Finns Take Cover During Soviet Air Raid

A finnish mother holds her children during a Soviet air raid. The Finns recorded 3,166 airborne attacks from bombers and fighters. Trains between Valpuri and Helsinki were strafed, even though they mostly carried women and children evacuees from the front. The Finns lost 243 locomotives and 2,000 rail cars destroyed or damaged. Over 6,000 buildings were destroyed or damaged. The Finns shot down 534 aircraft and lost thirty-five aircraft. Carl Mydans, an American journalist for LIFE Magazine, shot this photo in December 1939. LIFE published it in January 1940, along with many others. The article, which Mydans did not write, praised the Finns and left the impression they were holding back the Soviets. Mydans knew the Finns were losing, despite inflicting heavy casualties. 892 Finns died in air raids and 1,856 were wounded. Over 70,000 Finnish children were evacuated to Sweden because of the bombings; some elected to remain in Sweden after the war, and many returned in the 1950s when Finland's depressed economy made living in Sweden attractive.
Caption Written By: 
Jason McDonald
Date Photographed: 
Friday, December 15, 1939