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Gollevainen
Post subject: Finnish AU (Part III)Posted: January 21st, 2015, 12:32 pm
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Joined: July 27th, 2010, 5:10 am
Location: Finland
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Allrigth, here we go again. After about 3 years of experimenting with my "Greater Finland" AU concept of Siberian contest and my Byzantium based Comitern/Alternative Soviet Union based "main" AU nation, I've finaly decided to discard these and return to basics, or back home so to speak, to Novgorod. Past year or so I'veen been entangled in the massive work of recreating that old AU, now wisened up from the previous experiments and some issues I've become to understand while projecting them. That task is still badly midway, and I wont bother you guys with it more. However, this homecoming basicly destroyed the idea of having my Uber Finland in same universe, and thus that project also kinda died, despite I never got to really publish all those Cold War era vessels I had designed and drewn and little bit kitbashed from my existing real life drawings.
But during creation of the Novgorod 2.0 version, I came to conclusion that a smaller, more "normal" finland could exist in that universum, and first I just drew outlines of its possibilities as a seperate AU nation, but soon I was all tangled up in recreating that version as well, thus sidelining me from my major work for these past couple of months.

They have been really exiting for me, refreshing in my somewhat lazy approach to historical issues, and greatly benefitical for the completion of the SB itself, since most of these following drawings I plan to introduce in their OTL versions as well, as time permits me. This is the first ray of this new basis for my AU, and it propably manages to change again many times, but hopefully I can atleast take this one round of drawings to the end before that happens.
The Main Novgorod Thread will naturally follow in sometime this spring (or summer)
This is the 3rd time during the duration of this forum I manage to get a Finnish ships posted, and fourth time totally, thus the name.

The obligatory wall of text will follow next, and it migth contain spelling errors, so read at your own risk!
Ill try to keep all the information of the ships in the "b-sides" of my templates as I've had custom in past efforts

_________________
Coming next: L/M Moskva, some research ships, pr.26bis, Pr.1144 remakes and Project 1143 complete redux.



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Gollevainen
Post subject: Re: Finnish AU (Part III)Posted: January 21st, 2015, 12:36 pm
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INTRODUCTION

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The Grand Duchy of Finland 1809-1917

