German Baltic Division in Finland 1918

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Peter H
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German Baltic Division in Finland 1918

Post by Peter H » 15 May 2003 10:13

German intervention in the Finnish Civil War 1918,under von der Goltz.

The German Baltic division strength was over 9000 men. It landed in Hanko 3.4.1918. The Reds withdraw to east. Germans attacked to Helsinki in three directions: from west through Leppävaara and Mäkkylä fortifications, from north through fortress area of Malmi and from sea to Katajanokka naval base.German troops proceeded along the road and railroad from the west to east through the western land front in Leppävaara and Mäkkylä area.

Fighting broke out 11.4.1918 at the base number XXIX in Leppävaara. Fights did not last long. The Red Guard withdraw soon to the next defense line and after that to old field fortification line, which was made 1914 in Ilmala area. At this place Germans assault stopped approximately for one day. On the afternoon 12.4. Reds withdraw again and the fighting front moved to the streets of Helsinki city.

Helsinki was surrendered 13.4.1918. German troops lost 24 men and the Finnish White Army which supported Germans lost 17 men in the occupation of the town. 300 Reds were killed and 6200 men and women were taken as prisoners.


From Corbis.com

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Peter H
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Post by Peter H » 15 May 2003 10:16

From Corbis.com

German Medics in Finland.
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'Red' prisoners.
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Peter H
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Post by Peter H » 15 May 2003 10:18

From Corbis.com

German parade through Helsinki.
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Guarding Goltz's HQ.
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Peter H
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Post by Peter H » 15 May 2003 10:21

From Corbis.com

Entering Helsinki.
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Railway repairs.
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Peter H
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Post by Peter H » 15 May 2003 10:35

German Landing.
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History of the 'Baltic' Division
The Division was the renamed German 12th Landwehr Division recruited in Westphalia,Hesse and Alsace.Formed in April 1915 and fought near the Hartmannswillerkopf sector in Alsace until early 1917.In May 1917 it was sent east to the Galicia front and took part in Brody attacks in July.Retained in east after Brest-Livotsk peace and moved to Finland.In July 1918 the Division was pulled out of Finland and moved to the Alsace front in the West.

Composition in early 1918:

56th Landwehr Regiment
87th Landwehr Regiment
435th Landwehr Regiment
252nd Landwehr Field Artillery Regt

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Marcus
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Post by Marcus » 15 May 2003 16:24

Moulded,

Thanks for sharing those photos.

/Marcus

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Juha Tompuri
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Post by Juha Tompuri » 16 May 2003 10:55

...and for the history of the "Baltic" Division.

Regards, Juha

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Lord Gort
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Post by Lord Gort » 16 May 2003 18:43

Very good pictures. What were the Finns view of Germany and the allied nations?

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Juha Tompuri
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Post by Juha Tompuri » 16 May 2003 20:09

Lord Gort wrote: What were the Finns view of Germany and the allied nations?
Playing cards?


About Russian fortification works at Helsinki WWI http://www.novision.fi/viapori/eavaus.htm
Something about Finland 1918 http://www.sodatkuvina.cjb.net/SisallissotaMain.htm

Regards, Juha

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Harri
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Post by Harri » 16 May 2003 20:17

Actually Finnish military leaders (including General Mannerheim) wouldn't have liked to ask Germans' help but our Government saw that to speed up the decision in civil war it was better to ask help from Germany.

Before 1917 Finland had belonged to Russia as an autonomous state and Germany had trained a volunteer Finnish battalion (27th Prussian Jäger Battalion) during WW I for the bulk of our new army. Of course many Finnish people appreciated Germans' help, but not all. Germans had also interests in Finland and Russia (the new Murmansk railway and St. Petersburg). When Germany lost WW I in late 1918 all German military specialists returned to germany and an "allied period" began in the Finnish Army. It lasted until 1940/41 when Finland started co-operating with Germans.

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Peter H
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Post by Peter H » 17 May 2003 14:54

The Finnish 27th Jager Battalion,composed entirely of volunteers,was formed on the 1st May 1916.It was an enlarged battalion with its own artillery and pioneer detachments.It was 'disbanded' in February 1918 and returned to Finland.

Interestingly comment from an American source on this unit:

... but coordination was good because all of the regimental commanders and the division commander, Col. Hjalmar Siilasvuo, were veterans of the 27th Jager Battalion, That unit of some 1,800 Finnish volunteers had fought in the Kaiser's army against the Russians in the First World War. After Finland gained its independence from Russia in December 1917, those Jager veterans received additional battle experience in the Finnish civil war of 1918. They also became the nucleus of the Finnish officer corps.

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Hanski
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Post by Hanski » 17 May 2003 17:07

To illustrate the significance of the Jaeger officers in the Finnish Army, this biography gives a good example:

http://www.lib.helsinki.fi/elektra/hartikainensum.pdf

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Hanski
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Post by Hanski » 18 May 2003 10:19

To put in context the German Baltic Division in 1918, I recommend the following website on the course of the Finnish Civil War / Liberation War.

http://www.ankkurinvarsi.net/jaeger/FORMATIONS1.htm

The other parts of this website are most interesting as well.

Cheers,
Hanski

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Peter H
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Post by Peter H » 18 May 2003 12:20

The official name given to the German 12th Landwehr Division by OKH in its Finnish venture was the Deutsche Ostsee Division.Some Finnish sources also refer to it as the BalticSee Division;the Baltic Division tag was that adopted by Western Allied intelligence.

Further to it pulling out in July 1918,another German Division,the 19th Landwehr,of very poor quality,was shipped across to Finland from occupation duties in Estonia.It only remained a month or two and then returned to Estonia.The point of this deployment was to deter any Soviet designs on the new Finnish state.

I read elsewhere that in WW1 most Finnish Divisions in Russian army service prior to 1918 had in fact more non-Finnish personnel than Finnish.Conscription was not mandatory in Finland and the regional titles given to such forces had more to do with their peacetime stations.

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Harri
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Post by Harri » 18 May 2003 17:26

Moulded wrote:The official name given to the German 12th Landwehr Division by OKH in its Finnish venture was the Deutsche Ostsee Division.Some Finnish sources also refer to it as the BalticSee Division;the Baltic Division tag was that adopted by Western Allied intelligence.


This is probably a misunderstanding because "Ostsee" in German = "Baltic Sea" in English. I have never seen any other name in Finnish sources than "Itämeren divisioona" [Baltic Sea Division].

Moulded wrote:Further to it pulling out in July 1918,another German Division,the 19th Landwehr,of very poor quality,was shipped across to Finland from occupation duties in Estonia.It only remained a month or two and then returned to Estonia.The point of this deployment was to deter any Soviet designs on the new Finnish state.


This is new to me. From where this knowledge is from? I have read for example Gen. von Goltz's memoirs and he don't say a word on that. It is possible that troops were changed but they were in Finland under the Staff of "Baltic Sea Division".

Moulded wrote:I read elsewhere that in WW1 most Finnish Divisions in Russian army service prior to 1918 had in fact more non-Finnish personnel than Finnish.Conscription was not mandatory in Finland and the regional titles given to such forces had more to do with their peacetime stations.


8O Now that is something strange, I have never heard of Finnish Divisions during WW I?! If there were such divisions there were not many Finns in them because Finns were relieved from compulsory military service even during WW I. Our national army was joined to Russian Army (in practise suspended) at the beginning of 20th century and rather soon in 1905 drafts were stopped because majority of Finnish conscrips refused to serve in Russian Army.

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