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

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

Postby CanKiwi2 » 13 Jan 2012 18:01

Seppo Koivisto wrote:To me "rynnäkkövaunu" means a light tank for transporting infantry. "Hyökkäysvaunu" is a nice old fashined word or maybe also "taisteluvaunu" (from taistelupanssarivaunu Panzer-Kampf-Wagen). Tank is translated "tankki".


So "rynnäkkövaunu" would be better used for an armored infantry carrier? I have one of those in the works, so if that's a better word to use, I'll hold on to that one.

"Hyökkäysvaunu" has a feel of what I'm looking for, for sure. I thought about "panssarintuhoaja" as an alternative translation - but "tank-destroyer" is perhaps a bit too literal a translation and still a bit defensive in sound. I'm really looking for a name that will convey an agressive mind-set right from the outset. Similarly to an "anti-tank gun" - I would rather use a phrase that translates as "tank-killer gun". Much more postive, as in "we go out and kill them" rather than sitting around defending something.
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Re: What If-Finland had been prepared for the Winter War?

Postby JTV » 13 Jan 2012 19:17

CanKiwi2 wrote:
Seppo Koivisto wrote:To me "rynnäkkövaunu" means a light tank for transporting infantry. "Hyökkäysvaunu" is a nice old fashined word or maybe also "taisteluvaunu" (from taistelupanssarivaunu Panzer-Kampf-Wagen). Tank is translated "tankki".


So "rynnäkkövaunu" would be better used for an armored infantry carrier? I have one of those in the works, so if that's a better word to use, I'll hold on to that one.

"Hyökkäysvaunu" has a feel of what I'm looking for, for sure. I thought about "panssarintuhoaja" as an alternative translation - but "tank-destroyer" is perhaps a bit too literal a translation and still a bit defensive in sound. I'm really looking for a name that will convey an agressive mind-set right from the outset. Similarly to an "anti-tank gun" - I would rather use a phrase that translates as "tank-killer gun". Much more postive, as in "we go out and kill them" rather than sitting around defending something.


Well, säiliönmetsästäjä (could be translated as "container hunter") isn't really Finnish.
- Tank = Hyökkäysvaunu (true WW2 era terminology) / Panssarivaunu (post-war term that have replaced it). Tankki was officially used very early on, but was soon replaced by hyökkäysvaunu and remained only in unofficial use.
- Rynnäkkö(panssari)vaunu = IFV (infantry fighting vehicle), like CV-9030 or BMP-2.
- Miehistönkuljetusvaunu = APC (armoured personnel carrier), like Sisu XA-180 or BTR-60PB
- Rynnäkkötykki = assault gun, like Stug IIIg
- Tanketti = tankette

Finnish Armed Forces official terminology didn't/doesn't actually contain a good equivalent of concept like US tank-destroyer or German panzerjäger. The closest thing in official terminology likely was the rather clumsy term panssarintorjuntapanssarivaunu (literally translated: "anti-tank tank"), which was used from Charioteer and T-54 (during its late career) tank used in role of mobile antitank-weapons.

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Last edited by JTV on 13 Jan 2012 20:45, edited 2 times in total.

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

Postby Fliegende Untertasse » 13 Jan 2012 19:47

JTV wrote:Finnish Armed Forces official terminology didn't/doesn't actually contain a good equivalent of concept like US tank-destroyer or German panzerjäger.


Well, if we are going to make up one , there is a rather obvious naval term allready recycled by the air force:
"hävittäjä"

Tank-destroyer - panssarinhävittäjä or hävittäjävaunu

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

Postby CanKiwi2 » 13 Jan 2012 23:00

Unit Organisation: Regimental Combat Group “Verenimijä”

(Note that I've pulled a fair bit of this from the unit organisations on Jarkko's site and modified them as I thought appropriate. Love to hear any suggestions / corrections / comments / improvements). Some of the unit strengths are a WAG, I have no idea what the strength of a Regimental Field Post Office or Field Laundry unit actually was. But if you know, and anyone has any more detailed breakdowns, I'd love to add that sort of detail in :D )

As per Organisation tables, Regimental Combat Group “Verenimijä” had an an overall strength of 3599 men. The unit was organized to be relatively mobile and self-sufficient, with the stated objective being to move the unit around for specific missions. “Verenimijä” was established as a pure night-fighting unit, with an emphasis on combined arms operations, hence it included sizable armour and artillery units who trained extensively together. The unit was also rather more extensively mechanized than most Finnish infantry units, and in addition there were sizable quantities of the specialixed infrared night-fighting equipment.

“Verenimijä” specialized in Regimental-sized night attacks and the men were highly-trained in this particular aspect of fighting, which included extensive close-quarter night-fighting combat training. They were equipped with a higher than normal proportion of automatic weapons as a result.

• Regimental HQ (500 men)
o HQ (25 Officers, NCO’s and Men)
o Security Platoon (32 men)
o Viestikomppania (Signals Company – 129 men)
o Reconaissance Company (identical organizationally to an Infantry Company – 112 men)

o Pioneerikomppania (Engineer Company – 144 men)
- Company HQ (16 men)
 Company HQ Ryhmä (CO, 2IC, 2 Sgts, 5 Sigs/Messengers, Measuring Man, Driver, Orderly, 4 man Security Ryhmä)

3 x Pioneerijoukkue (Engineer Platoons – each 34 men)
 Joukkue Command Squad (1 Officer, 1 Sgt, 1 Sig, 2 Messengers, 1 Medic)

 Pioneeriryhmä I (Engineer Squad I) (Corporal – Ryhmänjohtaja or Squad Leader, 7 Men)
 Pioneeriryhmä II (8 men, as above)
 Pioneeriryhmä III (8 men, as above)

 Explosives vehicle: 1 man (horse & cart/sledge or truck)
 Tools vehicle, 1 man (horse & cart/sledge or truck)
 Food/animal feedstuff vehicle, 1 man (horse & cart/sledge or truck)
 Backpack and tent vehicle, 1 man (horse & cart/sledge or truck)

- 1 x Supplies Platoon (26 men)
 Joukkue Command Squad (Company Sergeant-Major, 1 Sgt, 1 Sig, 2 Clerks, 1 Messenger)

 Equipment Ryhmä I (Equipment Squad I – 11 men)
 NCO – Ryhmänjohtaja or Squad Leader
 Blacksmith & Field-smith vehicle (or Mechanic)
 Anti-chemical weapons vehicle, 3 men (horse & cart/sledge)
 2 tools vehicles, 2 men (horses & carts/sledges)
 2 building material vehicles, 2 men (horses & carts/sledges)
 Explosives truck, 2 men (2 - 3 ton truck)

 Supplies Ryhmä II (9 men)
 Supplies NCO
 Shoemaker
 Food Provisions (1) and Cooks (2)
 Field Kitchen, 1 man
 Kitchen vehicle, 1 man (horse & cart/sledge)
 Food and animal feedstuff vehicle, 1 man (horse & cart/sledge)
 Backpack and tent vehicle, 1 man (horse & cart/sledge or truck)

- 1 x Reserve Tankkikomppania (15 Tanks, 58 men)
 Tank Company HQ Joukku (Platoon, 12 men)
 3 Matilda Tanks (6 men)
 1 Armoured Command Carrier (6 men)

 3 x Tankkijoukku (3 x Tank Platoons – 24 men in total)
 4 Matilda Tanks in each Platoon (8 men)

 Maintenance & Repair Joukku (12 men)
 2 Repair Shop Trucks (1 NCO, 7 men)
 2 Recovery Tractors (1 NCO, 3 men)

 Supplies Joukku (10 men)
 1 NCO, 1 Sigs
 1 x Kitchen Truck, 1 man, 1 Cook
 2 x Ammunition Trucks, 2 men
 2 x Fuel Trucks, 2 men
 1 x Backpack and Tent Truck, 1 man
 1 x Supplies Truck, 1 man

o Yöjääkäripataljoona I and II (Night-Jaeger Battalion I and II – 692 men, 15 Matilda Tanks fitted with Infrared-filtered Searchlights)
- Battalion HQ (185 men)
 Battalion Headquarters (5 Officers, 20 men)
 Security Platoon (32 men)
 Signals Platoon (47 men)
 Reconaissance Platoon (32 men)
 Mortar Platoon (4 x 81mm Mortars, 49 men)

- 3 x Yöjääkärikomppania (Night-Jaeger Infantry Companies) (all personnel equipped with Infrared-fitted weapons) – each 112 men

 Company HQ (20 men)
 Company Commander
 Command Squad (6 man Sigs/Messenger Section, 4 man Sniper Section, 9 man AT Section)

 3 x Yöjääkärijoukkue I (Night-Jaeger Platoon – 32 men)
 Joukkue Command Squad (1 Officer, 1 Sgt, 1 Sig, 2 Messengers, 1 Medic, 2 man Night-Sniper Team)
 Jääkäriryhmä I (Jaeger Squad I) (Corporal – Ryhmänjohtaja or Squad Leader, 2 man LMG Team, 2 SMG Men, 3 Riflemen)
 Jääkäriryhmä II (8 men, as above)
 Jääkäriryhmä III (8 men, as above)

 Yöjääkärijoukkue II (Night-Jaeger Platoon – 32 men)
 Yöjääkärijoukkue III (Night-Jaeger Platoon – 32 men)

- 1 x Attached Tankkikomppania (15 Tanks, 58 men)
 Tank Company HQ Joukku (Platoon, 12 men)
 3 Matilda Tanks (6 men)
 1 Armoured Command Carrier (6 men)

 3 x Tankkijoukku (3 x Tank Platoons – 24 men in total)
 4 Matilda Tanks in each Platoon (8 men)
 Maintenance & Repair Joukku (12 men)
 2 Repair Shop Trucks (1 NCO, 7 men)
 2 Recovery Tractors (1 NCO, 3 men)

 Supplies Joukku (10 men)
 1 NCO, 1 Sigs
 1 x Kitchen Truck, 1 man, 1 Cook
 2 x Ammunition Trucks, 2 men
 2 x Fuel Trucks, 2 men
 1 x Backpack and Tent Truck, 1 man
 1 x Supplies Truck, 1 man

- Logistics Company (113 men)
 Company HQ Ryhmä (CO, CSM, 2 Sgts, 4 Sigs/Messengers, 2 x Drivers, 4 man Security Ryhmä)

 Ammunition Supplies Platoon (27 men)
 NCO, 1 Sigs, 1 Clerk
 2 x Gunsmiths, 2 x Infrared Equipment Specialists, 1 Workshop Truck
 12 Men, 8 Drivers, 8 Trucks

 General Supplies Platoon (26 men)

 Medical Platoon (36 men/women)
 HQ (1 NCO, 2 Clerks, 1 Sigs, 2 Morgue Attendants)
 Treatment Ryhmä I: 1 x Doctor, 1 x Medic Sgt, 4 Medics
 Treatment Ryhmä I: 1 x Doctor, 1 x Medic Sgt, 4 Medics
 Stablisation Ryhmä: 1 x Medic Sgt, 5 Medics
 Evacuation Ryhmä: 4 Ambulance Trucks, 4 Drivers, 4 Medics
 1 x Backpack and Tent Truck, 1 man
 1 x Medical Supplies Truck, 1 man
 Kitchen Vehicle, Field Kitchen, 1 man + 1 Cook

 Battalion Admin Section (10 men)
 CO (also Training Officer)
 Chaplain
 8 men

o Armoured Battalion (Panssaripataljoona, 45 Skoda-built CKD/Praga TNHP Tanks armed with a Bofors 37mm Gun, 2 x machineguns and Infrared Searchlights and Viewers, 400 men )

- Panssaripataljoona HQ (133 men)
 HQ (5 Officers, 19 men)
 Security Platoon (32 men)
 Signals Platoon (47 men)
 AA Gun Platoon (4 x Patria Bofors 40mm Self-Propelled AA Guns, 34 men)
 4 x Patria Anti II AA-tanks (20 men)
 1 x Armoured Command Carrier (6 men)
 2 x Ammunition Trucks (4 men)
 2 x Fuel Trucks (4 men)

- 3 x Tankkikomppania (15 Tanks and 60 men per Company)
 Tank Company HQ Joukku (Platoon, 12 men)
 3 TNHP Tanks (6 men)
 1 Armoured Command Carrier (6 men)
 3 x Tankkijoukku (3 x Tank Platoons – 48 men in total)
 4 TNHP Tanks in each Platoon (16 men)

- Logistics Company (88 men)
 Company HQ Ryhmä (CO, 1 Sgt, 1 Sigs, 2 Clerks, 2 x Drivers)
 Maintenance & Repair Joukku (28 men)
 4 Repair Shop Trucks (2 NCOs, 14 men)
 4 x Gunsmiths, 4 x Infrared Equipment Specialists, 4 Workshop Trucks
 2 Radio Repair Technicians
 2 Armoured Recovery Tractors (1 NCO, 3 men)
 Supplies Joukku (33 men)
 1 NCO, 1 Sigs, 1 Clerk
 4 x Kitchen Trucks, 4 men, 8 Cooks
 4 x Ammunition Trucks, 8 men
 4 x Fuel Trucks, 8 men
 1 x Backpack and Tent Truck, 1 man
 1 x Supplies Truck, 1 man
 Medical Joukku (20 men/women)
 HQ (1 NCO, 1 Clerk, 1 Sig, 1 Morgue Attendant)
 Treatment Ryhmä I: 1 x Doctor, 1 x Medic Sgt, 4 Medics
 Stablisation Ryhmä: 1 x Medic Sgt, 3 Medics
 Evacuation Ryhmä: 2 Ambulance Trucks, 2 Drivers, 2 Medics
 1 x Backpack, Tent & Medical Supplies Truck, 1 man
 Kitchen Vehicle, Field Kitchen, 1 man + 1 Cook

• Integral Heavy Weapons Units (963 men)
o 1 x Motorised Artillery Battalion (12 x 105mm Howitzers) – 512 men
o Anti-Aircraft Battalion (4 x Patria Self Propelled Bofors 40mm AA Guns, 8 x Hispano-Suiza twin-barrelled 20mm AA Guns, 258 men)
o Heavy Mortar Company (12 x 120mm Mortars, 193 men)
- HQ Joukku (20 men)
- 3 Mortar Joukku, each 4 x 120mm Mortars/49 men
- Supplies Joukku (26 men)
-
• Regimental Suuply Company (352 men/women)

o Regimental Admin Section (10 men)
 CO, NCO, 8 men

o Transport Platoon (113 men)
- Company HQ Ryhmä (CO, CSM, 2 Sgts, 4 Sigs/Messengers, 2 x Drivers, 4 man Security Ryhmä)
- 40 Trucks, 80 Drivers
- 2 Workshop Trucks, 4 Mechanics

o Ammunition Supplies Platoon (43 men)
- 4 NCO, 1 Sigs, 2 Clerks
- 2 x Gunsmiths, 2 x Infrared Equipment Specialists, 1 Workshop Truck
- 16 Men, 16 Drivers, 16 Trucks

o Fuel Supply Company (22 men)
- 2 NCOs, 2 Sigs, 2 Clerks
- 8 Men, 8 Drivers, 8 Trucks

o General Supplies Platoon (26 men)

o Field Kitchen Platoon (26 men)

o Field Hospital Unit (112 men/women)
 Admin (2 NCOs, 2 Clerks, 2 Sigs, 2 Morgue Attendants)
 4 medical officers, 4 general surgeons
 4 Surgical Assistants, 24 Nurses,
 40 Medics
 Evacuation Ryhmä: 4 Ambulance Trucks, 4 Drivers, 4 Medics
 8 x Backpack and Tent Truck, 8 men
 4 x Medical Supplies Truck, 4 men
 Kitchen Vehicle, Field Kitchen, 2 man + 4 Cooks

o Field Post Office (32 men)
o Clothing Depot (50 men)
o Field Laundry (50 men)
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Re: What If-Finland had been prepared for the Winter War?

