Heavy Fighting Along the Raate Road as Finns Break Soviet 44th Rifle Division

The Battle of Raate Road was fought during the Winter War between the Soviet Union and Finland in January, 1940, as a part of the Battle of Suomussalmi.

This battle proved the effectiveness of Finnish motti tactics.

On December 7, 1939, the Soviet 163rd division had captured Suomussalmi, but found itself trapped deep inside Finnish territory, and the Soviet 44th (Ukrainian) Rifle Division was sent to aid the 163rd. In the following battle, Colonel Hjalmar Siilasvuo's 9th Division completely destroyed the Soviet 44th Division on the Raate-Suomussalmi road.

The 44th division was waiting on the road to Raate, entrenched in an area of a couple of kilometers. Lt. Col. Siilasvuo divided his division to four detachments, which, south of the road to Raate, attacked to Haukila, Tyynelä, Likoharju and Raate. During a couple of decisive days (4.-7.1.1940) the 44th division was divided to isolated bulks (called "motti") and destroyed on the Raate road. Only a minimal part of the motored infantry division succeeded in fleeing from the blockade to the other side of the border. The war booty was remarkably big. The defense victories of Suomussalmi were the result of the skilled use of terrain, the will to fight and a skillful leadership of a unit, in spite of material deficiency.