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[LAPPOHJA 01.07.1941] [STORKROKAN
01.07.1941] [DRAGSVIK 06.07.1941]
"CASE" MORGONLANDET 16.07.1941
- The island of Morgonlandet was located right next to the borderline of the Soviet rental area of Hanko. During the time between the end of the Winter War and the beginning of the Continuation War, the observation tower of the coastguard station in Morgonlandet observed the Russian naval movements into Hanko and away from Hanko.
- As the situation got more tense in June 1941 the Finnish detachment in the island was withdrawn on 16.06.1941. When the Russians opened artillery fire against Finnish positions on 25.06.1941, Morgonlandet was also one of the targets for the Russian artillery. The Morgonlandet observation tower, which was mined, received a direct hit and exploded into small pieces.
- Quite soon the Hanko Group realized, that Morgonlandet would need to be occupied again, as the island offered the best place to observe the Russian naval movement into Hanko and away from Hanko.
Order for the III/4.Coastal Brigade of occupying Morgonlandet 02.07. - 03.07.1941:
1. The fort must occupy Morgonlandet coastguard station early as possible on 02.07.1941 so that night observation becomes possible.
2. Qualified officer, sufficient number of able men, fast motorboat and observation and communication equipment must be assigned to the Morgonlandet group.
3. The reconnaissance must find out during the night of 02.07. - 03.07.1941 what are the routes that the Russians use, when they enter Hanko from the Gulf of Finland and from the Baltic Sea. Additionally the route which the Russians use, when leaving Hanko, must be established. Also the detachment must find out, if any smaller ships move between Hanko and the islands west of Hanko.
4. Written reports from this reconnaissance must be sent immediately after the mission to the staff of Hanko Group and to the staff of 4.Coastal Brigade. The most important observations must be informed immediately using the phone.
5. In order to continue the reconnaissance in the future, the detachment which is assembled, must be kept ready for action, if any new orders are received.
Separate order for reconnaissance 04.07.1941:
1. The 4.Coastal Brigade must establish a permanent observation position to the coastguard station of Morgonlandet.
2. The detachment in the island must be led by an officer and there must be at least few men, who have before been in the station.
3. The detachment must be equipped at least with a binocular and with a direction finding device. If its possible, that continuous observation can be established to the station, the detachment must be equipped with a telescope, that will be received from the staff of Hanko Group for this purpose. The telescope will be sent to the staff of 4.Coastal Brigade.
4. The detachment must be assigned tent cloth or nets, so that they can camouflage themselves and the boats.
5. If the head of the cable which goes to Morgonlandet, cannot be raised anymore, the detachment must receive a radio, so that they can transmit sea messages.
6. The purpose of the observation is to receive the information immediately about the ships leaving from Hanko and going to Hanko. This is done so that the information can be transmitted immediately to our own light naval forces.
7. Change of personnel in the island must happen during the night. Special notice must be taken to the possible booby-traps, which are left to the island.
8. The commander of III/4.Coastal Brigade must take necessary steps in order to speed up the transmission of messages from the fort area to the higher level of command. On 04.07.1941 four transport ships managed to get into Hanko and two ships managed to leave the harbour, without the knowledge of the Hanko Group and the 4.Coastal Brigade. Superficial information about the ships wasn't received until the communiqué was received at 10:25 o'clock. The messages must be transmitted immediately after the observation has been done and these messages are handled as urgent messages. It must be made sure, that these messages do not stop to the communication center of the fort.
Separate order for reconnaissance 06.07.1941:
1. Permanent observation must be established to the Morgonlandet coastguard station starting from 06.07.1941 onwards. The first detachment will arrive on 06.07.1941 at dusk.
2. The strength of the detachment is one officer and five men.
3. The commander of Fort of Örö orders a suitable officer as a leader of this detachment.
4. The personnel must contain men, who have before been in the Morgonlandet station.
5. The detachment must take at least one sub-machine gun and one light machine gun or a second sub-machine gun with them.
