At the end of March 1944, a military department of almost 200 men skied on the ravines between Rukajärvi and Uhtua.

It was a long-range patrol named Kaleva, which was on its way deep into Viena Karelia towards the villages of Suopassalmi and Jyskyjärvi.

What made the Kaleva exceptional was its strength and mission.

The body of the department had been assembled from the Long Range Scouts at Headquarters and had been reinforced into a larger than usual force.

Unlike many remote patrols, Kaleva's task was not to reconnaissance but to destroy two villages and their warehouses.

In addition, Suopassalmi had to have an air surveillance station, which had to be destroyed.

According to preliminary data, the villages served as intermediate bases for Soviet partisans and were guarded.

Civilians were believed to have been evacuated.

The last surviving veteran of the Headquarters long-range patrols, Jouko Korhonen from Oulu, was reportedly involved in the Kaleva, who had previously told IS about the attack in the series 100 Stories of War in 2017. He was wounded in the battle in Suopassalmi, and

Korhonen has also been an important source in Pekka Turunen's recent book Operation Kaleva - The Biggest Blow of the Long Range Scouts at Headquarters and Its Backgrounds (Atena).

The patrol, named Kaleva, was assembled in Nurmijärvi, Lieksa, from where it was transferred to Lietmajärvi on March 25, 1944.

From there, the department moved to the field guard of the Finns and went on to ski towards the back of the enemy.

Department Kaleva moved in the back of the enemy for a total of four days, the ski trip totaled about 160 kilometers.

The strike force was led by Major Into Kuismanen.

The guerrillas who took part in numerous patrol trips were present, including the Knights of the Mannerheim Cross Paavo Suoranta, Heikki Nykänen and Onni Määttänen.

Near the site, the department was divided: the main part headed towards Suopassalmi and the smaller part towards Suopasvaara, where the air surveillance station detected by the intelligence was.

Department of Kaleva men on break.Photo: Separate Battalion 4th Tradition Association

When the main group of Finns started attacking the village of Suopassalmi, the houses were quickly set on fire.

Soviet soldiers only woke up to the situation when most of the village was already blazing in flames at dusk.

However, the resistance was surprisingly fierce: on the outskirts of the village there were Russian border troops in the dugouts, NKVD men.

The dogs noticed the Finns approaching the base, and the surprise was not successful.

In the middle of the night, as the burning village roared at the edge of the forest, a fierce battle fought.

Lieutenant Jouko Korhonen was wounded in this battle, as was Lieutenant Martti Tukiainen.

Soldier Vilho Matsinen was believed to have fallen at first, but he had been taken prisoner in the battle.

Gradually, the Finns got on their necks, and the Russian soldiers withdrew in the midst of the turmoil.

Suopassalmi is on fire. Photo: Separate battalion 4 tradition association

The fire in Suopassalmi illuminated the dark night of March, when the Finns set out on their return journey. Photo: Separate Battalion 4 Tradition Association

The smaller department, which tried to endanger the danger, failed in a daring attempt to attack the Soviet border forces, which had defended the village.

The possibility of a surprise was lost, and the remote patrol men got stuck in a fierce firefight: as many as four Finns fell in the village of Suopasvaara, but the air surveillance station was destroyed with a heap.

The department exited, and it set out to retreat to its side wounded with it.

Read more: Long-range patrolman Jouko Korhonen was wounded deep behind the lines and the options were scary: “It was clear that I would launch a bullet into the skull”

The battle patrol Kaleva's attack on deep enemy territory has also been discussed in several books, but the big question has gone unexplained: Lake Jyskyjärvi, defined as the main target, was not destroyed and was not even visited there.

This is not explained, for example, in an official scout report.

Pekka Turunen offers an answer to this in his new book: he interprets the special wound of Major Into Kuismanen, the commander of the department that caused it, and its secrecy.

After the main group of Finns had left Suopassalmi, Kuismanen had dismantled his Lahti pistol at a break and started cleaning it.

He grabbed the frozen gun with the result that the pistol accidentally fired and a bullet hit the thigh.

After all, the wound was mild: the doctor tied it, and Kuismanen was able to ski himself.

Turunen writes that Kuismanen's injury was of central importance to the operations of Department Kaleva.

The long-range patrols initially headed towards Jyskyjärvi, but turned to their own lines as a result of the master's wounding.

The book speculates that Kuismanen covered up his own vulnerability, which he considered embarrassing, which would have been revealed by handing over the command to the subordinate.

It is also possible that the Jyskyjärvi field guard was estimated to be ready when Suopassalmi had already fought hard.

Pekka Turunen says that the interviews he did for the book also led to a side path, which revealed a very little-known case about the life of a well-known soldier later on.

It was Lieutenant Heikki Nykänen (1920–2011) who had taken part in the extermination expedition and had been named Knight of the Mannerheim Cross number 118 in August 1943 while in the 3rd Division's Long Patrol Department in Uhtua.

Turunen found out from the documents that Nykänen came to his first remote patrol at Headquarters in March 1944 almost directly from prison: in January 1944, he had been convicted in the 3rd Division Field Court of aiding and abetting the victim's minor assault and committing death.

The sentence was 1 year, 3 months and 15 days in prison, of which Nykänen was sitting in Riihimäki for 38 days before the President of the Republic pardoned Risto Ryti at his request.

The incident had its roots in the spring and summer of 1943, when there were thefts in the food depot of the 3rd Division's Remote Patrol Department.

The suspicions had been directed at the soldier in charge of the warehouse, who had denied the allegations during interrogations.

This was followed on two separate occasions by a violent shake-up in which the soldier was forced to confess.

The soldier had been beaten with jokes in the final stages, and he had eventually gone lifeless and dead.

A total of 15 men were convicted in the field court of the case, and Nykänen received the longest sentence.

Department Kaleva's trip remained a very separate chapter in the history of remote patrols.

Equally large patrols were no longer used during the final war.

In his book, Pekka Turunen points out that at the same time there were question marks over the success of the Kaleva operation.

According to him, the attack did not weaken the Soviet partisan activities as planned, nor did the abduction of the prisoner succeed.

However, in some of the tasks, Kaleva succeeded.

However, the action aroused astonishment in the scouts themselves.

In an interview with IS in 2017, Jouko Korhonen said that he was surprised that remote patrol men, who specialize in intelligence and remaining unnoticed, were used for the destruction mission.

Jouko Korhonen at home in Oulu in 2017. Photo: Ville Honkonen

- It would not be worthwhile to put the investigator in such a destruction task.

It could be trained to strip men who go through and destroy.

It would not be worthwhile for a long-distance patrolman to put in it it is a waste of good stuff, Korhonen told IS.

A separate chapter in Kaleva's history is the case of soldier Vilho Matsinen, who was imprisoned in Suopassalmi.

Pekka Turunen writes that he was severely interrogated after his imprisonment and was eventually sentenced to 25 years in the Soviet Union.

This was followed by transportation from one prison camp to another and to Siberia.

Matsinen's frozen leg became necrotic, and the leg was amputated as the necrosis progressed in camps without anesthetics and anesthetics.

Vilho Matsinen did not leave the Soviet Union until 1955, when he lost weight.

The exhausted remote patrolman spent the rest of his life in Kauniala Military Injury Hospital.

He died in 1994.