Postby JTV » 14 Jan 2012 06:14

Well, couple of ideas: Instead of Regimental Combat Group this seems like overgrown Brigade with supporting elements of very strong division placed in a small regiment. If one wants to keep the regimental/division system instead of going to brigade system it would make a whole more sense to combine the tanks, engineer battalion, aa-artillery and field artillery at division level, not at regiment level. The reason is that regiments equipped in this way are not really regiments anymore because they are too large and heavy - and designed to independently as brigades. Also the basic concept of tank use is concentrate them as large units - not spread them all over the place. Also, why create a special separate units equipped with night vision, when one can simply equip parts of existing units with them and use the particular units 24/7 when ever needed - when more equipment is manufactured this also allows easily equipping other parts of those units without demanding drastic changes. This regimental battle group seems to be very light on infantry (too light?) while it has so much support assets that commanding them from normal regimental HQ would be practically impossible, no matter how good the signal equipment is. I am also doubtful if the repair capacity for so many armoured vehicles would be anywhere close to adequate. Just having proper number of 81-mm mortars in battalion level and 120-mm mortars in regimental level would be good improvement for firepower.

Personally I would have started with a division and placed the supporting elements into it, added some more capacity for the division HQ and whole lot more supplies (fuel, ammunition etc) and repair units to the mix. Other possibility would be go to brigade system and attach some of the elements (heavy aa, tanks...) to it on case to case bases while creating temporary battle groups.

Also, let's just say I am not so sure if Generation 1 night-vision would have been the thing to help most. :-)

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

Postby CanKiwi2 » 14 Jan 2012 12:09

Thx Jarkko, that was exactlly the sort of analysis I was looking for.

JTV wrote:Well, couple of ideas: Instead of Regimental Combat Group this seems like overgrown Brigade with supporting elements of very strong division placed in a small regiment. If one wants to keep the regimental/division system instead of going to brigade system it would make a whole more sense to combine the tanks, engineer battalion, aa-artillery and field artillery at division level, not at regiment level. The reason is that regiments equipped in this way are not really regiments anymore because they are too large and heavy - and designed to independently as brigades. Jarkko


The concept was basically a Brigade-sized combined-arms force able to operate independently of other units. In this case heavy on tanks (the Matilda tanks integrated into the Jaeger battalions are Searchlight tanks with only a machinegun - there to light up the battlefield but unable to provide anything other than machinegun fire). The Skoda tanks are the true armoured component, basically to be used to lead any night attacks on Russian armoured formations or similar. What I was really trying to do was build a Brigade-sized combined arms team.

JTV wrote:Also the basic concept of tank use is concentrate them as large units - not spread them all over the place.


In this case (the exception to the rule of large scale concentration), the tanks crews are trained as specialist night fighters with the first generation equipment. Primitive, difficult to used, high level of specialist training to use it effectively. Perhaps somewhat expensive to manufacture and with the actual combat effectiveness unproven. Also, the Matilda tanks are pretty ineffective as tanks, and the Skoda tanks are the early version - even in my ATL scenario, Finland is not going to have many tanks - so, relatively speaking, this is a concentration of force of sorts. They might in fact be combined with other tank units, say by initiating and leading a mass attack.

JTV wrote:Also, why create a special separate units equipped with night vision, when one can simply equip parts of existing units with them and use the particular units 24/7 when ever needed - when more equipment is manufactured this also allows easily equipping other parts of those units without demanding drastic changes.


The idea is that the equipment is limited, unproven and serious training is needed in its used. Basically a specialist night-fighting unit that is moved around, probably mainly on the Isthmus, to terrify and harass the Russians at night when most units are relatively ineffective. In the Winter War at least, anyway. If the usefulness and effectiveness of the equipment is proven in use, it could then be rolled out as you say. Seemed to me that this sort of innovation really needed a sizable trial unit to prove its effectiveness. I got the idea from the units equipped with the flickering strobe searchlights that the British Army actually did set up in WW2 for exactly this reason - it needed considerable training for the infantry and armour to work effectively together at night while using the equipment. But yes, if it proved itself, it could be rolled out widely and then the usefulness of this specialist unit would disappear unless they found themselves an even more specialist niche.

JTV wrote:This regimental battle group seems to be very light on infantry (too light?) while it has so much support assets that commanding them from normal regimental HQ would be practically impossible, no matter how good the signal equipment is.


I was trying to keep the overall size down to a Brigade more or less. Being an experimental unit there would not be a huge commitment of personnel. The view would be as you say, that conventional units available 24/7 would be more useful and this would be a dissipation of assets. Also, I had included the additional artillery /mortar units as these would have been trained to work closely with the infantry and armour in the sort of attacks these guys would specialise in. They could also call on any nearby artillery and mortar from other units they are passing through for their attacks. The idea being to absolutely hammer anything they come up against or that counter attacks them.

But generally speaking, it sounds like I should bulk up the infantry (another Battalion?) and reduce the overall support assets. Also, increase the size of the Regimental HQ (not forgetting this is a completely non-standard unit thats designed to be able to move around freely and more or less support itself).

JTV wrote:I am also doubtful if the repair capacity for so many armoured vehicles would be anywhere close to adequate. Just having proper number of 81-mm mortars in battalion level and 120-mm mortars in regimental level would be good improvement for firepower.


OK, now there I was having problems trying to figure out adequate engineering support capacity. Anything specific. I did not want to go to a British or American support model, thats the opposite of lean and mean. I will go back and take another look at later Finnish armoured division structure as well as German repair capacity.

As far as mortars, I will take another look at those strengths. Looking ahead, the Maavoimat has a lot more Mortar assets in this scenario overall. One of the first steps that will be taken ATL in the early 1930s, as we will see when we get to looking at the Maavoimat is lots more 81mm and 120mm mortars. Cheap compared to artillery, easy to build and effective against massed russian infantry attacks. So looking ahead, every Finnish unit will be a lot better equipped with mortars.

JTV wrote:Personally I would have started with a division and placed the supporting elements into it, added some more capacity for the division HQ and whole lot more supplies (fuel, ammunition etc) and repair units to the mix. Other possibility would be go to brigade system and attach some of the elements (heavy aa, tanks...) to it on case to case bases while creating temporary battle groups.


Well, I was more or less trying to go for a Brigade system, just calling it a Regimental Combat Group but in this case due to the specialised nature of the unit, making it a more or less permanent setup with the attachments and sizing the support elements to support that on a permanent basis. At the same time, the Brigade system would take awhile to evolve so one assumes some imperfections at the start that would be hammered out in an actual war. There is also the whole question of the cost of fitting out a Division with experimental equipment. In this case its 90 tanks and 2 small battalions of infantry, which is nor prohibitive as an experimental move. Also allows tactics to be developed and tried out.

Keep in mind Finland was not really expecting to fight a war with the USSR - even in this scenario with all the additional defence spending, it is a precaution rather than an expectation. So things would still move slowly up until late 1938. Post Munich, Finland takes a few more precautions that original timeline, but still does not expect the USSR to actually attack them up until Sept 1939. So while the impetus is there to try out the night fighting gear, equipping a full Division with experimental equipment would be likely not looked upon favorably. But an experimental Regiment (Brigade), now thats another story - and if it does not prove itself, it can always be used as a conventional Regiment and the additional assets reallocated. (that was my thinking as to the way the unit was thought of).

JTV wrote:Also, let's just say I am not so sure if Generation 1 night-vision would have been the thing to help most. :-)

Well, in the greater scheme of things there will be a lot of other bits and pieces coming along that will help more. Like Artillery, mortars, and anti-tank guns and mines. And a few tanks. And heavily armed pigeons :D

But hey, this was exactly what I was looking for. Thx a million

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

Postby Juha Tompuri » 14 Jan 2012 23:06

JTV wrote:- Tank = Hyökkäysvaunu (true WW2 era terminology) / Panssarivaunu (post-war term that have replaced it).
AFAIK hyökkäysvaunu was a early (Winter War?) era term, and panssarivaunu replaced it during the Continuation War.


JTV wrote:- Rynnäkkö(panssari)vaunu = IFV (infantry fighting vehicle), like CV-9030 or BMP-2.
- Miehistönkuljetusvaunu = APC (armoured personnel carrier), like Sisu XA-180 or BTR-60PB
- Rynnäkkötykki = assault gun, like Stug IIIg
- Tanketti = tankette
AFAIK the Finnish term panssarivaunu means an armored tracked vehicle.
-Taistelupanssarivaunu - MBT (Main Battle Tank) , like Leopard
-Rynnäkköpanssarivaunu - IFV (infantry fighting vehicle), like CV-9030
-Kuljetuspanssarivaunu - APC (armoured personnel carrier), like M-113
- Rynnäkkötykki - assault gun
-Telatykki - Self propelled gun

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

Postby JTV » 15 Jan 2012 09:53

Juha Tompuri wrote:
JTV wrote:- Tank = Hyökkäysvaunu (true WW2 era terminology) / Panssarivaunu (post-war term that have replaced it).
AFAIK hyökkäysvaunu was a early (Winter War?) era term, and panssarivaunu replaced it during the Continuation War.


I checked some of the Continuation War Tank Battalion/Tank Brigade documents about this and you seem to be right. Hyökkäysvaunu still appears in some of them, but panssarivaunu seems already have been much more commonly used term at that time.

Taistelupanssarivaunu is way post-war term and it is worth noting that it does not just refer to a tank, but to specific modern type of tank (MBT = main battle tank).

Continuation War era documents often refer Stu 40G as rynnäkkötykkivaunu instead of calling it simply it simply rynnäkkötykki. In addition when it comes to type of BT-42, it seems to have been often referred simply as Christie-vaunu instead of calling it assault gun or self propelled gun. Finnish BT-43 prototype was in period documents usually referred as kuljetusvaunu.

When it comes to self-propelled guns there are actually two terms in use depending the type of self-propelled artillery:
- 2S5 "Giatsint-S" (Finnish Army 152 TelaK 91) is referred as telakanuuna (literally "cannon on tracks")
- 2S1 "Grozdika" (Finnish Army 122 PsH 74) is referred as panssarihaupitsi ("armour/tank howitzer")

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

Postby Juha Tompuri » 15 Jan 2012 14:02

JTV wrote:Taistelupanssarivaunu is way post-war term and it is worth noting that it does not just refer to a tank, but to specific modern type of tank (MBT = main battle tank).
Yes, taistelupanssarivaunu is as post-war finnish term as:
JTV wrote:- Rynnäkkö(panssari)vaunu = IFV (infantry fighting vehicle), like CV-9030 or BMP-2.
- Miehistönkuljetusvaunu = APC (armoured personnel carrier), like Sisu XA-180 or BTR-60PB

and:
Juha wrote:-Taistelupanssarivaunu - MBT (Main Battle Tank) , like Leopard
-Rynnäkköpanssarivaunu - IFV (infantry fighting vehicle), like CV-9030
-Kuljetuspanssarivaunu - APC (armoured personnel carrier), like M-113

and AFAIK:
JTV wrote:When it comes to self-propelled guns there are actually two terms in use depending the type of self-propelled artillery:
- 2S5 "Giatsint-S" (Finnish Army 152 TelaK 91) is referred as telakanuuna (literally "cannon on tracks")
- 2S1 "Grozdika" (Finnish Army 122 PsH 74) is referred as panssarihaupitsi ("armour/tank howitzer")


JTV wrote:When it comes to self-propelled guns there are actually two terms in use depending the type of self-propelled artillery
Yes, both telakanuuna and panssarihaupitsi being also telatykki.


Regards, Juha

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CanKiwi2
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Ok, a repost on “Verenimijä”

Postby CanKiwi2 » 16 Jan 2012 22:25

Added a bit more detail in here. Hopefully this addresses a couple of Jarkko's comments around why give night vision equipment a priority of sorts.

The further evolution of the Suomen Maavoimat’s “Suuritehotaisteluvalonheitin” Device – and the establishment of “Verenimijä”

In an earlier Post, we looked at the work that Tigerstedt had put in to the “Suuritehotaisteluvalonheitin” Device. You may recall that in early 1938 the Maavoimat had established an experimental Regimental Combat Group, made up of one Armoured Battalion equipped with the 45 Matilda I’s and a like number of the Skoda TNHP tanks (which had been ordered in 1936 and delivered in 1937). The Matilda I’s were equipped with a special turret fitted with the Suuritehotaisteluvalonheitin or Combat Light, a searchlight that flickered rapidly to disorient enemy soldiers. However, as more experience was gained with this device, it had become clear that some of the earlier claims were exaggerated. It had already been pointed out that the scheme for using the triangles of darkness to cover the approach of assault troops necessitated using Suuritehotaisteluvalonheitin-equipped tanks for flank protection. It was found too, that the blinding effect was not as great as originally thought. Moreover, the whole device depended on the maintenance of secrecy untill it first used as it was realised that antidotes could be rapidly improvised and the value of the Suuritehotaisteluvalonheitin correspondingly reduced. An even more serious setback was the discovery that the use of a green sunfilter enabled an observer to see clearly the actual slot through which the light passed.

This information was communicated to Tigerstedt, and resulted in a re-think of the Suuritehotaisteluvalonheitin approach as it was becoming obvious that this could easily be countered. Now you may also recall that Tigerstedt had assisted the British inventor Baird in his work with his “Noctovision” apparatus – and that a considerable chunk of Tigerstedt’s own capital had been made from his company manufacturing infrared film and camera filters. Tigerstedt obviously made a connection between his earlier work on infrared technology and military applications at this time, although again there is no documentation to support this. However, it was at this stage that Tigerstedt experimented with the fitting of an infrared filter to the Suuritehotaisteluvalonheitin turret, creating what was for all intents and purposes an “invisible” searchlight with a constant beam. Night was turned to day – but only if you were looking through a passive infrared viewing device. And once more with the support of the military, this is what Tigerstedt turned his hand to designing and developing. And he did this in conjunction with his work on Radar, on the design of proximity fuses and on his experimental work on the use of radar to guide bombs to their target (something which was not achieved until towards the end of WW2 as it happened).

