World War II in the News is a review of WWII articles providing thought-provoking collection of hand-picked WW2 information.

If you like classic turn-based PC war games and legendary strategy board games make sure to check out the highly rated Conflict-series (link)
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Metal detector finds

If you like classic turn-based PC war games and legendary strategy board games make sure to check out the highly rated Conflict-series.

Finland: Winter War 1939 - Continuation War 1941-1944

Finland: Winter War 1939 and Continuation War 1941-1944. Finland fought 3 wars: the Winter War alone against the Soviet Union, the Continuation War with Germany against the Soviet Union, and the Lapland War alone against Nazi Germany. Managing against all odds to defend its independence only with minor territorial losses.
Latest hand-picked WWII news.

Tuomas Gerdt, the last living Knight of the Mannerheim Cross, dies at 98
The last Finnish veteran of an elite group known as the Knights of the Mannerheim Cross has died. Tuomas Gerdt died at the age of 98 in Helsinki. His death was announced by the Knights of the Mannerheim Cross Foundation. Gerdt was born in 1922 in Heinävesi, South Savo, and went to fight in the Winter War at the age of 17. He later served as a non-commissioned officer responsible for combat messaging in the 7th Infantry Regiment during the Continuation War.

Classic turn-based strategy games: Conflict-Series
If you like classic turn-based PC war games and legendary strategy board games make sure to check out the highly rated Conflict-series for Android. Some of the WWII Campaigns include Axis Balkan Campaign, D-Day 1944, Operation Barbarossa, France 1940, Kursk 1943, Market Garden, Iwo Jima, Okinawa, Rommel's North African campaign, and the Battle of Bulge. In addition to WWII some other time periods include Korean War, American Civil War, First World War and American Revolutionary War. The more complex campaigns like Operation Sea Lion, Invasion of Norway, and Invasion of Japan 1945, include Naval element and handling logistics of supply flow.
(available on Google Play & Amazon App Store since 2011)

80 Years Since the Finnish Winter War - Memory Stays Alive
2019 is the 80th anniversary of the Winter War (1939–1940) between the Soviet Union and Finland. The small nation of Finland succeeded in defending its territories against a far larger army of the Soviet Union. On the 30th of November 1939 Soviet troops attacked Finland in order to seize the areas which according to the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact belonged to the Soviet Union. Against all odds, Finland, a weak, sparsely populated and diplomatically isolated nation, succeeded in causing staggering losses on a far more potent aggressor by skillfully utilizing the wintery conditions.

German War relics become valuable heritage in northern Finland
Finland`s involvement in WWII was rather unusual. Initially, they sided up with Nazi Germany, leading to what is called the Winter War — where Finland fought against Soviet Russia. Despite having only 32 tanks against Russia`s 6,000, and 114 aircraft compared to 4,000 Soviet units, the Finns held their ground. In Lapland, Finland`s northernmost region, there were more German troops than local inhabitants. But when Finland struck a cease-fire with the Soviets in 1944, war broke between the one-time allies, and Germany had to retreat. As they did so, the Germans left behind hundreds of tons of war material in various states of repair. Everything from tractors and gun carriages to bottles of alcohol and canned food was left behind, and many can still be found in Lapland. In the country`s blistering cold, this war junk was left in stark opposition to the pristine nature. But for locals, this isn`t really the case.

Book Review: White Sniper: Simo Hayha by Tapio Saarelainen
During the 1939-40 Winter War between Finland and the Soviet Union, a hunter and farmer by trade by the name of Simo Hayha returned to his reserve unit and picked up 542 confirmed kills with iron sights. While versions of Hayha`s story is well known in the West and has even been covered by briefly, the 192 pages of Tapio Saarelainen`s White Sniper goes past the second and third-hand accounts and brings you, as Paul Harvey would say, the rest of the story.

Operation Platinfuchs - attack on Murmansk - Was an Early Nazi Defeat on the Eastern Front
The Soviet navy during World War II is perhaps best remembered for its vigorous role in the doomed defense of the ports of Odessa and Sevastopol in the Crimean Sea. However, in the Arctic north, the Soviet warships would have a major impact in the opening months of the war with Nazi Germany. A ragtag fleet of destroyers and patrol boats, backed up by two stout-hearted rifle divisions, brought Hitler`s elite mountain troops skidding to a halt, preserving a vital supply line to Britain and the United States.

