What If-Finland had been prepared for the Winter War?

Discussions on the Winter War and Continuation War, the wars between Finland and the USSR.
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CanKiwi2
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Re: What If-Finland had been prepared for the Winter War?

Postby CanKiwi2 » 19 Oct 2011 21:06

The early origins of Radio

It’s hard to imagine what military communications were like before the radio, which in turn was derived from the electric telegraph – which in turn had its origins in the earlier optical semaphore systems. Such optical signal systems have been in existence in one form or another for centuries and were faster than the physical transfer of messages by horse-rider or runner. The distance thry could bridge was however limited by geography and weather; thus, in practical use, most optical semaphore systems used lines of relay stations to bridge longer distances. The first comprehensive non-electric optical semaphore telegraph system was invented by Claude Chappe for the French military in 1794. This system was visual and used semaphore, a flag-based alphabet, depended on a line of sight for communication and was widely adopted across Europe for both commercial and military use. They succeeded in covering France with a network of 556 stations stretching a total distance of 4,800 kilometres which was used for military and national communications until the 1850s.

Sweden was the second country in the world, after France, to introduce an optical sempahore network. The Swedish network was restricted to the archipelagoes of Stockholm, Gothenburg and Karlskrona. Like its French counterpart, it was mainly used for military purposes. In the UK, Lord George Murray, stimulated by reports of the Chappe semaphore, proposed a system of visual telegraphy to the British Admiralty in 1795. A Rev. Mr Gamble also proposed two alternative systems in the same year. The British Admiralty accepted Murray's system in September 1795, and the first system was the 15 site chain from London to Deal. Messages passed from London to Deal in about sixty seconds (a distance of 68 miles), and sixty-five sites were in use by 1808. Once it had proved its success, the optical semaphore system was imitated in many other countries, especially after it was used by Napoleon to coordinate his empire and army. In most of these countries, the postal authorities operated the semaphore lines.

In Canada, the first semaphore line in North America was in operation by 1800, running between the city of Halifax and the town of Annapolis in Nova Scotia, and across the Bay of Fundy to Saint John and Fredericton in New Brunswick. In 1801, the Danish post office installed a semaphore line across the Great Belt strait, Storebæltstelegrafen, between the islands Funen and Zealand with stations at Nyborg on Funen, on the small island Sprogø in the middle of the strait, and at Korsør on Zealand. It was in use until 1865. The Kingdom of Prussia began with a line 750 kilometres long between Berlin and Coblenz in 1833, and in Russia, Tsar Nicolas I inaugurated the line between Moscow and Warsaw (1200 km) in 1833; this needed 220 stations manned by 1320 operators. In the United States the first semaphore system was a 104-kilometre line connecting Martha's Vineyard with Boston, and its purpose was to transmit news about shipping. One of the principal hills in San Francisco, California is also named "Telegraph Hill", after the semaphore telegraph which was established there in 1849 to signal the arrival of ships into San Francisco Bay.

The semaphores were successful enough that Samuel Morse failed to sell the electrical telegraph to the French government. However, France finally committed to replace semaphores with electric telegraphs in 1846. The last stationary semaphore link in regular service was in Sweden, connecting an island to a mainland telegraph line. It finally went out of service in 1880. In general terms, the old sempahore systems were quickly superceded by electric telegraph systems after these became commercially viable. While today the electric telegraph is a virtually forgotten and outdated communication system that transmitted electric signals over wires from location to location that translated into a message, 130 years ago it was as revolutionary as the Internet is today and was the direct ancestor of both the telephone and the radio – two devices that revolutionsed military communications.

While the electric telegraph itself had its origins some 250 years ago (in 1746 the French scientist, Abbé Jean-Antoine Nollet, gathered about two hundred monks into a circle about a mile (1.6 km) in circumference, with pieces of iron wire connecting them. He then discharged a battery of Leyden jars through the human chain and observed that each man reacted at substantially the same time to the electric shock, showing that the speed of electricity's propagation was very high) and there were many intermediate steps along the way, it only became a commercially practical means of communication in the 1840’s. Knowledge and commercial application of the telegraph percolated quickly throughout North America and Europe, and development of the technology was rapid. In the UK, the electric telegraph entered commercial use on the Great Western Railway over the 13 miles (21 km) from Paddington station to West Drayton on 9 April 1839 while in the USA, the first commercial telegraph line in the United States ran along a railroad right-of-way between Lancaster and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania in 1845. Dispatching trains by telegraph started in the USA in 1851, the same year Western Union began business. On 24 October 1861, the first transcontinental telegraph system was established. Spanning North America, an existing network in the eastern United States was connected to the small network in California by a link between Omaha and Carson City via Salt Lake City.

Experiments with a transatlantic telegraph cable began in 1857 and 1858, but these failed after only a few days or weeks – but by 1866 a working transatlantic telegraph cable was successfully in operation. Within 29 years of its first commercial introduction, the telegraph network connected every continent in the world except Antarctica, making instant global communication possible for the first time. The telegraph thus liberated information transfer from transportation.

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World Map of Undersea Cables from 1901

Early military utilization of the Electric Telegraph

Military organizations were quick to see the utility of the electric telegraph, with the first such recorded use in war being during the Crimean War between Russia, Britain and France. A combined British and French force landed in the Crimea and began a long-term siege of the city and naval base of Sebastopol. Britian, the home of the “Industrial Revolution” put its industrial skills to use in warfare through a series of different applications of engineering knowhow - the railway contractor Morton Peto and his partner Thomas Brassey created a Railway Construction Corps from their own army of labourers and built a full-scale railway from the base port at Balaklava to the front line. The mining industry in Leeds contributed two steam engines to work it. Joseph Paxton, architect of the Crystal Palace, organised an Army Works Corps to erect a township of wooden huts to protect the troops in the bitter winter. I K Brunel, the railway engineer, designed and had built a huge hospital from prefabricated components. William Fairbairn, the ironmaster and shipbuilder, constructed a pair of floating workshops to undertake all manner of repair and maintenance tasks for the besieging army.

The telegraph companies and their suppliers joined in with this war euphoria. In late 1854, the government in London created a military Telegraph Detachment for the Army commanded by an officer of the Royal Engineers. It was to comprise twenty-five men from the Royal Corps of Sappers & Miners, a cadre of which were trained by the Electric Telegraph Company to construct and work the first Field Electric Telegraph, as it was called.

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The Electric Telegraph Company’s War Wagon 1854: The outfit for the first war telegraph, usually hauled by three pair of horses, even had a gutta percha boat inverted on the top. The sketch shows a heavy cavalry trooper riding postillion rather than a sapper.

The Telegraph Detachment’s lines allowed Lord Raglan (the C-in-C) to communicate within a few minutes with his generals at any time and the Telegraph Detachment eventually possessed eight Field Electric Telegraph stations, 24 miles of line around Sebastopol, connecting the Headquarters, Kazach, the Monastery, the Engineer Park, the Right Attack, the Light Division, Kadikoi and Balaklava.. A temporary 310 mile long submarine cable also connected British headquarters in Balaklava to Varna in Turkish Bulgaria. This connected to the European circuits via a French Army-built land line to existing Austrian circuits at Bucharest, hence to London and Paris in autumn 1855. A cable for the British government was also run from Varna direct to Constantinople, the Turkish capital, where another land circuit existed to Vienna and the European capitals.

After the Crimea, the British Army rapidly adopted the electrical telegraph for internal communication in its fortresses at Malta and then at Gibraltar, then elsewhere in the late 1850s. Three years after the Crimean War, in the Indian Mutiny, the newly established telegraph, which was controlled by the British, was a deciding factor. The Royal Engineers also despatched telegraph detachments, similar to those assembled for the Crimea, with the expeditions to China in 1859 and Hazara in Afghanistan during 1868. The French Empire had learned from observing their allies in the British Army during the Crimea war and for their brief and bloody campaign in northern Italy against Austria in 1859 they organised a “service télégraphiques” which laid 400 kilometres of line and created thirty-five telegraph stations along the advance to keep the army in touch with metropolitan France. It was claimed that at the decisive battle of Solferino on June 24, 1859 “the movement of the whole army was known and regulated like clockwork” by telegraph.

Between October 1859 and April 1860 Spain was at war with Morocco, with an army under General Leopoldo O’Donnell based from the Spanish enclave of Ceuta. The Royal government in Madrid commissioned a war telegraph, the largest element of which was a 25 mile underwater cable linking the mainland at Tarifa, near Algeciras, across the Mediterranean to Ceuta on the Moroccan coast. Use was also made of Field Telegraph detachments.

(please note that most of the above military telegraph information was sourced from http://distantwriting.co.uk/default.aspx, “A History of the Telegraph Companies in Britain between 1838 and 1868 by Robert Stevens – the site has a vast amount of really interested information on the Electric Telegraph in Britain)

In the American Civil War (1861–65), wide use was made of the electric telegraph. In addition to its employment in spanning long distances under the civilian-manned military telegraph organization, a mobile field service was provided in the Union army by wagon trains equipped with insulated wire and lightweight poles for the rapid laying of telegraph lines. Immediately before and during the Civil War visual signaling also received added impetus through the development of a system applying the Morse code of dots and dashes that spelled out messages with flags by day and lights or torches by night. Another development for light signaling placed a movable shutter, controlled by a key, in front of a strong light. An operator, opening and closing the shutter, could produce short and long flashes to spell out messages in Morse code.

Simultaneously, the Prussian and French armies also organized mobile telegraph trains. During the short, decisive Prussian campaign against Austria in 1866, field telegraphs enabled Count Helmuth von Moltke, the Prussian commander, to exercise command over his distant armies. Soon afterward the British organized their first permanent field telegraph units in the Royal Engineers. Until 1877, all rapid long-distance communication depended upon the telegraph. That year, a rival technology developed that would again change the face of communication -- the telephone. The invention of the telephone in 1876 was not followed immediately by its adoption and adaptation for military use. This was probably due to the fact that the compelling stimulation of war was not present and to the fact that the development of reliable long-distance telephone communication was not achieved for many years. The telephone was used by the U.S. Army in the Spanish-American War, by the British in the South African (Boer) War, and by the Japanese in the Russo-Japanese War. This military use was not extensive, and it made little material contribution to the development of voice telephony. Before the outbreak of World War I, military adaptation of the telephone did take place, but its period of growth had not yet arrived.

Near the close of the 19th century, a new means of military signal communication made its appearance—the wireless telegraph, or radio. The major powers throughout the world were quick to see the wonderful possibilities for military and naval signaling. Development was rapid and continuous, and, by 1914, it was adopted and in extensive use by all the armies and navies of the world. It soon became apparent that wireless telegraphy was not an unmixed blessing to armies and navies, because it lacked secrecy and messages could be heard by the enemy as well as by friendly forces. This led to the development of extensive and complicated codes and ciphers as necessary adjuncts to military signaling. The struggle between the cryptographer and the cryptanalyst expanded greatly with the adoption of radio and continued to be a major factor affecting its military use.

Military usage and evolution of telephone and radios in WW1

The onset of World War I found the opposing armies equipped to a varying degree with modern means of signal communication but with little appreciation of the enormous load that signal systems must carry to maintain control of the huge forces that were set in motion. The organization and efficiency of the armies varied greatly. At one end of the scale was Great Britain, with a small but highly developed signal service; and at the other end stood Russia, with a signal service inferior to that of the Union Army at the close of the American Civil War. The fact that commanders could not control, coordinate, and direct huge modern armies without efficient signal communication quickly became apparent to both the Allies and the Central Powers. The Germans, despite years of concentration on the Schlieffen Plan, failed to provide adequately for communication between higher headquarters and the rapidly marching armies of the right wing driving through Belgium and northern France. This resulted in a lack of coordination between these armies, which caused a miscarriage of the plan, a forced halt in the German advance, and the subsequent withdrawal north of the Marne. On the Allied side, the debacle of the Russian forces in East Prussia — a crushing defeat of the Starist Russian Army at the hands of General Paul von Hindenburg in the Battle of Tannenberg — was in large part due to an almost total lack of effective signals communication by the Russian forces.

As the war progressed there was a growing appreciation of the need for improved electrical communications of much greater capacity for the larger units and of the need within regiments for electrical communications, which had heretofore been regarded as unessential and impractical. Field telephones and switchboards were soon developed, and those already in existence were improved. An intricate system of telephone lines involving thousands of miles of wire soon appeared on each side. Pole lines with many crossarms and circuits came into being in the rear of the opposing armies, and buried cables and wires were laid in the elaborate trench systems leading to the forwardmost outposts. The main arteries running from the rear to the forward trenches were crossed by lateral cable routes roughly parallel to the front. Thus, there grew an immense gridwork of deep buried cables, particularly on the German side and in the British sectors of the Allied side, with underground junction boxes and test points every few hundred yards. The French used deep buried cable to some extent but generally preferred to string their telephone lines on wooden supports set against the walls of deep open trenches. Thus electrical communication in the form of the telephone and telegraph gradually extended to the smaller units until front-line platoons were frequently kept in touch with their company headquarters through these mediums.

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Radio Equipment in a WW1 Dugout

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Marconi Trench Set

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Marconi Motorcycle Set

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Marconi Pack Set

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Marconi Wireless Pack Set

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Marconi Horse Set

Despite efforts to protect the wire lines, they were frequently cut at critical times as the result of the intense artillery fire. This led all the belligerents to develop and use radio (wireless) as an alternate means of communication. Prewar radio sets were too heavy and bulky to be taken into the trenches, and they also required large and highly visible aerials. Radio engineers of the belligerent nations soon developed smaller and more portable sets powered by storage batteries and using low, inconspicuous aerials. Although radio equipment came to be issued to the headquarters of all units, including battalions, the ease of enemy interception, the requirements for cryptographing or encoding messages, and the inherent unreliability of these early systems caused them to be regarded as strictly auxiliary to the wire system and reserved for emergency use when the wire lines were cut. Visual signaling returned to the battlefield in World War I with the use of electric signal lamps. Pyrotechnics, rockets, Very pistols, and flares had a wide use for transmitting prearranged signals. Messenger service came to be highly developed, and motorcycle, bicycle, and automobile messenger service was employed. Homing pigeons were used extensively as one-way messengers from front to rear and acquitted themselves extremely well. Dogs were also used as messengers and, in the German army, reached a high degree of efficiency.

A new element in warfare, the airplane, introduced in World War I, immediately posed a problem in communication. During most of the war, communication between ground and air was difficult and elementary. To make his reports the pilot had to land or drop messages, and he received instructions while in the air from strips of white and black cloth called “panels” laid out in an open field according to prearranged designs. Extensive efforts were made to use radiotelegraph and radiotelephone between the airplanes and ground headquarters. The closing stages of the war saw many planes equipped with radio, but the service was never entirely satisfactory or reliable and had little influence on military operations. During World War I however, wireless telegraph (radio) communication was employed extensively by the navies of the world and had a major influence on the character of naval warfare. High-powered shore and ship stations made wireless communication over long distances possible. One of the war lessons learned by most of the major nations was the compelling need for scientific research and development of radio equipment and techniques for military purposes.

An over-view of Inter-war Developments.

Although the amount of funds devoted to military development during the period from World War I to World War II was relatively small, the modest expenditures served to establish a bond between industry, science, and the armed forces of the major nations. Of great importance in postwar radio communication was the pioneering by amateurs and by industry and science in the use of very high frequencies. These developments opened up to the armed services the possibilities of portable short-range equipment for mobile and portable tactical use by armies, navies, and air forces. Military work in these fields was carried out actively in Germany, Great Britain and the United States among others. Of the major powers, Germany as early as 1938 had completed the design and manufacture of a complete line of portable and mobile radio equipment for its army and air force.

Between World Wars I and II the printing telegraph, commonly known as the teleprinter or teletypewriter machine, came into civilian use and was incorporated in military wire-communication systems, but military networks were not extensive. Before World War II, military radioteleprinter circuits were nonexistent. Another major communication advance that had its origin and early growth during the period between World Wars I and II was frequency-modulated (FM) radio. Developed during the late 1920s and early 1930s by Edwin H. Armstrong, an inventor and a major in the U.S. Army Signal Corps during World War I, this new method of modulation offered heretofore unattainable reduction of the effect of ignition and other noises encountered in radios used in vehicles. It was first adapted for military use by the U.S. Army, which, prior to World War II, had under development tank, vehicular, and man-pack frequency-modulated radio transmitters and receivers. The British Army had also conducted a series of combined arms exercises with radios which, while largely ignored by the British Army, were assessed and analysed by others - such as the Germans (and the Finns, as we will see).

On the eve of World War II, all nations employed generally similar methods for military signaling. The messenger systems included foot, mounted, motorcycle, automobile, airplane, homing pigeon, and the messenger dog. Visual agencies included flags, lights, panels for signaling airplanes, and pyrotechnics. The electrical agencies embraced wire systems providing telephone and telegraph service, including the printing telegraph. Both radiotelephony and radiotelegraphy were in wide use, but radio-telephony had not as yet proved reliable and satisfactory for tactical military communication. The navies of the world entered World War II with highly developed radio communication systems, both telegraph and telephone, and with development under way of many electronic navigational aids. Blinker-light signaling was still used. The use of telephone systems and loud-speaking voice amplifiers on naval vessels had also come into common use. Air forces employed wire and radio communication to link up their bases and landing fields and had developed airborne long-range, medium-range, and short-range radio equipment for air-to-ground and air-to-air communication.

Suomen Maavoimat Signals and Radio

Please note that the content of this and subsequent Posts as far as OTL Finnish Army Radio and Signal’s equipment (and photos) is concerned is largely sourced from Antero Tanninen’s wonderfully detailed website, http://personal.inet.fi/koti/antero.tanninen/ - and more specifically, http://personal.inet.fi/koti/antero.tanninen/Radiotaulukko.htm - and is reused with Antero’s permission. If you’re interested in Finnish Radio equipment, Antero’s site goes into this subject in far greater detail than I’ve used – the content is primarily in Finnish but if you use Google Translate, you’ll get a pretty good idea of what it’s all about.

Suomen Maavoimat Signals units in the 1920’s

Within the Suomen Maavoimat, Signals units largely originated from the experience of the Finnish Jaeger movement within the German Army, as the Tsarist Russian Army allowed only infantry units for the military of the Grand Duchy of Finland, with no technical branches authorised. Consequently, there was no passing down of the Russian military expertise and experience with military communications, such as it was, into the Army of the nacent Finnish Republic on its formation. On independance from the Russian Empire, the ex-Tsarist Army Finnish officers largely came from the Infantry, Cavalry and Artillery branches only, while the Maavoimat’s technical branches were largely established by former Jaegers based on their German training and knowledge. Suomen Maavoimat Signals units were as a consequence primarily based on the experience and training of the Communications Section of the Finnish 27th Jaeger Battalion of the WWI German Army. The Jaegers returned to Finland in February 1918 and formed the Jaeger Kenttälennätinpataljoona (Field Telegraph Battalion) to meet Finnish Civil War needs. Initially, a significant part of their activities consisted of establish Field Telegraph stations (Kenttälennätinasemat) and running cables to connect field telephones.

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WWI Field Telephone Team

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The Communication Section of the 27th Jaeger Battalion, commanded by Lars Homén and Eric Heimbürger (we will see more of Eric Heimbürger during the Winter War).

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Eric Alexander Amandus Heimbürger (1888 - 1954):

Eric Alexander Amandus Heimbürger (Espoo, June 16, 1888 - February 1, 1954) was a Finnish Jaeger Colonel. His parents were the ownera of a manor, Nicolai Heimbürger and Therese von Jessen. Heimbürger completed matriculation at the Nya Svenska Läroverket in Helsinki in 1908 and then joined the Uusimaa Students' Association. He studied at the University Law Faculty in 1908-1909 and then at the University of Technology mechanical engineering department from 1909-1912, followed by a further year at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. Heimbürger joined one of the first groups of volunteers whose goal was to go to Germany for military training purposes and then fight for Finnish independance. He enrolled on 25 March 1915 and trained in northern Germany in the Lockstedter Lager training area. Initially he was placed in 1 Komppaniaan of the Prussian Jaeger Battalion 2. On 2 October 1917, he was transferred from the 1st Komppaniaan, together with 53 other men, to the battalion's Signals unit, where he served as the Finnish unit commander. He took part in a number of battles on the German Eastern Front, including Misse River, the Gulf of Riga and the Aa River. In the Spring of 1917, Heimbürger ran courses at Libau on Signals and was later moved to Commander of the Battalion’s Radio unit.

