We have found the shelter used by "Haupsturmführer" Åke Kretz in the autumn of 1941.
"Hamsterbo" was a small timber built shelter on the Finnish side of the frontline, only some 100 meters from the enemy. The cramped space of only 4 square meters was home to four Swedish (volunteer) soldiers on the Hanko front.
Åke Kretz wrote about his war experiences on the Hanko front in the book "Frontvardag". The book includes several interesting details on "Hamsterbo".
During a dark night in the autumn of 1941 enemy activity was observed in no mans land just in front of the Finnish trenches. The four men in the shelter entered the frontline listening post to try to observe what was going on.
Suddenly in the darkness of the night a glare of reddish light could be discerned just were the soldiers had set off. The shelter was on fire!
The soldiers rapidly advanced towards their burning shelter from which a continuos sound of exploding rifle cartridges and sharp detonations of exploding hand greanades could be heard. The soldiers tried to put down the fire but had to give up after Soviet forces, alerted by the glare and the sounds of exploding ammunition took aim at the burning shelter with handguns, mortars and artillery.
Hundreds of exploded rifle cartridgers litter the area around the burnt down shelter.
Photo Jan Fast
The shelter was burnt to the ground with all of the soldiers belongings that had been left inside when they left the shelter. To our amazement, today 79 years later, everything is still there. The remains of "Hamsterbo" is a real time capsule from the second world war.
The remains of the "Hamsterbo" shelter photographed today (pre excavation).
Photo Jan Fast.
We will start excavations here tomorrow!