MILITARY UNIFORMS 3

 

Field Uniform M/27

 

 

Military uniform m/22 proved less than satisfactory, so Armed Forces introduced new military uniform and overcoat in August of 1927. With this new uniform also color of boots worn by officers and military officials changed from black to dark brown, while also leather belts changed color from light brown to dark brown. This new uniform known as field uniform m/27 (kenttäpuku m/27) was developed by committee lead by Colonel Lauri Malmberg (Chief of Civil Guard in 1921 – 1945 and later Lieutenant General) in 1926 - 1927. It is quite apparent that the main intention for the committee was to develop two separate military uniforms – one for garrison duty and another one for field service. Hence its proposal contained garrison uniform, field uniform and light jacket.

From these field uniform was to be better suited for combat use than existing military uniform m/22, while garrison uniform was intended to be more presentable than uniform m/22. But ultimately from the three intended uniforms only field uniform m/27 composed of field tunic m/27 and its trousers was issued in general use, while light jacket became part of officer’s light uniform which officers could acquire privately and garrison uniform was never realized. The committee had clearly also intended to create military uniform, which both Finnish Armed Forces and Civil Guard would use – which did happen but only in certain degree, since ultimately also previous military uniform m/22 remained in use until later replaced by military uniform m/36. As a side product field uniform m/27 ultimately ended up more commonly used by Civil Guard in such extent that the uniform got associated to Civil Guard in such extent that it is still often referred in Finland as "Civil Guard uniform". Introduction of field uniform m/27 was also intended be a starting point for standardizing similar uniforms to all service arms in even further extent than ever before by using the same uniform color ("brown-green-grey") for all service arms. The only notable exceptions to this among uniform items of field uniform m/27 were to be Air Force light uniform m/27 and Air Force raincoat, both of which were to be dark blue.

PICTURE: Rare period photo showing two Privates of Finnish Army in full field uniform m/27, considering the white armband with Finnish coat of arms emblem these would a holiday uniforms, which conscripts were required to wear while on leave. Tunics are m/27 and due to their color according uniform regulations only trousers that could be used with it were also m/27 - in this case straight pants m/27. The hats are fur cap m/27. Leather belt is presumably also leather belt m/27. Notice wide collars, they are the easy feature for identifying this tunic model. (Photo Jaeger Platoon photo collection.) CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (121 KB).

While orders issued to Finnish military specified that field uniform m/27 was no longer to be used after year 1937 although they could be issued to conscripts until they would be worn out. Also according orders officers, senior noncommissioned officers and military officials could still use the uniform until late 1941. But once Finland entered to war these orders were retracted. Guardsmen of Finnish Civil Guard (Suojeluskunta) commonly took their Civil Guard uniforms m/27 with them to mobilisation of year 1939 and with the shortage of uniforms from which Finnish Armed Forces suffered, guardsmen took their field uniforms m/27 to Winter War. Hence while Finnish Army did not issue field uniforms m/27 in large scale before World War 2, due to Civil Guard guardsmen the uniform model still saw large scale use with Finnish Army during Winter War. Then also shortage of materials needed for manufacturing new uniforms became a factor. Hence May of 1941 Finnish military issued new orders according which field uniforms m/27 could be used until end of Continuation War because of problems in acquisition of uniform materials. As a result field uniform m/27 remained in use of Finnish military until end of World War 2, although using brown-green-grey field uniform m/27 in frontline service proved particularly perilous during the war due to its brown-tilted color resembling the brown/khaki fabrics used in Soviet uniforms. Hence during Continuation War these uniforms were apparently mostly re-issued for troops stationed in home front, although for obvious reasons they seem to have enjoyed some popularity as winter clothing particularly with officers. It is worth noting that while grand majority of field uniforms m/27 seems to have been made from brown-green-grey fabric in which brown is dominant color, late production versions (made starting at least from year 1937) of the tunic seem to be made from brown-green-grey wool in which green is the dominant color. It is not known if this change of fabric is due to earlier used fabric no longer being commonly available or due to some other reason.