6. From observation equipment, at least a binocular and a direction finding device must be taken with the detachment as well as other necessary equipment. If it becomes possible to maintain observation continuously, the station will be given a telescope, which will be given to the fort for this purpose.
7. In order to camouflage themselves and the boats, the detachment will be given tent cloth or nets.
8. If the head of the cable which goes to Morgonlandet, cannot be raised anymore, the detachment must receive a radio, so that they can transmit sea messages.
9. The purpose of this observation is to immediately get information about the ships leaving Hanko and ships entering Hanko, so that this information can be sent immediately to our own light naval forces.
10. Change of personnel in the island must happen during the night.
11. Special notice must be taken to the possible booby-traps, which are left to the island, so that there are no accidents.
- The Russian artillery fired daily to Morgonlandet, as they suspected that a Finnish fire control team was located in the island. Finally the Russians decided to destroy the Morgonlandet fire control team completely. This task was assigned to the platoon of Russian marines led by a Lieutenant Shaikin.
COMBAT REPORT FOR THE "CASE" MORGONLANDET 16.07.1941:
- There is one officer, one non-commissioned officer and four men in Morgonlandet on 16.07.1941. The armament includes one light machine gun, one sub-machine gun, nearly twenty hand grenades and personal weapons.
Commander of the section: Major Moring
Commander of the operational office: Captain Lempiäinen
Commander of the Fort of Örö: Captain Lauramo
00:10 o'clock: Corporal Ranta informs Örö using the phone line, that two big motorboats approach Morgonlandet with a full speed from Hanko. The distance is about three kilometers. Örö immediately informs the section commander, who is in Hiittinen.
00:11 o'clock: The heavy battery from Fort of Örö and measuring stations and other coastguard stations are alarmed.
00:12 o'clock: Request to the staff of Fort of Örö, to fire harassing fire to the east side of Morgonlandet. Connection to Captain Lempiäinen isn't received until three minutes later.
00:15 o'clock: Corporal Ranta informs that more new boats approach Morgonlandet with a full speed. "Two boats is about to reach the shore", are the last words from Corporal Ranta, as the communication is cut off between Corporal Ranta and the communication center of Fort of Örö. Captain Lauramo informs this immediately to the section commander.
00:16 o'clock: Fort of Örö is ready to open fire to the channel between Morgonlandet and Hanko.
00:17 o'clock: Request to open fire is renewed. Major Moring informs, that fire cannot be opened. Information received, that the Fort of Bolaks and Bromarv will start to fire against the Russian battery in Tulliniemi. There must be a misunderstanding regarding to the request at 00:12 o'clock.
00:18 o'clock: The Russian boats have reached the shore of Morgonlandet. All the lines are cut off to the island. Section commander calls to the commander of the brigade and asks permission to use the heavy battery of Örö, in a fire support mission. Permissions is not granted. At the same time section commander gives an order to the commander of the artillery, to start preparing Fort of Krokö and Fort of Bolaks to a harassing fire against the island of Dödön, as it seems that the Russian boats are approaching from that direction. Captain Lauramo gives an order, that one officer and five men needs to take a motorboat and drive to a standby station to Kuggskär. Armament must include one light machine gun and personal weapons.
00:19 o'clock: Captain Lauramo receives an order to send a boat towards Morgonlandet.
00:32 o'clock: Section commander gives an order to Krokö to fire five groups of harassing fire to Dödön. Artillery commander transmits this order to Krokö, ordering them to fire five groups to the target.
00:33 o'clock: Major Moring gives an order to prepare a three shock groups ready for action. Wait for more detailed instructions.
00:38 o'clock: Fort of Krokö fires five groups to Dödön.
00:40 o'clock: The Fort of Örö requests again to open fire to the channel between Morgonlandet and Hanko. Permission is still not granted. Captain Lempiäinen orders a boat to be sent to Morgonlandet. Major Moring however cancels this order. Section commander gives an order to Captain Lauramo, to send the motorboat "Gruffe" and the men to Kuggskär standby station.
