During the siege of Leningrad, the Soviets built an ice road over Lake Ladoga called the Road of Life to supply Leningrad during the winter months.

What prevented the Axis (the Finns and a few German units) from building a similar road from Finland over the northern part of the lake from which to attack/disrupt/interdict this supply route? I'm "mirroring" the axiom that the best way to fight an attempt at "undermining" was to "countermine." Your mine intercepts their mine and you head it off before it is complete. Also, given the experience of the Winter War, perhaps the most threatening attack was that of Finnish snipers, on skis.

Was it physically infeasible to do so? Or was it physically feasible, but it didn't fit it in with the Finns' overall military and political strategy?

  • 1
    As far as I know, the main means of disruptions that Germans had was bombing the Soviet ice road. Using an ice road should be thought of as a tool of the last resort: imagine trying to secure an area in the middle of a frozen lake and exposing your units to enemy fire and bombs. Aug 11, 2017 at 6:44
  • Why would an extremely risky "counter ice road" be preferable to aerial bombing?
    – yannis
    Aug 11, 2017 at 10:34
  • 1
    @MarkC.Wallace: Done.
    – Tom Au
    Nov 5, 2020 at 7:28

1 Answer 1


Any gain of such a construction would have been minimal. If you look at the graphic from the Wikipedia article on the Road of Life, it shows relative positions held.

The Finns already held the entire Northern boundry of the lake, so would make no gain in mobility by such a construction. The Germans actually held territory much closer to the ice road, so since the nearest Finnish controlled areas appear to be three to four times farther away, again such a construction would not give them any appreciable gain on the ability to assault the Soviet road.

There is also an unsupported entry on the wiki page:

The Finnish forces intentionally left the supply route open in tacit defiance of Germany's requests[citation needed].

This implies a (possible) resistance on the part of the Finns to fully participate in the war beyond what they deemed in their own interests (regaining losses from the Winter War).

So bottom line is that there would be little or nothing militarily to gain by such a construction.

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