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Were incendary bullets the cause of the fire that destroyed the shelter?

Updated: Jul 19

Today we started excavating "Hamsterbo" the frontline "home" of four Swedish volunteers on the Hanko front. This is what I think a frontline WW2 closed find should look like and we are excavating and documenting it it very carefully indeed.

The shelter burned to the ground in an instant in September 1941, after a Soviet patrol was observed in no mans land close to the Finnish trenches. After todays excavation we are hopeful that the site will reveal interesting details of the life of the soldiers housed in the cramped space of only 2 x 2 meters. some 2 meters below grund surface.

Today 79 years after the fire, plentiful battlefield finds give testimony to the abrupt end of this small shelter. Numerous exploded unspent rifle cartridges, ordinary and incendary bullets and other debris caused by the intense fire area can be found close to the shelter.

Incendary bullets might be the reason why the shelter caught fire in the first place. They contain phosphorus which is a very flammable material.

Maybe one of the Swedish volunteers manning "Hamsterbo" made a mistake and kept incendary bullet cartridges too close to the fireplace in the cramped shelter?


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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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