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Uniformfinnishm36summerinsidedate.JPG (58068 bytes)

Interior markings of a typical summer uniform as found on the left side edge.

This tunics markings indicate from top to bottom:

[SA] : Finnish Army ownership/property stamp:  

Int : Abbreviation for "Intendentuuri" the Finnish supply service for the Army.

42 : The year of production/issue

52 : Size of the jacket

A : Alternate sizing such as sleeve length etc...

NP : Makers mark. It is unknown

Uniformfinnishm36winterinsidedate.JPG (59807 bytes)

Interior ink stamped markings of the wool winter tunic found on the right inside edge of the jacket.

Int. : Abbreviation for "Intendentuuri" the Finnish supply service for the Army. Early marking used a period.

VPu : Valtion Pukutehdas (State Clothing Factory) Earlier marking was AP but that was changed in 1941

but both stamps continued to be used.

41 : Year of manufacture/issue

48 : Size of the jacket

A : Alternate sizing such as sleeve length etc..

m36uniformundershirt.JPG (41451 bytes)

The under shirt as issued to the soldier by the army clothing store. A banded collar shirt made of light cotton or a heavier grade as this one, the shirt was made with 3 front closure buttons made of zinc. The standard elastic cloth braces were attached by leather hangars to two buttons on each side of the front of the trouser/breeches and two in the rear. The sleeves were button with two metal buttons as well. This infantry soldier is wearing the light summer m/36 "overseas" cap as the green piping indicates. His cap also has the red enameled lion cockade of an officer. Apparently he is bringing some entrenching tools to the troops to fortify their positions in the late summer of 1942. The trousers issued were both straight legged and the breeches style. In my experience the breeches style are the most prevalent

victhomasunder1.jpg (60606 bytes)

 

Two different undershirts and a pair of long bottom winter under garments. The light weight striped cotton shirt was very common as manufactured by the army clothing store AP. (Armeijan Pukimo) as well as the heavier winter version of a thicker material. The pants are a heavy cotton material made to be both warm and tough.

The markings are as on the tunics, with the [SA] indicating the owner and the Int telling us that the garment was supplied through army supply. Below we have the year of its issue and the size, this time a 1, 2 or 3.  Sizes getting larger with the increase in the number.

victhomasunderstamp1.jpg (38337 bytes)

A close up of the markings telling us that the pants are a size 2, the Finnish Army owns this garment and that it was supplied by army supply chain in 1943. The heavy zinc buttons for closure are seen in this picture.

The model of 1922 greatcoat in front and rear views. This particular greatcoat belonged to a Kapteeni (Captain) in the Infantry. The three sleeve bands denote his rank. This greatcoat was and would have been made by a private tailor rather than from Army supply and therefore exhibits excellent material and workmanship as well as cut and style . Notice the heavy brocade shoulder boards of the m/22 uniforms and the green piping indicating infantry. Six 22mm copper buttons closed the front of the double breasted
coat. The collar of the m/22 was a dark gray colored wool, almost black in appearance. The rear kick pleat was separated in the center and could be fastened shut with three buttons for various heights of closure. The rear
photo also shows the waist accent attached by two 22 mm copper washed buttons. In the lower photo a close up of the Infantry m/22 shoulder boards with the green piping and the officers golden lion pin.

m22greatcoatinside.JPG (55950 bytes)

Interior of the private tailored greatcoat m/22. Notice the heavy full length silk lining and exquisite workmanship.

m36greatcoatinside.JPG (60975 bytes)

The interior view of a army supplied enlisted men's greatcoat. A simply cotton lining and only half length in the lining depth. The markings in ink are the makers and size info and are located on the interior breast pocket. 

DSC00246-tuco-gr-coat1.jpg (120604 bytes)

Makers marking from the interior of a private purchase M36 greatcoat.  This is a wartime issue coat of a Finnish Captain but was made by a private company for his use.  In many cases these private purchases are of higher quality than standard issue items and also can have certain traits not seen on regular issue.  For example this coat has no shoulderboards in place only the rank rings on the sleeves.

m36greatcoatmarking.JPG (25766 bytes)

The interior markings of a typical enlisted men's greatcoat from 1944. The markings tell us that this coat was delivered through army supply (Int) and is the property of the Finnish Army [SA]. The size is 52 B and the maker is Tiklas. The circled M below indicates this coat was purchased from army storage.

m36greatcoatarmour.JPG (63443 bytes)

A fine example of a rare item as the coat above bears an armored unit patch on the sleeve.  Very few examples of these will be found today.

m36greatcoatlate.JPG (43582 bytes)

A very late production of the m/36 style great coat. In all respects this great coat produced in 1944 is nothing more than a poor quality wool blanket fashioned into a greatcoat. Construction is very basic.

