SUURSAARI

15th of September 1944

 

Part 2 / 2

 

THE STARTING SITUATION

Evening 14th of September 1944 soldiers of Coastal Artillery Regiment 12 were spending yet one uneventful day on Suursaari Island. Dismantling of the island's defenses that had started 4th of September had stopped due new orders that arrived 11th of September and 13th of September. These new orders had resulted to hasty attempt of trying to return the defenses as strong as possible in minimal amount of time and while hasty, had already reached results. Decoy guns had been placed in gun pits left vacant by the evacuated gun batteries and almost all of the remaining artillery batteries had been set into their new fire positions and remained operational. Only 9th Heavy Motorized Artillery Battery with its 122-mm guns had not yet completed transferring its equipment to their new positions. While Finnish military had not prepared for the possibility that the Germans might attack to Suursaari Island, the earlier events of that day had caused worried suspicion in regimental headquarters. The Regimental HQ had received information according which the Germans had laid mines into three parts of shipping lanes from Kotka harbor south of Ruotsinsalmi sound. Even if the Germans had informed the Finns of this action after the fact, technically laying mines to foreign territorial waters could be considered as act of war. The matter has also revealed to the Finns the worrying possibility that the Germans were not necessarily going to just passively follow how things were going to turn up in Gulf of Finland. This first German act of aggression had also already resulted Finnish casualties. While clearing the mines still that same day small mine sweeping boat Kuha 6 was destroyed by one of these mines, the explosion killing its whole crew of six sailors and mine sweeping flotilla commander who was also in the boat. From Finnish point of view the German soldiers still remaining on Suursaari Island were also now becoming problematic, since they would have been outside Finnish territorial waters by deadline of 00:00 15th of September, or the Finnish troops would be required to intern them. Plans for getting them evacuated from the island before the deadline had already been made. Regimental HQ of Coastal Artillery Regiment 12 had been in contact with German commander of nearby Tytärsaari Island, which was supposed to send a boat, which would have fetched them before the midnight deadline. When the expected boat did not arrive before sunset Miettinen contacted again his German colleague, commander of Tytärsaari Island, and suggested that a Finnish boat could transport the Germans to Tytärsaari right away - only to receive reply which refused this and told that the German boat would arrive and get them well before midnight. Both things caused enough suspicion that at 7 PM the regimental HQ commanded alarm, which was reduced to standby at 8 PM and this standby status remained until starting of the battle.

While the Finns were having a sleepless night, the Germans were not having any rest either. False intelligence that they had received suggested that the Soviets might have already landed to Suursaari Island in 13th of September, so Commodore Mecke and his troops were far from certain, what would be expecting them. Since their plan required using the retreaval of German soldiers from the island as a cover for approaching it, the whole operation was very timetable sensitive, but pace of the mixed landing fleet was set by the slowest boat in it. Apparently they were aware of the Finns evacuation of troops and heavy weapons to mainland, but their actions suggest that they did not necessarily know about the re-organizing of Finnish defenses done in the last four days. When the German landing fleet finally closed the island the midnight was already near.

Before that happened Lieutenant-Colonel Miettinen had become tired of waiting and had asked two VMV patrol boats to be sent to Suursaari Island for the purpose of transporting the Germans to Tytärsaari. When the whole German landing fleet appeared and sailed around the island before stopping outside Suurkylä harbor with one of the R-class minesweepers (R 249) heading to harbor, both number of ships and size of the ship heading to harbor flamed the existing suspicion, since they were obviously excessive for the purpose of just fetching small number of soldiers. At the same time the Germans also got their first nasty surprise, they had expected Suurkylä harbor to be empty, but during the last few hours number of Finnish boats had arrived and the small harbor was now crowded by vessels of Finnish Navy, which would leave little room for the Germans to land their troops directly in the harbor as planned. Besides two VMV-class patrol boats (VMV 10 and VMV 14), also liaison boat Porkkala had arrived there along tugboat Taipale, cable-ship Kaapelialus II and H. Vinha - the last three ships had been sent to disassemble the equipment of hydrophone station and transport it to mainland.

PICTURE: 122 K/31 heavy field gun with towing tractor. 9th Motorised Heavy Artillery Battery used this type of heavy field guns. (Photo property of Jaeger Platoon Website). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (59 KB).

As mentioned, Finnish troops were already on standby. Suspecting possible trouble, Lieutenant-Colonel Miettinen had ordered a force commanded by Captain Ihalainen to Suurkylä harbor. This force of about two platoons in size was armed with rifles and had orders to guard the harbor, where the German soldiers that had served in Suursaari were also waiting for their transport to Tytärsaari Island. As a further precaution, 9th Coastal Defense Company (9. Torjuntakomppania) had been ordered to road leading from the road leading south from Suurkylä village in level of Kotokallio Rock, where it had set a defensive perimeter on the road in relatively open terrain between Majakallio Hill and Kotokallio Rock. Other troops on northern part of the island included number of units. Headquarters of Northern Section (also referred as HQ of 1st Fortification and HQ of 1st Battalion) had platoon from 10th Coastal Defense Company and 1st Platoon of Mortar Company placed near it. Section of 75-mm field guns belonging to 201st Light Artillery Battery was on northeast part of Pohjoiskorkia Hill, while 24th Light Artillery Battery with its six modern 76-mm anti-aircraft guns was on Majakallio Hill. Beach defense was main duty of 10th Coastal Defense Company, which had two platoon-size bases in capes on both side of Suurkylä harbor and eight smaller guard posts along the coast. 5th Coastal Anti-Aircraft Battery on Kotokallio Rock just south of Suurkylä harbor had six 40-Bofors anti-aircraft guns. Other anti-aircraft capacity was provided by two sections of 3rd Light Coastal Antiaircraft Artillery Company with each of its section equipped with two 20-mm Breda anti-aircraft guns. Regimental Headquarters, which was on Mäkiinpäällys Hill, had also HQ Company and engineer platoon with it. Near to it on Mäkiinpäällys Hill was also 9th Motorized Heavy Artillery Battery, which had only one of its two 122-mm field guns operational and had not found time to get its range-finder yet to the operational condition.

Ammunition supply situation remained problematic for the Finnish troops. Infantry weapons in general had reasonable amount of ammunition reserved for them, but for example 47-mm coastal guns had very limited ammunition supply to begin with and some of the artillery batteries had their ammunition storage scattered to various places, from which getting ammunition supply to the guns would prove problematic. After the alarm at 7 PM soldiers had been sent to try fixing the partially dismantled field telephone network, but the work had not been completed.