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Tigerstedt’s Helsinki Laboratory in which he carried out much of his research.

One of the more perplexing problems military planners have always faced is that of conducting night operations. Psychologically, night has always been a realm of the unknown and the uncertain, magnified by imagination. Night has commonly been characterized as "no man's friend." Surrounded by darkness, people tend to imagine sinister forces lurking in quite harmless objects; every unknown sound seems ominous. Perceptions become distorted: objects appear larger than life, and distances appear greater and are more difficult to calculate. The psychological toll this can exact, when coupled with hunger, fatigue, and combat excitement, can engender near-panic or even mass hysteria among frontline troops. Conditioned from childhood by frightening bedtime stories and by the comfort of artificial light, "civilized" people have a dread of night not shared by those who live "closer to nature." Believing that the Finnish people in general lived "closer to nature" than themselves – and in particular to the Finnish forest, the Maavoimat considered that the ability of the Finnish soldier, fighting in his own country and able to orient and handle himself at night better than his Soviet counterpart, gave them a distinct advantage. Maavoimat training also respected the physical conditioning of the Finnish soldier, his ability, for example, to lie in one position, on snow and ice in the bitter cold of a Finnish winter, without movement for hours on end, patiently awaiting an opportunity to accomplish his mission.

While dealing with this psychological barrier to the conduct of battle at night, the soldier must also cope with a myriad of more tangible problems. Coordination of forces in battle at night tests the mettle of the most proficient leader and the most highly trained forces. Yet, the fact is that those armies that can operate successfully at night have a marked advantage over adversaries who cannot and this has been recognized by warriors since the dawn of time Clausewitz in his classic On War aptly described the "fog of war" in his discussion of "friction," the difference between plans and reality that renders impossible an examination of war as an orderly, rational process. Observed Clausewitz, "Everything in war is very simple, but the simplest thing is difficult." The knowledge of war's friction--its confusion, unpredictability, and chaos; the "influence of an infinity of petty circumstances"-- daily confronts the military planner and leader. At no time is the fog of war more pronounced than at night.

Night operations have long posed an obstacle and a challenge for soldiers. Commanders throughout history have recognized the military advantages afforded by darkness; they have employed the darkness of night to gain surprise and to grasp the initiative from the hands of the enemy – and they have also been painfully aware of the enormous difficulties attendant upon launching troops into the trap of night. Going as far back as the Trojan War, Athena guided Epeius to build a giant hollow wooden horse for Odysseus from the wood of a tree grove sacred to Apollo and leave this for the Trojans as a “parting gift.” After the Trojans decided to keep the horse and turned to a night of mad revelry and celebration "it was midnight and the clear moon was rising and the soldiers from inside the horse emerged and killed the guards”. A little more recently we can look at the nocturnal marches of Joshua and the exploits of Judas Maccabeus in biblical times and then even more recently the experiences of WW1 where problems involving special night training, control, and manpower more often than not dissuaded commanders from attempting large-scale operations in the dark.

Thus, while many military leaders of the past have embraced the night and sought to use it to their advantage, many more have avoided the consideration and use of night operations. Night combat has frequently been the recourse of the inferior military force or, as in World War II, of the army seeking either to find some respite from air power or to reduce casualties in the face of great firepower. Still, despite the difficulties associated with conducting military operations at night, military planners and leaders cannot escape one salient fact: darkness is "a double-edged weapon," and like terrain, "it favors the one who best uses it and hinders the one who does not." WW1 armies seeking to mitigate the devastating effects of firepower and the increasingly vicious nature of combat in the caudldrons of both the Western and Eastern Fronts found cause to consider or reconsider the feasibility of night operations. In no army was this tendency clearer than in the Tsraist Russian Army. Driven by desperation and necessity, the Russian Army launched nocturnal offensives as a hedge against the huge losses incurred in daytime fighting and as a means of applying unrelenting pressure on an overextended German Army.

The Russians had, since their conflict with the Ottoman Turks in 1877-78, shown both a predilection for night operations and considerable skill in conducting them. The Russo-Japanese War of 1904-5 witnessed no fewer than 106 night attacks of company size or larger, as both sides relied on night to shield them from the increased lethality of firepower. In World War I, the Russians conducted large-scale assaults at night with as many as eighteen waves of infantry. The mass attacks of 1914-15 often failed because of poor planning, but even the Germans acknowledged that the war proved Russian night training superior to their own. During the civil war that engulfed Russia, the Red Army successfully capped its Crimean offensive by capturing the difficult fortifications on the isthmus of Perekop during a night attack conducted by troops wading across the icy waters of Sivash Bay, while the defenders faced a simultaneous frontal assault.

While as we have seen, the Suomen Maavoimat officer-class had largely emerged from the “Jaegers”, many Finns had in fact served in the Tsarist Russian Army, not the least of them being Mannerheim himself, and the Russian night-fighting experience had carried over into the Maavoimat as Finland set up its own Armed Forces following independence. With the Maavoimat’s emphasis on rapid maneuver, flanking attacks and the tactical offensive, night operations and night movement were an integral part of Maavoimat tactics from the start. Advising that "night offensives can be successful only in conditions of thorough preparation and careful organization," the Field Regulations of 1930 reflected Maavoimat caution in giving battle after dark. In each Regiment and Battalion there existed an organized group of Officers, NCO’s amd soldiers who were specially trained in “reconnoitering the march route ... to lay out, where necessary, a cross country route of march; to station posts for traffic regulation; to plan in the area of the day halt, lines for security at the halt; to, select concealed places for bivouacs. In addition to this, from the makeup of the staffs of the troops of combined arms, Officers and NCO’s were assigned to see that the troops observed in a strict manner all the rules of night march.”

As a regular part of their training, Maavoimat conscripts were trained in both night movement and in night attacks and retreats. In addition, as special “Sissi” units began to emerge in the 1930’s, these were trained extensively in night operations. As might be expected, the Maavoimat considered command and control their chief problem, not only because of the limited daylight hours available to orient troops on the terrain and to assign missions, particularly in winter with its limited daylight hours, but also because of a shortage of the signaling equipment necessary for tight coordination. Through the 1930’s, Maavoimat night-fighting doctrine and tactics would continue to evolve. Thus, one understands the early support from the Maavoimat for Tigerstedt’s “Suuritehotaisteluvalonheitin” Device and its introduction into an experimental Regimental Combat Group in early 1938. The Maavoimat understood night-fighting and the advantages that it brought. And the Maavoimat was always open to considering equipment and tactics which would enhance their night-fighting capabilities.

Thus, whenTigerstedt proposed to use infared searchlights and viewing devices to give the Maavoimat “night-vision,” those responsible for making such decisions could immediately see the applicability of the technology and gave it their cautious but enthusiastic support. And it wasn’t as if it was brand-new and completely unproven technology either.

As far back as 1895 Ferdinand Braun , professor of physics at the University of Strassburg had discovered the cathode ray tube (CRT) - a vacuum tube containing an electron gun also known as a Braunsche Röhre or Braun tube. A little later in 1907, Russian scientist Boris Rosing used a CRT at the receiving end of an experimental video signal to form a picture. He managed to display simple geometric shapes onto the screen, marking the first time that CRT technology was used for what is now known as television. By 1898, J. J. Thomson could deflect electron beams with a static electric field by putting two metallic plates in the CRT. Research into thermoelectric emission from 1882 to1901 led to J. A. Fleming’s invention of the vacuum diode—an apparatus that works on electron principles. In 1924, French physicist Louis de Broglie hypothesized that the electron had wavelike properties. When the hypothesis was proved, it launched the rapidly progressing scientific discipline of electro-optics. In 1926, H. Bush studied rotationally symmetric electric and magnetic fields and showed that they can act as lenses. This research resulted in the design of a number of electro-optical devices.

The idea of the electro-optical converter, including the multistage one, was proposed by G. Holst and H. de Boer of The Netherlands in 1928. Yet the first attempts to make a converter were not successful. A working device was made by employees of Philips in 1934. The invention was given the name “Holst glass”. British firm EMI developed an industrial sample of the electro-optical converter and started to produce them for the British Armed Forces. Besides the United Kingdom and The Netherlands, Germany and the USA had also started intensive research in the field. In the early thirties, as the world was fascinated with advancements in radio, scientists were trying to bring to life the ultimate radio, one that would transmit an actual image. With scientists and inventors on the hunt for “television”, other collateral inventions like electronic microscopes, electronic telescopes, radar, early machine vision and rudimentary night vision devices had also emerged.

The first practical commercial night vision device offered on the market was developed by Dr. Vladimir K. Zworykin working for the Radio Corporation of America and was intended for civilian use. It was not a success due to its size and cost but had been publicised in the March 1936 issue of Popular Science – and Tigerstedt was certainly aware of the work that had been done. In Germany, AEG had also started working on infrared devices in 1935 and again, Tigerstedt with his widespread contacts in the German scientific community was in a position to glean information on the research and work that had been done. In addition of course, there was also Baird’s Noctovision apparatus with which Tigerstedt was intimately familiar. All in all then, Tigerstedt was starting his work with a firm grasp of both the theory and the current state of the art technology in the field.

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March 1936 Popular Science “Black-Light Telescope Sees in the Dark” – designed and built by Vladimir Kozmich Zworykin, the first night vision is born

On January 17th 1935, Volume 93 of the Zeitschrift für Physik (Journal of Physics) was published. It contained the work of German experimental physicist Walter Schaffernicht titled Über die Umwandlung von Lichtbildern in Elektronenbilder (On the conversion of photographs in electron images). Schaffernicht worked at physics laboratories at Allgemeine Elektrizitäts-Gesellschaft (AEG). The worked described “An experimental set-up where a sufficiently accurate conversion of photographs in electron images is possible. Where an image is projected onto a photo cathode and triggered electrons are accelerated with an anode voltage of several thousand volts and united by a magnetic lens to form an electrical image”. Six month later, on August 8th 1936 Walter Schaffernicht and the head of the AEG lab Ernst Carl Reinhold Brüchethe filed international patent application #158,880 titled “Electron Image Tube”. The claim application describes “an electron tube based on photo-cathode and able to reproduce images with great sharpness and without distortion”. Subsequently United States Patent Office issues a patent 2,179,083 on November 7th 1939.

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United States Patent # 2,179,083 issued on November 7th 1939.

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In parallel, in the spring of 1935, V. I. Krasovsky’s laboratory in Soviet Union was able to fabricate systems similar to Holst glass, and by 1936 “semitransparent photocathodes with sensitivity higher than competitive samples were obtained”.

Within weeks Tigerstedt had designed and built a prototype viewing device for use in conjunction with the infrared filter which was now applied to the “Suuritehotaisteluvalonheitin” searchlight device with which the Matilda tanks’s were equipped. In the initial trial this viewing device was fitted in the Commander’s cupola but of course this meant the Driver was driving blind. A second unit was fitted, with some difficulty, for the driver of the Matilda but at this point the Skoda TNHP tank crew involved in the trial pointed out that to fight affectively, they too needed viewers and it would be better if they had infrared searchlights that they could control themselves. At this point, with the devices viability confirmed, a working group of Officers, NCO’s and men from the experimental Regimental Combat Group were brought together for what we would now term a “brainstorming session.” It was remarkably effective and after a solid week of discussions, the group made a series of recommendations to Tigerstedt.

Chief among these were that the Skoda TNHP tanks be fitted with their own infrared searchlights and viewers to enable then to fight independently and effectively as tanks, while the more powerful searchlights on the Matilda’s should be used to support the Infantry units fighting in coordination with the TNHP tanks. In turn, it was recommended that the Infantry should themselves be equipped with infrared lights and viewers mounted on their Rifles and Machineguns, enabling them to fight effectively at night in conjunction with the tanks, otherwise they would also be “fighting blind” so to speak. Tigerstedt buckled down to the task, working day and night, sleeping and eating in his lab and driving is team mercilessly. With 4 weeks the team had designed and built infrared searchlights and viewers to be fitted and used for the Skoda TNHP tanks. From the sole prototype example remaining in the Helsinki Military Museum, we know that the early viewing devices are largely based on Dr. Vladimir K. Zworykin’s viewers as built for the Radio Corporation of America. However, Tigerstedt had made numerous changes and improvements and the unit as it went into production showed significant differences, one of the critical improvements being the reduced size of the viewing equipment. One unit was designated for use by the driver, one for the gunner and an external cupola-mounted unit had been designed for the tank commander by way of a mount installed in the commander’s hatchway. Initial range of the lights was approximately 100m (as compared to an effective range of almost 1km for the Matilda-mounted Infrared-filtered Searchlights).

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The Commander’s Infrared Searchlight and Viewer. The 100m range was inadequate and while Tigerstedt struggled to come up with a more powerful light, operationally a Matilda I Searchlight Tank was attached to each troop of 4 Skoda TNHP tanks, extending the effectiveness of the Infrared Viewer out to almost 1km. By late 1939 a more powerful searchlight had been fitted giving a range of around 600m.

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A battery stand and electric generator for the Infrared Lights and Viewers was mounted in the right rear of the crew compartment. An external armoured stowage bin was fitted to the rear of the turret to carry auxiliary equipment.

The units were easy to install and remove, taking no more than a couple of minutes and following further trials over the summer of 1938, the devices were put into production. By the spring of 1939, all 45 Skoda TNHP tanks had been fitted with the devices.

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The Maavoimat’s Skoda-built CKD/Praga TNHP Tank. Armed with a Bofors 37mm gun and 2 machineguns, with a Crew of 4 and a speed of 42kph, this was a capable armoured fighting vehicle for 1939. Fitted with Infrared Searchlights and Active Infrared Viewers and operating in conjunction with Infantry equipped with personal infrared lights and viewers attached to their rifles, it gave the Maavoimat a night-fighting capability that was hitherto unheard of. Later in WW2, Infrared Searchlights and Viewers would be fitted to almost all Maavoimat armoured fighting vehicles.

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Illustrations from the Maavoimat’s Installation Manual for Infrared Searchlights and Viewers for TNHP Tanks

This “Generation 0” night-vision equipment did have its flaws of course. To start with, it WAS Generation 0, the first night-vision equipment designed and built to be used in combat by any military in the world. Size was an issue to a certain extemt – the tank-mounted devices were large and to use them, the driver and commander needed their cupolas opem, thus exposing themselves to fire. “Buttoned down,” the units could not be used except for the main-gun aimer. Later, this would be rectified but for the TNHP and Matilda tanks, it increased the personal risk to the crews considerably. Another downside of “active” night vision when infrared light was used was that, as with the “Suuritehotaisteluvalonheitin” searchlight device, it was quite obvious to anyone else using the technology. The good news of course was that no-one else at the time WAS using the technology as far as the Finns were aware. And unlike later night-vision technologies, early Generation 0 night vision devices were unable to significantly amplify the available ambient light and so, to be useful, they definotely required the infra-red source. The viewing devices actually used an S1 photocathode or "silver-oxygen-caesium" photocathode, discovered in 1930 which had a sensitivity of around 60 µA/lm (Microampere per Lumen) and a quantum efficiency of around 1% in the ultraviolet region and around 0.5% in the infrared region.

