World War II: Border Jaegers


During World War 2 also Finnish Border Guard units, which during peace-time were guarding nations borders, were used to form combat troops. Compared to typical Finnish infantry these formations tended to have better training and more personnel that belonged to permanent staff (career military, not reservists). Border troops units (as they were known at that time) formed for Winter War established in Karealian Isthmus included ten Border Companies (Rajakomppania), which early on served in a screening force (Suojajoukot), which provided the protective screen on border for full-scale mobilisation of Finnish Army and later when the war started and the Soviets crossed border, delayed their advance during the first few days of the war. After this the ten Border Companies became dedicated antitank-units, which fought Soviet tanks mainly with antitank-mines, satchel charges and molotov cocktails. In addition they were often used for recon, patrol and as normal infantry. However this was not the geographical area, were Finnish Border Troops made their biggest contribution during Winter War - that area would be further up north. In areas north of Karelian Isthmus 10 Seperate Battalions, one Seperate Company and HQ for Group of Northern Finland were formed from Border Guard units. These battalions fought in their own areas often relying methods usually associated to guarilla warfare.

After Winter War Border Troops were renamed as Border Jaeger Troops in honour of their excellent service record in that war. For Continuation War Finnish military decided to create 24 Border Jaeger Companies, which were early on again used as a screening force and later often used for securing flanks of larger units. During battles of year 1941 these companies proved too small for the purpose, so already during the battles some Army Corps (II and VI) and some Divisions (6th and 14th) formed battalions from those Border Jaeger Companies, that were in their disposal. Autumn of 1941 General Headquarters of Finnish Armed Forces issued orders according which the existing Border Jaeger Battalions were to be united to each other for creating Border Jaeger Battalions. By end of 1941 six such battalions had been created and by August of that year all eight battalions were ready.

Officially these Border Jaeger Battalions created in 1941 - 1942 were to contain only:

  • Battalion HQ and Supplies Company
  • 3 x Border Jaeger Company
  • But often they also received additional parts in their organisation, such as:

  • Machinegun Platoon or Machinegun Company
  • Jaeger Platoon
  • Antitank Platoon
  • Mortar Platoon
  • Transport units
  • Detailed orders concerning organisation, equipment and manpower of Border Jaeger Battalions were not given until early 1943 and even then they were not implemented to the letter. Hence, while Border Jaeger Battalions around 1943 - 1944 usually may have had basic structure listed in this page, they were typically somewhat under-strenght as far as manpower was concerned. In 1943 official by the book full strenght Border Jaeger Battalion was to have 1,114 soldiers, but in reality this seems to have varied in between 800 - 1,000 soldiers depending battalion and exact time.

    Even Border Jaeger Battalions proved too small for some tasks. July of 1944 attack of Soviet 127th Light Army Corps and 69th Marine Brigade advancing through wilderness was threatening rear of Finnish defensive position in U-line (Uomaa - Pitkäranta fortified defensive position about 55 km long starting from northern shore of Lake Laatokka / Ladoga). For the purpose of fighting against these Sovivet units troops in the practically roadless wilderess Finnish Army united several Border Jaeger Battalions to create Border Jaeger Brigade, which was sent to the area and succeeded repulsing the Soviet attack.


    Border Jaeger Company, 1941 - 1942

    Company Commander (pistol + bicycle)

    Company HQ Squad

    Radio Team

    4 Rifle Platoons, in each platoon

    Machinegun Platoon

    Antitank Platoon

    Obstacle / Landmine Laying Platoon

    Supplies Platoon


    Border Jaeger Company, 1943 - 1944

    Company Commander (pistol)

    Company HQ Squad

    4 Rifle Platoons, in each platoon

    Machinegun Platoon

    Antitank Platoon

    Obstacle / Landmine Laying Platoon

    Supplies Platoon


    Border Jaeger Battalion, 1943 - 1944

    Battalion Commander (pistol)

    Battalion HQ and Battalion HQ Company

    3 Border Jaeger Companies, in each company

    Antitank Gun Platoon

    Mortar Platoon

    Supply Column


    Border Jaeger Brigade, late July 1944

    Brigade HQ

    HQ Company

    Signal Company

    Frontier Jaeger Battalion 4

    Frontier Jaeger Battalion 7

    Frontier Jaeger Battalion 8

    Light Artillery Battalion 17

    Antitank Gun Company

    Heavy Mortar Company (11th Heavy Mortar Co)

    Engineer Company (3rd Company of Engineer Battalion 11)

    Supplies Company

    8th Truck Unit

    Last updated 13th of May 2010
    Webmaster: JTV
    Copyrights (text and graphics): Jaeger Platoon Website. Copyrights of photographs vary on case to case basis and are marked along each picture.