The Finnish Democratic republic begun its life as the Grand Duchy of Finland, a Novgorodian protectorate created after the Victorious war against Sweden in 1809 as part of the greater wars against Napoleon in the Europe. Novgorodian Emperor Alexander became as the Grand Duke of Finland and in the Diet of Porvoo in 1809 where the estates pledged alliance to the new ruler, Alexander promised to retain the Finnish laws (Swedish constitution from 1772), customs, nobility and most importantly the religion.
In 1825, after the Death of Novgorodian Emperor Alexander, His eldest son Konstantin renounced his claim to the imperial throne and In Poland until his death in 1830. His imperial abdication caused the Decembrist rebellion in Novgorod, during which the Novgorodian armies in Finland (mostly drafted finish Units) helped the forces loyal to the new emperor Nikolai. As a reward, Nikolai gave Finnish Grand Duchy back the areas Novgorod had conquered from Swedish Finland in 1721 and 1748. This rebellion also led to the drafting of the Novgorodian Constitution in which the status of Finland was acknowledged that to a similar of Norway under Swedish rule. (The Scandinavian legislations inspired many of the Novgorodian new thinkers.) Finland was to have its own government and laws. The rule and position of the Grand duke was executed by a General-Governor, whom at until 1905 was usually a Finnish noble presented by the Emperor.
After Konstantin’s death, his son Nicholas became the New Grand Duke at the age of 7, and known as Niklas I in Finland. During his long reign Finland prospered as its national life became to take form and Finland gained its own currency, its own Flag and independent Army, which was not part of the Novgorodian army, but under the General-Governors and Senate’s command. Finnish political status against Novgorod was mostly that of Alliance in military affairs and foreign policy. During the Crimean War in 1850’s, Novgorodian troops and Fleet was stationed in Finnish soil to strengthen its defence in possible invasion by the Anglo-French alliance. In 1877 Russo-Novgorodian war against Turkey, small Finnish contingent fought along its bigger allies.
Internally the reign of Nicholas marked great improvement for the Finnish language and the raising nationalism together with the industrial revolution brought the power of Bourgeois, brought many Finnish speaking people in power within the government, and the established rule of the Swedish speaking nobility begun to fail, since Nicholas visited Finland numerous times and formed strong connections to the land-lords and other elite. Most importantly, he studied the Finnish language instead of Swedish one, and its culture and gave Finnish official status in 1856. This move was mainly motivated by Nicholas’s attempt to reduce the power of the Swedish speaking and Swedish-sympathetic parts of the society.
The march of the Finnish nationalist and bourgeois politicians brought lots of Liberalist ideas into Finnish economic life and despite the Finland wasn’t able to catch up as much with the Industrial revolution compared to Novgorod and other European super-powers, But it marked increased development of the forestry and specially textile and shipbuilding industry. The biggest factor forming the Finnish nation during the 19th century was the booming population growth, and together with the rising industrialisation increased the city sizes as well as marked immigration to mainly America, but in limited form also to Novgorodian Siberia. Most immigration was however internal, not only from rural to cities, but increased areas from mostly sparsely populated Karelia and Savo begun to increase in population size, helped by raise of such Forrest industrial centres as Lappeenranta, Kuopio and Joensuu in the Inland.
Nicholas reigned until his death in 1893 at the age of 70. His eldest son, Nicholas succeeds the throne as Nicholas II. Against his father peaceful reign, Nicholas II’s reign proved out to be more turmoil. Despite nominally fielding Absolute power, Nicholas I never used his powers to their most ultimate force, but was known as diplomatic and liked person, who often persuaded people to his side by sheer social influence. He was well liked both by Novgorodian elite, as well as Finnish politicians and nobility for such extend, that they had established political freedom that exceeded their legitimate basis. Nicholas II, however was often odds within the Finnish Bourgeois and couldn’t stand the rising Socialists, and often allied himself with the old nobility of Swedish origins to counter both, to undermine lots of his Father’s work. This made him really un-liked figure and together with the political instability created by his constant interfering with the activities of the Senate created the room for the social tendencies and confrontations to build, which gave the root the Revolution and Civil war after the First World War. One key feature of Nicholas bad reputation in Finland was his habit of nominating Novgorodian senior officers as Finnish General-Governors instead of the old ways of nominating Finnish born nobility. The role of the General-Governor became hated among the population and many politicians sought discuss Finnish matters directly with the emperor, since despite Nicholas II had plans to subjugate Finland more closely into the empire, his arbitrary mind often showed great sympathy and understanding of Finnish issues, that many politicians begun to use in their advantage.
Nicholas II was determined to raise Novgorod as nation among the great ones in the world and his biggest desire was colonial ambitions and raising Novgorod into rivalling superpower of Great Britain. For Long the Novgorodian expansion ambitions had focused on Far East and into China, where the Novgorodian rule had slowly inched into Manchuria and Northern Chinese ports. This had brought Novgorod into rivalry against another rising Asian power, Japanese Empire. Traditionally Finnish role in Novgorodian military plans had always been focused on protecting the Capital from Swedish and German invasions, and Finnish participation in foreign military interventions had always been initiated by Finns themselves, rather than Novgorodian request. In Nicholas II reign, this begun to change so as he demanded Finnish military to act and operate under his direct military command along with the rest of the Novgorodian military. From this point of view, Finland joined Novgorod unanimously when Japan attacked against its colonial possessions in Far East in 1905. After the Novgorodian Far eastern Fleet was trapped and exhausted in Port Arthur, The Novgorodians decided to send their Baltic Fleet in order to relief the blockade.
Nicholas decided to include the entire Finnish main fleet, consisting of four coastal armoured ships and few despatch-gunboats into this long sailing across the globe. This decision was not approved by the Finnish Senate, but the Grand Duke over write its rule. In generally the public opinion was first favourable for such mission, especially among the upper class, since it was largely believed that after victorious war, Finland might be rewarded with colonial possessions from defeated Japanese empire.
Things proved out to be a disaster however. The Finnish fleet with its coastal defence ships were placed together with the Novgorodian cruisers which were sent as recognize mission in front of the main fleet. This fleet was badly taken by surprise by Japanese forces and all the Finnish ships were sunk in heavy loss of life.
When the information of this defeat reached Helsinki, riots erupted and were brutally suppressed by the Gendarmerie. The dissatisfaction to Grand Duke’s policies begun to be voiced more openly and after series of strikes, small mutinies and mass demonstrations and finally a general strike, and culminating in the assassination of the General-Governor Nikolai Bobrikov, who was seen as main culprit of sending the fleet into Far East without Senate’s approval. After the situation escalated close that of an armed rebellion, Nicholas yielded and installed series of reforms that gave Finland a unicameral legislative parliament, Eduskunta instead of Diet of the Estates that had previously existed. Finland became first nation in the world to have full universal suffrage and presentation rights for both men and women.
After creation of the Parliament and universal suffrage, the Social-Democratic Party of Finland begun to gain strong power as the rise of industrialism had brought severe labour problems to which the Grand Duke’s regime had not previously answered otherwise than disallowing trade unions and arresting the agitators.
The rise of Novgorodian rivalry between the Greater powers, and specially Germany brought once again new importance to Finnish-Novgorodian relations. In Novgorod, the Finnish disaster in 1905 war was seen as altruistic and heroic sacrifice by a junior partner, but In Finland, Anti-Novgorodian sentiment begun to rise as it was seen Finnish people once again being butchered in foreign wars, as it was largely so during the Swedish reign. Most of the Younger generation of officers actually became more German minded after Grand Duke invited Imperial German military mission to train and improve Finnish army and its newly rebuild Navy alongside the Novgorodian Army.
This brief interlude with Germany ended when Great War begun and Finland together with its liege declared war on the Central Powers in 1914. At first the War did not concern Finns and the memory of 1905 was strong among everyone’s mind, despite the Fighting took lot more nearer proximity of Finnish Proper. The booming economy of Finland that mostly relied of export of forestry and butter faced sudden halt as the Germans blocked Baltic Sea. It increased the unemployment and radicalisation of the Finnish working class, but after exports begun to directed to fuel Novgorodian war effort, Finnish economy begun to rise again, and the war was regarded mostly as good way to make profit for the country. The Finnish Senate agreed to send some troops to Novgorodian help, namely the new Jaeger Divisions that were created in German fashion and were considered as Elite of the Finnish Army.
This period didn’t last long as the Novgorodian Empire begun to crumble under severe shortage of food and other consumer goods, economical difficulties spread in Finland as well. By 1916 shortages of consumer goods begun to hamper the everyday life and rising social tensions begun to create large demands for more democratic government from the Socialists side and more constitutional from the Conservatives. During the winter of 1916-1917 the increasing tensions in Novgorod and in its capital St. Petersburg and strikes and riots led to series of small unsuccessful munities and large scale pillaging and deserting of Novgorodian army units. These infected Finnish political life and as the food shortage rose and Nicholas II dissolved another senate that opposed and criticised his power, in similar fashion that had become his habit for the Novgorodian Veche. These led into general strike organised by all major parties, which Nicholas II and his General Governor Franz Seyn this time (as against his peaceful yield to the demands in 1905) decided to suppress by using force. 90 people died after the Gendarmerie opened fire on the Senate Square in Helsinki against the Socialist protestors.
The resulted bloodshed was unprecedented in Finland, and was generally despised by the entire spectrum of the political life; despite the later historian writing has perhaps exaggerated the silent approval of the Conservatives for return of law and order. In Russia, the Southern Slavic brother empire for Novgorod, similar chains of events and social problems had spread into full Revolution and the Tsar had abdicated. Many feared such anarchy and during the following months, the opinions begun to radicalise among the revolutionaries and conservatives. The following summer saw smaller scale strikes and demonstrations spreading trough the nation, and the Gendarmerie suppressed them with force, leading more deaths and more rise of the power by the Revolutionaries inside the Social Democratic party. General Governor Seyn dissolved the Eduskunta in aftermath of the February bloodshed, and the new elections were held at April.
The Socialists won the April Elections, but they weren’t able to form a strong government that would have been able to pass the presentations for constitution as part of their “We Demand” program, which basically called for creating sovereign Finnish Republic and establish lots of social legislature. A sort of constitution, called the “Power act” was however passed, but since its strong parliamentary power didn’t appease the conservatives, so with approval from St. Petersburg, Seyn dissolved the parliament using the autocratic powers of the old Finnish constitution of 1772. This caused lot of bitterness among the working class elite and those who were against revolutionaries as the legal way of proceeding has just been proven futile and vain. Many moderate socialistic politicians became more radicalised as they understood that leading elite was not planning democratic government and unable to solve the issues that the proletariat held important, mostly getting labour laws, universal suffrage in municipal elections and land reform.
Socialists lost the new elections in July, mainly since the party was too disorientated to participate in the electoral work and because of allegations of the election being rigged. It was conducted under great unrest and the tensions between the Gendarmerie and newly reinforced Red Guards had become once again outright hostile.
In November, the Novgorodian Empire collapsed in the October Revolution by radical socialists Bolsheviks and formed the Soviet Republic. The fall of the Novgorodian emperor was taken sign to formally establish the Grand Duchy as sovereign from Petrograd’s power by the constitutional monarchist, and as a example for Republic in Finland as well by the socialists and some agrarian-party leaders and liberals. The moderate conservatives and liberals managed to pass a law in November that dissolved the Gendarmerie and removed Franz Seyn from the power. Despite these acts
Inspired by the Novgorodians, the Finnish working class radicals begun to demand more revolutionary actions and formation of Finnish soviets as well, but despite their increasing support, they only managed to organise a yet another general strike that kept paralyzing the derailing economy. During this November strike, political violence increased and the fought between the Red Guards and quickly established Civil Guard by the land owners and entrepreneurs to supplement the dissolved Gendarmerie resulted into casualties, which increased the tensions and subdivisions among the population even more. During the strike, many large farms and factories were taken over by the striking workers, who begun to organise Soviets in Soviet-Novgorodian fashion.
In early December the Conservative Senate declared the Novgorodian-Finnish personal union dissolved and recognised the legitimacy of Lenin’s Soviet rule in Novgorod. The plan was to elect a new Grand Duke for Finland from foreign royal houses, and meantime P. E Svinhufvud was elected as regent.
Despite the increasing demand for revolution the Finnish socialistic party voted against such and ended the strike, but the drift between the old political leaders of the Party and the new radical Red Guards begun to be imminent. Eventually, many so called “centralists” or moderate revolutionaries in the party begun to switch their side for the armed uprising in Novgorodian fashion, been offered military support by Lenin and other Bolsheviks. Despite the General strike had ended, the tensions remained, and lots of troops deserted from the home army units begun to provide armaments to the Red Guard, which refused to disarm itself and created panic and concern among the wealthy elite and conservatives. Thus the Government ordered the Civil Guards to form the new Gendarmerie to restore the order in 25th of January in 1918, and as a countermove the Red Guards decided to unify themselves into Finnish Red Guard, and answer only to the “Large Soviet of the Finnish people”.

