Guerrilla war in the Baltic states

The Guerrilla war in the Baltic states was an armed struggle waged by the Latvian, Lithuanian and Estonian partisans, called the Forest Brothers (Estonian: metsavennad, Latvian: mežabrāļi, Lithuanian: miško broliai), against the Soviet Union during the Soviet invasion and occupation of the three Baltic states during and after World War II. Similar anti-Soviet Central and Eastern European resistance groups fought against Soviet and communist rule in Bulgaria, Poland, Romania, and western Ukraine.

Guerrilla war in the Baltic states
Part of Occupation of the Baltic states

Lithuanian resistance fighters from the Dainava military district.
Date1945–1956
Location
Result

Soviet victory

  • Defeat of national partisans
Belligerents

Baltic States:

Supported by:
 Finland
 Sweden
 United Kingdom
 Soviet Union
Strength
~50,000 partisans (peak) Unknown
Casualties and losses
561 killed, 4,285 injured
1,458 killed, 5,052 injured
21,103 Killed
~20,000 arrested[1][2]
Soviet armed forces and police:
In Lithuania:
12,921 killed[3]
In Latvia:
1,562 killed, 560 wounded[4]
In Estonia:
unknown
4,000 pro-Soviet civilians killed by Forest Brothers[5]

The Red Army occupied the independent Baltic states in 1940–1941 and, after a period of German occupation, again in 1944–1945. As Stalinist repression intensified over the following years, some 50,000 residents of these countries used the heavily forested countryside as a natural refuge and base for armed anti-Soviet insurgency.

According to some estimates, 10,000 partisans in Estonia, 10,000 partisans in Latvia and 30,000 partisans in Lithuania and many more supporters were involved. This war continued as an organised struggle until 1956 when the superiority of the Soviet military caused the native population to adopt other forms of resistance.[6]