The construction of the Pori airfield was completed in fall 1939, just ahead of the Winter War, and its operations were soon overtaken by the Finnish Defense Forces. Aerial bombing of Pori heavily influenced the plans for the airfield and it was converted from a civilian airfield into a military base.
When Finland joined the attack against the Soviet Union in June 1941, their new German allies were given access to multiple Finnish airfields. As Pori was far away from the ongoing battles, and had convenient access to the Baltic Sea, the airfield there was chosen as the location for an aviation equipment depot for Luftflotte 5 operating in Norway and Finland.
Thus, on July 17th, 1941, Feldluftpark 3/XI Pori was founded. As the airfield was modest in size before the arrival of the Germans, a speedy construction project was started to accommodate up to 3,000 personnel. Improvements also included extended runways and a series of aircraft shelters hidden in the woods nearby. In 1944, the airfield was surrounded by around 300 buildings.
When the armistice between Finland and the Soviet Union took effect in September 1944, the Germans at Pori retreated orderly, but not before setting up timed explosives around the airfield. In the evening of September 15th, explosives destroyed 33 German and 9 Finnish buildings - along with thousands of windows that shattered around the city due to the resulting shock wave.
After the war, the future of the airfield remained undecided for long, as the city of Pori wished its relocation, but the Finnish Defense Forces wanted to keep it in their use. In 1962, both sides agreed to improve the airfield, resulting in a construction project and demolition of certain wartime constructions.
However, many constructions, such as aircraft shelters, were also left in peace in the woods surrounding the airport. In 2002, the area was protected as a part of the Pori National Urban Park.
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Germans of Pori
Detonations of 1944
Photo: Construction of Pori Airfield on 15.2.1939. Finnish Defence Forces´ Photograph Archive.