The Finnish Revolution and Civil War 1918-1920

In 28th of January Socialists who had now voted in favour for revolution ordered coup in Helsinki. The strong Helsinki’s Red Guard overwhelmed the few loyal and functional military units of the Finnish Guard (Grand Duke’s Life Guard units) and the Civil Guard units. The conservative government and the regent fled to Vaasa and called as its last move the Jaeger Corps from the Eastern Front where they had stayed in rather inactive state after the December armistice between Germany and the Soviet Novgorod. The Government was however unaware that most of the troops were revolting, infested with Bolshevik agitators and activists. At first the troop’s morale was high as they were given their long waited withdrawal back home, but on by their way, the news of the revolution spread through the 10,000 men strong division, and its movement was halted in Novgorod, when the Bolsheviks refused to allow its transits to help the Finnish White forces. At the fear of getting engaged in the emerging Novgorodian civil war, the units begun to disintegrate, after desertion and series of murders of the still loyal officers.
Meanwhile in Finland, the revolution spread soon over to major industrial centres and cities, and most of the Southern Finland was under the rule of the Finnish Peoples delegation which acted as the government of the Revolution, led by Kullervo Manner. Despite its initial success, the Civil Guards and the remnants of the old army units on the white side had initially upper hand as their training and Leadership was superior to the Red Guards. Majority of the White officers such as General Mannerheim and Wilkman were part of the Swedish speaking elite, and lots of Swedish volunteers participate in the side of the White army, and some of the old school conservatives envisioned some sort of federation among other Scandinavian nations. The Red Guards begun to gain better positions after the Novgorodian Bolsheviks begun arms transfers and finally allowed the remaining Jaeger corps regiments to return, after they had rebelled and sided with the Red Guards in Novgorod. Together with the Battle of Tampere, where the White advances were halted and eventually defeated, after the Red Jaeger Regiments and Novgorodian volunteers liberated the besieged city in April. Before that, the Jaeger units, mostly serving as officers to the Karelian Red Guard Units in Viipuri had taken control of the Important Karelian isthmus that connected Finnish Rail Road system to that of Novgorod.
After these victories, the Red Guards began their summer campaign, which captured the town of Haapamäki, north of Tampere which was major communication junction, that loss of Haapamäki basically collapsed the White resistance, as the Government members and General Mannerheim fled to Sweden and the City of Vaasa Surrendered in July. Afterwards, the white resistance continued in form of guerrilla warfare which continued until early 1920s in the sparsely populated areas.
During the Finnish Civil war, the Swedish troops occupied Åland, but where soon driven away by German troops, which decided to occupy it as a planned invasion to Finland to persuade The Novgorodian Reds to accept the Brest-Litovsk peace treaty. Despite the signing this treaty in March, the German troops reminded, But neither the Vaasa Government nor the people’s deputy dared to go conflict with the outer powers during the revolution, despite the bulk of the sailors of the relatively strong Finnish Navy side with the reds. The poor maintenance and lack of discipline prevented the red fleet to engage into any practical military action other than ferrying supplies from Petrograd and later into it.
The Finnish Democratic Republic was proclaimed in 12th of August 1918 but the People’s deputy had already signed a treaty with the Novgorod Soviet republic in March that formalised the relations between the both countries and first time acknowledged the Full Sovereignty of Finland from Novgorodian rule. The treaty however was full military alliance and it also provided Finland the Arctic Sea port of Petsamo in far north as well as large forest areas in Karelia, in exchange of Basing rights for Soviet Novgorod in Finnish islands in Gulf of Finland.
After the violence deceased in Finland and the Red Guards established their power, most supporters of the Old regime were captured and placed in improvised prison camps, where mortality rate was high. There were also lot of political motivated executions and pure murders, and the total death toll of the war was almost 40,000 lives. Many left for Sweden, particularly the ruling elite, including most of the Members of the parliament from the bourgeois parties and the nobility, but also lots of members of the intelligentsia and owning class.
After German empire surrendered, the occupation of Ahvenanmaa ceased as well. During the German occupation of the Islands and activities in the Baltic States, The Peoples Deputy tried vigorously gain recognition from Great Britain and USA, in hope to gain support to banish the German invaders, but the Hostility of the Entente powers against revolutionaries in East was strong. The Brest-Litovsk treaty prevented Novgorod to assist Finland in any military actions.
After the Armistice, German naval units and troops left the Area by the advent of the winter, and Finnish Red Guards entered the area with their armed ice breakers in the first successful Finnish naval operation since the Battle of Svekundsund in 1790. Despite the outcry in Sweden, where the general opinion was in favour of annexing the Islands, Swedish Government did not want to participate in the Chaotic events in the east, and Finnish Red Guards were able establish some sort of order in the Islands, despite the population was almost entirely ethnic Swedish and hostile to both Finnish and Socialistic rule.
1919 saw the foreign intervention Attacking Novgorodian and Russian Soviet republics and the White armies of both nations formed in the Baltic together with British Intervention into Kola Peninsula, Archangelsk region and Finnish Lapland brought the Finnish troops participating in international conflict together with the Novgorodian Reds. The British Royal Navy conducted raids in Gulf of Finland, which Finnish ships retaliated, and during when the White General Judents army threatened Petrograd, Finnish Red Guard units were send to help in the defence of the city. Finnish Units also participated in reoccupation of Baltic States at the end of 1919 as well as fighting in the Kola Peninsula and Karelia against British troops. Finnish battalion liberated Murmansk in November 1919. Last Finnish military action in the chaotic Revolutionary years took place in January 1920 when a small scale counter-revolutionary rebellion broke out in Northern Finland in Oulu and Tornio. These were mainly initiated by former white-army infiltrators from Sweden and after their resistance was crushed, the remnants once again fled to Sweden, and ever since has the general national myth emerged of white-rebels crossing the Swedish border into Finland to sabotage and sowing dissident. The Finnish-Swedish relations had always been tense, and the Border in the Far Northern Europe has become of one of the most strongly protected ones in the World.

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The Democratic Republic of Finland 1920-1939

During the Revolution, Finland was ruled by the revolutionary deputy committee, called “People’s Delegation (Kansanvaltuuskunta) and the executive power rested upon the Supreme Workers council that had presentation from the Social democratic party, the main trade unions and from the red guards. People’s Delegation was led by Kullervo Manner who remained as the Finnish supreme leader until 1934, although the Nominal head of the state was Edward Gylling from 1920 to 1935. The Finnish Social Democratic Party was dissolved in its last congress in 1919 during the height of the Civil War and subsequently replaced with Communist Party of Finland (Suomen Kommunistinen Puolue; SKP) , while some opposition (Led by Väinö Tanner) remained with the old party that was declared as counter revolutionary and its members were persecuted as traitors. Tanner eventually fled to Sweden along with the remaining of the old Monarchist Government. The main tone of the Finnish Socialism remained rather traditional Marxism and many of the revolutionary ideas and concept of Novgorodian Marxism-Leninism were rather alien to Finnish pretext, although the autocrat approach of banning the counter-revolutionary political forces was common to all of the three Comintern nations. Finnish Communist party never officially adopted any ideological dogmas as in the way of Novgorod or Russian Communist parties, but issued its plans and programs from each party congress separately. Main ideologist in Finnish political life was Otto W. Kuusinen.

The constitution of Red Finland and the official name as Democratic Republic (Kansanvaltainen Tasavalta) was officially accepted in the first assembly of the People’s Congress (Kansaneduskunta) in 12th of May in 1920

Recovery from the war and revolution period took long time both socially and economically. Lot of the former elite, nobility and upper class had fled to west including many of the intelligentsia. The war-economy and the revolution had torn down both agricultural and industrial production into fraction what they used to be in 1914. Key elements of Finnish revolution had been the socialization of the banks, heavy industrial dynasties and freeing the tenant farmers from their land lords and confiscating the lands of noble land lords. Generally the revolution had not interrupted on the middle class and the small business, as well as not against peasants themselves as a class, though bulk of the counter-revolutionaries became from these circles. The 1920 Constitution issued “workers councils” as way to control the economy and despite private land owning and owning of capital was not banned, all enterprises became de facto controlled by these councils, and thus by party cadres, though the Soviet concept of heavy government planning took long to adjust into more pragmatic Finnish system outside the heavy industry that wasn’t as prominent as in Novgorod or Russia.

These policies brought the Finns often odds within the Marxist-Leninist purists in Comintern, and the early relationship of Finland and Soviet Novgorod was a struggle between concept of Socialistic world order, where Finns most predominately supported each nations independent route to socialism and self-government, opposed by Trotskyist view of “world government” and all nations joining Soviet Union. In more pragmatic level, Finland signed its first “Treaty of Friendship, Co-operation and mutual co-existences” with Novgorod Socialistic Republic as early as 1918 and this treaty constituted as the bulk of Finno-Soviet relationship up until 2nd world war. Soviet side often regarded Finland as their satellite, where as Finnish side prompted for alliance between two equal powers, despite the huge imparity between the countries. This position brought its share of friction, but In 1929 Otto Kuusinen became the Finnish Secretary of Foreign affairs and largely due his personal influences, most confrontations inside the communist bloc were avoided.

By 1933 most major powers had recognized Finnish Democratic Republic; though the Finnish presence in international politics remained as small as it had been before. Finnish participation in Comitern actions was mostly done by Kuusinen and Yrjö Sirola, and predominately focused on causing communist uprising in Poland. First attempts of agricultural collectivization was conducted in 1932 which led to a series of dissident incidents and into failing agricultural production and general chaos among the rural areas as the government imposed price control over agricultural goods that eventually led to loss of income among many peasants. These cultivated in an open insurgency in little town of Mäntsälä, in Northern Uusimaa province. The rebellion was brutally crushed and blame was officially set for the counter-revolutionaries operating in Sweden, but in a secret party meeting, Kullervo Manner accused the soviet policies of Proletarian Dictatorship and general Marxist-Leninist principles as cause of the incident and the collectivization was brought to halt, as the Party was well aware of the problems agricultural mismanagement could bring to Finland, which was already dependable of Soviet Food imports.

The ideological drift continued until 1934 when Kullervo Manner’s wife, Hanna Malmi again attacked the Novgorodian policies among them accused the Stalin and Lenin from failing to oppose the rise of Fascism in Europe. Novgorod answered with ultimatum to cut all relationships as well as indirect threads of wars, which led a more pro-comintern fraction of CPF to impose coup, where Malmi was moved from the central committee and expelled from the People’s deputy and assigned as Finnish Ambassador of Tuvian People’s Republic. When Manner himself didn’t support these actions, he himself was voted out from the Central Committee and Replaced by Yrjö Sirola. Manner became the head of small mine combine in Kajaani, Northern Finland.

