Ove Enqvist & Heikki Tiilikainen: Linnakesaaret. Rannikkolinnakkeiden elämää sodassa ja rauhassa [The fortress islands. The life of the coastal bastions in war and peace]
Linnakesaaret. Rannikkolinnakkeiden elämää sodassa ja rauhassa
[Fortress islands. The life of coastal bastions in war and peace]
Helsinki: Tammi, 2014. 301 pp., ill.
Finland’s coastal artillery was created after independence in 1918 to protect the country’s long coastline. Part of the system was, however, built in the early 20th century during the period of Russian rule for artillery batteries that were formed to provide security for St Petersburg. This carefully constructed and handsomely illustrated ‘coffee table book’, by two former bastion officers and non-fiction authors, charts the history of the coastal artillery until the decommissioning of the service: in 1998 its functions were transferred to other branches of the military. The main emphasis is on the early history, and nearly half of the book is devoted to a portrayal of the Second World War period. During the Winter and Continuation Wars the coastal artillery played a major role in Finland’s defence. Fierce artillery battles took place on the fortress islands, and there was also hand-to-hand fighting on them. The book presents a comprehensive account the development and operation of the bastions and the artillery in both wartime and peacetime. Light is shed on the diverse aspects of the working lives and recreations of soldiers and civilians in the harsh and demanding conditions of the outer islands.