PICTURE: Good example of Civil Guard's field uniform m/27 made Army uniform for Winter War. The uniform has Civil Guard belt design, but Civil Guard insignia have been removed from left arm of tunic and Civil Guard "jaeger cap" type hat now has Armed Forces cockade. I am not sure if trousers shown here are original - they seem unusually "shiny". Photo taken in Finnish Military Museum (Sotamuseo), Helsinki. Bayonet is bayonet m/28-30. CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (127 KB).

 

Field tunic m/27 (kenttäpusero m/27):

Field tunic m/27 is blouse-like grouch-length jacket. It had six hidden chest buttons and large external pockets, which have flaps closed with buttons, which have Finnish coat of arms lion emblem. The tunic is unusual in that sense that it is otherwise very loosely fitted, but its waist is adjusted (tightened) with fabric belt, that is inside the jacket. Also tunic cuffs can be tightened, the tunic has belt hooks for leather belt and extra layer of fabric on elbows. The tunic can be most easily recognized from its rather massive collar made from same fabric as rest of the tunic – normally this collar was folded down, but if needed could be raised up to protect neck from cold and foul weather. The tunic has seems on its back on both sides. Inside the jacket waist on both sides are pockets intended for first aid bandage. Cavalry version of the tunic has its fabric belt attached in slightly different manner than in other versions and belt hooks on sides instead of back. The material selected for this new uniform was rather thick coarse cloth (wool) of "brown-green-grey" color with brown being the dominating color – although later on the wool used for manufacturing of these tunics apparently had green as dominating color. It is worth noting that original orders specified the fabric type only as "wool", hence there were apparently some variation of suitable wool fabrics used these uniforms when it came to privately acquired uniforms.

PICTURE: Finnish Army Corporal's (Alikersantti) field tunic m/27. Notice wide collar and cuff design. Cuff buttons of this tunic are missing. Photo taken in Finnish Military Museum (Sotamuseo), Helsinki. CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (115 KB).

One of the basic ideas behind the field tunic design was likely an attempt to make having separate great coat unnecessary – in other words if equipped with field tunic m/27, soldiers could have been able to do in winter-time without being burdened by heavy and bulky greatcoat. The idea was not without merit, since the tunic apparently proved well suited for winter use when used properly with layered clothing under it. At the same time the tunic cut used in m/27 was clearly the most best suited for combat of all Finnish military tunic designs introduced by World War 2. But for it to be suitable as overcoat for winter use on own tunic m/27 needed to made from thick wool, which made the jacket poorly suited for summer. Not only was field tunic m/27 too warm for summer use, but if its thick coarse cloth got wet, it became quite heavy and difficult to dry. What made this a major problem for Armed Forces was that unlike Civil Guard they did not introduce any sort of summer uniform to be used along field uniform m/27 before summer tunic m/32 being introduced in May of 1932. While "brown-green-grey" blended in better with terrain than steel grey tunic m/22, its brown-dominated color later caused some blue-on-blue incidents during World War 2. With field tunic m/27 officers of Armed Forces had their rank marked with heraldic roses placed on collar of the tunic, while military officials and non-commissioned officers wore their rank markings on epaulets.

Trousers for field uniform m/27

Trousers used with field uniform m/27 were made from the same fabric as the jacket – in other words "brown-green-grey" wool. Three types of trousers were used with it – breeches, riding breeches and straight pants. Riding breeches m/27 (commonly referred as "luukkuhousut" = "hatch pants" for large buttoned up opening in the grouch) are type of breeches reinforced with leather or fabric for riding horses. From those three trouser types, the standard issued version was straight pants. Only field artillery, cavalry and other riding units issued riding breeches for their enlisted men and non-commissioned officers. Riding pants version of trousers was early on found unsatisfactory with improved experimental versions developed until year 1932. Trousers had normally two back pockets and small waist pocket intended for pocket watch.

