Lapland Troops Search For Unexploded Munitions

The anti-aircraft ammunition and grenades were left behind by German forces at the end of the Lapland War in 1944.

File picture of Jaeger Brigade troops in Lapland where they discovered old 122mm munitions near a private residence / Credit: Jääkäriprikaati

Troops in northern Finland have started a search for unexploded ordinance that could be a threat to local residents in Ivalo.

Ten soldiers from Jaeger Brigade are taking part in the six day clean-up effort, to find and dispose of old weapons left behind by the Germans at the end of the Lapland War in 1944.

“We are looking for 88mm anti-aircraft ammunition and grenades” explains Major Harri Pelkonen from Jaeger Brigade.

“There was an old German ammunition store, and when they left they just blew it all up. They took maybe a thousand grenades in one place and put an anti-tank mine on top of the pile, and blew it up. If you can imagine, the grenades were scattered all around the place where the store was” Pelkonen tells News Now Finland.

In the 1940s the ammunition store was located a safe distance from the nearest civilian population, but over the years urban growth has brought local residents closer to the area.

Two years ago during a previous search, Jaeger Brigade troops found 35 grenades in one crater.

Local residents have to be evacuated several hundred metres from their homes when the searches are carried out.

Any anti-aircraft ammunition or grenades that are found which can be safely removed from the scene will be taken and detonated. Otherwise, if it is not possible to remove the munitions, the military would surround it with barriers, cover it with gravel and detonate underground.