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Finland in World War II Pictures

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Last month the Finnish Defence Forces put an archive of 160,000 WWII-era photographs online. The images record the war years from 1939 to 1945, spanning three conflicts the Finns recognize as the Winter War (against an invading Soviet Union), the Continuation War (striking against the Soviets alongside the Germans) and the Lapland War (against the Germans for control of Lapland). After spending hours poring through this fascinating archive, I've gathered this collection, just a glimpse of what was made available. A couple of notes on the images -- the swastika was used as the official national marking of the Finnish Air Force and Tank Corps between 1918 and 1945, and all captions were relatively brief, and written in Finnish, so please let me know in the comments if there are any mistakes, or if you can elaborate on what is pictured.

For More Pics:

A soldier with a pack Reindeer, on slippery ice, near the tiny village of Nautsi, in northern Lapland, Finland, on October 26, 1941. (SA-kuva)

Flamethrower in action in the woods near the village of Niinisalo, on July 1, 1942. (SA-kuva)

Pilots in flight above Jämijärvi, on July 17, 1942. (SA-kuva)

Propeller-driven snowmobile near Haapasaari, Finland. The swastika was used as the official national marking of the Finnish Air Force and Tank Corps between 1918 and 1945. (SA-kuva)

Muzzle flashes greet enemy bombers. Picture taken during bomb attacks in April-May 1943. (SA-kuva)

Looking out toward approaching aircraft with binoculars and listening with a huge acoustic locator. (SA-kuva)

62-year-old Finnish-American volunteer soldier Hyvönen going to the front, in Mikkeli, Finland, on September 4, 1941. (SA-kuva)

Finnish tank crew, July 8, 1941. (SA-kuva)

Evacuation of civilians, on July 1, 1941 (SA-kuva)

A downed Russian plane. (SA-kuva)

Hitler's visit to Finland. Adolf Hitler, leader of Nazi Germany, made a brief visit to Finland in June of 1942. (SA-kuva)

Anti-aircraft fire over Suomenlinna, Helsinki. (SA-kuva)

The Soviet bombing of Helsinki, on November 30, 1939. On this day, the Soviet Union invaded Finland with 21 divisions, totaling some 450,000 troops. (SA-kuva)

A wounded man is carried away after bombardment of a civilian area. (SA-kuva)

The bombing of Helsinki. The main building of Helsinki University, on Senate Square, burns during the night. This scene today, on Google Maps. (SA-kuva)

A street scene after enemy bomb attacks. (SA-kuva)

Finnish anti-aircraft crew in action in Helsinki. (SA-kuva)

Icicles hang inside a bombed-out building in Viipuri, Finland (now Vyborg, Russia). (SA-kuva)

A Finnish armored train. (SA-kuva)

Firing toward a Russian watchtower near Koitsanlahti. (SA-kuva)

An experiment in troop transportation in cold weather. (SA-kuva)

At the Hämeenlinna war dog school. (SA-kuva)

A small rocket launched in the woods. (SA-kuva)

Street fighting in Medvezhyegorsk, Russia. The town was occupied by Finland for three years. (SA-kuva)

A dead soldier, his body frozen. (SA-kuva)

Some of an estimated 400 Russian soldiers killed in a battle, on February 1, 1940. (SA-kuva)

A dead horse lies frozen in the snow near Ruhtinaanmäki, on January 21, 1940. (SA-kuva)

A soldier shows off gas attack equipment. After 1940, Finnish forces were able to buy arms and equipment from Germany, eventually cooperating to battle the Soviets together. (SA-kuva)

A downed Russian plane.

