FINNISH Army in 1920s-1930s (organization, equipment)

Discussions on the Winter War and Continuation War, the wars between Finland and the USSR.
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Post by JTV » 24 Oct 2005 06:28

BIGpanzer wrote:Some more info about Finnish HMG Maxim: konekivääri m/09-09, konekivääri m/09-21, konekivääri m/32 (and other infantry weapon of Finnish Army if search the sites): 8O ... _mosin.asp 8O 8O 8O
That pretty much covers BIGpanzer's question. The easy answer to most common medium machineguns in Finnish use at 1920's and 1930's would be Maxim M/09-09 and M/09-21. Model 09-21 was still most common when Winter War begun. So, basically M/09-09 was the most common early on until number of M/09-21 passed it (unfortunately I am not sure about the year it happened).

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Post by JTV » 24 Oct 2005 06:51

Just few details:

Valtion Tykkitehdas (State Artillery Factory) was often called with its abbreviation - VTT. It seems the factory didn't get anything manufactured ready in 1938. This is rather usual to new ordnance factories - starting production takes time. Only thing it succeeded starting to manufacture before Winter War were small number of 37 PstK/36 antitank-guns, first of which were finished at summer of 1939. Other main product of this factory was 40 ItK/38B Bofors anti-aircraft gun, but their production didn't start until 1941. Notice: Both of these guns were Bofors designs manufactured under license, the license had been acquired before World War 2.

Before WW2 Tampella sold Finnish military only 81-mm mortars and small number of 47-mm mortars (experimental status). It manufactured its own 120-mm mortar protype in mid-1930's (1935?), but didn't start manufacturing it (or to be exact its improved version) until 1940. Brandt had 120-mm mortar model, but it seems that Tampella didn't manufacture any. The pre-WW2 exported mortars were 60-mm and 81-mm Brandt models.

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Post by Harri » 26 Oct 2005 17:13

Development of the Finnish Aviation Force (Ilmailuvoimat) 1918 - 1927

Kalevi Keskinen, Kyösti Partonen, Kari Stenman
- Suomen ilmavoimat I [Finnish Air Force vol. I] 1918 - 1927, self-published by Kari Stenman, 2005

Flying units of the White Forces

Lento-osasto I (Flying Detachment I)
28.2.1918- Kolho -> 21.3.- Orivesi -> 28.3.- Vehmainen -> 10.4.- Tampere ->
11.5.1918 Moved to Lappeenranta
Lt./Capt.[18] Allan Hygerth [Swedish]

Lento-osasto II (Flying Detachment II)
10.4.- Antrea -> 10.5.1918 Moved to Lappeenranta
Lt. Knut Clauson-Kaas [Danish]

-> Lappenrannan lentoasema (Lappenranta Air Station)
7.5.1918- Lappeenranta -> 15.6.1918 moved to Utti (land planes) and Turku (sea planes)
Lt. Konrad von Bülow-Bothkamp [German] (killed in earial accident on 26.9.1918)

-> Utin lentoasema (Utti Air Station) falled to the hands of Whites on 3.5.1918
10.5.- Utti

-> Turun lentoasema (Turku Air Station) falled to the hands of Whites on 12.4.1918
1.5.1918- Turku

Sortavalan lentoasema (Sortavala Air Station)
14.6.1918- Sortavala

Koiviston lentoasema (Koivisto Air Station)
7.9.1918- Koivisto

Hermannin lentoasema (Hermanni Air Station) falled to the hands of Germans on 13.4.1918
5.5.1918- Hermanni (Helsinki) -> 28.9.1918 moved to Santahamina

-> Santahaminan lentoasema (Santahamina Air Station)
28.9.1918- Santahamina (Helsinki)

German troops had a Flieger-Abteilung 16 led by Hauptmann Georg Liebermann von Sonnenberg at Tallinn, Estonia since 25.2.1918. Detachment had for example D.F.W. C.V and Friedrichshafen FF 49C reconnaissance planes which during the winter and spring flew a total of 70 recon missions to Finland taking 332 aerial photographs.

Flying Detachments of the Reds

- Pohjoisen rintaman lento-osasto (Aviation Detachment of the Northern Front) 1.3. - 6.4.1918 Tampere
- Keskisen rintaman lento-osasto (Aviation Detachment of the Central Front) 2.3.1918- Kouvola -> 1./2.4.- ?.4.1918 Utti
- Itäisen rintaman lento-osasto (Aviation Detachment of the Eastern Front) ?. - 21?.4.1918 Viipuri
(Russian pilot flew their planes to Russia about a week earlier Whites accupied Viipuri)


Finnish Aviation Force 1918 - 1927

Turun Lentokoulu (Turku Flying School) 1.5.1918 - Turku
-> V Lento-osasto (V Flying Detachment) 1.10.1918 - 20.3.1919

Attached to Aviation Battalion (Ilmailupataljoona) on 20.3.1919.

