Ciggys, Suomis, and Shades

80 years ago today: a Finnish ski patrol on a smoke break, 26 March 1943, Limosaari (Klimetski) island area, Kurginitsa, Karelia.

Wartime Photograph Archive. SA-Kuva

Wartime Photograph Archive. SA-Kuva

Note the staples of the WWII (“Continuation War” in Finn parlance) Karelian front when it comes to personal arms: bolt-action Mosin rifles, KP31 9mm Suomi sub guns, a captured Soviet Degtyaryov DP-27/28 “pan” light machine gun, and the ubiquitous puukko knife. Also, note the aurinkolasit, or sunglasses, which appear to be of a German design, a must for use in the dazzling snow.

Wartime Photograph Archive. SA-Kuva

Wartime Photograph Archive. SA-Kuva

“A warm sauna awaits the scouts (Lämmin sauna odottaa partiomiehiä). Limosaari, Kurginitsa 1943.03.26.” Wartime Photograph Archive. SA-Kuva

Such remote operations in the remote Lappland and Karelian regions (Suomen kaukopartiotoiminta) were the stuff of legend, especially when coupled with the occasional epic Pervitin overuse!

Of course, while the West saw Finnish ski troops fighting against the “Brutish Reds” as romantic in 1939-40, and used the theme for a series of “Fighting Funds for Finland” committees in England and the U.S., the posters surely got problematic by 1941-42 when Stalin had morphed to “Uncle Joe.”

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