The three versions of the woolen greatcoats used by Finnish forces from 1922 to 1945. The m/22 on the left, the model of 1922 that was updated to the model of 1936 specifications in the center and the model of 1936 on the far right. Notice the black collar of the m/22 on the conversion greatcoat in the center but the addition of shoulder straps and other subtle modifications to this Army supplied coat were made after 1936. The model 36 on the far right is a standard enlisted men's coat from 1943. It is very typical of the type with both collar and body of the coat made of the same material. It used the steel buttons painted gray as the copper washed were no longer in supply in the mid war years

DSC00232.jpg (63400 bytes)

A arm band from the army worn in ceremonial activities. This arm band dates from the 1920's. The medals are from bottom left to right: Continuation War service 1941-1945, Winter War service 1939-1940, A 4th Division Cross with battle bars attached denoting what battles the wearer was decorated for and finally in the lower right hand corner the  Liberation War service medal for activity in the Finnish Independence campaign of 1918.

cockades.JPG (33661 bytes)

5 typical examples of the cockades that were worn on the m/36 field cap. From left to right:

An officers ruby enameled golden lion cockade worn by commissioned officers of all branches of service. The national colors cockade in enamel for NCOs. This cockade was previously worn by both officers and NCOs prior to the winter war but was changed to NCOs only later. It is 3 mm thick and finely enameled with a beveled scalloped edge. The standard enlisted men's steel cockade in national colors. Worn by all personnel of enlisted rank. At the outset of the Winter War often soldiers who reported to duty from home were only given some ammunition, a rifle and this simple cockade as an identifying emblem as uniforms were in short supply. A cockade worn by an officer of the Suoljeluskunta (Civil Guard) from the Häme district. It is the same construction as the Army version described above but the district colors are used instead of the national colors. A simple steel cockade of the enlisted Civil Guardsmen.

 

The m/1919 billed cap of the Civil Guard as adopted after the Liberation war in 1918. the large metalic fir sprig indicated that soldier was a member of the Civil Guards. The hat pin was used in parade situations. Either a tin or natural fir sprig was used.

 

 

Two different styles and cloth types of the early m/22 summer cap

 

m22m39cap series.JPG (86481 bytes)

The summer caps of the Finnish armed forces. These four styles represent the three basic models of the summer caps in use with the Finns. From the far left we have a fine wool m/36 cap that was issued to a medical officer. The piping is a wine color of the medical corp. The chin strap was often affixed to the sides and top of this cap. The next cap is the m/36 summer cap in light weight cotton. This cap was a favorite amongst officers for its looks and comfort in the hotter months. It belonged to an officer of the Infantry. The next cap moving from left to right is the m/36 summer cap in wool. Although cooler than the m/36 billed cap, it was often issued to enlisted personnel who choose the wear it. It is also an Infantry issued version from the green piping and saw action with a NCO as the cockade indicates. The final cap on the far right is the model of 1939 version. This fine wool cap was the final refinement of the summer caps in service. This cap is taller and more "pillbox" like than its predecessors. Its issue was to an officer of the Artillery with the red piping. All of the caps used a 15mm embossed lion button on each side to retain the chin strap. The types used depending on the time made as these followed the same order as on uniforms. As demands increased and supply fell the buttons moved from copper to steel to black bakelite. The cap on the far right has the bakelite buttons.