Heimbürger arrived in Finland (Vaasa), with the main group of Jaeger troops and was promoted to the rank of Senior Lieutenant on 25 February 1918. During the Civil War, ge was assigned commander of the 15th Jaeger Battalion 1st Company, after which he was transferred on 6 April 1918 to Headquarters as the Signals Commander. On 5 June 1918 he was moved to the General Staff and appointed Signals Force Commander. He worked as the supervisor of Signals courses, which in July 1918 were implemented in Helsinki. He taught Officer courses in 1920 and was a teacher on Signals at the Cadet School from 1919 to 1926. On 22 March 1920 he was ttransferred to military forces headquarters and placed in charge of Signals and on 8 December 1920 he was made Inspector of Technical Staff.

Heimbürger was the armed forces representative on the Telegraph Committee in 1919 and was a member of the Radio Committee in 1920 and also a member of the Committee responsible for planning the number and strength of bicycle troops in 1922. In 1923 he was a member of the Committee which drew up the proposals for the strength of the Telephone / Signals Troops and was Signals Troops honor court chairman in 1921. He was married in 1924, to Aune Emilia-Rekolan. Heimbürger was also posted to Lithuania in the 1924 period. In addition, he completed the General Staff course over 1927-1929. In April 1927 he was the Senior Staff teacher for Signals at the Military Academy. On 31 October 1927 he was appointed head of the Separate Signals Company (Kenttälennätin Komppanian, later the Independent Signals Battalion, where he was again Commanding Officer).

From 1 July 1933 he was appopinted to Army Corps headquarters, where he was Pioneer and Signals Commander. He also carryied out Chief of Staff duties in 1925. Over the Winter War, Heimbürger was Signals Commander for one of the Army Corps, then was appointed to Military Headquarters, during which time he made several trips abroad. He held this position until 1947, when he resigned from active service. He is buried in the Hietaniemi Cemetery, Helsinki.


The establishment of the Light Field Radio Department

In April 1918 a Field Radio Department was established and took over the radio stations in Helsinki and Suomenlinna from the Russian garrison troops. The unit also restored the former Santahamina fixed radio station which had been used by the Russian Baltic Fleet. The radio-type taken over from the Russians was a Telefunken with a 10W power level and a range which stretched from the Baltic Sea region to as far as Austria. Also during the Finnish Civil War, Suojeluskuntas Signals units were setup at Santahamina where radio stations were assembled. Their first commander was Jaeger Lieutenant Karl Edvard Nyström who in June 1918 formed the Field Radio Department (which later that year was changed to Field Radio Division).

Karl Edvard Nyström (born July 8 1894, Kokkola - March 1, 1964, Helsinki) was the child of copper smith Solomon Fredrik Nyström, and Edla Amanda Sandstrom. He received his early education at the Swedish School in Kokkola, then worked as a Telegrapher before travelling to Germany and joining the Finnish 27th Jaeger Battalion (2 Company). In December 1915 he was transferred to the Battalion’s Signals unit, going on to take part in battles on the Misse River , the Gulf of Riga and the Aa River over 1916, where he had his baptism of fire. In 1917 he organized special courses at Libau, before returning to Finland in December 1917 on the second trip of the S/S Equity, which carried many of the members of Jääkäripataljoona 27 from Germany back to Finland. On arrival in Finland, he traveled to Vaasa, where he trained Suojeluskuntas men from the the local and surrounding area in Signals work.

He participated in the civil war as Column Deputy Director for the seizing of Vaasa. After the takeover of Vaasa, he was assigned to the Vaasa Radio and Telegraph station on 7 February 1918. On 24 April 1918, he was transferred to Headquarters at Mikkeli. From Mikkeli, he was transferred to Viipuri as the station manager on 2 May 1918. In the post-Civil War period Nyström continued to serve as the Viipuri station manager, until 1 August 1918 when he was appointed Signals Company Commander, and then on 1 September 1921 temporary commander of the Signals Battalion. He was married in 1924 to Sigrid Maria Adelia Johanssonin and went on to complete further military educational courses in 1925. Nyström resigned from the army on 28 May 1926, having reached the rank of Major.

After leaving the Army, Nyström worked for Reko Ltd from 1927 to 1928. He later worked in a number of positions, including as a warehouse manager (from 1934 to 1935). During the Winter War, Nyström served in IV Corps Headquarters, later moving to Coastal Battalion 4 and then to a position as deputy CO of the Signals School. Following the Winter War, he served as an officer in the home office staff of the Army and was released from military service in 1942, after which he worked at a Machinery company and then as a businessman in Helsinki. He died in 1964 and was buried in Helsinki.


...To be continued......
ex Ngāti Tumatauenga ("Tribe of the Maori War God") aka the New Zealand Army

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CanKiwi2
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Re: What If-Finland had been prepared for the Winter War?

Postby CanKiwi2 » 19 Oct 2011 21:26

Before we go on to look at Signals equipment and Signals units, primarily of the Maavoimat, we'll first take a quick look at the overall state of Maavoimat Signals in late 1939

The overall state of Maavoimat Signals in late 1939

To understand just how effective the Suomen Maavoimat’s communication systems were in 1939, and the advantage that they gave to the Finnish military in battle, it is necessary to have a basic understanding of the state of military communications at the time. Today, it is almost impossible to understand what it was like to operate without an effective means of rapid communication. But even today, the Fog of War can descend on a battlefield, rendering headquarters out of touch with subordinate units and unable to make timely decisions based on up to the minute information. The practical experience of the fog of war is most easily demonstrated in the tactical battlespace. It may include military commanders' incomplete or inaccurate intelligence about the enemy's numbers, disposition, capabilities, and intent, regarding features of the battlefield, and incomplete knowledge of the state of their own forces. Fog of war is caused by the limits of reconnaissance, by the enemy's feints and disinformation, by delays in receiving intelligence and difficulties passing orders, and by the difficult task of forming a cogent picture from a very large (or very small) amount of diverse data. The Maavoimat was very much aware of this, as was every military in theory. The difference however, was that the Maavoimat had studied and theorized the problem, then actively sought ways to lift the fog for their own forces, and thicken it for the enemy.

In late 1939, the primary combat formation of the Suoment Maavoimat was the Regimental Battle Group, an over-sized Brigade formation which incorporated infantry, artillery, support units, the use of close air support and, where available and necessary for specific operations, armoured formations and other supporting units. The development of the highly flexible combined arms Regimental Battle Group by the Suomen Maavoimat had been an evolutionary process through the 1930’s, initially based on experimentation in exercises and then at the last incorporating a large dose of practical experience from the involvement of the Finnish Volunteers in the Spanish Civil War. Both the exercises and the experiences in the crucible of Spain had graphically illustrated both the advantages and necessities of real-time communication within units at all levels. With a high degree of emphasis on mobility, the tactical offensive and rapid attacks and withdrawals, all of which required a high degree of coordination, the Suomen Maavoimat had from 1932 on placed a remarkable and ongoing emphasis on the development of effective communications systems.

Within the Suomen Maavoimat, portable radio sets were provided as far down in the military echelons as the infantry company – and in many cases down to the infantry platoon. In every tank there was at least one radio and in some command tanks as many as three – as there were with artillery batteries. High-powered mobile radio sets equipped Headquarters Units at Army Group, Divisional, Regimental Battle Group and Battalion level. With these sets radio communications could be conducted at distances of more than 100 miles (160 kilometres) with vehicles in normal motion on the road. Multiconductor cables were provided for wire communications; they could be reeled out rapidly and as many as four conversations could take place on them simultaneously through the use of carrier telephony. The Germans had been the first to use this type of military long-range cable, and their example was followed promptly by the Finns, who kept in close contact with German telephone and radio equipment developments. Major telephone switchboards of much greater capacity were needed and had been developed, manufactured and issued for use at all tactical headquarters to satisfy the need for the greatly increased number of telephone channels required to coordinate the movements of highly mobile field units.

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A Maavoimat ParaJaeger Signals Team on a route march, Lapland, Summer 1939. Similar 3-man Radio Teams were a part of every Infantry unit down to the Company and at times the Platoon level and would form the backbone of the Maavoimat’s front-line communications network through the Winter War, considerably enhancing the combat effectiveness of Finland’s soldiers.

On the outbreak of the Winter War, the Suomen Maavoimat also possessed a highly capable Signals Intelligence unit which we will cover in detail when we review the Maavoimat’s major units in a later Post. Seperately, we will also look at a further initiative of the Signals Intelligence which would have a major impact on the air war in the later stages of the Winter War. Likewise, the Ilmavoimat possessed a highly capable photographic reconnaissance unit, while the Artillery and Air Support Observer Aircraft provided a highly effective coverage of front-line areas and the immediate enemy rear. In addition, there were also the Maavoimat’s highly effective Deep Recconnaisance Teams who operated far behind the enemy’s front lines, providing strategic information to Military Headquarters to great effect and communicating using the outstanding (and top-secret) Finnish-designed and developed “Kynnel” Radio.

The Maavoimat to a large extent emphasized small-unit fighting – with the exception of the Karelian Isthmus, the forest, lake and swamp terrain of much of Finland lent itself to small-unit maneouvering and fighting with combined arms teams operating in small semi-autonomous groups but with the ability to quickly regroup and work together to fight major engagements. The tactics developed by the Maavoimat in the late 1930’s resembled what we would now call “swarming” – combat teams cooperating closely through simple decision rules, a shared situational awareness and the ability to communicate planned actions and call in artillery and with close air support virtually on demand. The essence of the strategy was to create psychological shock and resultant disorganization in enemy forces through the employment of surprise, speed, and localised superiority in firepower. Tested by the Finnish Volunteers during the Spanish Civil War over the period 1937-38, the tactic proved to be a formidable combination of land and air action. The essence of the tehcnique was the use of mobility, shock, and locally concentrated firepower in skillfully coordinated attacks to paralyze an adversary’s capacity to coordinate his own defenses, rather than attempting to physically overcome them, and then to exploit this paralysis.

During the Spanish Civil War, the Ilmavoimat’s leading theorist and commander of the Finnish Volunteer air force units, Richard “Zimbo” Lorentz, conceptualized the combat process and applied this to the logic of military operations, both tactical and strategic. As Lorentz stated, “In order to win, we should operate at a faster tempo or rhythm than our adversaries - or, better yet, get inside our adversary's “Havaita-Punnita-Ratkaisu-Taistelu (Perceive-Weigh in one’s mind-Solution-Combat Action) loop. ... Such activity will make us appear unpredictable and thereby generate confusion and disorder among our adversaries--since our adversaries will be unable to adapt to the faster rhythm of combat they are competing against. ….. The key is to obscure our intentions and make them unpredictable to our opponent while we simultaneously clarify his intentions. That is, we operate at a faster tempo to generate rapidly changing conditions that inhibit our opponent from adapting or reacting to those changes while suppressing or destroying his awareness. Thus, a hodgepodge of confusion and disorder occurs to cause him to over- or under-react to conditions or activities that appear to be uncertain, ambiguous, or incomprehensible. The proper mindset is to work with the chaos of the battlefield, allow this to become part of our thought system, and to use it to our advantage by simply creating more chaos and confusion for the opponent. We will funnel the inevitable chaos of the battlefield in the direction of the enemy and use this to our advantage.”

The primary observation made by Lorentz was that at both a strategic and tactical level it was important to think, decide and act faster than the enemy could think and act – i.e., “get inside our adversary's “Havaita-Punnita-Ratkaisu-Taistelu” loop and thereby producing opportunities for the enemy to react inappropriately. The approach favored agility over raw power and as such, was a further step in the development of the Maavoimat’s combat doctrine and again, emphasized excellent communications as a co-requisite of the tactics. The pervasiveness of portable radios at all levels together with an excellent field telephone network within the Maavoimat on the outbreak of the Winter War combined with superb air-based strategic and tactical reconnaissance (reconnaissance photos were generally available for analysis within an hour of the aircraft landing and the results available to front-line units shortly thereafter. The Ilmavoimat / Maavoimat aerial mapping service for example was so good that it usually took on average of only 48 hours from taking the picture to distributing printed maps to the troops) made this possible.

The same doctrine of creating psychological shock and resultant disorganization in the enemy forces that drove the improvement and pervasiveness of the Maavoimat’s communications network would go on to drive the formation of a range of what we now call “special forces” units within the Maavoimat, some focused on reconnaissance and some on attacks against the enemy rear – with one specific mission focus being the identification and annihilation of headquarters units, either through identification and elimination by close air support or artillery, or via direct action. The cutting of the enemy’s communications and logistical supply lines was another important mission of these units. Other (far smaller) units focused on misdirection and misinformation. “Mannerheims Wizards: The Finnish Genius for Deception 1939-1945” (Otava, 1975), describes Finnish military deception activities through WW2. The Finnish military enlisted the aid of an array of Finnish artists, film-makers, stage designers from theatres and as well as an array of scientists and oddballs to conceal, confuse and mislead. For example, to mislead Soviet bombers at night, an entire “false Helsinki” was created. Near the frontlines, dummy artillery positions were built using painted wooden mockups. Real defensive positions of all types were carefully concealed while “fake” defensive positions were created. “Fake” airfields complete with mockup aircraft were created to draw Soviet air force attacks and special attention was also paid to individual vehicle and team-manned weapons concealment as well as to individual camflauge (the well-known whiter smocks the Finnish soldiers wore during the Winter of 1939-40 were only one aspect of this concealment strategy).

Most films at this time were made under cover, but so good were the film crews that they could make sets look very realistic. With lighting and paint and mock ups of buildings and streets many an audience watching a film would have never guessed it had been made entirely under cover, the main reason of making films this way was the weather was not reliable enough to make them outside on location, and film equipment at that time was not so robust as now. The film men from the Finnish film industry became the backbone of this unit, where they mass produced dummy aircraft and equipment to be used on decoy airfield sites as well as items such as dummy tanks and artillery and even complete Infantry Divisions.

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Dummy Ilmavoimat Hurricane built for a fake airfield: Summer 1940 (the dummy aircraft was constructed from wood, canvas and paint and was designed to look completely realistic from the air). The Soviet Air Force wasted some 80% of their attacks on Ilmavoimat airfields on such dummy targets.

On the front line, the Maavoimat placed a strong emphasis on the use of trained snipers to eliminate the enemy command structure – and as we will see when we review the Maavoimat’s structure, all infantry units down to the Platoon included specialist sniper teams. But that’s an aside to the main thrust of this Post, which has been to illustrate the Communications equipment used by the Maavoimat in the Winter War, and the pervasiveness of the Maavoimat’s radio and telephone communications network.

However, returning to Communications, over the course of the Winter War, the Maavoimat’s communications network would prove to be both reliable and robust, proving as effective as the Maavoimat had hoped it would based on the experience of the volunteers in Spain. Radio research and development would continue after the end of the Winter War, largely undertaken by Nokia, who by the end of WW2 would prove to be a world leader in such technology. But the end result in the Winter War was that the Maavoimat generally operated in an environment where real-time communication between all units down to at least the Company level was in effect, resulting in two-way traffic where information was fed up the line to Headquarters units, movement was by and large closely coordinated, and without communication time-lags coordinate movement of unitscould occur rapidly while requests for Artillery and Close Air Support were generally also responded to rapidly. On the Karelian Isthmus in particular, calls for artillery support were generally responded too within 30-60 seconds while close air support was often available on call and at worst (weather permitting) within 30 minutes.

http://img11.imageshack.us/img11/6053/dradioartillery1.jpg
"The D-radio, range for telegraphic communication 20km and for voice 12km, was used for artillery fire control. The photograph is from an artillery observation post. Finnish Artillery units trained their own Signals personnel for Signals duties. There was a Forward Artillery Observer Team assigned to each Infantry Company, usually an NCO and 2 men, each of whom was trained in artillery fire control techniques as well as in taking care of the radio and connections. This team was in addition to the Company’s own Signals personnel (meaning that on the whole, their were 2 Radios per Company at a minimum – and where Platoons were equipped with Radios, there were at times up to 5 Radios per Company, although this was the exception and not the Rule, given that a Radio Team consisted of 3 men."

Conversely, the Maavoimat did their best to ensure that the Red Army operated in a fog of no, or misleading information. Communications were cut wherever possible, headquarters units were attacked, Red Army commanders were targeted, officers and NCO’s were primary targets on the front. All in all, this combination gave the Maavoimat a real tactical advantage, which was only achieved through a decade of analysis, exercises, planning, testing and the experience of the Finnish volunteers in the crucible of the Spanish Civil War. But it was an advantage that would prove to be critical in the days to come.

In the next Post, we’ll look at the Maavoimat’s signals equipment and units….
ex Ngāti Tumatauenga ("Tribe of the Maori War God") aka the New Zealand Army

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Re: What If-Finland had been prepared for the Winter War?

Postby Mark V » 20 Oct 2011 21:51

Great work. Keep them coming.

To all that had not seen the Winter War -era wholesale lack of trained men, clothing, weapons, ammo...

...this is Finnish "Talvisota" -movie from 1989. If there is one war movie that shows all the suffering and gore of frontline combat, this is it.

Ofcourse it is only movie, but this is no Hollywood "Pearl Harbour" - you see that soon, while viewing.

English subtitles, and in many parts, but you can work from 1st clip. Too bad that subtitles don't get the full meaning and nuances many times, especially about humor among troops.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H7oucoYUj28

Regards

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Re: What If-Finland had been prepared for the Winter War?

Postby CanKiwi2 » 21 Oct 2011 12:51

Hey, glad you're emjoying it Mark :D

Just realised I dropped a photo from the end of the last post. Here it is, reposted.

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"The D-radio, range for telegraphic communication 20km and for voice 12km, was used for artillery fire control. The photograph is from an artillery observation post. Finnish Artillery units trained their own Signals personnel for Signals duties. There was a Forward Artillery Observer Team assigned to each Infantry Company, usually an NCO and 2 men, each of whom was trained in artillery fire control techniques as well as in taking care of the radio and connections. This team was in addition to the Company’s own Signals personnel (meaning that on the whole, their were 2 Radios per Company at a minimum – and where Platoons were equipped with Radios, there were at times up to 5 Radios per Company, although this was the exception and not the Rule, given that a Radio Team consisted of 3 men."

Conversely, the Maavoimat did their best to ensure that the Red Army operated in a fog of no, or misleading information. Communications were cut wherever possible, headquarters units were attacked, Red Army commanders were targeted, officers and NCO’s were primary targets on the front. All in all, this combination gave the Maavoimat a real tactical advantage, which was only achieved through a decade of analysis, exercises, planning, testing and the experience of the Finnish volunteers in the crucible of the Spanish Civil War. But it was an advantage that would prove to be critical in the days to come.

In the next Post, we’ll look at the Maavoimat’s signals equipment and units….
ex Ngāti Tumatauenga ("Tribe of the Maori War God") aka the New Zealand Army

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Re: What If-Finland had been prepared for the Winter War?

Postby CanKiwi2 » 29 Oct 2011 22:28

The Ballad Of The Green Berets - Balladi punaisista bareteista

OK, this is a bit off the main track but quite a few posts ago, I mentioned in a bit of a sidebar on the Maavoiats ParaJaegers that the Ballad of the Green Berets originated in Finland and was brought to Vietnam by some Finns fighting with the US Army Special Forces, where Barry Sadler plagiarised it for his hit version.

Anyhow, if I had but known of this track, I could have made it really plausible :lol:
DivShare File - Kivikasvot - Balladi punaisista bareteist.mp3


The track is from Kivikasvot - a group that was formed when the members met while serving in the army, so it's only natural that they should do this particular cover. They recorded "Balladi punaisista bareteista" (The ballad of the red berets) in 1966. It was releasd as a single but in popularity it came second to it's flipside, the cover of Beach Boys' "Barbara Ann". The lyrics were provided by Sauvo "Saukki" Puhtila. The color of the berets was changed from the original green into red, becouse at the time there were no green berets in military use in Finland. In the 60's, the berets were just introduced, the first ones being red (actually maroon), and they were handed out to Parachute Troopers after their first jump.
ex Ngāti Tumatauenga ("Tribe of the Maori War God") aka the New Zealand Army

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Re: What If-Finland had been prepared for the Winter War?

