m/19 tunic was Finland's first attempt at a standardized uniform
for all of its forces. It was heavily influenced by the Germanic/Prussian
characteristics of the day.
close up of the very intricate brocade of the model of 1922's
shoulder boards. This particular example indicates that the
tunic belonged to an officer of the 2nd artillery division.
An extremely rare m/22 summer tunic from the Mikka Teras collection. Notice that the uniform still retains the ornate shoulder boards and collar piping of the heavier wool tunic. Also the three button closure of the blouse is very reminiscnet of the Russian style summer blouse. The uniform is set off by the tunic belt with shoulder strap in the m/22 style. It is an exceptional accessory to this tunic. Overall this is an extrmeely rare tunic in exceptional condition-the center piece of a Finnish unifrom collection without doubt.
next phase of the uniform improvements came with the introduction of
the model 1927 version to both the Army and Civil Guard. This
tunic was much more suited to field conditions with the addition
of the cargo pockets but was very heavy in construction. The
first versions were more brown in the color of the wool. Later
version had a decidedly green hue to them. This Civil
Guard soldier was attached to the Häme district as can be
told by colors of the sleeve patch and wears a large wool
cap for protection from the cold weather of winter time
later versions of the m/27 were produced with a decidedly
more green color to them. This version from 1935 shows some
revisions the Civil Guard made in the closure design and
fit. It featured and interior waste belt to give it a more
defined fit at the waist. This officer in the Civil Guard
of the Savo district is armed with his m/24 rifle and waits
to fill his canteen. His personal knife or "puukko"
is attached to his belt along with a 45 round capacity three
segment ammunition box made under contract for the Suoljeluskunta
and his breadbag slung across his chest.
arm patches of the Suoljeluskunta. Each military district
had its own color scheme to identify its troops. The shield
was sewn to the left sleeve of the tunic. These patches
were used from the 1920's through the second world war by
home front troops attached to the Civil Guard. Cockades
that were the same color scheme were affixed to the caps
instead of the army's blue and white version - The larger
cockade on the lower right is an officer's cockade which
is the same thicker style as used by the Finnish Army just
a different color format. The arm band was worn under dress
occasions with this example being from the mid 1920's.
Armbands such as this are quite scarce to locate today.
Army's light weight summer tunic of 1932. This model in its
green color was constructed of a heavy weight cotton and would
be the basis for the later m/36 summer tunic. These jackets
are quite scarce today for the collector to find. This particular
tunic was made at the Army clothing factory and was constructed
and accepted for use in 1935. It is a size "2" as
indicated in the ink stamping.
summer light weight short cotton blouse of the Civil Guard.
Short in it's length, it made for a very attractive look.
The rank of this soldier attached to the Helsinki district
can be identified by the sleeve chevrons-lance sergeant.
Another outstanding piece from the Mikka Teras collection. This Civil Guard issue m/32 summer tunic carries all of its identification insignia and arm badge. Notice the collar insignia of the Civil Guard-two fir sprigs indicating an officers position and the green piping on the shoulder epaulets denoting infantry service .
A side view of the SK m/32 tunic above displaying the Souljeluskunta district badge. In this case the Helsinki area.
of the most important elements of a capable fighting force
is the ability of rapid and accurate information exchange
between units. One of the pioneers of this training was the
Civil Guard and its training programs aimed at young men.
This program, very much like our Boy Scouts but with a paramilitary
emphasis was the basis for the early communication units and
couriers like the one depicted here. This Civil Guard "Youth"
member wears the uniform and cap of the boys program based
upon the Souljeluskunta's model of 1930 summer uniform. He
wears the Laplander style boots with curled toes to aid in
the quick insertion into skis. These high calf length boots
were also worn in the summer months. His dispatch satchel
can be seen hanging from his left shoulder. The patch on the
sleeve is the marking of this organization and a like badge
is seen in the second photo.
Finnish prototype model of 1934 tunic as modeled off the German
model of 1932 combat tunic. A copy of this tunic was obtained
from German sources in 1933 so that an example was on hand
to work off. Photo is taken from "Asepuku m/36"
by Petteri Leino.
Finnish and German wartime Infantry tunics in comparison.
