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Discussions on the Winter War and Continuation War, the wars between Finland and the USSR.
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Mek
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Post by Mek » 22 Aug 2004 21:31

Hello all,

What is the real difference between Kenraalimajuri (Major-General) and Prikaatikenraali (Brigade General)? They both have a single lion. Is the Brigade General name used of Major-General who commands a Brigade?

Regards,
-Pete

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Harri
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Post by Harri » 22 Aug 2004 22:24

I agree with Hanski. Only full Generals could have the mentioned prefix.

Generals use the colours of their own arm or so called General Staff colour (very dark red bagde). It is not quite clear to me when these are/were used or are/were they optional or obligatory in certain situations.

I think General Adolf Ehrnrooth was made Infantry General because there was no more cavalry in Finnish Defence Forces.

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Mek wrote:What is the real difference between Kenraalimajuri (Major-General) and Prikaatikenraali (Brigade General)? They both have a single lion. Is the Brigade General name used of Major-General who commands a Brigade?
Not exactly. The general's ranks were enhanced in Finland in the late 1980's or early 1990's (I don't remember the exact year). Brigade General is a completely new rank now with one "lion" and all older Generals ranks received one more "lion" at the same time. So Major General has now two "lions" and so on.

I think the need for this new rank came abroads because previous Finnish system lacked one rank which was used elsewhere and caused problems for example in UN duties (Finnish Colonels led Brigade Generals :lol: ).

Mek
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Post by Mek » 23 Aug 2004 03:35

Harri wrote:Not exactly. The general's ranks were enhanced in Finland in the late 1980's or early 1990's (I don't remember the exact year). Brigade General is a completely new rank now with one "lion" and all older Generals ranks received one more "lion" at the same time. So Major General has now two "lions" and so on.
Ahh, it makes sense now. Indeed, Major General has two lions in few pictures I checked. Got a little confused with the old system. Thanks for clarification. :)

Regards,
-Pete

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Hanski
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Post by Hanski » 23 Aug 2004 07:16

The current system of rank insignia:
http://www.mil.fi/varusmies/arvomerkki/index_en.dsp

Mikko H.
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Post by Mikko H. » 23 Aug 2004 08:09

Not exactly. The general's ranks were enhanced in Finland in the late 1980's or early 1990's (I don't remember the exact year). Brigade General is a completely new rank now with one "lion" and all older Generals ranks received one more "lion" at the same time. So Major General has now two "lions" and so on.
The rank of prikaatikenraali (Brigadier General) was first introduced in the Finnish Defense Forces in 1994 for assignments abroad (= UN missions). The rank insignia was a single silver lion on a general staff officer's red collar patch. This was changed in 1995, when the rank was introduced officially in the Defense Forces and the present system of rank insignia was taken into use (prikaatikenraali one lion, kenraalimajuri two lions etc.).
C. G. E. Mannerheim's official military rank was Cavalry General because there is no such ranks as Field Marshal or Marshal of Finland in Finnish Army. These both were actually "honorary titles" granted by Finnish Parliament. Title Marshal of Finland was given on 4.6.1942 at Mannerheim's 75th birthday.
Harri is correct here. Originally sotamarsalkka was not a military rank, but an honorary title. Consider this: when Mannerheim received the title of sotamarsalkka in 1933, he had to pay the stamp duty for this title, just like everyone else who is granted an honorary title by the state. Col. Aksel Airo, who at the time was the secretary of the Defense Council, tried to get first the Defense Forces and then the Ministry of Defense to pay the bill, but both refused (it's customary that the party who suggests the title also floors the bill). Finally the thoroughly embarassed Airo had to present the bill to Mannerheim himself. It cost him 5000 mk (a very large sum at the time), which caused Mannerheim to comment "It's fortunate they didn't make a bigger boss out of me!".

