Reconnaissance and Sabotage

The first days of the Continuation War have passed. Vehniäinen long-range reconnaissance patrol again send a group with the missions to reconnoiter the enemy's rear and carry out some sabotage. On June 30, Captain Vehniäinen summoned Sergeant Ilmari Tolvanen to his office… Together with the leader of the group, Captain planned the composition of the outgoing group…

– …What about Junior Sergeant Jussi (Juho) Honkanen, a silent hard worker but a fair comrade who never get nervous under any circumstances?

– Really, Jussi fits into my group like a fist in the eye!

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…The group stayed at the railway for an hour, during that time two more trains passed: one cargo to Vyborg and an empty one to Karisalmi.

– There we can see those who need soap, – Tolvanen said. – Let's install a couple of packages under the rails.

Arvo Pikkanen and Muisto Lassila were the first to go on the roadbed. They dexterously chose a best place for explosive. The sand was soft and the hole for five- kilogram charge was created at moment using the washer. A couple of hundred meters away, Andrei Porvali and Jussi Honkanen worked hard in the same job. Others carefully watched the railway and the surroundings so that the enemy would not be able to surprise and mess up their plans.

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…From the direction of Kämärä came the road patrol, of course the enemy, and the other, line patrol, checking the telephone line along the road. Both patrols were about a hundred meters away when the Finns spotted them. The place was open and didn’t provide an opportunity to hide. The Russians approached, the raiders had cold sweat dropping down their their skin and fear shuddered in their insides. They were sure that the Russians would see them and then it would be impossible to avoid the battle.

The men were lying on the ground. Keeping a finger on the trigger, they watched approaching Russians.

– They coming right at us, – Jussi Honkanen said.

– Yes, and they should already see me, – suggested Muisto Lassila.

The noise of steps was audible. The line patrol passed Honkanen just three meters away only and in the same distance from Lassila.

– How did they not notice me? Damn them…

But they did not. The Russians were so engaged in conversation that they passed without detecting a group, lying on the ground.

– Yeah, damn lucky, – sighed Tolvanen as the patrols disappeared around the bend.

– We were lucky, but the days are not full yet, – Honkanen muttered to herself.

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Group decided make its car hunt on July 8 at night. It went out to the road in the middle of the night. The men ambushed near Mustamäki. Jussi Honkanen stayed on the side of the road in the direction of Kivennapa as a signalman. He was to indicate by his hand which car would be most suitable for capturing by the group…

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In the evening, the men were waiting for the plane again. It came, but did not drop the happy greetings at this time. So the group was forced to resort to local supplies and go to a nearby village to get food. Group marched along a path to the village. On the hill were two Russians in civilian clothes. They began to tread towards the shop located in the center of the village.

The path led to a fenced village road. Some of the patrolmen suggested going around, but others preferred to walk along the road again. The patrolmen were brazenly going down the road. There was electricity in the air. All the senses were extremely amplified. There were strange tightening in the lower abdomen. Something had to happen.

About a hundred meters before the store, several men were standing on the road. Two of them began to move towards.

– Stoy, – commanded one of them. A shot rang out at the same time. Another of the enemies had fired with his rifle. The shot was unexpected. Patrolmen did not have time to jump into the shelter.

– I've been hit, – moaned Jussi Honkanen and fell backward.

– Did you get hard? – asked Andrei Porvali, who was right nearby.

But Jussi Honkanen did not answer, only lay motionless on the road. The patrolmen’s weapons rumbled at the same time. The one who shot Honkanen fell first, the others immediately after him. One tried to escape, but Arvo shot of him in flight. The patrol immediately left the place. They disappeared into the depths of the forest. There, the men could only state the harsh reality: Juho Honkanen was left fallen on the battlefield…

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Pentti H. Tikkanen
"Patrolmen of the Isthmus"