Photos WW2 Finnish armed forces

Finnish AT men from the Infantry Regiment 11 (the famous Ässä-rykmentti/Ace Regiment) are having a break in the Kuolemajärvi municipality on Nov 7 1939. Based on the area mentioned they supported the 1st Battalion of the Regiment, which was positioned to the Mutalahti sub-sector of the Hatjalahti.
At the time the Finnish delegates were 'negotiating about some serious political issues' in Moscow, USSR.- and we all know what was the result. Hint for those who don't know: Live rifle cartridges were issued in the late October.
SA-kuva pic # 1037
This Finnish 40 mm Bofors AA gun (40 ItK/35-39 B) crew was pictured in the Kontupohja (Кондопога, Kondopoga) city by Lt. M. Kauppinen on Nov 3 1941.
In 1937 Finns had planned the gun being the main product of the newly established State Artillery Factory, having bought the manufacturing license. However, the plan failed miserably and the production was launched as late as 1941.
So they decided to start buy them from Bofors, Sweden, and Mavag, Hungary, in the spring of 1939. The first batch of nine arrived relatively quickly. By the end of 1939 a total of 53 guns had reached Finland: 29 from Sweden and 24 from Hungary.
As the Winter War which had broken out on Nov 30 1939 continued the Sweden ’sold’ more of them, the total amount of guns being in supply depots in the late-March was about 100 units. But when the German Operation Weserübung was launched in April the Swedish military requested the Finns to return as much guns as possible.
SA-kuva pic # 61072

Seems that this Finnish sentry had spotted something odd, possibly enemy action, on the Tiurinsaari Island on Nov 2 1941.

At the time the Finns had already liberated the Koivisto municipality on the Karelian Isthmus, but wanting not to waste living force the islands in the area were not invaded.

He’s standing beside a Danish-origin 20 mm Madsen automatic gun (20 PstK/40. During the WWII the Finns had about 300 of them, mostly in AA/general purpose use among the Navy and AA batteries protecting the trains. Only around 20 were mounted to be used in infantry support/AT role, so this pic is a bit rare.

SA-kuva pic # 60632, Koivisto

On Nov 2 1941 these Danish volunteers from the Swedish volunteer unit Hangöbataljonen (Svenska frivilligbataljonen, SFB) were trained to use a Polish 8 mm AT rifle in the Skogby village area, Hanko Peninsula.
Finns managed to buy 30 8 mm Pst.kiv. m/38 from Hungary during the Winter War, but they arrived too late. All of them were issued to the front line troops for the Continuation War in 1941. However, they were soon withdrawn from the front duties, mainly due the somewhat poor performance and the lack of ammo.
Being mothballed after the WWII they were scrapped little by little, except four last ones which were sold to the USA in 1956.
Little did these soldiers know that their duties at the Hanko front will end on Dec 3.


