Decentralized bases

At the beginning of the first world war common fortification systems based still on forts. Accommodations, batteries, trenches with machine gun positions were all in the same large structure. When building of the fortress of Tallinn begun year 1913, there was going to be ten forts and smaller constructions between them.

When the permanent fortification work started in Helsinki year 1915 the master plan was more modern. The land front fortification system was decentralized: different constructions placed apart, machine gun positions and small shelters into frontline and batteries and bigger shelters and stores on the background. This dispersed enemy's cannon firing and reduced the power of firing. In old-fashioned fort system could a couple of hits create fatal damages.

Base number IV
A typical decentralized base in a land front of Krepost Sveaborg. The base number IV in Kivikko and Kontula areas.

Defending constructions were located on hillsides. In front of the firing line were barbed wire obstacles.  They surrounded the whole fortification line (and the whole town) as a nearly unbroken belt. There were two or more obstacles consecutively in some places.

Machine gun positions were built on the slopes behind the obstacles. They usually fired along the obstacle in front of the next defense positions. There were also smaller constructions for the sharp shooters and observation posts. In the front line there were trench with firing platforms and small ammunition recess. There were also small ‘artillery-fire-proof’ concrete shelters. In the background were bigger shelters and dugouts for accommodation. They were connected to the front line with trenches.

During the war, more attention was paid to build stronger firing constructions and shelters. Last blockhouses which were built in the end of the war, were strong systems with several meters thick concrete roof. In the background of defending positions were tunnel stores blown in the solid rock. Their areas were between 20 - 200 square meters.

The artillery formed the base of the mainland front. In year 1917 there were about 55 batteries in mainland front (it is impossible to say the exact amount) with 200 guns. With reserves and the field artillery the summary is 440 guns.

Defending position IV:7
The defending position number IV:7 and a road to Helsinki. Machine gun firing sectors - green lines. Barbed wire obstacles - orange. Trenches with firing platforms - blue.


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