“Christmas 1939 was dark for Finland. We were at war with the Red Army and their desires for our territory. We had less men, less weapons, almost no tanks and aircraft to support us.

We (my platoon) were on the forward edge of conflict. I was put into a listening post near the edge of the forest with another soldier with Red Army soldiers somewhere in front.

Our camouflage was all white. We looked like men in bedsheets or in curtains. Almost invisible in the day! I was laying in the snow and saw a figure moving in front of me. Also laying in the snow.

I looked closer and it was a Red Army enemy. I aimed my rifle and began to squeeze the trigger. I remembered the holiday and my family at home. ‘I killed a man Christmas Eve.’ I’d have to say. I didn’t. (Pull the trigger)

Our orders were not to shoot and kill. But to listen and observe. I reminded him (the other soldier with him) of this when he asked why I didn’t shoot the man. Instead we reported the movement and were relieved after.”

– From the diary of “Otso”, II Army Corps. Submitted by his great grandson, “Ahti”


This story was documented by Battles and Beers. Every soldier has a story, and every story deserves to be told.

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