Decorations of Finland – The Continuation War Service Medal

Jatkosodan muistomitali Continuation War Service Medal Description: Bronze Observe: A bayonet wreathed in oak leaves in the centre. The dates “1941-1945” and the inscription “ISÄNMAA” or “FOSTERLANDET” (Fatherland in Finnish and Swedish respectively) around the outer edges. Reverse: The Finnish Coat of Arms (1920 variant) Ribbon: 32mm wide […]

Why an Oak Leaf for Finland’s Veterans?

On the 24th April 2003 the Tammenlehvän perinneliitto (Oak Leaf Association) was founded. Its goal was to coordinate the work of the various Veterans’ associations across Finland. It took its name and symbol from the emblem that emblazons the jackets and furnishes the headstones of veterans. But why […]

Memorial Hunter – Helsinki Minesweepers’ Memorial – A Forgotten ‘War’

On a wet June morning in 2004, a mixed gathering of people were observed at the Laivastopuisto in Katajanokka, Helsinki. The crowd consisted of Naval personnel, elderly veterans, city officials and interested individuals, the were all looking towards a covered plinth. The dark blue shroud was removed, revealing […]

Finland’s Last Tank Battle

“There has never been a war fought in the high north… The region is completely unsuited for military operations” – General Eduard Dietl The words of General Dietl may have been true, but that did not stop the deployment of hundreds of thousands of military personnel in the […]

Freezing Inferno: USSR vs. Finland 1939-1940 Interview

Games based upon the Winter War, or any Finnish conflict, are few and far between. I played Talvisota: Icy Hell way back when I first came to Finland, and have seen several examples at the Game exhibit at Tampere’s Vapriiki museum. So, to find out that there is […]

Russian Hypocrisy? Descecretion of Koivisto’s Heroes Cemetery

War graves have always played an important role in modern society. They are places of remembrance and sacrifice. Where families can come together to share grief over the loss of their loved ones, and where Veterans can pay respect to their comrades who didn’t survive. They are sacred […]

Decorations of Finland – The Blue Cross

The Suojelusjunta (often translated as Civil Guards) was formed in the early days of Finnish independence as a voluntary militia. From 1918 till they were disbanded in 1944, they were the backbone of the Finnish military. Many famous names of the Winter and Continuation Wars, such as Simo […]

Memorial Hunter – Raatisaari Prison Camp 1918

The 1st of May, also called May Day or Vappu in Finnish, is one of the biggest holidays in the Finnish calendar. It’s a day filled with celebration, parades, eating munkki (Finnish doughnuts), tippaleipä (Finnish funnel cakes) and drinking sima (mead). It is also the day that Socialists […]

Memorial Hunter – Pispala Red Guard Monument – Last Stand at Pispala

A few years ago I was in Tampere for work. After attending the work-related event, I found myself with a few hours free before I needed to get the train back to Oulu and so thought what better way to use my time than explore the city for […]

Heroes of Finland – Diego Manzocchi – A strange and tragic tale

During the Winter War, thousands of people from nations across the globe volunteered to serve Finland. Most of these volunteers wouldn’t leave their home countries, let alone make it to Finland due to the issues with getting to the Nordic state. However, a few thousand did, many being […]