Kogula Airport in Saaremaa

The Kogula Air Force Base was established in August 1940.

Local people were also recruited for this activity, who had a good opportunity to earn a living. The main job of the locals was to transport stones from and around the runway. The runway was later extended due to the launch of long-range bombers. As the military town was not yet fully completed by 1941, the pilots and staff working at the base were housed in the surrounding farms. At the beginning of the war, on June 26, 1941, the 12th single fighter squadron of the Red Flag Baltic Fleet arrived at Kogula Airport with the 24th fighter I-153, led by Major Kudryavtsev. On July 28, a regiment of mine-torpedo planes, led by Colonel Preobrašenski, arrived at the airport. In August 1941, the bombers of the 1st mine-torpedo regiment DB-3 from Kogula Airport carried out a test and bombing flight to the northern German resort and port city of Swinemünde. There, the air defense of the opponent was tangled. Following the bombing of towns and settlements, the Greater Germany leadership issued a directive No. 34 stating that airports. On the night of August 7, fifteen DB-3 planes took off from Kogula Airport to bomb Berlin. This continued nine times until 5 September. On September 6, the Germans repeatedly bombed the Kogula air base. Six DB-3 were hit and destroyed. In the second half of September, the German army occupied the Kogula air base, and on September 21, the 54th Luftwaffe hunting squadron landed there. In the following years of the war, the Germans used the airport until October 1944, when it was re-occupied by Soviet troops.

After the war, the Soviet air force was stationed at Kogula Airport for some time. Later, due to the restructuring of the structure, the aircraft was distributed throughout Russia and Kogula remained a reserve airport. In 1965, the Soviet army carried out major military maneuvers in Saaremaa. In connection with this, large four-engine motor transport aircraft landed at Kogula Airport, transporting vitality and equipment.

Since then, the airport has mostly been useless.

Storyteller: Fred Vendel
Used sources and references:


1. Helme, Mehis. Air War in Estonia 1941 - 1945. Tallinn, 2016.

2.Jakovlev, Tormis. Saaremaa Museum Biennial 1997-1998 The Soviet Army in Western Saaremaa and its relations with the local population. Compiled and edited by Olavi Pesti. Kuressaare, 1999.

3. Register of Cultural Monuments of the National Heritage Board. Military heritage. https://register.muinas.ee

4. Guide to Estonian Military History, Tallinn 2010. Compiled by K. Luts.

5. Try, Endel. Islanders The foot of the Soviet military bases 1939 - 1941. Proceedings of the Saaremaa Museum No. 11. Kuressaare, 2020.

6. Try, Endel. Examination of military objects in Saare County. Kuressaare, 2006.

7. Raukas, Ahto. Residual pollution of the army of the former Soviet Union and its elimination. Ministry of the Environment of the Republic of Estonia. Tallinn, 1999.


Related objects

Kogula (Mõnnuste) airfield

In 1940, the Soviet Union began constructing Kogula Military Base No. 40 or, as the locals say, Mõnnuste or Kogula Airfield. The airfield is located in the area between the villages of Sõmera, Kogula and Mõnnuste. The larger settlement for soldiers of the airbase was not constructed, but a central command building and warehouses were built in Sõmera. In the middle of the airfield lied a limestone orthodox church, built in 1868. The bell tower of the church was demolished as it became an obstacle for planes taking off and landing. The main runway threshold was located 30 metres from the church. The church still stands, albeit in dire condition and in ruins.

The officers’ clubhouse in Sõmera village, built after the Second World War, now stands in relatively good condition. The airfield can be seen on the southwestern side of Mõnnuste village. Parking spots for airplanes were built on the western side of the airfield using soil ridges.

At some point, a monument made of dolomite was placed in Kogula, bearing the words: “Here, at Kogula Airfield, is where the Red Banner Baltic Fleet took off in 1941 – the first planes that bombarded Berlin.”