Operation Silver Fox

A column from I./Panzer-Abt. z.b.V. 40 during the advance on Murmansk, 1941

A column from I./Panzer-Abt. z.b.V. 40 during the advance on Murmansk, 1941

Companies silver fox was an operation of the Armed Forces of the German Reich during the Second World War in Northern Scandinavia. The primary objective was the capture of the Soviet port of Murmansk on the Kola Peninsula by attacks from Finnish and Norwegian territory. The operation was planned in three phases: business reindeer Company Platinum fox and arctic fox company.

Planning and Preparation

In January 1941, the German officer Erich Buschenhagen was sent to Finland to explore the possibility of a Finnish-German cooperation against the Soviet Union. Since July 1940 plans were developed in Germany to occupy the Petsamo nickel mines of Germany as the only relevant source for this essential war commodity in the event of another armed conflict between Finland and the Soviet Union (company reindeer). In February 1941 it was agreed regarding the company plans to Silver Fox and German soldiers were moved from the Army High Command Norway to northern Finland. The redeployment was planned under the code name blue fox blue fox I and II and were held in June 1941. The German army group consisted of four divisions, the 169th Infantry Division, the 6th SS Mountain Division “Nord” and the 2nd and 3rd Mountain Infantry Division. Furthermore, were (40 and 211 armored division) assigned two armored divisions of the operation. The total number of attackers 68,000 German soldiers and 190 aircraft, respectively. In addition to the German troops were also 3 and 6 Finnish division, as well as some other independent Finnish border units participate.

After Petsamo was taken, phase should be initiated two and three, Company Platinum fox and arctic fox company. Within companies, platinum fox was planned that the second 3 and Together with some Finnish border units advancing mountain infantry division under Eduard Dietl directly to Murmansk and occupying the city. Analog should continue to start businesses in the south polar fox. You should XXXVI. Mountain Corps (consisting of the remaining German and the Finnish 6th Division) under General Hans Feige together with the Finnish III. Corps (consisting of Finnish border units and the Finnish 3rd Division) occupy the city under General Hjalmar Siilasvuo Salla again, and then advance towards Kandalakscha in order to block the way to Murmansk.

The operation was planned as a Blitzkrieg and Dietl said. “In three days we are in Murmansk”. This prediction would later prove fatal fallacy. Murmansk was used during the entire Second World War, not by German troops.


Company reindeer

In connection with Operation Barbarossa company reindeer was on the same day, the 22 June 1941 started. Two divisions of the Mountain Corps Norway took without problems Petsamo and the commander, General of the Mountain Troops Eduard Dietl, began a reorganization of the troops to the next stage, you enter platinum fox. At the same time XXXVI prepared. Army Corps General of Infantry Hans Feige on the company arctic fox before.

Company Platinum Fox

On 29 June 1941 began with Operation Platinum Fox. The second 3 and Mountain infantry division under Dietl went over the border along with some Finnish border units. You were facing the Soviet 14th and 52 Division, and a number of ad hoc units, which were formed during the operation of the Soviet Northern Fleet Marines. The operation had to fight from the start with great difficulty. The arctic terrain was very difficult for ground forces, slowing the rise immensely. Furthermore, the Germans had no accurate maps and had so largely through unknown terrain to advance across the open field. Nevertheless, the initial rise was crowned with success. The Germans could push back the Soviet units Titovka the river and the neck of the peninsula fishermen. After the German troops marched against fierce Soviet resistance against to the river Liza. Then the rise in early July but had to be canceled due to supply problems. The Germans now had to maintain a 57-mile front line through heavy terrain. All other attempts to advance further in July failed. For this reason, demanded Dietl further reinforcements. These were to him by the transfer of 6 Mountain Division granted. Furthermore him Infantry Regiment 388 and the SS regiment was assigned 9 from Norway.

But frequent attacks by Soviet and British ships to German transport and supply ships prevented the arrival of 6 Mountain Division before October. Nevertheless Dietl launched on 8 September, a new offensive. This ended in disaster, with heavy losses for the two SS regiments, which were not trained for arctic warfare. It was won any ground. Meanwhile, the supply situation deteriorated still further, by further attacks on German supply ships. At the same time met a still more supplies to troops and materiel for the Soviets. On 22 September 1941, to cross the River Liza, after several attempts, or to expand the bridgehead across the river, Dietl saw that the company had failed platinum fox. The front line has remained relatively stable throughout the further course of the war. The total German losses during surgery platinum fox were 10,300 men (dead, wounded and missing).

Company Arctic Fox

On the same day as companies platinum fox Arctic fox also started business. This operation was assumed that the XXXVI. To attack army corps under General Hans Feige Kandalakscha Salla out to then advance from the south to Murmansk. As a hedge should further south, the Finnish III. Corps, consisting mainly of the Finnish third Division into two groups and the cities Kiestinki Uchta taking, then advance further on core and Loukhi and there interrupt the railway to Murmansk. The Finnish troops here were therefore under the German High Command. Again, the German troops had problems from the beginning with the heavy terrain. The SS Division “Nord” in addition turned out to be very suitable for the arctic warfare. Against the Germans were three Soviet divisions (the 122nd Rifle Division, 104th Rifle Division and the 1st Armored Division).

The German advance began to slow and heavy resistance Salla was on 8 Taken in July. Then the Germans, however, were stopped at the towns and Allakurtti Kayrala. Several more attacks in July failed. The Finnish troops to the South, were much more familiar with the terrain and were advancing rapidly. The Finns faced the Soviet 54th Rifle Division. The Finns encircled Soviet units and added a number of these large losses. On 7 August was taken Kestenga and the advance continued towards the east. The attack was repulsed and Uchta against the Soviets installed a number of units (including the 88th Rifle Division) in the area. Due to the good progress the Finnish SS Division “Nord” was moved to the south to help the Finns. On 30 October began a new offensive east of Kestenga which a Soviet regiment einkesselte. The fighting continued until 13 November and 17 November the Finnish High Command decided to discontinue the offensive.

During the Finnish gaining Arschs the Germans beginning of August in the north with a new offensive, which until September, the Soviets threw back to their old border fortifications from 1939 on Voyta river. After several frontal assaults against heavily fortified Soviet positions brought low profits, even this offensive was stopped at the end of September. This marked the end of Operation Arctic Fox.


The fortunes of the company Miss Silver Fox influenced the progress of the war. While all other Soviet battle lines had collapsed, the Red Army was able to keep the northern front. The eventual German defeat in Finland was triggered by various factors, but first and foremost the fact that the terrain prevented the rapid rise, which was one of the principal resources of the Blitzkrieg tactics for breaking through the enemy lines. One problem was that the northern theater of war was not conducted as in Operation Barbarossa by the High Command of the Army, but directly by the High Command of the Wehrmacht. Reinforcements were not planned and effective coordination of action with the Finnish allies did not take place. Especially the SS units from Norway, which were designed more as police units fought very poor. Ultimately, the northern front was seen by the German leadership from the outset as sideshow, so the few reinforcements and poor supply situation were the main reasons why the operation failed.

The port of Murmansk could not be taken so that further war material from the United States could be landed. The importance of this material was prepared for the warfare of the Soviet Union, it can be seen that the temporary interruption of the North Sea route to the destruction of the North Sea convoy PQ-17 threw back the Soviet attack planning in the north to almost two years.

Military operation of the German-Soviet war

German occupation of Norway 1940-1945

Finnish military history


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