Another proof that sotamarsalkka wasn't initially considered a military rank, is that after getting the title Mannerheim noticed that no such rank was listed in Army regulations. For a moment he thought that the title was an honourable way of being kicked out of the Defense Forces, but Mannerheim was then assured that he was still listed in the Army rolls as a ratsuväenkenraali. And, IIRC, the General Service Regulations of 1980 stated, that the title of sotamarsalkka can be bestowed upon especially distinguished generals.

Mannerheim's biographers suggest that the reason for sotamarsalkka becoming a title instead of a rank, was that there was considerable opposition to Mannerheim in the government at the time. Apparently it was thought that making sotamarsalkka a title would detract from Mannerheim's honour and make him less influential in the military.

But the title was soon used like a military rank, and Mannerheim was given the liberty to design the rank insignia for sotamarsalkka.
I think General Adolf Ehrnrooth was made Infantry General because there was no more cavalry in Finnish Defence Forces.
I remember reading that because of his earlier service in the cavalry before and during the war, Ehrnrooth in 1980 could have chosen to become a ratsuväenkenraali if he wanted to. For one reason or another he chose to be a jalkaväenkenraali.

BTW, there's one another ratsuväenkenraali besides Mannerheim. Commander of the Swedish Volunteer Corps Ernst Linder was promoted to that rank on 25 March 1940.

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Harri
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Post by Harri » 23 Aug 2004 22:00

Mikko H. wrote:Harri is correct here.
Am I? 8O

Anyway it seems that the title of Field Marshal was treated like a normal rank - unless its status was officially changed later.

Thank you for information (again), Mikko! :)

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Post by Mikko H. » 24 Aug 2004 06:40

Anyway it seems that the title of Field Marshal was treated like a normal rank - unless its status was officially changed later.
It seems to me that officially sotamarsalkka was and remained an honorary title, but the military soon treated it like a military rank. This lasted at least for as long as Mannerheim lived, if not longer -- I've heard that until the 1960s both sotamarsalkka and Suomen marsalkka were listed as military ranks. I guess this is another instance of dichotomy between theory and practice.

Does anybody know what's the status of sotamarsalkka and Suomen marsalkka today? I know they aren't military ranks, but are they still listed as honorary titles that can be bestowed upon especially distinguished generals? As I said in the post above, I recall that the General Service Regulations of 1980 said so. How about the more recent versions of Yleinen palvelusohjesääntö?

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Earldor
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Post by Earldor » 24 Aug 2004 10:16

Mikko H. wrote:
Anyway it seems that the title of Field Marshal was treated like a normal rank - unless its status was officially changed later.
It seems to me that officially sotamarsalkka was and remained an honorary title, but the military soon treated it like a military rank.


This is most likely due to the fact that the only person this rank was appropriate for was Mannerheim.

But as the Finnish army treated the rank of sotamarsalkka/Field Marshal as a military rank, I still stand by the fact that it is a military rank, no matter what it's provenance is. I admit that there is ambiguity there.
Does anybody know what's the status of sotamarsalkka and Suomen marsalkka today? I know they aren't military ranks, but are they still listed as honorary titles that can be bestowed upon especially distinguished generals?


I don't think that it is possible to become a sotamarsalkka any more. At least I cannot envisage a situation where it would be possible or necessary. Still, stranger things have happened
As I said in the post above, I recall that the General Service Regulations of 1980 said so. How about the more recent versions of Yleinen palvelusohjesääntö?
I don't know about the Yleinen palvelusohjesääntö, but the Finnish law lists the military ranks as follows http://www.finlex.fi/lains/index.html:

"Tasavallan presidentin asetus sotilas- ja palvelusarvoista 17.3.2000/283

Tasavallan presidentin päätöksen mukaisesti, joka on tehty puolustusministerin esittelystä,säädetään puolustusvoimista 31 päivänä toukokuuta 1974 annetun lain (402/1974) 9 §:n 2 momentin nojalla, sellaisena kuin se on laissa 228/2000:

1 §

Sotilaallista esimiesasemaa sekä sotilaan koulutusta, virka-asemaa ja tehtävää osoitetaan sotilasarvolla tai palvelusarvolla.