Edward Gylling, a strong supporter of Manner and Malmi was also seated out from the task of Presidency and replaced with Hannes Mäkinen in 1935. During the crisis, Otto Kuusinen was send as the Finnish negotiator to Leningrad to ease down the tensions and it is often claimed that he received the orders to initiate this coup directly from Lenin and Stalin.

Internationally, the Finnish relationship with the other Soviet powers begun to be fictitious. Finland did not actively participate in the Spanish Civil war, aside sending volunteers to the international brigades. Yrjö Sirola died in heart attack in 1936, and after series of internal power struggle, Oskari Tokoi succeeds in power, in much of relief to Kullervo Manner and his supporters. Officially describing themselves as “Independency” fraction, tough labeled as “stubbornness” fraction by their opposition (Finnish term for Independency, Itsenäisyys rhyming with the term Itsepäisyys, eg. stubbornness). Under this fraction, Finland begun to take more and more steps away from subordinating into Novgorod puppet hood, despite the strong efforts from Lenin to coordinate Finland more closely to support Novgorodian economical and strategic interests. Novgorodian naval bases were located in Ahvenanmaa and in Hanko Peninsula (Gangut in Slavic) and joint Novgorodian-Finnish coastal artillery regiment was located In Suursaari. During the interwar years, Finnish foreign trade was dominated by Novgorodian exports and imports, although there was strong attempt to increase Finnish trade to other Baltic nations, but the hostile political conditions mostly prevented this progress.

Finland stood neutral initially at the start of World War II; although the Swedish-German relationship was root of great concerns among the Finnish elite. In 1939 Sweden and Germany signed a secret Baltic agreement that called for total blockade of the Danish straights during the time of war from both Franco-British alliances but also from Novgorod and Finland. This treaty also established sphere of Interests for Sweden and Germany, which included entire Finland for the recreation of the Swedish empire as fantasized by many in Swedish Far Right. Officially the Swedish stand was to end the Bolshevik menace in Finland and restore the rights of the oppressed Swedish minority (although minority word was seldom used, and the Swedish Fascists planned restoration of the rule of the Germanic master-rage in place of the ethnically Asian Finns who were borne for Jewish bolshevism and other anomalies).

The Political power of Swedish liberals and Social-Democrats was not strong enough to keep the Far right in bay, and by the start of the WWII this increased to be so, culminating in spring of 1940 when German invaded Denmark and Norway. Since the Fascist German war effort was greatly depended on the Swedish Iron ore, from Swedish part of the Lapland, in order to secure its safety, Hitler begun to pressure Stockholm to accept German military presence In Sweden and Military Access for German troops in Norway, so that they could be supported via Baltic Sea, immune to British attacks. The true purpose of these troops was to attack Finland from the North and create diversionary front in Hitler’s plan to attack Novgorod and Russia. The German strategists calculated that such move, together with seaborne invasion to Southern Finland would tie considerable amount of Novgorodian troops which would be away from the main front in Eastern Europe.

After German troops entered Northern Sweden, the Swedish Government yielded to the pressure and begun to took actively part in the planned Barbarossa operation. Official war goal for Swedish Government was to liberate Ahvenanmaa which she claimed as Swedish core and restore the lawful government Grand Duchy into power in Finland. Most of the surviving white emigrants of Finnish origin were actively participating in the progress and begun to create volunteer Finnish “free corps” from the refugees and sympathizers. Initially Swedish planners foresaw that this force would be sufficient to support the German forces, but their numbers never reached that of whole division.

In Finland, these plans were not that well known before the war. Finnish intelligence had good level of infiltration among the Finnish natives in Sweden, but the political leadership generally miscalculated and ignored the intelligence data and considered it as staged by Novgorodians who would use the faked thread of German Invasion as pretext to take deeper control of Finnish politics. In Diplomatic level Finland tried to approach Sweden and Germany in détente fashion, but the reception was lukewarm at best.

In summer of 1941 the Swedish-German joint military activity increased and there were numerous border incidents and violations in the Baltic Sea and in Lapland, but these still didn’t alarm the Finnish government nor the equally blindfolded Novgorodians from the approaching war, and when the Operation Barbarossa begun in 22th of June, Finland was completely taken by surprise. Finnish troops had not been mobilized, only their peace time strength was increased slightly from the standard. The Navy was mostly in anchor at ports and Air Force units were not dispersed away from their bases. Also, the bulk of the Army was stationed along the Southern Coast as the amphibious assault to Turku-Helsinki area was seen as most immediate thread.

Germans had conducted small scale offensive mining prior to the war in Finnish Waters, but the actual hostilities started in 25th of June when Sweden based Luftwaffe units begun bombing Helsinki and Turku and where followed by series of smaller raids in the North. Finnish units intercepted some of the attacks, but generally the Finnish Air Force was not fighting on equal grounds against the superior German air units and aircrafts. The actual invasion begun at 26th of June when Germans crossed the border in Tornio followed by the Swedish army and Finnish free Corps. The official Swedish claim was that Finnish Aircrafts had bombed Swedish soil, but this was largely proved false and might have been false flag operation by Germans. Finnish bombers and submarines however made some assaults against German sea traffic in Gulf Of Botnia.

This initial assault was to capture cities of Oulu and Rovaniemi and use them as the basis of advancing into both southern Finland and as well to east towards the Murmansk railroad in Novgorod. German units from Norway prepared to invade the Petsamo and its nickel mines, and advance towards Murmansk. At first the Axis invasion was successful. Actual Finnish military forces in North were rather small outside the strong Border Guard, and Tornio, Kemi and Oulu fell rather fast under German occupation, and Rovaniemi was occupied by the beginning of July. In September, Strong Swedish and German Naval force entered Ahvenanmaa in Operation Tanne West which aimed to capture the Archipelago. Despite hard resistance, the Finnish naval units and coastal defenses were defeated and Island fell under occupation. The local population welcomed the Germans and Swedish as liberators and in Axis propaganda this liberation of Nordic Aryans Viking descendants living under Mongolian-Jewish Bolshevik yoke was given high priority. By Controlling Ahvenanmaa, Axis forces were able to deny Finnish naval actions in Gulf of Botnia, outside the units remained trapped there, and this allowed Germans to continue shipping iron from Lulea Port to Germany.

Despite the initial success, The Axis invasion halted rather fast in the North after the major population centers had been occupied. The vast Wilderness in Lapland front prevented Axis troops to maneuver pass the few roads and railroads, and the warfare turned into sort of stationary guerilla warfare where the frontlines were stable only around the major towns and communication junctions, while raiding parties from both side ventured deep into each territory. This course of the war continued until 1944. After invading the Baltic States, Germans begun to approach Leningrad from Estonia by the fall of 1941. Germans were able first to occupy most of the large Islands in Gulf of Finland, after the Novgorodian Baltic Fleet had been severely mauled in their Retreat from Tallinn. German plans were to trap the fleet in Kronstad after successful invasion of Southern Finland was conducted, but this invasion never came. By December, Germans had reached Leningrad and surrounded the city so that their troops had taken control of the Southern Shores at Lake Ladoga. Despite heavy concentration into coastal defense and fighting in the North, Novgorod was persisting in their demands to get Finnish troops in defense of the City. Germans were able to route the City of Leningrad by crossing the River Neva and enter the Karelian Isthmus.

Politically the invasion took toll on the Finnish Communist Party. Tokoi was ousted from the leadership and Otto Kuusinen took charge. He immediately reassured the old alliance with Novgorod recognizing that Finland and Novgorod can only survive the war in together as well as seeking all help available from western allies. A joint military leadership was organized, where the Finnish front was divided into Northern, Coastal and Leningrad front. After the City of Leningrad was completely cut from remaining Novgorod, the importance of Finnish stand became crucial for the Entire war effort. Lots of Novgorodian troops and supplies were transferred to East Karelia and joint plans were drafted to begun a counter attack to break German front south of Leningrad. These plans did not succeed however, although Finns were able to capture Suursaari and Lavansaari Islands during the winter of 1942 by moving skied infantry units trough the ice, which took the German occupiers with complete surprise. However in May of 1942, Germans launched their own counter offensive in Karelian Isthmus and were almost able to conquer the city of Leningrad, bringing the battle to the outskirts of the city. Large German motorized force maneuvered far up north to meet the Finnish forces and was able to reach river Vuoksi and threaten the Finnish town of Viipuri. Despite the Germans were able to occupy the Koivisto Islands near the North-West of the Isthmus, they were unable to cross the Gulf of Viipuri.