The left is the Finnish m/36 version and on the right the
German counterpart. This photo was taken on a private
tour arranged at the Sotamuseo in Helsinki Finland.
distinctive summer m/36 uniform of the Finnish Naval
forces. Easily identified from the army version as it lacks
the fall down collar, it also used the black shoulder boards
commonly associated with naval units. The buttons are also
different as the ground troops and air force used the rampant
lion embossed copper buttons. Naval forces substituted the
naval anchor symbol on the buttons and they were exposed
in contrast to the hidden buttons of the army's tunic.
is a typical Naval uniform of the Finnish forces of the day.
Dark blue wool with a double row of brass lion embossed buttons
adorn the front of the tunic. A standard leather belt with
the m/22 style pressed steel buckle provide a finished look
on the tunic as well as a carrying point for any equipment.
Dark blue wool straight leg trousers, the seamen's beret and
ankle length boots complete the set. This naval soldier is
armed with the Swiss supplied MKMS select fire "sub-machine
gun/rifle" in a caliber of 9mm. Only 300 of these robust
rifles were produced and 282 of them were sold to Finland
where they saw service in the Navy and Coastal Artillery units.
This rifle featured the unique ability for the stick magazine
to fold up into a recess in the forearm of the stock. This
seamen depicted served upon the warship "Torunmaa".
Air Force tunic of Finland. This tunic is a early
version from 1939. Notice the colored blue piping on the
shoulder straps which was discontinued post Winter War in
1941. This captain wears his winged propeller emblems and
his officer lions on the straps. His rank of captain displayed
on his collar patches by three heraldic roses. His cap also
is piped in blue and adorned with the national cockade in
blue and white. Finnish pilots were not given "wings"
but rather a "pilots badge" worn on the left breast
pleat. His pistol belt carries the Belgian contracted FN
35 pistol that was a favorite of the air crews and pilots.
His Brewster Buffalo leather flying helmet is in his left
hand. Finnish air crew uniforms are extremely hard to obtain.
The force was small and served with exceptional valor during
the wars so much of its equipment was lost or replaced in
later years. Any pilots tunic is a exceptional find today
for a collector.
the Winter and Continuation War, Finnish pilots scored impressive
victories with an assortment of airplanes of several different
countries. Fighter planes like the Fokker D.XXI, Morane-Saulnier
M.S. 406 and 410, Brewtser 239 "Buffalo" and the
famed Messerschmitt ME 109's all served in Finnish combat
squadrons along with captured or repaired Soviet aircraft
of several types. This pilot is outfitted with a typical flight
suit of the time as he studies the operational map. Note his
heavy fur lined jumpsuit gloves along with the Browning "Hi-Power"
in its holster on his flight belt. Finland ordered about 3000
pistols prior to the War for service with its Air Force, primarily
with fighter pilots and aircrews.
lance sergeant is assigned to a unit in the Carelian Guards.
Wearing a light weight cotton summer tunic m/36 in ,
he is ready to move forward to the border in 1941. The
Finnish Army was desperately short of helmets during the Winter
War of 1939-40 and looked elsewhere for headgear. Germany
responded to a request by sending 50,000 m/34 helmets
to its Finnish ally for combat troops from the now occupied
Czechoslovakia. This trooper wears his breadbag and Finnish
produced leather load bearing straps. A Finnish stick
grenade is tucked into his m/32 belt which is fastened with
the embossed Finnish lion buckle. A spare
72 round drum is at the ready for his deadly kp/31 Suomi sub
view of the Carelian Guards soldier. The crossed rifles
of the infantry service are apparent on his shoulder straps.
Also notice the clip on the side of the m/24 stick grenade
used for attachment to the belt. Finnish troops rapidly
advanced through Russian positions in 1941 in a drive to
recapture lost Finnish territory that the Soviets captured
in the Winter War. In conjunction with the German invasion
of Russia, Finnish troops swept aside the Russian invaders
and by 1942 had established a buffer zone on the Russian
side of the border. This is an excellent picture that details
the color and texture of the m/36 summer tunic and its "salt
and pepper" color from the white and gray threads.
The surprise of the k/31 and its deadly effects on
Russian troops in 1939-40 was a lead to the quick development
of the PPsH 41 and more importantly the large capacity drum
which was copied nearly identically by Russian designers
from the Suomi version.
