Heavy Fighting ReportedAt Salmijarvi
By Associated PressHELSINKI, Dec. 22.—The Russian military machinewas thrown into an accelerated reverse tonight on two Finnish fronts and fought to a full stop on a third.
In' the rigid Arctic Petsamo sector the Finns, said officially that they had chased the invaders back into the nickel mining region and that fierce fighting was in progress ' around Salmijarvi, which the Russians- had taken more than a week ago.:
The Soviet Union retreat to the north was described as approaching a "catastrophe" in the Norwegian border reports.
Most Serious^ DifficultiesMet, Moscow
By Associated PressMOSCOW, Dec. 23.— Soviet Russia admitted "most serious difficulties" had been encountered in Finland's natural and artificial fortifications today but denied that the Finnish invasion was not progressing according to schedule.
Declaring that the Mannerheim line on the Karelian Isthmus was equal to Germany's Siegfried line, a Red army communique said its commanders had been cognizant' of the difficulties before the campaign started, and that only "ignorance or overt hostility" toward the Red army could lead foreign observers to expect annihilation of the Finns "by one lightning blow."No New Gains
For the third successive day, the communique failed to report any important new gains, lending credence, among foreign observers, to Finnish reports of important reverses to the Soviet Union military machine.