Weather was nice crispy September weather by standards of outward islands in Baltic Sea. Depending time of day temperature was varying around 8 - 12 degrees Celsius, relatively strong winds (10 m/sec), high wind cover and good visibility.

PICTURE: Map showing first part of the battle - from midnight to 6 AM. CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (128 KB).

 

BATTLE BEGINS

Few minutes after midnight 15th of September 1944 German R 249 minesweeper entered to Suurkylä harbor and moored into its pier illuminated by electric lights despite Finnish shouts banning entering to harbor. Captain Kieffer, who the Germans had selected for this task stepped to deserted pier and walked into nearby small house in the harbour, where he met Lieutenant-Colonel Miettinen. In the following discussion that took about 20 minutes Kieffer told to Miettinen that he had been sent to negotiate about handing over the island to the Germans. Miettinen replied to this by saying that it was totally impossible. When Kieffer noted that he had received information that Miettinen would be willing to turn over the island (to the Germans), Miettinen replied that he had his orders and would take orders only from Marshal Mannerheim. At that point Kieffer threated that the Germans would land with such a force that the Finns would not be able to resist. After this Kieffer suggested Miettinen staging a phony battle with token Finnish resistance followed by Finnish surrender, but Miettinen refused - replying that he could not do such thing and noted that if the Germans would try landing to the island, his troops would with defend the island against them. Kieffer asked permission to return to his ship and contact German headquarters in Tallinn by radio. Miettinen agreed to give him 15 minutes for this, but as it turned out Kieffer did not use the time for contacting Tallinn HQ. He returned to R 249 and reported results of his discussion to Commodore Mecke, who issued order that set the German troops that had been hiding in R 249 into motion. German soldiers started calmly disembark, set up several machineguns in the harbor and with their overwhelming numbers captured Finnish boats moored to the same pier at gunpoint without any resistance from their crews. With some of the soldiers Kieffer rushed back to the house where he had just met Miettinen, but they came too late to capture him - Miettinen had already left the harbor and was now heading to his Regimental HQ. Other German ships now started heading to harbor to land their troops. The Germans had succeeded getting first part of their landing troops to harbor and capturing all Finnish boats in it without firing a shot, but this was about to change soon. Later during the battle all Finnish vessels in the harbor, except the liaison boat Porkkala, would sunk to those places they were in beginning of the battle.

On his way to Regimental HQ about 00:30 Miettinen ordered the force about two platoon size guarding the harbor to fire a volley over heads of the German soldiers now pouring out to the pier. This volley of rifle fire to the air was soon followed with return fire and within minutes a firefight broke out in the harbor between Finnish and German soldiers. Since Finnish force guarding the harbor had only rifles and no automatic weapons, its soldiers were soon forced to retreat. During this firefight also the harbor lights went out, which had its notable effect to following events, since after lights going out Finnish artillery batteries on hills around the harbor had problems to see exactly what was happening in there.

24th Light Artillery Battery placed on Majakallio hill was able to fire to Suurkylä harbor with two of its six captured Soviet 76-mm anti-aircraft guns. Now (around 00:55) it fired one warning shot. But since the German ships now appeared to head out of harbor (large M-class minesweepers had already landed their troops to harbor and were now heading out to give room for smaller R-class minesweepers to bring in more troops), the artillery battery stopped shooting only after this one shot. Once this misinterpretation of situation cleared, Finnish troops received orders to open fire at 01:17. Finnish artillery batteries and mortars opened fire to Suurkylä harbor and German ships returned fire. 1st and 2nd Platoons of Heavy Mortar Company were capable bombarding German landing fleet and landing area with their 120-mm mortars from their existing positions and started doing so. But for 3rd Platoon of Mortar Company located in southern end of the island the battlefield was outside range and this platoon did not take part to battle.

24th Light Artillery Battery was shelling the harbor with its 76-mm anti-aircraft guns, but due to earlier evacuation work much of its ammunition stockpile had been moved under the hill, from where its men carried more ammunition to the guns during battle. Also, ammunition available to it was not exactly ideal for shooting warships. Lacking better ammunition, this artillery battery shelled German ships, harbor and German troops in Suurkylä village with time-fuse equipped high explosive shells, which had been intended for anti-aircraft use.

PICTURE: This photograph taken from position of 5th Light Coastal Anti-aircraft Battery on Kotokallio Rock towards Suurkylä harbor below just two days after the battle is rather illuminating. (SA-kuva photo archive, photo number 160393). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (161 KB).

5th Light Coastal Anti-aircraft Battery on Kotokallio Rock had different kind of problem - it had the enemy too close. This battery equipped with 40-mm Bofors anti-aircraft guns was located on top of a steep hill overlooking the harbor. So most of its Bofors-guns were unable to fire to the harbor even with their minimum elevation. Much of its manpower fought the battle with their small arms. Also the units ammunition storage was in behind the battery under a cliff, so ammunition had been carried on a hill during battle.

1st Artillery Section of 201st Light Artillery Battery on north-east part of Pohjoiskorkia equipped with two 75 K/17 field guns hill had also problems of German ships being too close to beach. Apparently the Germans were familiar with blind spots of this artillery section and used them the best way possible. With German troops landing to harbor, areas around it and also to beach north of the harbor, this artillery section soon found itself cut off, but continued to fire on advancing Germans and refused to surrender.

10th Coastal Defense Company had two bases in both sides of Suurkylä harbor with platoon in each base, these bases were in Hirskallio cape north of the harbor and in Kappelniemi Cape south of it. When German ships started landing troops both of these bases soon found themselves in middle of battle. Platoon commanded by Lieutenant Ruohisto in Kappelniemi Cape was surrounded by German troops to their base. Ruohisto tried to break out of the pocket with his platoon towards south around 06:55 but this failed and he was forced to surrender with his platoon without any real battle around 07:30. Another platoon of 10th Coastal Defense Company was commanded by Lieutenant Kiiski and had its base in Hirskallio Cape. Also this platoon found itself on route of advancing Germans, but proved them much more problematic adversary, fighting hard with its two 47-mm coastal guns and two M/08 machineguns. Even when its base was surrounded by German troops, the platoon still refused to surrender and continued to fight. Ultimately around 04:30 it was running low on ammunition and was given permission to leave its positions and retreat to Pohjoiskorkia hill. Kiiski's platoon succeeded slipping through German troops via Pitkäliuku hills to Pohjoiskorkia hill, where it around 06:30 joined other Finnish troops defending this hill, which was the defense center for northern sector of the island.