Postby CanKiwi2 » 10 Nov 2011 23:09

While the militaries of many European countries were caught up in the turmoil of WW2 with inadequate preparation in the areas of Signals and Communications, the Suomen Maavoimat was one of the few countries that was both prepared, adequately equipped, and had incorporated the use of an extensive modern military communications network into its military doctrine. That this was the exception rather than the rule in 1939 is perhaps startling now, but was less so at the time in question. The mere possession of radios by the military does not guarantee their effective use, as the French example in 1940 in particular demonstrates. And as will see, the Suomen Maavoimat’s modern military communications network did not just happen. It took a great deal of work, effort and experimentation and a mindset that encouraged this, and institutionalized the evolution of doctrine and tactics on an ongoing basis without any blinkers – and in this, the Maavoimat was similar in some ways to the Reich’s Heer, the German Army, from which it’s early strategy, doctrine and training had indeed evolved.

Over the previous decade, the Maavoimat in particular, but also the Merivoimat and Ilmavoimat, had invested heavily in both the development and purchase of communications equipment and the setting up and field testing of both Radio and Field Telephone networks and their use in battle. The fact that official documents had not been updated to reflect this (these official prewar documents mention signaling flags, birds and dogs as suitable battlefield communication methods) led to Soviet Intelligence evaluating Finnish Signals capabilities completely incorrectly – yet another factor in the crushing defeat of the Soviet forces in the Winter War of 1939-1940.

Between 1931 and 1939, Finland had experienced a rapid growth in military strength, partly due to the increased financial budgets available to the Defence Forces, partly due to the rapid evolution of Finnish military doctrine and tactics and partly due to the commitment of the Finnish people to contribute their time and support to the Reserve units, in particular via the Suojeluskuntas and Lotta Svard organizations. One aspect of this growth was the ongoing commitment to the development of Finnish military-industrial capabilities – and one aspect of this was the development of Finnish communications technology capabilities. Again, this capability did not just emerge from nowhere. Finland already had, before WW2, one of the most advanced public telecommunication networks in the world. Perhaps due to the inherited characteristics of the individual citizens, in 1939 some 160,000 phones were in use for roughly 4 million people in 1939. The network was fairly dense, and many towns had automated exchanges, which is noteworthy, as Finland covers more than 300,000 square kilometers, and the vertical distances exceed 1,000 km. The Finnish broadcasting company had been operating for over a decade and a large number of radio amateurs were active.

Additionally, by the early 1930’s, there were half a dozen well-established telecommunications manufacturing companies in existence in Finland – among them Helvar, ASA, Salora, and Fenno Radio (a Philips’ subsidiary in Finland). Nokia would be a “late entry” in this field in the 1930’s but would rapidly catch up with its established competitors and become the second largest telecommunications company in Scandanavia (after Erikson) by 1939. Between them, these Finnish companies would make a substantial contribution to Finland’s military strength and military capabilities in the Winter War (and through the duration of WW2 for that matter). From post-war documents and the histories of Finnish companies in the telecommunications sector, a thread of connecting links can be found between key persons and organizations, which were once designing military electronics, but later adopted their know-how to the needs of public communications.

The Finnish military’s ongoing commitment to technical research and development through the decade of the 1930’s had kick-started expertise in specialized fields in a wide range of industries, not the least being the Finnish telecommunications industry. A long and close relationship existed between the Radio Workshop of the Armed Forces and the State Electrical Workshop (which was responsible for many Ilmavoimat radios) and the half dozen Finnish companies working in this sector. This led directly to a growth in the number of qualified communications engineers and technicians with practical skills (the growth in strength of the Signals Branch of the Maavoimat through the 1930’s in particular resulted in large numbers of Conscripts, Reservists and later, Lotta Svard members – who would in the Winter War make up the majority of rear-area Signals personnel, receiving technical training) and also, under the pressure of war-time circumstances, to radical development and innovation – which in turn led to the emergence of the present Nokia Telecommunications as an internationally known company, the well-known supplier of both microwave equipment, cellular radio systems and - not too astonishingly - modern military communications infrastructure. But in the mid to late 1930’s, this was all in the future.

Radio in Finland in the 1920’s

Funnily enough, Finland was one of the pioneering countries in the field of radio, with Russian scientist Alexander Popov carrying out broadcasting experiments with his equipment near the archipelago of Kotka in Finland, when it was a part of the Russian Empire, in 1900. Early in the 20th century, the development of radio technology saw the first radio broadcasts, with the first radio receivers (and radio broadcasting) becoming popular in the 1920s. In January 1922, the first Radio broadcast in Finland took place with the broadcasting of a public concert from Turku, a broadcast that was repeated in January 1923. Regular broadcasting began by the BBC and in the early 1920’s Radio Broadcasting came to Finland, as it did to other countries in the same period with the Finnish broadcasting corporation beginning transmissions in Finland after 1925. Taking advantage of this new technology, several small radio workshops of one or two workers sprang up in Salo at the same time.

Radio receivers in these early years were characterized by a separate speaker and adjustable wire antennae. Finland saw radios imported initially, but very quickly a number of Finnish companies began to manufacture Radio Receivers for sale to the public. Among these were a number of small local radio-manufacturing businesses such as Teknokemiallinen tehdas Vanamo, E & J Leino Oy, Järvinen & Valli, Salon Tukkukauppa, Polkupyöräliike Onni Hakala, Reilin and Kaarlo Paijola. And then there were also the companies previously listed that were destined to become larger - Helvar, ASA, Salora and Fenno Radio (a Philips’ subsidiary in Finland) and of course the late starter that was destined to become the biggest of all - Nokia. Some examples of the types of radio receivers these companies produced for sale to the public during the 1920’s are shown below, following which we will take a brief look at radio broadcasting in Finland and then at each of the larger radio manufacturing companies in turn before moving on to Military Radio and Telephone equipment and the Maavoimat’s Signals Branch history and structure.

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20-luvulla valmistettu englantilainen vastaanotin / A 1920’s Radio Receiver imported from the UK (Photo from Kouvolan Putkiradiomuseosäätiö)

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The very first radios manufactured in Finland were crystal receivers, such as this Nordell & Koskinen crystal receiver, manufactured in 1928. These were rapidly superceded by more advanced models.

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1937 KVU Radio Receiver – Fenno Radio

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1937 KVU Radio Receiver manufacturers plate – Fenno Radio

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1937 KVU Radio Receiver – Fenno Radio – the inside view….

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[An ASA Radio Advertisement from the inter-war period

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Page from 1928: note the aircraft radio being carried by two men.

In addition to radio importers and manufacturers, as with any new technology there were numerous “hobbyists” who were fascinated by the technology and who built their own radios using plans and descriptions from science magazines. Many of these would later find a niche where they could apply their hobby within the the military and in particular in the Suojeluskuntas. An example of what these amateurs could achieve was the establishment of Turku Radio (Radio Turun in Finnish): The factory was founded in 1926 in Turku and was in businessfrom 1920 to 1930. Turku Radio in the 1920’s was one of the most famous radio factories in Finland. It was highly publicized in newspapers and to a lesser extent in magazines, especially those aimed at radio amateurs and hobbyists. Turku Radio was owned by Niilo Hyrsky until 1927, in which year he was joined by an engineer, Leo Lindell. The engineer Lindell resigned from the company at the end of 1927 but continued to work with Turku Radio until the company went bankrupt in 1930. This company also produced flashlights, batteries and phones

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Turun radion vastaanotin T.R. 3 suunnittelijana on toiminut Leo Lindell. Radio on tekniikaltaan tyypillinen 1920-luvun lopun radio. T.R. 3 on varustettu kolmella putkella. Ensimmäisenä antennista lähtien on takaisinkytketty hilailmaisija. Kaksi muuta putkea toimivat muuntajakytkettynä äänitaajuusvahvistimena. 1Turun radio receiver T.R. 3 was the work of designer Leo Lindell. Radio technology is typical of the 1920s, at the end of the radio, the T.R. 3 is equipped with three-tubse. The first antenna is connected to the back tube and the other two tubes are connected to the transformer

As the new radio technology evolved, so to did radio broadcasting as a new medium of communications. Regular American radio broadcasts reached Finnish listeners in 1923. In 1922 in Tampere, a radio amateur, Arvi Hauvonen (1899-1973) began broadcasting with his station, Radio Tampereen, using a transmission power of 10-150 watts in the medium wave – broadcasts that he kept up from 1923 to 1930 (Arvi Hauvonen later became the director of the long-wave station in Lahti from 1929 to 1967. In his honor, as a pioneer of broadcasting in Finland, OH3R "Arvi Hauvonen Memorial Station" was inaugurated – this is an amateur radio station in the Museum of Radio and Television in Lahti, located in the old historical long-wave station of the Finnish Broadcasting Company on Radiomaki, Lahti's Radio Hill). In Helsinki on 23 March 1924, the Radiola medium wave (MW) station began with a power output of 500 W, but this Radio Station failed after six months.

The Amateur Radio Association in Lahti (Lahden Radioharrastajat ry) began transmissions in 1924. On 29 May 1926, the Finnish Broadcasting Company (Oy Suomen Yleisradio Ab in Finnish, Rundradion in Swedish) was founded in Helsinki, largely modeled on the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). Yleisradio’s first major transmitter was situated in Lahti because of the town's central location in Finland and it’s first radio programme was transmitted on 9 September 1926 – with the first transmissions being made from the Suojeluskuntas radio station and then the station "Army Signal Batallion, both located in Helsinki. This is the date generally considered to be the birthday of regular broadcasting activities in Finland. However, it was not until 1928 that YLE's broadcasts became available throughout the country. After this the broadcasting network was rapidly developed and by the beginning of the 1930s, 100,000 households were able to listen to YLE's programmes.

Pioneering Finnish Broadcasting Stations

Tampere - Tampere Radio Society 1923-1930
Helsinki - Army Signal Batallion 1923-1930
Helsinki - Radiola 1924
Helsinki - Finnish Home Guard 1925-1926 (transmitter of 500 W, purchased from the USA in 1923)
Hanko - Hanko Biscuit Factory Radio 1924-1925
Rauma - Rauma Radio Club 1924-1927
Jyväskylä - Radio Society of Central Finland 1925-1927
Pori - Pori Radio Society 1925-1927
Mikkeli - Mikkeli Radio Society 1925-1928
Lahti - Lahti Radio Hobbyists 1925-1927
Viipuri - Viipuri Radio Society 1926-1928
Turku - Radio Society of Turku 1926-1935 (500 W transmitter)
Pietarsaari - Radio Society of Central Bothnia 1926-1935
Kuopio – irregular transmissions over winter 1927-1927

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By the beginning of the 1930s, 100,000 households were able to listen to YLE's programmes. Listening to the Radio was a family, or (given the cost of radios) even a community, activity..

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A family grouped around their Radio – 1936.

When established in 1926, Yleisradio as a national broadcasting company was not owned by the state but by a consortium of organizations. Neither was it granted a monopoly, even though it was awarded almost all radio-licence revenue (Radio owners had to purchase a License). Most of the shares of Yleisradio were owned by financial institutions and various businesses, over half of the company's stock was owned by the organizations of the cooperative movement, the banks and forestry and agricultural associations, and the largest single shareholder was the Finnish Radio Association. In this respect Finland differed for example from Sweden, where the corresponding programming company had been formed by the press and the radio industry and it also differed from the UK, where the originally private BBC was owned by the manufacturers of radio receivers. The role of the state in the functioning of Finnish Yleisradio was to pass broadcasting legislation permitting the collection of radio-licence fees for this company, to rule on its operating licence and to supervise its activities. The monopoly status of Yleisradio was in practice organized through a protectionist licensing policy applied by the government, not by law.

As far as principles of public service programming were concerned, Yleisradio's programming policy followed the European model. Concepts such as "dignified", "business-like", "proper", "popular education" and the "dissemination of useful education" were underlined. An important requirement was also that the programme should interest a considerable portion of audience. As a special feature, the principles were very much shaped by the agrarian conditions of Finland. A new era began in the relations between the state and Yleisradio in 1934, when Yleisradio was taken over by the state. The background to the take-over was that in the political circles of the day there was felt that there was a need to give the government a firmer grip on the only national mass medium that existed in the country. According to the act of 1934 the state exercised its powers in the shareholders' meeting, whose tasks included the appointment of the Administrative Council, Yleisradio's highest executive body.

The first central radio station in Lahti was inaugurated in 1928 (the station was designed by the German company, Telefunken) and Lahti became well-known as the “broadcasting town,” famous for its towering steel lattice aerial masts and for the radio station. The Lahti transmitter and radio masts were in use by 1928, the transmitter's initial capacity was 25 kW and rose to 40 kW in 1929 and its transmissions were augmented by Radio Societies and Clubs all over Finland retransmitting its programs At the time, Lahti was one of the most powerful radio stations in Europe. A new broadcasting station, with even more powerful transmitters, was designed by the renowned Finnish architect Kaarlo Könönen and completed in 1935. Regular broadcasting started in December 1935 with an increased capacity of 150 kW, which covered from the far south of the country as far as to Jyväskylä in Central Finland. The short wave transmitters Lahti II and Lahti III started broadcasting between 1938 and 1940 and were subsequently in operation until 1949.

It was only in 1928 that radio broadcasts could be received throughout the the entire country and by the early '30s a million Finns were able to listen to programs from YLE. Meanwhile, Yleisradio built a chain of transmitters in major cities: in 1930 in Helsinki with a power of 10 kW, in Viipuri in 1931 with a power of 10 kW, in 1931 in Oulu with a power of 1 kW, in 1933 in Tampere with a power of 1 kW, in 1933 in Pori with a power of 1 kW, in 1934 Sortavala with a power of 0.25 kW. There were lower-powered transmitters in Vaasa, Kuopio and Rovaniemi. By the year 1935 all the equipment of the surviving radio clubs was bought by the now state-owned Yleisradio.

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Kaarlo Könönen (1892-1965) graduated as an Architect from the Helsinki University of Technology in 1919. Between 1922-23 he was the Architect for the City of Kotka. He designed a number of classically-influenced apartment buildings in Kotka in the 1920’s. In 1924 he was employed as an Architect for the Department of Defence and between 1925-1929 he worked for a number of private architectural firms, such as Eliel Saarisen’s firm. From 1929-1955 he was the Architect for the City of Lahti, where is architectural style became closer to functionalism. His best-known designs include the Lahti Bus Terminal (1939) and the Lahti City Hall extension.

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The old Lahti Radio Station – now a museum (http://www.lahdenmuseot.fi/main.php?id=295)

The growth of radio broadcasting and the rapid rise in the availability of radio receivers had a significant social impact. Right from the start, state control and the public-service ideology had consequences both for the content of the programmes on offer and the linguistic forms that were used. The language used on the radio was not just the public language but was the “official” language. There were strict requirements for grammatical correctness and clear articulation. Yet another reason for the formal quality of the language was that most of the people employed in radio broadcasting in the early days had some kind of academic education, and in their work as public broadcasters, they acted more as public officials than as journalists. Entertainment initially was mostly “high-brow” – concerts, theatre performances and literary recitations. This however changed over time as Radio proved far more effective in mass communication as compared to print media.

Radio increasingly brought unique entertainment opportunities to people, especially for those who could not afford the luxury of visiting places where entertainment was available only to the rich. With a radio set by their side, common people could enjoy music and stayed informed about events as ordinary as a street robbery to change of governments and tug of war among political rivals to availability of commodities in the market. But it was the entertainment which made the radio popular on first instance. Very soon the entertainment content expanded beyond music and comedy shows, gossip and answering letters from listeners – all of which served to expand the audience. Radio brought news to its audience far more rapidly than newspapers had and also began to be used for “political” broadcasting – including “fireside chats” which added an intimacy to political campaigning.

Radio broadcasts were used for educational purposes and also for advertising. The corporate sector almost immediately seized on the usefulness of radio as astrong medium to reach a very high number of consumers of their products and services and started buying “air-time” for this purpose. Within a decade of the first radio broadcast, an advertising sector – far more organized than the world had seen during growth of print media, became highly visible. Since the popularity of the commercial programs was largely dependent on the entertainmentor fact, new approaches to advertising were soon invented – catchy music jingles, script writing and presentation. Radio opened up a whole range of jobs never known before. To become a broadcaster with a radio station was considered to be a prestigious job in the early days of radio. The news-readers, copy writers, playwright for radio dramas, anchors for different discussion shows, musicians, recording engineers and a range of technical jobs came about so quickly that formal training was non-existent to start with.

And at the same time, the growth in Radio’s popularity and the rising audience numbers led to the appearance of a whole new sector of industry – the manufacturing, selling and repairing of Radio equipment. Finland was not unique in this – it was an experience that almost every country in Europe went through in the 1920’s and 1930’s as the new technology increasingly permeated society. In the case of Finland, a number of companies emerged in this sector. The expertise of these companies would be put to good use by the Finnish military through the decade of the 1930’s.
We’ll now go on to look at the most important of these Finnish companies, together with a short overview of the role each would play in the decade prior to the Winter War.

ASA Radio Oy

ASA Radio Oy was established by Arvo Sakrelius on 27 September, 1927 and would go on to become a major Finnish radio-equipment manufacturer. The founder of the company, Arvo Andrea Sakrelius, was born on 23rd December, 1898 to Johan Sakrelius, a small business owner and his wife, Amanda. As a schoolboy, Arvo was interested in chemistry, physics and electrical theory. A relative who lived in Viborg took the 15-year-old boy on as an assistant electrician in 1913. After returning to Turku at the age of 17 he had electrician's papers in his pocket and established himself as an electrician in Turku.

After building a number of radio-broadcast receivers, in 1927 he established a company he named after himself to manufacture radio receivers. Initially, he had one employee. Later that year he changed the name of the company and began working from a two room apartment. In 1930 he formed the company into a limited company and renamed it ASA Radio Oy. By late 1934 the company had 15 employees. In the spring of 1935 Asa Radio Ltd moved into a factory building, and in 1936, as the company expanded, he rented an old tennis club on the same property to allow for the expansion of his factory facilities. The number of employees had by 1936 grown to 120 and as the company expanded through 1937, sales branchs were established in Pori and Rauma, and the following year in Forssa. In 1938, the company manufactured approximately 12,000 radio receivers. The Radios at this time cost about 3,000 marks, which was equivalent to three months of a laborer's gross salary – they were not cheap items to buy by any means, and owning a radio was something of status symbol.

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A typical ASA Radio Dealership of the 1930’s…..

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An ASA Radio Repair Workshop of the 1930’s

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ASA Radio Receiver from the 1930’s: (Valmistusvuosi 1938. 5+1+1- putkinen, 7 -piirinen suursuper heterodyne vaihtovirtavastaanotin. Jännitealue : 110-125-225-240 V. Tehontarve n. 49 W. Aaltoalueet : 18-53 m, 198-587 m, 693-1880 m. Taikasilmä näköviritys. Putket, n.s. punaisen sarjan E- putket : EK 2, EF 5, EF 6, EL 3, EB 4, EM 1, Philips : 506, tai Triotron : G 470. PM : M2-27 / Year of manufacture 1938. 5 +1 +1 tube, 7-circuit high-super-heterodyne receiver to AC power. Voltage Range: 110-125-225-240 V Power consumption about 49 W. bands: 18-53 m, 198-587 m, 693-1880 m, Magic Eye tuning of vision. Tubes, the so-called Red E-series tubes: SS 2, EF 5 EF 6, EL 3, 4 EB, EM 1, Philips 506, or Triotron: G 470 PM: M2-2)

Initially, the radios manufactured by Asa through the mid-1920s were battery-powered radio receivers but by the beginning of the 1930s their multi-tube radios ran off mains power supply. In 1939, Asa Radio announced its first matkaradionsa (portable radio). As with other Finnish radio manufacturers, ASA manufactured radio equipment for the Finnish military, starting in ASA’s case in late 1938 as emergency funding was approved by the Government following the Munich Crisis. In ASA’s case, the size of the military order’s placed resulted in the building of a new factory assembly hall with ASA manufacturing Radios for both the Maavoimat and Ilmavoimat.

Unlike other Radio manufacturers, ASA did not design any new equipment specifically for the military. The focus of the company was on manufacturing, and this they did well, turning out radios from designs supplied by the Radio Workshop of the Armed Forces through 1939. With the outbreak of the Winter War, ASA moved to a wartime manufacturing regime, running two shifts and then three as Finnish industry attempted to meet the ongoing needs of the Suomen Maavoimat, Ilmavoimat and Merivoimat as they fought for Finland’s survival. ASA Radio had a tangible experience of the sorrows of war: the Soviet Air Force night bombing raids of January 1940, just a couple of weeks prior to the completion of a new ASA factory, destroyed the new factory’s assembly building as well as valuable raw materials and machinery. Valuable and difficult to replace measuring instruments and equipment were also destroyed in the subsequent fire.