Lt. Konrad von Bülow-Bothkamp (?.1918 -)
Capt. Sulo-Veikko Pekkola (12.8.1918 -)
Lt. Gunnar Holmqvist (22.10.1918 - 20.3.1919)

Hermannin Lentoasema (Hermanni Air Station) 5.5.1918 - Hermanni (Helsinki)
-> II Lento-osasto (II Aviation Detachment) 12.8.1918 - 28.9.1918

Attached to Flying Battalion (Ilmailupataljoona) on 28.9.1918.

Capt. Bertil Mårtenson (12.8.1918 - 28.9.1919)

Lentopataljoona (Flying Battalion) 28.9.1918- Santahamina (Helsinki)
-> Ilmailupataljoona (Aviation Battalion) 15.3.1919 - 1.3.1924

Divided into Aviation Dock (Ilmailutelakka) and Aviation School (Ilmailukoulu) on 1.3.1924.

Oberlt. Ulrich von Beroldingen (28.9.1918 -)
Capt. Leonard Lindberg (14.12.1918 -)
Capt. Yrjö Könni (9.10. - 4.12.1919, 20.11.1920 -)
Capt. Väinö Mikkola (4.12.1919 - 7.9.1920 + killed in aerial accident in the Alps)
Maj. Aarne Snellmann (24.3.1922 - 1.3.1924)

-> Ilmailutelakka (Aviation Dock) 1.3.1924 - Santahamina (Helsinki)

Capt. Arvo Tenlénius (1.3.1924 -)

-> Ilmailukoulu (Aviation School) 1.3.1924 - Santahamina
(Formed as part of Aviation Battalion since 1.3.1921.)

Capt. Gunnar Holmqvist (1.3.1921 -)
Lt. Armas Anthoni (4.8.1921 -)
Lt. Carl Lindström (4.8.1923 -)
Lt. Yrjö Opas (1.3.1924 -)

Kenttälentoasema I (Field Air Station I) 14.6.1918 - Sortavala
-> I Lento-osasto (I Flying Detachment) 1.8.1918 -
-> I Ilmailuosasto (I Aviation Detachment) 15.3.1919 -
-> III Ilmailuosasto (III Aviation Detachment) 1.3.1921 -
-> Ilmailuosasto 3 (Aviation Detachment 3) 8.11.1921 -
-> Meritiedustelulaivue 2 (Sea Reconnaissance Squadron 2) 1.3.1924 -
-> 2. Erillinen Merilentolaivue (2nd Separate Naval Flying Squadron) 1.4.1926 -

Lt. Väinö Mikkola (14.6.1918 -)
2Lt. Santtu Tschernihin (4.12.1919 -)
Capt. Tommi Maunula (1.3.1924 -)
Capt. Väinö Snellmann (6.12.1924-)
Capt. Rainer Ahonius (1.4.1926 -)

Utin lentoasema (Utti Air Station) 10.5.1918 - Utti
III Lento-osasto (III Flying Detachment) 1.8.1918 - 1.3.1919

Attached to Aviation Battalion on 1.3.1919.

Lt. Gustaf Michelsson (?.1918 -)
Oberlt. Arnold Graefe (27.8.1918 -)
2Lt. Åke Weber (14.12.1918 -)
Lt. Yrjö Könni (14.1. - 1.3.1919)

II Ilmailuosasto (II Aviation Detachment) 1.7.1919 - Utti
-> I Ilmailuosasto (I Aviation Detachment) 1.3.1921 -
-> Ilmailuosasto 1 (Aviation Detachment 1) 8.11.1921 -1.3.1924

Divided into Fighter Fleet (Hävittäjäeskaaderi) and Land Reconnaissance Squadron (Maatiedustelulaivue) on 1.3.1924.

Capt. Gunnar Holmqvist (1.7.1919 -)
2Lt. Erik Stenbäck (1.3.1921 -)
Capt. Allan Gottleben (24.3.1922 - 1.3.1924)

-> Hävittäjäeskaaderi (Fighter Fleet) 1.3.1924 - 1.4.1926 Utti

Attached to Land Flying Fleet (Maalentoeskaaderi) on 1.4.1926.

