1939: Russia invades Finland, Helsinki bombed


KK-pesäke 100m ryssistä n. 5 km Lemetistä pohjoiseen.

1939: This morning, within a few hours of denouncing her Non-Aggression Pact with Finland, she invaded her smaller neighbour.

Swooping first by land and air she bombarded Vammelsuu, on the Karelian isthmus, occupied a strip of territory at Soujarvi and dropped incendiary bombs on the Malm aerodrome, Helsinki and on the town of Viborg, where several fires were started.

Sections of the town are said to be ablaze.

At Enso, Russian planes are reported to have bombed a hospital area, one message stating the hospital was destroyed and several buildings set ablaze.

Imatra is also said to have been bombed. Soviet artillery, in addition to shelling Vammelsuu, bombarded Soujarvi and Kivena in Karelia, and Rabotchi in the far north.

A Finnish Foreign Office spokesman, announcing the invasion, declared ‘The war is on.’

At the same time it was stated that Russian troops were coming over the Karelian border, while air raid sirens sounded in Helsinki, the Finnish capital.

Russian forces crossed the Finnish frontier at 9.15 a.m. (local time) this morning. The spokesman said  that Soviet ‘planes were flying over Finnish territory and bombarding Terjoki.

A Copenhagen report from Helsinki said that five bombs were dropped on the city airport, while Soviet artillery had opened fire on the frontier at Terjoki.

Four Soviet aeroplanes flew over Helsinki harbour at a.m, and were fired at by coastal defence guns. They were not hit.

The Finnish long-wave station at Lahti stopped broadcasting shortly after 10 a.m.

It later resumed broadcasts. Finnish anti-aircraft guns engaged on several occasions with Red ‘planes on the outskirts of Helsinki after the first bombing of the capital’s airport.