storm weakened after 3 days. The Soviet
infantry battalions and the marine brigade of approx
4500 men who had lead the attack had also weakened.
The intended battle had caused much suffering. The Russians
suffered 8000 dead. Only 192 was taken as prisoners.
The German losses were more difficult to estimate and
these are calculated examples. The company "Schoeber"
had 148 men. After four days, the company had been reduced
to 10 men
. The pioneer company had 494 men. After
four days battling through a snow storm, only 12 returned.
Kirkenes was the closest town to the front and the wounded
were taken there. It was a long way. The wounded and
injured kept arriving all summer, during the autumn,
the spring end ever the following summer.
They kept arriving right until the Litsa and Salla fronts
fell apart in the late autumn during 1944. the telegraph
in Kirkenes is by the jetty where the wounded were received
and taken onboard the large hospital ships, The Meteor
and the Stuttgart. The screams and cries from the wounded
who were being carried out from the ambulances, sounded
terrible to the telecommunications ladies. Once the
ships had no more space onboard, they headed south passing
the Lofoten Islands and on course for the huge hospitals
Kirkenes was the most bombed town in Norway during the
second world war. Soldiers from Litsa and Salla front
came to Lofoten in late autumn of 1944. They were of
a meaner "calibre" than those the population
had been used to, and people were afraid of them.