Can you defend the Finland against the massive Soviet attack of the summer of 1944
Conflict-Series is proud to present 'Finnish Defense 1944', a harrowing strategy game campaign where Finnish Army has to survive one of the most concentrated Red Army attacks on the Eastern Front. Setup: While Finns have been fortifying the eastern part of their front line, they have left the more narrow isthmus in the west fairly unattended. Suddenly the Finnish front line, which has seen little action in years, is crushed by gigantic Soviet offensive. Instead of the weak early war formations, Finnish Army now faces battle-hardened opponent which has overwhelming superiority in numbers. Balancing the two separate sectors of the front line leaves very little room for errors if the underdogs want to turn the tide of the war and keep Finland independent.
(Play Store)

Finnish Wartime Photograph Archive releases 160,000 WWII photos online
What you can see in this website is a unique collection of photographs from the Wartime Photograph Archives ("SA-kuva-arkisto" in Finnish). It contains 160,000 photographs from Finland's Winter War, Continuation War and Lapland War. Most of the pictures were taken by Information Company (IC) photographers. Only the tones of the digitalised photographs have been slightly enhanced, otherwise the pictures are displayed in their original state.

Finland`s War Of Choice: The Troubled German-Finnish Alliance in World War II by Henrik Lunde
The German-Finnish alliance is a historical curiosity, because only one democratic country allied itself with Nazi Germany. The official story is that Finland coincidentally fought a war with the Soviet Union (the "Continuation War") that happened to be taking place at the same time as the Germany invasion of the U.S.S.R. and that also happened to involve German troops operating on Finnish soil. The alliance really was quite strange: Hitler wanted the complete destruction of the Soviet Union, but Finland basically stopped active warfare after it achieved its limited territorial ambitions of recapturing the Finnish area lost in the Winter War.

Commando leader Heikki Nykanen, winner of the Mannerheim Cross medal, saw action against both USSR and Nazi Germany
Major Kaarlo Heikki Nykänen, a Knight of the Mannerheim Cross, has passed away at 91. He fought in the Continuation War (1941-1944) between Finland and the Soviet Union as the leader of a special commando unit, conducting reconnaissance and assaults behind the enemy lines. By 1943, the number of his commando excursions was already around 100. In August 1943, Nykänen was decorated with the Mannerheim Cross, the most distinguished military award in Finland. After the Continuation War, Nykänen also fought in the Lapland War, a conflict between Finland and Nazi Germany 1944-1945.

Finnish women were not racially good enough to be allowed to marry German soldiers
"Rassisches Treibholz" – racial driftwood – is the term used by Eduard Dietl, commander of Germany's 20th mountain army corps, AOK Lappland, in reference to the Finnish and Norwegian women whom his subordinates wanted to marry. In 1941-1945 the number of German soldiers in Finland exceeded 200,000. Relationships were established, but only a few of the couples were able to get married.

"With very few exceptions, the applications ... unfortunately involve representatives of neighbouring peoples of significantly lower value. The pictures shown almost exclusively depict racial driftwood, starting with girls showing strongly eastern features..." Dietl wrote in his guidelines on marriages.


Jews in Finland fought with the Nazis against the Soviets - and still have to explain the controversy
There has been 1 civil war and 3 other wars in the 92-year-old history of Finland. The Winter War (1939-1940) between Finland and the Soviet Union broke out after the Finns turned down Stalin's area claims. The next war between Finland and the Soviet Union, in 1941-1944, is called the "Continuation War" - seen as the direct continuation to the Winter War - and in it Finland was allied with Nazi Germany. The last war was fought against the Nazi Germany in the northern Finland in the Lapland War. Aron Livson, the chairman of the Finnish-Jewish War Veterans' Association, says he didn't experience any anti-Semitism during the wars.

White Death: The Finnish sniper who killed 700 Red Army soldiers in 100 days
Ensconced in the snow, his white camouflage uniform made him invisible to the invading Soviet soldiers he stalked, Simo Häyhä braced himself to fire. During the 1939–1940 Winter War, in temperatures as low as –40 °C, the Finnish sniper single-handedly killed at least 700 men in less than 100 days. Over 500 of these he shot using a standard bolt-action rifle (an M/28 or M28/30 Soviet Mosin-Nagant) with non-telescopic sights. The sharpshooter - nicknamed The White Death - was later be credited with the highest number of confirmed kills in any war in history came from humble rural beginnings.

Finland marks 70th anniversary of Winter War against Stalin's Soviet Union
Finns marked the 70th anniversary of the Winter War, a conflict that saw this tiny country hold back Red Army for 105 days. Finland's resistance against the huge Soviet war machine stunned Moscow - which had planned to occupy Finland within a few weeks. Temperatures dropped to minus 49 degrees Fahrenheit (-45 C), causing frostbite and hallucinations. "The Russians came straight at us in open areas... I saw how the Russians motivated their fighters... withdrawing soldiers were coldly shot," recalls Viljo Kontio. The Winter War began with the "Mainila shots" - fired by the Red Army as Russian historians admitted after the breakup of the Soviet Union.

