Baltic Sea, action on the



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Baltic Sea, action on the


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Baltic Sea, action on the

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Baltic Sea, action on the

The Baltic Sea is an arm of the North Atlantic, which reaches from the latitude of southern Denmark nearly to the Arctic Circle and separates the Scandinavian Peninsula from the rest of continental Europe. Historically—as it was during World War II—the Baltic has been a strategic waterway, interconnecting many northern European nations. On September 1, 1939, during the invasion of Poland, the Baltic became one of the war's very first battlegrounds, as German ships "visiting" the Baltic port of Gdansk (Danzig) opened fire on the Polish garrisons of the city. The German fleet made quick work of Poland's Baltic Navy, which consisted of only 15 warships, a few nevertheless managing to escape to Great Britain to fight throughout the war at the direction of the London-based Polish government-in-exile. With the commencement of the Russo-Finnish War in November 1939, the Baltic Red Banner Fleet of the Soviet navy blockaded Finland's sea communications with Sweden and periodically bombarded the Finnish coast. After this, however, the Baltic fell silent until the German navy moved in during June 1941 to prepare for the invasion of the Soviet Union. Some 48 minor German surface ships were transferred to the Baltic at this time, reinforcing the small German flotilla already there. Germany also built a naval base at Helsinki, from which it would direct naval action against the Soviets once the invasion began. Another key phase of German preparations was the extensive mining of strategic areas. These minefields caused serious Soviet losses. After war broke out between Ge...

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