Finnish trooper assigned to the KevOs 2 Infantry Regiment
in late 1941. Wearing the wool version of the new model
of 1936 tunic, this soldier is wearing a German supplied m/16
helmet. His shoulder straps have the early embroidered insignia
of his unit and regiment number-the crossed skis on a bicycle
wheel of the Jaeger regiments. This group of soldiers
was most feared amongst the Soviet troops and often served
as a quick reaction and "shock troops" in heavily
contested areas. This Finn has armed himself with a captured
Tokarev semi automatic rifle-the SVT 40. Many thousands were
captured at the close of the Winter War and in the early stages
of the Continuation War (1941-1944) as the Finn's refer to
World War 2. On his right shoulder is a spare barrel
in its green leather carrier for the Lahti Saloranta light
machine gun. A captured Soviet ammunition/magazine pouch
for the rifle is on his belt. It held two spare 10 rd. magazines
for the rifle.
you can see period photograph of a tank crew for a Sturmgeschütz
40 G assault gun taking a few minutes to resupply its 75mm
main gun with AP ammunition. Notice the tanks commander in
his leather m/36 pattern tunic as shown in detail on the other
large photo plates of this section. In 1943 Finland bought
30 Sturmgeschütz 40 G model assault guns from Germany to supplement
the amour divisions who sorely lacked the punch needed to
defeat the Soviet armor of the day -the T34. With a Soviet
offensive looming Finland requested and received another 29
Sturmgeschütz III G's from Germany in the summer of 1944.
The StuG 40 was highly effective with the Finnish amour divisions
during the Continuation War from 1943 to 1944. Do to the terrain
limitations that gave the defenders a distinct advantage and
the excellent marksmanship qualities of the crews, this tank
was highly feared by the Soviet Red Army. During the fighting
Finland lost but 8 of its StuG assault guns but destroyed
87 Soviet tanks of all types and an untold number of auxiliary
vehicles and field guns of all types.
the complete tank commanders uniform can be seen in detail.
The special m/36 tunic made of black leather along with the
black leather "breeches" can be seen on this commander.
His padded leather tankers helmet is held in his left hand.
This tunic is extremely rare die to the small number of armored
crews and the limited production of the leather tunics. During
the war these tunics were discontinued in favor of the heavy
canvas type jumpsuit or the simple winter wool or lightweight
cotton summer version of the m/36 uniform.
you can see the leather m/36 commanders tunic on the left
along with the padded tankers helmet worn for protection while
in the fighting vehicle. The radio earphones are incorporated
into the helmet.You can see the plug in cord for this headgear
in the commanders hand. He is armed with the standard sidearm
of the Finnish Army of the day the m/23 Luger. The right side
figure is shown with the grey canvas jumpsuit that became
prevalent later in the war. This figure is more than likely
a radio operator/gunner than a commander due to the lack of
rank insignia on his uniform and the standard enlisted mans
cockade worn on his m/36 cap.
close up of the shoulder strap and its sewn insignia. This
feature quickly disappeared on the tunics produced during
the war. This tunic is 1939 dated and still retained the feature.
You can see the rank patch on the collar of the three chevrons
indicating this soldier holds the rank of a full sergeant.
early version of the summer m/36 tunic with sewn infantry
insignia. This tunic belongs to a lieutenant from opening
stages of the "Continaution War" of 1941.
m/36 summer tunic displaying the later version of the Jaeger
units. This style insignia was pinned to the strap by four
metal wires that passed through the strap and were folded
over to secure the pin. These soldiers were mobile and made
use of skis in the winter and bicycles in the warmer months.
On this summer tunic the collar tabs are that of light infantry
(green background with gold piping) as compared to the infantry
(green-white) winter tunic above.
This summer tunic is 1941 dated andwould have been issued
to the fast moving troops taking part in the Continuation
cavalry sergeant takes a break while waiting to resupply.
In the foreground you see a captured Maxim machine gun ammunition
belt can stenciled with the white [SA] denoting Finnish
property. Also a German supplied ammo can that held 300
rounds of rifle ammunition. A box of Finnish produced ammo
is seen on the top. The soldier wears the m/36 "summer"
tunic and the m/36 field cap with a bill. The national cockade
is at the top. This front line soldier has attached his
load bearing straps to the "D" ring on the rear
of the cartridge pouches. With one on each side this trooper
can carry up to 95 rds of ammo-45 in each pouch and the
5 in his rifles magazine. The rifle is the model 1927 rv
or cavalry rifle that was specially made for mounted troops.