00:50 o'clock: Fort of Örö informs that six or seven flares were shot from Morgonlandet.
00:54 o'clock: The boat AV 112 is ready for action and is subordinated to the shock company.
01:00 o'clock: Bengtskär informs that it has noticed something in Morgonlandet, which might have been a rifle fire.
01:10 o'clock: Motorboat "Gruffe" reaches Kuggskär.
01:25 o'clock: Section commander gives an order to Fort of Bolaks to fire few groups as a harassing fire to Dödön.
01:30 o'clock: Bolaks fires six groups to Dödön.
01:50 o'clock: Fort of Örö informs that Bengtskär had informed, that one big ship has left from Morgonlandet.
01:53 o'clock: Fort of Örö informs that the sauna in Morgonlandet is burning.
01:57 o'clock: Fort of Örö asks for actions to be taken, so that in the future, the fort could have more freedom of action, when it comes to opening fire.
01:59 o'clock: Major Moring asks the commander of the brigade, to send motorboats for the fort.
02:02 o'clock: Bengtskär informs, that own mine-sweeper is traveling towards Morgonlandet.
02:07 o'clock: Major Moring informs, that brigade thinks that Morgonlandet cannot be fired at and no boats should be sent to the island.
02:10 o'clock: Bengtskär tries to warn the mine-sweeper, using blinkers.
02:20 o'clock: According to a information received, there is four big boats and a smaller baot in Morgonlandet. Our own mine-sweeper approaches Morgonlandet from north-west, but turns back, as they notice unknown ships near the island. The sauna which was on fire in Morgonlandet starts to extinguish slowly, there is no signs of life in the island.
02:21 o'clock: Fort prepares to fire six shots to Morgonlandet.
02:27 o'clock: Information received, that the Russian boats are leaving Morgonlandet.
02:28 o'clock: The order for preparing to open fire is cancelled. Morgonlandet cannot be fired at.
02:30 o'clock: Fort of Örö informs that Bengtskär had informed that three motorboats and one bigger ship are moving away from Morgonlandet towards Hanko.
02:40 o'clock: Information received, that the boats that were in Morgonlandet, were patrol ships. Additionally there probably was one mine-sweeper in the area. The ships have left from the waters of Morgonlandet.
02:55 o'clock: Two own planes in the area of Morgonlandet receive an order to investigate, what has happened in Morgonlandet.
Communiqué: 15.07.1941 - 16.07.1941:
- Sea: At 00:05 o'clock on 16.07.1941 Morgonlandet noticed two patrol boats approaching the island. At 00:18 o'clock the communication line between Örö and Morgonlandet was cut off. Additionally three other Russian boats were driving towards Morgonlandet. At 02:55 a fire was seen in the island. It is most likely that the battle at that time was over and the guard house was burning. The Russian boats, from which four were rather large is size, left the island. Equipment in the island included the nautical chart No. 22, from which at least parts of it was gritted for communication purposes. Additionally there was a HIVVD in the island. It is assumed that both of these have fallen to the hands of the Russian troops. Our own artillery fired Gunnarsören and Dödö as well as the boats in the waters between Hanko and Morgonlandet.
Report from the Hiittinen Section commander Major Moring to the "case" Morgonlandet:
- As a reference to the order given to me, I present the combat report, which concerns the loss of Morgonlandet.
- I received the order to occupy Morgonlandet again on 06.07.1941 from the staff of the brigade. It was ordered, that the island must be occupied during the same night. As said in the order, I gave an order to the commander of the Fort of Örö, to Captain Lauramo, to who's responsibility Morgonlandet belonged to, to occupy Morgonlandet with one coastguard group. Captain Lauramo himself could assign the leader of this group. What comes to the weapons, I ordered, that the group should have at least one automatic weapon, hand grenades and personal weapons. The written order was received during the next day.
