Recollections of Talmut Allvee about the construction of Ninase Coastal Defence Battery

Esimesed ehitusmehed ilmusid Ninasele juba 1939. aasta sügisel.

The first construction workers arrived in Ninase in autumn 1939.

A large white ship dropped anchor offshore. They lowered a lifeboat carrying around 20 soldiers and an officer. They were carrying green boxes with them. I'm guessing they contained all sorts of technical contraptions. My father went to help the soldiers drill so as to take core samples. They had to drill by hand. They set up the derrick with the drill rig in the middle and began pulling the cables back and forth. They also made use of explosives to quarry the limestone ground. The majority of construction workers arrived in spring 1941. They mainly used GAZ-AA tippers. The lorries were loaded up with sand and rubble. A stone crusher was set up. This was manned by locals, with young boys lending a hand. Construction work lasted throughout the summer of 1941. The soil that had been dug up was hauled to the harbour and dumped into the sea to form a new wharf. The harbour was in more or less the same place as the Port of Saaremaa is now. Near the harbour there was a smithy and a welding workshop. The cannons were brought to the battery using a large sled pulled by two ‘Joes’. In addition to the soldiers there were construction tradesmen working at the site as well, most of them electricians. They weren't forbidden from drinking in their free time, which caused a lot of fights… A position finder was erected in Tagaranna, near the current border outpost. Once the facilities were completed, there was three days of firing practice. My father told me that their 100 kg shells could be seen flying through the air. The men belonging to the labour column left; around 100 sailors stayed. The war front reached Ninase. A German advance party arrived at the schoolhouse in Kugalepa. The Russians, driving a ZIS-5 lorry, launched an attack, but started celebrating too soon. The Germans, equipped with incendiary bullets, opened fire, setting the lorry on fire. All of the Russians died. The Russian facilities were bombed by German aircraft as well. Before retreating, the sailors blew up all of the artillery. One of the gun barrels emerged from this completely intact. Local children used the rotating gun barrel as a merry-go-round.

Storyteller: Talmut Allvee
Used sources and references:

Talmut Allvee, sünd. 1932. a, Mustjala vald Tagaranna küla (avaldatud Veldre, Tõnu. Ninase patarei paugutas tühja. Saarte Hääl 10.05.2014, nr 89), nr 317

Related objects

317th 180-mm Coastal Defence Battery in Ninase

This coastal defence battery is situated in Ninase near the Port of Saaremaa on Tagaranna Peninsula. Following the outbreak of World War II, the Soviet Union began fortifying the Western Estonian Archipelago and a coastal defence battery comprising four 180-mm guns was built on farmland in the village of Ninase to deter the enemy. Construction work on the battery began in July 1940. Its artillery stood 200-300 metres apart, with a generator established nearby to supply the complex with electricity. The battery was not used in combat. On 20 September 1941, German troops surrounded the battery. The battery crew managed to blow up two of the guns and break through the German line.

Ninase Coastal Defence Battery is one of the best preserved historical buildings from World War II on Saaremaa and has turned into a popular tourist attraction. It has become more attractive in recent years thanks to the Mustjala Music Festival, which is held nearby.