Sgt. Väinö Orpana wrote daily in his diary. He grew up to be a trusted and fearless combat fellow hardened by the war. This is a genuine and uncensored voice from a Finnish soldier.
Väinö Orpana grew up in a farm house in Kannas. He was 20 years old when going from military service to war. During the winter war he wrote his observations and thoughts in a diary and he was fatally wounded just before the war was over.
Here is the beginning, will be continued:
"At 4-5 a.m. Embam came to tell that diplomatic relations with Soviet Union are broken. We continued our sleep...!
At 6-7 a.m. he returned and ordered us to immediately collect our gear! The war has started, immediate departure.
We joked about it and didn't believe him. But soon we heard weird thundering and artillery fire on the nearby fields. Now everyone understood what it was about. Our departure was calm but fast. Destination was Nirkkola-Peki's house. The sky was red behind us and grenades exploded all around.
Fortunately we made it. The Russkies fired these nearby villages for two hours.
In the afternoon the same bombing started, but this time our artilleries participated. The day went by like in a dream.
I had a guard shift in the evening. The southern and southeastern sky was all red. Lipola's and Kauksamo's villages were burning. It was a very shocking sight, although I knew that they were lit by our boys.
We started to get information about tough battles from the front. We could clearly hear rifles and machine guns.
Ltn. Sipari has already given his life to Finland. They say that Russkies drop like hay, our losses have been very small. I was on guard for an hour in the night."
We woke up to a heavy artillery fire, it came from our own battery. It was lovely music.
There were fierce battles all night long in Lipola and at the whole frontline. Our guys use a stalling battle according to the plan.
We have lost about 10 men during these first days. But there are hundreds of dead Ivans.
Sgt Lipenkoski shot a Russian captain and 5 men with a pistol. Another Sgt. burned down a house filled with sleeping russkies.
Villages are burning and both sides are firing. It was dead silent in our division."
"We didn't leave this night after all. The columns left at dusk. We are going to smack the russkies a little before we retreat from these good positions.
In the morning the sky was blackened by russkie planes. Their artillery fired non-stop without any results.
Battles have taken place all day on both sides, our guys have to retreat. We start to be in a bag. Because russkies haven't attacked here.
I was on guard again. The same sad sight, villages are turning into ashes.
Atm we hear singular fires from ahead. A grenade just flew over us, it comes from our side.
An enemy troop got through during the night. I was on guard. It disappeared in the night.
A tank has also crossed the border, we sent a truck equipped with a cannon."
"The headquarter started to move during the night and we followed. The destination was Suokkaa's house in Sarkola village. This 10 km journey was pretty difficult. Due to bad bicycle weather we got there at 9.30 a.m.
Just as we settled down in Jutikkala school we had to leave again. Here I saw for the first time a field burial. They buried a cavalry soldier who died a heroic death.
We moved about 3 km to Jutikkala village. The house where we now live in was recently left empty. We prepare dinner. Pork meat on the pan and a wide variety of conserves, raspberry-, strawberry- and other jam that we got from the cellar.
A deed like this would a week ago been heavily reprimanded, but now it's normal because when we leave we burn down everything.
I was a while ago on the yard. Although it's late in the night it is as bright as during the day. It's because of the fires, they burn houses nearby and the village across the lake is totally on fire."
"At the moment we listen to the music that russkies play to us. A loud speaker is drumming international propaganda. But it only makes us laugh.
We just got news. Major Vänttinen told that our previous planned blockade gave the enemy huge losses. 20 tanks are destroyed and over 100 Ivans were killed. It's enough for one battallion.
These few days have given a good picture of the current war. We have seen countless Karelian homes in ruins, first comrades killed and russkies' huge losses. All this proves what war is about. It is not what you have imagined, it is brutal and merciless destruction of mankind. These days have been like like a film we are watching, awakening a bitter hatred in us against the russkies!
At 9.30 p.m. we went marching, I don't know where, but backwards in any case."
"At 6 a.m. we came to our destination Äyräpää station. We are now in a pretty cool house, the owners left this morning. The owner just stopped by.
