Kokkoneva battle

Kokkoneva Perho


One of the roughest battles of the Finnish War was fought at Kokkoneva in Perho on 11 July 1808 between the Russians and the Finnish troops of the Swedish army. The Finnish division, led by Major Otto Henrik von Fieandt, featured over a thousand men, while the Russian forces, commanded by Major General I. F. Jankovits, had over three thousand. The violent and multi-stage battle lasted for nine hours. The boom of cannons is said to have been tremendous and the gunpowder smoke to have filled the whole of Kokkoneva, which consisted of rough bog terrain with occasional groves. Due to the superior manpower of the Russians and the Finnish troops’ lack of ammunition, von Fieandt and his troops finally had to retreat and suffer a defeat. Jankovits’ forces suffered about 800 casualties (dead or injured), while von Fieandt’s troops had about 170, with 25 fatalities. One of the fallen soldiers, the non-commissioned officer Bror Schöneman, is said to have been particularly brave and has his tomb on Kokonsaari in Kokkoneva.


After a series of episodes, von Fieandt’s troops managed to retreat from the Kokkoneva battlefield to Veteli. The life of people in Perho, however, was chaotic and filled with fear after the lost battle because Jankovits’ troops plundered and vandalised the village. People fled from Perho to refuges in the forests. Samuli Paulaharju (1930, 48–49) describes how “things that could not be taken along were hidden, and then the whole bunch left and trusted that the forest would take care of them”. The region suffered significant economic damages but, as far as is known, avoided bloody terror.