General Oequist from Finnland

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tom_deba
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General Oequist from Finnland

Post by tom_deba » 24 Jul 2005 22:41

I search for any information about that General. He was awarded Ritterkreuz. That is all I know. I encountered his name in German documents from 1941.

Tom

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Re: General Oequist from Finnland

Post by yerbamatt » 25 Jul 2005 06:33

tom_deba wrote:I search for any information about that General. He was awarded Ritterkreuz. That is all I know. I encountered his name in German documents from 1941.

Tom


Hello,

Below you will find a brief biography of Finnish General Harald öhquist ...

http://www.generals.dk/general/%C3%96hq ... nland.html

... and to get more about him I would strongly recommend "A Frozen Hell, The Russo-Finnish Winter War of 1939-40" by William R. Trotter.

Best regards...

Doktor Krollspell
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Post by Doktor Krollspell » 25 Jul 2005 08:43

Hello Tom!

What are your sources for the Finnish General Öhquist recieving the Knight's Cross? I always thought that only two Finns recieved this award, the first one being the Commander of the Finnish forces Gen.Feldm. Mannerheim on 30.8.41 and then General der Inf. Axel-Erich Heinrichs, Chief of the Generalstab of the Finnish army on 5.8.44. And on that date Mannerheim also recieved the Oakleaves to his Knight's Cross.


Regards,

Krollspell

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AJK
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Post by AJK » 25 Jul 2005 21:32

I have to agree with Krollspell. According to the biography of General Öhquist in "Itsenäisen Suomen Kenraalikunta 1918 - 1996", Öhquist did not have the RK.

AJK

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Post by tom_deba » 26 Jul 2005 12:22

Image

I enclosed one short bmp.file showing clearly that author of this text (war diary) thought

that General Oequist had been awarded RK.

The text mentions the meeting [10.1941] of some German officers in Ostpreussen with

"Finnish General Oequist, who is the holder of RK".

If the information is incorrect I suppose that Kriegsberichter must have been drunk when

he wrote that text.

Tom

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Post by tom_deba » 26 Jul 2005 12:32

Image - it should work now.

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Post by Mikko H. » 27 Jul 2005 12:40

No, kenraaliluutnantti Harald Öhquist never received the Ritterkreutz. I have no idea why a German source would credite him with one, though. As has been mentioned before, the only Finns to receive the RK were Suomen marsalkka Gustaf Mannerheim (who also received the Oak Leaves) and jalkaväenkenraali Erik Heinrichs.

Öhquists's war-time decorations were:

VR 1 tl (8 January 1945) ● VR 1 rt (3 October 1941) ● VR 1 mk (11 April 1940) ● Grand Cross of Order of Merit of the German Eagle (4 September 1940) ● EK I (5 November 1943) ● 1939 Spange zum 1914 EK II (5 November 1943).

And appointments:

Commander of the II Army Corps (14 October 1939 – 11 April 1940) ● Senior Inspector of Military Training (11 April 1940 – 18 June 1941) ● Commander-in-Chief’s representative at the German High Command (18 June 1941 – 28 January 1942) ● Commander of the IV Army Corps (1 February 1942 – 1 March 1942) ● Commander of the Isthmus Group (1 March 1942 – 4 March 1944) ● Senior Inspector of Military Training (5 March 1944 – 1 March 1951).

If you need more info on the man, just ask!

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Post by Mikko H. » 27 Jul 2005 14:53

After taking another look at Öhquist's decorations, I'm beginning to wonder the date of his Eagle Order. September 1940 seems a very odd time to give this award to Öhquist. At the time the Fenno-German co-operation was only just beginning, and while Öhquist was one of the most senior officers in the Finnish Defence Forces, his post was of relatively minor importance (after the Winter War Öhquist was in Mannerheim's disfavour, and never really regained his confidence). However, September 1941 feels far more apposite date for the award. Grand Cross of the Order of German Eagle is just the kind of award that would be awarded to the most senior military representative of an important allied/co-belligerent nation. My source for the date is the aforementioned Itsenäisen Suomen kenraalikunta, and I've found it has distressingly often errors like that.

