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.




In The Tales of Ensign Stål (Vänrikki Stoolin tarinat), Finland’s national poet Johan Ludvig Runeberg wrote a heroic poem related to the fighting in Perho. The poem tells of a wanderer named Cloud’s Brother (Pilven veikko), who had settled in the Metsä-Poranen house. Based on Runeberg’s poem, Samuli Paulaharju (1930, 52) writes as follows:


“He left to chase the Russians and met a big bunch of villains on the church hill. Like a wild animal, this forest boy attacked them. A fierce battle followed, in which ten Russians lost their lives and furious, bloody and torn Poranen finally also fell next to the bell tower.” After the battle, the farmer of Metsä-Poranen and his daughter came to ask what had happened to the young man. Especially the daughter was filled with sorrow because she had been the beloved of the deceased. Even at an old age, she might mention that her real husband had been killed by the Russians.


A march played mainly on the kantele or violin has been composed about the Kokkoneva battle. It was performed at the first Kaustinen Folk Music Festival in 1968 by local musicians. See the music of the march here: http://www.kamulaari.fi/site/_files/kokkonevan_taistelumarssi.pdf




A road sign to the battlefields


Schöneman´s tomb


Information board


A map of the Kokkoneva battle (www.vanhakartta.fi)


A road sign to the Fieandt´s stone


This is not a friendly hug.




You can listen to a more recent banjo version of the Kokkoneva battle march here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XDBuSX3mXuA


And a kantele version (Viljo Karvonen) here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3MciKRY4rLw&list=PL-7OVr-gD9OoNg6-jkxxAKPjHcV4Dixkr&index=10&t=0s