In this night time artillery duel Finnish artillery batteries also found themselves with powerful opponent - each German M-class minesweeper had two 105-mm guns, while artillery and transport ferries had 88-mm anti-aircraft guns and variety of smaller anti-aircraft guns in 37-mm and 20-mm caliber. Lacking their searchlights, which had been evacuated to mainland, Finnish artillery batteries had difficult time spotting the German ships, but apparently the German ships found spotting the Finnish artillery batteries even more difficult. Artillery battle fought in pitch black night continued a while, until German ships decided to halt their fire and concentrate into landing troops, since they were unable to destroy Finnish artillery batteries and realized that their muzzle flashes only provided Finnish guns a good reference point where to aim at.

While German ships were busy landing troops to Suurkylä harbor and to beaches near it, another group of German ships approached Selkäapajanniemi Cape in west coast of the island to land another smaller German unit. But by that time 34th Light Artillery Battery defending this cape had already been alarmed and with artillery duel raging around Suurkylä harbor, they had no uncertainty what to do in this situation. This artillery battery equipped with old French 75-mm anti-aircraft guns let the German ships close to range of just 800 meters and then opened fire with all guns at the maximum rate of fire. German ships that suddenly found themselves found themselves in receiving end of 75-mm high exposive shells literally raining on them, created smoke-cover and retreated. The battery had fired 100 shells to them from distance of 800 meters and additional 20 shells after retreating ships. The objective of this second landing force may have been capturing of Finnish hydrophone station, which was on that cape, but landing there would have also allowed capturing section of the nearby main road.

With German troops landing to Suurkylä harbor and getting organized in Suurkylä village, it was just matter of time, when they would try start advancing to other parts of the island. The obvious main route of German advance would be main road leading south from Suurkylä. Defending this road was 9th Coastal Defense Company commanded by Lieutenant Uljas Hämäläinen. This unit that been transferred from Someri Island just week ago and most of its men had no combat experience, but now it found itself blocking the enemy main route of advance. Their first contact with the Germans was German recon patrol, which appeared from the night and basically run into them - this small patrol was swiftly destroyed with small arms fire. Former liaison officer Müller, who was with this German patrol, was taken prisoner of war. Half an hour later first advancing German unit appeared and attacked, but was forced back with small arms fire and hand grenades. The 9th company was in open terrain, which provided little shelter, so Lieutenant Hämäläinen decided to pull it back to prepared defensive position about 200 meters behind their location around 03:00. As it turned out, he made this important decision in the last possible moment. German infantry units, which had marched from the Suurkylä village now appeared from the dark night and started to prepare their main attack. Hämäläinen rushed into nearby shack, which had a field telephone and immediately called in two mortar strikes to pre-plotted target just in front of the position, which his company was now defending. The German infantry, which was just about to start its charge, found itself in middle of mortar barrage and dispersed to find cover. Accurate 120-mm mortar fire broke the German attack, which failed to reach trenches defended by 9th Defence Company.

German troops now had a beachhead in north-west part of the island reaching from Kappelniemi Cape to Hirskallio hill. At this point Finnish troops around German beachhead had still large gaps between them, which had allowed German patrols to wonder in rear of the Finnish troops. German troops were advancing towards Pohjoiskorkia hill, which did not yet have defense line organized for stopping their advance to that direction. Captain Kai Vakkuri took reserve platoon from 8th Coastal Defense Company and volunteer unit created from civilian workers and stopped German patrols advancing towards Mäkiinpäällys hill, where regimental HQ was located. Small German patrols were found in various parts of the northern part of the island, so defensive perimeter was set around regimental HQ. Soldiers from supplies units and civilian workers were gathered and armed to increase number of men defending this perimeter. Regimental HQ ordered transfer of troops from Southern Section commanded by Major Jukka Soini. This transfer of men and weapons was done via main road from south to north and included one of the rifle companies of Coastal Infantry Battalion 7, artillery section (with two 75 K/17 field guns) of 201st Light Artillery Battery and machineguns to increase firepower.

The single heavy coastal gun that the Finns had operational in the island, 122 K/31 field gun, had opened fire from its position on highest hill of the island around 03:40. About two hours this lone gun continued to slowly shell the German ships causing considerable damage. Due to the last-minute transfers of artillery with-in the island the Germans were early on unaware of its location, but soon huge muzzle flash revealed location of the gun and finally lucky German shot ended its part in this battle. A direct hit to gun pit instantly killed two men and wounded seven others belonging to the gun crew. This same shell also damaged the gun in such extent, that it required extensive repairs. The second similar gun, transporting of which to this artillery position had not been completed before the battle, was not yet in its fire position and therefore could not be used to shoot the enemy. It was not set into its new firing position until during the battle and did not get ready to open fire until around 05:30, by which time most of the German ships had already left the area.

As mentioned when Finnish troops had started disassembling the defenses, they had dug up cables of the field telephone network and now this mistake was starting to take its toll. With the battles raging in north-west part of the island, the vulnerable telephone cables were damaged in many places which resulted losing of telephone connections between bases. Field telephone connection to artillery section of 201st Light Artillery Battery now surrounded by the Germans on Rivinkallio rock had been lost already around 02:00. Soon after this telephone connections between Regimental HQ and HQ of Northern Section were lost, but luckily these headquarters (like all section HQs in the island) had been equipped with VRJK radios, which allowed maintaining connection so vital for leading the battle. Also telephone connection from the Regimental HQ to the mainland was lost around 03:15, but since this HQ was equipped with VRJPA radio, it was able to reach nearby Finnish bases by radio. While the radios worked as intended, using them was slower than telephone-connections because the messages had to be always coded and decoded. Hence the whole command process with receiving reports and issuing orders got slowed down.

Rifle platoons organized by Captain Laaksonen plugged the holes still remaining in the Finnish defense line and by daybreak (about 06:40) Finnish troops were already preparing to launch a counter-attack.

PICTURE: Map showing situation in battlefield around 6 PM. CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (142 KB).