Finnish Supreme HQ ordered the Ladoga Freshwater Navy to re-form the Ladoga Navy on Aug 2 1941. At the time the unit consisted of two small tugs, four prams and 150 motor boats. Staff of the unit was positioned to the Sortavala city, where the HQ of the Ladoga Defence already was while the service elements were positioned to the Rauhala village, Lahdenpohja municpality. Interesting detail: the predeseccor, Freswater Navy, had four flotillas, each one having two tugs armed with 47-75 mm guns and four motor boats operated by 800 men.
Motorboats participated the Markatsimansaari Island invasion on Aug 16-17 and the Rahmansaari Island invasion on Sep 7-10 1941. When the Ladoga Defence was renamed as the Ladoga Coastal Brigade the Navy was renamed as the Naval Detachment of the Ladoga. Unit's main responsibilities were guarding and supplying the troops postioned on the islands of the lake. The capturing of the Latvian merchant vessel Ilga from the Mantsinsaari Island's harbor was very welcomed on Sep 22 1941. That 211-ton ship was renamed as Aunus.
According to the terms of the Moscow Peace Treaty agreed on March 13 1940 had forced the Finns to cede all their territories on the south-west-north coasts of the Ladoga and before leaving the harbors all boats etc. were sunk. During the late 1941 all of them were localized for their future salvage in 1942.
In the beginning of 1942 the Soviet ships were positioned to the Mostra, Osinovets and New Ladoga harbors. The Finnish intelligence had estimated the strength of the enemy navy being 10 gunboats, 30 minesweepers, 20 guard motor boats, 20 tugs and a huge amount of motor boats and prams.
Commander of the Ladoga Coastal Brigade, Col. Järvinen, suggested in the spring of 1942 that the Finnish Airforce should increase their raids against the enemy and that the Navy should issue some motor torpedoboats. Eventually, that didn't occur, but instead the Germans pressed some 2500-men strong unit to serve there, being equipped with 21 Siebel (heavy), smaller gun ferries and mine boats (KM boot). Four KM boats arrived on July 8 and the ferries during the month.
Also the Italians wanted (or were ordered?) to participate, so four MAS torpedoboats were shipped from Spezia to Szczecin, from where they sailed to the Saimaa canal, ending up to the Punkasalmi municipality and eventually to the Lahdenpohja harbor. All Italian boats, unit commanded by Capitano di corvetta Giuseppe Bianchini, were waiting orders in the Port of Sortanlahti on June 22. Interestingly, boats MAS-526-529 were the same which the Finns had bought in 1939-1940, but the shipment was captured by the Germans due the Molotov-Ribbetrop Pact and returned to Italy.
The eagerly waited successful naval operations stayed missing, though. The Italians assaulted 20 times, managing to sunk two vessels. German mine boats (KM boot) suffered engine problems, being able to make one mine laying sortie with three boats in the late September. The gun ferries, being clumsier and slower than the Soviet ships and lacking air support, were unable to operate. When getting the Luftwaffe Detachment Philipp positioned onto the Petäjärvi airfield, Karelian Isthmus, on the early August and after having informed that some enemy gunboats were sunk, the ferries started operations. A total of seven assaults were made but the enemy was engaged only three times.
The largest German-Italian-Finnish naval operation was the Suho Invasion on Oct 21-22, main targets being the destruction of the light house and all coast artillery batteries. 16 ferries and seven infantry boats participated. The operation, however, was a total disaster. The Germans lost four ferries, at least one boat and 61 men fallen and wounded.
No wonder that a Finnish Navy officer Eino "Saunateufel" Pukkila named the chapter describing the naval operations on the Lake as *Antic on the Lake Ladoga" (Ilveilyä Laatokalla) in his book Taisteluhälytys.
SA-kuva pics show some vessels and aircraft (except the Heinkel, I'd say) of the units mentioned. The bomber was used as an air support, though.
Jatkosodan historia, osa 6
Merisodan pikkujättiläinen
Taisteluhälytys by Eino Pukkila

Eino Pukkila commanded e.g. the Naval Detachment Väinämöinen on May 17 1944. SA-kuva # 150686
Eino earned his nickname ’Saunateufel’ when sauna bathed some German colleagues at the temperature of 100 degrees Celsius. Saunateufel/saunapiru/Sauna Devil

On August 7-10 1939 the Finnish Defence Forces organized the great war game on the Karelian Isthmus. Interestingly, they chose the Venäjän keskitys 2 doctrine, where an overwhelming enemy launches a massive offensive there, heading towards the Helsinki city.
Finnish defence on the Isthmus was based on the Main Defence Line (later: Mannerheim Line), which consisted of about 190 concrete bunkers and casemates, 606 wooden MG nests, 804 dugouts for accommodation, 440 km trenches, 331 km AP obstacles and 136 km AT obstacles.
The Finns had bought 32 Renault FT17 tanks from France in 1919, but they were replaced with British-origin Vickers 6-tons starting in 1938. For some reason, however, they were ordered without arms, optics and radios - even the tank commander's seat was not included.
For the war game some tanks were armed with 37 Psv.K/18 Puteaux guns, removed from the Renaults, and 7.62 mm Maxim M/09-31 (tank) MG (I'd say). Fortunately, the gun was tested during the 'Extra Excercises' (Ylimääräiset harjoitukset) in October and it proved to be totally obsolete, being unable to penetrate 10 mm armor from any range or angle.
So when the Soviet aggression broke out on Nov 30 1939, the Finns had no tanks whatsoever. Eventually, the 4th Company of the Tank Battalion managed to get eight tanks to the front to be used in the Honkaniemi counterattack on the Karelian Isthmus on Feb 26 1940.
These SA-kuva pics # 147 and149 are taken during the war game.