However, ASA had retained their old facilities and were able to continue manufacturing, albeit with a reduced output. Following the Winter War, ASA Radio continued to manufacture radio and electronic equipment for the armed forces. They also manufactured components for other manufacturers, including vacuum tubes, storage batteries and other electronic equipment including items such as proximity fuses. In 1942, they began to manufacture quartz crystals and became the only Finnish supplier of these crystals, which were used in huge numbers in the next generation of Radios which the Maavoimat would go on to use in the fight against Germany. At the same time, even in the throes of the Winter War, as there was a pressing need for the equipment ASA was manufacturing manufacturing times were shaved wherever possible in a process of what we would now call continuous improvement. As an example, when ASA began to produce wave meters for the Signals Branch, it took two and a half hours to calibrate the instruments by hand – and then they required a 24 hour burn-in period before they were ready for use. ASA developed an automatic calibrator for their wave meters, which reduced the total time to prepare the meters for use to fifteen minutes.

Oy Fenno Radio Ab

The Philips Company was founded in 1891 in the Netherlands by Gerard Philips and his father Frederik as a family business. Frederik Philips, being a banker in Zaltbommel, financed the purchase and setup of a modest, empty factory building in Eindhoven, where Philips started the production of carbon-filament lamps and other electro-technical products in 1892. In 1895, after the first difficult years and going nearly bankrupt, Gerard and his father brought in Gerard’s younger brother Anton. Having earned an engineering degree, he started working as a sales representative, but soon began to contribute many important business ideas. After that, the family business began to expand rapidly, resulting in 1907 in the foundation of the N.V. Philips’ Metaalgloeilampfabriek (the Philips Lightwire-bulb Factory Inc) in Eindhoven, followed in 1912 by the foundation of the N.V. Philips' Gloeilampenfabrieken (the Philips Light-bulb Factory Inc). In 1918, Philips introduced a medical X-ray tube. This marked the beginning of the diversification of the company’s product range and the moment when it began to protect its innovations with patents in areas stretching from X-ray radiation to radio reception. In the 1920s, the company started to manufacture other products, such as vacuum tubes and in 1927 also began manufacturing Radios.

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Early Philips Radios

In 1925, Philips became involved in the first experiments in television and, in 1927, began producing radios. By 1932, Philips had sold one million of them and had become the world’s largest radio producer. A year later, it produced its 100-millionth radio valve and started production of medical X-ray equipment in the United States. By 1939, when it launched the first Philips electric shaver, the company employed 45,000 people worldwide and had acquired or established subsidiary companies in many countries. Oy Fenno-Radio Ab of Helsinki was one of these subsidiaries. Originally founded by Alex Paltschik, Erik Linden and Guido Ruotzi in 1924, Philips was a minority shareholder in Fenno-Radio from the start, and as such imported or manufactured a range of Philips (and other manufacturers) products. Fenno-Radio was a major supplier for the military and was involved as well in a number of research projects. There was a security concern about the foreign shareholding and as a result, the really secretive R&D Projects were awarded to Nokia rather than Fenno. However, Fenno was always a major manufactuer and such was the demand that in 1943, the company built a new factory in Helsinki Vallila.

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Fenno (Philips) Finland -: 947A-12 [Radio] from 1935

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1936: Workers at the Fenno Radio manufacturing plant. Note that the workers are all women. They proved to be more suitable for fine detail, as well as being cheaper to employ.

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Fenno Radio advertisement from 1941

In the late 1930’s, the radio was evolving into a fairly sophisticated device and the top radio manufacturers were looking to boost sales, with marketing departments flooding newspapers and magazines with advertisement after advertisement touting various features of their radios. By now, many radio manufacturers were using some form of remote control on their deluxe and high-end models. Three types of remote control were prevalent in the 1938-39 season: wired (a tethered control box), wired radio control (similar to carrier current radio over the AC house wiring) and true wireless radio control, which is the method Philco employed (and which was distributed in Finland by Fenno Radio).

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The “Mystery Control” – actually the first wireless remote in general use – in 1938-1939. The first radios Fenno manufaured for the Mystery Control (produced under license from Philco) were two top of the line sets for the 1939 model year. These models were large deluxe floor consoles. Both had hi-fidelity audio circuitry and impressive operational features as well as good looks.

Fenno dealers also held live demonstrations for the new radio line with in-store demo areas. One enterprising dealership in Vaasa had a demonstration in the front window of the store. Traffic was all but stopped. A salesman carried the control box out to the sidewalk and extension loudspeakers were placed on the sidewalk. These "wireless remote" demonstrations were very unique for their time. Many other manufacturers had radios with other forms of remote control (Fenno included) such as a wired or tethered control box or a remote box with a small built-in converter/receiver that fed the main set. No manufacturer up to this time had a completely wireless remote. Initially, the 1939 Fenno dealer catalog claimed the Mystery Control did not use a "radio beam," when it fact it was. The control box sent out RF pulses to a special receiver in the main radio cabinet.

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The Fenno Mystery Control --it worked just like a telephone dial. You could activate station presets, change the volume, and turn the set on and off.

With the expertise, such as it was, that Fenno acquired with manufacturing wireless remote controls, the company would go on to work closely with the Ilmavoimat through 1939 in the development of a wireless-controlled glider bomb – something that we will look at in detail a subsequent post on Finnish technical innovations over the period of 1938-1939.

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The Ilmavoimat’s Glider-Bomb: This was the world’s first true “fire and forget” bomb – and it was invented in Finland. Once dropped, the Glider Bomb went solo, guidimg itself to the target with an autonomous homing mechanism that was impervious to electronic countermeasures. The gliders were constructed primarily of plywood with a 12ft wingspan and built around a 1,000lb bomb. The guidance system was mounted in the nose. Fenno-Radio spent considerable time and effort working to devise a workable remote control guidance system for this bomb but were unsuccessful.

In actuality, a reliable wireless-controlled glider bomb was not successfully achieved, but the work that went into this project, when fortuitously combined with the research work of a junior psychologist at the University of Helsinki, Johannes Nahkuri, (who had studied at the University of Minnesota in 1937) whose older brother was an engineer on the glider-bomb project, resulted in the first “fire and forget” glider-bomb that could be dropped from well outside the range of enemy AA guns and left to guide itself onto the target. It was a weapon that the Ilmavoimat would use with devastating effectiveness in the Winter War.

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….and this is the “fire and forget autonomous homing mechanism….” Pigeons were trained to peck at an image of a target projected by a lens onto a screen in the bomb's nosecone – these signals then corrected the bomb's flight-path. In early testing, it was found that Pigeons produced excellent results & were reliable under stressful conditions including extremes in cold, vibration, acceleration, pressure, & noise.

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An Ilmavoimat Divebomber dropping a Linnunpaska Liidokki-Pommi in trials in mid-1939. Such was the outstanding success of the trials that the Glider-Bomb (Liidokki-Pommi) was ordered into immediate production. The most challenging task was the mass-training of Pigeons and emsuring their ongoing care and training together with ensuring an adequate reserve was available, particularly in the cold of mid-winter.

The trials, tribulations and success of the Linnunpaska Liidokki-Pommi Project will be covered in detail in a subsequent Post.

Helvar Oy Ab

Helvar was founded in 1921, initially to handle oil imports between Helsinki and Warsaw and expanding into the general import / export business. Later in the 1920’s, the Company’s attention turned to the radio industry. At that time, it was a pioneer in the radio industry in Finland. Beginning in 1926, the company imported radios, gramophones and records and in the 1930’s, the company started to manufacture and produce radios itself. With a growing market for radios, Helvar decided to move into manufacturing and in 1932, the company produced its first model, the Super 6/32, which was an immediate success and which immediately pushed Helvar to the forefront of radio manufacturing in Finland. A factory was opened at Pitäjänmäki in Helsinki in 1933 and in 1934 Helvar also became involved in the development of broadcasting technologies for the Radio Broadcasting industry. Also in 1934, the company was awarded the first of what would be a number of contracts from the Maavoimat for the design and manufacture of military radios.

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The first commercially available Helvar Radio, the 32-6. Made in the company’s factory at Pitajanmaki, Helsinki.

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The Helsinki Radio Factory (Helsingin Radiotehdas) was built for Helvar between 1937 and 1941 with a 1920’s style façade. With three floors, each with an average height of three meters, the factory was well lit, with large windows and an open interior. The factory was an example of the good working conditions that many Finnish workers enjoyed by the time of the late 1930’s. (OTL, the building has been converted to a residential apartment building preserving much of the original building - http://www.ncc.fi/asunnot/paakaupunkiseutu/helsinki/radiotehdas/fi_FI/radiotehdas/)

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A photo of the orginal interior of the Helvar Radio Factory

Helvar was an important supplier of Radio Communications equipment to the Finnish military for the duration of the Winter War and the remainder of WW2.

In the next Post, we will look at Nokia Radio and its contributions to the effectiveness of the Finnish military.
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Oy Nokia Radio Ab

Postby CanKiwi2 » 11 Nov 2011 23:02

Oy Nokia Radio Ab

In 1927, three companies, which had been jointly owned since 1922 (Finnish Rubber Works-Suomen Gummitehdas Oy, Finnish Cable Works-Suomen Kaapelitehdas Oy and Nokia Company- Nokia Aktiebolag) were merged to form a new industrial conglomerate named Nokia Oy. Through the late 1920’s and 1930’s, Nokia Oy was involved in many industries, producing paper products, car and bicycle tires, footwear (including rubber boots and boots for the Finnish Army), communications cables, electricity generation machinery, gas masks for the Finnish Army), aluminium and chemicals. Each business unit had its own director who reported to the Nokia Corporation President.

Nokia's history starts in 1865 when mining engineer Fredrik Idestam established a groundwood pulp mill on the banks of the Tammerkoski rapids in the town of Tampere, in southwestern Finland, and started manufacturing paper. In 1868, Idestam built a second mill near the town of Nokia, fifteen kilometers (nine miles) west of Tampere by the Nokianvirta river, which had better resources for hydropower production. In 1902, Nokia added electricity generation to its business activities. In 1898, Eduard Polón founded Finnish Rubber Works, manufacturer of galoshes and other rubber products, which later became Nokia's rubber business.[29] At the beginning of the 20th century, Finnish Rubber Works established its factories near the town of Nokia and began using Nokia as its product brand. At the end of the 1910s, shortly after World War I, the Nokia Company was nearing bankruptcy. To ensure the continuation of electricity supply from Nokia's generators, Finnish Rubber Works acquired the business of the insolvent company. In 1912, Arvid Wickström founded Finnish Cable Works as a producer of telephone, telegraph and electrical cables and in 1922, Finnish Rubber Works acquired Finnish Cable Works.

Despite their reputation of being reticent, the Finns were among the forerunners in the world in the use of the telephone. The first telephone line was erected in Helsinki towards the end of 1877; only 18 months after the telephone had been patented in the United States. The first telephone company was founded in Helsinki in 1882, and 1930 a total of 815 local telephone companies had been set up in Finland. In most other countries telephony was regarded as a successor to telegraphy and hence became a state monopoly. Telephones first arrived in the largest towns, then gradually spread to smaller towns and the surrounding countryside. In urban areas telephones grew common quite rapidly. At the turn of the century Helsinki had 3.3 phones per 100 population, which was considerably more than in other towns. By 1930 there was approximately one phone for every six people.

Measured with any indicators, private telephony activity was many times more extensive than that of the State. For example, in 1932 State telephone companies had 227 exchanges whereas private telephone companies had as many as 1,998. Likewise, in the same year the State had 1,763 "subscriber apparatuses" but private telephone companies had 133,456. At the time, Telephone Services in Finland were an open market, with the state-owned telecom company having a monopoly only on trunk network calls, while most (c. 75%) of local telecommunications was provided by telephone cooperatives, with most of the actual telephones and switches being purchased from the Swedish Ericsson Company. In 1930, the newly appointed President (and former Technical Director) of Finnish Cable Works, Verner Weckman, made a case for Nokia to move into the design and maufacture of telephony equipment for the Finnish market. With the support of the Finnish Government (by way of placing orders and placing tariff barriers on imports), Nokia quickly established itself in the limited Finnish market for such equipment, at the same time gaining experience in the design and manufacturing of telephones and the new automatic switches that were slowly penetrating the telephony market.

In the 1920s and 1930s, the world telephone markets were being organized and stabilized by many governments. The fragmented town-by-town systems which had grown up over the years, serviced by many small private companies, were being integrated and offered for lease to a single company. Finland was no exception and in 1932, Nokia was awarded the contract for Finnish Telephone Services nationwide. Within two years, Nokia had expanded into Estonia and had begun selling telephones and switches to the other Baltic States and to Poland. As part of the trade deals with the USSR, in 1935 the Government secured a contract for the delivery of automated switches to the USSR, a minor order for the established European and American manufacturers but a significant sale for Nokia. By 1935, Finnish Cable was securely established as a small (by world standards) telephone equipment designer and manufacturer.

Stepping back a couple of years, the successful penetration of the telephone market by Finnish Cable Works led Nokia to consider further diversification into the field of telecommunications. The end result was that in 1933, Nokia set up Oy Nokia Radio Ab as a subsidiary company focusing on the manufacturing of Radios for the Finnish and scandanavian markets – and in this, they capitalised on their successes in the field of Telephones and Switches. Nokia Radio’s capture of market share was rapid, aided perhaps by the company’s ability to secure capital for expansion from the parent company and to manufacture German radios under license, and within two years they had become one of the largest radio manufacturers in Scandanavia.

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Nokia’s Tampere Radio Factory

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Nokia’s Tampere Radio Factory

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Nokia’s Tampere Radio Factory

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Nokia Radio factory – Tampere. Despite being a late-starter in Radio Manufacturing, Nokia soon became the largest Radio manufacturer in Finland, as well as the beneficiary of substantial R&D funding from the military. Nokia’s early interest in Radar, and the availability of corporate funding prior to R&D funding being made available from the military, led to the first Finnish Radar Stations being rushed into use by the middle of the Winter War. By the end of WW2, Nokia Radar would be a world leader in this aspect of military technology and would be exporting Radar equipment to Britain and the US.

However, Nokia would also branch out into some rather more innovative uses of Radio, although not without some initial effort on Nokia’s part. The military shrugged off Nokia's initial efforts at acquiring government R&D contracts, since in terms of telecommunications equipment the company was best known for manufacturing telephones and switchboards and for assembling radios from parts that came largely from outside sources. However, what the military wasn’t initially aware of was that the Manager of Nokia Radio, a long-standing member of the Suojeluskuntas, had on his own initiative as early as January 1935 had formed a small group of engineers to look into military-related applications for Radio. One of those engineers was Eric Tigerstedt, one of the most significant inventors in Finland in the first half of the 20th century, and a man who would later be called the "Edison of Finland". And finally, in 1937, after discussions at the highest levels of Government and the military, Oy Nokia Radio Ab was awarded an R&D Project by the military for the development of a one-man portable radio for the military.

While this was welcome, it was not the Nokia Radio engineering team’s two primary interests. At the time, the team, led by Tigerstedt, was researching the use of radio wave reflections on the one hand, and applications for the use of light waves on the other hand. We’ll look at Eric Tigerstdet, and Nokia Radar in detail in a subsequent post on Finnish technical innovations over the period of 1938-1939 and at the same time also look at one of Tigerstedt’s more innovative inventions - one that the Maavoimat made good use of in both the Winter War and the Continuation War, “Verenimijä.”

In the meantime, after a brief biogtaphy of Tigerstedt, we will go on to look at the Nokia R&D Program that led to the introduction of the one-man portable Backpack Radio into use by the Maavoimat mid-way through the Winter War.

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Eric Magnus Campbell Tigerstedt (August 4, 1887 – April 20, 1925) in 1935: Tigerstedt was one of the most significant inventors in Finland at the beginning of the 20th century, and has been called the "Thomas Edison of Finland". He was the first person to implement a working sound-on-film technology, and in the process, he made significant improvements to the amplification properties of the vacuum valve. Apart from improving on the design of the triode vacuum valve, he also developed directional loudspeakers. Tigerstedt also predicted such future inventions as the television and the mobile phone, and in 1917, he filed a patent for what he described as a "pocket-size, folding telephone with a very thin carbon microphone". Tigerstedt was awarded a total of 71 patents in several countries between the years 1912 and 1924.

Tigerstedt was born in Helsinki in 1887 and started to show a particular interest in all things technical already at an early age. He studied his father’s scientific books with great interest, and at age 11, built a simple photographic device. At age 13, he began experimenting with other technical devices and machines, and he built his own version of an electric motor and electrical batteries. After a fall-out with his father, he left home at the age of 15, and supported himself by working as a handyman and technician in mechanical workshops and shipyards in Helsinki. He later worked as a technician in the telephone industry, which was rapidly becoming a major business in Helsinki at this time. In 1908 Tigerstedt moved to Germany to continue his studies. He completed his high school education, and began studies in electrical engineering at the Friedrichs Polytechnikum in Köthen. After completing his studies there in 1911, he moved back to Finland with his fiancée Marjatta Nybom, whom he had met and fallen in love with while in Köthen. She had been studying the violin in Switzerland and had met Tigersted through her brother Albert Nybom, who was also studying in Köthen and who was a class mate of Tigerstedt. However, the engagement between Tigerstedt and Marjatta Nybom was broken off in 1912.

After having returned to Finland, he continued his experiments, and succeeded in building a prototype of sound-on-film technology ("talking movies"). Tigerstedt then returned to Germany in 1913, and founded a company with the Swedish merchant Axel Wahlstedt and the Swedish engineer Hugo Swartling. This was the first in a series of unsuccessful business ventures. Although Tigerstedt was able to complete his work with the sound-on-film technology, their laboratory was ultimately confiscated due to unpaid rent. They later managed to recover their laboratory, but it was then destroyed in a fire. The cooperation between Wahlstedt and Tigerstedt also become strained, and in January 1914 they dissolved their company. After breaking off their commercial partnership, Wahlstedt returned to Sweden, while Tigerstedt stayed behind in Berlin, more or less broke. Tigerstedt continued working on his sound-on-film technology, and during the process, he managed to solve a major technical problem, that of how to amplify film audio in a large theatre hall. He did this by making major improvements to the vacuum tube design of Lee De Forest, increasing the amplification properties several times. In February/March 1914, Tigerstedt demonstrated his sound-on-film technology to a small group of scientists, using his own film "Word and Picture”.

After having been expelled from Germany in July 1914, Tigerstedt returned to Finland, but moved to Sweden a few months later, and then finally to Denmark in 1915. After another unsuccessful business venture, Tigerstedt once more returned to Finland. In 1917, he moved back to Denmark, founded yet another company, which was then sold. After this, he participated in the founding of the Norwegian company A/S Anod, in which he held a 45% stake. As a Finnish citizen, Tigerstedt was called back to take part in the Finnish civil war of 1918, and on 14 February 1918 he was on his way back to Finland. After the cessation of the hostilities, he participated in the victory parade on 16 May 1918, but then returned to Denmark, where he married Ingrid Lignell in 1919. Their son Carl Axel Waldemar was born in 1921. However, their marriage soon began to deteriorate, and they separated not long after the birth of their son.

During World War I, Germany had invalidated all of Tigerstedts patents. After the war, he received compensation from the German Government, but this amount quickly became worthless due to the hyperinflation in Germany during 1921 to 1923. In 1922, Tigerstedt moved his laboratory to Finland, and he founded a new company called “Tigerstedts patenter”, which however also failed. In 1923 Tigerstedt moved to America where he founded his last company, "The Tiger Manufacturing Co", to produce small radio receivers and cryptographic devices. The Mexican government purchased 2 of the cryptographic devices, and the radio receivers also sold relatively well. Tigerstedt also had the opportunity to meet with the great American inventor Thomas Alva Edison, who wrote a letter of recommendation for Tigerstedt to the director of the Department of Commerce. On the verge of commercial success, a competitor offered to buy his company and after the offer was substantially increased, Tigerstedt accepted.

Now financially secure, Tigerstedt returned to Finland in 1925 and once more setup a new Helsinki-based company, “Oy Tigerstedt Research Ab.” We will go on to look at Tigerstedt’s work over the next ten years, as well as the development of the one-man portable Backpack Radio, in the next Post.
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Re: What If-Finland had been prepared for the Winter War?