The m/22 officers billed cap from the Mikka tera collection in a front and side view

 

 

A model 1927 officers cap

m36 caps early.JPG (47921 bytes)

The experimental model of 1934 billed field cap on the left and the standardized version adopted in 1936 on the right. Notice the shorter bill on the m/34 cap and the garnet colored piping on the m/36 cap on the right that became standard until 1941. the piping denotes that this cap was issued to a Pioneer (Engineer).

m36 caps1.JPG (61207 bytes)

Three m/36 caps. The early version on the far left with piping and excellent construction and materials used and issued to a NCO.  The center from 1941 with a coarser wool and cooper buttons. The steel cockade of a enlisted man on the front . The far right shows a later cap again from 1942 that saw service with an officer in the field.

m36 caps2.JPG (96972 bytes)

The m/36 cap on the left was constructed using substitute materials as became the practice in the lean mid-war years. As wool became harder to find and the quality available decreased, the alternative was to look for other materials for construction. Both caps and tunics were made of this cloth. It is often referred to in Finnish uniform collectors circles as "diagonal cloth". The name is clear when viewing this cap or uniforms as the design of the cloth shows. The cap on the right is the last of the line for wartime m/36 caps. This cap was manufactured under heavy pressure for it shows a poor amount of workmanship and the quality of wool is passable but not by much. The folded chin straps on the sides are only attached by a single steel button instead of the normal two. This cap was made in 1944 more than likely in a small sub-contracted shop to the army clothing store. Both caps are enlisted men's versions.

m36 caps cg.JPG (56246 bytes)

The m/36 style cap of the Civil Guard. The interior of the caps varied by maker and style. The cap on the left is a "Lotta Savard" cap issued for winter service in the women's auxiliary. These women played an integral part in assisting the troops in a support role. The cap on the right is a standard Civil Guardsman's cap for summer use. It was made as the ink stamps indicate in 1938 in a size 57 for the Suoljeluskunta-Ylieskunta or Sk.Y headquarters. The HQ was responsible for ordering and placing contracts for supply to the districts and therefore the equipment was marked with the letters of the ordering organization-the Sk.Y.  The cap was made by  Kurikan Lakkitehdas Oy. a firm contracted to supply material for the Civil Guard. It leather sweat band is visible. This cap style did not incorporate the ear flaps of the army version.

m36 caps cg outsude.jpg (39372 bytes)

Exterior front views of the Lotta Savard and Civil Guard issued caps. The district colored cockades on the front.

m34 caps insifde.JPG (85800 bytes)

An interior view of the rare m/34 experimental cap. This was the trial version that would become the m/36 cap. Notice the fine silk lining of this pre war production cap. This cap was made just prior to the revised  and simplified version being adopted in 1936 as the m/36 cap. The Army Clothing store of AP produced this cap in a very large size-59 in 1936. The Int marking tells us that the cap was delivered through army supply channels. On the right is the snap in quilted liner for winter use. Three snaps-two on the sides and one in the rear retained the liner in the cap.

m36 m34 caps unfolded.JPG (112003 bytes)

The m/34 cap of 1936 on the left and the m/36 cap of 1940 on the right. The m/34 cap now has the quilted winter liner installed. Both caps used a leather sweat band but later m/36 used a coarse weave cotton band when war pressure forced simplifications. The m/36 cap on the right is odd in that it is virtually unissued and the sweatband an odd color of white. Normal brown soft leather was used.

m36 caps unfolded.JPG (69760 bytes)

The m/36 in its normally folded style on the left and the flaps unfolded for foul weather on the right. A unique feature of this dual purpose cap.

m36 capsionsidelate.JPG (52751 bytes)

The interior of a late production m/36 cap showing the coarse cotton sweatband used in the later stages of the war production.

 

The Model 1922 winter cap is often referred to as the "dragoon cap" due to its popularity with mounted troops.  These were to be replaced by the later Model 1939 winter cap however one could still see M22's in service 1939-45.  In many cases these were issued to dragoon regiments such as the URR and HRR who seemed to prefer this style of cap to the newer versions.  This example bears two Finnish officer cockades - correct for Winter War period.

DSC00242-vi-close.jpg (63565 bytes)

Liner and maker's marking from the M22 pictured above.   This cap was manufactured in Viipuri which was Finland's second largest city.   Viipuri was first lost in the Winter War, retaken during the Continuation War, then once again lost to the Russians in later fighting.  Viipuri is now known as the Russian city Vyborg. M22 caps are one of the more uncommon - rare headgear a Finnish collector will locate and in most cases condition is poor, due to age and heavy use.   The example above dates from the later 1920's.

m39 fur caps.JPG (50608 bytes)

The m/39 caps for winter use. An enlisted men's version on the left dating from 1943 with the steel cockade, and the officers version on the right with the red enameled lion cockade. Early on both the steel national color cockade and the ruby cockade were used with officers but that practice was dropped during the Winter and Continuation wars.