After this operation, Leningrad was complete surrounded and only entrance to the Sea remained as lifeline to the besieged city, which was under blockade of German naval units. The Novgorodian fleet however made a bold breakthrough in July of 1942 to Kotka and Hamina ports in Finland, and after the Finnish troops succeeded to retain the Lavansaari and Seiskari Islands in the Eastern Gulf of Finland, Series of convoys were constructed to relief the city.

Despite strong push from both Germans and Novgorodians, the front lines did not move considerably during 1943. Also, the situation in the North stagnated as the Swedish units were not able to continue their offensives past Kiestinki, and Murmansk and its railroad connection to Novgorod was never cut and the vital Lend-Lease supplies from Western allies contributed lot to Finnish and Novgorodian war effort. In Maritime Theater, the relatively weak and defensive Finnish Navy was rather unsuccessful in its operations to hamper the Iron ore transportations from Sweden to Germany, since the strong Axis presence in Ahvenanmaa prevented strong naval forces to enter the Gulf of Botnia. The surviving Novgorodian fleet was completely entangled in the Leningrad convoys and Finnish participation, especially in form of the transports and barges were substantial. Most severe naval losses for Finnish fleet came from escorting these convoys, since the German naval and Air units operated in fierce ferocity against the Finnish and Novgorodian forces. Germans and Sweden were never able to mount their planned invasion of Finnish Proper, mostly because the strong naval Defenses around Turku and the concentration of the strongest Finnish naval units and some Novgorodian Ships around the Hanko peninsula, which the Germans feared to contest, as their heavy units were all engaged in the Battle of Atlantic and raiding operations, and the Swedish fleet lacked will and determination to use its superiority for decisive action, and instead the fleet was used in piecemeal engagements against small Finnish raiding parties that harassed the Support lines to Ahvenanmaa.

Novgorod managed finally broke the siege of Leningrad during the winter of 1944 when their counter offensive captured the Southern coast of Lake Ladoga and threatened to cut the German troops in Karelia Isthmus. Together with Finnish attack, these troops were defeated and destroyed during February. The Siege was lifted and the victories that Russian forces had managed to triumph in previous years in Moscow and Stalingrad begun to pay their way into the North and Novgorod begun their push through the Baltic states in order drive Germans completely and deliver the final destruction to the Hitler’s regime together with the Russians. After the victory in Leningrad Front, the Finnish military command begun to plan the retake of Ahvenanmaa as their next major military goal. With Support of Novgorodian Fleet which was also actively participating in clearing of German troops from Estonian coast, Finnish invasion started supported with massive airstrikes in June of 1944. Large Novgorodian capital units were not engaged in to the mine infested archipelago, but took position at the Northern Baltic, west from the Estonian Saarenmaa and Hiidenmaa islands, in attempt to engage any Swedish or German reinforcements send to Ahvenanmaa. Taking island by island with raids of small crafts and barges, Finnish advance begun to cause panic among the Swedish leadership as it was becoming clear that Germans were not willing to send fleet to counter the Novgorodian presence, the Government decided to sue peace from allies, according to secret meetings it had concluded with the British and American leadership that entrusted Sweden to retain its independency.

After Hitler learned from this, he tried to impose a coup by local Swedish Nazis, but their numbers were pitiful and their attempts were easily stopped. In Ahvenanmaa, the majority of the Occupying forces degenerated into state of chaos as the Swedish units attempted to retreat and Germans where trying to oppose such plans. After series of clashes, the local leaders of both nations agreed a ceasefire in order to prevent armed conflict between the nations, despite the surrendered Sweden was obligated to rebel German forces by force if necessary. This disorder in the Defenses helped Finnish forces considerably, and were able to land on the main Island of Ahvenanmaa in relative ease after defeating the German Naval units. Only after this, the German high Command sent the heavy cruisers Admiral Hipper and Admiral Scheer together with destroyers to relieve the Invaded Islands, but by the plan they engaged the Novgorodian flotilla outside the Bogskär Lighthouse. After rather unsuccessful battle where a German torpedo boat was sunk, the German fleet retreated and the Novgorodian fleet didn’t follow but dispatched back to their base at Hanko. This sealed the fate of the German defenders, which were not able to retreat neither into Germany nor into Sweden, and they surrendered to the Finnish forces, together with the still remaining Swedish troops.

In Lapland, the situation followed the course; the vastly outnumbered four German divisions began to retreat while the Swedish units surrendered without battle. Finnish troops chased the German units deeply into Swedish territory and in Far North, together with Novgorodian troops, also Into Norwegian soil. Swedish government protested this move and at some point considered reinstating the hostilities, but after series of negotiations and pressure from the Allies, Sweden yielded and declared war on Germany in purpose to drive off the remaining German forces. Swedish troops did however very little in attempt to Attack Norway until the German surrender.

The sole Finnish Armored division was attached to a Novgorodian Mechanized corps and participated in the operation Bagration in defeating Germany. It was part of the Force that Captured the Northern German coast, and some elements of it remained in Germany as part of the occupying forces trough the entire cold war (single reinforced Armor Jaeger Regiment). Peace Treaty with Sweden and Finland was signed in 1947 which allocated only War Reparations to Finland, with no Land concessions. Political Far right were disallowed in Sweden and severe restrictions were imposed to her Armed forces, all being nullified after Sweden joined NATO in 1955. Originally Finland had demanded the entire Swedish Lapland and its mineral rich areas in the Confreres of Yalta, but western Allies rejected this notion.

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Post subject: Re: Finnish AU (Part III)Posted: January 21st, 2015, 12:38 pm
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Formation of the Army of the Finnish Grand Duchy

The independent Finnish armed forces were born at the beginning of the Grand Duchy’s history in 1812, when Novgorodian emperor begun to draft units from Finland to help fighting against Napoleon. These units were outright established as national units, stationed in Finland and many of their officers were past members of the Swedish army units. Only the senior officer corps was of Novgorodian origin.

By 1819 these units consisted three rifle (sharpshooter = tark’ampuja in finnish translation of the Russian term strelkoviye) regiments and Cadet School, and all of them were mobilized fully during the Decembrist rebellion in 1825. After the formation of constitutional monarchy in Novgorod, and the statehood of Grand Duchy of Finland begun to develop, the Finnish Army also begun to establish itself as totally national force, under the Grand Duchy’s jurisdiction and financed and maintained by the Finnish Senate rather than Novgorodian government. At first Finland was able to pay tribute to the St. Petersburg instead of providing soldiers to the state, but as the nationalism and national awakening progressed, the need for national military became a political goal of its self, and was seen as important as was own currency, laws and national emblems.

The Grand Duchy’s army was never large enough to poses any real danger to Novgorodian rule, but in flipside, it also provided Novgorod constant headache of the military vacuum that the creation of Finland begun to poses, as the technological and industrial revolution brought more logistical power for militaries to exploit, and this caused the main strain of problems between the Finnish Senate and the St. Petersburg’s Veche. It was to become custom for Novgorod financing many of the main strategically important expansions, such as the formation of strong Finnish Coastal fleet and Coastal Artillery at the beginning of the 20th century.

Finnish Army rose in gradual size and during the 1870, it consisted 5 Rifle Regiments and one of each, Guard, Cavalry and Artillery Regiment, as well as The Finnish Sea Ekipash, a crew unit that served aboard Novgorodian warships. Of these, the Guard Regiment, called the Finnish Guard, served abroad in the Turkish-Muscovian war in 1877, where Novgorod participated. Otherwise the era of the Grand Duchy was historical in sense that it consisted the longest period of peace for Finland from 1809 to 1905, and it was not until 1918 when actual combat took place in Finnish soil.

Finnish military expansions really took place only at the last decades of the 19th century and saw considerable growth during the reign of Nicholas II in 1898-1917. The Finnish Army was reformed after the Turkish war in 1878 along with Novgorodian army, when conscription was enabled and the creation of Finnish Navy begun. By 1914 the army had reached its maximum size of three Rifle Divisions (each with 3 regiments) and 1 Jaeger Division, 2 cavalry regiments and Military schools. The major impact of the Army expansion was the disastrous Finnish naval expeditionary mission during the Novgorod-Japanese war in 1905, where the entire fleet was sunk. Despite the Finnish army units were not deployed to Far East, the rather mediocre performance of Novgorodian Army lead to both Helsinki and St. Petersburg to turn into German military assistance in reforming the army. Despite these programs were approved by the Emperor, in practice they were two completely separate missions that brought different results altogether. As the Novgorodian army only obtained minimal influence from the traditional enemy, Finnish army was almost completely remodeled in German practices, and the tactical and strategic thinking was renewed from the old Novgorodian models and this period begun to first time create completely Finnish military doctrine, which weren’t blindly following that of the Great Powers.