Tigerstedt turned next to the development of an active infrared device for the infantry. The system as designed and developed consisted of a small infrared spotlight with a 5-inch deameter lamp powered with a 35 watt bulb (actually a conventional tungsten light source shining through a filter permitting only infrared light. It operated in the upper infrared (light) spectrum rather than in the lower infrared (heat) spectrum and therefore was not sensitive to body heat), one component of its active infrared system which weighed about 5lbs, fixed atop the Maavoimat’s impressive Lahti-Saloranta 7.62mm assault rifle. Below this infrared light was a viewer about 14 inches long that could detect the light emitted by the IR lamp. Since this light was invisible to anyone not equipped with a viewer system it gave a massive edge over relying on flashlights and flares for illumination. However, the soldier using the equipment did have to be looking through the Viewer to see anything. The maximum ramge was about 100 meters. The system mounted on the gun was linked by insulated wire to a heavy 13.5 kilogram (about 30 lbs.) wooden cased battery pack and simple control box that the soldier wore in place of his normal gear. A second battery was fitted inside a gas mask container to power the image converter. This was all strapped to a standard Maavoimat pack frame. Think of it as a very crude analog to today's night fighting systems – able to transform a normal soldier into one capable of fighting in complete darkness without revealing his position.

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Maavoimat soldiers with an Infrared-equipped Rifle. After trials and some very enthusiastic feedback, the system was designated “Kollikissa” (Tomcat - because we all know Tomcat's can see in the dark) and placed in production in early 1939.

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Tigerstedt also developed am Infrared Snipersope for Night-Sniping. This was handled by two operators. And again, this device was in short supply when the Winter War broke out - but by mid-1940, almost all Battalion’s had at least one set, together with a Sniper Team trained in the use of the device. The first operator (the viewer) had to find the target with the help of an IR binocular and then light it with a powerful IR illuminator. The second operator took sight and fired. The riflescope allowed night shooting at targets located anywhere from 60 to 300 meters away.

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Another infared equipped weapon – this time a Suomi submachinegun used for nightfighting.

The last infrared device that Tigerstedt designed was the Nokia 39 night-vision Binoculars. Simply, this was set of binoculars with image intensifier tubes and an Infared light mounted above to provide an active light source. Initially it was designed for the experimental unit, but such was its usefulness that the Maavoimat ordered enough to provide at least one per Infantry Company. Only an initial batch had been delivered by the start of the Winter War but such was their usefulness for night observation that shortly before the Winter War started, Nokia was asked to maximize production. Numbers in service steadily increased and by the summer of 1940, all Maavoimat Infantry Companies were equipped with the devices. They were highly valued for night sentry watch on the frontlines and the limited number available in 1939 were all allocated to units on the Karelian Isthmus where they proved invaluable in watching for signs of Red Army night attacks.

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Manufactured by Nokia, a set of Nokia 39 night-vision Binoculars. Main features of the device were a weight of 2.25kgs, waterproof device body, rubber armor and high shock resistance, single eyepiece diopter focusing ranging scale from -5 to +5, wide field of vision, 6x optical magnification, dimensions LxHxW 270 mm x 85 mm x 166mm, operated from a single 1.5V power source. The spotlight was the same a 5-inch deameter lamp powered with a 35 watt bulb (a conventional tungsten light source shining through a filter permitting only infrared light) that was fitted to the assault rifle and the same heavy 13.5 kilogram (about 30 lbs.) wooden cased battery pack was needed to provide a power source for the spotlight. The spotlight had the same maximum range of approximately 100m, but in passive mode the viewer could actually detect images out to 400m. To activate this device you pushed one of the top buttons, the infrared spotlight and scope were activated and received invisible infrared light. After one minute, the power was cutoff (to help preserve battery life), and you had to push one of the buttons again to restart.

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By the end of WW2, Tigerstedt had designed and built a prototype helmet-mounted personal infrared viewing device. Clamped to a helmet, the equipment combined an infrared light source and a electronic vision devices. Its energy came from a power pack and battery which was carried in a knapsack on the operator’s back. A Jaeger Company from “Verenimijä” was equipped with the devices on a trial basis and ihey were used in combat in the last weeks of WW2. In the early 1950’s Nokia sold the technology to the US Army for a considerable amount.

Following trials in the last quarter of 1938, the Kollikissa (Tomcat) infrared light and viewer unit was placed in production and a sufficient quantity to equip the three Infantry Battalions that were the Jaeger infantry component of the experimental Regimental Combat Group was ordered. These were largely delivered by mid-1939 and in a series of training exercises the Regimental Combat Group honed their night-fighting tactics. Weeks before the start of the Winter War, the Regiment was permitted to design their own unit patch and nickname.

It was a name that would terrify anyone the Maavoimat fought over the next 6 years. “Verenimijä”

Other Maavoimat units would go on to utilize the Kollikissa units, with small specialist Night-Sniper units forming a part of almost all Maavoimat Infantry Battalions before the end of the Winter War. But it was “Verenimijä” that would conduct large scale night attacks throughout the war, often eliminating whole Soviet battalions in sudden attacks in the darkness of the night.

Trials and exercises over the months before the Winter War started helped “Verenimijä” develop their tactical doctrine and procedures for use of the equipment, which was difficult to use without considerable training and experience. For maximum utilization of the equipment, it was found that 20 to 30 minutes in total darkness were required to attain satisfactory retinal dark adaptation. While dark adaptation of the rods develops rather slowly over a period of 20 to 30 minutes, it can be lost in a few seconds of exposure to bright light (such as the flashes from a rifle barrel when firing. Accordingly, during night operations soldiers were taught to avoid bright lights, or, at least, protect one eye. Dark adaptation is an independent process in each eye. Even though bright light may shine into one eye, the other eye will retain its dark adaptation if it is protected from the light. This is a useful bit of information, because a soldier can prevent flash blindness and preserve dark adaptation in one eye by simply closing or covering it. The soldier was taught to avoid looking at exhaust flames, strobes, searchlights, etc. to avoid temporary flash blindness. (The Maavoimat had already developed flash “suppressors” to reduce muzzle flash and these were standard for the new Lahti-Saloranta SLR 7.62mm assault rifles with which “Verenimijä” was equipped).

The Maavoimat had also found that daytime exposure to ordinary sunlight produced temporary but cumulative aftereffects on dark adaptation and night vision. Maavoimat studies in the mid-1930’s documented significantly diminished rod performance after prolonged sunlight exposure in winter-snow conditions. Two or three hours of bright sunlight exposure was shown to delay the onset of rod dark adaptation by 10 minutes or more, and to decrease the final threshold, so that full night vision sensitivity could not be reached for hours. After 10 consecutive days of sunlight exposure, the losses in night vision reported caused a 50 % loss in visual acuity, visibility range, and contrast discrimination. Repeated daily exposures to sunlight prolonged the time to reach normal scotopic sensitivity, so that eventually normal rod sensitivity might not be reached.

Several means for providing eye protection during the day and conserving night vision were identified. First, soldiers planning on conducting hight operations should remain in a darkened bunker or bivouac if possible. While outside, theyshould wear their sunglasses and a hat with a brim, which would block a great deal of ambient solar radiation. Dark sunglasses that transmit only 15% of the visible light were found to prevent degradation of night vision. In general, one day of protection from sunlight exposure was usualy sufficient to recover normal vision sensitivity. However, in certain individuals, it was found that it could take days to weeks to recover full night vision capability and soldiers with this sort of propensity to night vision loss were usually not accepted for “Verenimijä.” Consequently, another of the Finnish icons from WW2 was the image of the “Verenimijä” trooper wearing his Fenno-Optica Rauska-Kieltää sunglasses.

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WW2 “cool” – a “Verenimijä” trooper with his sunglasses working on a truck engine during “down-time” between Ops.Summer 1940. The fake Vampire fangs that you often see along with the Fenno-Optica Rauska-Kieltää sunglasses in photos of the “Verenimijä” troopers from the war were a bit of an "in-joke..

In general, even with the night vision devices, “Verenimijä” would use much closer formations than during the day in order to prevent loss of contact. To surprise and confuse the opposition is one of the major night objectives, and this result was often gained by silent infiltrations around the flanks and between defensive positions. Frequently the “Verenimijä” men would crawl great distances at night to a point where they could leap upon the opposing forces before the latter were able to take action and in this their night vision devices enable them to identify and target the enemy with great accuracy. To assist in rapid target identification, all “Verenimijä” personnel wore special “infrared reflective” patches on their uniforms which were otherwise invisible – but which served to make the “Verenimijä” men standout to their own side, thus enabling close quarter shooting and accurate fire support while in close proximity to their own men. They were trained to a high dgree of proficiency in this particular skill as well as in infiltration techniques.

In addition, to minimize noise where possible the “Verenimijä” men were trained to a high standard in the Finnish military KKT combat technique, using their knives, machetes and sharpened combat spades with lethal force and skill. They were highly skilled in infiltration techniques and as mentioned, would often penetrate deep within a Red Army position, identify and target enemy troops and then launch a sudden and overwhelmingly rapid attack. Carefully planned, protected by darkness and aided by there own ability to see using the infrared viewers, these attacks were almost always successful and helped create a terrifying impression of the Finns among the generally poorly educated Soviet conscripts. Later in WW2, as they fought the Germans, they would terrify them with the same capabilities – and more often than not they would also put a shiver down the back of their allies with their ability to move silently and invisibly through the night, appearing in the midst of Allied units as if by magic. Not for nothing woud the German Army call them “Vampire.” Perhaps the only soldiers to equal the Maavoimat in the forest and at night would be the Maori Battalion of the New Zealand Division. And they too would be feared by the Germans, in their case though it would largely be due to their predilection for cold steel and hand to hand combat – something they shared with many Finns.

Finnish night-fighting tactics had evolved considerably over the course of the Winter War. As the Maavoimat struggled first for survival and then for dominance over the Red Army, Maavoimat night operations matured. The Field Regulations of 1941 echoed that growing confidence: "Under present day conditions tactical actions at night are usual occurrences. The darkness of night and our night-vvision equipment favors surprise to the maximum degree and lessens losses from enemy fire." Pursuant to the regulations and with increased availability of night-vision equipment, night operations grew in number, boldness, and scale.

The Maavoimat’s night-fighting ability was something that first the Soviets and then the Germans feared. Writing after the war, General Friedrich Wilhelm von Mellenthin, the chief of staff of the xxth Panzer Corps, described its destruction in the Finnish breakthrough to relieve Warsaw: “The Finns did not stop their attacks when darkness fell, and they exploited every success immediately and without hesitation. Some of the Finnish attacks were made by tanks moving in at top speed; indeed speed, momentum and concentration were the causes of their success. The main effort of the attacking Finnish armor was speedily switched from one point to another as the situation demanded and the accuracy of their night-shooting was unparalleled in our experience. It was as if they could see in the dark.” Little did von Mellenthin know at the time that this was in fact the case. Successful night operations were a feature of the Maavoimat throughout WW2 as they fought first the Russians and then the Germans.

The Maavoinat was also capable of night river-crossings against strong opposition, as von Mellenthin also noted. “Bridgeheads in the hands of the Finns are a grave danger indeed. It is quite wrong not to worry about bridgeheads, and to postpone their elimination. Finnish bridgeheads, however small and harmless they may appear, are bound to grow into formidable danger-points in a very brief time and soon become insuperable strong points. A Finnish bridgehead, occupied by a company in the evening, is sure to be occupied by at least a regiment by the following morning and during the night will become a formidable fortress, well-equipped with heavy weapons and everything necessary to make it almost impregnable. And the Finns will contune to attack using the cover of darkness even as they move additional units into the bridgehead with a rapidity which defies belief. No artillery fire, however violent and well concentrated, will wipe out a Finnish bridgehead which has grown overnight. The danger cannot be overrated.”

During World War II, the Maavoiimat was not the only Army to employ successful night operations and night-vision equipment. And they certainly did not carry out the largest-scale night operations – but they did make the earliest and most effective use of night vision equipment, and they used it on a scale that no other military achieved for two decades. The Germans had used night operations in Poland in 1939 to pursue the withdrawing Poles in order to achieve an operational advantage. Desert operations in North Africa often capitalized on darkness because daylight gave the defender substantial advantages. In the fighting from El Alamein to Tunis, every major attack began at night. Pursuit operations in Sicily continued around the clock. In Italy and France, the U.S. 3d Infantry Division adopted night operations as a standing operating procedure and developed considerable skill in execution. It distinguished night attacks from daylight attacks only by the degree of control required. Specially trained for night operations by its commander in the United States, the U.S. 104th Infantry Division launched more than 100 successful night attacks in Holland and Germany. The U.S. 30th Infantry Division had similar successes in France, Belgium, Holland, and Germany. The Germans used night operations in the east more and more as the odds turned against them and as the Russians and then the Finns forced them to fight at night. In the west, Allied air power and firepower forced a similar reversion to night operations on the part of the Germans.

Thus night operations were not unique to the Maavoimat. What was unique was that the Maavoimat conducted night operations more often and more effectively than any of the other combatants in World War II. The Maavoimat's selective use of night operations enhanced their powerful reconnaissance in force, advanced detachment, and second echelon operations. By the latter stages of the war (1944-45) when they joined the fight against Nazi Germany, their operations reflected the considerable skill, training, and leadership they had developed as well as their tactical proficiency in the use of night-vision devices. Although these operations were by no means universally successful, any examination of the growth and success of Maavoimat night operation reveals their dynamic nature and defies simple generalizations.

As might be expected by the ebb and flow of Finnish fortunes, the development of Maavoimat night operations during the war was uneven. The initial impetus for the increased use of night operations came from early successes in this tactic in the first phase of the Winter War and the incentive provided by the ineptitude of the early Red Army attacks. In the late Winter offensive which took the Maavoimat to the White Sea amd which ended with the liberation of all of Karelia and the capture of Murmansk, Military Headquarters had issued a special directive ordering "extensive surprise nighttime operations." In practice, this order translated into a series of actions with limited but specific objectives. With the shifting of the strategic balance to the Maavoimat, however, the Maavoimat began to consider night operations in terms of more ambitious offensives and in the retaking of the Krelian Isthmus in Spring 1940, the Maavoimat planned night operations on a larger scale in order to take advantage of the newfound mobility and offensive power both of “Verenimijä” and of the other Maavoimat units being equipped with night-vision devices.

Front-level night operations over the summer of 1940 tended to be more limited in scope. Over this period the Maavoimat employe d night attacks primarily in strategically defensive operations. An increased reliance on night operations demonstrated the desire to achieve surprise and to grasp the tacticainitiative (always important considerations in the Maavoimat Approach to war). This was exemplified in the operations of the Syvari counter-offensive in late summer 1940, when the last major Red Army offensive operation of the Winter War was defeated. Later in WW2, over 1944 and 1945 as the Maavoimat fought the German Army, the need to conserve manpower and to achieve surprise encouraged night operations. Under these circumstances, night operations continued to be important for reconnaissance in force, advanced detachment spearheads, and other forms of day-night offensive operations designed to keep the Germans continually off balance and to maintain combat pressure on them.