Uniformfinnishdragoonhame.JPG (61898 bytes)

A Cavalry officer of 1940 in his wool m/36 tunic.  This picture shows a good detail shot of the buttons and the detail of the tunic front. Notice his Häme cavalry officers school badge on the right breast pocket and the Cavalry saber in his right hand. Many of these sabers were supplied by France and are the 1822 models. These heavy sabers were employed with cavalry squadrons and used on dress occasions. This trooper would have worn red riding breeches with a yellow strip on the pant leg,  a very attractive uniform. He wears a winter cap m/39.

cavalryboots.JPG (24946 bytes)

An officers riding boots of the cavalry. His silver spurs attached to the boots by leather straps that crossed over the arch in front and under the boot in front of the heel. They were then buckled closed. These boots were made of high quality polished leather and about 2" higher than a enlisted men's boot.

feltandofficerboots.JPG (50298 bytes)

On the left are the winter enlisted men's boot of the army. The wool/felt uppers may have been an attempt to save leather in a strapped supply chain. The officers boots are on the right. Notice the height difference and the obvious leather quality increase. Officers boots also had a different toe shape-being more pointed.

lapandleatherboots.JPG (58683 bytes)

The "Laplander" style boots used by ski troops and often by Civil Guardsmen. These boots were more likely to be seen by troops who wore there own or were issued them by the army for a special purpose like skiing. These boots are army issue and so marked [SA] on the top rear. The curled toe allowed the boots to be quickly hooked into the cross country ski bindings. The standard leather enlisted men's boots on the right. Made of a lesser grade leather quality than the officers model, these boots also lacked the stiffness in the upper portion of the boot. Soles and heels were leather but often repaired or resoled with rubber. These boots are the most commonly seen on wartime Finnish troops and served long on after the war.

m36 summer at man.JPG (66608 bytes)

The fight for Finland's survival begins. This NCO or sergeant-major is attached to an anti-tank unit in the summer of 1944. Wearing his summer blouse and gray wool breeches style pants and high leather boots, he is ready to go tank "hunting". He has seen heavy action at the front and has adopted a captured PPsH 41 smg and a Soviet RDG 33 AP handgrenade for close quarters. His breadbag with canteen slung across his shoulder. Popular amongst Finnish forces, he wears a Czech m/34 helmet on his head. His tank killer is the German produced "Panzerschreck". A 88mm rocket launcher, this electrically fired weapon was capable of knocking out almost all of the Soviet amour in 1944. With the war draining German production, tank short Finland was not able to purchase anymore amour from Germany after the delivery of the StglV assault guns in early 1944. As a compromise the Germans sent roughly 1800 of the "tank terror" weapons as it was called, to the Finns in the summer of 1944. The weapon was effective at ranges up to 400m on stationary targets and was capable of penetrating 9 inches of amour straight on and over 6 inches at a 60 degree deflection angle. Brave tank killers as the one depicted here were often the difference in the closing battles of 1944 for Finnish forces desperately fighting to save Finland from the Red Army. This depiction and uniform is a very accurate and typical look of that bloody summer of 1944.

 

"The End": In a tribute to a famous Finnish caricature's depiction of Finnish troops returning home from the front in 1944, this soldier carries his m/39 over his shoulder on the long march home. Devoid of ammunition pouches made of leather, this soldier lacking any rank or service branch identification only wears his bread bag and canteen as well as a simple coarse weave canvas ammunition bandoleer. These were seen with great frequency at the close of the war with the lack of leather supplies on the home front. Able to carry up to 90 rounds of clipped 7.62mm ammo these bandoleers came in many different styles and colors. The tunic is a 1944 produced version of very coarse wool and of expeditied production.  The black bakelite buttons and cuffless straight sleeves indicative of the late war model 36 tunic. His cap a late war production variant as well. As one Finnish cartoon depiction stated at the time "I still say we won" is the motto and theme of this depiction. The model 36 tunic would go on to serve in the same basic style for another 30 years in Finnish service.

 

I would like to thank my freinds and colleagues in collecting, Mikka Teras and Dave Bice for sharing some of thier faboulus collections with me to illustrate some rare items. Thank you gentelmen as your generosity in sharing your items with me has made this section even better.

 

banner-finland0ooe12.jpg (4293 bytes)


 
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