Maj. Lars Melander (1.3.1924 -)
Capt. Eero Könni (6.12.1924 - 1.4.1926)

-> Maatiedustelulaivue (Land Reconnaissance Squadron) 1.3.1924 - 1.4.1926 Utti

Attached to Land Flying Fleet (Maalentoeskaaderi) on 1.4.1926.

Capt. Allan Gottleben (1.3.1924 -)
Capt. Jouni Almberg (6.12.1924 - 1.4.1926)

-> Maalentoeskaaderi (Land Flying Fleet) 1.4.1926 - Utti

Capt. Väinö Snellmann

IV Lento-osasto (IV Flying Detachment) 7.9.1918 - Koivisto
-> III Lento-osasto (III Flying Detachment) 15.3.1919 -
-> II Ilmailuosasto (II Aviation Detachment) 1.3.1921 - -> 24.8.1921 - Viipuri
-> Ilmailuosasto 2 (Aviation Detachment 2) 8.11.1921 -
-> Pommituseskaaderi (Bomber Fleet) 1.3.1924 -
-> 1. Erillinen Merilentolaivue (1st Separate Naval Flying Squadron) 1.4.1926 -

Lt. Gustaf Michelsson (7.9.1918 -)
Lt. Arvi Pajunen (27.9.1919 -)
Capt. Axel Nystedt (6.12.1924 -)

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Post by Harri » 26 Oct 2005 17:24

Finnish Defence Forces 1937

K. J. Mikola, V. Tervamäki, V. S. Salokangas -
Suomen puolustusvoimat - ennen ja nyt (Finnish Defence Forces then and now), WSOY 1959

Serving times since 1932:
- men 350 days
- NCOs and officers 440 days
Refresher courses became compulsory for the whole personnel (earlier only for NCOs and officers)

Ylipäällikkö / Commander-in-Chief (during peace-time):
Tasavallan Presidentti (President of the Republic of Finland) Kyösti Kallio

Puolustusministeriö (Pl.M) (Ministry of Defence) Helsinki

Yleisesikunta (YE) (General Staff) Helsinki

Armeijakunta (AK) (Army Corps)
Armeijakunnan esikunta (AKE) (Army Corps HQ) Viipuri

1. Divisioona (1.D) (1st Division)
Esikunta (1.DE) (HQ) Helsinki
Suomen valkoinen kaarti (SVK) (White Guard of Finland) Helsinki
Porin rykmentti (PR) (Pori Regiment) Turku
Uudenmaan rykmentti - Nylands regemente (UN - NR) (Uusimaa regiment) Suomenlinna + Santahamina (Helsinki)
Kenttätykistörykmentti 1 (KTR 1) (Field Artillery Regiment 1) Hämeenlinna
Kenttätykistörykmentti 4 (KTR 4) (Field Artillery Regiment 4) Vaasa
Helsingin autokomppania (HAutoK) (Helsinki Truck Company) Helsinki
Helsingin komennuskompania (HKK) (Helsinki Command Company) Helsinki
Erillinen hyökkäysvaunukomppania (Er.HVK) (Separate Tank Company) Hämeenlinna
Sotakoirakomppania (SKoiraK) (War Dog Company) Hämeenlinna

2. Divisioona (2.D) (2nd Division)
Esikunta (2.DE) (HQ) Viipuri
Karjalan kaartin rykmentti (KKR) (Karelian Guard's Regiment) Viipuri
Tampereen rykmentti (TR) (Tampere Regiment) Lahti
Keski-Suomen rykmentti (KSR) (Central Finland Regiment) Kouvola
Jääkäripataljoona 2 (JP 2) (Jäger Battalion 2) Viipuri
Kenttätykistörykmentti 2 (KTR 2) (Field Artillery Regiment 2) Viipuri
Ilmatorjuntarykmentti (ITR) (Anti-Aircraft Regiment) Viipuri
Viestipataljoona (VP) (Signals Battalion) Viipuri
Huoltopataljoona (HuoltoP) (Supply Battalion) Viipuri

3. Divisioona (3.D) (3rd Division)
Esikunta (3.DE) (HQ) Mikkeli
Savon jääkärirykmentti (SJR) (Savo Jäger Reiment) Käkisalmi
Pohjan rykmentti (Pohj.R) (North Ostrobothnian Regiment) Kuopio
Viipurin rykmentti (VR) (Viipuri Regiment) Jaakkima
Jääkäripataljoona 3 (JP 3) (Jäger Battalion 3) Mikkeli
Jääkäripataljoona 4 (JP 4) (Jäger Battalion 4) Kiviniemi
Kenttätykistörykmentti 3 (KTR 3) (Field Artillery Regiment 3) Riihimäki + Koria
Pioneeripataljoona (Pion.P) (Engineer Battalion) Koria

