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, city (1996 pop. 10,623), Southern Finland prov., SW Finland, at the tip of the Hanko peninsula on the Baltic Sea. A popular bathing resort and a manufacturing town, it is the most important winter port in Finland.
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(Finnish, Hanko; Russian, Gangut), a peninsula in the extreme southwest of Finland.
Settlements on the Hangö Peninsula are first mentioned in written sources in the 13th century. From the late 13th century until 1809, the area was under Swedish rule. During the Northern War of 1700–21, the Russian Navy won a major victory over the Swedes in the battle of Hangö (1714). From 1809 to 1917 the pen-insub was part of the Russian Empire. In December 1917 it became part of the Republic of Finland.
Under the peace treaty of 1940 that ended the Winter War, Finland agreed to lease Hangö to the USSR for 30 years; a naval base was built on the peninsula. For 165 days, from the beginning of the Great Patriotic War until December 1941. the garrison of the base heroically defended the peninsula and the nearby islands.
Before attacking the USSR, the fascist German command demanded of the Finns the swift seizure of Hangö. For this purpose, the Hangö Shock Group was formed; the group consisted of about two divisions and was supported by coastal and field artillery (153 artillery pieces) and air and naval forces. Hangö, which was an important support base on the outlying approaches to Leningrad, was defended by the 8th Special Rifle Brigade (commander, N. P. Simoniak), a border guard detachment, engineering units, coastal artillery (47 artillery pieces), antiaircraft artillery (48 artillery pieces), an air detachment (20 planes), and a maritime guard unit (seven cutters and 16 auxiliary vessels); the forces totaled 25,000 men and were under the command of Major General S. I. Kabanov.
In the early hours of July 1, 1941, an attempt was made to take Hangö by storm but was defeated. The enemy thereupon undertook a prolonged seige and systematically pounded the area with artillery and mortar fire. The Soviet forces carried out an aggressive defense and sent landing parties to the nearby islands; 18 islands were cleared of the enemy between July 5 and October 23.
After the Soviet forces withdrew from Tallinn on August 28, the position of the defenders of Hangö became less secure; in winter the coast would be icebound, thus creating additional problems for the defense of the base. The serious situation that developed outside Leningrad in late October 1941 required that all forces, including those that were protecting Hangö, be concentrated in Leningrad for the defense of the city. By a decision of the General Headquarters, the base on Hangö was evacuated between October 26 and December 2; the ships of the Baltic Fleet that removed the Soviet troops and matériel had to contend with adverse circumstances, including an icy sea, stormy weather, and mines and other enemy countermeasures. By December 5, however, more than 22,000 men, together with matériel, had been transported to Leningrad. The heroic defense of Hangö had kept two enemy divisions near the peninsula, thus reducing the size of the forces that could be used at that time for the attack on Leningrad.
In accordance with the peace treaty of 1947 with Finland, the USSR relinquished its rights to lease Hangö Peninsula.
REFERENCEKabanov, S. I. “Khanko.” In the collection Voiuet Baltika. Leningrad, 1964.
N. P. MAZUNIN
(Finnish, Hanko; Russian, Gangut), a city and port in southern Finland, in the lääni (province) of Uusimaa; located on the Hangö Peninsula, near the mouth of the Gulf of Finland of the Baltic Sea. Population, approximately 10,000 (1970). Hangö is a seaside resort and seaport, particularly for foreign trade. The port is in use chiefly during the winter, when navigation is maintained with the help of icebreakers. The city is a fishing center. Hangö has a bicycle factory.