Rus Articles Journal

What is known of features of the Finnish ukreprayon on Salp`s Line?

On the defensive line built by Finns along all eastern frontier of Finland and the USSR never was battles, but its creation and value in the XX century was an important milestone in the history of the Finnish people. Salp`s line long time was the largest construction project of Finland realized in practice. Today part of objects of once quite extended system of strengthenings are restored and available to visitors.

Construction of the defensive line of Salp began in 1940 by order of the marshal K. G. Mannerheim during Winter won. The first working name of defensive works “Suomen Salpa“ is translated as “The Finnish bolt“. Then, during 1941 - 1944 (“War continuation“), it was called “Salp`s position“ (salpa - asema).

The system of fortification constructions including 728 concrete blindages of the different size and about 3000 field strengthenings from a tree, 350 km of entrenchments and the courses of the message received the name “Salp`s Line“ habitual to us in 1944. Methods of a construction of blindages and construction equipment were almost identical though each concrete blindage was planned individually, was under construction taking into account an arrangement and the concrete district. The machine-gun PILLBOXES and blindages calculated on one platoon - two tens people were the most universal type of strengthenings on defensive “Salp`s line“. Such objects there were about 70. Before them (for example, remained in Virolakhti`s vicinities) four-linear obstacles from an acute-angled stone and a barbed wire in addition were established.

There are features of concrete blindages near the city of Joensuu, in comparison with others, constructed on Salp`s Line. Large trees were attached to external walls for masking here. Builders especially for it left on domes the “sticking-out“ fittings to which trunks of trees and therefore the disguised object on the district looked naturally fastened.

A curious example of building of defensive strengthenings of the left era are the Finnish spherical blindages. The Finnish idea to connect a steel form, the big balloon to the air forced from within and solution of concrete was really ingenious. The sphere was covered with a concrete layer and left for 2 - 3 hours, before hardening (so far solution did not grab). Then from a sphere let out the air, took out it from within a concrete form and used for the following spherical blindage.

Such method allowed to build a large number of strengthenings in rather short terms. In total 250 spherical blindages were constructed. Nevertheless the statistics demonstrates that in building of all strengthenings on “Salp`s Line“ for all the time of its creation more than 35000 people and 1100 vehicles, including 60 tractors took part.

Wooden strengthenings were gradually destroyed after 1945, and concrete and stone remained up to now. In particular, the defensive position on the modern suburb of Joensuu was used by the Finnish army till 1981. In these parts there were never battles, however two long-term concrete blindages here were equipped by all necessary - from the electric generator and radio station to filters of purification of air, berths on 20 people, the stove, the sewerage and a water supply system. Each concrete blindage has two long-term weapon emplacements: for anti-tank tools and an easel machine gun.

Creation of one such blindage required 560 cubic meters of concrete, 45 tons of construction steel, 6100 workdays. Such same PILLBOXES on all line there were about 50 pieces. After 1981 this object strengthened by trenches, parapets with open machine-gun Pillboxes, easel machine guns and anti-tank tools of caliber of 45 mm (which staff list made about 100 people) was restored and became local sight. Now there are a military museum and the exhibition telling about construction of the defensive Line of Salp.

Unlike the museums and exhibitions presented in Russia here for all visitors whom, it is felt the administration, apart from their enemies respects, all elements of arms (except ammunition) are left so anyone can feel in actual practice quite on the place of the Finnish soldier: nobody will begin to stop you if you get on a berth, directly here descend in a toilet, speak by military phone, “twist“ radio station, climb a narrow trench in the dome of an observation post and, the main thing, choose object at a distance and you will aim from the operating tool or a machine gun (all aim devices available). For one visitors it is memory of war, and for others - a subject of fortification art. But the main thing is the relation both to memory of veterans, and to visitors of the museum.