The Second World War left its traces to North Karelia’s landscape. Dugouts, fortifications, Red Army camping site remains, defense structures and memorials that were built afterwards can be found here and there in the North Karelia region. For example in Ilomantsi, which is the only place in Finland where one can find traces of both The Winter War and The Continuation War. Approximately half of the municipality’s current total area has been used as a battleground in the last wars.
Battle locations that are over 60 year old are found in eastern parts of Ilomantsi and Lieksa. In The Winter War, the roads parallel to the border were used as attack routes by the enemy forces. At the direction of Ilomantsi, Soviet troops were already at the Kallioniemi line on 7th of December in 1939. At the direction of Lieksa, Soviet troops advanced as far as Nurmijärvi. The attacker’s main targets were population centers of municipalities’ and the better road networks from there to inland. The enemy’s plans were derailed and stopped. The enemy was forced to retreat back to behind the border. Finns were able to stop the Soviet Union’s attack in Ilomantsi and to destroy one battalion in December of 1939.
The biggest battles of The Continuation War (1941-1944) were fought in Ilomantsi during the summer of 1944. The Continuation War’s last battles between Finland and the Soviet Union were fought in the direction of Rukajärvi.