This phase of the Maavoimat’s war began with the invasion of Estonua and ended with the Maavoimat on the outskirts of Berlin. It also witnessed numerous and for the most part successful night engagements in the East Prussian and Vistula-Oder campaigns as well as in the Relief of Warsaw. Although these campaigns primarily involved the use of forward detachments in pursuit operations and the skillful introduction of second echelon forces at night, they also included operations as diverse as night attacks on German lines of communication and headquarters as well as penetrations of German frontline units. It is perhaps worthwhile also noting the skilled Maavoimat use of Airborne operations in conjunction with night attacks in both the Winter War and the war against the Germans to increase the depth of penetration and the momentum of the attack. These airborne landings were eminently successful in gaining and maintaining the initiative and minimizing their casualties. Although the Maavoimat at times suffered heavy casualties and even reverses at night, this was more the exception than the rule. Most senior Red Army and German officers who fought the Finns acknowledged their "natural superiority in fighting during night, fog, rain or snow” and especially their skill in night infiltration tactics, reconnaissance, and troop movements and concentrations.

The success of Maavoimat night operations was in large part due to a combination of thenight-vision equipment and the intensive training and the ability to profit from mistakes and failures. Both the Soviets and Germans, who were equally sparing and hesitant in their compliments concerning Finnish military prowess were nonetheless compelled to acknowledge the Finnish ability to completely outclass their opponents.

In the months before the Winter War (and also in the period between the Winter War and the Finns joining in against the Germans) the Maavoimat trained vigorously on terrain similar to that which they expected to encounter. Mockups and live fire enhanced realism in combined arms exercises. Training for breakthrough of a fortified area, for example, included command post exercises with maps and terrain models, followed by reconnaissance on the ground; it emphasized coordination with combined arms support, coordination with adjacent units, and the "display of daring and intelligent initiative.” For the troopers, extensive live fire training and night operations was continually emphasized until it became almost second nature to move and fight at night with the night vision equipment. From mid-1943 on "virtually all regiments" of the Maavoimat trained for night combat in order to maintain high operational tempos. This seems essentially correct. Units participating in the East Prussian Operation had a battalion from each Regimental Combat Group trained specifically for night operations, and up to one-half of all training for all units was at night. Other battalions trained for assaults on a fortified zone, pursuit operations, and advanced detachment operations, all of which might and usually did involve night combat. Published guidance in the field service regulations established a certain degree of uniformity however.

Although the Maavoimat made a great effort to analyze the evolution and growth of night operations since the war, during the war they were probably not fully aware of how far these operations had permeated their tactics at all levels. Nonetheless, it is obvious that not all Maavoimat units were involved in night operations to the same extent, although day-night pursuit, river crossings, and reduction of encirclements at night were common. The 1944 Field Service Regulations, while describing night actions as "usual occurrences," nonetheless cautioned that plans should be simple in concept and limited in mission, with short, straightforward attack movements. Complicated maneuvers were not forbidden but they were not encouraged. Yet another factor in Maavoimat successes in night fighting operations was the outstanding Maavoimat field communications system, and especially the prevalence of the new Nokia Combat Radios – with “Verenimijä” being one of the first units to be fully equipped with these – a considerable tactical advantage.

Overall though, Regimental Combat Group “Verenimijä” remained the specialist night-fighting unit throughout the Winter War and World War 2. “Verenimijä” continually developed and refined night-fighting tactics, passing these on to other units. And it was “Verenimijä” that would carry out the most critical and important night operations. “Verenimijä” did indeed “Rule the Night.”
ex Ngāti Tumatauenga ("Tribe of the Maori War God") aka the New Zealand Army

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Unit Organisation: Regimental Combat Group “Verenimijä”[/

Postby CanKiwi2 » 19 Jan 2012 23:20

Unit Organisation: Regimental Combat Group “Verenimijä”

As per Organisation tables, Regimental Combat Group “Verenimijä” had an an overall strength of 4094 men (and women). “Verenimijä” was established as a pure night-fighting unit from the start, a Brigade-sized combined arms combat team specializing in night-fighting and capable of operating and supporting itself independently. The unit was intended to be relatively mobile and self-sufficient, with the stated objective being to move the unit around for specific missions as prioritized by Military Headquarters. “Verenimijä” specialized in Regimental-sized night attacks and the men were highly-trained in this particular aspect of fighting, which included extensive close-quarter night-fighting combat training. From the start, the unit was equipped with a higher than normal proportion of automatic weapons as a result.
From the start, the unit had included a sizable armoured component, with one Panssaripataljoona (armoured battalion) equipped with Matilda I tanks fitted with searchlights. The second Panssaripataljoona consisted of Skoda built TNHP tanks, the main armament of which consisted of a Bofors 37mm gun, an effective weapon of the 1939 era. The unit was originally formed from two Jaeger battalions and two armoured battalions together with regimental-sized support units, but as experience was gained through ongoing exercises and experimentation, it was found that this combination was not ideal, being too light on infantry and without sufficient logistical support for the armoured battalions. Combined arms missions and tactics were emphasixed from the start, and as experience was gained, the need for artillery support integral to the Regiment was highlighted, as relying in artillery from other units for support lead to delays and at times confusion in responding when rapid and accurate artillery support was called for.

The unit’s original mission, when the tanks had been fitted with the “Suuritehotaisteluvalonheitin” strobe-searchlight device, had been to lead night-attacks. However, as the new Infrared Night-vision devices filtered down to the infantry, with night-vision equipment fitted to individual rifles and machineguns and the new night-vision binoculars being issued to front-line personnel, the unit expanded its role into raiding and into more stealthy attack techniques, emphasizing infiltration and surprise. As experience was gained, the Regiment grew in size to include an additional Jaeger battalion, additional logistical support and a sizable artillery component integral to the Regiment. At the same time, as familiarity with the night-vision equipment grew and tactics were honed, the men of“Verenimijä” developed a real esprit-de-corps. They developed and honed infiltration techniques and worked to perfect sudden and overwhelming night attack tactics – practicing on other Maavoimat units. They worked at techniques for calling in artillery support in the darkness without giving away theuir position and adjusted their Jaegerpataljoona weapons mix, emphasizing a higher proportion of the Suomi SMG’s for example. They also developed camoflauge clothing for night missions in different seasons and weather – summer forest and winter snow for example, as well as for different light conditions.

In September 1939, when “Verenimijä” was mobilized in the lead-up to the Winter War, the unit strength and organisation was as follows:

Regimental Combat Group HQ (489 men)

HQ (33 Officers, 39 NCO’s and Men: Broken down as follows – Command/Staff = 11 Officers, 9 NCOs; Intel = 2 Officers, 9 NCO’s; Ops Planning = 5 Officers, 5 NCO’s; Training = 2 Officers, 3 NCO’s; Supply & Transport = 6 Officers, 5 NCO’s; Fire Support = 3 Officers, 5 NCO’s; Ordnance = 3 Officers, 2 NCO’s; Engineers = 1 Officer, 1 NCO)
(Note: While “Verenimijä”, as with other Finnish units, was called a “Regimental Combat Group,” in effect by mid-1939 all such units were in actual fact Combined Arms Brigades. With its own panssaaripataljoona and large artillery and logistics units, “Verenimijä” was larger than a standard “Regimental Combat Group” and had far heavier firepower. It could to some extent be considered a light Division. As such, the actual HQ was larger than a standard Regimental HQ).

HQ Security Platoon (32 men)

Viestikomppania (Signals Company – 129 men)

Reconaissance Company (identical organizationally to an Infantry Company but specialized training and skills in reconnaissance – 112 men. All men were also trained paratroopers, part of their training consisting of parachute drops into forest at night. The Recce Company were the elite Jaeger Companies of the Regiment, competition to get into this company was fierce and the entry requirements were tough).

Pioneerikomppania (Engineer Company – 144 men)

Pioneerikomppania HQ Ryhmä (16 men - CO, 2IC, 2 Sgts, 5 Sigs/Messengers, Measuring Man, Driver, Orderly, 4 man Security Ryhmä)

3 x Pioneerijoukkue (Engineer Platoons – each 34 men)

Joukkue Command Squad (1 Officer, 1 Sgt, 1 Sig, 2 Messengers, 1 Medic)
Pioneeriryhmä I (Engineer Squad I) (Corporal – Ryhmänjohtaja or Squad Leader, 7 Men)
Pioneeriryhmä II (8 men, as above)
Pioneeriryhmä III (8 men, as above)
Explosives vehicle: 1 man (horse & cart/sledge or truck)
Tools vehicle, 1 man (horse & cart/sledge or truck)
Food/animal feedstuff vehicle, 1 man (horse & cart/sledge or truck)
Backpack and tent vehicle, 1 man (horse & cart/sledge or truck)

1 x Pioneeri Supplies Platoon (26 men)

Joukkue Command Squad (Company Sergeant-Major, 1 Sgt, 1 Sig, 2 Clerks, 1 Messenger)

Equipment Ryhmä I (Equipment Squad I – 11 men)
NCO – Ryhmänjohtaja or Squad Leader
Blacksmith & Field-smith vehicle (or Mechanic)
Anti-chemical weapons vehicle, 3 men (horse & cart/sledge)
2 tools vehicles, 2 men (horses & carts/sledges)
2 building material vehicles, 2 men (horses & carts/sledges)
Explosives truck, 2 men (2 - 3 ton truck)

Supplies Ryhmä II (9 men)
Supplies NCO
Shoemaker
Food Provisions (1) and Cooks (2)
Field Kitchen, 1 man
Kitchen vehicle, 1 man (horse & cart/sledge)
Food and animal feedstuff vehicle, 1 man (horse & cart/sledge)
Backpack and tent vehicle, 1 man (horse & cart/sledge or truck)

Yöjääkäripataljoona I, II and III (3 x Night-Jaeger Battalions – each 704 men, 15 Matilda Tanks fitted with Infrared-filtered Searchlights)

Battalion HQ (195 men)
Battalion Headquarters (5 Officers, 20 men)
Security Platoon (32 men - identical to standard Yöjääkärijoukkue)
Signals Platoon (47 men)
Reconaissance Platoon (32 men – identical to standard Yöjääkärijoukkue)
Mortar Platoon (4 x 81mm Mortars, 49 men)
Battalion Admin Section (Officer (also Training Officer), Chaplain, 2 NCO’s, 6 men)

Image
Maavoimat 81mm Mortar Pit: Each Infantry Battalion had a Mortar Platoon equipped with 4 of these Tampella-manufactured 81mm Mortars (photo photo reproduced from http://www.kevos4.com with permission)

3 x Yöjääkärikomppania (Night-Jaeger Infantry Companies) (all personnel equipped with Infrared-fitted weapons) – each 112 men

Company HQ (20 men)
Company Commander
Command Squad (6 man Sigs/Messenger Section, 4 man Night-Sniper Section, 9 man AT Section)

3 x Yöjääkärijoukkue (Night-Jaeger Platoon – each of 32 men)

Joukkue Command Squad (1 Officer, 1 Sgt, 1 Sig, 2 Messengers, 1 Medic, 2 man Night-Sniper Team)
Jääkäriryhmä I (Jaeger Squad I) (Corporal – Ryhmänjohtaja or Squad Leader, 2 man LMG Team, 2 SMG Men, 3 Riflemen)
Jääkäriryhmä II (8 men, as above)
Jääkäriryhmä III (8 men, as above)

1 x Attached Tankkikomppania (15 Matilda I Tanks with Infrared Searchlights, 70 men)

Tank Company HQ Joukku (Platoon, 12 men)
3 Matilda Tanks (6 men)
1 Armoured Command Carrier (6 men)

3 x Tankkijoukku (3 x Tank Platoons – 24 men in total)
4 Matilda Tanks in each Platoon (8 men)

Image
Maavoimat Matilda MkI fitted with the“Suuritehotaisteluvalonheitin” Infrared Searchlight Device.

Tankkikomppania Maintenance & Repair Joukku (24 men)
2 Engine Repair Shop Trucks (1 NCO, 7 men)
2 Infrared Equipment Repair Shop Trucks (1 NCO, 7 men)
1 Weapons Repair Shop Truck (1 NCO, 3 men)
2 Recovery Tractors (1 NCO, 3 men)

Tankkikomppania Supplies Joukku (10 men)
1 Office Truck, 1 NCO, 1 Sigs
1 x Kitchen Truck, 1 man, 1 Cook
2 x Ammunition Trucks, 2 men
2 x Fuel Trucks, 2 men
1 x Backpack and Tent Truck, 1 man
1 x Supplies Truck, 1 man

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Suomen Ford Muuli Fuel Tanker – Civilian fuel delivery trucks were mobilized into the military for use as Fuel Tankers. Civilian fuel distribution was severely curtailed for the duration of the Winter War.

Huoltoyksiköitä / Battalion Logistics Company (103 men)

Company HQ Ryhmä (CO, CSM, 2 Sgts, 4 Sigs/Messengers, 2 x Drivers, 4 man Security Ryhmä)

Ammunition Supplies Platoon (27 men)
1 Office Truck, NCO, 1 Sigs, 1 Clerk
2 Workshop Trucks, 2 x Gunsmiths, 2 x Infrared Equipment Specialists,
8 Trucks, 8 Men, 8 Drivers,
2 Repair Shop Trucks, 4 Mechanics

General Supplies Platoon (26 men)
10 Trucks, 20 men
3 x Field Kitchen Vehicles, 6 men

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Here, the ubiquitous Ford Muuli Truck which provided the backbone of the Maavoimat’s Logistical Transportation units. Produced by the Ford Helsinki factory, there were thousands of these trucks in Finland by 1939, and a large proportion of them were mobilized for use by the Military in the Winter War. There drivers were almost all Lotta Svärd personnel.

Medical Platoon (36 men/women)
HQ (1 NCO, 2 Clerks, 1 Sigs, 2 Morgue Attendants)
Treatment Ryhmä I: 1 x Doctor, 1 x Medic Sgt, 4 Medics
Treatment Ryhmä I: 1 x Doctor, 1 x Medic Sgt, 4 Medics
Stablisation Ryhmä: 1 x Medic Sgt, 5 Medics
Evacuation Ryhmä: 4 Ambulance Trucks, 4 Drivers, 4 Medics
1 x Backpack and Tent Truck, 1 man
1 x Medical Supplies Truck, 1 man
1 x Kitchen Vehicle, Field Kitchen, 1 man + 1 Cook

Image
In the event of war, Plans had been drawn up and equipment stockpiled for the conversion of many civilian Ford Muuli Trucks into Field Kitchens. One such example is shown here.

