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TRENCH LINE

 

SECTION HANKO ARRIVES

(History of the Hanko Group, T-22005, Military Archives of Finland)

30th of October to 31st of October 1941 

- The planes arrived to the Nummela airfield on 30th of October 1941. Immediately after arrival Captain Berg started to prepare for the future actions by visiting the Staff of Hanko Group with Lieutenant Euramo. 

- During the next day, seven Curtiss planes were ready to action in the Nummela airfield. Before major actions were to be taken, two of the planes flied in the north side of the Hanko Cape, testing the radio communications. This flight was performed from 13:05 to 14:20 o'clock. Section Hanko felt that it was ready to its assigned mission. It was however unclear how the enemy would react to appearance of Finnish planes to the airspace above Hanko Cape. It was also a question mark what kind of opposition the Russian AA-guns would offer. 

- The mission for the Section Hanko was in its simplicity to destroy the Russian planes in Hanko Cape, mainly the types I-153 and I-16. It was deemed suicidal to try to destroy the enemy planes to the ground with bombs and machine guns. Air combat was the only option to come into question to successfully complete the mission. Fighting with eight of our own planes against twenty of enemy planes in the prevailing conditions was optimistic at its best, but didn't exceed the optimism of Section Hanko. After all, the pilots had some positive experiences of fighting against the I-153 and I-16, which were reported to be stationed in Hanko Cape. 

Commander of section Hanko: Captain Kullervo Lahtela.

Trench line, Picture 1

 - A dugout remains near of the Harparskog memorial.

Trench line, Picture 2

- Intersection in the trench line.

Trench line, Picture 3

- Observation or firing position in the trench line. Some loose stones are left near of the position, but these most likely have been placed here after the war.

Trench line, Picture 4

- Trench line in the rocky area of the defensive line. What's an interesting thing to note is that who ever was in charge to build this part of the trench line, disregarded the instructions given from fortification staff. The orders explicitly forbid leaving the small stones near of the trenches, as these would have made the fragmentation effect even more devastating. Instead, the officer in charge should have pointed a place, where the stones and other remains from the construction would have been placed. It might be also, that the construction effort came to a sudden halt after the Russians left from Hanko and there really was no need to move these anymore to anywhere.

Trench line, Picture 5

- Trench line, which has been supported with small stones to some degree.

Trench line, Picture 6

- It is interesting to think that over sixty years ago these trenches were full of life. Today only wild animals can be spotted leaping over the trenches.

Trench line, Picture 7

- The north-west area of the defensive line in Harparskog area has a rocky terrain and that also shows in the trench line, as a lot of stones has been used to support the trenches.

Trench line, Picture 8

- More...

Trench line, Picture 9

- An old firing position. The Finnish Defence Forces still practices a lot in the area and the trenches here looked to be a much newer than in other areas.

Trench line, Picture 10

- More remains from the firing positions in the trench line perhaps dug by the conscripts from Brigade of Uusimaa.

Trench line, Picture 11

- A rather large pit near of the trench line in the area of Skogby village. This most likely is a dugout remains.

Trench line, Picture 12

- Another pit meaning a dugout remain, near of the Harparskog village.

Trench line, Picture 13

- Trenches in the area of the Skogby and Harparskog village, has been dug into a very sandy ground and that shows today in the line, as erosion has shaped the edges of the trenches very effectively. Fortunately not many people walk in the trenches, so people do not cause anymore erosion and those that do walk here, should try to avoid causing any more damage to the trench lines. That way perhaps the next generation can also visit these places and still see the remains from the Harparskog-line.

Trench line, Picture 14

- After the Winter War, the construction of trench line was modified a bit. A straight or nearly straight line was noticed of not being well suited for its task. That's why after the Winter War, the instructions were given, that the trench line should be made so, that there's separate firing positions for the men. Those depressions in the trench line, which point outward from the actual line, are the firing positions. 

Trench line, Picture 15

- General view of the area.

Trench line, Picture 16

- Another dugout remains, this one close to the accommodation bunker 453.

Trench line, Picture 17

- Firing positions right next to the railroad.

Trench line, Picture 18

- More firing positions in front of the Harparskog village.

Trench line, Picture 19

- A shallow pit, which might have contained a position for a light machine gun.

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Copyright © 2005, 2006 Kimmo Nummela