- This presentation keeps inside a mapping of the Harparskog-line (H-position). The numbered structures in the defensive line are presented in this presentation with photographs and with text. There hasn't been any published presentation from Harparskog-line, in this form. According to my knowledge, there also haven't been similar photographic presentations from the other defensive lines, which are located in Finland. The structures which are located in Hanko Cape and in the nearby islands, have been mapped by the National Board of Antiquities and Senate Properties in the 1990's, but apparently the results of this rather limited mapping hasn't been published ever.

- The last complete mapping of Harparskog-line (H-position), has been made by the Finnish Defence Forces in 1955. The results of this mapping are now public documents in the Military Archives of Finland. After the personnel of the Finnish Defence Forces were done with their mapping, the defensive line has been left without too much care, although the personnel of the Finnish Defence Forces have optimistically written next to some bunkers: Restoration. Today the gun positions, bunkers, dugout remains and mined positions are slowly being erased from the landscape in the former Hanko Front area. Sometimes it feels, that the attitude mentioned by the Austrian volunteer Adolf Molnár still exists: "Often people are smiling to the Hanko Front, one time I even heard about the rest home of Hanko".

- The Hanko Front however was far from a rest home. The island battles fought in the area were bloody and brutal and search a match in the pages of history. The defender usually didn't have the option to retreat from a difficult situation and most often all of the defenders in the islands were either killed or captured. Those who tried to get away by swimming were shot to the water. The attacker on the other hand, had to approach the defensive positions in the islands, many times with a slowly moving wooden boats, right in the view of the defender. There aren't many battles like this in the military history.


- Like many other things in life, constructing this presentation started almost completely from an accident. In the summer of 2005, my father and I were thinking about a next possible location to go photographing. We had toured the fortifications east of Helsinki previously and now we had to find again some place to photograph. There were two options: Either the trenches from Civil War near Tampere or the "few" bunkers in Hanko Cape. As Hanko Cape is closer to Helsinki than Tampere is, we decided to go and see these "few" bunkers in Hanko Cape. While visiting the first few bunkers, neither of us could guess, that we would be spending each Saturday for the next year, in Hanko Cape or in the surrounding area, finally walking the Harparskog-line from west to east, from Vestervik area to Baggön.

- At first we were searching the defensive line and its structures with a general map from the area. Not until at the end of the year 2005 I finally went to the Military Archives of Finland. I found much information about Harparskog-line and Hanko Front from the archive. While comparing the photographs that I had taken, to the fortification map, I noticed that we had managed to find most of the structures in the areas of Harparskog, Vimonböle, Långstrand and Pargas, just by looking at the shapes of the terrain and guessing the locations. The source material however brought some depth and meaning for our task. It took a year to complete this presentation. In practice, all of the free time has been spend for this presentation, in one way or another.

- Without those encouraging comments, that I have received from the local people regarding this presentation, I doubt that this presentation would have ever been completed. The local people need a big thank you. All of the people that we have met, have been very positive about mapping of the defensive line with photographs. We met many local people during our trips, I cannot even recall all of Your names, so I cannot name each of You separately here. However you most likely recognize yourself from this, if you can remember two persons with cameras, walking in the sleet of December or in the heat of June. Thank You all!

Finnish and Swedish trucks ready to help to evacuate the Hanko Cape

- I also want to thank my own father. Together with him, we have walked the defensive line from west to east. Without an extra pair of eyes, many of the structures of the defensive line, would have not been discovered. The Finnish Defence Forces, Military Archives of Finland and Pohja Local History Archive deserve also an thank you for promoting the construction of this presentation. Both the Finnish Defence Forces and Pohja Local History Archive have given permission to use their archived picture material in this presentation. The historical photographs from the Hanko Front deepen the meaning of these concrete and stone structures, which without people, might seem rather distant. The personnel of the Military Archives of Finland has answered to my numerous questions, as a first time user of the archives, with patience and with understanding.

- On 4th of December 2006 it will be 65 years from the moment that the Swedish volunteers entered the city of Hanko, after the Russians had left. Shortly after the Swedish volunteers came the men from the Frontier Jaeger Battalion 3, for whom the honour of capturing Hanko had been promised. This presentation on its own way is a salute for that moment and for the soldiers on both sides of the front, who found their last resting place from the numerous islands in the Hanko area and from the sea. A total of 78 Finnish soldiers were never found and are missing in action in the Hanko Front area. The number of Russian missing soldiers most likely isn't any less than that. 

Kimmo Nummela
31st of August 2006

Copyright © 2005, 2006 Kimmo Nummela