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Uniformfinnishm19.JPG (75395 bytes)

The 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.

Uniformfinnishm22epaulets.JPG (34065 bytes)

A 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.

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The 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

Finland

 

The 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.

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Various 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.

 

The 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.

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The 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.

 

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One 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.

Finnm34.JPG (37311 bytes)

The 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.

Finngermantunics.JPG (50826 bytes)

The 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.

The 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.

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This 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".

 

The 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.

sotoaircrew.JPG (42912 bytes)

During 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.

This 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 machinegun.

Another 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.

A 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.

sototankpic.JPG (38591 bytes)

Here 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.

tank%2Btunic%2Bleather.JPG (72796 bytes)

Here 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.

sototankuni.JPG (59778 bytes)

Here 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.

 

A 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.

Uniformfinnishinfantrysewneps..JPG (46438 bytes)

A 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.

DSC00244-LUN-summer.jpg (29360 bytes)

A 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 War.


This 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 being issued.

Victhomascoastart.jpg (46642 bytes)

A 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.

DSC00252-urr.jpg (49270 bytes)

URR 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.
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uniformsummerarmour.JPG (107499 bytes)

An 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.

Victhomasback1.jpg (132129 bytes)

A 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.

Uniformfinnishm36summerinside.JPG (73296 bytes)

The 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.

Uniformfinnishm36winterinside.JPG (69469 bytes)

The 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

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