 

DAYBREAK

Harsh light of day did not offer anything positive for the German troops taking part in Operation Tanne Ost. With daybreak approaching the artillery duel between German ships and Finnish guns got re-vigorated. German infantry had succeeded capturing beach-head in north-east part of the island containing area from Pohjoisrivi Cape in the north to Kappelniemi Cape and Hirskallio Rock, but Finnish defenses were now also all organized and soon German infantry found themselves being pinned down by Finnish mortar, machinegun and small arms fire. The situation did not look promising from the German viewpoint - their beachhead was almost completely on low ground, while Finnish troops were on high ground overlooking the beachhead.

The mixed landing fleet that the Germans had dedicated to this operation had already taken a pounding. For purpose of landing their troops German vessels had to enter the small harbor, which made them sitting ducks for Finnish artillery and mortars. R-class minesweepers that had been first sent to land the troops to harbor had also been the first to be hit by Finnish artillery. According operational plan, the flare that the Germans fired from harbor area to signal the ships that they were in firefight, should have resulted rest of the landing troops being landed to west coast of the island, but with first wave of infantry already in harbor, German naval commanders were hesitating. Ultimately Captain Kieffer commanding landing flotilla made the decision to land all the troops to the harbor and beaches around it. Around 01:40 he sent transport ferries to the harbor to land the second wave of infantry. The small harbor was now completely overcrowded by variety of German ships, ferries and motor boats, which were under fire.

While practically all of the Finnish guns in the island were too small to be able to sunk M-class minesweeper, especially smaller minesweepers and ferries suffered considerable damage in Finnish artillery and mortar fire. List of damage suffered by German landing flotilla that far:

Slow-moving German transport ferries and barges were getting hit repeatedly, 40-mm Bofors guns hit two of them and 120-mm mortars scored hits to at least three ferries. What room had been left in the harbor was quickly filling with sinking hulks of these vessels, which de facto blocked it completely. But still the German ferries, barges and boats kept landing troops and by 04:00 they had landed second and third wave of infantry.

First landing ferries that had tried entering already overcrowded harbor were F866 and F867, but neither succeeded getting there and instead found themselves under fire. After two attempts of entering the harbor F866 finally transferred its landing troops to small sturmboots, but these succeeded reaching the island only after suffering additional losses. While F867 succeeded landing its troops to harbor, it also got hit repeatedly. The third landing ferry to try entering harbor was F173, which got hit several times and drifted into Finnish mine field where it triggered a sea mine and sunk. The mine that sunk F173 damaged also nearby F866, which had tried to help it. The fourth landing ferry trying to harbor was F822, which was carrying 5,000 shells for 88-mm antiaircraft guns and radio vehicle - both of which the German landing force would have desperately needed. F822 succeeded entering the harbor, but then it was hit and caught on fire. Captain Sonnemann, who commanded artillery- and landing ferries had landed the island, but now found getting back to his remaining vessels exceedingly difficult. The AF-type artillery ferries that were under his command were still outside the harbor and were providing fire support with their weapons for the German troops. Twice he tried reaching them by taking a sturmboot to his command and heading out, but in both cases incoming Finnish fire sunk the boat and he was forced to swim back to shore. Captain Sonnemann lost contact to remaining vessels of his flotilla for rest of the battle. With the sinking hulks of German landing ferries now completely blocking the harbor, German ships were unable to access it anymore. Only small sturmboot boats that were able to land normal beach without danger of gettins stuck were still able to transport troops and equipment to the island or from it.

Besides Finnish resistance German landing troops faced also another major problem, which was to prove decisively important. None of their radio teams had succeeded landing the island with their radio equipment intact. Apparently only third wave of landing troops finally succeeded providing Commodore Mecke commanding the landing groups in the island with what appeared to be a working radio. But by the time that happened, the break in communications had already played its part in creating a full blown military disaster for the Germans. Without any contact to the troops that already landed to the island, Kieffer was unable to properly co-operate when it came to using guns of his landing fleet as fire-support for the landing force or to even found out what was happening in the island.

Around 04:50 Kieffer ordered his landing fleet to gather in to northern side of the island. Lacking any radio contact to the troops in the island, he did not know if they had succeeded or failed, but continuing radio silence did not promise anything good. His landing fleet was now full of ships damaged by Finnish artillery and mortar fire, with approaching daylight expected to add Soviet air attacks into balance. His landing fleet had still onboard several hundred soldiers belonging to landing force, but lacking effective way of landing them, Kieffer apparently decided to follow age old military principle of not reinforcing failure. Rest of the men belonging to landing force would return to Tallinn with his ships. Minesweepers and artillery ferries moved northwards, but soon order for artillery ferries was cancelled and they were ordered to return to east-side of harbor and continue providing fire support to landing force. All minesweepers received orders to return Tallinn. Only ferries now commanded by Lieutenant Cordes and small sturmboot type motor boats stayed, but around 06:17 also they received orders to return Tallinn. German landing force had now lost its naval support. Only German vessels that stayed behind were small sturmboot motor boats and number of abandoned ferries and barges in the harbor. One of these ferries was F822, which was still burning and whose ammunition piles exploded around 06:30. While the German landing fleet was now heading to Tallinn, for slowest of its vessels gettting there would take about five hours - many hours in broad daylight.

 

NAVIES TO THE RESCUE?

German landing troops had failed landing heavy weapons and their ammunition to the island, but in early hours of the landing operation they still had a notable artillery support available. About eight kilometers west of Suursaari Island was waiting 6th Destroyer Flotilla commanded by Commodore Friedrick Kothe. His flotilla included three destroyers (Z25, Z28 and Z36) and two torpedo boats (T23 and T28). As their main artillery these ships carried sixteen six-inch guns - a powerful opponent for the light artillery batteries that the Finns had on Suursaari Island. But the German landing troops never got to use this resource. Since the troops that had landed to the island were unable to get radio contact to their ships or HQ in Tallinn, they were unable to give any fire orders or ask for help. According German operational plan originally this naval unit was intended to shell southern parts of the island during landing, but since no request for this was actually made during the operation, the destroyer flotilla was just waiting for orders, which never came. Around 04:00 Kieffer could only report them, that the landing operation was going on and that there was no radio contact to the troops in the island. Since there did not appear to be any use for them, 04:22 also this destroyer flotilla was ordered to return Tallinn. When the request for providing fire support to the landing force finally arrived from Kieffer about an hour later, it was already too late, since the destroyer flotilla was now already too far from the island to provide assistance anytime soon.

