FORMATIONS (TO&E), PART 5

World War II, Cavalry

 

During World War 2 Finnish Army had only two large cavalry units, both of which somewhat of an elite status from the pre-war years. These regiments had originally been created during Finnish Civil War in year 1918 and were called Uudenmaan Rakuunarykmentti (Uusimaa Dragoon Regiment) and Hämeen Ratsurykmentti (Häme Cavalry Regiment). These two units were also well known for their abbreviations - URR for Uusimaa Dragoon Regiment and HRR for Häme Cavalry Regiment. Especially URR had notable prestige status in pre-war years with Mannerheim as its honorary commander etc and the both units were known for their rather lavish parade uniforms. While these units were called regiments, manpower for each of them was actually closer to size of infantry battalion. Due to this during the war they were used to form Ratsuväkiprikaati (Cavalry Brigade). This was just one of the things, which made these cavalry units rather exceptional among Finnish units of that time. For one thing they were only units of Finnish Army to be issued also with swords (cavalry sword, which was actually technically a sabre), which remained in their use until autumn of 1941. During pre-war years considerable effort had been placed in training their soldiers to use their swords and firearms also from back of a horse, but during the war they fought as mounted infantry. In other words - they used riding horses to get from one place to another, but dismounted for battle. During Winter War (1939 - 1940) both regiments served dismounted (in other words: without their horses). For Continuation War they received their horses, but as the war dragged on their horses were replaced by bicycles in ever increasing extent. Cavalry also had rifle models of their own, from which cavalry rifle M/27 was most common during World War 2. Cavalry units also their own specialities in naming system, one of which was calling their companies as Eskadroona (Squadron). During World War Cavalry Brigade and its regiments took part in many decisive battles gaining reputation being among the best units of Finnish Army.

Besides the two above-mentioned regiments, Finnish Army had also some smaller cavalry units. Most important of these were cavalry squadrons (companies) of Winter War (1939 - 1940) era Light Detachment (Kevyt Osasto). More information about these cavalry squadrons can be found on this page.

 

PICTURE: Finnish cavalry on a road, presumably photographed during war games of summer 1939. Notice cavalry sword hanging on side of each saddle. (SA-kuva photo archive, photo number 47).

 

 

Cavalry/Dragoon Regiment, 1939:

Regiment Commander

Regimental HQ

HQ Squadron

1st Cavalry Squadron

2nd Cavalry Squadron

3rd Cavalry Squadron

Antitank Platoon

Supplies Column

 

 

Cavalry Brigade, 1941:

Brigade Commander

Brigade HQ

Jaeger Battalion 1

Häme Cavalry Regiment

Uudenmaa Dragoon Regiment

Riding Artillery Battery

Gun Squadron (Antitank gun Company)

Signal Squadron

Cavarly School

Marching Band

 

Brigade strength:

  • Officers: 163
  • NCO: 486
  • Men: 3589
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    Cavalry Brigade, 1942:

    Brigade Commander

    Brigade HQ

    Jaeger Battalion 1

    Häme Cavalry Regiment

    Uudenmaa Dragoon Regiment (TO&E similar to Häme Cavalry Regiment)

    Riding Artillery Battery

    Gun Squadron

    PICTURE: Riding horses and horse skiing ski troops. This was one of the techniques Finnish cavalry troops used in winter-time during World War 2. The symbol in the corner was uniform insignia for Uudenmaa Dragoon Regiment during World War 2. (SA-kuva photo archive, photo number 79991).

     

    Weaponry of Cavalry Brigade in 15th of September 1941:


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