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The Finnish Army

The Finnish Army

in the Winter War

Part II


In  Part I



The Order of Battle of the Finnish Army on 30 November 1939

9th Division in Reserve 6th Division in Reserve The Isthmus Army The P-SR defending mid and north Finland The IV Corps in Ladoga Karelia ( The image has hotspots! )
The Army deployed



JR = Infantry Regiment
Kev.Os = light detachment
Er.P = separate battalion
JP = Jaeger battalion
KTR = Field Artillery Regiment
Rask.Psto = heavy art. battalion
Psto / #.Pr = brigade art. battalion
Psto = artillery battalion
KT-Pr. = Field Replacement Brigade
URR = Uudenmaa dragoon Reg.
HRR = Häme cavalry Reg.
PPP = bicycle battalion


(Note that these tables are a summary of different tables and maps, found mostly in "Talvisodan Historia 1", so there is a chance that they are not 100 % correct)

In the Karelian Isthmus:


The Isthmus Army
(Lieutenant General H.Österman)

II Corps
(Lieutenant General H.Öhquist)

III Corps
(Major General A.E.Heinrichs)
4.D 5.D 11.D U-Group M-Group L-Group 8.D 10.D R-Group 1.D
JR 10 JR 13 JR 31 URR* Er.P 1 Er.P 2 JR 23 JR 28 3.Pr 1.Pr
JR 11 JR 14 JR 32 HRR* Er.P 4 Er.P 5 JR 24 JR 29 Er.P 6 2.Pr
JR 12 JR 15 JR 33 Er.P 3 JP 3 JP 2 JR 26 JR 30 JP 4 Psto/1.Pr
KTR 4 KTR 5 KTR 11 Er.P 7 KTR 8 KTR 10 M-Os.** Psto/2.Pr
Kev.Os 4 Kev.Os 5 Kev.Os 11 JP 1 Kev.Os 8 Kev.Os 10 Psto/3.Pr Psto/4.Pr
PPP 5 Rask.Psto 1 ¤ Rask.Psto 4 ¤
Rask.Psto 2 ¤
Rask.Psto 3 ¤

NOTE: Table shows only the units that are roughly battalion size. Separate/independent companies, batteries etc. are not included
Some of the divisional battalions were attached to the Delaying groups, but for reasons of clarity I've included them to the parent division
*= formed together the Cavalry brigade, which was actually a Regiment-strength unit
** = Os.Metsäpirtti, formed from 8.Er.K, 9.Er.K and 2.Er.Ptri
¤ = still under Corps Command, but deployed in that division's sector


(to see the Isthmus Army deployment on 30 November 1939, click the image below)
The deployment of the Army of Isthmus

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In Ladoga Karelia and Mid-North Finland

IV Corps
(Major General J. Hägglund)

(Major General V. Tuompo)

12.D 13.D TF Räsänen Er.P 11 Reserve LR P-KR
JR 34 JR 37 Er.P 10 PPP 7 Er.P 17 Er.P 12 Er.P 15
JR 35 JR 38 Er.P 112 Er.P 13 Er.P 16
JR 36 JR 39 Er.P 14 (Er.P 25*)
KTR 12 KTR 13   (Er.P 26*)
Kev.Os 12 Kev.Os 13
Er.P 8
Er.P 9

NOTE: Table shows only the units that are roughly battalion size. Field replacement units (including battalions), separate companies etc. are not included in the table.
Many platoon-battalion sized units were detached from their parent divisions,
but for reasons of clarity, I've not included such attachments
*= These two battalions didn't exist on 30 November, but were formed in P-SR area
in early December. The Er. P 25 was moved to Salla front, taking frontline duty on 6 December and Er. P 26 arrived to the same area on 12 December.