Panssaripataljoona (Armoured Battalion, 45 Skoda-built CKD/Praga TNHP Tanks armed with a Bofors 37mm Gun maingun, 2 x machineguns and Infrared Searchlights and Viewers, 449 men )

Panssaripataljoona HQ (133 men)
HQ (5 Officers, 19 men)
Security Platoon (32 men)
Signals Platoon (47 men)

Ilmatorjuntapatteri (AA Battery/Platoon, 4 x Towed Bofors 40mm AA Guns, 52 men)

1 x Command Truck, CO, NCO, 3 Sigs
4 x Trucks, 4 x Bofors 40mm AA-guns (20 men)
1 x Fire Control Truck with Gamma Fire Control Computer and FC Unit (FC Officer, FC NCO, 8 man FC Computer Team)
1 x Truck with Range Measuring Team (1 NCO, 4 men – Measurer, Aimer, Reader, Observer, Assistant)

Image
Tampella-manufactured Bofors 40mm Model 1938 B Antiaircraft Gun: photo reproduced from http://www.kevos4.com with permission

Ilmatorjuntapatteri Supplies Joukku (12 men)
2 x Ammunition Trucks (NCO + 3 men, NCO also acted as gunsmith)
2 x Fuel Trucks (4 men)
1 x Field Kitchen Vehicle (1 man, 1 Cook)
1 x Supplies Truck (1 NCO, 1 Clerk)

3 x Tankkikomppania (15 Tanks and 60 men per Company)

Tank Company HQ Joukku (Platoon, 18 men)
3 TNHP Tanks (12 men)
1 Armoured Command Carrier (6 men)

3 x Tankkijoukku (3 x Tank Platoons – 48 men in total)
4 TNHP Tanks in each Platoon (16 men)

Image
Maavoimat TNHP Tank

Panssaripataljoona Logistics Company (136 men)

Company HQ Ryhmä (CO, 1 Sgt, 2 Sigs, 2 Clerks, 2 x Drivers, 2 x Trucks)

Maintenance & Repair Joukku (59 men)
6 Mechanical Repair Shop Trucks (3 NCOs, 12 men)
4 Workshop Trucks, 4 x Gunsmiths, 4 x Infrared Equipment Specialists,
1 Radio Repair Truck, 2 Radio Repair Technicians
2 Armoured Recovery Tractors (1 NCO, 3 men)
15 x Tank Transporter Trucks (15 Drivers, 15 men)

Image
Maavoimat Sisu designed and built Workshop Truck.

Supplies Joukku (47 men)
1 x Office Truck, 1 NCO, 1 Sigs, 1 Clerk
4 x Kitchen Trucks, 4 men, 8 Cooks
6 x Ammunition Trucks, 12 men
6 x Fuel Trucks, 12 men
4 x Backpack and Tent Trucks, 4 men
4 x Supplies Trucks, 4 men

Medical Joukku (20 men/women)
HQ (1 NCO, 1 Clerk, 1 Sig, 1 Morgue Attendant)
Treatment Ryhmä I: 1 x Doctor, 1 x Medic Sgt, 4 Medics
Stablisation Ryhmä: 1 x Medic Sgt, 3 Medics
Evacuation Ryhmä: 2 Ambulance Trucks, 2 Drivers, 2 Medics
1 x Backpack, Tent & Medical Supplies Truck, 1 man
Kitchen Vehicle, Field Kitchen, 1 man + 1 Cook

1 x Kenttätykistöpataljoona (FieldArtillery Battalion) of 12 x 105mm Howitzers) – 565 men

Strength as per diagram below. Note that the Field Artillery Battalion attached to “Verenimijä” was largely mechanized and the veterinary team was in fact replaced by a Vehicle Maintenance Team. Each howitzer was paired with an artillery tractor. Also note that prior to the large scale artillery purchases of 1938 and 1939, the Battalion had been equipped with a mix of the older 76mm Field Guns and the new 105mm Tampella-built Howitzers. The Field Artillery Battalion attached to “Verenimijä” was re-equipped with 105mm Howitzers for all Batteries in mid-1939 – this was consistent with the decision to standardize all Artillery Battalions on one type of gun to simplify ammunition supply.

Image
Artillery Battalion Organisation (above diagram from http://www.winterwar.com)

A later Post will address Artillery in detail. At this stage, suffice it to say that in January of 1933 Finnish State had signed agreements with Bofors which allowed Bofors guns to be license manufactured in Finland. Besides the 37-mm antitank guns and 40-mm and 76mm anti-aircraft guns, this also led to license production of the Bofors 105-mm howitzer. In 1933 Finland had no previous experience in manufacturing of field guns or howitzers. The importance of creating such an industry had been noted in the 1931 Defence Review and in 1933 increased defence funding had allowed establishing a factory for this purpose. A joint venture (50/50) between the Government and Tampella, the new factory had been named Valtion Tykkitehdas (State Artillery Factory) and had been built in the town of Jyväskylä.

Even with considerable assistance from Bofors, it had taken over two years to get the factory up and running and it was 1936 before the first 105mm H/37 Howitzers began to emerge from the production line. Lokomo Works manufactured barrel blanks and breech blanks for these howitzers while Crichton-Vulcan manufactured gun carriages and gun shields. There were many delays in getting started as some of the materials needed were not domestically manufactured and were ordered from Bofors in Sweden while Finnish production facilities were set up or orders placed with Finnish metal working shops. An initial order for 132 Howitzers (enough to equip eleven Artillery Battalions) had been placed in 1933 when work on the factory started, but it was not until 1936 that the first 64 were delivered. A further 70 were delivered in 1937 and a similar number in 1938. Post October 1938, emergency orders resulted in the production line moving to 24/7, although there were some bottlenecks with the supply of parts from third parties – but by October 1939 a further 134 Howitzers had been delivered – with a total of 338 in service as of the outbreak of the Winter War, equipping 28 Artillery Battalions. The Artillery Battalion attached to “Verenimijä”was equipped with 12 of these Howitzers.

Image
The Valtion Tykkitehdas 105mm H/37 Howitzer with which the Light Artillery Battalion attached to “Verenimijä” was equipped.

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The Maavoimat equipped itself with a range of artillery tractors over the late 1930’s. Here, a Sisu built Skoda-MTH tractor. These were the artillery tractors with which the Light Artillery Battalion attached to “Verenimijä” was equipped.

Light Anti-Aircraft Company (12 x Hispano-Suiza single-barrelled 20mm AA Guns, 161 men)

Even with the substantial increases in defence expenditure in the 1930’s and the emergency defence budgets of late 1938 amd 1939, the Finnish armed forces were always short of AA guns. There were numerous important industrial and defence locations that needed to be defended from air attack, coastal artillery fortifications and Ilmavoimat airfields needed AA defences and front-line combat units also needed AA defence. Consequently, demand for AA weapons of any type was always fierce.

However, all that said, procurement and manufacture of AA Guns had been included in defence spending and Tampella had a production line manufacturing the Bofors 40mm AA gun under license. As you may recall from an earlier Post, the Suomen Hispano-Suiza factory was established in 1936 as a second joint venture with Tampella, with a firm order placed by the Ilmavoimat to buy Hispano-Suiza Cannon for fighter aircraft. Construction of the factory began almost immediately in Spring 1936, with the first Hispano-Suiza HS.404 cannon rolling of the production line in July 1937. The new HS.404 auto-cannon was not only considered the best aircraft cannon of its kind, but on evaluation also turned out to be well-suited to the anti-aircraft role. Factory production was ramped up urgently to fulfill Maavoimat orders, which far exceeded orders from the Ilmavoimat in volume.

Image
Maavoimat HS.404 AA Gun modeled on the German FlaK 30 design (in fact, virtually identical). This was the light AA Gun that equipped almost all Maavoimat Infantry Battalions by the outbreak of the Winter War. Far cheaper than the Bofors 40mm, mobile, relatively easy to transport and with an adequate rate of fire, at the time of the Winter War it was an effective AA Gun. This was the AA Gun that equipped the Light Anti-Aircraft Company attached to “Verenimijä.”

AA Company Headquarters (11 men)

1 x Truck for Company Commander, Driver, Company Sergeant-Major, Clerk, 2 Sigs)
2 x Supply Trucks (2 Drivers)
1 Workshop Truck (Gunsmith, Mechanic, Driver)

3 x Ilmatorjuntapatteri (each Light AA Battery/Platoon, 4 x Truck or Half-Track mounted HS-404 20mm Single-barreled AA Guns, 50 men)

1 x Command Truck (AA Battery CO, NCO, 3 Sigs, Distance Measurer NCO + 1 man)
4 x Trucks, 4 x HS-404 20mm AA-guns (32 men)
1 x Ammunition Truck (NCO, 3 Ammunition Supply men)
2 x Supply Section Trucks (1 Supply NCO, 1 Medical NCO, 2 Cooks, 2 Drivers)

Image
[img]Here,%20a%20Maavoimat%20Ford%20Truck%20converted%20to%20a%20Half%20Track%20and%20fitted%20with%20an%20HS.404%20single-barreled%2020mm%20AA%20Gun[/img]

Regimental Supply Company (318 men/women)

Regimental Admin Section (10 men)
2 x Office Trucks, 1 Car (CO, NCO, 8 men)

Transport Platoon (113 men)
Company HQ Ryhmä (CO, CSM, 2 Sgts, 4 Sigs/Messengers, 2 x Drivers, 4 man Security Ryhmä)
40 Trucks, 50 Drivers
2 Workshop Trucks, 4 Mechanics

Image
Logistical Supply column moving slowly over a log-corduroy road, Summer 1940: photo reproduced from http://www.kevos4.com with permission

Note that “Verenimijä” was heavily over-allocated transport and logistical support units as the unit was highly mobile and intended to be moved rapidly from spot to spot in order to react to the situation as needed. This was not a standard Regimental Combat Group.

Ammunition Supplies Platoon (43 men)
4 NCO, 1 Sigs, 2 Clerks
2 x Gunsmiths, 2 x Infrared Equipment Specialists, 1 Workshop Truck
16 Men, 16 Drivers, 16 Trucks

Fuel Supply Platoon (22 men)
2 NCOs, 2 Sigs, 2 Clerks
8 Men, 8 Drivers, 8 Trucks

General Supplies Platoon (26 men)

Field Kitchen Platoon (26 men)

Field Hospital Unit (102 men/women – all except Doctors are Lotta Svärd personnel)
Admin (2 NCOs, 2 Clerks, 2 Sigs, 2 Morgue Attendants)
4 medical officers, 4 general surgeons
4 Surgical Assistants, 14 Nurses,
40 Medics
Evacuation Ryhmä: 4 Ambulance Trucks, 4 Drivers, 4 Medics
8 x Backpack and Tent Truck, 8 men
4 x Medical Supplies Truck, 4 men
Field Hospital Kitchen Vehicle, Field Kitchen, 2 man + 4 Cooks

Field Post Office (12 Lotta Svärd)
Clothing Depot (16 Lotta Svärd)
Field Laundry (20 Lotta Svärd personnel)

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Maavoimat Field Post Office personnel at work (note the proportion of women in the group) – photo reproduced from http://www.kevos4.com with permission

The Kenttätykistöpataljoona (Artillery Battalion) was added to the Regiment only in late 1938. A two week Combined Arms training exercise for the Regiment in spring 1939 identified a number of problems and some serious weaknesses. The first problem was the low number of trained Fire Observers – and that the Fire Observer Teams did not have night-fighting training at the same level as the Jaeger units they accompanied. By late Summer 1940 this had been corrected, with FO Teams up to establishment and training in night-fighting tactics and the use of night-vision equipment. The second major problem was that despite the Maavoimat’s increasing emphasis on combined arms training through the last half of the 1930’ in particular, the “Verenimijä” Jaeger and Panssari officers while understanding the theory had not had the luxury of working with of artillery support and as a result didn't quite understand how to use artillery efficiently in support of their units.

Again, this was something that was corrected through some serious training, particularly after Mobilisation. With the issuing of the new Nokia Combat Radios, communications were also radically improved and fire support requests were in practice met very quickly and accurately. Mobility however was good. The Kenttätykistöpataljoona had been issued with the new Sisu license-built Artillery Tractors together with the new 105mm Howitzers and after mobilization, all transport needs were met by mobilized civilian trucks, mostly the Ford Muuli that was in common use throughout Finland. Heavier vehicles were mobilized from the forestry industry and were generally the Sisu trucks of various models.

The third problem was that many of the support and logistical units were not up to strength as manpower priority during early mobilization had gone to ensuring front-line combat units were fully manned. Most “service units were at 40-50% of strength and this was a major concern, one that “Verenimijä” shared with many other units. This in turn was met by assigning a mix of Lotta Svärd personnel who had volunteered for active servive with the Maavoimat together with young males in the 16-17 year old Classes who had been trained within the Cadet Force. These personnel filled two thirds of the supply and logistics slots (including Drivers and horse-handling personnel), supplied some fifty percent of Signals personnel and manned most of the Field Kitchen and Medical positions – a large contribution to bringing the rear-echelon up to the necessary strengths. That even an “elite” unit continually involved in combat such as “Verenimijä” needed to take these steps is indicative of how stretched Finland was to find the necessary numbers of personnel to ensure all units were able to fight effectively. For Finland, this would indeed be “Total War.”

Next Post: The Most Heavily Armed Pigeons in the World
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 » 20 Jan 2012 07:45



“Verenimijä” Me hallitsemme yötä

We rule the night, we rule by day
For we believe in time-honoured ways
We fight for truth, that peace may reign
We hold the scales of justice, keepers of the faith

We rule the night ten thousand voices
We rule the night like tameless horses

We rule the night, with fire and flame
Those who resist us lie in our wake
So sound asleep our children dream
Safe in the arms of something far beyond belief

Chrorus:
This flag is battletorn, we rule the night
We conquered by the sword, we rule the night
From the dark to the light we roar like a thunderstorm

We rule the night
Our sacred race was born, we rule the night
Immortal dogs of war, we rule the night
And we stand by the oath we swore
Till the last ones falls, we rule the night

We rule the night, protect our homes
Pure were the righteous against our foes
Our blades are stained, their blood remains
As a remembance of the lives we had to take

To rule the night this rock of ages
We rule the night as battle rages
We rule the night

Repeat Chorus Till fade
ex Ngāti Tumatauenga ("Tribe of the Maori War God") aka the New Zealand Army

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Fliegende Untertasse
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Re: Unit Organisation: Regimental Combat Group “Verenimijä”[

Postby Fliegende Untertasse » 25 Jan 2012 17:46

CanKiwi2 wrote:Unit Organisation: Regimental Combat Group “Verenimijä”

Panssaripataljoona Logistics Company (136 men)

Maintenance & Repair Joukku (59 men)
6 Mechanical Repair Shop Trucks (3 NCOs, 12 men)
4 Workshop Trucks, 4 x Gunsmiths, 4 x Infrared Equipment Specialists,
1 Radio Repair Truck, 2 Radio Repair Technicians
2 Armoured Recovery Tractors (1 NCO, 3 men)
15 x Tank Transporter Trucks (15 Drivers, 15 men)

Supplies Joukku (47 men)
1 x Office Truck, 1 NCO, 1 Sigs, 1 Clerk
4 x Kitchen Trucks, 4 men, 8 Cooks
6 x Ammunition Trucks, 12 men
6 x Fuel Trucks, 12 men
4 x Backpack and Tent Trucks, 4 men
4 x Supplies Trucks, 4 men


47 or 59 man is a bit large for joukkue.

