Bengtskär Landing Operation

The 'Bengtskär Landing Operation' was a Soviet amphibious assault on a Finnish lighthouse installation early in the 'Jatkosota' (continuation war) (26 July 1941).

Soviet troops made a surprise amphibious attack on the island of Bengtskär, 15.5 miles (25 km) to the south-west of the isolated Soviet naval base at Hanko, which was currently under Finnish siege, with the object of destroying the lighthouse situated on the island so that it could not interfere with Soviet military operations. The small garrison on the Finnish island managed to defend the lighthouse and eventually drove the Soviets back with the help of reinforcements. The Soviet landing force was transported and delivered by four 'MO' class small patrol boats, while another six boats were later despatched to evacuate the Soviet forces once it had become clear that the demolition attempt had failed. The somewhat larger and better armed Finnish gunboats Uusimaa and Hämeenmaa engaged the Soviet vessels, Uusimaa sinking the patrol boat PK-238 with gunfire.

Thisa small action was thus a Finnish victory thanks to the intervention of the two gunboats. some 16 Soviet sailors were saved from the sinking PK-238 and taken prisoner, while another 13 were captured on the island. Some Soviet soldiers committed suicide with hand grenades. Finnish estimates put the Soviet losses at 60 killed (40 of them on land), while the Finns themselves suffered the loss of 16 of the garrison and four men on the gunboats during the initial fighting, but on the following day a Soviet air attack killed another 11 men a waiting evacuation. Soviet sources reported that the landing party consisted of only 31 men, and that the casualties were 31 men, including eight sailors, killed and 24 men, including 16 sailors, taken prisoner.