The start of the Great War in 1914 ended this German mission and most of the part the reformations were left uncompleted and this resulted overall ineffectiveness in the Finnish Army. Another great change from the 1905 war was the creation of the “Peter the Great’s Naval Fortress” in the Gulf of Finland by the Novgorodian initiative. Since the Finnish Coastal Fleet had sunk and the Novgorodian Baltic Fleet had to supplement the Demolished Pacific Fleets, the cheapest way to replace the handicaps in naval defenses was to fortify the Finnish and Estonian Coasts in order to protect the St. Petersburg from naval invasion.
This program was source of great distort in Finnish-Novgorodian relationship, since there were disagreements of funding such project as well as the question of maintaining and manning the fortresses. Novgorod insisted that if it had to pay the batteries, they would then be manned by Novgorodian Army, and in Finland this was seen as way to increase control over Finland and reduce its sovereignty. A final solution was never reached, since by the laws of both nations, the Great War years saw increasing presence of Novgorodian Military in Finnish soil, which partially manned the coastal fortifications and provide building labor force.
During the Great War, the Finnish Jaeger Division served as part of the Novgorodian 15ht Army in the Prussian Front, and was caught in the revolutionary turmoil that begun to spread in the Novgorodian military in 1916-1917. Later the Division rebelled itself, and many of its officers were shot and the cadres of the personal formed Red Army units that were the core of the Finnish Revolutionary army during the Civil War.

The Birth of the Finnish Navy and Coastal Defenses

After the 1809 Finnish war, all the Swedish military formations were disbanded, and although Finland was permitted to poses its own armed forces, loyal to the Grand Duke, there were never real effort placed in creating effective naval force for the early decades of the Grand Duchy’s history. The maritime defenses were based mostly on maintaining the Sveaborg (Viapori or Suomenlinna in Finnish) fort in Helsinki, Svartholm Fortress in Loviisa and Bommarsund Fort in Åland (Ahvenanmaa). Small coastal traffic was maintained by the Senate for supplying these forts, but these were usually done on charter basis and actual warship and naval units were provided by the Imperial Novgorodian navy. After 1825, Novgorod begun to add pressure for Finland to maintain its own military and Finnish navy began its life as 1st Sea Ekipash, which provided crews for one or two Novgorodian Frigates or Ship of the Line. First actual Finnish Warship was a steam corvette Kalevala, build in 1858 in Turku. After 1860’s the strength of the Finnish Navy was usually one to three steam corvettes or line ships, that were mostly Novgorodian origin and the ships served as part of the Novgorodian Baltic Fleet. Although Finnish yards build smaller warships for Novgorod in this period, it was mostly rule that they didn’t serve with the Finnish crews but in Novgorod’s oceanic fleets and the ships Finns were given were that of older and less capable sort.

The Independent Finnish Navy was formed in the 1878 Army reformation, and begun to train personnel in 1879 when the Naval Academy was established at Sveaborg Fortress and the navy begun acquire naval vessels intended for national defense and operations under Finnish command. First vessels were Gunboats Uusimaa and Hämeenmaa, Build in Novgorod in 1860’s and generally regarded as obsolete by the advanced technology, but they provide service as Auxiliaries and more importantly, training vessels for the future crews. First actual combat worthy modern ship was Gunboat Karjala, build in Turku and modeled closely after Novgorodian gunboats intended for Colonial services. At the beginning the lack of proper naval tradition hampered the development of the Navy, as no one really had any clear vision of what sort of Fleet Finland should have. The senior naval officers were all Novgorodian schooled and perhaps too enthusiastic towards Novgorodian naval ambitions of big colonial fleets and Great Power war games. The trend in the formation years of Finnish navy was to have whatever vessels Novgorodian own coastal fleets acquired, usually as part of larger building series for Novgorodian orders, which had been placed on Finnish Yards. The next decade showed considerable increase in the Finnish Navy order of Battle, when series of Torpedo-Gunboats were ordered from Germany and build in Finnish yards as well.
The biggest addition to navy came in form of Coastal Defense Battle Ships, that where build in Novgorod.
In 1890’s Novgorod had decided to counter the Dutch Armored ships in East-Indies by building similar large, armored gunboats, with shallow draught to be able to operate in coastal regions. They were largely similar to those vessels build for Scandinavian Navies, and deemed suitable for Finnish service as well, so a sister ship to the two strong Novgorodian Sumatra class was ordered and named Väinämöinen in 1895. It was large, proper warship with huge prestige value, and immediately at his completion, three improvised versions with more modern artillery was ordered from St. Petersburg’s Admiralty Yard.
Together with these ships, the fleet’s composition begun to take form and the Finnish navy began its almost 60 year long period where Coastal Defense Battleships were deemed as the main capital unit and bulwark of the entire fleet. These vessels were seen as floating fortresses, to be deployed in the most immediate dangerous zone and combat against enemy landing attempts and protecting minefields that were the other important way of conducting sea denial in Finnish coast. These concepts were strongly modeled after other Scandinavian Navies, and the emerging senior naval officer corps were almost predominately “armored shipmen” in their preferences and school of taught, until the revolution, when they were again replaced by politically motivated younger NCOs and officers rising in ranks, again from the crews of the Armored ships that firstly raised the red banner in 1918.

This tradition became the bulk in Finnish naval circles and despite the ever present rivalry between the big, static (in naval sense) artillery establishment and the ones advocating speed and stealth was also present in Finnish Navy. The torpedo arm gained only modest success in the 1890’s when Finnish navy ordered few destroyers (torpedo boats) from Finnish yards, that were building similar ships for Novgorodian order. The early 1900s saw addition of few dispatch vessels and orders for two new armored ships and two large torpedo-cruisers (destroyers) were placed to replace the elderly gunboats, before the Ill fated Novgorodian-Japanese war begun in 1904. Despite the war was great Novgorodian success story and Victory, the only stain being the 1st Battle of strait Tsushima in 1905 when the screening forces of the 2nd Novgorodian Pacific Squadron (Novgorod’s Baltic Fleet) were caught badly by superior Japanese fleet and destroyed to the last man. All Four Finnish Armored ships and four gunboats were part of this screening force and they were all lost with heavy loss of life and blew severe blow on the young Navy’s prestige and manpower as well as fighting capacity. The entire adventure was a spark of political unrest that eventually lead to the January revolution in 1918, and it caused lots of reforms and reorganizations trough the entire armed forces.

Most important feature of the disaster was that for a short period, the Finnish own Jeune-École, group of torpedo boat captains that were trained in Italy and French naval Academies gained power in the Naval High command. The initial postwar re-armament program called for more torpedo-cruisers and smaller torpedo boats were donated by Novgorod. Eventually this short period didn’t last long, and as the new Armored Ships were completed, more orders for armored ship followed, after funding for these were partially covered by Novgorod. Together with strong investments to create coastal artillery network through the entire southern coast once again brought heavy artillery as the main weapon of the Finnish navy. By the start of the WWI, three new armored ships were, but this time smaller and from Finnish yards and two additional large units were under construction to restore the strength of the armored squadron. Together with some smaller boats, 2 large gunboats were also purchased in discount prices from Novgorodian yards. Together with the 8 modern and large destroyers, the Finish navy boasted rather well balanced coastal fleet to counter the threads the German Hegemony in Baltic possessed. Its main lack was on mine warfare units and in auxiliaries, and in the fact that the most of the experienced crews and officers had been lost in the 1904-5 war.
This navy was however not able to sustain itself against full blown invasion of hostile superpowers, so at the start of the War, Novgorodian Fleet stationed its own units in Finland and the Finnish Navy was partially subordinated to the rear guard duties of the Strong Novgorodian Baltic Fleet.

The Great War and Revolution

Finnish navy was probably the most inactive of all the belligerent fleets of the Conflict. This was mostly because the war events never reached Finnish shores, and the political will to send its units for foreign long distance deployments was a red herring for all politicians. Also, the navy was lacking skilled manpower and senior officers to operate in fully combat capable form and there was certain level of disregarding of Finnish fleet’s fighting potential by the Novgorodians who didn’t want the humiliating events of 1905 harm their own prestige by co-operating with the Junior partners navy. Finnish navy’s role was rather unimportant for the first three years of the war, mainly Patrol work and occasional interference in German-Swedish naval traffic. The navy however enjoyed relatively high standard of funding trough the war years and was able to construct lot of smaller mine warfare and guard vessels, which provided the bulk of such forces until 1950’s. These acquisitions made the fleet more homogenous and balanced and despite only the two armored ships on slips during 1914 were completed as its sole capital units, minesweepers, patrol boats, gunboats and sloops increased the fighting potential of the navy considerably. Lack of submarines was still note worthy, despite relatively high value they presented in Novgorodian recent naval expansions.