Especially with ammo and fuel . In field those would be dispersed.
How is one lieutenant going to handle them ?

A 25 vehicle motor pool might need their own office. You need one on-duty master sergeant just to handle driving schedules.
You might also want separate offices for fuel and ammo dump and repairs depot



CanKiwi2 wrote:1 x Kenttätykistöpataljoona

patteristo -artillery battalion

CanKiwi2 wrote:Light Anti-Aircraft Company (12 x Hispano-Suiza single-barrelled 20mm AA Guns, 161 men)

patteri = artillery company

CanKiwi2 wrote:3 x Ilmatorjuntapatteri(each Light AA Battery/Platoon, 4 x Truck or Half-Track mounted HS-404 20mm Single-barreled AA Guns, 50 men)

jaos- artillery platoon


CanKiwi2 wrote:Regimental Supply Company (318 men/women)


Shouldn't 318 men be a battalion level unit ?
You would might a major to command it.
Common practice would be two companies - one for HQ&supplies, one for transport.

CanKiwi2 wrote:Transport Platoon (113 men)


113 men would be komppania
or maybe you should re-indroduce plutoona

CanKiwi2 wrote:Company HQ Ryhmä (CO, CSM, 2 Sgts, 4 Sigs/Messengers, 2 x Drivers, 4 man Security Ryhmä)

This could be an organisational joukkue, especially as the seurity team should be a separate squad. Or did you plan company CO lead them directly ?
Does the office need integrated security personnel-
Security detachments could be organised as a separate MP-platoon.

40 Trucks, 50 Drivers


maybe 2x20 car joukke
50 men & 40 cars is lot of workload for a single junior officer.

2 Workshop Trucks, 4 Mechanics


and a separate repairs platoon.
You want a specialist leader for repair team.


Ammunition Supplies Platoon (43 men)
4 NCO, 1 Sigs, 2 Clerks
2 x Gunsmiths, 2 x Infrared Equipment Specialists, 1 Workshop Truck
16 Men, 16 Drivers, 16 Trucks


transport and maintenance might need their own officers - that would make 2 platoons


- Greetings from an old motor pool clerk

ps. Where is village of Kieltää ? ;)
Ray Ban in Finnish woud be
"sädekielto"( a ban of rays ),
"kiloesto" (obstaclement for glare) in 1930's "kilolasit"(glare glasses) was commonly used word for sunglasses
or if you want to get medieval: "päivänpanna" ( a Papal ban of sunlight )

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

Postby CanKiwi2 » 25 Jan 2012 22:53

Kiitos, Fliegende Untertasse. I will make amendments based on your feedback. Too late to go back and change all of the above but I'll rework it for myself and use if I do end up reposting at some stage in the future. Won't repost at this stage, I think it would make for too much repetition given U've already posted it twice now. Three times would be overkill.

And thx for the Raybans translation :D - easy to tell I was winging it there.

Cheers........Nigel
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The Most Heavily Armed Pigeons in the World - Part I

Postby CanKiwi2 » 25 Jan 2012 23:07

The Most Heavily Armed Pigeons in the World - Part I

One of the constants in the numerous threats posed by an attack from the Soviet Union that faced the Finnish military was the Soviet Baltic Fleet, based out of the Soviet naval fortress of Kronstadt. The Soviet Baltic Fleet was large, far surpassing the Merivoimat in size and strength, and there was the additional risk of a seaborne invasion by the Soviets anywhere along the long Finnish coastline. A rapid sortie by the Soviet Fleet posed a significant naval threat, and one that the Finnish military continuously sought to counter. This risk was one of the Merivoimat’s chief challenges – and as we have seen in earlier Posts, the Merivoimat sought to counter this through the establishment of a tripod of forces – Submarines, Torpedo Boats and Minefields. In addition, the Merivoimat Air Arm and the Ilmavoimat worked together continuously to research ways and means to successfully attack the Soviet Navy within its heavily defended fortress and at sea from the air – without taking prohibitive losses in doing so. In this, the threat of anti-aircraft fire was a significant factor, as was the accuracy of the bombers.

The problem was that before radar, pilots trying to hit enemy ships had to fly so close that they likelihood of being shot down was high. The risk to aircraft and aircrew of such attacks could be reduced significantly if the attacking bombers could drop their bombs from outside the range of effective anti-aircraft fire. However, no such bombs existed, and even if they did, the problem was posed of how to ensure accuracy. Bombing from height was at best wildly inaccurate, as the Ilmavoimat had proven rather conclusively to themselves in a number of trials. Low-altitude attacks on a heavily-defended target such as Kronstadt ran the risk of the aircraft suffering heavy losses – and the Ilmavoimat could not afford to take heavy losses to achieve just one victory, however significant that victory was. And there was in any case no guarantee of success even if heavy losses were accepted as the price that needed to be paid. What was needed was some sort of technological miracle – and so, the request for just such a miracle to be provided was passed in to the Pääesikunnan Teknillinen Tutkimusyksikkö (Technical Research Unit of the General Staff) who were tasked with coordinating, prioritizing and assigning R&D funding.

It was at this stage, in 1937, that the R&D group assigned this request proposed using a remote-controlled glider-bomb. As with many technologies, there were numerous precursors to the remote-controlled glider-bomb prior to WW2, and the Pääesikunnan Teknillinen Tutkimusyksikkö was briefed on these as part of the request that had been made to design and develop a remote-controlled glider-bomb.

Early Beginnings of Wireless Remote Control – Nikola Tesla

Well before the race for wireless telegraphy and as far back as 1893 in St. Nikola Tesla demonstrated remote control of objects by wireless. This was two full years before Marconi began his experiments. In 1898 at an exhibition at Madison Square Garden Nikola Tesla demonstrated a small boat which could apparently obey commands from the audience but was in fact controlled by Tesla interpreting the verbal requests and sending appropriate frequencies to tuned circuits in the boat. "...What Tesla did was to demonstrate the possibility of remote control by radio waves. In the artificial lake, the audience saw a six-foot, iron-hulled boat decorated with tiny electric lights. Ever the master showman, Tesla invited the crowd to shout out commands, "Turn left! Turn right! Flash the lights!" In response, Tesla signaled the boat using his wireless transmitter and the boat executed the command. With the Spanish-American War just over, Tesla described how he could easily build a larger boat, arm it with dynamite, and then steer it by remote control toward an enemy ship. Here, one hundred years ago, was a prototype for the Cruise missiles of today and the remote-controlled Glide-Bombs of WW2…

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Tesla caused a small boat (above) to obey commands from the audience.

To the press, Tesla prophesied a future in which telautomatons (robots) did man's bidding, perhaps some day exceeding mankind. Tesla had already decided that men were "meat machines", responding only to stimuli and incapable of free will, so to him the succession of man by machine seemed less preposterous. He also chose to join others in the race to use America's newfound technological superiority to devastate the Spanish in the the Spanish-American War. He offered his remote controlled boat to the military as a new kind of "smart-torpedo" that would make war so terrible nations would cease to wage it. The idea of banishing warfare by making it inconceivably horrific was a widely held conceit pretty much up until WWI. On November 8th, 1898, Tesla obtained a patent for the remote control, for which he had applied four months earlier on July 1st. This patent is the basis of contemporary robotics.

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Nikola Tesla with his wireless controlled airship c.1900

John Hays Hammond Jr is regarded as the father of radio control due to the fact he was involved in experiments as an apprentice of Thomas Edison at the age of twelve. Hammond was a close friend of Tesla and they performed experiments together in his lab located in his castle. He learned a great deal from his exposure to Tesla. Tesla was granted a US patent on this invention on November 8, 1898. In 1903, the Spanish engineer Leonardo Torres y Quevedo presented the "Telekino" at the Paris Academy of Science, and was granted a patent in France, Spain, Great Britain and the United States. In 1904, Bat, a Windermere steam launch, was controlled using experimental radio control by its inventor, Jack Kitchen. In 1909 the French inventor Gabet demonstrated what he called his "Torpille Radio-Automatique", a radio controlled torpedo.

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Gabet demonstrating radio control of his torpedo on the Seine.

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Torpille radio automatique Gabet, 24-December-1909:

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Torpille radio automatique Gabet, 24-December-1909:

In popular culture, the “Aerial Torpedo” was introduced as early as the 1909 film The Airship Destroyer. An unknown country arms their zeppelins with bombs and launches an air raid on England. After a bombing raid British aircraft engage the zeppelins but are shot down. The bombing raid continues until finally a patriotic British inventor creates an "aerial torpedo," controlled by "wireless electricity," which he uses to bring down the enemy air fleet. To quote from a movie list:"Inspired by Wells, this is one of the first real science fiction films to be made in England. The story concerns an attack on London by a fleet of airships from an unknown country. Through the extensive use of models, buildings were wrecked, prototype tanks destroyed, and railroads blown up. However, the films young hero, an inventor, launches radio controlled aerial torpedoes at the airships, and saves the day." The film was a great success, was directed by Walter Booth and produced by Charles Urban.

Germany

As early as October 1914, Dr. Wilhelm von Siemens had suggested what became known as the Siemens torpedo glider, a wire-guided flying missile which would essentially have been built from a naval torpedo with attached airframe. It was not intended to be flown into a target but rather at a suitable altitude and position a signal would be transmitted causing the airframe components to detach from the torpedo which would then enter the water and continue towards its target. Guidance signals were to be transmitted through a thin copper wire, and guide flares were to be carried to help control.

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The Siemens Torpedo Glider hung beneath the hull of Zeppelin L35 - On 2 August 1918, a 1000 kg missile was dropped from airship L35, control could be kept for a distance of 7.5 km.

Siemens-Schuckertwerke was already occupied with remote controlled boats (the FL-boats or Fernlenkboote), and had some experience in this area. Flight testing was performed under the supervision of Dipl. Ing. Dorner from January 1915 onwards, using airships as carriers and different types of biplane and monoplane gliders airframes to which a torpedo was fitted before a biplane layout was adopted due to its greater carrying ability. The first take-offs were perfomed from the Siemens-Schuckert hangar in Biesdorf, later successfull inflight launches from airships followed. The last test flight was performed on 2 August 1918. Approximately 100 of these, of varying sizes and configurations, were built and tested from January 1915 until the project was abandoned in late 1918. Many successful launches were made from naval airships, and controlled distances of nearly five miles achieved with considerable accuracy. The missiles, however, never became operational.

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A Photo from the website of the Zeppelin Museum in Tønder, Denmark (German until 1920, this was a famous airship base in WWI with the German name: Tondern)

After the war, the aircraft designer Anthony Fokker revealed that “In 1916 the [German] Army authorities asked me if I could make a very cheap aeroplane with a very cheap engine, capable of flying about four hours, which could be steered through the air by wireless waves. They intended to load each one of these aeroplanes which a huge bomb and send them into the air under the control of one flying man, who would herd them through the sky by wireless like a flock of sheep. He would be able to steer them as he pleased, and send them down to earth in just exactly the spot he selected.” Just what spots would have been selected, Fokker didn't say. He claimed that he was about to start churning out these flying bombs when the Armistice was declared. And indeed, one of the conditions imposed on Germany under the Versailles treaty was a ban on the manufacture of 'air machines which can fly without a pilot'.

Research and development on such weapons in Germany only resumed after the Second World War had started.

The Soviet Union

Little is known and even less documented about research programs rearding remote-controlled weapons in the Soviet Union in the inter-war years other than that they existed and that in the 1930’s, the USSR developed a range of remotely radio-controlled weapons. These included “teletanks”, teleplanes (apparently a remote-controlled Tupolev TB-3) and telecutters. Very little information is available on any of these projects or their results. Perhaps the single major exception being the Red Army’s use of Teletanks against the Finns in the Winter War, which was documented by the Finns – where the teletanks saw their first combat use.

A teletank was controlled by radio from a control tank at a distance of 500–1,500 meters, the two constituting a telemechanical group. Teletanks were equipped with machine guns, flamethrowers, smoke canisters and sometimes a special 200–700 kg time bomb in an armored box, dropped by the tank near the enemy's fortifications and used to destroy bunkers up to four levels below ground. Teletanks were also designed to be capable of using chemical weapons, although they were not used in combat. Each teletank, depending on its model, was able to recognize sixteen to twenty-four different commands sent via radio on two possible frequencies to avoid interference and jamming. Teletanks were built based on T-18, T-26, T-38, BT-5 and BT-7 tanks. Standard tactics were for the control tank (with radio transmitter and operator) to stay back as far as practicable while the teletank (TT) approached the enemy. The control tank would provide fire support as well as protection for the radio control operator. If the enemy was successful at seizing the teletank, the control tank crew was instructed to destroy it with its main gun. When not in combat the teletank was driven manually.

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Shot-up TT-26 remotely-controlled tank (teletank) with TOZ-IV telematics equipment from 217th separate tank battalion of the 30th Tank Brigade. Two antenna leads on the turret roof and two-colour camouflage of the vehicle are visible. Karelian Isthmus, February 1940.

OTL, the USSR also planted radio-controlled landmines in Vypuri but these were unable to be detonated as a result of Finnish jamming of the wavelengths used to transmit signals to the mines.

The United States

In the United States, the first attempts to create an airborne counterpart of the naval torpedo took place in the United States during World War I. A pilotless plane (considered by many to be the precursor of today’s cruise missle) was to be guided to a target and crashed into it in a power dive, exploding its charge. In 1916-17 a prototype called the Hewitt-Sperry Automatic Airplane made a number of short test flights proving that the idea was sound.

The Hewitt-Sperry Automatic Airplane

Before World War I, the possibility of using radio to control aircraft intrigued many inventors. One of these, Elmer Sperry, succeeded in arousing the US Navy's interest. Sperry had been perfecting gyroscopes for naval use since 1896 and had established the Sperry Gyroscope Company in 1910. In 1911, airplanes had only been flying for eight years, and yet Sperry became intrigued with the concept of applying radio control to them. He realized that for radio control to be effective, automatic stabilization would be essential, so he decided to adapt his naval gyro-stabilizers (which he had developed for destroyers). In 1913, the Navy provided Sperry with a flying boat to test and evaluate the gyro-based autopilot. Sperry's son Lawrence served as an engineer during the test phase. In 1914, Lawrence Sperry was in Europe and observed the developing techniques of aerial warfare, including the use of aircraft.