Tomorrow it's Finland's Independence Day. Apparently russkies will make a huge attack then. But we will strike them back with bleeding heads.
Now we go to sleep, it's sweet to take off the boots and rest completely, because we are very tired after marches and battles from the previous days.
At 11 p.m. we were suddenly woken up, we will go back to the frontline in one hour."
"Wake-up at 4.30 a.m. Artillery thunder and a dog is barking. We assumed that a fierce battle was going on and they needed help.
We were quickly packed in trucks and drove full speed a the same road we got back from yesterday. The closer we got the louder the shooting got. We stopped at Korpioja station and ran head over heals to the line.
We heard the sound of a fierce battle ahead. We were afraid that the enemy gets through and we had to make a counter-attack. I was ordered to lead the signal- and communication troops.
Russkies were beaten back with bleeding heads, their attempt failed totally.
We were bunked in Korpioja school's sauna. We just had lunch, it's 1 p.m.
Three russkie planes just swooped shooting at the eating troops. We have a panzer train on a rail nearby, they also have antiaircraft guns. They downed two planes the other day. Our artillery is firing at the moment.
At dark I witnessed a unique experience when three of our artilleries fired at the exact same time. The sky was like a sea of fire like giant blizzards and the earth was shaking under my feet. The grenades went screaming towards the neigbour from where we heard explosions making destructions".
"I woke up at 7.45 a.m. A boy just arrived to our headquarters, russkies took him as prisoner and he managed to escape. They ordered him to dig a hole while one man quarded him with a machine gun.
He killed the guard with the shovel, took his machine gun and escaped.
He was pretty satisfied with the result".
"I went out for a walk immediately in the morning. I visited Reino Joronen's house which was deserted.
When I got back at 11 a.m. others were fully dressed up, the battallilon was heading towards the Russkies for a violent inquiry. They head to Lamminpää mill, 10 km away.
We took off, all columns followed. We got in a battle with small enemy divisions when our front troops crossed the border. As usual the communication division was last. I and Lounamaa sort of escaped so we could be there first. Moberg and Hytönen also sneaked there so they would also get to fight.
The first fight consisted of 30 russkies, they suddenly fired their machine guns and we responded. Soon they retreated leaving 10 fallen soldiers behind. But we also had 2 fallen and 2 injured. When we inspected the catch, for example 2 trucks, we saw movement in a hole, loaded our rifles and went closer.
A russkie holding hands up and shouting "I surrender" surfaced, that's all he had time to say because at the same time 6 rifles fired and dropped the dude. When we looked closer at the hole we saw another russkie there who pretended to be dead, but he woke up when we poked him with bayonets.
Moberg and Hytönen took him as prison together with another one who had a wounded leg and transported them back in a car. We continued forward. Some small enemy division opened fire a couple of times but they retreated immediately. One of our side-patrol of 20 men found russkies in a barn.
Patrol leader Seppälä went to investigate the barn. He was shot in the chest and fatally wounded. After that our men attacked the barn and finished off all the russkies, there was about 30 of them.
We went forward on the road, the battallion was spread out on both sides of the road, Lounamaa and I walked on the road. Near the mill our battalion commander sent an inquiry troop to find out which road leads to the vicarage.
Soon a truck headed their way. They opened fire at the truck and the driver jumped out and escaped in the dark.
We got the car which was russkies' movable field kitchen containing tobacco, cookies, perfume etc. etc.. All stuff was totally second-rate.
We got another car also, but it had broken down due to shots. We couldn't proceed, because the division gave an order that our battallion had to immediately return to our accommodation. So we turned around. I drove back with Lounamaa in the russkie field kitchen -car. We took a few things with us as memories.
At 2 a.m. we were back in the school. It was an interesting trip. Russkies gave a very disgusting impression. They were dirty and shaggy like beggars. At least those who we took as prisoners and those who were killed on the field. Our catch was truck loads of all kind of stuff, it looked like they got a sudden urge to escape".
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