Despite this all, the navy didn’t participate in any actual naval engagement during the war. Its only losses came in form of one destroyer that hit mine while on patrol on the Estonian coast in 1917.
Since the main events of the Novgorodian and Finnish revolution took place at winter of 1917/1918, the Finnish navy was already at port and docks for winter, and thus it activities remained rather small outside the icebreakers, which saw considerable activity, switching sides several times as the fortunes of the war went by.
The sailor base of Finnish navy as well as in merchant marine was very revolutionary and active during the strikes that hampered the nation during the war years. Fear of mutiny was ever present and one of the factors the naval high command dared not to join larger Novgorodian operations in open seas, as the general mythology around 1905 disaster was the main manuscript of the Finnish Revolution. In January, the bulk of the Fleet was wintering in Sveaborg/Suomenlinna at Helsinki, and despite the initial Fortress and Garrison remained loyal to the Senate for several weeks, the sailors finally rebelled in opening days of March and joined the Red Government. Before of that the white officers had managed to scuttle most of the armored ships in the Harbor basin. Some smaller units that were left in smaller ports remained loyal to the Senate and the white army, but by the time of the sailing season begun in 1918, only few elderly gunboats remained in White fleet. The First operational Red squadron was formed around Coastal Defense ship Aino, which was first to be raised and most intact after the winter and during the capture of Vaasa in summer of 1918, when she sunk the Icebreaker Wäinämöinen with her artillery fire. Few remaining white vessels escaped to Sweden together with the majority of the reactionary politicians and white military leadership.

The Finnish Red Fleet was officially formed in 18th of April in 1918, and after end of the civil war in Finland, it mostly participated in re-establishing the People’s Deputy’s rule among the archipelago and onboard the outer island of Gulf of Finland. When Germany surrendered in November 1918, the fleet entered the Åland waters and established the Red Finnish rule firmly over the rebellious ethnically Swedish population. In 1919 sailing season the Red Fleet continued its reformation progress as more ships were made serviceable and the discipline of the new leadership continued to be introduced to the new and somewhat raw military establishment of the Revolutionaries. As with the Red Guards in land, the concept of “democratic” leadership and councils of Soldiers and sailors had their time to rise and take control of all ships and military units, and eventually generate back to more traditional discipline and officer based leadership after the harsh lessons of the battlefield. In the navy this progress was somewhat longer than in the land, and it was not until 1930’s when the fleet had regained back its strict professionalism and effective military formation.
It was not therefore surprising that Finnish units participated only in limited form against the British Fleet in the Baltic during 1919 when it operated in the briefly existed free Estonia. Usually, only those ships where the local military council was led by competent military leader managed to act in cohesive fashion and in concert with other vessels. All larger naval actions and strategic movements turned out to be difficult to conduct by the Red Fleet in its first operational years, and there were several small mutinies and great amount of replacement of personals in high ranking commands. The Fleet was however able to act as “Fleet in being” together with the relatively strong coastal artillery, and this was shown best in the Failed British assault against Suomenlinna in Helsinki during 1919 when they tried to repeat the Success of the Kronstad’s MTB raid. Despite no Finnish ship managed to engage the British units, the heavy fire from 10 and 12 inch shore batteries kept the larger ships well away from the striking distance, and the swarms of MTBs never managed to get into the firing range.

In 1920 the Fleet was renamed as the People’s Navy along with the creation of the People’s Army from the Red Guards. The following decade saw the Navy refitting its older units back into service as well as completing vessels that were still on building yards at the time of the revolution. The main emphasis was still on building up the naval tradition and base for the new politically loyal officer corps, and thus the Finnish navy remained as “new” and raw in its atmosphere and features, despite having almost 4 decades of worth of history behind it. Internationally the Finnish navy remained as some source of amusement and synonym for small protectorate fleet for prestige role only and to be whipped from surface in first engagement with major fleet, as by the 1905 events marked. It was therefore almost rule that the navy had to earn back its reputation and role by hard work and despite the most immediate security thread for the new socialist state became from offshore, the Navy did not at first enjoy the vanguard place in the nation’s armed forces.
Coastal artillery and Air Force however did, and for the first decades of the republic, they were considered as the most reliable forces. Particularly the role of Air Force saw rapid growth as a new and futuristic way of warfare, suited for scientifically more advanced socialistic nations, and this notion was increasing as the People’s Army’s new high command was educated in Novgorodian war academies where such ideas were also maintained.

Formation of the People’s Navy 1920-1941

By the end of the 1920s, the need for replacements for the old navy begun to be paramount and the naval high officers corps was finally begun to regain its status as main envisionist of the future of the naval defenses. Carl Emil Berg became the first Finnish Admiral, rose to the status by service in Finnish navy in 1927, despite his service years were lot shorter than in international practice. This was significant in the way that He was then eligible to replace the Artillery Generals from Coastal Defences as the high command of the People’s Navy that included the shore based troops as well. This shift was well liked in the navy and it allowed the expansion and development of the actual naval units to gain priority in the budgets. The first naval rebuilding program was drafted in 1928 and approved by the People’s Deputy.
Most important aspect of the Naval Act of 1928 was the creation of Finnish Submarine arm. This type of vessels, together with small and fast Motor torpedo boats were seen as the future of naval warfare and well suited for smaller nation’s purposes. For purposes to begun such tradition from scratch, former German submarine men were drafted to work as instructors and the Dutch firm I.v.S were given contracts to design the submarines, and this operation was a covert for re-creating German submarine arm. 3 large and 3 small submarines were planned initially, and these the smaller boats were build in design that became the German Type II class as well. However, the big-gun fraction persisted among the new officers as well, and the most ambitious part of this program was to first rebuild and modernize the existing armored ships with modern fire-control and armament, but also to build three more to have two full strength squadrons to counter the larger Swedish vessels. The program also included small crafts and a training ship as well as raising two Royal Navy destroyers, which had been sunk in Finnish waters during 1919.

The program was completed during the following decade, but as the age begun to wear down the fleet even more, it was deemed highly inadequate, especially in terms of escort ships and minelayers. Aside the two British W-class vessels, the only other torpedo vessels where the elderly torpedo-cruisers of 1905 vintage, which begun to show age and weren’t able to reach the speeds required for successful destroyer actions. In 1934, a new naval program was drafted; this time intended to be for longer period and to allow steady replacement pace for each warship then in service or planned all up until 1980! It was a program that investigated the strength of Finnish fleet to be built around 8 Armor ships with 1-3 escorts per ships and 20 submarines. According to this program, 6 modern Italian inspired Destroyers were designed and completed by 1940, and they allowed the retirement of the older vessels. Also, 6 smaller fast diesel-engined gunboats were ordered, but their completion was hampered by the beginning of the World War II. Submarine construction continued and 8 boats were added to the fleet, again to an I.v.S design. Also 1 large and 9 medium size minelayers were also built and increasing number of small units, patrol crafts, motor minesweepers and motor torpedo boats, which later consisted Italian build vessels and license for domestic production that begun during the war years.

These additions made the fleet more and more suited for the defense of the Finnish Maritime environment and formalized the status of the naval doctrines and concepts to which the Navy based its operational structures and actual operations. It also lashed away the last aspects of the Finnish navy to be a subsidiary for the Novgorod fleet and in many aspects the Finnish naval ideas and methods begun to differ considerably from Novgorodian ones, as the super power’s naval needs did not meet the requirements that Finnish planners drafted. It was therefore noteworthy that not a single Novgorod built or designed vessels joined the fleet in the interwar periods. Mostly this was due the fact that there were no tradition to build specialized coastal vessels left in Novgorod, and the destroyers and submarines offered were large and expensive designs for open ocean operations where as in mine warfare and patrol units it was deemed part of the national prestige to create domestic designs without outside help.
In practice this lead to many logistical problems during the war years, as the German and Italian build engines and Swedish designed armament in Finnish ships were incomparable to the Novgorodian mass production, and supply for spares and ammunition was often sparse and relied solely of Finnish production, also the Finnish build Destroyers and submarines as well as the coastal defence vessels in general were inferior in armament and size compared to those abroad and even inside the Baltic, and as Finnish navy lacked ocean going warships and cruisers, its operations were all restricted inside the range of shore based air support and coastal artillery. This was however not severe handicap, since the Finnish shoreline was rugged and myriad of thousands of little islands and reefs and in effect, the safe waterways were usually easily predictable and obscuring and altogether denying their use was relatively simple by the forces Finnish navy possessed.

