Soviet occupation. The missile base in the vicinity of Väike-Maarja.


Eesti Vabariik 100
Georg Lurich
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Soviet occupation. The missile base in the vicinity of Väike-Maarja.

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In 1939 Russia and Germany concluded Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, with the secret treaty of which borderline states were divided into ascendancy zones. The Baltic States, who had no hope for external assistance, were forced to conclude the non-aggression pacts with the Soviet Union in 1939. The first Soviet military bases were established in Estonia. In June 1940, when additional armed forces marched in, Estonia was completely occupied. Thereafter the so-called socialist revolution and Estonia-s "voluntary joining" the Soviet Union were framed up. New military bases were established everywhere, later also missile bases.

The 304. Missile Regiment of the Soviet Guards was located in 1960.-1970s in Arkna Road, Rakvere. Two divisions served under this regiment: one in Kadila and the other in Rohu-Lebavere woods. There was a division in this base that served R-12-type missiles taken into use in the Soviet Union in 1959.

The missiles were able to fly 2000 kilometers and carry nuclear explosive charges of 1 or 2,3 megatons (1 mgt = 1 million tons).

Rohu base Kadila base

The territory, where the division was situated, was surrounded by a double barbed wire fence. Between the two fences there was a wire netting connected with electricity. As a human being or an animal touched the fence, the signalling system was started and revealed the point of contact. There were machine-gun emplacements at the gate. The missile units located in the woods were called the divisions of artillery. The people did not know about the nuclear missiles in the local forests.

The military territory was divided into different zones. In the first zone there were the workrooms of the guard and the officers, the staff, ammunition depots, underground fuel tanks, garages for the machinery. The officers lived in the military quarter in Rakvere.

In the second zone there were the soldiers’ barracks, a sauna, a laundry, a club, a boilerhouse and a power station. In the management yard there was the storage for the foodstuff, garages for the machinery and a mazut storage.

The battle zone was the most important one in the base. That was additionally separated from the other zones by a thick barbed wire fence. In the battle zone there was a depot for special missile fuel, an installation ground, hangars for the missiles and their servicing and starting grounds. For two missiles there was one hangar and one starting ground. There were 6 missiles in one division, that could immediately take off if necessary, 2 were in reserve. The missiles in a hangar stood on a wheeled stand in the horizontal position. The length of a missile with the explosive charge was about 22 m. In the depot there had to be the uniform temperature (+4C) and humidity throughout the year. An automatic ventilation system guaranteed the steady microclimate. The warm air came into the hangars from the boilerhouse through the underground pipes.

Both parts of the base in these woods here were similar. Only in Rohu (Lebavere) there was a depot for nuclear explosive charges, a shooting gallery and also a pigsty for both divisions. The locators near the Kadila division serviced the whole base.

Today the facilities are in ruins. In this territory there are 5 almost entirely preserved hangars. In the hangar for the nuclear explosive charges one can see a massive doorjamb of a room for keeping the nuclear charges (?), to which a door up to half a meter thick was fixed. From the first “unbroken” missile hangar a road leads to a starting ground, where one can see a circle necessary for the take-off of a missile. In the nearby servicing hangar there is still a “painting” depicting Lenin. Searching carefully one can also find other circles at the starting grounds.  

In the so-called Kadila base two hangars for the special missile fuel storage, one servicing hangar and a missile hangar have almost entirely preserved. From the latter a road leads to a starting square. A circle is clearly visible there. The surrounding mounds of the square have partially preserved. The hiding places, where people hid  during the take-off of missiles, are still there.

The servicing of such missiles was comp­licated and inconvenient. After some ten years the base was morally outdated. The military unit mentioned was liquidated at the 1978. For the new mobile missile sys­tems more accomplished starting equipment was established, the servicing of which was considerably faster and the disclosure more difficult.

“A painting” on the wall of the hangar servicing the so-called Rohu base. The storage hangar of nuclear missiles of Rohu base.
A Servicing shed in the so-called Kadila base near the starting square. The missile hangar in Kadila base.