Sunday, July 3, 2011

To honor Finnish national defense 50th anniversary 4.6.1968

This impressive First Day Cover sent to me by My Dear Friend Pia and the stamps on it were issued on 04.06.1968, to honor Finnish national defense 50th anniversary. The stamps on it feature the Jaeger monument, Vaasa, The War memorial cross, Hietaniemi Cemetery, Helsinki., and finally The Soldier.
Soon after Finland gained independence in December 1917, a nationalistic, middle-class militia known as the White Guards, which had been secretly established in 1904 and 1905 and which had remained underground since then disguised as athletic clubs and other groups, was officially proclaimed the army of the Finnish government under General Mannerheim. This so-called White Army was strengthened and trained by 1,100 officers and non-commissioned officers (NCOs) who had traveled clandestinely to Germany during World War I and had formed the Twenty-seventh Royal Prussian Jaeger Battalion. Returning to Finland, they brought back with them urgently needed small arms captured from the Russians. The White forces were swelled by new conscripts, officers of the former Finnish armed forces, Swedish volunteers, and Finnish officers who had served in the Swedish and in the Russian armies, in addition to the jaegers. After three months of bitter civil conflict, the White Army of about 70,000 troops defeated the Red Guards from the radical wing of the Finnish Social Democratic Party, in May 1918. Both sides suffered thousands of casualties. In four months, the White Guards had evolved from a strongly motivated, but ill-trained, militia into a battle-hardened, disciplined national armed force. Although numerically superior and reinforced by the Russian garrisons in Finland, the Red Guards were deficient in equipment, training, and leadership.
The Finnish Defence Forces are under the command of the Chief of Defence (currently General Ari Puheloinen), who is directly subordinate to the President of the Republic in matters related to the military command. Apart from the General Staff, the military branches are the Finnish Army (Maavoimat), the Finnish Navy (Merivoimat) and the Finnish Air Force (Ilmavoimat). The Border Guard (Rajavartiolaitos) (including the coast guard) is under the Ministry of the Interior but can be incorporated fully or in part into the defence forces when required by defence readiness.

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