Also Finnish Navy had been alarmed and launched its own operation. 1st Motor Torpedo Boat Flotilla commanded by Commander (Komentajakapteeni) Jouko Pirhonen had received orders to attack German landing flotilla. The motor torpedo boats commanded by this 28-year recipient of Mannerheim Cross (highest Finnish military award) had received its orders around 01:22 and headed from their base in city of Kotka towards Suursaari Island. First boats to head out were three (T3, T5 and T6) recently Finnish-build Taisto-class MBT's, which were followed by two (V2 and V3) captured Soviet Vasama-class MBT's. Around 03:28 - 03:34 Taisto-class boats attacked with their torpedoes and succeeded completely surprising German landing flotilla. Each of these three motor torpedo boats reported sinking M-class minesweeper, but in reality they apparently succeeded sinking only smaller R 29 mine sweeper and Estonian towboat Pernau, whose crew the Germans had forced to join the landing flotilla in Tallinn. The two Viima-class boats lost contact to each other and attacked separately about hour later, but now the Germans were already expecting for them, so they failed sinking anything. It is worth noting that the Taisto-class boats may have scored hits to M-class minesweepers, but the old torpedoes they were using were notoriously ineffective.

PICTURE: Map showing situation first Finnish counter-attacks in between 8 AM - 2 PM. CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (128 KB).

 

FIRST FINNISH COUNTER-ATTACK

As mentioned by 06:00 the Finnish troops had succeeded establishing their line of defense and German beachhead was contained to north-east part of the island containing area from Pohjoisrivi Cape in the north to Kappelniemi Cape and Hirskallio rock. Captain Esko Laaksonen (commander of Coastal Infantry Battalion 7) who was commanding large part of this improvised defense line issued orders for the troops under his command to start advancing in scanning manner. Heavy Mortar Company continued shelling the harbor area, due to much improved visibility in light of day its forward observation team now had excellent visibility to the target area making the mortar fire much more effective. However ammunition supply for its 120-mm mortars was already starting to run low. Around 06:45 Lieutenant-Colonel Miettinen used radio and requested air support, but due to political situation his request was denied. While Finnish Air Force had been ordered to stand down, the Soviet Air Force had no such orders, which soon became obvious for all.

The Soviets had noticed what was happening in Suursaari Island and decided to interfere. They had tried contacting Lieutenant-Colonel Miettinen by radio and asked if he needed any assistance, Miettinen never got the message, but it was intercepted by Headquarters of Finnish Navy which replied with answer that absolutely no assistance was needed. What followed was that the Soviets decided to ignore this reply and interfere anyway. The German landing fleet that was heading to Tallinn was first to suffer the effects of this decision - their five hour return trip to Tallinn became a bloody gauntlet. Starting 07:44 or so Soviet aircraft attacked them ten times, each time with 15 - 30 aircraft. Captain Kieffer commanding the landing fleet reported the losses to German HQ in Tallinn around 09:25. Besides listing the losses of shipping he noted that landing of Coastal Artillery Battalions 533 and 629 had succeeded only partially and the parts landed in the island were not battle-worthy - presumably this implied mainly to the fact that landing of the heavy weapons and supplies belonging to these units had basically completely failed, but it is possible that substantial part of their men had not been landed to the island either. Kieffer also reported that he had no information if the landing troops had succeeded capturing the island, since he had no contact to them. Commander of German Navy Admiral Dönitz had been reported that about the battle in Suursaari Island and had sent orders to crush the resistance. For this purpose naval unit gathered around cruiser Prinz Eugen, infantry battalion (apparently Separate Detachment Schönherr mentioned before) and coastal artillery battalion (likely parts of coastal artillery battalions 533 and 629 not already landed) were to be sent to Suursaari.

While Navies and Air Forces were fighting their own battles on sea, the German landing troops in the island were still trying to win the battle and made some progress. About 05:15 they had tried transferring troops with sturmboot motor boats to Lipeäniemi cape south of the beach-head, but had been repulsed with machinegun-fire. Around 6 AM German troops succeeded climbing to Kotokallio Rock capturing all six 40-mm anti-aircraft guns of 5th Light Coastal Anti-Aircraft battery and threatened nearby two 20-mm Breda guns belonging to 3rd Coastal Anti-Aircraft Company. Surviving soldiers of 5th Light Coastal Anti-Aircraft battery retreated to higher Mäenpäällys hill to join its defenders. Just behind top of this hill that they were now defending was also Finnish Regimental Headquarters. However the German landing troops remained outgunned, since they had failed landing their heavy weapons and ammunition supply. Only artillery weapons that they succeeded landing and bringing to action during the whole battle were two 75-mm field guns and one mortar. Assistance that the two 75-mm field guns that the Germans had succeeded getting into action also proved short-lived, since once they opened fire from area near casino the first time around 16:30 AM, Finnish mortar FO-team picked them immediately as a priority target and took them out with 10 well-aimed 120-mm mortar shells. German vessels had also successfully landed a number of 88-mm anti-aircraft guns, but since they had failed to land also ammunition for these guns, they were useless and apparently did not see any use during the whole battle.

Due to situation re-capturing of Kotokallio Rock was the obvious priority of the Finns. Hence 08:02 AM Finnish counter-attack towards it was launched. Training company commanded by Captain Autio attacked to rear of Kotokallio Rock via Ojamaa fields with simultaneous attack of 9th Coastal Defense Company (commanded by Lieutenant Hämäläinen) covering their left flank. As other part of this counter-attack, men of 5th Light Coastal Anti-aircraft Battery, half-platoon from 3rd Coastal Anti-aircraft Company and temporary unit lead by Captain Vakkuri attacked from Mäenpäällys hill in the south to Kotokallio. They succeeded capturing part of Kotokallio Rock by 9 AM, but due to stubborn German resistance, the battle in Kotokallio Rock continued hours after this. Finally around 12 AM Major Kurt Grooke commanding German troops in this part of the island surrendered with rest of his troops (4 officers and 80 men) and all parts of Kotokallio Rock were back in Finnish hands. For some reason the Germans had not even destroyed the 40-mm Bofors guns of 5th Light Coastal Anti-aircraft Battery, which the Finns were now able to put back into action.

PICTURE: 40-mm Bofors anti-aircraft gun, 5th Light Coastal Anti-aircraft Battery on Kotokallio Rock was equipped with six of these guns. (Photo taken in Bunkkerimuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (194 KB).

