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Germans in Ounasvaara – A historical tour of the landscapes of the Continuation War

  • Ounasvaara shooting pavilion and range and Ounasvaara winter games. Photo: A. Torvinen

    Ounasvaara shooting pavilion and range and Ounasvaara winter games. Photo: A. Torvinen

  • In and around the barracks of the Air Reconnaissance Regiment. Photo: A. Torvinen

    In and around the barracks of the Air Reconnaissance Regiment. Photo: A. Torvinen

  • Some of the destinations are reached along an atmospheric forest path. Photo: A. Torvinen

    Some of the destinations are reached along an atmospheric forest path. Photo: A. Torvinen

  • Battle stations and concrete dugout on the eastern side of the railroad. Photo: A. Torvinen

    Battle stations and concrete dugout on the eastern side of the railroad. Photo: A. Torvinen

  • Sicherheitsdienst prison. Photo: A. Torvinen

    Sicherheitsdienst prison. Photo: A. Torvinen

Germans in Ounasvaara – A historical tour of the landscapes of the Continuation War

Ounasvaara is known as the hub for sports and recreation in Rovaniemi but did you know that between 1941 and 1944, it was also the site of a barracks camp used by the German military, especially the German Air Force Luftwaffe?

This walking tour takes you virtually or physically to see the remains of the German wartime camp in the Ounasvaara and Lähteentie areas. The route is 4.2 kilometres long and takes about three hours to get around on foot. The route and locations of the sights along the route and their descriptions and photos can be found in this service.

We recommend visiting the sites located in the forest during the time of year when the ground is free of snow, as some of the remains are easily covered under the snow. A section of the route also overlaps a cross-country ski track, where walking is prohibited during the skiing season.

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Information

  • Length: 4.16 km
  • Time: 3 h
  • Viewed: 806
  • Latitude: 66.4990138202692
  • Longitude: 25.7613123407035

Waypoints

  • Battle stations and concrete dugout on the eastern side of the railroad
    Remains of numerous man-made earthworks can be found alongside Ounasvaara railroad, including both trenches and machine-gun nests as well as auxiliary trenches related to guard activities. At least some of these probably date from the Lapland War. On the side of the hill, next to the railroad, there is a long trench, machine-gun nests and foxholes. No actual fighting took place in this area, however...
  • Mystery barracks and trench
    One barracks building, about which little details exist but which has an impressive concrete foundation, is located near the tower blocks. In the German drawings, a car repair shop or truck garage is marked on this spot. The building may also have been a kitchen. A pipe used to drain rainwater is protruding from the concrete...
  • Rommel's field
    East of Ranuantie is a sports field called Rommel's field. The field was built in 1943 by men from the bakery company 602 of the German Army and the adjacent Army transport corps as a recreation area. The field was given the grandiose name Sportsbahn Feldmarschall Rommel, or Field Marshal Rommel's sports field. The name was written on the top board of the main gate...
  • Sicherheitsdienst prison
    We are now at the building used by the Geological Survey of Finland. Here, there used to be remains of steps of German buildings and ditches before the research institute's building was constructed. The area was a popular children's playground with plenty of wartime junk left behind. At the site of the research institute was a prison with walled cells used by the security agency Sicherheitsdienst for German prisoners...
  • Frontleitstelle 42 barracks camp area
    In this area between the railroad and Lähteentie was the Ounasvaara barracks camp of the front line headquarters, Frontleitsstelle 42, commissioned on 15 March 1943. The camp included numerous housing and storage barracks, apparently a large office building, garage, potato cellar, sauna and dressing room and several toilets – about thirty buildings in total. The area had a central square measuring approximately 10 by 60 metres, surrounded by four fairly large buildings. A shuttle transport to the camp was arranged from Rovaniemi railway station...
  • Children's home
    The former children's home was used as a hospital by the German Army during the Continuation War. The building still exists. The hospital and its area were mined during the Lapland War, but no mines were detonated. After the destruction of the town of Rovaniemi, the town's administrative offices were located there...
  • Finnish auxiliary workers' barracks and the labour question during the Continuation War
    According to German drawings, this was the site of a barracks for Finnish auxiliary workers, Finnische Hilfskräft, built in November and December 1943. The barracks, called Polar, was about eight by twelve metres in size and made of prefabricated plank wood elements. It was supplied by Puutalo Oy, a joint company formed by Finnish timber companies. It took a couple of days for Finnish carpenters to install and considerably longer for prisoners...
  • Officers' club and cultural activities during the war
    On this spot, sheltered by earth ramparts, probably stood the local officers' club, which the Germans called the casino. The club wasn't actually a casino, however. The servicemen had their own canteen along the present-day Lukkarinkatu and possibly elsewhere, too. The officers' club was a place of leisure for officers, hosting song nights and occasional guest performers such as singers or magicians...
  • German supply lines and coexistence with Finnish locals
    In this area, too, some remains of German porcelain tableware can be found, although nearly everything visible above-ground has long since been cleared away. The porcelain stamps reveal that the tableware have been imported from Germany's own factories. For example, Rosenthal tableware has been found in large numbers in the camps used by the Luftwaffe. Large amounts of porcelain were also imported from the Porsgrunn factories in Norway...
  • In and around the barracks of the Air Reconnaissance Regiment
    During the Continuation War, the Ounasvaara area of Rovaniemi was used extensively by the Germans. The area included several barracks, a hospital, bakery, veterinary and transport corps, prison camp used by the security services, front line headquarters, canteen for service personnel and, of course, Rommel's field. The area above the children's home and Ranuantie on the southwest slope of Ounasvaara hosted a fairly large barracks camp built by the Luftwaffe in 1942 and 1943. A part of the Luftnachtrichten-Regiment 56 transferred to Rovaniemi in December 1941...
  • Generaloberst Eduard Dietl
    Generaloberst Eduard Dietl was the longest-serving commander of the German army in Lapland during the Continuation War. Hitler appointed him as the new commander to replace Nikolaus von Falkenhorst in January 1942. Dietl was a true believer in the Nazi ideology and a staunch National Socialist. Despite this, according to his own words, he never would have even dreamed to attempt to preach this ideology in Finland...
  • Ounasvaara shooting pavilion and range and Ounasvaara winter games
    The old Ounasvaara ski stadium and shooting range includes a shooting pavilion designed by Viljami Kaltio for the Civil Guard. The pavilion, formerly known as Ampula, was completed in 1927. During the war, the pavilion housed a radio station for both Finns and Germans and accommodation for personnel. The Civil Guard's shooting range and its surroundings were used for shooting and field training exercises, among other things...

Nearby destinations

  • In and around the barracks of the Air Reconnaissance Regiment
    During the Continuation War, the Ounasvaara area of Rovaniemi was used extensively by the Germans. The area included several barracks, a hospital, bakery, veterinary and transport corps, prison camp used by the security services, front line headquarters, canteen for service personnel and, of course, Rommel's field. The area above the children's home and Ranuantie on the southwest slope of Ounasvaara hosted a fairly large barracks camp built by the Luftwaffe in 1942 and 1943. A part of the Luftnachtrichten-Regiment 56 transferred to Rovaniemi in December 1941...

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