On Sep 6 1941 the infantry units of the Task Force Lagus were positioned as followed:
Jaeger Battalion 2 aka Detcahment Häkkinen (JP 2) secured the Aunuksenkaupunki city
Jaeger Battalion 3 aka Detachment Hynninen (JP 3) continued advancing from the Aunuksenkaupunki towards the Mäkriä municipality
Jaeger Battalion 4 aka Detachment Pólon (JP 4) was marching towards Aunuksenkaupunki
Light Detachment 4 was heading towards Pisi via Alavoinen
During the day Col. Ruben Lagus combined the Detachments Häkkinen and Hynninen to the Task Force Björkman (Björkman was the commander of the Tank Battalion). Unit's main target was the northern bank of the Svir River.
Mäkriä area was captured before the noon of Sep 6th and Häkkinen's unit continued advancing through the ground confronting only light resistance. But when reaching the Ienimänjoki River at 3 PM the Soviets, having proper fortifications there, stopped the advancing. Col. Björkman ordered tanks and all available artillery to support the assault, starting on 5 PM. Some 90 minutes later the enemy abandoned their positions, fleeing to the woods.
When the battle was over the Detachment Häkkinen was ordered to continue assaulting towards the target, Lotinapelto, main elements via Troitsankontu using main road and the others straight through the wilderness. Detachment Hynninen was ordered to follow and secure the Rutsi area and the river bank from the Rutsi to the western side of the Lotinapelto.
The Detachment Häkkinen started advancing at 7.30 PM from the Ienimäjoki Rver, confronting only occasional resistance, but at 9 PM the enemy opened heavy infantry fire from ahead and both flanks in the Uuttujärvi Lake area. Spearhead company, however, broke the enemy lines supported by the tanks. The battle neutralized the 3rd enemy battalion which were ordered to repel the Finnish offensive there.
In the early hours of Sep 7th the Detachment Häkkinen reached the Kinkieva crossroad, from where a company headed towards the Lotinapelto while the others continued towards the Troitsankontu, spotting some enemy minefields, but the combat engineers neutralized them. Defeating the small enemy unit the Finns rolled along the road , but around the crossroads of the Rutsi and Lotinapelto they were stopped again by some infantry, supported by an armored car at 4.30 AM.
The enemy was soon beated, or so the Finns thought. Capt. Häkkinen ordered the troops to clean the area, but at around 8 o'clock the some Soviet units, however, managed to ambush the Finns. Häkkinen was wounded soon after, being replaced with Capt. Komonen.
SA-kuva pic # 30734 shows Corporal Toivo Potka from the JP 2 having a just captured Soviet semi-automatic rifle, managing to neutralize 24 enemy soldiers in three days (July 29-Aug 1 1941). Pic is taken in the Tuulos area on Aug 1. He survived.
Source used: The History of the Continuation War part 2, p. 292-294 (Jatkosodan historia, osa 2, s. 292-294)

Main engineer of the Tampella's weapon production, Hans Otto Donner, got an unconvential idea about an AT gun having the barrel at the axle level in the spring of 1942. A full-sized wooden mock-up gun was exhibited to Inspector of the Artillery, Gen. Vilho Nenonen, who approved the development project.
Project team, led by Erik Fabritius, named the first prototype as 57/76 PstK, having a 57 mm barrel for the new, also Tampella-designed 57 mm x 510 R round. Barrel was separately tested in the Field Artillery Testing Centre, Niinisalo, in the summer of 1943, but the actual gun wasn't completed until December.
The Finnish Army, already having German 7.5 cm Pak 40s, wanted the gun caliber changed, wanting to use the same 75 mm projectiles as the German gun. After some strict negotiations Tampella agreed in Jan 1944. 2nd prototype was test-fired on March 16, achieving muzzle-velocity of 903 meters/second while the German 75 PstK/40 managed to reach 750 meters/second, both with using 75 pshekrv rj 22/27-ps (German PzGr 39) APHE-round.
Some severe technical issues slowed the project, but when the Soviet Petrozavodsk-Vyborg offensive broke out on June 9, the team got more resources managing to test the gun again on July 24-25. Tampella had already ordered 150 barrel blanks from the German Krupp factory in June, but was informed that the first batch of 75 could be delivered as late as April 1945 and the 2nd in July.
So this mean-looking weapon was never taken in mass-production.
SA-kuva pics # 167406, 167404 and 167405 are taken in Hamina city on Nov 8 1944

Finnish assault boat, made of plywood it could carry an infantry squad. The engine was a Hungarian Kovacs providing 29 hp. SA-kuva

On Nov 10 1941 the Munakukkula Hill at the Lempaala sector, Karelian Isthmus, was manned by two squads from the 3rd Battalion of the Infantry Regiment 1.
In the mid-evening the AP obstacles were exploded by the Soviets, who had managed to approach the base extremely cautiously.
As the Finns were repelling the overwhelming enemy they spotted a flanking attempt, being forced to abandon their positions.
Artillery and a reserve companies were alarmed and while the 1st and the 3rd Companies of the Regiment were preparing a counterattack the artillery bombarded the Hill.
Finns assaulted at 5 AM. 1st Company cut the route to the Soviet lines and the 3rd captured the Hill using SMGs and huge amounts of handgrenades.
85 fallen were found from a trench (4th pic) and around 150 from the area. Finnish losses were a few fallen and some 20 wounded.
The cameraman is Military Servant Tammilehto. Other pics are taken on Nov 10-11 1941, the last one is dated on Dec 12 1942.


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