In 2013, the Finnish Defence Forces put an archive of 160,000 WWII-era photographs online. The images record the war years from 1939 to 1945, spanning three conflicts the Finns recognize as the Winter War (against an invading Soviet Union), the Continuation War (striking against the Soviets alongside the Germans) and the Lapland War (against the Germans for control of Lapland). Below are some of amazing images from the collection.
A soldier with a pack Reindeer, on slippery ice, near the tiny village of Nautsi, in northern Lapland, Finland, on October 26, 1941.
Flamethrower in action in the woods near the village of Niinisalo, on July 1, 1942.
Pilots in flight above Jämijärvi, on July 17, 1942.
Propeller-driven snowmobile near Haapasaari, Finland. The swastika was used as the official national marking of the Finnish Air Force and Tank Corps between 1918 and 1945.
Looking out toward approaching aircraft with binoculars and listening with a huge acoustic locator.
Finnish tank crew, July 8, 1941.
Evacuation of civilians, on July 1, 1941.
Hitler’s visit to Finland. Adolf Hitler, leader of Nazi Germany, made a brief visit to Finland in June of 1942.
Anti-aircraft fire over Suomenlinna, Helsinki.
The Soviet bombing of Helsinki, on November 30, 1939. On this day, the Soviet Union invaded Finland with 21 divisions, totaling some 450,000 troops.
A wounded man is carried away after bombardment of a civilian area.
The bombing of Helsinki. The main building of Helsinki University, on Senate Square, burns during the night.
A street scene after enemy bomb attacks.
Finnish anti-aircraft crew in action in Helsinki.
Icicles hang inside a bombed-out building in Viipuri, Finland (now Vyborg, Russia).
A Finnish armored train.
An experiment in troop transportation in cold weather.
At the Hämeenlinna war dog school.
Street fighting in Medvezhyegorsk, Russia. The town was occupied by Finland for three years.
Some of an estimated 400 Russian soldiers killed in a battle, on February 1, 1940.
A downed Russian plane.
Destroyed by bombing, tram lines are repaired in February of 1944.
Two girls, in ruins near Martin’s Church in Turku, Finland.
Russian prisoners of war.
A barge lifts a wrecked locomotive.
The hospital’s bomb shelter in Mikkeli.
Aftermath of a bombing attack.
Soldiers carry a wounded man on a path.
Vyborg Cathedral, after the bombing.
Stuka dive-bombers fly over, Immola, July 2, 1944.
Finnish motorcycle and tank.
A parked bicycle, camouflaged. Ontrosenvaara, August 17, 1941.