The battle of Hill 349 (October 30) was a decisive battle between the forces of the Republic of Suomi and the forces of the Sons of Liberty alliance. It is known in the nation of Suomi as one of the most tragic battles of them all, with more than 60% of the 51st Infantry Battalion lost during the very first hours of battle.
Course of Battle Edit
On October 30, the forces of the North Atlantic Defense Coalition were given permission to deploy and attack. 400 soldiers, 20 tanks and many other fighting vehicles were deployed by the Suomi forces, the exact number of the enemy forces (SoL) is even at these times, unknown.
The site of battle, known only as Hill 349, is approximately 20KM to the west of Suomi's borders, which meant that easy troop deployment would be possible. Unbeknownst to the Suomi troops, was that the forces of SoL had also deployed nearby, waiting for a possible attack. At 4:20 PM, two of the mighty armies made impact. A brief exchange of fire ensued as the forward guard of the SoL spotted the advancing Suomi forces, engaging in a firefight with small arms, heavy and medium machineguns. The casualties of Suomi at this stage were 6 soldiers dead, two wounded and one missing. They retreated into the woods surrounding the hill to lick their wounds clean and prepare for a morning offensive.
At approx. 5:20 AM, Suomi forces launched an artillery barrage of a large scale, raining down explosive and white phosphorous shells for more than 30 minutes to soften up the enemy positions. Their highest ranking soldier and commander, Brigadier General Josif Hammer has been said to comment at the barrage.
"It was as if hell itself would've been split open and the sky would've been raining fire, with a thunderous sound from the horizon the skies soon rained an infernous barrage down onto the enemy positions, their trenches and bunkers ruined, their vehicles battered and destroyed. There were no signs of life from the hostile forces, not a single peep, a scream of pain, or a whimper. Complete and utter silence, it was too silent. I gave the troops permission to go forward.
Despite the rather impressive artillery barrage from heavy mortars, 157MM guns and howitzers, the SoL forces were still alive and well. Many of them had taken cover in deep, underground dugouts during the shelling and had managed to survive along with their weapons and ammunition. During the initial advance of the Suomi troops they moved into their defensive positions and prepared for the inevitable infantry charge.
At 5:50 AM, Suomi forces reached the forward sections of the enemy trenches.
Assault of the 51st Infantry Edit
After the artillery barrage, nearly 200 infantrymen had been deployed in front of the SoL positions, many of them carrying assault rifles and anti-tank weapons, including the ammunition for them. It is a known fact, that some of them were only armed with a handgun due to the immense amount of the equipment they were carrying for the other weaponry. Armour was also present during the battle, with 3 Leopard 2A4 tanks deployed behind the infantry.
At 5:27 AM the forces were given the go ahead to move forward, with the Brigadier General in one of the armoured vehicles accompanying the assaulting force. During the initial first few minutes of the attack, there were no signs of resistance from the enemy with Suomi forces advancing carefully at walking pace, trying to be as silent as possible. When the troops were less than 10 meters away from the trenchline, SoL troops opened fire. The bullets ripped through the line of Suomi troops like a hot knife through butter, leaving many of them writhing in pain amidst the barbed wire and landmines, the forementioned traps leading to most of the casualties on that fateful day.
The infantry, according to their doctrine was then ordered forward at a slight jog, the equipment weighing them down as they made their way up the hill, all the while under vicious fire from SoL forces, resulting in many casualties, these casualties including the famous Hero of the Banner receiver Martti K. Kallio, who was hit in the neck by an unknown projectile, most likely shrapnel. After twenty minutes of howling for a medical officer to arrive, he was hit again, this time by a bullet to the helmet which left him dead. His body was recovered the next day.
At 5:45 AM, Suomi forces had effectively cleaned out the first line of trenches from any and all enemy opposition, leaving them to the second wave of infantry and armour as the first wave was pulled back, to allow it to recover.
SoL counterattack Edit
It was rumoured for a short while amongst the regular infantry that SoL would be counter-attacking at any second, the said rumour turning out to be true when the first grenades from a light mortar hit the newly captured positions. It is unknown at what time the counterattack occurred, but the exact amount of forces was written down by a NADC sniper and observer, who was also present during the battle. He hecticly scribbled down the following sight:
- 5 tanks
- 50-60 units of infantry
- Light mortar in woods
- No apparent reserve units.
- Light mortar in woods
- 50-60 units of infantry
He reported it to the nearest officer by radio, who relayed the information to a nearby NADC artillery battery, the same which was responsible for the initial barrage of the SoL positions. A number of 5 shells were fired at the advancing forces, 3 of them missed, but the last two scored a near hit and a direct hit on a SoL T-72.
The counter-attack was a failure, but inflicted heavy casualties on both sides, combat reports ranging from 50-80 Suomi troops killed, and 70-100 SoL forces killed, including vehicle crew and mortar crew.
Accurate numbers of troop casualties are unknown due to failures in communication on both sides. No Prisoners of War were taken by either side.
Final Suomi offensive Edit
At 6:30 AM, Brigadier General Josif gave the order to take the rest of the positions, stationed on and around Hill 349. Nearly 200 men, from the first and second wave of the attack contributed to the massive push. Again, heavy casualties were taken by the Suomi forces, reportedly even 150 dead and wounded during the last ten minutes of the battle. The exact number of SoL casualties are unknown, but estimates from Suomi officials and veterans of the battle they would range from 60 to a hundred in wounded and dead.
4 Leopard 2A4 main battletanks were lost in the push, 3 of them knocked out and the fourth suffering an engine failure mid-battle. SoL armoured troops pulled back to fight another day when they received a report by radio that NADC armour from the West was approaching to assist Suomi forces. It is unknown who the invidual was on the radio, the report was false. There were no records of any NADC armour near the area on those few hours, and it is said that the "NADC armour" could have actually been a SoL anti-air unit hidden nearby. The last shots of the battle rang out at 6:55 AM. It was a victory.
At 6:52 AM, the final defensive positions of the SoL army had been secured and cleaned. The retrieval of the wounded and dead could now begin. The hill was completely secure by 7:00 AM, Suomi forces resting and celebrating in their new victory, TV and other media broadcasting of the battle and its course, defeats and consequences. The list of the identified dead was released next day in all newspapers across the country, support and parcels pouring in to the Suomi and NADC forces present during the battle, congratulating them on their victory, and wishing support for those who lost a family member.
International media remains critical towards the battle, claiming that the attack was not needed and that lives were lost for nothing.
3 days later, some of the participants were awarded the third highest honor in the Suomi military, the Hero of the Banner star. Martti K. Kallio was posthumously awarded the Plates of Honour and Valour, a reward reserved for armourjaegers only, he is to date the only member of the Suomi infantry to receive this award.
The citation to his medal,
"Posthumously awarded for Corporal Martti K. Kallio for his actions on the 30th of October, which went above and beyond the call of duty and saved the lives of many of his comrades. During the battle of Hill 349 Corporal Kallio was near a Leopard 2A4 main battletank when it was hit by an anti-tank shell from a nearby SoL position. Kallio signalled to the driver of the vehicle that he'd take care of the position and that they should stay back and wait for field repairs. Kallio reloaded his assault rifle and proceeded to dash towards the SoL position, all the while taking heavy fire from SoL infantry stationed nearby. He reached the side of the entrenched position and stood up, firing numerous rounds into it, effectively clearing it from enemy infantry, being critically wounded himself. He held off the replacement crew by lying down on the bottom of the trench, sporatically firing at the approaching hostile forces, at the same time shouting for a nearby medical officer to crawl forward and "patch him up". Only a minute later, Corporal Kallio was fatally wounded."