A little over two years ago, an amazing pictorial resource was opened to historians of both the academic and armchair varieties: the Finnish Wartime Photograph Archive. Contained within the site are more than 160,000 scanned photographs from 1939 to 1945, offering a fascinating glimpse (from a Finnish perspective) into one of the most destructive periods of human history.
The Finns took part in no less than three separate conflicts during the Second World War. First, they fought the Soviets from 1939 to 1940 in the Winter War. Following that, the Finns fought alongside the Germans during Hitler’s invasion of the Soviet Union. Finally, after concluding a separate peace with the Allies in 1944, the Finnish Army chased retreating German forces out of northern Finland in what is known as the Lapland War.
As an armchair World War Two historian and a collector of Finnish military surplus guns, I jumped at the chance to browse the archive. It contains many previously unreleased photos, a great number of which show rare and almost-forgotten firearms in action. Shown below are just a few of the stunning pictures available on the site. I’ve included details about when each of the photos was taken, if it was provided, along with some of my own commentary and information from the archive’s caption. Most have been resized to allow the page to load faster.
If you’re interested in World War Two history, do yourself a favor and browse the archive.