120 photographs of WWII submarine Vesikko - The prototype of German Type II U-boat
Vesikko was a submarine of the Finnish Navy in World War Two. Built in 1933 in Turku, it served as a prototype (CV-707) for German Type II U-boats. 1933-1934 the German Navy carried out trials with the sub in the Turku Archipelago. In 1936, the Finnish Navy bought it. Vesikko saw service during WWII, patrolling the Gulf of Finland during the Winter War against the Soviet Baltic Fleet. During the Continuation War, Vesikko continued her patrolling career but there were few targets due to huge minefields laid by Finnish and Germans forces on the Gulf of Finland, which blocked the Soviet ships in their ports. In 3 July 1941, Vesikko torpedoed Soviet merchant ship Vyborg.

Soviet sub wreck - a Soviet S-2 class submarine - discovered near Åland islands
The wreck of a WWII-era Soviet submarine have been discovered by a team of Swedish divers near the Åland islands (between Sweden and Finland in the Baltic Sea). The vessel, a Soviet S-2 class submarine, was sunk by mines in 1940, killing all 50 crew members. Documents from the Swedish military archives say that the S-2 sub was sunk by Swedish mines in Swedish waters, while Finnish records say the vessel sank in Finnish waters. Among the divers was Ingvald Eckerman, grandson of J.A. Eckerman, who stood watch at the Märket lighthouse on Jan 2nd, 1940 and saw the sinking. [Watch video]

Finnish war children do not want to fade into oblivion
The military history of Finland during World War II includes 3 wars: the Winter War (Nov. 1939-March 1940) and the Continuation War (June 1941-Sept. 1944) against the Soviet Union, and the Lapland War (Sept. 1944 to April 1945) against Nazi Germany. The Winter War between the Soviet Union and Finland ended on March 13th, 1940, leaving Finns deeply scarred. 70,000-80,000 kids were sent from Finland to Sweden and Denmark to avoid the fighting and the Soviet bombing, and 40,000-70,000 children lost one or both parents. Recently 7 war children gathered together to discuss their WW2 experiences.

Finland and Nazi Germany: Brothers in arms - and partners in crime?
It was an astonishing discovery. Oula Silvennoinen, who was researching wartime killings, knew it instantly as he was browsing through files at the Finnish National Archives in Helsinki. The documents were those of the State Police (VALPO, Finland's secret police during WWII). "Almost the first document that I saw was a small, innocent receipt... a Finnish interpreter had returned some property of the Defence Forces after finishing his service with a unit called Einsatzkommando der Sicherheitspolizei." The words have a very ominous ring, calling to mind the darkest side of Third Reich. No such Einsatzkommandos were supposed to exist in Finland.

Bell P-39 Airacobra on display in Finnish Anti-Aircraft Museum in Tuusula (pics)
The Anti-Aircraft Museum in Tuusula has acquired a legendary single-seat fighter aircraft, a Bell P-39 Airacobra. The aircraft is a great rarity, as it is one of only 4 remaining genuine Airacobras. The American-made Airacobra became part of Finnish aviation history during the Continuation War between Finland and Soviet Union in 1941-1944. The Airacobra was the main tool of many of the Soviet Air Force pilots as the US supplied the Soviets with 4,700 of these planes, and they proved successful in action against Luftwaffe bombers on the Eastern Front, although with a low operational ceiling the plane was ill-equipped for high-altitude dogfight.

Airacobra was downfall of Finnish fighter-ace Hasse Wind
Hasse Wind, pilot with the 2nd-largest number of air combat wins (half of them in Brewster B-239), took off in his Messerchmidt Bf 109 on June 28th 1944 on a flight to the Karelian Isthmus, with wingman Nils Katajainen. Over Vyborg the pair faced a huge squadron of Jak-9 and P-39 Airacobra aircraft of the Red Air Force. Those watching the dogfight counted as many as 120 Soviet aircraft. Wind shot down several planes, before his Bf 109 took a hit from a 37mm cannon fired by an Airacobra. Despite severe damage, the badly wounded Wind brought his Bf 109 back. From his hospital bed he heard that he had been granted the highest Finnish medal for valour, the Mannerheim Cross.

They wanted to believe in Communism, but after experiencing it they were disillusioned
Lawrence and Sylvia Hokkanen left United States in 1934 for the promise of a better life in the Soviet Union, believing in the "worker's paradise." Life in the Soviet Union was both demanding and rewarding: The food was poor and there was no indoor plumbing but they were united with their fellows in the dream of being part of "the worker's paradise" in Petrozavodsk. As Stalin's purges spread they wondered "How can they all be guilty?" By 1938 they were desperate to get out. After long delays they reached U.S. soil in 1941 "thoroughly disillusioned" with communism. "Karelia, A Finnish-American Couple in Stalin's Russia, 1934-1941" tells their story.

