Finnish Armour in Action
Note there are several types of Finnish tanks depicted: T-26 Model 1931 tanks, T-26 Model 1933's, T-26 Model 1937 and Model 1939S tanks as well as OT-130 & OT-133 flamethrower tanks and various versions of the Finnish modified T-26E's, too. The captured Matilda is there, too but it was never used in combat by the Finns. See also a depot of captured vehicles and note BT-2's, BT-5's and BT-7's as well as a single T-28 - such a gathering would provide an invaluable source of spare parts for the Finns.
As for the camouflage & markings, one can assume the photos were taken before the now-familiar three tone camo system was applied, i.e. before 1943. This is also confirmed by the presence of early "Rekisterinumero" two/three digit registration numbers. They eventually will be superceeded in 1943 by "Ps" (Panssarivaunu) type-based system. The vehicles shown are painted with dark green colour. Note also various types of "hakaristi" national insignia and company/platoon markings like a yellow skull or a square/number sign.
Just a brief note for diorama builders. The Finns wore an astonishing selection of uniforms and headgear. Note German M1935 and Italian M1933 helmets. Czechoslovak M1932 and German M1916 steel helmets were worn, too. The other hedgear visible in the pictures is M1936 peaked field cap and brown tankers' leather cap copied from the familiar Soviet design. As for the uniforms, the M1936 leather (black) or cloth (dark grey) outfit is noticeable. The uniforms had brass buttons. Brown belt with brass buckle was worn. Black rfectangle patches with grey lace were worn on the collars. The photos come from Suomen Armeija Kuva, Die Wehrmacht, Timo Tuominen & and the author's collection. Some of them were already published in the first part of "Panzerwaffe Allies" book (the second part will be released on March 31st).
Sources recommended for further reading:
- Suomalaiset Panssarivaunut;
- Puolustusvoimien Panssarikalusto;
- various IPMS Mallari(Kuusela/Muikku), IPMS Quarterly
(Zaloga/Rosenlof), Steel Masters (Cance), Model Graphix (Kuusela),
Tankette & Centurion (Baumann) articles;
- for those who speak Polish :-) "Finnish Uniforms" in Model Fan 12/98
and "Finnish Armour" in Militaria vo.1/2 - both by T. Basarabowicz.
All images copyright Tomasz Basarbowicz 2000
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