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Excavating and mapping the WW2 battlefields of the Hanko front

31.8.2020 Tuesday (day two). Today was a rather busy day that started with a lengthy web lecture associated with my doctoral studies. Then a two hour long drive to Hanko where my colleagues had worked hard and started work on two new trial excavation areas associated with the trench warfare between Finnish and Soviet forces in 1941.

Todays finds from the frontline foxholes included spent submachine gun and rifle cartridges probably fired during the intense and dark nights when Soviet patrols came close to the trenches on the Finnish side. Lead schrapnel balls and razor sharp grenade splinters in the soil add to the picture and are telltale signs of the ferocity of the artillery battles on this part of the front.

Early in the afternoon I gave a lengthy interview to the media for an article about the reburial ceremony on Thursday when the seven unknown Soviet soldiers our team repatriated in the autumn of 2019 will be reunited with their comerades at the Soviet war cemetery in Täcktom Hanko.

Tomorrow our team will make a sea journey to the Hanko archipelago to document and map a massgrave for some 30 Soviet soldiers killed in one of the many battles for the islands almost exactly 79 years ago.


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Finnish troops attacking a Soviet held island in the Hanko archipelago in the summer of 1941. Photo SA-Kuva.

© 2020 by MA Jan Fast 

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