1944 - 1957 III National partizans - timeline

At the beginning of the Soviet occupation regime, many men refused to collaborate with the Soviet regime, hid into the forests and continued fighting. Some also feared repressions for their previous service in the German or Finnish armed forces.

November 1944 - May 1945
Emergence of the national partisan movements

As the war continued on the front lines, armed partisan movements known as the forest brothers began to appear in Soviet-occupied territories.  These included deserters from German and Soviet forces, as well as those who had avoided conscription into either one of them.  The partisans hoped that at the end of the war, Western powers would help to restore independence. Most of the partisans had military experience, but they had little knowledge and skills in terms of partisan operations during a modern war.

March 2-3, 1945
Battle of Stompaki

One of the largest partisan camps was in the Stompaki Swamp near Balvi, with 350-360 people including 30 women. Soviet Interior Ministry forces with 483 men attacked the partisan camp. After an intensive battle, including 28 dead, 40 injured and 7 captured members the partisans managed to break through to the North under the cover of night and snow.  After this battle, partisans changed their tactics and never again established large groups.

National partisans after World War II

Some 20,000 people in Latvia spent longer or shorter periods in the partisan units, and some 80,000 provided them with support.  The Latvian Fatherland Guard (Partisan) Alliance was established in Latgale, the Latvian National Partisan Organisation was established at Talsi in Courland, and the Latvian National Partisan Unit "Kurzeme" was established in Kabile, all of them in 1945.  The Soviet regime actively combatted the partisans with the use of armed units.  Traitors and agents were infiltrated into the groups, and there were merciless attacks against anyone who supported the partisans.

Armed resistance continued in Estonia after WW II as well. It is estimated that there were approximately 14 000 - 15 000 Forest Brothers in Estonia, together with their companions the total number of people hiding for some time in the forests could mount up to 30 000.

Christmas of 1945
Attack of the partisan group of Fricis Kārkliņš

At Christmas 1945, a group of 20 partisans commanded by Fricis Kārkliņš took Kabile village and released the partisans and supporters imprisoned there. In response, an anti-guerrilla operation by the USSR Ministry of the Interior began. A battle took place in the forest between Kabile and Renda on January 1, 1946. National partisans repulsed the force, killing 50 enemies while losing three.

The largest organisation of Forest Brothers – the Union of Armed Struggle – operates in Estonia

The organisation ceased to exist when senior resistance figures in the Union were killed in a battle with the USSR Ministry of the Interior forces in February 1949.

March 17, 1949
The last guerrilla battle in Īle

The last major partisan battle took place near Īle. 760 militants of the USSR Ministry of the Interior are fighting against 24 Latvian and Lithuanian partisans. 15 partisans fall in front of the huge force, but 9 partisans were captured and deported to Siberia.

Crackdown of active armed resistance to Soviet regime completed

Small number of clashes between Forest Brothers and Soviet security forces continued to occur through to 1957.

The last group of guerrillas

The last group of partisans in Latvia surrendered to the Soviet authorities in 1957, however the last illegally living forest brother, Jānis Pīnups, from the Preiļi district was legalized only on May 9, 1995 - after the Russian troops left Latvia.

Summer 1967
Hugo and Aksel Mõttus are the last Estonian Forest Brothers to be captured alive
The last Estonian Forest Brother known to be captured, August Sabbe, dies during an ambush by the Soviet security forces