Ratsuväkiprikaati (RPr.) (Cavalry Brigade)
Esikunta (RPr.E) (HQ) Lappeenranta
Uudenmaan rakuunarykmentti (URR) (Uusimaa Dragoon Regiment) Lappeenranta
Hämeen ratsurykmentti (HRR) (Häme Mounted Regiment) Lappeenranta
Viestieskadroona (VEsk.) (Signals Squadron) Lappeenranta
Ratsuväen aliupseerikoulu (Rv.AUK) (Cavalry NCO School) Lappeenranta
Ratsastava patteri (Rats.Ptri) (Riding Battery) Mikkeli
Ratsukoulu (RatsuK) (Mount School) Ypäjä
Jääkäripataljoona 1 (JP 1) (Jäger Battalion 1) Terijoki
Erillinen pioneerikomppania (Er.Pion.K) (Separate Engineer Company) Kellomäki

Merivoimat (Me.V) (Naval Forces)
Merivoimien esikunta (Me.VE) (Naval Forces Staff) Helsinki
Rannikkotykistörykmentti 1 (RT 1) (Coastal Artillery regiment 1) Suomenlinna (Helsinki)
Rannikkotykistörykmentti 2 (RT 2) (Coastal Artillery regiment 2) Viipuri
Rannikkotykistörykmentti 3 (RT 3) (Coastal Artillery regiment 3) Sortavala
1. Erillinen rannikkotykistöpatteristo (1.Er.RTPsto) (1st Separate Coastal Artillery Battalion) Hanko
2. Erillinen rannikkotykistöpatteristo (2.Er.RTPsto) (2nd Separate Coastal Artillery Battalion) Hamina
Rannikkolaivasto (RL) (Coastal Fleet) Helsinki
Koululaiva (KL) (School Ship) "Suomen Joutsen" [Swan of Finland]
Laivastoasema (LA) (Naval Station) Helsinki

Ilmavoimat (Ilm.V) (Air Force)
Ilmavoimien esikunta (Ilm.VE) (Air Force Staff)
Lentoasema 1 (LAs.1) (Air Station 1) Utti
Lentoasema 2 (LAs.2) (Air Station 2) Santahamina (Helsinki)
Lentoasema 3 (LAs.3) (Air Station 3) Sortavala
Lentoasema 4 (LAs.4) (Air Station 4) Turkinsaari
Lentoasema 5 (LAs.5) (Air Station 5) Suur-Merijoki
Lentoasema 6 (LAs.6) (Air Station 6) Immola
Mekaanikkokoulu (Mek.K) (Mechanics School) Santahamina (Helsinki)
Koelentue (KoeL) (Test Flight) Tampere
Ilmailuvarikko (Ilm.Var.) (Aviation Depot) Tampere

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Post by Juha Tompuri » 09 May 2007 07:04

BIGpanzer wrote: The most interesting thing I found was the large old Finnish bunker (made from stone blocks and cement, 2 floors inside and open platform for the medium calibre gun on the top). That bunker located on uninhabited small island on Ladoga Lake (we made a small trip there on motor boat), and even beds, wash basins and armored doors were still in quite good condition, but already all things became rusty, some were broken. I suppose that was Ristisaari or very closely islands according to Juha`s map. Unfortunately, I forgot to take my camera that time to make photos :(
Is this of any help ?

Regards, Juha

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Post by BIGpanzer » 09 May 2007 14:39

Thanks a lot, interesting link [need some time to read and analyze it]. My friends made several photos of that bunker but they are far away from me, I will try to get those photos later if possible.
Looked like this one but "my" bunker/observation post seems to be larger -

I will return back to this my old thread as it is very far from completelly finished, but later also.
I also found a lot of materials about Finnish Army and Navy of 1920s during the last year. Probably, Finns know this info [and can correct/add some info to mine], but it will be very interesting for another [non-Finnish] members. I will try to return back here in the beginning of June according to my general AHF plan :lol:

Best regards, BP

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Post by Juha Tompuri » 09 May 2007 20:58

Ah, just a by-product at my search for the Finnish and Soviet gunboats at Lake Ladoga.