2 §

Sotilasarvot ovat:

1) sotamies;

2) korpraali, ylimatruusi;

3) alikersantti;

4) kersantti;

5) ylikersantti;

6) vääpeli, pursimies;

7) sotilasmestari, vänrikki, aliluutnantti;

8) luutnantti;

9) yliluutnantti;

10) kapteeni, kapteeniluutnantti;

11) majuri, komentajakapteeni;

12) everstiluutnantti, komentaja;

13) eversti, kommodori;

14) kenraalit

a) prikaatikenraali, lippueamiraali;

b) kenraalimajuri, kontra-amiraali;

c) kenraaliluutnantti, vara-amiraali;

d) kenraali, johon voidaan liittää aselajia osoittava etuliite, ja amiraali.

Sotamiehen sotilasarvon sijasta voidaan käyttää puolustushaara- ja aselaji- tai joukkokohtaisia arvoja, siten kuin puolustusvoimain komentaja niistä sotilaskäskyasiana erikseen määrää."

Mikko H.
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Post by Mikko H. » 24 Aug 2004 10:30

But as the Finnish army treated the rank of sotamarsalkka/Field Marshal as a military rank, I still stand by the fact that it is a military rank, no matter what it's provenance is. I admit that there is ambiguity there.
By and large I agree, in practice sotamarsalkka was treated like a military rank.

However, what would you answer if one was to ask you "What was the highest military rank in the Finnish Defense Forces during the WWII"? One can give "sotamarsalkka" as an answer, with proviso to Mannerheim's special status in Finland. OTOH, jalkaväen/tykistön/ratsuväenkenraali was and remained the highest rank for all the others.
I don't think that it is possible to become a sotamarsalkka any more. At least I cannot envisage a situation where it would be possible or necessary. Still, stranger things have happened
Yep, I agree. Finland would have to be involved in a major war in order for some general to fit in Mannerheim's boots, and that's very, very unlikely at the moment.
don't know about the Yleinen palvelusohjesääntö, but the Finnish law lists the military ranks as follows http://www.finlex.fi/lains/index.html:
Well, this law talks about military and service ranks, and we all agree that sotamarsalkka isn't a rank today. I wondered if it's still (at least theoretically) in existence as an honorary title as it was mentioned in the General Service Regulations of 1980.

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Earldor
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Post by Earldor » 24 Aug 2004 12:41

Mikko H. wrote: Well, this law talks about military and service ranks, and we all agree that sotamarsalkka isn't a rank today. I wondered if it's still (at least theoretically) in existence as an honorary title as it was mentioned in the General Service Regulations of 1980.
Although there is no mention of the rank in any current law that I know (which doesn't say much), I have no doubt that should the need arise, an extinct rank can be reinstated. A seach of the Finlex -database came up with zero hits with "Sotamarsalkka", "Suomen marsalkka", and "Marsalkka."

Still, I hope that there is no need for it, not now and not in the future.

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Post by Mikko H. » 24 Aug 2004 13:57

d) kenraali, johon voidaan liittää aselajia osoittava etuliite, ja amiraali.
Just a thing I've been wondering for a long time: how is (was) it determined, if a full general became a jalkaväen/tykistön/ratsuväenkenraali or just a plain kenraali?

I've noted that before the 1960s all the full generals used the branch prefix, becoming either a jalkaväenkenraali (General of Infantry), ratsuväenkenraali (General of Cavalry) or tykistönkenraali (General of Artillery). But since then most generals have been simply kenraali, except certain retired officers who had received honorary promotions in reserve (these exceptions had always seen active service during the WWII).

Does anybody know why the usage was changed in the 1960s? And when Väinö Valve was promoted to that rank in 1992, was his rank kenraali or rannikkotykistönkenraali (General of Coast Artillery)? Most sources I've seen say the first, but I have nagging doubt it might have been the latter.

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