U.S. Navy to aid Estonia solve WW2 mystery of Finnish airliner, missing American courier
U.S. naval experts will begin searching for the wreckage of a Finnish airliner that crashed into the Baltic Sea in June 1940, just days before the Soviet Union annexed Estonia. 9 people were on board the aircraft, including U.S. diplomatic courier Henry Antheil - one of the first American casualties of World War II. Most experts think the small plane (called Kaleva, a German-made Junkers Ju-52) was shot down by two Soviet fighter bombers on June 14, 1940. Antheil, based in Moscow 1933-1939, had been hurried to Tallinn once it had become clear that the Soviet Union was about to seize Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

Restoration of a WW2 Hurricane fighter - Warbird scene is a popular hobby
A World War II Hawker Hurricane is looking forward to taking wing once more in the colours of the Finnish Air Force. All it takes is the work of 6 mechanics over 2 years and 1.5 million. There are no airworthy Hurricanes left in Finland, and you have to ask: why would an Englishman want to spent such a large amount of money on behalf of Finnish aviation history? It's a labour of love. "As a kid I used to put together scale model aeroplanes. I started flying 15 years ago," says Philip Lawton. In England the restoration of old military aircraft is a popular hobby, during the summer there can be 3 flying shows per weekend.

Finns executed more own soldiers than had previously disclosed?
Historian Heikki Ylikangas published the book Romahtaako rintama? ("Is the Front Collapsing?") whose thesis is that the Finns executed more of their own soldiers for desertion during the final phases of the continuation War than had been disclosed. In the view of Ylikangas, it is important to know how many Finns were killed in the Continuation War by their own side. Killing people on the same side is part of the nature of war. "When final defeat looms in plain sight, all means are taken into use. The primary thought is not, if this is the appropriate thing to do under the rule of law."

Jews fight alongside Nazi soldiers in the Finnish frontline   (Article no longer available from the original source)
During the 1940 war between Finland and Russia (Winter War) Finnish Jews fought alongside their countrymen. But most surprising they fought in World War II alongside Nazi Germany on the Russian front, as Finland allied itself with the Nazis. The Finnish govt afforded them full civil rights throughout the war despite pressure from the Nazis. Today's community has a memory of a "field synagogue" built by Finnish soldiers in which they could conduct services alongside Waffen-SS units. And a Jewish soldier who defied death to rescue a battalion of SS soldiers pinned down by enemy fire. Offered an Iron Cross he refused, in flawless German.

White death: Russia's war on Finland 1939-1940 [book review]
In Nov. 1939 the Soviet Union invaded Finland. Hard-liners in France and Britain thought of attacking Russia, while many believed that invasion would provoke Adolf Hitler to attack Russia. But the Nazi-Soviet pact held. In "White Death: Russia's War On Finland, 1939-1940" Robert Edwards analyses the Russo-Finnish War. He concludes that it was a blessing in disguise for the Soviet Union. One million soldiers were mobilized but the under-equipped Finnish forces held the Russian troops and inflicted heavy casualties on the Red Army. The poor performance made Hitler decide that Russia would stand no chance against the Wehrmacht.

Finnish Defence Forces releases 300 sensitive wartime photos
Finland's military said it would keep about 300 declassified sensitive wartime photographs at the Defence Forces photograph centre, part of the Santahamina barracks. The photographs, some of which show women and children killed by Soviet partisans and document cannibalism practised by Red Army soldiers, remain difficult for the public to access them. "We are not going to organise any kind of exhibition. The media bear the responsibility for making the photographs public."

Expedition to recreate heroic Arctic trek of Norwegian commando
A former Welch Guard will lead a team in a bid to recreate the epic journey of one of the WW2's bravest resistance heroes. Baalsrud was a Norwegian commando who survived against all the odds when his boat was blown up near the Norwegian port of Tromso in 1943. He escaped alone into the icy wilderness north of the Arctic Circle after German troops had killed all his compatriots. His struggle to survive led to an trek across northern Norway, Finland and Sweden during which he killed a German officer with a single shot, survived an avalanche, lived in a snow-hole for almost a fortnight and was forced to cut off his own toes to avoid gangrene after he contracted frostbite.

Mother of Mine delivers vivid child's view of WWII
Finland's evacuation of more than 70,000 children to Sweden, Denmark and Norway during World War II, the world's largest such undertaking, receives affecting treatment in "Mother of Mine," the official Finnish submission to the Academy Awards.

Classic Winter War campaign Battle of Suomussalmi released by Conflict-Series
You can now re-live the classic Winter War campaign Battle of Suomussalmi as a Conflict-Series turn-based strategy game, available for Android. Massive attack by the Red Army aims to cut Finland in two right in the middle, surprising the defenders who did not except attack at this area. Finnish Army scrambles to come up with a two folded reaction: First to stop the Soviet advance and secondly to cut them off in the terrain filled with small lakes and forests - only to learn that a second wave of Red Army forces is soon on its way.
(Google Play Store)