"Only Finland-superb, nay, sublime-in the jaws of peril-Finland shows what free men can do. The service rendered by Finland to mankind is magnificent. They have exposed, for all the world to see, the military incapacity of the Red Army and of the Red Air Force. Many illusions about Soviet Russia have been dispelled in these few fierce weeks of fighting in the Arctic Circle. Everyone can see how Communism rots the soul of a nation; how it makes it abject and hungry in peace, and proves it base and abominable in war. We cannot tell what the fate of Finland may be, but no more mournful spectacle could be presented to what is left to civilized mankind than that this splendid Northern race should be at last worn down and reduced to servitude worse than death by the dull brutish force of overwhelming numbers. If the light of freedom which still burns so brightly in the frozen North should be finally quenched, it might well herald a return to the Dark Ages, when every vestige of human progress during two thousand years would be engulfed." - Winston Churchill


Destroyed by bombing, tram lines are repaired in February of 1944. (SA-kuva)

Two girls, in ruins near Martin's Church in Turku, Finland. (SA-kuva)

German ammunition depot explosion, February 9, 1942. (SA-kuva)

Russian prisoners of war. (SA-kuva)

A barge lifts a wrecked locomotive. (SA-kuva)

The hospital's bomb shelter in Mikkeli. (SA-kuva)

An explosion at a military port facility in Helsinki, on September 14, 1941. (SA-kuva)

The HNLMS Gelderland, built for the Royal Netherlands Navy, seized by the Germans in 1940 and re-named the "Niobe", sunk by Soviet bombers in Kotka harbor, on July 16, 1944. (SA-kuva)

Aftermath of a bombing attack. (SA-kuva)

The body of a dead German soldier. (SA-kuva)

Soldiers carry a wounded man on a path. (SA-kuva)

Vyborg Cathedral, after the bombing. (SA-kuva)

Doctors perform abdominal surgery on a wounded captain. (SA-kuva)

Thirteen-year-old Veikko Rantala lies wounded in Lieksanjoki Military hospital. (SA-kuva)

Stuka dive-bombers fly over, Immola, July 2, 1944. (SA-kuva)

Wounded soldiers. (SA-kuva)

Nurmoila village, shortly after Russian bombers attacked. (SA-kuva)

Lunkula island, Jumitsa bay on the south side of village of Varpahainen. Helmets of dead Russians, on July 28, 1941. (SA-kuva)

Finnish motorcycle and tank. (SA-kuva)

A parked bicycle, camouflaged. Ontrosenvaara, August 17, 1941. (SA-kuva)


Machine gun ready to fight a Russki possible attack while 6-inch howitzer is shattering the bunkers in the village.

Flamethrower destroying a russkie bunker in village of Kiestinki

Ohta battle terrain photographed from artillery observation position through artillery binoculars.
In the foreground own trenches with barbed wire obstacle, further back (the screen below 20) Russki concrete bunker, the so-called. "Ojanen's bunker", further back on the right, another nest. Between the trenches tracks in snow by russkies patrol on "no man's land". Ohta 1942.03.16

End of the road. Direct hit by the granade. Omelia motti 1941.07.26

Flamethrower softening the enemy nest. Koria engineering regiment 1941.07.25

Russki bunker destroyed, attack occurs through the smokescreen. Lempaala 1942.05.13

Already wounded in Taipale, Corporal again to be treated. Grenade fragment hit the same leg, which was already hit in the winter war. Kitee, Kattilakoski 1941.07.12

Close-up of a horse transporting granades. 1941.10.15

Russkies had to be chased out from the bunker with a flamethrower before they surrended. Near Kiestinki

Signal corps Lieutenant and his dog were wounded by the same grenade, and are now heading to a dressing station. Rukajärvi 1944.08.07

Brother in arms treating a wounded soldier while another peacefully writes a letter home even though granades fly over and explode nearby. Suursaari 1944.07.26

Duck hunting in a remote lake. Finnish spitz have been trained to fetch the catch from the water. Vitele, RTR 13 1943.10.10

Wunche taking part in the fighting with the M/28 ”Pystykorva”. Pälkjärvi-Sortavala 1941.08.13

