Operation Kilpapurjehdus
Operation Kilpapurjehdus ("Regatta") was the covername for the militarization of the Åland islands. The operation took place on June 22 1941, and in this way, Finland strived to prevent Soviet landings in the area.

The Åland islands had been demilitarized since 1921, through a League of Nations
League of Nations
The League of Nations was an intergovernmental organization founded as a result of the Paris Peace Conference that ended the First World War. It was the first permanent international organization whose principal mission was to maintain world peace...

 decree. This meant that it was not allowed to have any military personnel or material on the islands. After the end of the Winter War
Winter War
The Winter War was a military conflict between the Soviet Union and Finland. It began with a Soviet offensive on 30 November 1939 – three months after the start of World War II and the Soviet invasion of Poland – and ended on 13 March 1940 with the Moscow Peace Treaty...

, the Soviet Union controlled both the Hanko Peninsula
Hanko Peninsula
The Hanko Peninsula , also spelled Hango, is the southernmost point of mainland Finland. The soil is a sandy moraine, the last tip of the Salpausselkä ridge, and vegetation consists mainly of pine and low shrubs...

 and Estonia
Estonia , officially the Republic of Estonia , is a state in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by the Gulf of Finland, to the west by the Baltic Sea, to the south by Latvia , and to the east by Lake Peipsi and the Russian Federation . Across the Baltic Sea lies...

 and the Finnish leadership feared that the Soviets were planning a landing in the demilitarized area. The Finnish militarization plan was ready by April and they started to move troops towards the coast between Turku
Turku is a city situated on the southwest coast of Finland at the mouth of the Aura River. It is located in the region of Finland Proper. It is believed that Turku came into existence during the end of the 13th century which makes it the oldest city in Finland...

 and Pori
Pori is a city and municipality on the west coast of Finland. The city is located some from the Gulf of Bothnia, on the estuary of the Kokemäenjoki river, which is the largest in Finland. Pori is the most important town in the Satakunta region....

 according to the plan.

The operation was launched at the same time as the German Operation Barbarossa
Operation Barbarossa
Operation Barbarossa was the code name for Germany's invasion of the Soviet Union during World War II that began on 22 June 1941. Over 4.5 million troops of the Axis powers invaded the USSR along a front., the largest invasion in the history of warfare...

. The transports involved over 20 cargo ships, the two coastal defence ship
Coastal defence ship
Coastal defence ships were warships built for the purpose of coastal defence, mostly during the period from 1860 to 1920. They were small, often cruiser-sized warships that sacrificed speed and range for armour and armament...

s Ilmarinen and Väinämöinen, as well as the three gunboats Uusimaa, Hämeenmaa and Karjala. More than 5,000 men and artillery were landed the same evening in Mariehamn
Mariehamn is the capital of Åland, an autonomous territory under Finnish sovereignty. Mariehamn is the seat of the Government and Parliament of Åland, and 40% of the population of Åland live in the city...

. Soviet aircraft tried to attack the ships during transport, but without result. The Soviet Union had also created a similar plan after the Winter War, but they never tried to land on the islands during WW2.

The Soviet invasion threat was no longer acute after the Soviets had evacuated their Hanko base and the Germans had advanced in the Baltic states. The Finns started to transport the troops towards the eastern front. The Åland islands were again demilitarized after the end of the Continuation War
Continuation War
The Continuation War was the second of two wars fought between Finland and the Soviet Union during World War II.At the time of the war, the Finnish side used the name to make clear its perceived relationship to the preceding Winter War...

and remain so today.
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