In February 1944 the Soviets began a massive air attack on the city of Helsinki to force Finland abandon the war. More than 15,000 bombs were dropped in Finland’s capital but somehow, Helsinki managed to remain almost intact. How?
Well, it was all part of a brilliant deception. Finns used fires and searchlights to trick USSR bombers into dropping bombs outside the city.
Here’s how they did it. (the article continues after the ad)
The raids were launched on 3 separate occasions: on the nights of 6-7, 16-17 and 26-27 of February 1944. The bombings were conducted by the Soviets but they were supported by the British and the Americans as they hoped that with the bombings, Finland would quit the war and agree to seat on the peace table. But the Finns were smart.
They deceived the Soviets by lighting fires outside the city and only used the searchlights east of the city. By doing that, Russian bombers were throwing the bombs on the islands east of Helsinki as that’s where the lights and fires were. From the 15,000 bombs, only around 500 fell within Helsinki and, because the majority of the population had already abandoned the city, the casualties were impressively low.
When Russian diplomats entered Helsinki, they were surprised to find a city that was supposed to be heavily bombed, but in fact, was completely undamaged.
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