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Post by tom_deba » 29 Jul 2005 11:28

I am very interested in getting more details on Oequist and his duty: Commander-in-Chief’s representative at the German High Command (18 June 1941 – 28 January 1942).

I think that Kriegsberichter was wrong [about RK]. Maybe he thought about EK II from 1914????

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Post by Mikko H. » 31 Jul 2005 14:45

I think that Kriegsberichter was wrong [about RK]. Maybe he thought about EK II from 1914????


Or perhaps he meant to write Großkreutz instead of Ritterkreutz? Who knows.

I am very interested in getting more details on Oequist and his duty: Commander-in-Chief’s representative at the German High Command (18 June 1941 – 28 January 1942).


Harald Öhquist was born on 1 March 1891 in Helsinki. He studied law in University of Helsinkin from 1908 and got his Associate in Laws degree on 10 November 1914. Soon afterwards he joined the Jäger Movement in Germany, and fought with the Finnish Jäger Battalion in the southern Baltic region in 1916-17. Öhquist was commissioned majuri (major) in the Finnish Army on 7 February 1918 -- only a very small number of Jägers were promoted to that rank, so already at the time Öhquist's ability was recognized.

Öhquist returned to Finland along with the main group of Jägers on 18 February 1918 -- he was commander of the first group to return. In the Finnish Civil War of 1918 Öhquist fought as a battalion commander. After holding various assignments in 1918 Öhquist was Commander of the Karelian Guards Regiment in 1918-25, then Commander of the 2nd Division in Viipuri and Commandant of the Garrison of Viipuri in 1925-33. In 1933-39 Öhquist Commanded the Army Corps, making him effectively the commander of Finland's ground forces (there were only three divisions and one army corps in the peace-time Finnish Army). At the time Öhquist's promotion was rapid: everstiluutnantti (lieutenant-colonel) on 16 May 1921, eversti (colonel) on 6 December 1925, kenraalimajuri (major-general) on 14 August 1930 and kenraaliluutnantti (lieutenant-general) on 6 December 1936. In the 1930's Öhquist was one of the most senior officers in the Finnish Defence Forces, and recognized as expert in the defense of Karelian Isthmus.

When the Finnish Defense Forces were mobilized in October 1939, Öhquist was natural choice for the command of II Army Corps, which defended the most important front in southern Karelian Isthmus. When the Soviet Union invaded on 30 November 1939 it was soon clear that the Red Army was making its main effort there. While Öhquist performed creditably, he clashed often with his immediate superior kenraaliluutnantti Hugo Österman, Commander of the Army of the Isthmus (until 19 February 1940), and also with Commander-in-Chief sotamarsalkka Gustaf Mannerheim. Öhquist's ideas about the defense of the Karelian Isthmus were different from Mannerheim's. While historians have tended to take Öhquist's side in the dispute, Mannerheim lost his faith in Öhquist's nerve.

While Öhquist was not relieved during the war (like Österman was), after the Winter War Öhquist was kicked upstairs in April 1940 to become Senior Inspector of Military Training. Mannerheim believed Öhquist's eye for detail and experience in personnel matters made him suitable for the post. In October 1940 Öhquist was also appointed to head a commission which appraised the performance of certain officers during the Winter War. But Mannerheim's disfavour could take suprisingly petty proportions. In November 1940 Öhquist made a presentation for a closed audience, discussing his experiences as an army corps commander in the Winter War. Main points were published with Öhquist's approval in a newspaper. Mannerheim thought Öhquist had given public details that were harmful to the Defence Forces, and in the end issued a written reprimand in January 1941.

In June 1941 Finland joined German side in a new war against the Soviet Union, the Continuation War. Mannerheim made Öhquist his representative at the German High Command (Finnischer General beim Hauptkvartier), in effect in the OKH. Öhquist was senior enough for the post, able general and not too pro-German -- and Mannerheim wanted to have distance to him. Öhquist could be expected to keep his head cool and give realistic appraisals, because his opinion of Nazism was known to be very negative -- Öhquist had even severed relations with his pro-Nazi father. Öhquist travelled to Berlin on 18 June 1941.