Postby John Hilly » 15 Nov 2011 16:41

Terve, Nigel!
Some clarifications about our beatiful Finnish:
Liidokki-Pommi ~ Liito-Pommi sounds better to me.
In Finnish, the genitive stands before the noun. So, Turun Radio, Tampereen Radio, Maavoimien radiot etc... :D

Cheers
Juha-Pekka :milwink:
"Die Blechtrommel trommelt noch!"

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Re: What If-Finland had been prepared for the Winter War?

Postby Mark V » 15 Nov 2011 18:56

CanKiwi2 wrote:Image
An Ilmavoimat Divebomber dropping a Linnunpaska Liidokki-Pommi in trials in mid-1939. Such was the outstanding success of the trials that the Glider-Bomb (Liidokki-Pommi) was ordered into immediate production. The most challenging task was the mass-training of Pigeons and emsuring their ongoing care and training together with ensuring an adequate reserve was available, particularly in the cold of mid-winter.



ROTLMAO

Linnunpaska Liidokki-Pommi = Birdshit gliding bomb. Propably not the official designation, but surely fitting nick-name for the weapon.

Armourers would had nick-named the homing head (including the pigeons) surely as paskapää - "shithead" (100% same meaning in finnish as in english). You can use word pää=head for either end of object, when solely describing fore or aft part you include etu=fore, taka=aft, but if there is addititional description the fore-aft may be omitted.

The pigeon homing, which was tinkered during WW2 fielded and successfully used ! Great !

Also, IF the official designation would had been like:

LLP/-40, Lintu-Liito-Pommi malli -40

= Bird Glide Bomb model -40
, that will turn nicely in users tongue to: Laatikko LinnunPaskaa = box full of birdshit.

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Re: What If-Finland had been prepared for the Winter War?

Postby CanKiwi2 » 15 Nov 2011 20:41

Hey Juha-Pekka / Mark V

Thx for the help with my Finnish. I will be sure to include that going forward. As for the Laatikko LinnunPaskaa, I'm working on the writeup for this now. Seriously, it existed, which makes it even funnier (to me anyhow....). I'm certainly having fun with the write-up..... going to try and do a videoclip on YouTube for it too.

Cheers.........Nigel
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Re: What If-Finland had been prepared for the Winter War?

Postby CanKiwi2 » 15 Nov 2011 23:03

But before we go on to the development by Nokia of the one-man portable Backpack Radio and of the equally unique long-range man-portable Kyynel Radio (which was developed and manufactured on a small-scale by the Finnish Army Radio Depot), we will take a final look at the last couple of Finnish Radio manufacturers.

Salora Radio Oy

In April 1928, leather salesman Fjalar Nordell and taxi driver Sulo Koskinen established Nordell & Koskinen in Salo, for the purpose of selling cars and machines. From the beginning of their business they also sold radios and radio equipment. The company produced its first commercial radio under the name Radioshop Nordell & Koskinen and began manufacturing these in Salo. In the early days Fjalar Nordell himself drove around Salo and the surrounding provinces in his Chevrolet convertible, selling radios. By the autumn of 1928 they had decided to abandon selling cars and to concentrate on manufacturing and selling their own receivers, crystal receivers and battery powered tube radios. They went on in the same year to build crystal receivers for the new Finnish broadcasting station.

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Nordell & Koskinen’s crystal receiver, 1928: The crystal receiver, manufactured in 1928, was the Salo-based Nordell & Koskinen’s first own product. It was only manufactured for a short period of time in the summer and autumn of 1928. According to one of the owners, Fjalar Nordell, crystal receivers were already old news at the end of the 1920’s. They assembled crystal receivers and sold cars as well. On the front mask of the crystal receiver there was a glass tube -covered crystal that needed to be tuned to be able to listen to transmissions. Headphones were needed to listen to the crystal receiver.

As more and more of the Finnish countryside became linked in to the electrical distribution system, radio buyers moved away from the early battery-powered radios and wanted mains-powered radio receivers. Despite the depression, Nordell & Koskinen started to design and build their own mains-powered radio receivers from 1930. Koskinen was replaced by the company's second owner, Olavi Laakso, in 1936. In the same year the company introduced the Salora brand (This name was a combination of the town SALO and the product Radio).

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Pekka 300 VK, 1931-34: Their first mains powered receiver was completed in the autumn of 1931. It was available both with an external loudspeaker (N&K 10 and Pekka 300 V) and with a built-in loudspeaker (N&K 20 and Pekka 300 VK). The vertical Pekka 300 VK cost 2400 Fmk. An advertisement claimed that “the radio has a pleasant appearance and great volume and you can listen to dozens of foreign stations with full loudspeaker volume”.

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The Salora PK, 1937-38: Nordell & Koskinen (owned by Nordell & Laakso from 1936 on) manufactured the first Salora radio in 1937. The Salora PK was a battery-powered receiver with three tubes. They also manufactured a mains powered model, the Salora VK. Salora PK’s source of power was a 2-volt accumulator and a 120-volt anode battery. The catalogue states, that “the receiver had accomplished an excellent tuning precision and great sensitivity. The radio was truly fine with a beautiful sound and it was the actual ruler in its price range”.

With a workforce of some 300 employees manufacturing 15,000 radios annually, by the late 1930’s Salora was the largest radio manufacturer in Finland after Nokia. Salora was in existence from 1928 and 1995 and was the largest producer of radios and televisions in Finland. After WW2, Salora specialized in manufacturing shortwave radios, television sets and radio-telephones. In the last half of the 1930’s and through WW2, Salora was an important manufacturer of Radios for the Finnish military, as well as manufacturing crystals for military radios.

And lastly, the Estonian manufacturer Tartu Telefonivabrik AS (owned by Nokia)

Tartu Telefonivabrik was established in 1907 for the manufacturing of telephones. In 1924 the company began manufacturing radio receivers, primarily Telefunken radios produced under license. In 1929 the Finnish Nokia Oy become the largest shareholder, at which time the main product was still telephones, even though TTV was the biggest exporter of radio receivers in Estonia. TTV was an interesting hub on Nokia’s rapidly growing multinational telephone business. Nokia had a strong interest in the growing markets of the Baltic peripheral and invested heavily in the factory. TTV produced Nokia telephone equipment and switches under license. A large percentage o the factory’s production was exported to Latvia and Lithuania, as well as to the USSR. Although Tartu was not an R&D center for Nokia, the Estonian factory’s products were well-known both domestically and abroad for their surprisingly good quality and construction, which in combination with their low prices led to the factory continuously winning tenders not only in the Baltic Sea region but also in China, Turkey, Persia and other countries.

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1924 Advertisement for Tartu Telefonivabrik

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The Nokia-owned Tartu Telefonivabrik factory

While the Finnish military used Tartu Telefonivabrik manufactured equipment, the TTV factory did not supply the Finnish military with any equipment during the Winter War. The Red Army units based in Finland from late 1939 saw to this. The subsequent overrunning of Estonia in early 1940 by the USSR, despite the gallant fight put up by the outnumber Estonian armed forces resulted in the almost complete destruction of the Tartu factory by the Estonians as they carried out a fighting retreat to the Tallinn redoubt.

Next: An overview of Finnish military radios, followed by an overview of the development by Nokia of the one-man portable Backpack Radio and the equally unique long-range man-portable Kyynel Radio (developed and manufactured on a small-scale by the Finnish Army Radio Depot). After this, we'll cover Signals Unit organisation within a typical Field Infantry Division circa 1939. And then... we'll return to Forest Service Aircraft and take a look at Forest Service Waterbombers and some of the unintended spinoffs from waterbombing....
ex Ngāti Tumatauenga ("Tribe of the Maori War God") aka the New Zealand Army

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CanKiwi2
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Re: What If-Finland had been prepared for the Winter War?

Postby CanKiwi2 » 18 Nov 2011 20:19

Maavoimat Signals equipment through the 1920’s and into the 1930’s

As I mentioned a few Posts ago, please note that the content of this Post as far as OTL Finnish Army Radio and Signal’s equipment (and photos) is concerned is sourced from Antero Tanninen’s wonderfully detailed website, http://personal.inet.fi/koti/antero.tanninen/ - and more specifically, http://personal.inet.fi/koti/antero.tanninen/Radiotaulukko.htm - and is reused with Antero’s permission. If you’re interested in Finnish Radio equipment, Antero’s site goes into this subject in far greater detail than I’ve used – the content is primarily in Finnish but if you use Google Translate, you’ll get a pretty good idea of what it’s all about.

Suomen Maavoimat war-time field radios and field telephone / switchboard equipment at the time of the Winter War.

Note that this is not a complete listing of WW2 Maavoimat Radios, as the Maavoimat ended up with a wide range of equipment from many different sources – but it does give you an idea of the type of equipment that was in use as well as its capabilities.

In general terms, there were four types of Field Radios that were in common use by the Maavoimat. These were the:

AB-Radio: Used by the higher echelons of the Maavoimat (Army Bases, Headquarters, etc) for communications over very long distances;
B-Radio: Used at Corps, Division and Regimental Headquarters for commmunications between Headquarters units;
C-Radio: Radio communications within the Infantry Regiment and at Battalion HQ Level for the Battalions and major supporting units that make up a Regiment
D-Radio: Infantry Company, Artillery Fire Control, Close Air Support and smaller units within the Regiment.

Below, as well as examples of Field Telephones, we will list examples of each type of Field Radio together with capabilities (and photos).

Field Telephone and Field Telephone Switchboard Equipment

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Signals Battalion soldier at work. Field Telephone Switchboard. Suomen Maavoimat, 1920’s

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Two early-model Field Telephones used by the Maavoimat: The top phone is a Siemens & Halsken produced field telephone model "Grosser Feldfernsprecher" made in 1917. The phone in the lower image is also a Siemens & Halsken – a "Feldfernsprecher" model from 1916. These remained in service with the Maavoimat until 1939, after which they were replaced by the new models. However, with the Winter War, they remained in stock as war reserve material and were used to replace combat losses.

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Virolaisen kenttäpuhelimen vanhempi malli 1920 vuoden loppupuolelta. Valmistaja Tartu Telefoni Vabrik. / Field Telephone manufactured for the Maavoimat by Tartu Telefonika of Estonia (at this stage not yet owned by Nokia) – an older P-1-8 1920 model.

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Field phones boxes were originally made of hardwood such as oak. Wood as a construction material was however relatively expensive and ill-suited to mass production. Thus, in the 1930’s, resin’s quickly replaced wood as the material of choice for casings. Bakelite was perfectly suited to mass production because the cases could be made using die-casting molds. This Field Telephone was one for the early models constructed with a bakelite casing. The cases were also more robust, lighter and more waterproof than the older wood cases.

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Suomen armeijan toisessa maailmansodassa käytössä ollut Helvarin sotilasradio. Luultavasti P-12-12u "Kukkopilli" malli. Kuvattu Hangon rintamamuseossa / Helvar military radio-telephone used by Finnish army in World War 2. Likely a P-12-12u "Kukkopilli" model. Photographed in Hanko front museum.

The Early Days of Radio in the Maavoimat

But first, an explanation of the Finnish four or five digit device code that you will see associated with almost all Radios:
V = communications (/ signals) device
R = radio (wireless)
G = D station / radio for artillery fire control and infantry company
K = producer (and/or country of origin): ASA
[none], A, B, C... = version

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Radioasema toiminnassa metsässä 1928 / A radio station operating in the woods – 1928. The figure shows a wintry forest, and two men on skis, one standing, one leaning over the sled. The leaning man is recording a message. Both men are soldiers,

As mentioned above, there were four types of Field Radios that were in common use by the Maavoimat. These were the:
AB-Radio: Used by the higher echelons of the Maavoimat (Army Bases, Headquarters, etc) for communications over very long distances;
B-Radio: Used at Corps, Division and Regimental Headquarters for commmunications between Headquarters units;
C-Radio: Radio communications within the Infantry Regiment and at Battalion HQ Level for the Battalions and major supporting units that make up a Regiment
D-Radio: Infantry Company, Artillery Fire Control, Close Air Support and smaller units within the Regiment.

The use of radio as a field artillery fire control device began to develop rapidly within the Maavoimat from about 1925. Prior to this, in 1923 General Vilho Petter Nenonen, a versatile and brilliant artillery commander of whom we will see much more, had sought to gain experience in the use of radio as an arillery fire control tool. As far as is known, at this stage no other country had carried out such experiments with the use of suitable and lightweight radio equipment for this task. Nenonen’s first experiments were carried out using heavy horse and cart-based radios. As a result of the experiments, Nenonen ordered two radio stations as a trial and these were completed in 1924. The two-man portable radios were designed to have a voice range of about 10km but on completion, it was found that the range was as much as 50-60km. The experiment resulted in further action, and on 26 May 1924 the Artillery Inspector ordered the Artillery Regiment to select from among its members one officer and one NCO for training with the Signals Branch.

In Order No 403/27.6.24, Nenonen explained to the Army C-in-C the reasons why he considered it important that the artillery should use light-weight, portable radio equipment. The statement also explained the technical requirements of stations, and suggested that each Artillery Battalion should be allocated 2 radio stations to communicate with higher headquarters, regiments and forward artillery observation and control stations. In addition Nenonen in 1925 gave the technical a written order that a Radio Battalion was to be created for experimental training purposes, and 10 portable radio stations were to be built in accordance with the already-advised specifications.

Radio stations made by the Radio Battalion, however, were still quite bulky and difficult to use. Continued work on improvements to reduce the weight and improve ease of use was carried out but it proved more or less impossible for the Radio Battalion to reduce the weight to less than 13kg. In June 1925, Nenonen presented the Radio Battalion woth a simple wiring diagram which was based on amateur radio circuit designs. Slowly, due to the bureaucracy that then reigned, the Radio Battalion built Nenonen two stations. These smaller and lighter“Perkjärvellä” radios were tested and they worked very satisfactorily for the Artillery. The new Artillery portable radio stations began to be used for LTJ-radioiksi (mobile artillery fire control). Thus, thanks to Nenonen’s foresight and the measures he took, by 1927 Finnish Field Artillery was already using portable Radios as well as wire-based communications in all peace-time exercises. In this, the Maavoimat was significantly ahead of all other militaries – and it was a lead that would continue to grow through the 1930’s, as we will see.

The A-Radio and AB-Radio

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The VRBIA was large, usually permanently installed and was used by the highest formations and levels of leadership (Military HQ, Corps HQ, large Air Bases). It was also used for air and sea forces and later, by the Border Guard Department. The device operated in both short and long-wave, or both depending on the configuration. It could send both voice and telegraphy and Transmit power was hundreds of watts. The transmitter shown was usedthrough to the beginning of the 1970s.

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An AB radio transmitter-receiver: This was a large Field Radio, usually transported in a Car or Trailer and operated inside a building, tent or bunker. Range was approximately 500km for Morse and about 100km for Voice. Power was provided by a Generatorwhich kept the batteries charged and three different length rubber-coated antennae were used – 8, 20 and 25 metres (the length of the antenna to be used was determined by the frequency on which the radio was to operate). The radio equipment and tools were packed in a total of four cases for transport. The full equipment weight was 462 kg.

The B-Radio

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This P-12-5 B-Radio was in fact the same as a C-Radio, but built to a higher current rating. The transmitter and the receiver were in the same box.

Below, a Helvar P-12-6 (RL20) VREH “Bertaa” B-Radio

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A HELVAR B station, P-12-6, VREH (B) Two-channel transmitter and receiver. The Transmit power was 20 W CW and voice-6 W. Morse range was about 200-300 km, about 60 km for speech. The Radio is a medium-duty vehicle transported, two-channel field \radio, which was carried in five shipping cases: a transmitter-receiver box, the machine converter box, 2 boxes for the batteries and battery charger and the generator which powered the battery charger. The Equipment weighed a total of 185 kg without the battery charger. The radio was equipped with two rubber-coated antenna with a length, of 20 and 10 m and a 3-arm 3 x 8m long rubber-coated counterweight. The antenna length was chosen dependent on the working frequency selected.

The C-Radio and the C-D Radio

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C-Radio: Powered by a 4.5 V battery, this was both a Voice and Morse Transmitter-Receiver.

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C-D Radio: This was a portable two-channel field radio. The transmitter and receiver are in different boxes. The power supply and accessories are housed in four cases in total. Range was 30 km for morse and 15 km for speech. The equipment weighed 65 kg in total and was powred from batteries charged from a small generator.

The D-Radio

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D-Radio station. The photo was taken at Santahamina on 21 October 1932. The Radio belonged to 1/Kenttätykistörykmentti 3

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The D and C radio receivers were similar, but the D-station transmitter, however, was completely different from the C- radio. (Image above is the receiver.) The antenna was made of metal tubing and was a collapsible loop antenna, which is attached to the box sides. The antenna is shown in the upper image (slightly). Power source was a 4.5 V light battery, which was placed in a separate battery box. The transmitter could be used for speech, as well as for morse. The angle of the Ring antenna was manually adjusted to achieve optimum reception.

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http://img546.imageshack.us/img546/3051 ... kradio.jpg[img]
Suomalainen P-12-15 VRGK sotilasradio. D-luokan eli tykistön tulenjohtoradio, valmistanut ASA vuonna 1941. Antenniteho 0,4 W, taajuusalue 4,6-6,6 MHz, yhteysväli sähkötyksessä 20 km, puheyhteydessä 12 km. Kuvattu Hämeenlinnan tykistömuseossa / Finnish P-12-15 VRGK military radio. Artillery fire control (class D) radio, manufactured by ASA in 1941. Transmission power 0.4 W, frequency 4.6-6.6 MHz, wireless telegraph range 20 km, radiotelephony range 12 km. Photographed in Hämeenlinna artillery museum.

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Suomalaiset VRLK (oikealla) radiovastaanotin ja VRGK sotilasradio, molemmat Asa radion valmistamia. Kuvattu Jalkaväkimuseossa / Finnish VRLK (right) radio receiver and VRGK military radio, both manufactured by ASA Radio. Photographed in Mikkeli Infantry museum.

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Tornister Funkgert d2 Military Radio: The Finnish marking is VRKS, it is probably a mortar team radio, of German origin.

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This is a Finnish made P-12-15 (or VRGK) portable single channel field radio (sender - receiver) produced by ASA Oy. It was classed as a "D radio" which meant it was mainly used by forward artillery observers and by infantry companies. The D-Radio could be used in telegraph (A1) and voice (A3) modes, and could be used with a separate telephone. The total weight was about 30kg, packed in two plywood boxes (one for the radio, one for the batteries). The antennae was a 10m long rubber-coated “throwable” aerial. A number of different versions were built, incorporating a number of improvements with each. The price per unit was approx. 15,000 Markka – they weren’t cheap, but despite this they equipped around half the Finnish infantry units in the Winter War, together with a large number of supporting units, air surveillance posts and the like, with some 1,800 in service in late 1939 (with a total cost of some 27,000,000 markka, this was not an insignificant cost)

The Signals Branch of the War Department – a brief history

The War Department’s Radio Telegraph Branch had been founded in the summer of 1918. It was based at the military headquarters in Mikkeli and initially consisted of the Radio School, and later included the Heavy Field Radio Division which had been formed during the civil war from radio men and willing volunteers. The Light Field Radio Department in Helsinki (based at Santahamina) later also joined the Branch. The Heavy Field Radio Department was based first at the University of Helsinki Department of Physics, but in the autumn of 1918 it was transferred to Santahamina. Conscripts began training om Signals from August 1918. The Heavy Field Radio Department’s radio station was responsible for radio communications over the whole of Finland to naval and merchant ships as well to the state-owned icebreakers.

The Branch also began to teach civilians radio and telegraph skills. In 1920, a Radio Workshop was established and both military and civilian radio communications were carried out. Signals Branch strength from 1922-1925 was between 180-250 conscripts, of whom 85% studied and completed Signals courses successfully. From 1923, the armed forces Divisional radio sets were assembled at Santahamina and in 1924 the Radio units of the Signals Branch were grouped into the newly formed Radio Battalion. At that time, the Post and Telegraph Office was taken over by civilian broadcasting, as were the the fixed point radio stations, with the Santahamina being the last position handed over in May 1925. After the transfer of the civilian radio stations, the Radiopataljoonassa (Radio Battalion) had two radiokomppaniaa, as well as both a depot and a repair workshop. By 1926, the Radiopataljoonassa strength was about 20 officers, 40 NCO’s and approximately 200-250 conscripts.

