Sometimes story is so outlandish that it simply has be shared. And when that story involves inhospitable terrain, feeling Soviet troops, stepping on landmines and consuming 30x the “regular”dose of military grade meth then you really have story. This is Aimo Koivunen.
To read about de-mining in Cambodia click here.
What the Finland?
I’ll go out on a limb and assume that you know at least of Finland, but i’ll also surmise that you don’t necessarily know much about its history. Former very much part of the Russian Empire, it became independent after the Reds came, had its own civil war and was again invaded by Russia in World War Two.
In the the end they regained independence after World War Two, but on the provision that they stayed neutral, or as they called it at the time Finlandization. The country basically trod a close line between the commies and the capitalists.
You can read about Finlandization here.
This is something particularly interesting now with Finland looking to join NATO, something which might well bring another war, but back to the last war.
The Winter War and Aimo Koivunen
The Winter War started in 1939 when the Soviets, perhaps like today thought they could nip in win quick and be home by Christmas.
It didn’t exactly work out that way and Finnish resistance was extremely strong in a terrain that they knew better than anyone else. This included hit and run attacks on ski’s, as well as skilled snipers meaning that the USSR was not having a good time.
With the Soviets getting hit hard the inevitable atrocities started to occur and there were frozen corpses littering the country. Something had to give. Finland opted for peace in 1940 gave up 11 percent of its country and in theory things should have stayed that way.
This land now makes up what was the Finnish ASSR and is now known as the Republic of Karelia.
Before becoming feared pirate in a Disney franchise Barbarossa was the name for the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union. Four million troops matched into the Soviet Union, who were massively ill-prepared as Uncle Joe, despite being warned felt that Adolph was a trusted mate – I mean if you cannot trust a Nazi then who can you trust?
Finland thus saw their own land-grab opportunity and decided to cozy up with Nazi Germany. It should though be noted that they were not very Nazi and merely were n an my enemies enemy is my friend situation. The Finns nipped in, got their land back while the Soviets were busy and everything went back to normal, well not so much.
The tide of war was quickly to turn and where the Soviets had been ill-prepared before by 1944 they were battle hardened and marching to Berlin, but they also had some scores to settle with Finland, who it distinctly looked like would be eaten up by the USSR.
Finnish Residence and Aimo Koivunen
Despite being outmanned and outgunned by the mighty Red Army Finland did not sit and do nothing, with the nation heroically standing up to its eastern neighbour. One of these heroes was Aimo Koivunen.
A ski-trooper Aimo Koivunen was out on a ski patrol with his unit on a blistering cold night. They’d been trekking for over three days, but came under sustained fire from a massive force of Soviet soldiers. They managed an escape using their skis, fled for dear life, but it was now that things would get interesting for the protagonist and hero of todays story.
Chrystal Meth in World War Two
Despite now being a drug that few would say nice things about, in WW2 meth was considered a great way to get soldiers to do what you wanted them to do. And of course these were different times, when getting your soldiers to “break bad” was simply considered the smart thing to do.
Known and marketed as Pervetin it was not just used by Finland, but by almost everybody, with Hitler being a keen user of not just this, but a whole heap of drugs.
The Finnish army had meth and Aimo Koivunen had been tasked with looking after the drugs stash for him and his comrades, the dealer of the group if you will.
Straggling behind the other two, cold as hell and fearing Soviet capture and obvious death Aimo Koivunen unable to grab one pill due to his gloves and well, the cold consumed the whole box of 30.
As expected he immediately tripped out and eventually passed out to be left alone and in a ditch. He awoke to find he had no food, or supplies and a with a Red Army unit approaching. He was though also still off of his tits on meth, so began the drug fuelled journey home.
Aimo Koivunen and the 250k fuelled by meth
Aimo Koivunen began a seemingly impossible expedition of over 250 miles of inhospitable terrain back to safety dodging Soviet troops and surviving on pine cones. He did though treat himself to a Siberian Jay, which he ate raw.
On the final hurdle he stepped on landmine which tore part his leg, lay in a ditch for a week before dragging himself to safety. At the hospital he weighed in at 94 pounds and his meth fueled heart was beating at over double the normal rate at 200 BPM. The cray Finn still refused to die though, with Aimo Koivunen lasting until the ripe old age of 71, dying in 1989, blissfully unaware that his favourite drug would would be immortalised by the dad from Malcolm in The Middle. Aimo Koivunen surely is proof that the truth is often much stranger than fiction.
Finland itself opted for peace and whilst it lots a chunk of territory, now known as Keralia still exists in fine form to this day, although with things right now probably being at their most tense since they were co-belligerents (not allies) with Nazi Germany, with NATO membership imminent.