PICTURE: Field cap m/27. Notice cap with its visor and how sides of the cap which have been folded and buttoned up. Photo taken in Maneesi (Manage) of Finnish Military Museum (Suomenlinna, Helsinki). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (103 KB).

Headgear for field uniform m/27

Two new headgear designs were designed for field uniform m/27, but what is commonly known only one of them seem to have been used in real numbers. The design that saw actual use was field cap m/27 (kenttälakki m/27) a somewhat boat-shaped peaked fabric hat with sides, which were normally folded and buttoned up. This field cap is made from similar "brown-green-grey" wool as rest of field uniform m/27 with also its visor being made from the same fabric. The another version that never saw large-scale use was fur-cap m/27 (turkislakki m/27) originally intended for winter use – it had quite a similar basic design as with field cap m/27, but had its folding sides lined up with brown fur.

PICTURE: Leather belt m/27. The same belt buckles had already been used with leather belts m/22. CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (71 KB).

Leather belt m/27 (nahkavyö m/27)

This leather belt has the same rectangular steel belt buckle with "coat of arms lion inside the crest" emblem that was earlier used with (light brown) leather belt m/22, but the belt buckle has been transferred to a new belt 40-mm wide and made from dark brown leather. As the leather belt m/22 that it replaced this belt design was intended for enlisted men and non-commissioned officers. Not only were the leather parts of the belt replaced, but also the (light brown) Y-strap harness (Y-hihnat) that mainly cavalry and bicycle troops used with it was replaced with Y-strap harness m/27 made from similar dark brown leather as the new belt model and with steel parts.

PICTURE: Finnish Army Captain's field tunic m/27 with (worn out) officer's leather belt m/27. Notice how the heraldic roses are arranged in tips of tunic collar, large external pockets, wide collar and desing of cuffs with row of three buttons. Photo taken in Finnish Military Museum (Sotamuseo), Helsinki. CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (141 KB).

Officer’s leather belt m/27 (upseerien nahkavyö m/27):

This was a new Sam Browne type leather belt design for officers, senior NCO ranks and military officials. It has 55-mm wide dark brown belt with brass roller belt buckle that has two prongs. The leather strap, that goes across right shoulder is similar dark brown leather 27-mm wide and have ends that are 23-mm wide. This basic belt design proved so successful that its slightly modified version officer’s leather belt m/52 have remained in use of Finnish military to this day and the belt buckle design have been used in standard issue service belt issued to all Finnish soldiers as part of their uniform kit for decades. While very similar officer’s leather belts m/27 and m/52 can be separated from one another by checking the number of metal loops for sword hanger in left side of belt – m/27 has only one loop, while m/52 has two.

Overcoat m/27 (päällystakki m/27)

Field uniform m/27 may have been intended to work without greatcoat, but such jacket was still also included to clothing that could be issued with it. As rest of the field uniform m/27, also greatcoat m/27 was made from brown-green-grey wool. As typical to great coats used in Finnish military uniforms also this model had two rows of buttons on chest. Length-wise it was similar to earlier greatcoat m/22 – in other words standard version reached to 35 cm / 14 in from surface, while soldiers who needed to ride horses were issued with 5 cm / 2 in shorter version. Apparently this great coat model was quite rare and did not see any large-scale use.

As with military uniform also field uniform m/27 had several uniform items intended only for officers and military officials.

Special field uniform items m/27 issued intended for officers and military officials:

Boots worn with field uniform m/27

In theory all other service arms besides Air Force were supposed to use brown "jackboot" type leather boots, while only Air Force used black boots of similar type. In similar manner laced shoes used by Air Force were to be black, while all other service arms used brown shoes of similar type. Shoes were normally to be worn with straight pants, while boots were worn with riding breeches. If shoes were worn with ridding breeches they needed to be worn with leather gaiters. In reality it seems likely that the earlier black leather boots may not have been replaced in such extent, that they would have been completely replaced with new brown boots. Hence while officers, military officials and senior non-commissioned officers likely had brown boots, it seems unlikely that boots of enlisted men would have been completely replaced.

 


Last updated 18th of March 2018
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