Organizing the Signals Branch:

In the early 1930’s, the Signals Branch began to be substantially reorganized as part of the overall restructuring and reorganization of the Maavoimat as a whole. Up until 1933, the Signals Branch had been combined as part of an overall scientific-technological forces grouping which consisted of the Engineers, Transport and Armoured forces as wekk as Signals. But in 1933, the Signals Branch was finally made an independent Branch of the Armed Forces and in 1934 the Signals Regiment was established, based from Viipuri, where the Signals School was also constructed. At the same time, the Signals units within the Maavoimat were reorganized at the Divisional, Regimental and Battalion level with the end result outlined below.

The Maavoimat’s combat formation signals units….

On the outbreak of the Winter War in late 1939, the Suomen Maavoimat military communications structure within a standard Division was largely organized as set out below. Keep in mind that in 1939, following a decade of organizational restructuring to optimize combat capabilities, the standard Maavoimat combat formation was a Regimental Battle Group, three of which were organized into a Division for logistical support and command oversight purposes. As such, the composition of a Regimental Battle Group was in practice intended to be flexible and suited to the assigned mission objectives: for the purposes of this post, a standard formation will be assumed (Maavoimat Unit Organisation will be covered in a separate Post or Posts).

As such, a Regimental Battle Group was intended to be a self-sufficient fighting force with all necessary supporting units integrated into its structure. Thus, many supporting formations that in other Armies were commanded at a Divisional level were, in the Maavoimat, built into the Regiment. With Signals, where other Armies had a Signals Battalion at the Divisional Level, the Maavoimat had an overstrength Signals Company at the Regimental level. Maavoimat signals structure is laid out below.

Division (Divisoona): At Divisional level, there was a Divisional Signals Commander, typically a Captain, in charge of a Divisional Signals Company (Viestikomppania, VK) and a Line Contruction Company (Linjanrakennuskomppania, LRak.K) which were intended to meet all Divisional-level signals requirements. Divisional Signals units were responsible for establishing and maintaining links to Regimental Battle Groups and to all independent units attached to the Division as well as for the establishment and maintenance of lines and radio communications to Army Corps Headquarters as well as to Divisional observation and forward artillery control aircraft (while these were Ilmavoimat aircraft, they were attached to, and under the operational command of, Maavoimat Divisional HQ’s).

Divisional Signals Company (Viestikomppania, VK)

Company Commander – Officer, usually a Captain who, when needed, could be used as a substitute for the Divisional Signal Commander

Telephone Switchboard Platoon (Keskusjoukkue)
2 Telephone Switchboard Squads
1 Field Telegraph Squad


Radio Platoon (Radiojoukkue)
6 x C-asema (C Station) (0+1+3 = 4) [4 person team per C Radio]
1 x Ilmaviestiryhmä (specialised Radio Squad for communicating with Divisional Observation and Forward Artillery Control Aircraft)


Messenger Platoon (Lähettijoukkue)
3 x Messenger Squads (Motorcycle, Bicycle or Horse messengers)

Signal Equipment Repair Shop (Viestivälinekorjaamo)
Supplies Platoon (Toimitusjoukkue)

Divisional Line Contructing Company (Linjanrakennuskomppania, LRak.K)

Company Commander – Officer, usually a Lieutenant

3 x Telephone Line Platoons (Puhelinjoukkue)
each Platoon, 3 x TelephoneSquads (responsible for laying and fixing cables)

Supplies Platoon (Toimitusjoukkue)

Regimental Battle Group: All Signals units and detachments within the Regimental Battle Group were the responsibility of a Viestikomentaja (Signals Commander), although in practice the Signals Detachments formed part of the unit they were attached too and were under the direct command of the unit commanding officer. By mid-1939, with the growth of the Signals Network, each Regimental Battle Group contained a Regimental Signals Company (Viestikomppania, VK) which was also responsible for Field Telephone Lines where these were used. In addition to Regimental signals companies there were smaller Signals Detachments (Viestielin) in attached Artillery Batteries and also with other specialized units directly under the control of Regimental HQ (examples being the Heavy Mortar, Anti-Tank and Pioneeri companies);

In Artillery Batteries and Heavy Mortar Companies, the Signals Detachments (Viestielin) were primarily responsible for the connections with Regimental and Battalion HQ’s and with the Fire Observing Squads (Tulenjohtue) attached to each Infantry Company. Signals Detachments (Viestielin) strength at the Artillery Battery / Mortar Company level was generally 8 men – 2 NCO’s and 6 Privates. The Fire Observing Squads (Tulenjohtue) were made up of 3 men – 1 NCO and 2 Privates.

Regimental Battle Group Signals Company (Viestikomppania, VK)

Company Commander – Officer, sometimes a Captain but often a Lieutenant

Telephone Platoon (Keskusjoukkue)
1 x Telephone Switchboard Squad
2 x Telephone Squads (responsible for laying and fixing cables)


Radio Platoon (Radiojoukkue)
6 x C-asema (C Station) (0+1+3 = 4) [4 person team per C Radio]
1 x Ilmaviestiryhmä (specialised Radio Squad for communicating with Divisional Observation Aircraft and Close Air Support aircraft)


Messenger Platoon (Lähettijoukkue)
3 x Messenger Squads (Motorcycle, Bicycle or Horse messengers)

Signal Equipment Repair Shop (Viestivälinekorjaamo)
Supplies Platoon (Toimitusjoukkue)

Battalion (Pataljoona): Each Battalion contained a Signals Platoon (Viestijoukkue, VJ) which was responsible for establishing radio connections and field telephone connections down to the individual Companies (and at times to Platoons) and to attached units such as the Battalion Anti-Tank Gun Platoon, Mortar Platoon and the AA Gun Platoon. Total strength of the Signals Platoon was 1 Officer + 10 NCOs + 36 men = 47 men in total. The Signals Platoon was theoretically organized as follows:

Joukkueenjohtaja (Platoon Leader - Officer)
Joukkueenvarajohtaja (Deputy Platoon Leader - NCO)

Radio Personnel: (total 0+4+12 = 16)
3 x C-asema (C Station) (0+1+3 = 4) [4 person team per C Radio]
1 x Ilmaviestiryhmä (0+1+3 = 4) (specialised Radio Squad for communicating with Divisional Observation Aircraft and Close Air Support aircraft)


Telephone personnel: (total 0+3+18 = 21)
Asemaryhmä (Station Squad) (0+1+3 = 4)
2 x Linjarakennusryhmä (Line Constucting Squad) (0+1+7 = 8)


Hevosajoneuvot (horse vehicles) (0+1+7 = 8) [6x telephone vehicles, 2x radio vehicles]

Infantry Company: There was no specific Signals Unit in an Infantry Company. Instead, the Company Command Squad (Komentoryhmä) included a 3 man Signals Team (1 NCO, 2 Privates) with a single “D” Radio. There was also a 4-Man Security and Combat Messenger Detachment made up of an NCO Combat Messenger [Aliupseeritaistelulähetti] and three Combat Messengers [Taistelulähetti] who doubled as a Company level Linjarakennusryhmä (Line Constucting Squad) responsible for running Field Telephone Lines down to the individual Infantry Platoons within the Company. In addition there were also two Combat Messengers [Taistelulähetti] for contact between company and battalion in the event that both Radios and Telephone Lines were down. Generally, there was also a Fire Observing Squad (Tulenjohtue) made up of an NCO Observer [Aliupseeritähystäjä] and two Observers [Tähystäjä] attached to each Infantry Company Command Squad (Komentoryhmä) and also equipped with a “D” Radio. Where the situation was static, there was generally a single Field Telephone with each Platoon Command Team. This was the situation at the start of the Winter War, but as the new, more compact one-man Nokia Backpack Combat Radios began to be available in mid-1940, these were issued first at the Platoon Level, with one of the new Radios per Platoon.

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Maavoimat Lotta Svard Signals personnel operating a “B-Radio” – Summer 1940: Lotta Svard volunteers made up some 80% of rear-area Signals Personnel – With some 16,000 rear-area signals personnel, the Lotta Svard volunteers made a substantial contribution to the Maavoimat’s combat strength, freeing up enough men to form an additional 3 Regimental Battle Groups (more or less one additional Division). These Lotta’s were likely part of a Regimental Battle Group Headquarters Signals Company (Viestikomppania), although Lotta’s filled slots as far down as Battalion Signals Units.

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Rear-area Signals Lotta, probably a Divisional or Corps Headquarters Signals Unit

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Viestintälotat (Signals Lotta’s): Summer 1940, near the frontline. From the radio, probably part of a Battalion (Pataljoona) Signals Platoon.

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And I just had to throw this in: “Mummosoti”(“War-Granny”) – don’t mess with a Finnish Grandma who used to be a front-line Viestintälotat in the Winter War – and who kept her trusty assault rifle hanging around afterward in case those pesky Russki’s decided to give it another go……. and be on your best behavior when you arrive for dinner with her granddaughter……

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A signals repairman has started repairing a D-radio in the field. Photographed Summer-1940 on the Syvari, in the sector of Regimental Battle Group 56

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The D-radio in action during the Winter War: The photograph is from an artillery observation post. Finnish Artillery units trained their own Signals personnel for Signals duties. There were usually 2 “D” Radios per Company at a minimum – one for communications to Battalion HQ and one for Artillery Fire Control. Where Platoons were equipped with Radios (unsual in 1939), there were at times up to 5 Radios per Company, although this was the exception and not the Rule, given that a Radio Team consisted of 3 men.

The Finnish Radio Industry Moves to a War Footing – December 1938

As has been mentioned, following the Munich Crisis of late 1938 the Government approved substantial increases in Defence Spending as well as emergency financial appropriations. Much of this funding was directed towards weapons but there was also a sizable amount budgeted for communications equipment and some directed to R&D work, with interesting results. The funds made available were largely directed towards rush orders for the production of Field Telephone and Radio Equipment that was already in service but which was required in greater numbers to ensure units were equipped up to their ToE. Initially these orders were met by a partial reduction in production for the civilian market and the addition of an extra Shift by the manufacturers in order to meet the military orders. However, with the threat of war far higher in the summer of 1939, all radio manufacturing facilities were shifted to full war production, resulting in the almost complete curtailment of production for the civilian market.

With Finnish radio manufacturers already producing radios for the military, the switch to full war production was rapid. Civilian radio manufacturing ceased, equipment specific to civilian radio production was placed in storage and output for the military doubled almost overnight. Military Radio’s were not cheap items – a standard “D” type radio for example cost in the region of 15,000 Markka. But the end result was that by the late Autumn of 1939, all military units were equipped up to the TOE with radio and field telephone equipment and supplies and a substantial war reserve had been built up. This was fortuitous as it turned out – it meant that after the fighting started, combat losses could be quickly replaced and as foreign volunteer units began to arrive, they could be equipped with standard Finnish military communications equipment.

On the eve of World War 2, all nations employed generally similar methods for military signaling. The messenger systems included foot, horse-mounted, motorcycle, automobile, airplane, homing pigeon, and the messenger dog. Visual agencies included flags, lights, panels for signaling airplanes and pyrotechnics. The electrical agencies embraced wire systems providing telephone and telegraph service, including the printing telegraph. Both radiotelephony and radiotelegraphy were in wide use, but radiotelephony for tactical military communication was still in its infancy in most countries – Finland being rather further along than most. The navies of the world entered World War 2 with highly developed radio communication systems, both telegraph and telephone, and with development under way of many electronic navigational aids. Blinker-light signaling was still widely used. The use of telephone systems and loud-speaker voice amplifiers on naval vessels had also come into common use. Air forces employed wire and radio communication to link up their bases and landing fields and had developed airborne long-range, medium-range, and short-range radio equipment for air-to-ground and air-to-air communication.

In communications electronics, World War II was in one sense similar to World War I: the most extravagant prewar estimates of military requirements soon proved to represent only a fraction of the actual demand. The need for all kinds of communication equipment and for improved quality and quantity of communications pyramided beyond the immediate capabilities of industry. An increase in manufacturing plant became vital, and research and development in the communications–electronics field was unprecedented.

The German blitzkrieg of 1940, with its highly visible use of armoured formations operating in conjunction with close air support, emphasized a new order of importance for reliable radio communication. The early development (mid-1930’s) within the Maavoimat of the combined arms infantry, artillery, and armoured team with close air support had created new requirements for split-second communication by radio among all members. Portable radio sets were provided as far down in the military echelons as the company (and by mid-1940, the Platoon). At the start of the Winter War, every Maavoimat tank was equipped with at least one radio and in some command tanks as many as three. Multiconductor cables provided wire communications; they could be reeled out rapidly and as many as four conversations could take place on them simultaneously through the use of carrier telephony. The Finns were, after the Germans, the first to use this type of military long-range cable. High-powered mobile radio sets were pervasive within the Maavoimat at Division, Regimental Battle Group and even at Battalion level where the Battalion operated independantly. With these sets telegraph communication could be conducted at distances of more than 100 miles (160 kilometres) with vehicles in normal motion on the road. Major telephone switchboards of much greater capacity were needed and by late 1939 these were developed, manufactured, and issued for use at all Maavoimat tactical headquarters to satisfy the need for the greatly increased number of telephone channels required to coordinate the movements of field units whose mobility had been expanded many times.

Radio relay, born of the necessity for mobility, became the outstanding communication development of World War II. Sets employing frequency modulation and carrier techniques were developed by Nokia post Winter-War and used, as were also radio relay sets that used radar pulse transmission and reception techniques and multiplex time-division methods for obtaining many voice channels from one radio carrier. Nokia designed and developed radio relay, telephone and teletypewriter circuits spanned the Gulf of Finland after the invasion of Estonia (E-Day) in late April 1944 and later furnished critically important communication services for Kenraaliluutnantti (Lt-Gen) Karl Lennart Oesch, after his breakout from the Estonia beachhead.

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Commander of the E-Day Invasion, Kenraaliluutnantti Karl Lennart Oesch (on the left) monitors the situation in the Estonian beachhead, early May 1944. The commander of the Maavoimat’s Estonian 31st Field Infantry Division, Lt-Gen Nikolai Reek stands second from the right.

Nikolai Reek (Estonian Cross of Liberty, Latvian Order of Lāčplēsis, Polish Order of the White Eagle, Lithuanian Grand Cross of the Order of Vytautas the Great, Mannerheim Cross, 2nd Class (posthumous)): born Nikolai Bazõkov; February 1, 1890 Tallinn, Estonia – April 8, 1945 Germany) was commander of the Maavoimat’s Estonian 31st Field Infantry Division in the E-Day landings of late April 1944 along the Estonian coastline which took the Germany Army (and the Red Army for that matter) by surprise. An Estonian military commander during the Estonian War of Independence, Reek graduated from the Tasarist Russian Chuguyev Military Academy in 1910. He fought in World War I, and in 1917 graduated from the Imperial Nicholas Military Academy. Reek joined Estonian units in 1917 and was Estonian Army Chief of Staff until dissolution of these units. After that he organized the Estonian Defence League in Virumaa. In the Estonian Liberation War Reek was firstly commander of the 5th regiment on the Viru Front and then in January 1919 he became Chief of Staff of the 1st Division. In April he became Chief of Staff of the 3rd Division. Reek played an important role in winning the war against the Baltische Landeswehr. In September 1919 he was promoted to Colonel and served as Chief of Staff on the Viru Front. After the war Reek repeatedly served in positions of Estonian Army Chief of Staff, Minister of Defence and Commander of the 2nd Division. In 1938 Reek was promoted to Lieutenant General.

In September 1939, when Estonia reluctantly agreed to allow 25,000 Red Army troops to be based on Estonian soil, Reek was once again Commander of the Estonian Army’s 2nd Divison. With the Estonian Army’s 5 Infantry Divisions (mostly Reservists) fully mobilized over late 1939 and into early 1940 and in complete sympathy with Finland as the Winter War was fought, Stalin had ordered the seizing of Estonia in the Summer of 1940 despite, or perhaps because of, the hammering that the Red Army was taking from the Maavoimat. The Red Army assembled 160,000 men, supported by 600 tanks and 1,150 aircraft. The Soviet NKVD was ordered to be ready for the reception of 100,000 Estonian prisoners of war. On 13 June 1940, Soviet forces began to move.

The Soviets had seemingly learnt nothing from the debacle of their attack on Finland. The entire tale is for another day, suffice it to say that Reek led the Estonian Army’s 2nd Division in the defense of the western sector of the Latvian Front, fighting a withdrawal battle that has gone done in history as a classic example of a successful fighting retreat against overwhelming odds. With the Narva Line holding the eastern flank of Estonia’s defences almost to the end, the Estonian forces over the month of July 1940 slowly fell back on the Tallinn Redoubt, from where they fought a bitter defensive battle over the month of August. The Finns were unable to provide much in the way of assistance as they themselves were holding off a massive Soviet offensive along the entire Front Line, from the White Sea to the Gulf of Finland. At the last, the surviving Estonian forces, together with as many civilians as possible, were evacuated from the Tallinn Redoubt in a seaborne operation by the Merivoimat that again, has gone down in military history as a classic example of its kind. Reek commanded the Estonian forces in Tallinn to the end, and was one of the last Estonian soldiers to board ship.

Finnish negotiations to end Finland’s war with the USSR were unable to bring any relief to Estonia and in Finland, the surviving Estonian Army forces were regrouped into the Maavoimat’s 31st Field Infantry Division (made up of JR200, JR201 and JR201) where they watched and waited through the grim days of the Soviet occupation of their homeland. There was momentary relief as the German’s attacked the Soviet Union and occupied their homeland, but this was followed by the dawning realization that the German plans for Estonia differed little from those of the Soviet Union. On the Finnish attack on the German occupiers of Estonia in April 1944, the Estonian 31st Division under Reek led the way in the liberation of their homeland. Reek continued to command the 31st Field Infantry Division as the Maavoimat moved southwards rapidly, taking the Germans from the rear and racing the Red Army to successfully liberate Latvia and Lithuania before the Red Army advance reached that far. He continued to command the 31st Field Infantry Division in the relief of Warsaw and then onwards towards Berlin. Reek was killed in action in April 1945 by Red Army forces as, leading his Division from the front as was his usual practice, he ordered his men into action to protect German civilian refugee columns who were being attacked and massacred by Red Army units. With Reek’s death in action at Russian hands, the Estonian 31st Division responded with an all-out attack on all Red Army units in their vicinity, an action in which Kenraaliluutnantti Ruben Lagus’ 21st Pansaaridivisoona, the Polish 1st Armoured Division and the Maavoimat’s 8th Infantry Division happily joined in. Only the personal and forceful intervention of Kenraaliluutnantti Oesch prevented the situation from escalating further.


The Finnish R&D Program accelerated through 1939 and into the War, as we will see in this and in subsequent Posts. In the remainder of this Post, we will cover two Finnish R&D Programs which would prove to be invaluable – the first being the development and production of the Kynnel Radio, which was used by all Finnish units operating behind the Soviet frontline over the course of the Winter War – and the second being the Nokia one-man portable Combat Radio, which began to enter service in early 1940 – and which by the end of Summer 1940, equipped every Maavoimat Infantry Platoon.

Next Post: The Maavoimat’s “Kynnel” Long-Range Patrol Radio and the Nokia one-man Backpack Portable Combat Radio
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Re: What If-Finland had been prepared for the Winter War?

Postby CanKiwi2 » 21 Nov 2011 21:10

The Maavoimat’s “Kyynel” Long-Range Patrol Radio

The “Kyynel” (Tear) was a lightweight portable Long-Range Patrol Radio that was designed and developed prior to the Winter War by the Finnish Armed Forces radio intelligence unit based on the needs of Finnish long-range reconnaissance patrols. Probably the best patrol radio available during the WW2 anywhere in the world, the "Kyynel" was a light, small and efficient shortwave radio that was used by Finnish special forces (“Sissi”) soldiers operating behind enemy lines to contact their Headquarters. The genesis of the Radio came about in 1937. The Finnish Radio Intelligence Unit (whom we will cover in detail in a subsequent Post) was one of the best in the world, having been established by Colonel Reino Hallamaa in 1927 and largely focusing on monitoring and deciphering Soviet radio messages (considerable attention however was also paid to German radio traffic right from the start). The unit also developed encryption methods for the Suomen Maavoimat, effective enough that no foreign power was ever able to break the Finnish code ciphers.