In the reorganization of Finnish ground froces in January 1942 Öhquist returned from Germany and took again command of the defense of the Karelian Isthmus as Commander of the Isthmus Group. Despite their personal antagonisms, Mannerheim still recognized Öhquist as the foremost authority in the subject. Also it seemed probable that there would be no major fighting in immediate future. (Öhquist's successor in Germany, kenraaliluutnantti Paavo Talvela claimed that Mannerheim had been disappointed with Öhquist's performance in Germany, but Talvela's claims should be seen in the light of his notorious egomania and personal dislike of Öhquist).

While Öhquist worked to improve the Isthmus defenses, his tenure was again plagued by personal conflicts, this time with the Commander of the 18th Division, kenraalimajuri Aaro Pajari. The dispute didn't end until Pajari was transferred in October 1943. While Pajari was arguably one of the best division commanders in the Finnish Army, he was also (like Talvela) prone to temper fits and egomania, and clash with the no-nonsense Öhquist was perhaps inevitable. But, while Mannerheim resolved this dispute in Öhquist's favour, it reinforced Mannerheim's basically negative opinion of Öhquist's character. Mannerheim also thought Öhquist's plans for the defense of Karelian Isthmus were too passive. In the Spring of 1944 it was coming more and more probable that Karelian Isthmus would soon see active fighting, and Mannerheim didn't want to have Öhquist in command. In March 1944 the Isthmus Group was disbanded and Öhquist reverted to his earlier assignment as Senior Inspector of Training, where he remained until retirement in 1951. However, on 19 October 1944 Öhquist was appointed to command Lapland Group (formed out of two army corps) in Finnish Lapland to wage the war against Germans, the Lapland War. The order was cancelled two days later because the forces needed weren't available. The Soviets didn't agree postponing Finnish demobilization for the sake of fighting Germans more effectively.

In 1949 Öhquist published his memoirs of the Winter War, forcefully defending his actions -- and again angering the aged Mannerheim who was at the time living in retirement in Switzerland. Mannerheim's anger is echoed in his memoirs. After his retirement Öhquist was Chief of Helsinki City Civil Defense in 1952-59. He died in Helsinki on 10 February 1971.

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Post by tom_deba » 02 Aug 2005 22:34

I am very, very thankful for the huge note about Finnish general! I would like to know only what the title of his memoirs had been. (Original Finnish title, and title translated into English).

I am very grateful that you helped me to resolve the question of RK. I would have believed in the German documents [saying about RK] if I hadn't had possibility to check the Finnish sources or ask you for help.

Tom

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Post by Mikko H. » 03 Aug 2005 06:45

Öhquist's memoirs were originally published in Swedish (Öhquist's mother tongue) as Vinterkriget 1939-40 ur min synvinkel and translated into Finnish as Talvisota minun näkökulmastani. I don't think the book has been translated into English, but the title translates as Winter War From My Point of View.

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Post by Mikko H. » 03 Aug 2005 11:35

Here's a pic of Öhquist as colonel from the late 1920's or early 1930's:

Image
(From http://www.mannerheim.fi)

And here a pic of Öhquist (sitting on right) as commander of II Army Corps during the Winter War with his CoS eversti Yrjö Takkula:

Image
(From http://www.smb.nu)

There's also a pic of him in this thread:

http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=17748

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Post by tom_deba » 11 Aug 2005 09:37

Dear forum members!

I am very, very thankful for your help to find information on Finnish General!

Tom

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Harri
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Post by Harri » 11 Aug 2005 18:16

Mikko H. wrote:Öhquist's memoirs were originally published in Swedish (Öhquist's mother tongue) as Vinterkriget 1939-40 ur min synvinkel and translated into Finnish as Talvisota minun näkökulmastani. I don't think the book has been translated into English, but the title translates as Winter War From My Point of View.


I think there is a German translation?

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