Finnmark, the most northern commune of Norway on the European mainland, was subject to heavy battles during the World War II. The all-the-year ice free harbor of Kirkenes, its strategic location towards Murmansk, Russian’s main base of its Northern Fleet, and resources such as iron and nickel caused many troops and weaponry to be deployed here. Kirkenes belongs to the few cities, which were completely destroyed during the war; over 300 air attacks were flown against this town.
Some remains of the severe battles can be still found, e.g. plane wrecks – on land and on the bottom of the sea. The latter causes many divers to visit Finnmark for wreck diving. A few planes, from which most crashed or crashed landed during the Soviet offensive in 1944, are located not too far (a substantial hike though) from my house. A few weeks ago I went on a hike to visit a crashed Soviet Ilyushin Il-2 plane in the middle of the forest. Some parts of the wings and a small section of the fuselage are still left. According to information by locals those are the remains of a successful emergency landing – no trees at that time – and both crew members survived.