Commodore Mecke had noticed the desperate situation of the German landing troops that he was leading and decided to try negotiating a way out of the situation, which was quickly turning into a military disaster. His troops were almost out ammunition already, but he was not aware that Finnish ammunition supply situation was not much better either. He sent two German officers with white flag to Finnish Regimental HQ with offer of siege fire and proposal of ending the battle if the Finns would allow German troops to exit the island without interference. German main negotiator in this meeting was Senior Lieutenant Gerhard Kähler. In case the Finns would refuse the offer, he threatened with new powerful German attack. Lieutenant-Colonel Miettinen declined the offer and pointed out that the German troops which no longer had support of their ships were trapped on the low ground, while the Finnish troops overlooking them from the high ground were in obviously superior position and made counter-offer of unconditional German surrender.

Around the same time that this meeting happened in Finnish Regimental Headquarters 9th Coastal Defense Company (Lieutenant Hämäläinen), that had continued its counter-attack from northern side of Kotokallio Rock towards southern parts of Suurkylä village, achieved considerable success. Its counterattack reached southern part of Suurkylä village effectively cutting German beach-head in two and took 108 German prisoners. Without them knowing, one of their prisoners was no other than Commodore Mecke, who was mildly wounded and because of this was escorted to Finnish field hospital. The field hospital was poorly guarded, so once his wounds were treated, Mecke succeeded slipping away and walking back to German lines. While the German commander was back with his troops, the situation in which his troops were, had not improved. They still lacked the radio contact - only radio set that they had received intact, had proved uncapable reaching any friendly contact. All its attempts of trying to contact German ships or German HQ in Tallinn had failed - either the radio just appeared working but was in fact broken, or the high hills around them blocked its signal. German troops no longer had no chance of winning the battle, so Mecke started planning escape from the island for as many of the men under his command as possible.

About 06:50 another Finnish counter-attack had started with 3rd Company of Coastal Infantry Battalion 7 attacking towards north, but the strong German resistance soon stopped its advance. The company was reorganized and its attack re-directed to west-wards direction where it succeeded reaching road Majakallio Hill - Pohjoiskorkia Hill before German resistance again stopped it. Afternoon it attacked German positions storming them with hand grenades and satchel charges loosing 18 men KIA and WIA in the process, but succeeded reaching the eastern shore. With the successful counter-attack of 9th Coastal Defense Company mentioned earlier, this meant that the German beach-head was now cut into four pieces.

This far Soviet aviation had concentrated to German landing fleet heading back to Tallinn, but now that was about to change. Around 10:40 first wave of 40 Il-2 ground attack aircraft attacked the island strafing the area around Hirskallio rock. While the attack hit mostly to German positions, also Finnish frontline in this area and Finnish prisoners of war in Suurkylä village found themselves under their fire. If the Soviets had intended to help Finnish troops in winning the battle, the outcome of this air raid proved somewhat counter-productive, since it forced 3rd Company / Coastal Infantry Battalion 7 and 9th Beach Defense Company to stop their successful counter-attacks and pull back, which allowed parts of German beachhead to re-connect again.

PICTURE: Map showing last Finnish counter-attacks and the situation in battlefield around 4:30 PM. CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (140 KB).

 

MORE AIR RAIDS AND SECOND FINNISH COUNTER-ATTACK

Also German Luftwaffe arrived finally to take part the battle, but the assistance it provided proved less than useful for the German soldiers in the island. Due to not having radio contact to their landing troops, German HQ in Tallinn was still uncertain if the operation had failed completely as the radio silence suggested. Around 10:45 two German bombers flew over the island and bombed Pohjoiskorkia hill causing Finnish troops casualties of one killed in action and three or four wounded. Around 12 AM two German Me 109 fighters flew over the island dropping some small bombs, which fell on deserted area and caused no casualties. Pilots of these two fighter aircraft reported back to German HQ noting that they had not noticed any activity on the island. This far the German HQ had considered sending in earlier mentioned reinforcements, but apparently this report convinced them to do otherwise.

Around 13:20 it was again Soviet turn to attack. Soviet air attack hit the area of Suurkylä village with of 24 Il-2, Jak-9 and Lagg-3 aircraft. Their main target was in its harbor - the abandoned and sinking boats and ferries, which the Finnish guns had already earlier destroyed or immobilized. Due to this, the attack caused relatively little real damage to either side fighting in the island.

Eastern Finnish Gulf Coastal Brigade, to which Coastal Artillery Regiment defending Suursaari Island belonged, had become worried of the wounded and female employees, which had now found themselves in middle of battle. So it sent small unit of six motor boats from Haapasaaret Islands to evacuate some wounded and women belonging to Lotta Svärd off the island. This unit lead by Lieutenant-commander Kaarlo Salo arrived to Selkäapajanniemi Cape about 12:55 and evacuated 21 wounded and unknown number of women. On its way it also met few German sturmboot motor boats, which had run out of fuel. Crews of these German boats surrendered without resistance and motor boats this unit towed them to the Finnish base in Haapasaaret Islands.

Around 10:15 2nd Artillery Section of 201st Light Artillery Battery arrived back from Lounatkorkia hill (southern part of the island). This section equipped with two 75 K/17 field guns started shelling German positions in Suurkylä village from its new location on Mäkiinpäällys Hill.

Finnish troops started preparing 2nd counter-attack around noon. In addition of previous units also fresh troops were concentrated to this attack. These troops included rifle platoon gathered from 8th Coastal Defense Company and engineer platoon transferred to Pohjoiskorkia hill. For the attack most of the troops were organised as two temporary battle groups, which in typical Finnish manner were named after their commanding officers - Battle Group Autio and Battle Group Hämäläinen. All available artillery was placed under command of Major Sokajärvi for concentrated use of fire. Ammunition supply for troops taking part this attack was organized around 1 PM and temporary ammunition supply point arranged for it around 2 PM. Also two machinegun teams from 7th Coastal Defense Company were transferred as additional fire-support to Majakallio hill around 16:15. The counter-attack had been intended to start 16:30, but it was cancelled since concentrating of the troops for the attack was still incomplete at that time. But due to breakdown in communications, some of the troops did not get this message in time and started the attack anyway. Those troops that took part in this cancelled attack gained ground fast and soon they had broken the German beach-head in several parts. German soldiers in four remaining pockets were now running out of ammunition and their situation was quickly changing from difficult to impossible. Commodore Mecke understood the situation and contacted Finnish troops, informing that he was willing to negotiate of surrender. Once in Finnish Regimental HQ he asked Miettinen permission to take his troops from the island with the abandoned F177 transport ferry, which besides some small sturmboot motor boats was the only German vessel still floating. Miettinen refused the offer and the two commanding officers agreed about German surrender about 18:45. German and Finnish officers were sent to shout orders for their troops to start siege fire. Around 17:30 five German motor torpedo boats had circled around the island. They raised some hope for German troops, who hoped that they might still succeeding getting out of the island. Mecke wanted to provide at least some of his soldiers a possibility of avoiding capture, so his men did their best to delay the actual surrender until nightfall, to allow possibility of escaping with remaining sturmboot in cover of darkness. They succeeded in this in such sense, that due to delays some of the German troops had not surrendered their weapons by 9 PM and at that time headed out with remaining motor boats. Mecke also asked that the Finns would radio to German HQ in Tallinn that he had been forced to surrender due to lack of ammunition and presumably this was done, since apparently the German HQ now decided to completely cancel the preparations for transporting of reinforcements to Suursaari Island.

