Coastlines CL-L35 Bengtskar Island, Lighthouse and skerries 1906 to c1950 1/1250

MRP £75.00
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(Product Ref 117232)
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Benbtskar means "Blessed Island" when translated from the Finnish. Perhaps a better translation might be "Holy Island" because it was not endowed with any facilities that would encourage people to want to live in such an isolated location before the lighthouse was built in 1906. The island is strategically located at the entrance to the Gulf of Finland and by 1900 the low lying rocks were considered to be a hazzard to shipping, so the Finns decided that a lighthouse must be built here for the safety of all and they agreed to pay for the lighthouse and collect the lighthouse dues. The Northern half of the islands were owned by Sweden and the highest part of the island was there, so the Finns negotiated to build the lighthouse in the Swedish part of the island. The lighthouse is said to be the largest in the Baltic sea and includes accommodation for lighthouse keepers and their families and up to 33 soldiers. During WW2 the Soviet Union decided that they could not allow Finland to control access to the Gulf of Finland, so they sent an invasion force from their naval base at Hanko to destroy the lighthouse and the Battle of Bengtskar was the result. The Russian forces had occupied the island and the lowest floors of the accommodation block when the Finnish Navy arrived in the shape of gunboats and minesweepers, drove off the Russian invasion ships and bombarded the Russians on the island allowing the surviving Finnish troops to take back control of the island. The Finns report that out of an invasion force of about 100 only 21 were captured and the rest were killed at a cost of two killed on their side and the potential diplomatic incident of Russian forces invading neutral Swedish territory was glossed over. Shortly after this, the Germans invaded Russia and Russia and Finland joined the Allied cause.
Argonaut has made the Finnish Navy ships involved in this battle but they are only available on the second-hand market at present.
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