- As said in the order, Captain Lauramo occupied Morgonlander during the evening of the next day, as on the night of 06.07. - 07.07.1941 the wind was so strong, that Morgonlandet could not be reached with a boat and the boat could not be kept in the island, as there is no pier or harbour. The detachment in Morgonlandet consisted of Lieutenant Pehr-Erik Ahlblad as its commander and the following men: Corporal Niilo Ranta, Gunners Arvid Nyman, Ernst Pihl, Matias Thorvald and Albin Törngvist. The armament was as stated in the combat report and ordered in the order.
- The naval officer of the brigade informed me, that a fast motorboat "Nopsa" will be reserved for Morgonlandet. As this "Nopsa" promised by the brigade was not seen or heard, I ordered the only fast boat AV 138, which was reserved for police duties, to be moved to Örö, so that it can be reserved for Morgonlandet. The speed of the boat was about 18 knots.
- On 10.07.1941 when the boat was returning from a trip Morgonlandet - Bengtskär - Örskär - Örö, the engine of the boat broke down and because of this, the boat had to be towed to Turku so that it could be fixed. After this, an ordinary fishing vessel functioned as a communication boat in Morgonlandet. Its speed was about 6 to 7 knots. This boat however had to be sent to Örö, because of a storm. In bad weather, no boat can be kept in Morgonlandet otherwise than anchored in the open sea, to which everyone must move using a rowing boat. This however was not an option, as the detachment had to be kept hidden. As such, the detachment was without a boat on the day, that the attack happened. According to the weather report book of Örö, on 16.07.1941 at 20:00 o'clock the speed of the wind was still 6 beauforts.
- The men were accommodated in a tent, which was located well camouflaged next to the small pond in the island, in a common alder thicket on the sea side of the pond. The section intelligence officer ascertained this on his inspection of the coastguard stations on 08.07.1941. The observation position was located nearly in the middle of the island, next to a rock, where the phone was also located. Distance from the observation position to the shore was about 80 meters. The terrain was very rocky and there were also pieces around from the observation tower.
- Finally I would like to express the following as my personal opinion:
- Even if there would have been a fast motorboat in Morgonlandet during the mentioned night, be it "Nopsa" or any other boat, the detachment still could have not saved themselves, even if they would have started to retreat immediately when they noticed the Russian boats approaching. First of all, they would have needed to keep the boat in the only bay of the island, from where it is nearly impossible to move out even during a good weather and during a bad weather it is completely impossible. Also as the Russians most likely have approached the both sides of the island, our boat, if it could have moved out, would have been doomed to destruction, because the boats are not armed. The Russian boats were very fast and strongly armed.
- If it would have been possible to keep some fast moving boat in the island, with a speed of 25 to 30 knots, it theoretically might have been possible for the men to escape in a good weather. However the weather wasn't good at the time, as according to the weather report book of Örö, it was very windy during the time period of 11.07. - 16.07.1941. The speed of the wind at that time has been from 5 beaufort to 6 beau fort. Keeping a boat in the island in this kind of weather, is completely impossible.
- In order to get some fast boats, I turned to the brigade several times and asked for such boats for Morgonlandet and for other outer coastguard stations. I however did not receive any such boats. I also discussed about this matter with the commander of the brigade.
Communiqué: 15.07.1941 - 16.07.1941:
- At 00:05 on 16.07.1941 Morgonlandet saw a two patrol boats approaching the island. At 00:18 all communication was cut off between Örö and Morgonlandet. Additionally three boats were heading towards Morgonlandet from Hanko. At 02:55 a fire was seen in the island, so most likely the battle at that time was over and the guard house was burning. The Russian boats, from which four were bigger ones, left the island. The garrison in the island included one officer and five men. They had for example the nautical chart No. 22 with them, from which at least part of the map had a grid for the message mapping. Additionally the direction finding device which was with the men, has been most likely lost to the Russian hands. Own artillery fired Gunnarsören and Dödön as well as the boats between Hanko and Morgonlandet.