As we will see in detail when we cover Maavoimat organisation and units, through the last half of the 1930’s the Finnish military developed a range of what we would no call special forces units. At the time, they were simply called “special” battalions or regiments, depending on the size, and were focused on a series of specific objectives that the Maavoimat had identified as being militarily advantageous. The forests of Karelia in particular offered terrain that was highly suitable for intelligence patrols and behind-the-lines “sissi” operations and as many of these objectives required that the units concerned operate behind enemy lines with the weapons and supplies that they could carry, this in turn created a requirement for a lightweight, long-range and reliable radio which could be carried easily by one man on a small long-distance patrol behind enemy lines and used for a considerable period to maintain communications with headquarters.

Design and development by the Finnish Radio Intelligence Unit for such a radio began in the spring of 1937. Colonel Reino Hallamaa assigned Captain Osmo Töyrylä to lead a team on this project. The development of this radio was seen as so important that a large group was formed, with the lead development engineer being a Reserve Officer, Captain Holger Jalander.The team was largely made up of radio hobbyists as these had considerable experience designing, building and operating their own short-wave transmitters and receivers and were accustomed to working with weak radio signals in a variety of conditions.

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Colonel Reino Hallamaa, Commanding Officer of the Radio Intelligence Unit. Reino Henrik Hallamaa (born 12 November 1899, died 11 August 1979 in Churriana, Malaga, Spain) was born in Tampere in 1899 to Juha and Aino Hummelin. After attending college in Helsinki he began working for the Finnish railroad, where one of his tasks was to fill out package lists of cargo arriving from Russia. In 1917 he began working as a signals telegraphist at the Helsinki Central railway station. In 1918, Finland declared its independence, and the Finnish Civil War erupted. Hallamaa joined the Whites in Seinäjoki. Here he was assigned to the Uudenmaan Raakunapataljoona unit where he fought in the battles at Väärinmaja, Kuhmoinen, Tampere and Lempäälä. Hallamaa, now a lance corporal (korpraali), was transferred to the navy after the war, where he worked as a signalist. Later that year he was promoted to corporal (alikersantti) and assigned to Gogland where he was tasked with gathering information on naval traffic in the Gulf of Finland and Red Navy movements in particular.

He was listening to Soviet radio traffic along with Ragnvald Lind (later Ragnvalt Lautakari) who would continue to work in radio intelligence under Hallamaa's leadership. Hallamaa managed to decipher some of the codes sent out by the Soviets. This awoke interest in higher military circles and Hallamaa was invited to come and make a presentation on the work done at Gogland. Soon after, Hallamaa was appointed Sergeant, tasked with training radio operators and sent on trips to Kotka and Turku to try to repair radio stations that had been left there by the Russians. He was appointed warrant officer after graduation from the NCO course in 1921 and was sent to the Radio Battalion in Santahamina, serving as assistant chief of the Radio School. He held several lectures on codes and ciphers for higher officers in the 1920s. He was appointed lieutenant in 1925 and was sent to the Finnish National Defence University in 1927.

After graduation, he was tasked with creating a Finnish radio intelligence organization. He received a budget and began a series of travels to countries in Europe to study their SIGINT organizations. He travelled to Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Czechoslovakia and Poland. He learned code and cipher theories from an Austrian Professor named Fiegl, and he also set up and intensive cooperation network with the Polish intelligence. He learned about radio direction finding equipment in Italy and managed to get some to Finland. Beginning from 1927, the newly created Finnish Radio Intelligence unit followed the movements and the radio traffic of the Soviet Red Fleet. The first Soviet Red Fleet codes were broken in 1934 and soon more followed, including foreign diplomatic codes. Hallamaa was appointed Captain in 1929, Major in 1935, Lieutenant-Colonel in 1937 and Colonel in 1939. Hallamaa published "Basic Enciphering" (Salakirjoitustaidon Perusteet) in 1937 and this publication was used as a training manual within the Finnish Army. It was the first Finnish-language book on the subject.

At the beginning of the Winter War, Reino Hallamaa was the CO of the Radio Intelligence unit (as of 1938, this was the HQ Radio Battalion) which had, by mid-1939, grown from a strength of 75 in the early 1930’s, to approximately 1,000. At the same time, the Ilmavoimat, which had its own radio intelligence organization had another 300 men decrypting Soviet Air Force radio traffic. Through October and November 1939, both units were deciphering messages which indicated major Soviet force buildups along the border with Finland (these intercepts, together with photo reconnaisance information, meant that the Finnish armed forces had a very detailed picture of Soviet strength and dispositions prior to the start of the Winter War). On November 29, 1939, the unit intercepted and deciphered a Soviet message which ordered the attack on Finland. As a result, the Finnish forces were on full alert and expecting the attack fom the Soviet union when it was actually launched.

Finnish radio intelligence managed to decipher 80% of Soviet radio traffic during the Winter War, with obvious benefits. Examples included the gathering of information on Soviet troop movements near Suomussalmi and warning Colonel Hjalmar Siilasvuo, who decisively defeated the Soviet 44th Division at the Raattee road. Radio intelligence also relayed information on encircled Soviet units, helping the Finnish commanders in their decisions on where and when to attack. As the Maavoimat moved from the defensive over to the attack, the advancing Finns also managed to come across some Russian code books. When the Soviets switched to another code that had previously been used in the Far East, the Finns broke the code quite quickly, as they had received large volumes of encoded Soviet radio messages from the Japanese. The Radio Intelligence Unit held on to this advantage for the duration of the Winter War (and indeed, for the remainder of WW2, they continued to successfully monitor and decipher Soviet radio traffic, meaning that in many cases they had a better idea of the position the Red Army was in as it fought the Germans that its own commanders, operating under political constraints, did). The Finns also worked on other countries codes and ciphers, cracking for instance the US STRIP code, as well as German, British, Brazilian, Portuguese, Romanian, Serbian, Vatican, and Vichy French codes. In the last year of the war, as the Finns joined in the attack on Germany, this gave them some obvious advantages in Intelligence – an advantage they played very close the the chest indeed.

After the war, Hallamaa decided to leave Finland. On 8 February 1945 he travelled via Sweden to France, where he worked in French intelligence. He decided to move to Spain and settled with his family in Costa del Sol in 1947 where he began using the name Ricardo Palma. He started up a construction company with his son and retired at the age of 70. He died at the age of 80 in 1979 in Churrina, Malaga, Spain, where he also is buried.


For more information on Reino Hallamaa, see the following:
• Karhunen Joppe: Reino Hallamaan Salasanomasotaa
• Manninen, Ohto & Liene, Timo: Stella Polaris, suomalaista sotilastiedustelua, Helsinki, 2002, ISBN 951-37-3645-8
• Pale, Erkki: Suomen Radiotiedustelu Vuosina 1927-1944
• Rislakki, Jukka: Erittäin Salainen - vakoilu Suomessa. 1982
• Hallamaa, R. H.: Salakirjoitustaidon Perusteet, own publication 1937
• Robert Brantberg: Eversti Reino Hallamaa


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Vänrikki (2nd Lieutenant) Rangvald Lautkari (Ragnvald Lind), assistant to Colonel Hallamaa

The R&D Team, led by Captain Osmo Töyrylä, started with the Finnish D-Radio and also with a German “Patrol” Radio they had acquired early in 1937. The German Radio was a transmitter only, weighed about 33lbs and was regarded (by the Germans at least) as the best available (and in comparison to British,French, Italian and American radios at the time, it was…..). Because of its weight and its inefficient antenna system, the Finns regarded it as a toy. The Finnish team went on to design, build and trial a number of early versions which were send-only, using these to make “blind” transmissions on exercises. It was obvious that such one-way communication was just a step in development. In a letter dated 8/18/38 from a Captain Jaaskelainen serving with the volunteer units in Spain to Lautkari and Jalander, complaints were made about the wave capacitors being really bad quality, tubes being difficult to replace and flaws found in the metal casing, which could lead to failure. The early versions were heavy, cumbersone and primitive, unsuitable for use on long-range patrols. The components were problematical because many of the components, such as adjustable capacitors, were developed and tested by the team. Building adjustable capacitors with the limited tools available to the team proved to be a very demanding task.

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An early prototype-Kynnel from 1937

Development and testing continued at a rapid pace and under conditions of high security, with transmission experiments limited as Eversti Hallamaa feared the Soviets listening. One of the most demanding development tasks was the attempt to make the unit watertight, because the operator must have access to the switches and tuning knobs inside the cover. Captain Holger Jalander had the idea of using foundry-cast aluminum boxes as the casing for the radios. Using special threaded lids with seals, the casing was found to be almost completely watertight. The tubes, which were from the DII-series and other electronic components were mounted side-by-side - no circuit boards were available at that time - and this proved to be advantageous both because of short interconnections and, thus, minimal stray capacitance or series inductance, but also because the whole unit was very stable and could sustain a drop from several meters – and also with a parachute. Before a mission, the operating frequency was set to the correct base and screw secured to stay in place and at the same time the radio was provided with an antenna length specific to the selected operating frequency.

Based on their exercise experience, the troops working with the radios pushed strongly for a combined transmitter / receiver. In this, the Finnish volunteers in Spain provided a useful proving ground for the Maavoimat, both for the special units being created and for the equipment being developed. The crucible of battle provided an accelerated testing ground, and by early 1939, a version of the Kyynel that both transmitted and received was felt to be “good enough” by the troops using the equipment and had been put into production, although new and improved versions would continue to be developed. The key features of the Transceiver Kynnel were the utmost simplicity of construction and operation, its reliability and its small size and weight – at only 5.6kg including batteries even the firest transceiver version was easily carried on long patrols. Early versions of the radio required that the battery be detached from the Transceiver when not in use – however, by the time the “good enough” production version began to be produced, a separate power button had been added to that the battery did not have to be detached when the radio was not in use.

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Another early prototype: the Kyynel M4 with the M7 Receiver 1938. This model saw use with the Finnish volunteers in Spain.

The Transceiver operating between approximately 3.3 MHz to 4.8 MHz and a half-wave dipol in V-form was used as an antenna. Equipment covers were of diecast aluminiun (2.2" x 6" x 4") and were designed to be nearly water tight. Because "Kyynel" used HF-frequencies, the range was a function of the frequency being used and of the day and night time conditions. The dead zone extended to some 30-40 miles causing uncertain communication at short distances. However, reliable communication could be maintained at ranges from 40 miles up to 430 miles (and sometimes even longer if conditions were ideal). The M-10 Kynnel used in 1939 was a complete transceiver in one diecast aluminium cover ith a total weight of only 5.6 lbs. There was one lockable tuning knob for the transmitter and two knobs for the receiver, one for RX-tuning and the other for sensitivity control. The receiver was very sensitive and stable and easy to tune due to the successfull feedback control arrangement. Some of the latest units issues immediately prior to the Winter War had been modified to be crystal controlled. In this case there was an insertion hole on the diecast cover which allowed the insertion of a crystal from outside. The insertion of the crystal broke the grid circuit and the crystal became a series filter in the grid circuit, so giving "Kyynel" a "Crystal tone". At this stage, the only manufacturer of crystals in Finland was a private amateur named T.I.Leiviskä. The crystals in these sets bore his name (within a few weeks, Leiviskä would become a government employee, drafted to work for ASA Radio,who would mass-manufacture crystals for Finnish military radios for the duration of WW2).

The antenna system of the"Kyynel" was a V-dipole and the carrying case contained 2 coils of thin copper wire covered by a cotton sleeve, the wires being about 66 ft long each. There was a brass-made "riding block" with a tip-screw on each section allowing the short connection of the coiled end of each section when using higher end of the frequency band (the tip-screw penetrated through the cotton sleeve preventing the coiled parts from mistuning the sections). There was a tuning chart with each radio, because the tuning knobs were not calibrated to any frequency. The same tuning chart gave also the shorting points for the antenna. The antenna sections were hoisted to tree branches by a couple of fishing wire coils and throwing weights which came with each radio set.

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The components of the M-10 version of the Kyynel that was issued as standard to all Finnish units tasked with operating behind enemy lines from mid-1939 on. Because their secrecy was to be maintained at any price, these radios were fitted with a detonator and a ½ lb of trotyl to destroy the set in case of capture. Unauthorized opening of one of the threaded covers would also set off the explosive charge.

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In the foreground is the Kyynel Model M10 VRHAI Patrol Radio in its carrying container (in the background is an other military radio, possibly a Helvar P-12-12u "Kukkopilli") –the M10 was developed in 1942, this was similar to the M7 but it was fully stabilized and weighted only 5.6 lbs with batteries. Through the 1940's this ingenious Finnish radio was the most advanced one in the world. Further developments were called M10X and M11X. Photographed in the Mikkeli Infantry museum.

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A Kynnel Base-station: A Signals-Lotta sending a message. With the long range and relatively weak signal of the Patrol-Kyynel, several fixed stations were located at different places in Finland and were used to simultaneously listen to the weak transmissions of the "Kyynel" radios moving in the forests of the enemy territory.

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The Base Station Network for “Kyyne1”-Transceivers was made of fairly powerful Units like this, manufactured by Helvar, Finland. The base station network used 300 W transmitters with both ground and sky wave. A typical unit, manufactured by Helvar, Finland, is shown installed in a shock-absorbing rack. As the numerical methods for predicting sky wave propagation were too time-consuming at that time, but generally the attenuation was acceptable, several stations were established in central Finland. The Base Station Equipment was really heavy and Needed Frequent Maintenance

It was more or less at this time, in mid-1939 as the radio began to be issued, that the patrol-radio became known as the “Kyynel.” The name of the transmitter has two explanations: A typical operating position of the unit was somewhere in the deep forest under big trees -which, in peace-time Finland, would have been an ideal place for an illegal brandy factory (in Finnish: “korpikuusen kyynel”). Another, perhaps more technical translation was that when the radio was turned on, it made a chirpy noise that sounded as if the radio was weeping – which was highly annoying to the chief designer, Eng. Lautkari. The Kyynel would remain in service with the Suomen Maavoimat well into the 1950’s. The Finnish Radio Intelligence Headquarters and the operational units using this radio succeeded in keeping the "Kyynel" secret for the duration of WW2, with none of the radios ever lost to the Soviets during the Winter War.

As we will see when we come to look at the Suomen Maavoimat, in the last half of the 1930’s a number of special forces units were formed with very specific objectives. Many of these were tasked with various types of operations behind enemy lines, and all of these units were equipped with the Kynnel Patrol Radio, which proved to be highly effective in operations. In the Winter War itself, Finnish long-range patrols operated some 60-200 miles inside enemy territory in the initial months of the war, anywhere between the Arctic, the White Sea and Lake Laatokka. Later in the Winter War they would come to operate deep inside the USSR, even as far as Archangel. The Recconaisance Patrols were usually inserted by aircraft deep behind enemy lines, and tasked with observation and transmission of information on movements along key rail-links and with monitoring Soveiet airbases. The Finnish Radio Intelligence Battalion in turn monitored Soviet radio transmissions and passed on information to the patrols regarding enemy counter-measures. This in turn played a considerable role in the small casualities of Finnish patrols.

Other special units were tasked with direct-action missions and these units also used the Kynnel-Radio to stay in communication with their Headquarters. This of course was facilitated in the initial months of the war by the very loose Soviet rear-area security. It was more than obvious that the Soviets had not envisaged any such operations by the Finns, and counter-measures through the Winter War were very poor – the only real exception being the Karelian Isthmus, where the sheer mass of the Red Army units deployed made patrol operations difficult. Direct-action missions were however another story, with Maavoimat special units often disguised as NKVD troops, where at times they suucessfully ordered Red Army units to carry out missions for them. The poor state of training of many of the Red Army troops deployed at the start of the Winter War made this far easier than the Finnish units had anticipated. It also helped that (again, with the exception of the Karelian Isthmus) the rear area behind the front lines was a vast wilderness area with a scanty population and in the winter of 1939-1940, Finnish special units moved freely behind the Soviet lines. Later in the war, as the Soviets began tolearn from their experiences, the ability of the Finnish radio intelligence unit to decypher Soviet radio messages and guide the patrols practically in real time to avoid traps and ambushes set by Soviet search troops proved a life-saver for the Finnish patrols again and again. And it was the Kynnel-Radio that made this possible.

In the book "Sissisotaa Kaukopartiossa, Osasto Marttinan Partiokertomukset 1939-1940", (Jaana Jantila, Minerva 2009) says the following: "During the Finnish Winter Offensive in early 1940, Soviet rear security was very poorly organised, which made long range patrol activity easier. The Soviet troops had their hands full taking care of their retreat. It was not before the Finns halted their advance on the Syvari, cut the Murmansk Railroad and reached the White Sea on the eastern flank that the Soviets had any opportunity to organise their rear and organise counter measures against the patrols. After the Maavoimat’s Spring Offensive on the Karelian Isthmus, the offensive phase was over. The following six months saw stationary warfare along the length of the front as the Red Army regrouped and rebuilt – a period which gave the long range patrols and direct-action units a whole new set of missions and challenges. On the Karelian Isthmus the enemy's activity completely prevented sending out patrols, and penetrating the front lines turned out to be difficult also on the Syväri. On the shores of Lake Ääninen soviet security was heavy and between Ääninen and the White Sea the enemy rapidly constructed a very tight security system."

We will look at this subject in far greater detail when we come to the actual Winter War.

Next Post: The Nokia one-man portable Combat-Radio
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Re: What If-Finland had been prepared for the Winter War?

Postby CanKiwi2 » 23 Nov 2011 21:01

The Nokia one-man Portable Combat-Radio

As we have seen in prior posts, two-way portable voice radios were available prior to the Winter War but they were only portable insofar as you needed at least two people or a horse or vehicles to lug the heavy equipment around – the lightest of this equipment generally required two carriers and one operator. The Kyynel Patrol-Radio, while it was portable in the best sense of the word, was not voice-capable, was not short-range (it was a long-range radio) and relied on morse transmission and reception, which precludes real-time usage in a combat environment. The true portable radio would be a one person device which that same person could carry and operate at the same time. As has been mentioned earlier, in the mid-1930’s as the Forest Service’s new Savusukeltaja (Smokejumper) units began to grow in size, the Savusukeltaja Teams began to request a lighter and more portable backpack radio that one man could carry easily and operate himself with voice communications rather than morse – for much the same reasons as the military wanted a small and portable voice radio. And also, unlike the Maavoimat, the Forest Servicer Savusukeltaja Teams were sized for efficiency and were kept small in size – it was not possible to justify payment for extra men just to carry equipment that was only occasionally used.

The Forest Service, with no radio expertise of their own, first approached the Maavoimat for radio equipment, but the Maavoimat did not have any such Radio at the time, although they made what radios they did have available for Forest Service trials. And also, given the increasing emphasis the Maavoimat was placing on radio communications, this was an area where there was strong interest. It was at this stage, late in 1936, that the Maavoimat’s Pääesikunnan Teknillinen Tutkimusyksikkö (Technical Research Unit of the General Staff) took up the request and began to work with the Forest Service on desired specifications for a suitable radio. In general, the stated requirement for the new radio was as follows:
• Low Power Consumption
• Smaller Size/Lighter Weight – able to be carried and operated by one man
• Wider Frequency Coverage
• Closer Channel Spacing
• Synthesized Frequency Operation
• High Reliability
• Range of 5-8 miles
• Radio-telephone (i.e., voice communications)
•"Interoperability" with existing Maavoimat Radios and with other fighting force elements such as Ilmavoimat Close Air Support / Forest Service Aircraft

On 16 February 1937, a Research and Development contract was awarded to Nokia for a one-man backpack portable radio with radio-telephone capability robust enough to be carried into battle by infantry soldiers, parajaegers and of course, Savusukeltaja. Initial funding was provided by the Forest Service, with support from the Maavoimat’s Radio Workshop promised. This was an opening that Nokia Radio Oy had been looking for. You will of course recall that in an earlier Post we had mentioned Eric Tigerstedt, a Finnish inventor with considerable expertise in radio and related electronic fields, who had returned to Finland in 1925 and setup a new Helsinki-based company, “Oy Tigerstedt Research Ab.” Between 1912 and 1924, Tigerstedt had been awarded a total of 71 patents in several countries. Between 1925 and 1935, he amassed a further 83 patents and a considerable income from either sales of patents or licensing. He designed a number of radio receivers for Finnish Radio companies through the first half of the 1930’s – and in fact was employed by Nokia to design their first commercially produced Radios. This was his first contact with Nokia Radio Oy and was fortuitous for both parties, leading to a life-long partnership that proved highly profitable to both (you may recall that Tigerstedt in 1917 had filed a patent for what he described as a "pocket-size, folding telephone with a very thin carbon microphone" – this and later research and development by a Tigerstedt-led Nokia Radio Oy R&D Team would later lead to Nokia, in 1973, demonstrating the world’s first hand-held mobile phone – narrowly beating out Motorola).

