470, a



(Hanko Cape in the Second World War, Niilo Lappalainen) 

10th of July to 3rd of September 1941

- On 16th of August, a reconnaissance in force was made to Elmholmen. A reinforced platoon under the command of 2nd Lieutenant Källström was sent out to perform the task. The platoon headed to the island at 00:45 o'clock and managed to land without losses. The Russian platoon, which was defending the island, was forced back and they retreated to their dugouts. They however managed to hold their place in the southern tip of the island. Both sides decided to wait reinforcements. The Russians were sending reinforcements all through the morning hours and finally even using rowing boats during the daytime! The Finns also managed to get reinforcements into the island, but these contained only two to three squads. The Captain Karas who was in charge of this section, was ordered to hold the island till evening, so that an engineer squad could be sent to mine the island. Sending reinforcements during the day time was impossible, as the Red Air Force was attacking all vessels near the island. 

- All through the day, heavy fighting continued in the island and from the 100 Russian reinforcements, only thirty remained alive in the evening. However at around 19:00 o'clock, heavy artillery bombardment hit the Finnish positions and at 20:22 o'clock, Russians attacked with fresh forces from the island of Kuggholmen. The Finns, which had already fought for the whole day, could not hold their positions and were given permission to pull back. As the Russians noticed that the Finnish troops were pulling back, heavy artillery and mortar fire was directed to the sound between the islands of Elmholmen and Storholmen. It is estimated that the Russians fired some 4 000 different caliber grenades into the sound during the last two hours of the battle. 

- The Finns lost 9 men killed in action and 6 missing. 23 men were wounded. Finns claimed killing about 100 Russians soldiers.

470, a, Picture 1

- Structure 470 can be found relatively easily on top of a tall rock near the shoreline. According to the fortification map, the structure was a machine gun bunker/dugout. The sub-letter a), meant the observation and fire control nest. Basically the structure seems like a completed machine gun nest.

470, a, Picture 2

- View from behind of the structure. The embrasure for a machine or a light machine gun is visible in the middle of the picture.

470, a, Picture 3

- Nearby is also some other mined structures, which most likely are the fire and observation nest marked to the map. Of course the structures have been also suitable for a fire position.

470, a, Picture 4

- One of the mined structures.

470, a, Picture 5

- The same structure seen from a different angle. The entrance in the upper part of the picture is nearly overgrown from vegetation.

470, a, Picture 6

- View from the structure.

470, a, Picture 7

- Close to the structure near of the shoreline is several single man shelter remains.

470, a, Picture 8

- View from the shoreline towards the structure. The peninsula straight ahead contains the structure 415.

470, a, Picture 9

- Near of the structure 470, a, is also a memorial to the Naval Battle of Riilahti. The battle was fought on 26th of July 1714. The bigger Russian fleet crushed the Swedish fleet in the battle. Officially it was the first Russian naval battle. Ever after the battle, the Russian fleet has always contained one ship named as a Gangut, which is the Russian name for the city of Hanko.

470, a, Picture 10

- To commemorate the naval battle, Russians erected a memorial the area in 1869. Originally there had been a wooden cross, which however decayed. The memorial erected in 1869 was also made from wood and not until 27th of July 1870 a stone cross was revealed. That memorial is located on the right side of the picture. In the year 1925 when Finland had already gotten its independency an idea was raised to commemorate the Swedish sailors who participated to the battle. The suggestion came from the head of the Bromarv Civil Guard (Suojeluskunta). The new memorial was revealed on 27th of July 1928.

470, a, Picture 11

- The commander of the Russian fleet still stares to Riilahti and to the warlike history of Hanko Cape.


Copyright © 2005, 2006 Kimmo Nummela