Request for an additional information regarding the "case" Morgonlandet:
- The commander of the naval forces asks to give immediately additional information regarding the "case" Morgonlandet. The answer to the following questions is requested:
1. Why the commander of the Hiittinen Section did not propose to change the reconnaissance mission, if he thought that it is impossible to withdrawn or to defend successfully? It is not a very rational view, that a permanent observation in Morgonlandet, could have been kept hidden. Because of this the following options could have been thought: The reconnaissance is not permanent, There is only two men making observations, The men stay outside of Morgonlandet in a fast motorboat during the dark hours, The reconnaissance mission is completely aborted, as there is no boat, or a decent boat.
2. Who has authorized the separate order of I/4.Coastal Brigade and is it according to the higher level orders?
3. What has been intended with the following phrase "drive to a standby station" in the combat report of the Hiittinen Section?
4. What was the basis, on which the section commander thought, that his actions were sufficient to help Morgonlandet?
Answer from the Hiittinen Section commander Major Moring to the request of additional information:
1. In my report, which concerns the attack made against Morgonlandet, I still hold my opinion that it was impossible for the detachment to withdrawn. This now concerns this special situation, where the Russians suddenly used several, special made, heavily armed and fast boats. The order for the placement of a reconnaissance group to Morgonlandet I received from the staff of Hanko group. The order went even to details, like the strength of the group, keeping the group in secrecy and continuing the observations.
2. The I/4.Coastal Brigade separate order of reconnaissance was in line according to the written and oral orders from the staff of Hanko Group. The written order was made immediately according to these orders.
3. My intention was to detach a small mobile "reserve" and move it as close as possible of Morgonland, in a place where there was a phone line, so that it could be ready for action if there was a chance to use this kind of a "reserve". The rapid development of the situation and the special conditions however didn't give any chance to use this "reserve". The distance from the closest Russian base of Dödön to Morgonlandet is only about 9 kilometers. This means that it takes about 15 minutes from a boat, which can travel 20 knots, to reach Morgonlandet. The distance from our own closest bases is about 18 to 20 kilometers to Morgonlandet. The channel is hard to navigate, meaning that with a boat that can travel 8 knots, it takes about 75 minutes to reach Morgonlandet.
4. I cannot find any mentioned criticism from the combat report of Morgonlandet or from the more detailed report. Taking in account the speed of the attack (after 5 minutes the communication was cut off) and the shortness of the battle (the flares shot after 35 minutes, most likely were signal from the Russians, that the attack had been successful) and comparing our own terrain and equipment to the equipment and terrain of the Russians, I still cannot see any chance during the attack, to prevent the attack from succeeding. Besides, during the "case" Morgonlandet, I phoned the commander of Hanko Group three times, so my superiors were well informed about the situation.
"To the Finnish army!"
"I Finnish army reserve Lieutenant Pär Erik Ahlblad served in Morgonlandet and on 16 day along with five comrades surrendered voluntarily to the Red army. I can now prove, that the Finnish army officers and soldiers have a wrong comprehension, that Red army uses all sorts of ill-treatments and keeps prisoners of war without food. On the contrary. Here the Red army soldiers and officers treats us very good. Food is here better than it is in the Finnish army, even when we are prisoners of war. Today we photographed ourselves with the Red army soldiers. We will send those photographs to you quite soon. We also visited hospital to see our wounded comrades and they also said, that they are doing fine."
"I can also prove, that the Red army fights bravely and is certain of its victory. Don't believe Mannerheim's order of the days, where he using the name war of independence encourages you to occupy the whole Karelia and Aunus. It is a complete defraud from the Mannerheim side. Liberate our country from the German operations, who are robbing all products and food and move to the Red army side in a fight against the German robbers, who are controlling our country."
"This letter was written by a reserve Lieutenant prisoner of war PE Ahlblad 21.7.1941."