Battle Group Autio (Captain Autio):

  • 1st and 3rd Platoons / Training Company
  • 1st Platoon / 9th Coastal Defence Company
  • 2nd Platoon / 1st Coastal Engineer Company
  • 1st Platoon / 8th Coastal Defense Company
  • 1st Platoon / 8th Coastal Defence Company
  • 2 Machinegun Teams
  • Battle Group Hämäläinen (Lieutenant Hämäläinen):

  • 2nd and 4th Platoons / Training Company
  • 2nd and 3rd Platoons / 9th Coastal Defence Company
  • 1st Platoon / Headquarters Company
  • 1st Platoon / 1st Costal Engineer Company
  • Machinegun Platoon
  • Detachment A
  • Detachment H
  • 3rd Company / Coastal Infantry Battalion 7 (as reserve)
  • The small number of remaining sturmboot motor boats were the only escape that the over 1,000 German soldiers trapped to Suursaari still had to get out of the island on their own. Now Captain Sonnemann finally got his chance to escape successfully. Unlike many others, the four sturmboot that he was commanded succeeded reaching German base in Tytärsaari Island. The total number of German soldiers that succeeded escaping to Tytärsaari this way was 85 men and the number of sturmboot in their use was eight. Many other sturmboot that escaped Suursaari at that time were not so lucky. Due to poor navigation some unlucky boats did the mistake of heading to Lavansaari Island, where the welcome they received from the Soviets was far less than friendly and some boats that run out of fuel before reaching Tytärsaari Island were destroyed by Soviet aircraft the next day.

    The five German motor torpedo boats that had circled around Suursaari Island around 17:30 reported that the island appeared quiet and there were no signs of ongoing battle. They tried signaling the island with flash signal, but did not receive any reply. Around 7 PM also two Soviet patrol boats approached the island and tried signaling with flash signal, but the Finnish troops did not reply to them either. Finnish motor boats sent from Haapasaaret Islands arrived around 21:50 bringing ammunition and company of infantry sent as reinforcements. The next day further reinforcements including 3rd Battalion of Infantry Regiment 1 were transferred to Suursaari Island, but transferring them back to mainland started only few days later.

     

    OUTCOME OF BATTLE

    Losses of men in Suursaari battle:

    Losses

    German

    Finnish

    KIA

    153

    36

    WIA

    175

    67

    MIA

    0

    8

    POW

    1057

    0

    TOTAL

    1385

    111

    Notice: German losses include only those soldiers that the Finns found on the island. Losses on German ships were estimated as about 200 men.

    As to be expected units of Coastal Artillery Regiment 12 suffered grand majority of Finnish losses. The regiment lost 24 men killed in action, 61 wounded in action and 2 missing. But also some of the Finnish vessels, which had the bad luck of being in Suurkylä harbor when the battle begun, suffered notable losses. Tugboat Taipale lost 7 men killed in action while cable-ship Kaapelialus II lost 1 man KIA, 5 men WIA and 4 MIA. As far as known, all the Finns that went missing in action had been taken as prisoners of war in the Suurkylä harbor and taken in one of the German vessels, which was later sunk.

    German Navy listed its losses of ships as:

    Complete losses (sunk):

    Severely damaged:

    Losses of ships listed by Finnish Navy included:

    From these ships at least VMV patrol boats were complete losses. As a compensation of sort the Finns succeeded capturing two German vessels, which remained in use of Finnish Navy until 1960's transport ferry F177 was renamed as Seili and transport barge B-35 renamed as Lonna. In addition Finnish Navy captured number of sturmboot motor boats. Also following heavy weapons were capturing:

    PICTURE: Photograph taken two days after the battle from the beach of Casino towards pier. In the forefront is one of the German light field guns and behind it is transport ferry F177. (SA-kuva photo archive, photo number 160411). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (139 KB).

    Finnish ammunition spending for this battle included:

    ammunition type:

    weapon:

    Spending:

    122-mm artillery shell

    APHE

    122 K/31

    27

    76-mm artillery shell

    HE

    76 ItK/31 ss

    311

    75-mm artillery shell

    HE

    75 ItK/97-14 P

    120

    75-mm artillery shell

    HE

    75 K/17

    198

    47-mm artillery shell

    ?

    47/40-O

    304

    120-mm mortar shell

    - 1st Platoon / Mortar Co

    HE

    356

    - 2nd Platoon / Mortar Co

    HE

    488

    Small arms ammunition:

    6.5 x 55 rifle ammunition

    15000

    9 x 19 smg ammunition

    20000

    7.92 x 57 mg-ammunition

    18000

    Once the battle was over it was time for the mop-up of the battlefield. Finnish troops combed-out the island to find any German soldiers still hiding, but the difficult terrain provided plenty of places to hide. Hence the last German soldier was not found until few days later. German and Finnish doctors and medics worked together to provide medical care for the wounded, who were gathered to Finnish field hospital, which due to its vulnerable location had been transferred near Regimental Headquarters. Germans killed in action were buried to mass-grave, which was dug in front of the casino in southern side of Suurkylä village. Germans captured in the island became prisoners of war, they were disarmed and evacuated to mainland, where they were sent to new prisoner of war camp, which was now especially created for them in Vääksy. Early on this new prisoner of war camp did not even yet have barb-wire fence around it, so there were many attempts of escape, some of which were successful. One of these escape attempts from Vääksy POW-camp was made by no other than Commodore Mecke, who succeeded avoiding capture 16 days, until arrested while trying to board a passanger ship sailing from Turku to Stockholm. As determined in terms of Finnish Soviet armistice treaty, all German prisoners of war were to be handed over to the Soviets and the Germans captured in Suursaari Island were not exception to this. 19th of October 1944 they were loaded to a train, which took them to Soviet border where were handed over to the Soviets, which took them to Borovits POW-camp, from where from they were divided to several other camps. Some 800 900 of them died in Soviet POW-camps and the last of them were not allowed to return Germany until year 1955. Among those released last was Commodore Mecke, who died in year 1982.