In long logistical wise the handicaps managed to create innovations and determination for sustaining shipbuilding and related industrial development in Finland, and the Yards build during the Grand Duchy years expanded and more docks were opened in cities of Pori and Viipuri, but the big shipbuilding boom in Finland exploded only post war. A Naval ordnance factory was created along domestic artillery production and it begun to build licensed and illegal copies of Swedish Bofors designs obtained via the Dutch connections, as well as producing ammunition to all weapons in ship and shore establishments.

Second World War 1941-1945

The war years of 1941-1945 proved to be the test and baptism in fire for the People’s navy that transformed it from the turmoil and decay into effective fighting force that prided itself as key element to the victory over Fascism.

This was however not imminent conclusion out of the early performance of the fleet, as the entire nation was taken by surprise by the German and Swedish invasion in Lapland and in Ahvenanmaa. The capture of Ahvenanmaa in relatively ease was specially a painful blow, since the strategic value of the Island and its nearby archipelago was crucial for both Finnish as well as Swedish war effort. The Axis invasion was supported by the strong Swedish Sverige class armored ships as well as German heavy battleship Tiripitz and heavy cruiser Admiral Scheer, all which mounted bigger artillery than Finnish coastal Defense Ships. Finnish ships never managed to gain into positions to engage this strong fleet and subsequently only covered the evacuation of Island from Communist loyalists and Finnish army personnel. Biggest blow to the fleet came few weeks earlier when Armored ship Ilmarinen sunk from mines during screening Novgorodian evacuation of Tallinn, which was one of the biggest maritime disasters as the German laid minefields destroyed 65 vessels and 16,000 men lost their lives. Another Armored ship Louhi was sunk by German aircrafts during the Axis invasion of Ahvenanmaa. The first war year culminated in the eastern Gulf of Finland, when the advancing Germans surrounded the city of Leningrad and trapped the Novgorodian Baltic Fleet into its base.

The turmoil of the first war year didn’t manage to destroy the Finnish fighting spirit nor the navy as operational force. During the Winter 1941/1942, Finns were able to retake small islands in Archipelago Sea as well as in the Eastern Gulf of Finland, particularly the Islands of Suursaari and Lavansaari, which became important bastions and strongholds for the region for the following years. But as the sailing season of 1942 begun, the Situation turned around dramatically, as the German advanced further east and routed the City of Leningrad from Karelian Isthmus and Bulk of Finnish army was thrown into desperate battles to prevent incursion to Finnish southern coast, where the invasion threat was ever present after the loss of Ahvenanmaa. Finnish army managed to halt the German advance near Viipuri and during the battles, armored ship Sampsa Pellervoinen and two destroyers was deployed in the Gulf of Viipuri to engage in valuable artillery strikes against the German flanks.

The situation for Leningrad worsened considerably, as it was now only able to draw supplies from sea, and for the most of the parts of 1942 and 1943 the bulk of both Finnish and Novgorodian Baltic Fleets were engaged in convoys feeding the starving city. Lack of German capital units in the region allowed the badly mauled Novgorodian Fleet to conduct a surprise breakthrough from the besieged cities, and the fleet dispersed itself along the Finnish Coast for repair and maintenance. Germans contested the defenses of the Finnish and Novgorodian held islands several times, but they weren’t able to take the islands. Most losses to Finnish navy came during the convoy service, and especially German air attacks proved out to be severe danger to Finnish ships that often lacked in modern AA suites.

Finnish own naval offensives were limited in lack of units freed to compose coherent naval formations, since almost all the escort vessels were guarding the convoys and thus relegating the armored ships into floating AA and shore batteries in their respective bases. Most of them were stationed in Hanko. Finnish submarines worked hard however, and their main areas of operations were in Archipelago Sea to act against Axis supply convoys as well against the important Iron ore traffic from Sweden to Germany. Lack of numbers prevented any large scale success and the Finnish Forces were never able to fully obscure this traffic into ceasing it completely. Another important weapon for both sides of the war was the sea mine and the effective mining in the Archipelago Sea effectively denied any capital ship movements that would have been needed to secure possible invasion of the Mainland, and axis forces never tried such after the early successes in 1941. Finland however lacked fast and strong units capable of aggressive offensive mining of enemy support basins and ports. Only submarines were available for such tasks but their mine load and overall numbers was not sufficient for conducting such operations in larger scale.

In winter of 1944, a joint Finnish-Novgorodian operation freed Leningrad and drove the Germans all the way into Estonia, and this begun switch in fortunes in the war in the Northern front which had been lot more stable than the German-Russian engagements in the south. After the Finnish and Novgorodian fleets were free from the convoy services, plans to retake Ahvenanmaa begun immediately and drawing the forces needed for such begun during the spring of 1944. By summertime this build up was completed, analog to the more famous and far more massive Normandy Landings by the Western Allies in France, and the operation Kilpapurjehdus was to be conducted in alongside Novgorodian assault into Estonia and Baltic states. Novgorodian Heavy Cruisers provided the screening force against possible Kriegsmarine capital ships, but mostly the invasion fleet consisted of all available Finnish naval units. Supported by massive air strikes, Finns initiated the assault in 7th of June 1944, day after the Normandy landings. The Axis forces were taken by surprise, and No German heavy units were at Baltic and the Swedish forces were not stationed in the Operational area. Supported by the Finnish coastal defense ships, the myriad collection of barges, boats and launches transported Finnish coastal jaegers to the Eastern Islands of the occupied territory and this caused alarming panic among Swedish government which saw the situation helpless without immediate German support. A small fleet of destroyers and minesweepers engaged with the Finnish fleet of 3armored ships of Kökar Island and Armored ship Väinämöinen sunk the Swedish destroyer Klass Ugla and destroyer Klass Horn Damaged from the Finnish fire, forcing the Swedish fleet to retreat from the battle and effectively leave the Ahvenanmaa under mercy of the Finns and Novgorodians.

By surprise move Swedish government sued for peace and ceasefire, according to secret negotiations with the western Powers. This became as surprise to the Finnish leadership, which was not prepare of so sudden collapse of the resistance, as well for the Germans who were infuriated. In the ensuring chaos where Swedish troops surrendered to the Finns on sight and small German unit’s fought in valiant but desperate resistance, Finland retook the Island within a few days. Germans tried to send reinforcements, but these attempts were all blocked by Novgorodian fleet that took firmly control over the Northern Baltic. After the operation in June, the war effectively ended for the Finnish navy in combatant wise, there was some activity in hunting down German submarines occasionally venturing north and Finnish small units screened and assisted Novgorodian in sweeping the Estonian islands clear from German resistance, and similar actions were concluded along the Finnish western coast as well. However Minesweeping and protecting commercial trade continued to keep the navy in war footing for many years to come. Despite the navy had taken heavy toll and most of its major units were sunk, damaged or at least torn weary, it emerged from the war victorious and effective fighting force which played key part in preventing the Axis forces invading the Finnish mainland, and in their effort to convoy supplies to besieged Leningrad helped to prevent a dreadful human disaster which the eastern front was notorious under Fascist occupation.
This prestige pawed way for the Navy to be acknowledged to be in frontline in Finnish defenses for the following cold war decades and the tradition the People’s Navy still holds, carries almost exclusively from the Second World war years, forgiving all the humiliations of the past generations.

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Gollevainen
Post subject: Re: Finnish AU (Part III)Posted: January 21st, 2015, 12:42 pm
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Coastal Defence Vessels 1895-1945

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Gollevainen
Post subject: Re: Finnish AU (Part III)Posted: January 21st, 2015, 12:49 pm
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Torpedo boats, torpedo Gun-boats and Destroyers 1892-1945

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Gollevainen
Post subject: Re: Finnish AU (Part III)Posted: January 21st, 2015, 12:51 pm
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Submarines 1930-1945

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Krakatoa
Post subject: Re: Finnish AU (Part III)Posted: January 21st, 2015, 12:53 pm
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Very interesting Gollevainen, that is a lot of typing.

I like the progression of the coast defence ships through the years.

The destroyers and gunboats look very useful too.

And now the Submarines which should prove their worth as coast defence units as well.


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Gollevainen
Post subject: Re: Finnish AU (Part III)Posted: January 21st, 2015, 1:01 pm
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Gunboats and Sloops, patrol vessels and Guard Ships 1894-1945

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Gollevainen
Post subject: Re: Finnish AU (Part III)Posted: January 21st, 2015, 1:05 pm
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Minewarfare units 1904-1945

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JSB
Post subject: Re: Finnish AU (Part III)Posted: January 21st, 2015, 1:06 pm
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Wow lots to read and loads of nice ships.
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