Prior to his work with Nokia, which started in 1936, Tigerstedt had already been involved with work for the military. The Ilmavoimat had been interested in Radio communications from the start, initially using morse sets for artillery observation and fire control. In the mid-1920’s, the use of radio b by aircraft was still very much in its infancy – the first gound signal received in the air (by a British Balloon) had occurred in 1905, only 20 years previously. The first radio signal sent from an aircraft to the ground had only taken place in 1910 and the first radio communication between aircraft had taken place only in 1914. The first wireless sets used in WW1 observation aircraft were very heavy (75 lbs. or more), and their use precluded the carrying of an observer. This, needless to say, often put a crimp in artillery spotting (and may be a reason why the inherently stable BE-2 was retained in production with the RFC incidentally). By the early 1920’s, more compact wireless sets had been developed and were in use but these radios required an Operator, who was usually also the Observer and Rear-gunner in two-seater aircraft. Communication within the aircraft in the 1920’s (and well into the 1930’s for that matter), was more often than not by physical contact Many airforces in fact entered WW2 with some of their aircraft still using morse sets and with a third air-crew member, the Radio Operator.

The Ilmavoimat was not one of these – and the primary reason (funding aside) was Eric Tigerstedt.

One of the very first military radio systems in Finland was constructed for the Ilmavoimat by the Maavoimat’s Radio Workshop. Initially, a home-grown project was started around 1927-28 to develop a voice transceiver for aircraft but the project did not have a promising start. Vibration was an obvious problem in an aircraft and also the use of conventional microphones was impossible due to the loud noise. An improved radio model was developed with rather more power than the first version and was designed to be mechanically more stable. To contend with the background noise, the Radio Workshop designed a Throat-type microphone (Throat mics were indispensible for pilots and tank drivers, who had to contend with engine noise in addition to the chaos of battle. By all accounts, these early throat mics, which can still be found on auction sites for antique military gear, were efficient but uncomfortable. Nevertheless, the throat mic was popular enough in aeronautics that in 1939 the famed aviator Wiley Post incorporated earphones and a throat mic into the design of the world’s first pressure suit to explore the limits of high-altitude, long-distance flight).

Unfortunately, the newly designed throat-type microphone became so hot during flight that it burned the pilot’s skin. The next prototype radio, manufactured by Fenno Radio, had even more power - up to 30 W. It was actually too powerful and not only caught fire, but also caused a number of complete fighter aircraft to go up in flames. The transceiver worked quite well when it worked, but unfortunately it only worked occasionally. Vibration was, again, a major cause of faults; especially with operating frequency drift before take-off. The pilot had no way to change the channel as it was adjusted by screwdriver before the mission. The inverter unit had a relay box on the floor, and needed a sharp kick every now and then as well. It was at this stage, around 1931, that an Ilmavoimat pilot of his acquaintance had suggested to Tigerstedt that he should become involved in the project. Tigerstedt had already while working in the USA spent considerable time designing and developing a very small ear-piece for Pilots that could be plugged into the ear. Tigerstedt’s reputation within radio and electronics engineering circles had been steadily growing and the Maavoimat’s Radio Workshop welcomed his informal offer of assistance.

Tigerstedt broke the project down into three major task groupings – the first being the design of a robust and reliable aircraft voice transceiver radio, the second being the design of a reliable throat microphone and the third being the redesign of his earlier earpiece. The radio was the greatest challenge – it needed to be robust, reliable, easy to tune, have an effective range for both transmission and reception and be straightforward to repair in the field. Tigerstedt began by adopting the idea of modular construction with an aluminum chassis from Telefunken (one of the benefits Finland had were close ties with the German radio industry, and in particular with Telefunken. May ideas and design features were adopted informally, through personal relationships between the small number of Finnish electronics engineers and their German contacts, a process that was assisted by the fact that many of these Finnish engineers had studied at German universities and had many German friends as a result). The Fenno F-52 series of radios designed by Tigerstedt were constructed with modules that plugged into a “motherboard” in a manner similar to present-day computers.

Prior to the introduction of modular construction, radio construction had been based on a frame, which was integrated with the entire electrical and electronic circuit. As a result, the chassis moved from the metal workshop through to the calibration benchs at the end of the construction line in a linear process. Tigerstedt designed the Fenno F-52 series radios to be build in several modules which could be constructed in parallel, only needing to be assembled at the final stage where they were linked via cables to the “motherboard” with the inter-modular connectors designed to allow easy assembly and disassembly. Each modules was able to be tested individually on special test jigs prior to integration and final testing. Tubes were installed in recessed sockets, removable from the chassis exterior and in-circuit tube checking was able to be carried out either with a built-in meter or a plug-in test set. From a technical point of view, this also improved servicability as parts could be changed rapidly using minimally trained personnel.

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Fenno F-52 Receiver Aluminum Chassis

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Fenno F-52 Receiver Motherboard

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Fenno F-52 receiver tuning mechanism, illustrating the high quality of Fenno’s workmanship

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Interior view of the Fenno F-52 receiver – the most advanced military receiver of the period with the possible exception of some German Military Radio Receivers. Certainly well in advance of any of the French, British or American radio receivers in use at the time.

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Fenno-F52-Transmitter Unit: The Fenno F-52 Receiver was married with a Transmitter unit of similar quality. The transmitter was likewise easy to maintain, loosen 13 screws and it easily divided into two sub-units with no soldered connections. A final change to the design was made in April 1937, immediately prior to production beginning, with crystal control applied to the Radio Transceivers to eliminate frequency drift resulting from vibration and temperature changes in flight.

The microphone was a carbon-type throat mike with two 1-inch round pickups designed for actuation by mechanical vibrations of speech present at the throat of the user. An elastic strap anchored it around the wearer’s neck. The mike was to be used for voice modulation of radio transmitters and intercom systems and was connected to the radio via a cord. A “push-to-talk” switch was located at a point convenient to the user and was used to turn on the microphone and control the relay circuit of the radio transmitter.

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Tigerstedt-designed Throat Microphone – introduced in 1933, this was used by the Ilmavoimat, and later by Maavoimat armored fighting vehicle crews. With minor modifications, this Throat Microphone was in service until the early 1950’s

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Ilmavoimat Fighter Pilot Ilmari Juutilainen in the cockpit of his Brewster Buffalo wearing standard Ilmavoimat headgear incorporating the Tigerstedt-designed headphones. The headphones were in themselves a superb piece of engineering, small, functional and robust with redundancy built in to each receiver. The prototype was designed and built in a mere 11 days and went into production with no changes.

Fenno Radio would manufacture the Radios, Throat microphones and headphones for the Ilmavoimat from the mid-1930’s through to the end of WW2. As a result of the work done from 1934 on, Ilmavoimat fighter aircraft at the start of the Winter War were fitted with reliable voice radio equipment which was standard across all aircraft – aircraft delivered from foreign suppliers had the radios replaced with Fenno Radio equipment, even at the height of the fighting. These radios began entering service in early 1937 and had a transmission range of 100 miles air to ground and 15 miles air to air. (As a note of interest, at the time of the Winter War, Operations Room Controllers did not attempt to speak to the Pilots of fighter aircraft by radio telephone. Messages to Pilots were written on slips of paper and passed to R/T Operators for transmission. The R/T operators were all members of the Lotta Svard, all female, all specially chosen for their clear enunciation, most of them were University Students, sat in sound-proof enclosures and were trained to continue speaking clamly, clearly and slowly under any circumstances).

The introduction of effective voice radio-telephony into aircraft was a significant step in the enhancement of air combat capability. In the early days of air combat, pilots communicated largely by visual signals. If a Pilot was not watching closely, the rest of his flight could disappear on him easily – hence the early emphasis on formation flying and the kinds of formation attacks that one sees or reads about from the period. While the early radios were notoriously unreliable (as the early Ilmavoimat experiences illustrated), the Tigerstedt-design radios, headphones and throat microphones with their extended range, reliability and excellent sound quality (both with the mikes and with the headphones) gave the Ilmavoimat an early qualitative advantage in this area. The Tigerstedt-designed equipment was introduced and trialed in the crucible of the Spanish Civil War, and aside from the direct combat experience with all the benefits that this brought the Ilmavoimat, it also led to the early introduction of the Ilmavoimat “Lyhyyskoodi Terminologia” (Brevity Code Terminology) for voice communications. This was largely developed by the Ilmavoimat Volunteer Pilots flying in Spain as they began to use the new Radios in combat and it was a very serious business, developing a voice communications protocol that met a wartime requirement for effective tactical command and control of a Flight or a Squadron. In combat, good R/T discipline quickly turned out to mean the difference between life and death.

The objective of the quickly-developing “Lyhyyskoodi Terminologia” was to communicate the maximum amount of information with the minimum words necessary (perhaps less of a problem for the Finns than for some other nations). The requirement for concise, timely, and understood information in air combat has been present ever since man first took to the air to kill his fellow human being, beginning in World War 1 with visual hand, flare and aircraft signals (still in use today, although not as tactically important as then). The initial impetus for the Finns came with the first few mass air battles in Spain where the R/T situation degenerated immediately combat started. As soon as a fight began, everybody talked on the radio at the same time. Factor in fear, low situational awareness and combat inexperience and you can easily imagine a scene of total chaos. So much for mutual support! The solution, although only a partial one, was the quickly developed and semi-official "brief" radio terminology…“Lyhyyskoodi Terminologia.”

Brevity Code, when used properly, can be a very powerful tool in air combat. There are a few caveats, though. The first is; everybody must understand all of the terminology. Secondly, it must specifically describe an event, observation, action, or status. The radio call "Bandits," is worthless unless accompanied by who it applies to and a relative position call. Third, it must be structured to insure that it’s understood by whom it’s intended for. Conversely, it mustn’t be misinterpreted by other flights on the same frequency. An example would be the typical "bad bandit call." Imagine you’re escorting a flight of bombers, and out of the blue you hear "BANDITS! BREAK LEFT!!" What do you think EVERYONE on that frequency is going to do? The Ilmavoimat Volunteer Pilots soon came up with standard code phrases, and under the leadership of their commanding officer, Richard Lorentz, they soon formalized this. One of Lorentz’s early communications from Spain back to Somersalo, the commanding officer of the Ilmavoimat, reads “Taktinen kielen käyttö on tänä vuonna laajentunut ilmavoimissa taistelunjohdon ja lento-osastojen väliseen taktiseen radiopuhelinliikenteeseen. Keskinäisessä viestinnässä käytetään yleissuomen sijasta erityisesti tähän tarkoitukseen kehitettyjä lyhytsanontoja.” (Use of tactical language has grown this year for Air Force battle management and tactical radio communications between squadrons. For better mutual communication, instead of general Finnish we have developed short sayings (brevity codes) specifically for this purpose).

Lorentz went on to say “Taktinen radiopuhelinliikenne koostuu tyypillisesti lyhytsanonnoista ja koneiden välisiin liittyvistä numeroarvoista kuten korkeudesta, nopeudesta ja koneiden välisestä etäisyydestä. Siirtyminen taktisen käyttöön on onnistunut radiopuhelinliikenteen hyvin perusteellisen koulutuksen ansiosta. Taktisen radiopuhelinliikenteen käyttö on jo nyt hyvin luontevaa sekä ohjaajille että taistelunjohtajille.” (Tactical radio communications typically consist of short phrases, and values such as height, speed and the distance between the aircraft. Transition to the tactical use of radio has succeeded as a result of very thorough training. Tactical radio is already used as a matter of course, with the leaders of the battle providing guidance.)

Without getting into excessive detail, a few general concepts should be understood so as the reader can understand the real benefits of this development (and incidentally, this was a development that other air forces did not comprehend or use effectively prior to the air battles of early WW2 where mass confusion reigned). This should be kept in mind as it was one of a combination of factors that gave the Ilmavoimat a huge qualitative advantage in the air combat component of the Winter War.

There are two distinctive types of Tactical R/T. They are Directive, and Descriptive. Each type has their own unique function and structure. The Directive radio call is just what it sounds like, you tell someone (like your wingman) to do something. The Descriptive call is used to describe an event, status, or object. Here are examples of how each of these calls are "built":

Directive: (Call Sign of whom you are talking to) + (Brevity Code words)
Example: "Green one two, Break left!"

Descriptive: (Your Call Sign) + (Brevity Code words)
Example: "Red one one, Tally two left eleven, one mile, slightly high!"

Directive calls, once the action is initiated, are generally followed by a Descriptive call. If, for some reason, the Directive call is not complied with, it should be issued again until it is. Only then should the accompanying Descriptive call be issued. In other words, get your wingman turning to negate the threat before you describe the situation to him. This would be a textbook example of a "combo" Directive / Descriptive radio call:

Directive / Descriptive: (Call Sign of whom you are talking to) + (Brevity Code words) + (Your Call Sign if required for clarity) + (Brevity Code words)
Example 1: "Green one two, BREAK left! (He begins his break turn) Bandit YOUR left seven, one mile, level."
Example 2: "Green one two, hard right! Red one one tally two right three, one mile, level."

If this sounds confusing, it can be! But that is exactly why the terminology needs to be so structured and organized. Remember, the objective is to convey the exact meaning in as few words as possible. The next consideration is R/T technique.

The first and most important technique is to Think before you Talk. It is much more expeditious to pause a second, think about what you are going to say…Then key the mic and talk. The most common error is holding the mike button while the individual is thinking. This is what it sounds like : "ahh…um..ah Green…..ah em… one two….. um…. Ah… is Bingo plus three." A three second Descriptive R/T call just took three times as long as it should have! In a time critical environment this is not satisfactory! Air combat is no place to "Comm Jam" the radio with stupidity!

Technique two was simple! All Pilots were expected to know their brevity code! That meant both the terminology and definitions! Let's take a look at a few examples; the good, the bad, and the ugly!

Example 1: "Charlie one two is engaged offensive with two Bogies, right two, one mile, low!"
There are a few big mistakes in this one! First is the basic structure. Too many unnecessary words. Brevity code’s primary function is to reduce the amount of talk it takes to convey an idea. The major error is improper Brevity Code terminology. A "Bogie" is an UNKNOWN visual contact. Why is he "Offensive" on a possible friendly and / or neutral? Accidentally whack a friendly and you’ll find yourself with a one-way ticket to a court martial. If "Charlie 12" really means "Bogie," they may indeed be "Bandits," and you need to be cautious until you know, but the term "Offensive" indicates he is maneuvering to employ ordnance. If this was heard, the listener would assume that Charlie 12 had identified the contacts as an adversary.

A more correct version would be:
"Charlie one two engaged offensive! Two bandits right two, one mile, low! "
Or...
"Charlie one two engaged offensive! Tally two, right two, one mile, low!"
The word "Tally" is short for "Tally Ho!" … meaning you see "Bandits"…not an unknown "Bogie." "Tally Ho Bandits"is redundant.

Example 2: "Charlie one two visual Two, left two, 1 mile, low"
Huh? What does he mean by "left two"? Well, he most likely means "left ten" and has confused his "clock" position. This is exactly the reason Ilmavoimat fighter units generally prefaced the "clock" position with a "left" or "right" prefix. It ws quickly determined that most pilots correctly identified relative position (Left or Right) with a much higher accuracy rate than "clock" position. Mis-identification of "clock" position increases aft of the 3-9 line. If you hear a call with an incongruent relative position versus clock position, you can almost always assume "clock" position is wrong. By the way, this radio call means that the wingman has two contacts identified as friendly at left 10:00, 1 mi., lower than the flight. Overall, it is actually a pretty good radio call, and most pilots would understand the intent and meaning.

A last example:
Example 3: "Charlie one two tally, visual, press!"

This is a textbook example demonstrating how much can be said with very few words. This simple line translates into: I have you in sight, I see the bandit, I am in a position to support you, I am supporting you, your six is clear...continue your attack. This would typically be used when the flight lead engages offensively on an unwary bandit and the wingman’s sole responsibility is to support and protect his lead.

The development of the Ilmavoimat’s “Lyhyyskoodi Terminologia” (Brevity Code Terminology) was one of the components of the “Havaitse-Punnitse-Ratkaise-Taistele!” (Perceive-Weigh in one’s mind-Solution-Combat Action) loop theorised and introduced into Finland’s military tactics and strategy by Lorentz. Brevity in communications enabled Ilmavoimat pilots to think, communicate and act at a faster tempo than their adversaries. Not only was communication clear, it was fast and decisive. And in air combat, where seconds count, this by itself gave the Ilmavoimat an often decisive advantage. The “Lyhyyskoodi Terminologia” was honed over the years of fighting in Spain, and by the time of the outbreak of the Winter War, it was as natural as breathing to Pilots and air-crew. During the Winter War, the impressive performance of the Ilmavoimats fighter and bomber pilots created something of a mystique, which resulted in much “Fighter Pilot Slang” finding its way into popular usage. Every young boy wanted to be another Ilmari Juutilainen, with the 94 “kills” that he wracked up between 31 November 1939 and 30 September 1940 – and many young girls wanted to emulate the famous Lotta Svard Ferry Pilot, Maureen Dunlop – who had become Finland’s one and only female ace after shooting down six Soviet Bombers in one encounter whilst ferrying a repaired Hawker Henley dive bomber from Tampere to a frontline airfield in Eastern Karelia.

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Ilmavoimat Ferry Pilot Maureen Dunlop was actually an Anglo-Argentinian volunteer and one of a number of female ferry pilots. She served with the Ilmavoimat for the duration of the Winter War, initially ferrying aircraft from the UK to Sweden and then on to Finland. Later in the war, she delivered aircraft from Tampere to the front-line squadrons. There was always the risk of aircraft being flown on such delivery flights encountering Soviet aircraft and so they flew fully armed. It was on such a delivery flight, flying a Hawker Henley dive bomber armed with two 20mm cannon, that Yliluutnantii Dunlop encountered a group of eleven Soviet Tupolev SB-2 bombers deep in Eastern Karelia which she immediately attacked whilst at the same time calling in the aircraft’s location and requesting assistance. She shot down six of the eleven before she ran out of ammunition. For this action, she was awarded the Suomen Valkoisen Ruusun Ritarikunta (Order of the White Rose of Finland), Knight 1st Class with swords.

An OTL Note on aircraft radios in the REAL Winter War: Ilmavoimat Fokkers were normally equipped with indigenous P-12-17/1 radios. Flight leaders usually had very low-power transmitters with a range of only about 3 miles for coordinating within their flights, while the wingmen generally had only receivers. A system of trained air observers had been established before the Winter War, using telephones to call the squadron headquarters, which were equipped with radios for notifying airborne fighters. The telephone system was not well developed, however, which often resulted in significant sighting delays. Even though the Finns did not have a very effective air-direction system during the Winter War, they were often able to receive engagement and sighting reports that were valuable in allowing them to concentrate their limited forces where they were most needed.

During the Continuation War, the Ilmavoimat operated a wide range of aircraft, most of them with unique radio equipment. More than 11 different radio types were flying simultaneously. The german types FuG7, FuGlO and FuG16 (20W, 40 MHz) were the most popular. The latest of these, the FuG16ZE was a fairly modern design. It included an extendible antenna, which was necessary due to the tail-dragger design of the Mel09G-fighter. For prolonged operations at high altitudes, the transceiver electronics had an electric heating system. The airborne system had the possibility for active homing together with suitable ground installations. The lack of spare units, frequent mechanical problems and equipment destruction during less successful missions, required immediate and thorough servicing of the radios. This servicing was performed outside in the field where the temperature stayed below -40” C for weeks. The more severe problems were fixed at the Army Electrical Workshop.

However, for Tigerstedt, the designing of the Ilmavoimat’s aircraft radio-telephone equipment was merely a prelude to what was to come.
Last edited by CanKiwi2 on 24 Nov 2011 12:58, edited 1 time in total.
ex Ngāti Tumatauenga ("Tribe of the Maori War God") aka the New Zealand Army

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John Hilly
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Re: What If-Finland had been prepared for the Winter War?

Postby John Hilly » 23 Nov 2011 22:41

Hello and thanks, Nigel!
It would sound better if you offset “Lyhytaikaisuus Koodi Terminologia” as "Lyhyyskoodi terminologia".
Also “Havaita-Punnita-Ratkaisu-Taistelu " is contradictory. Better if the phrase being imperative: "Havaitse-Punnitse-Ratkaise-Taistele!"
Keep up the good work!
Terveisin
Juha-Pekka :milwink:
"Die Blechtrommel trommelt noch!"


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