Feb 16, 2009

Esimene Paev(Battle of PAJU) FDC from Estonia

FDC Name:Esimene Paev(Battle of PAJU)
Issue date:29th JAN'2009
Deatils:In early January 1919, Estonian forces had started a full scale counterattack against invading Soviets. Their main objective was liberating north Estonia including Narva, which was achieved by January 17. They then started to advance into south Estonia. On January 14, the Tartumaa Partisan Battalion, organised and led by LieutenantJulius Kuperjanov, and armoured trains liberated Tartu.

At that time the only working railway connection to Riga, which the Red Army had captured on January 3, passed through Valga, so defending it had strategic importance for Soviet Russia. Among other units, a large part of the elite Latvian Riflemen were sent to stop the Estonians.Commander-in-chief, Johan Laidoner reinforced the Estonian advance in the south, including Finnish volunteers, The Sons of the North, led by colonel Hans Kalm. Finnish general Martin Wetzer became the commander of the southern front.

To liberate Valga it was necessary to capture Paju Estate. On January 30 Estonian partisans had captured it, but were soon pushed out. With his 300 men, 2 guns and 13machineguns, Kuperjanov decided to recapture Paju on January 31. Armoured trains were unable to support, due to the destruction of Sangaste railway bridge. The Latvian Riflemen had about 1,200 men with 4 guns and 32 machine guns.They were supported by an armoured train and armoured cars.

Tartumaa Partisan Battalion attacked the estate directly over open fields. At 400 metres Bolshevik troops opened fire inflicting heavy casualties. Kuperjanov led the attack personally, as usual, and was fatally wounded, dying two days later. When he was hit, Lt Johannes Soodla took command of the battalion. Later Finnish Sons of the North units with about 380 men arrived, bringing with them 4 guns and 9 machine guns. They also assaulted the estate in a frontal attack which caused heavy losses.

In the evening the Estonians and Finns finally pushed into the park of the estate where heavy hand-to-hand combat started, which resulted in capturing the estate. Retreating Latvian Riflemen were taken under heavy fire. Next day the Estonians marched into Valga without resistance.

The bloody Battle of Paju resulted in the liberation of Valga the next day. The victory cut off the Soviets’ railway supply line and denied them the use of armoured trains. Soon almost all southern Estonia was liberated and Estonian troops advanced into northern Latvia.

To honour Julius Kuperjanov who died of wounds on February 2, Tartumaa Partisan Battalion was renamed Kuperjanov's Partisan Battalion.The current Estonian Defence Force still includes the Kuperjanov Battalion.

The battle is commemorated by a granite monument on a three–step pyramid of earth, which was reopened by the Estonian President Lennart Meri in 1994 on the 75th anniversary of the battle.

Remark:Nice real posted FDC by my friend from ESTONIA.Lot of thanks to him.

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