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In Reserve:

Commander-in-Chief's reserves

6.D 9.D KT-Pr

Aaland Group
(Os. Hanell)

JR 16 JR 25 IV/KT-Pr PPP 6 JR 22
JR 17 * V/KT-Pr PPP 8
JR 18 JR 27 VI/KT-Pr II / KTR 6
KTR 6 (-II Psto) KTR 9 (- I Psto) VIII/KT-Pr I / KTR 9
Kev.Os 6 Kev.Os 9 IX/KT-Pr

NOTE: Table shows only the units that are roughly battalion size, separate companies etc. are not included
* = JR 26 was attached to 8.D to replace the JR 22, which was attached to Os.Hanell


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The replacement troops



The most important task of the Home Front troops, was to transport replacements to the Field Army. At the start of the mobilization, 3 replacement divisions (1.Koti-T-D - 3.Koti-T-D) were formed from the excess reservists, conscripted men and a small number of officers and NCO's. Each replacement division (all replacement units had a "Koti-T" in front of their abbreviation, like "1.Koti-T-D" for "1st Home Front replacement division") consisted of

  • 3  T-JR (replacement infantry regiment)
  • 1  kevyt-T-P (light replacement battalion)
  • 1  T-KTR (replacement artillery regiment)
  • 1  T-PionP (replacement Engineer battalion)
  • 1  Viesti-T-P (replacement signals battalion)
  • 1  Huolto-T-P (replacement supply battalion)

In addition to these, the 1.Koti-T-D had also

  • 1  panssari-T-K (replacement tank company)
  • 1  mittaus-T-Ptri (replacement survey battery)

and the 3.Koti-T-D had

  • 1  raskas-T-Ptri (heavy replacement battery)
  • 1  kaasusuojelu-T-P (replacement gas protection battalion)
  • 1  R-T-R (replacement cavalry regiment)

Also, in late October, the AT-gun training center started the training of AT-gun platoons in Hämeenlinna.

The Field replacement brigade, (hereafter KT-Pr.) was formed under the command of the General HQ, to replace larger losses, transporting whole companies and battalions to the Army.

The main purpose was to train men for replacement purposes for the front-line units. During the early phases of the mobilization, from late October onwards, manpower shortages were handled by the replacement divisions. The replacements were to be transported to the divisional replacement battalion, from which they were to be allocated further as ordered by the division commander.


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Changes during the war


As the Army had a chronic shortage of units, the battalions of the KT-Pr. had to be used to in the front-line. This led to changes in the replacement system. On Dec 1st, an order was issued to reform the replacement divisions into brigades, increasing the unit number. Also JR 40 was formed and attached to 9.D to replace the JR 26, which had been attached to 8.D.

This change wasn't of long duration, as on Dec 9th, a new order was issued, that the Home Front troops should switch back into divisional organization. The only visible result of the "re-forming" was that the JR 40 was formed, and the 2.Koti-T-D was left without the 3rd regiment (the result of forming the JR 40) .
    The reason for this was the appalling situation on the front. It was more efficient to use the troops in the front-line as units, than to replace slowly the losses. On 19 December 1939, the 1.Koti-T-D became the 21.D (JR 61 - JR 63) , the 2.Koti-T-D became the 22.D (JR 64 - JR 65) , and the 3.Koti-T-D became the 23.D (JR 67 - JR 69) .

As the replacement divisions were now taken into the Field Army, the task of feeding replacement was given to hastily erected training centers, which started the work from 18 December onwards. The centers formed at the start to train replacements were:

7 infantry training centers
1 tank training center
1 engineer training center
1 signals training center
1 supply training center
1 gas protection center
2 cavalry training centers
3 artillery training centers

More training centers were raised during the war, adding a mortar training center, 2 artillery training centers and 2 infantry training centers


Throughout the war, came new orders to raise new units, and while the requests for replacements were given in December-January through official channels, from February onwards (after the Red Army started it's major offensive) the losses mounted so fast, that requests were made simply by a phone call.


A rough estimate of delivered replacements, from the Home Front to the Field Army
(no exact figures are available)

Time period replacements for losses
or shortages
into new units
Mobilization 2 400 1 700 4 100
December 1939 3 300 21 200 24 500
January 1940 10 100 17 300 27 400
February-March 1940 25 400 29 900 55 300
Total (men) 41 200 70 100 111 300

(Table source: "Talvisodan Historia 4", WSOY 1991, p.166)

Late in the war, the shortage of manpower was alarming. Marshal Mannerheim called this an even greater shortage than the shortage of equipment. To give the negotiators in Moscow, as great non-direct support (by reinforcing the Army at the front) as possible, Mannerheim ordered the "last human resources" (meaning troops with even some training) , 14 battalions in training centers with poor equipment and little training, behind the front-line in detachments consisting of 3-4 battalions, which started to arrive to the main theater on 5 March 1940.


Back to Part I


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