The prospects for Finland, a country of 3.6 million people, did not look good, she had a 1,200 km frontier with Russia to defend. Her army of 160,000 men faced an initial Russian force of 460,000 troops and over 2,000 tanks.
“There was the father-and-mother of a row. They were all after my blood at GHQ. But my Corps commander (Brooke) saved me by insisting on dealing with the matter himself. This he did in no uncertain manner and I received from him a proper backhander.”
‘There was a possibility that the mine had devices other than the magnetic one, which added to the hazard. If we were unlucky the notes which the two watchers had taken would be available for those who would have to deal with the next available specimen. ‘
‘After a short while the German ships opened fire – one on each side of us. Their aim was good. They first hit the wireless cabin, then two hits demolished the bridge. Our guns opened up in retaliation, and we hit one of the ships several times causing some casualties. I had gone to the ammunition hoist to get some Star Shells, but when I returned my gun and fellow gun crew had all been blown over the side.’
World War II Today continues to follow the war through to August 1945, although not every day - alongside these stories will be the dramatic events of 75 years ago, the first battles in France, Dunkirk, the Battle of Britain and the beginning of the Blitz.
I hope many of you will wish to keep following the war as I add more pictures, newsreels and new stories in the coming months and years. I shall also be developing new ways of exploring the hundreds of different stories already here.
Thank you to all those who have sent words of support over the years - your encouragement has kept me going. It has been a fascinating journey of exploration for me - and it is far from over yet!
New Book Extract
The true story of how a US bomber pilot saved Allied POWs in Russia.
The Hurricanes of No 1 Squadron RAF fought against the Luftwaffe onslaught in France 1940 - and often won against the odds. A terrific personal memoir that also describes the fighter tactics at the time.