Regrds, Juha

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Post by BIGpanzer » 09 May 2007 22:25

OK! :wink:

I. To stay in topic I can mention Soviet gunboat "Sheksna" of Ladoga military flotilla, which was ex-Finnish armored icebreaker "Aallokas" [370 tons; 34.15x7.5x3.35 m; 520 hp steam engine; 11 knots; 1000 miles at 8 knots; 56 men crew]. It was built in 1936 in Sortavala [Sortavalan Telakka ja Konepaja Oy shipyard] and the ship was taken in spring 1940 by Red Army units and Soviet warships of Ladoga [after sign Moscow Peace Treaty, which finished the Winter war].
As I want to discuss only Finnish army as much as possible here, please, provide me with the info about service of "Aallokas" in Finland [before the Winter war].

I know that when the Winter war began the icebreaker was armed with two 75mm guns and two 40mm anti-aircraft guns. It was the largest vessel of the Finnish Ladoga Flotilla and the flagship of the gunboats flotilla of lieutenant-commander Asikainen [4 gunboats: "Aallokas", "Aunus", "Tarmo" and "Vulcan"]. From 14.12.1939 till 12.01.1940 "Aallokas", "Tarmo" and "Vulcan" performed 11 raids to the areas near Pitkäranta, Mursula and Koirinoja. It total during this raids the gunboats fired at the enemy ~150 75mm shells.

The photo of icebreaker "Aallokas" at Sortavala harbour, winter 1936 is from

II. Soviets also took Finnish icebreaking tug "Aunus" mentioned above [served as mine-sweeper TShch-100 during WWII] at Ladoga Lake in March 1940. Specifications of "Aunus" - 112 tons; 26x5.3x2.1 m; 2 steam engines 280 hp total; 10.5 knots; 750 miles at 7 knots; 48 men.
"Aunus" was built in Turku shipyard Wm. Crichton & Co Ab in 1900.

In 1919 the tug was reequipped into gunboat and became a part of Finnish Ladoga flotilla. According to the 1920 Tartu Peace Treaty between Soviet Russia and Finland "Aunus" should have armament of 2x47mm guns + 1 MGs + 30 mines. [August 1934]
"Aunus" [commander - lieutenant T. Helikari] participated in artillery attacks and setting minebanks during the Winter war, for example 07.12.1939 "Aunus" set 16 mines near Vuaratsu Island.
Since 1982 TShch-100 [ex-"Aunus"] is at eternal stay in Novaya Ladoga in Russia -

The photo of icebreaking tug (gunboat) "Aunus" in 1928 is from

Best regards, BP

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Post by divplaksnis » 25 Aug 2007 13:07

I have information that latvian VEF delivere finnish army some secret equipment, and I whant to know what VEF delivered Finnish army.

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Post by BarSeek » 14 Sep 2007 10:48

BIGpanzer wrote:Looked like this one but "my" bunker/observation post seems to be larger
"Your" bunker seems to be located at Lauvatsaari island, apr. 30 km from Käkisalmi/Kexholm up north. Similar size bunker could be found at Heinäsenmaa island about 10 km to the east from above mentioned. The link provided by Juha Tompuri shows artillery observation tower at Kelisaari island, the most southern of Valamo group of islands. This is the highest tower of that type and the island itself is the most heavily fortified. I upload some pictures to let you recognize if it is "yours" -
Kelisaari observation tower can be seen at the next photo -
You can see fortifications at Verkkosaari, Heinäsenmaa and Mökerikö islands if follow that link - ... hotos.html.
(2nd, 3rd and 4th groups of pictures).

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Re: FINNISH Army in 1920s-1930s (organization, equipment)

Post by Fulmen » 02 Jun 2016 11:19

Sorry to necro this, but this is both an interesting thread and I have a question regarding the strength of the FDF in 1936, specifically the active strength.

Someone on another forum used a few of the posts here on the first page to give a figure of 100k active + 340k in reserve, but 100k seems way too high for active service in 1936. For comparison, today's active service is 30,5k with conscripts included. Without conscripts it's 12k, out of which a third are civilians or people with only civilian training. So there's really only about 8k professional soldiers today, that is unless this figure also includes reservists in Local Defence Companies.

So my question to you guys is, what was the active strength of the FDF in 1936? How many were professional soldiers, conscripts or even civilians? I'm not sure if the Civil Guards can be factored into this figure, as they were still reservists (except for the younger participants who had not even been conscripted yet), but it seems they were integrated closer to the FDF OOB after the failed Mäntsälä Rebellion of 1932, more info here: ... 30-luvulla (Finnish).

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