    Large-scale battles without any war crimes seem uncommon and Suursaari battle was no exception to this rule. After platoon lead by Lieutenant Aksel Ruohisto had surrendered in Kappelniemi Cape, German NCO killed Ltn Ruohisto by shooting him from point from point blank range for no reason. After the battle the Finns tried to find the particular German NCO among prisoners of war, but without success. It has been assumed that the particular NCO was probably among the Germans that fled from the island using the motorboats or had been killed in action. Finnish heavy weapons had also fired to German first aid station in Suurkylä village during the battle, but apparently this was at least partly due to first aid station not being clearly marked as such.

    Even if the Germans would have succeeded capturing Suursaari Island, in the end it would have done them absolutely no good. German Army Group Nord received permission to retreat from Estonia just two days after battle of Suursaari Island - 17th of September 1944. Without ports of northern Estonia supplying German bases on islands of Gulf of Finland became impossible, so the German decided that same day to evacuate also their base on Tytärsaari Island and German Navy retreated from Gulf of Finland. Soviet troops captured city of Tallinn 22nd of September 1944.

    From the Finnish viewpoint, for Suursaari Island to fell into German hands would have been politically extremely dangerous, since it would have provided the Soviets with good excuse for blaming the Finns for breach of armistice treaty and even provided excuse for re-starting hostilities. Since the battle had showed the treacherous side of German military, it made entering to Finnish - German Lapland War easier for the Finns from psychological viewpoint, but did not get them any real political advantage with the Soviets in future negotiations. If anything, the Soviet leadership apparently was unimpressed of the battle and displayed suspicion concerning if it had really even happened. Due to outbreak of hostilities with the Germans in Suursaari Island all Finnish merchant ships were ordered to head closest Finnish or Swedish harbor. Many of these merchant ships had been leased to the Germans and were at that time in process of evacuating supplies of German 20th Mountain Army from Finland to Germany as part of Operation Birke. As a result some 13,000 tons of German supplies that the ships had been carrying now fell to Finnish hands instead of reaching Germany. Finnish German Lapland War started as a phony war of sort, but changed into full-scale military conflict starting 1st of October 1944, when Finnish troops attacked German garrison in town of Tornio.

    Finnish Soviet peace treaty came into effect 19th of September 1944 and Finnish troops started evacuating Suursaari Island the same day. Most of Finnish troops and their equipment were evacuated to mainland already during the next two days - 20th 21st of September. Also clearing of mine fields in the island had started 19th of September and thanks to good maps was completed in just two days. The Soviet troops arrived to Suursaari in 23rd of September. For the first three days Finnish troops still remaining the island provided security, until the Soviets officially took over 26th of September. Handing over the island happened unceremoniously and in chilling atmosphere of suspicion. The Soviet military arriving to the island demanded to get also all the heavy weapons that had been there, claiming that the weapons were needed to defend the island in case the Germans would still attack it. But by that time most of the Finnish heavy weapons had been evacuated to mainland and Finnish military refused to return them, since the treaties did not mention anything about handing over the weapons. The Soviets took over all equipment (heavy weapons, their ammunition, horses and motor vehicles) that the Finns had not yet evacuated from the island and while they obviously refused to pay anything about the Finnish weapons and equipment they had taken to their own use without any compensation, their commander signed a receipt listing the items.

    Weapons that the Soviets took over in Suursaari 26th of September 1944:

    Battle of Suursaari provided considerable boost to military career of Lieutenant-Colonel Miettinen. 2nd of October 1944 he was rewarded with Mannerheim Cross and after the war continued his career reaching the rank of Lieutenant General (Kenraaliluutnantti) before his retirement. Due to being in the right place at the right time he practically became for all practical purposes a poster-boy for those Finnish politicians, which after the war started steering Finnish politics towards more Soviet-friendly direction. In this new situation with his unscrupulous behavior during Weapons Cache Case, Miettinen lost the respect of many of his fellow officers. Among many post-war appointments he served as military attaché in Moscow, teacher in Military Academy, Inspector of Maritime Defense and Commander of Uusimaa Military District. Miettinen retired from active duty year 1963 and died year 1976.

    Today Suursaari Island belongs to Russia and is military area, for entering which foreign tourists and scholars are required to have special permits. Some discussion about turning the island into tourist attraction has surfaced in recent years, but this far they have not resulted to any large-scale projects. Apparently grand majority of the island has seen very little human use for decades and due to this it is nowadays also home of some rare species, which are seldom found even from any of the other islands of the same area. Hence nowadays it might be more suitable for nature reserve rather than major tourist attraction.

     


    SOURCES:

    Niilo Lappalainen: Suursaari toisessa maailmansodassa.

    Pentti Salmelin: Suursaaren sota.

    Cajus Bekker: Itämeri ja Suomenlahti 1944 - 1945.

    Suomen rannikkotykistö 1918 - 1958.

    Niilo Lappalainen: Aselevon jälkeen.

    Sampo Ahto: Aseveljet Vastakkain.

    Folder T16444 Op.Os/ME, Finnish National Archives.

    After action report, HQ of Coastal Artillery Regiment 12, Finnish National Archives (Sörnäinen) folder T22411.

    War Journal of Coastal Artillery Regiment 12, 26th of August.1944 - 26th of October 1944.

    War Journal of Coastal Infantry Battalion 7, 8th of May 1944 - 1st of November 1944.

    War Journal of Mortar Company / Coastal Infantry Battalion 7, 29th of June 1944 - 16th of November 1944.

    War Journal of 10th Coastal Defense Company 1st of January 1944. - 16th of November 1944.

    War Journal of 1st Motor Torpedo Boat Flotilla 3rd of May 1944 - 23rd of December 1944.

    War Journal of Finnish Navy Fortification Office from fortifying location Suursaari Island.

    Special thanks to late late Coastal Artillery Museum (Rannikkotykist&oum;museo).

    Special thanks to Bunker Museum (Virolahden Bunkkerimuseo).


    LINKS FOR MORE INFORMATION:

    Finnish Navy in WWII website.

    German Naval History website.


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