Osmussaar, part 2

Osmussaar was one of the key islands providing artillery cover for the Gulf of Finland. Its main purpose was to keep enemy ships out of the gulf, thus preventing them from approaching the city of Leningrad (modern St Petersburg) during WW2. On June 11 1940, 1200 builders from Soviet 46th engineering corps. disembarked here and started construction of four artillery batteries: two towers with 180 mm guns, one superlarge 406 mm piece, three 130 mm pieces and four 76 mm anti-aircraft guns.

Plans on building the supermassive 406 mm cannon were abandoned at an early stage, but the two 180 mm towers, each with two cannons capable of sending 100 kg shells up to 37 km away, were mostly finished one year later when Soviet Union found itself under attack from Germany.

Both 180 mm towers from 314th artillery battery were blown up by retreating forces in December 1941, but they didn’t have enough time to do a thorough job. The upper levels remain accessible and mostly intact.

Below: entrance to the command post of 314th. The construction crew were unfortunate enough to hit a well, leading to constant water problems. Ice cold water started to pour in as soon as diesel pumps got disconnected in 1941. The entire facility has been flooded ever since.


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All access points are filled with water.

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A small monument in memory of the defenders.

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2nd artillery point. Someone tried to salvage metal from the turret hole – probably one of the 180 mm guns that lie on the ground floor below water level

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The small holes are ammunition shelves.

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Rests of the rotating gunhouse.

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Upper level entrance to the 2nd artillery tower

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The floor is filled with parts of the rotating mechanism, radiators, beds and slabs of concrete.

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“Turn off the switch in case of emergency” (Russian)

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Old radiators on top of a collapsed wall

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Ventilation pipe

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Old sleeping quarters. There’s a hole in the ceiling made by a projectile – hence the large pile of debris below it.

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Top of a projectile stuck in the ceiling.

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Old wires

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The ceiling still has some paint on it

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Entrance hatch to the lower level (flooded)

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Retreating troops blasted some huge holes in the floor.

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180 mm shell casing left on the top floor. There are plenty of live shells just below water level. One wrong step here may be lethal.

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Heating pipes. The damp, cold environment would have been uninhabitable if it wasn’t for the water pumps and the heating system. They even had showers here!

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Personal artifacts

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Iodine jar from someone’s medical box

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The huge blast from December 1941 created some alternative entry points

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Way back

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Ventilation hole next to the 1st artillery tower.

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1st artillery tower is in a relatively good condition. You can still see the gun turret — and the two 180 mm guns used to be just on top of it.

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One of the engines used to rotate the tower.

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Gun tube mount.

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Dead sheep in the outside toilet.

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The entrance is unusually large.

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“Don’t touch the wires, it’s deadly” (Russian)

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Upper levels used to be flooded, but the water receded after a while.

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Many personal artifacts remain here

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Command post phone. There’s a small manual electricity generator just next to it (not shown on the photo) – to be used in case the diesel providing electricity would die.

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Fuse boxes

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Part of the heating system

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Gas mask

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Lower levels are flooded

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Old medicine boxes have been quietly rotting away ever since 1941

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Medicine, painkillers and transfusion blood (the big ampule)

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Eerie passages

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More personal belongings

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The commander’s headquarters. There’s an interesting details here: a woman’s shoe under the bed.

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Woman perfume from the hospital room

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Parts of the gun mechanism

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Shell racks

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Jammed 180 mm shell

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Way out

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