In 1916, the two Sperrys joined Peter Hewitt, an early inventor of radio-related devices, to develop an explosive-laden pilotless airplane. Elmer Sperry and Peter Hewitt served together on the Naval Consulting Board, where they both were members of the Committee on Aeronautics and Aeronautical Motors. Because of these connections, they were able to arrange for a representative of the Navy's Bureau of Ordnance, Lt. T. S. Wilkinson, to examine the control equipment they had assembled. The system consisted of a gyroscopic stabilizer, a directive gyroscope, an aneroid barometer to regulate height, servo-motors for control of rudders and ailerons, and a device for distance gearing. These could all be installed in an airplane which could be launched by catapult or flown from the water, and would then climb to a predetermined altitude, fly a pre-set course, and after traveling a pre-set distance, drop its bombs or dive to the ground. Wilkinson reported that the weapon did not possess a degree of accuracy sufficient to hit a ship, but, because of its range of 50 to 100 miles (160 km), it might be of interest to the Army.

The Curtiss-Sperry Flying Bomb

After the US declaration of war on Germany, Sperry began urging the Navy to revisit the idea. The Naval Consulting Board supported him, and formally requested the Secretary of Navy to allocate $50,000 for the work. The government thus included the development of the flying bomb or aerial torpedo in its war preparations. The Senate went so far as to establish two classes for the type weapon, one for wireless control, the other for completely automatic operation. Final approval came on May 17, 1917, and the Navy agreed to provide five (later upped to seven) Curtiss N-9 seaplanes and to purchase six sets of the Sperry automatic control gear. Navy Secretary Josephus Daniels agreed to spend $200,000 on the project, with the money to be administered by the Bureau of Ordnance, the Bureau of Construction and Repair and the Bureau of Engineering. The operation was established at Copiague, Long Island.

The autopilot equipment was already designed, but the radio control system hadn't been fully developed, so while the hangars were being built at Copiague, Sperry turned his attention to this aspect, purchasing rights to a number of patented radio-related inventions. Ultimately, though, the radio control systems were not used on the Hewitt-Sperry Automatic Airplane. Later, in 1922, the system was installed on several Verville-designed planes along with gear for the Army Air Services engineering division. These aircraft successfully hit their targets from ranges of 30, 60 and 90 miles (140 km).

The first test flights of an autopilot-equipped aircraft took place in September, 1917, with a human pilot onboard to fly the takeoff. By November 1917, the system was successfully flying the aircraft to its intended target at a 30-mile (48 km) range, where the distance-measuring gear would drop a bag of sand. Accuracy was within two miles (3 km) of target. Having observed the test flights, Rear Admiral Ralph Earle proposed a program to eliminate the German U-boat threat, one element of which was to use flying bombs, launched from Navy ships, to attack the submarine bases at Wilhelmshaven, Cuxhaven and Heligoland. Ultimately this plan was rejected, but there was an element of prophecy, for in September 1944, during World War II, a modified B-24 flying as a drone attacked the submarine installations at Heligoland. Not only was Earle's recommendation rejected, but the Navy declared that though development of the system was to continue, no production resources were to be diverted to it, and it was not to go into production.

After the Curtiss N-9 flight test program got started, it became apparent that a more efficient airframe was needed. Because war production deliveries could not be diverted, a special, rush order was placed with Curtiss in October, 1917, for six planes of unique design, with an empty weight of 500 lb (230 kg), top speed of 90 mph (140 km/h), range of 50 miles (80 km) and the capability of carrying up to 1,000 lb (450 kg) of explosives. They became known as the Curtis-Sperry Flying Bomb. Because this was to be a design dedicated to the remote control concept, the planes were not equipped with seats or standard pilot controls. No flight or wind-tunnel testing of the design was performed before production began. The first was delivered on November 10, 1917.

One of the most daunting challenges to the designers was the launch mechanism. The original concept envisioned by Hewitt and Sperry was a catapult mechanism or from the water (the N-9s were seaplanes, the Curtis-Sperry Flying Bomb was not). For the Flying Bomb, it was decided to try to launch it by sliding it down a long wire. In November and December 1917, three attempts were made to launch the Flying Bomb. On the first launch, one wing was damaged as the plane went down the wire, and on the second, the plane lifted from the wire but immediately plunged to the ground. The wire method was then abandoned in favor of a traditional catapult with a 150-foot (46 m) track, with power obtained from a 3-ton weight being dropped from a height of 30 feet (9.1 m).

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Curtiss-Sperry Flying Bomb on the traditional catapult with a 150-foot (46 m) track

On the third try, the plane lagged behind the cart, damaging the propeller, and the plane flipped over its nose. Two more attempts in January, 1918, saw the plane get airborne, but it was too tail-heavy, so it stalled and crashed almost immediately. It was realized that some flight test evaluation of the aircraft's capabilities was necessary. One of the planes was then fitted out with sled runners for landing gear, a seat and standard control stick, and Lawrence Sperry decided that he would be the test pilot. While taxiing it on ice, he hit some slushy snow, and wrecked the plane, though Sperry was unhurt. A second airplane was fitted out, and Sperry managed to get it in the air, but lost control when the automatic pilot was engaged. After two complete rolls, Sperry managed to regain control and land safely.

Clearly, though, more attention to flight testing the basic design was needed, particularly in the area of handling qualities. Sperry and his assistant, N. W. Dalton, obtained a Marmon automobile, and mounted the Curtiss-Sperry Flying Bomb to the top of it. In this configuration, Sperry and his crew drove the Long Island Motor Parkway at 80 mph (130 km/h), one of the first examples of an open-air wind tunnel, and adjusted the flight controls to what they thought was the optimum settings. The design of the fuselage was changed slightly, lengthening it by two feet. The Marmon was not only an excellent way to adjust the flight controls, it was realized that it would also be a good launching platform, and this was tried on March 6, 1918. The aircraft left the car cleanly, and flew in stable flight for the 1,000 yards (910 m) that the distance-measuring gear had been set for. For the first time in history, an unmanned, heavier-than-air vehicle had flown in controlled flight.

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Curtiss-Sperry Flying Bomb mounted on the Marmon automobile

The feat, however, could not be duplicated, and it was thought that the roadway was too rough. The Marmon was fitted with railroad wheels, and an unused spur of the Long Island Rail Road, four miles (6 km) east of Farmingdale, New York was put back into service. On the first try, before full flying speed had been reached, the aircraft developed enough lift to raise the front wheels off the track, and another crash resulted. It was time to re-think the catapult system, and to help design it, Sperry and Hewitt hired a young and promising engineer named Carl Norden. The first try with the new system was in August, 1918, and it too resulted in a crash. Two more tests were tried, with the stabilization package that had been design for the Flying Bomb replaced with the four-gyro system used earlier on the N-9 tests, but the result was again a disappointment, with very short flights ending in crashes. On the last one, on September 26, the Flying Bomb climbed straight for about a hundred yards, then entered a spiral dive and crashed.

This was the final flight for the Curtiss-Sperry Flying Bomb, as all the usable airframes had been consumed in crashes, and there remained no confidence in the design. Sperry and Hewitt returned to the Curtiss N-9.

Return of the Curtiss N-9 Seaplane

The Sperrys then built a wind tunnel at the Washington Navy Yard and carried out a series of tests on the Curtiss N-9, fine-tuning the design. On October 17 1918, an unmanned N-9 was launched using the new Norden catapult system. It came cleanly off the track, climbed steadily and flew within 2° of the line of intended flight. The distance gear had been set for a flight of eight miles (13 km), but somehow malfunctioned. When last seen, the Curtiss N-9 was cruising over Bayshore Air Station at about 4,000 feet (1,200 m), heading east. It was never seen again.

Despite the success of the stabilization gear, there was doubt in the Navy about the program, and they asked Carl Norden to review the Sperry components and recommend improvements. The Navy was, by now, satisfied with the concept, and was contemplating purchasing such equipment on its own, apart from the Sperrys. Elmer Sperry tried to stir up enthusiasm again, calling the concept of the flying bomb the "gun of the future". This was to no avail, however. World War I came to a close when the Armistice was signed on November 11, 1918. Almost a hundred flights had been flown in the N-9, but almost all of these had a safety pilot onboard. The Navy took complete control of the program from Sperry, spelling the end of the Hewitt-Sperry Automatic Airplane program.

The Kettering Bug

The Curtiss-Sperry "Flying Bomb" was one of two American efforts during World War I to develop what would today be called a cruise missile. The other was the Dayton Wright Liberty Eagle, better known as the Kettering "Bug". In November 1917 Army representatives had witnessed one of the Curtiss-Sperry flights and decided to start a similar aerial torpedo, or flying bomb, project which could hit a target at a range of 40 miles. This was to be led by Lieut. Col. Bion J. Arnold for the Air Service and Charles Kettering of Dayton, Ohio for industry. The latter was assisted by Orville Wright, who acted as an aeronautical consultant on the project and C.H. Wills of the Ford Motor Company. Elmer Ambrose Sperry designed the control and guidance system. Various companies working together produced 20 complete pilotless aircraft (called the Kettering Aerial Torpedo but later known as the Kettering Bug and built by the Dayton-Wright Airplane Company. A piloted development aircraft was built as the Dayton-Wright Bug),

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The Kettering Bug was an experimental aerial torpedo, capable of striking ground targets up to 75 miles (120 km) from its launch point, while traveling at a speed of 50 mph. The aircraft was powered by one 4-cylinder, 40-horsepower De Palma engine. The engine was mass-produced by the Ford Motor Company for about $40 each. The fuselage was constructed of wood laminates and papier-mâché, while the wings were made of cardboard. The "Bug" could fly at a speed of 50 mph with a payload of 180 pounds (81kg) of explosives. Total cost of each "Bug" was US$400.

The Bug was launched using a dolly-and-track system, similar to the method used by the Wright Brothers when they made their first powered flights in 1903. Once launched, a small onboard gyroscope guided the aircraft to its destination. The control system used a pneumatic/vacuum system, an electric system and an aneroid barometer/altimeter. To ensure the Bug hit its target, a mechanical system was devised that would track the aircraft's distance flown. Before takeoff technicians determined the distance to be traveled relative to the air, taking into account wind speed and direction along the flight path. This was used to calculate the total number of engine revolutions needed for the Bug to reach its destination. When a total revolution counter reached this value a cam dropped down which shut off the engine and retracted the bolts attaching the wings, which fell off. The Bug began a ballistic trajectory into the target; the impact detonated the payload of 180 pounds (81 kg) of explosives.

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Kettering Bug on the dolly and ready to be launched

The prototype Bug was completed and delivered to the Aviation Section of the U.S. Army Signal Corps in 1918, near the end of World War I. The first flight on October 2 (or October 4th, sources differ), 1918 was a failure: the plane climbed too steeply after takeoff, stalled and crashed. Subsequent flights were successful, and the aircraft was demonstrated to Army personnel at Dayton. "The Kettering Bug had 2 successes on 6 attempts at Dayton, 1 of 4 at Amityville, and 4 of 14 at Carlstrom." Despite some successes during initial testing, the "Bug" was never used in combat. Officials worried about their reliability when carrying explosives over Allied troops. By the time the War ended about 45 Bugs had been produced. From April 1917 to March 1920 the US Government spent about $275,000 on the Kettering Bug. The aircraft and its technology remained a secret until World War II. During the 1920s, what was now the U.S. Army Air Service continued to experiment with the aircraft until funding was withdrawn entirely in 1925.

Follow-on US Programs

During the early post-war years, the US Navy's Bureau of Ordnance decided to follow up one aspect of the over-all problem of the aerial torpedo and to develop a radio-controlled plane. For the first program, the Navy ordered five examples of a new airframe design from Witteman-Lewis and Norden-designed gyrostabilizers were used, first flying in March 1919 but the results were no better than those achieved by the Sperrys and the wprogram was terminated in 1922. In 1921, the program was reoriented to focus on the radio control aspect. The control equipment was developed at the radio laboratory at NAS Anacostia (later the Naval Research Laboratory). In 1923, tests began, and were relatively successful and a successful flight without a pilot aboard took place on Sept. 15, 1924; but the plane was damaged in landing and sank but interest waned and the project lapsed in 1925.

Over a decade was to pass before the US Navy again looked into the development of target drones and pilotless aircraft, by which time developments in electronics and progress in aviation produced results which were later applied to missiles. The U.S. Navy re-entered the field of unmanned aircraft in earnest inthe mid-1930s, when several manned aircraft of different types were converted to radio-controlled drones, a program which was intended to provide realistic targets for antiaircraft gunnery practice but which went on to directly influence post-war missile development. These experiments would eventually lead to the TDR and TDN "assault drones" of World War II. Lieutenant Commander (later Rear Adm.) D.S. Fahrney was in charge of the drone project. The plane used was a Stearman-Hammond JH-1 and / or a Curtiss "N2C-2" drone (again, sources differ), and the radio control equipment was again developed by the Naval Research Laboratory. This drone made its first successful flight Nov. 15, 1937. The N2C-2 was remotely controlled from another aircraft, called a TG-2. N2C-2 anti-aircraft target drones were in service by 1938 and first used for target practice by the antiaircraft batteries of the USS Ranger. Commander Fahrney then suggested the development of assault drones.

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A U.S. Navy Curtiss N2C-2 Fledgling converted into a target drone at the Naval Aircraft Factory, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (USA), 1938/39. Note that the aircraft has been fitted with a tricycle landing gear.

The US Army Air Forces (USAAF) adopted the N2C-2 concept in 1939. Obsolescent aircraft were put into service as "A-series" anti-aircraft target drones. Since the "A" code would be also used for "Attack" aircraft, later "full-sized" targets would be given the "PQ" designation.

The "Radioplane Company"

The first large-scale production, purpose-built radio-controlled drone was the product of one Reginald Denny. Denny had served with the British Royal Flying Corps during World War I, and after the war, immigrated to the United States to seek his fortune in Hollywood as an actor, where he did in fact make a name for himself. Between acting jobs, he pursued his interest in radio controlled model aircraft in the 1930s. He and his business partners formed "Reginald Denny Industries" and opened a model plane shop in 1934 on Hollywood Boulevard known as "Reginald Denny Hobby Shop". The shop evolved into the "Radioplane Company".

Denny believed that low-cost RC aircraft would be very useful for training anti-aircraft gunners, and in 1935 he demonstrated a prototype target drone, the RP-1, to the US Army, although the Army did not buy the aircraft. Denny then bought a design from Walter Righter in 1938 and began marketing it to hobbyists as the "Dennymite", and demonstrated it to the Army as the RP-2 in 1938, then after further modifications, as the RP-3 and RP-4 in 1939.

Just as a note of interest and not as part of this ATL, in 1940, Denny and his partners won an Army contract for their radio controlled RP-4, which became the Radioplane OQ-2. They manufactured nearly fifteen thousand drones for the army during World War II. It was at the Van Nuys Radioplane factory in 1944 that Army photographer David Conover saw a young lady named Norma Jeane, and thought she had potential as a model. This "discovery" led to fame for Norma Jeane, who soon changed her name to Marilyn Monroe.

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Marilyn Monroe was a technician at the Radioplane munitions factory when she was photographed at her job by Yank magazine in 1944
ex Ngāti Tumatauenga ("Tribe of the Maori War God") aka the New Zealand Army


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