Equipment of a scout team leader: machine gun, pistol, hand grenades, string, map, compass, water bottle, iron ration, canned meat, sugar and bread
Nuijamaa 1941.08.02

Suomi KP/-31 SMG donated to Chancellor Hitler by Field Marshal Mannerheim in Helsinki

Bearded warrior hardened by the fighting, scouting for the enemy submachine gun ready at Vuosalmi bridgehead.
Vuosalmi bridgehead 1944.07.24

Terrain near Summa, helmet, skull and bones in the trenches. Summa 1941.10.09

Hospital ship "Seagull 2" near Hiitis. 1941.10.29

The ship Väinämöinen arrived in the anchorage, communications team rowed ashore. 1942.06.04

Foreign military representatives visited the outer strongholds with Finnish officers. Sea voyage by the steamers "Särkällä" and "Sisu", east of the Gulf of Finland at the Porvoo height. Gulf of Finland 1944.05.09

Wounded soldiers arriving. Oulu, Toppila Port 1944.10.05

Shipping traffic between Oulu and Kemi has now developed into a regular. Soldiers returning from vacation travel ship to Kemi, and on to their contingents. "S/S Aranda" Kemi 1944.10.17

Fighter planes placed in a battle ready in Tiiksin air base. Mechanics, the fingers should not feel cold even at 26 degrees below zero.
Tiiksjärven air base 1941.11.01

The big wide street, along which small buildings the Lenin street. Karhumäki street fighting. Picture taken 12/07/1941 -40°C in the cold.

2nd Lieutenant Hämäläinen's remote patrol back their own side and at the sauna. Ontrosenvaara. 1941.08.16

Statue of Stalin with axe placed on the head. Harlu 1941.07.21

Submarine. Rannikot 1941.08.28

Finnish submarine in the Åland archipelago. The Sea of ​​Åland

Warships at the scene of recently destroyed and sunken submarine. The Gulf of Finland 1943.05.27

Ironchef: Widgets

Staff Sergeant, "Armor horror" shooter Esko Määttä destroyed, Ihantala June-July, four enemy tanks in a half-hour battle.
Ihantala, JR 12 ​​1944.07.11

"Armor horror" and "armor fist" men at lines. Break at the stream. Syskyjärvi 1944.07.16

War dog getting sent of a russkie. Rovaniemi, Nautsi, Suonikylä, Nollemjärvi 1941.10.26

Weapons taken from enemy by ltn Aarne "The Terror of Morocco" Juutilainen's company

Before placed in the coffins bodies are washed. Uuksujärvi, Parikkavaara 1944.07.16

Equipment on the forest road left by the russians. Akkaharju 1941.08.06

Deceased finnish war hero of Winter War in Summa, left unburied  by the Russkies. Vyborg

Test shooting the railway gun. Hanko 1943.09.21

Guard at the barracks. Rovaniemi. 1940.01.06

"Armor horror" ready to fire and men alert. Leppäsyrjä 1944.07.14

Reindeers carrying equipment.  Rovaniemi, Nautsi, Suonikylä, Nollemjärvi 1941.10.26


"Soviet tsasouna and skull at Haaparanta"

"Company commander Lieutenant Remes's boys carving on their rest period: some wood, some nice words to the home front."

"10 km from the border on the road Raate Finns have disguised it with spruce trees dangling in air. There's a russian observation tower nearby"

"Mannerheim Cross Knight Lieutenant Larry Thorne"

"Three daredevils and hard fighting hardened officers were discussions prior to the counter-attack.
Railio On the left, the captain JR 33, in the middle of the Mannerheim Cross Knight Lieutenant Thorne, Ranger Company Commander,
and his"adjutant" "Lieutenant Pitkänen."

"Sappers attacking with Satchel charges"

Mannerheim Cross Knight, Lieutenant Hans Henrik next to his plane. He has 33 air victories, all of which have been achieved during the present war.


"Remote patrol on its way to target has stopped to watch the scenery"


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