- According to the book Hanko Cape in the Second World War by Niilo Lappalainen, the men in Morgonlandet tried to hide in the small pond in the island, from where the Russians however found them. The direction finding device was thrown to the pond before the Russians found the men and Lieutenant Ahlblad had ripped off his marks of rank. In the previous propaganda picture, it shows clearly, that Ahlblad is missing his collar tabs and shoulder boards. The direction finding device has not been discovered from the pond.
- The Morgonlandet prisoners of war were used effectively in the Russian propaganda. The previous propaganda text is only one example. The Russian newspaper Pravda for example published a letter on 17.08.1941. The letter was signed by Lieutenant Ahlblad. The same letter was also read in the Finnish broadcast of the radio of Moscow on the same day.
- The previous propaganda text however shows clearly, that Russians themselves have written it and Ahlblad has been forced to sign it. Especially the fact that the letter is full of misspellings and strange expressions for the Finnish language seems suspicious. Also the first name of Ahlblad has been misspelled. It has been written as it is pronounced in Swedish.
- Only the gunner Arvid Nyman returned from the Russian prisoner of war camp at the end of the war:
Lieutenant Pehr-Erik Ahlblad: Died in May 1943. Buried to an unmarked grave for the prisoners of war, near the prisoner of war camp, which was located next to the village of Orang.
Corpolra Niilo Ranta: Died in August 1942. Buried to the cemetery for the prisoners of war, near the city of Jelabuga.
Gunner Ernst Pihl: Died in July 1942. Buried to the prisoner of war camp cemetery, which was located in the area of Karaganda, near the village of Spassk.
Gunner Matis Thorvald: Died in March 1942. Buried to the prisoner of war camp cemetery, which was located in the area of Karaganda, near the village of Spassk.
Gunner Albin Törngvist: Died in September 1942. Buried to the prisoner of war camp cemetery, which was located near the village of Rjabovo.
- After the "case" Morgonlandet, there was no permanent observation in the island, but patrols often visited the island whit boats, in order to observe the Russian naval movements. After the Russians evacuated their Hanko base in December 1941, a permanent coastguard station was again established to Morgonlandet.
- The previous presentation about the "case" Morgonlandet is mostly based to the combat report and to the orders, which are attached along with the combat report. Additionally notes from the war diaries has been used to build this presentation. I have also used the book Hanko Cape in the Second World War by Niilo Lappalainen, when it has been possible to incorporate the information to the original documents. This presentation does differ a bit from the book by Lappalainen, especially when it comes to the time of what happened and when. This difference most likely is, because Lappalainen has interviewed or has used as a source of interview from Gunner Arvid Nyman.
- Many rumors are connected to the question, that why there was no boat in Morgonlandet, but six men were left there without any chance to get away from the island. Lappalainen mentions in his book, that it is only a twenty minute journey from the Fort of Örö to Morgonlandet and that the men could have easily withdrawn from the island. The distance between Örö and Morgonlandet using a beeline is about 22 kilometers. This means about 12 nautical miles. The boat with a speed of 8 knots, which Major Moring mentions in is report, would have taken at least the 75 minutes to reach Morgonlandet, as stated by Major Moring is his report. In order to reach to the 20 minute of travel time from Örö to Morgonlandet, the boat would have needed to travel with a speed of at least 35 knots and even with a boat like that, in a bad weather it would have taken more than a 20 minutes.
- Major Moring is also correct in the fact, that it is completely impossible to keep a boat in Morgonlandet during a bad weather. The nearby waters of the island are very rocky and it is impossible to get to the island or leave the island during a bad weather, without a significant risk that the boat crashes into the rocks. The different war diaries also makes notes about the fact, that it is impossible to get to Morgonlandet during a bad weather.
- The men in Morgonlandet didn't have too many minutes to act, in order to get away from the island. According to the weather report book of Fort of Örö, the wind speed at that time was about six beauforts, equalling of 11 m/s to 14 m/s (meters per second). Getting a boat from the shore of Morgonlandet to the sea in this kind of wind, is a difficult operation even if you have all the time you need.
Copyright © 2006, 2007 Kimmo Nummela