Extremely rare today, most of these short rifles were lost
during the war and only hundreds or less survive today.
This sergeant holds his Hungarian supplied m/38 steel helmet
in his right hand. This was the most prevalent of the contracted
helmets in Finnish service during the war with 75,000 pieces
coastal artillery sergeant takes a quick compass reading on
incoming shell directions as he heads towards his battery.
Wearing the "winter" wool tunic and the darker gray
wool breeches of the m/36 uniform, this sergeant is armed
with one of the 94,500 Italian Carcano m/38 short rifles ordered
from Italy in 1940. Almost all of these rifles were relegated
to rear echelon troops and artillery battery's. On his
belt he wear a small pistol of Spanish origin. In Finnish
service the pistol was called the m/19 but American collectors
often name this pistol the "Ruby". A flashlight
is attached to his breast pocket button to light the ranging
charts at his coastal gun emplacement and a set of captured
Russian binoculars hang from his neck. This soldier wears
a tunic from 1944 and the late black plastic/bakelite
buttons are clearly visible. The wool on this late tunic is
quite coarse and the smooth texture of the early models was
lost in the production haste to provide enough gear to the
troops in the field. His shoulder straps bear the crossed
cannons behind a flaming bomb insignia. The helmet is
one of 25,000 German m/35 helmets that were supplied to Finland in
the autumn of 1941.
issued winter m/36 tunic. This 1940 dated tunic was issued
to a sergeant in the cavalry and has late war bakelite replacement
buttons, not the earlier painted gray steel style. In general
dragoon tunics tend to run smaller in size, as those soldiers
on horseback were in a general sense slighter in build and
very athletic. These soldiers would have been issued a belt
and Y-straps to carry gear in the field and the tunic is equipped
with rear belt hooks to help bear a heavy load. It is difficult
today to locate NCO or enlisted men's m/36 tunics, as most
surviving examples are of the officer variety. There are many
theories as to why enlisted and NCOs tunics are hard to locate,
but the simplest reason is that officers could afford to retain
and store such items for memories sake. The enlisted men often
did not have this luxury. After the war many of the units
were mustered out of the service with just the tunic, pants
and boots on their feet. As such their tunics were worn in
everyday life until suitable civilian clothing could be found.
Then the tunic often served as a work jacket or coat. The
overall survival rate of the Finnish Dragoon Regiment tunics
(there were three, the URR or Uusimaa Dragoon Regiment - Uudenmaan
Rakuunarykmentti and the HRR or Häme Cavalry Regiment - Hämeen
Ratsurykmentti and the standard cavalry of the army) are exceptionally
rare today for the later stages of the war, these elite units
were decimated in the defense of the Finnish homeland.
example of the summer tunic m/36 as worn by the armored
troops. Normally issued a black leather m/36 style tunic,
the tank crews adopted the light weight summer cotton tunic
in the hot summer months. The black background and orange
piped collar patches indicate that this tunic was issued
to a NCO (sergeant-major) in the Lagos armored brigade as
the triangular sleeve patch of three advancing arrows tells
us. This tunic also bears the 7th button on the left breast
area to hold open the tunic collar during the summer months.
This extra button was only allowed for troops serving on
the Carelian front. The closed fist around the armour vehicles
road wheel are the tank service identification pins as seen
on the shoulder straps.
close up showing the rear of the m/36 summer tunic and its
added belt loops to assist in hold the leather belt in position.
This picture also details the rear of the load bearing straps
often called "Y" straps due to the design. The soldiers
puuko (knife) is in its wartime produced pressed cardboard
sheath-due to lack of leather supplies, is on his belt.
interior view of a summer model 1936 uniform jacket.
The cloth loop for hanging the garment is seen at the collar
line as well as the 6 hidden button holes. The makers
mark and ID info of the tunic is not evident in the picture.
It would be on the left side and stamped in ink about 2/3
of the way up.
interior of the winter wool m/36 tunic. Note the brown cotton
lining into the sleeves and about half way down the jacket
for comfort. The belt straps in the center are for attaching
the steel hooks that helped to hold up the leather belt on
the wool tunic. They hooked into the straps and then passed
out through the slits in the rear of the tunic. The inside
pocket for personal effects or a combat bandage is at
the lower right corner. The maker and size info is evident
on the right side of this tunic