Uniforms of Finnish Navy





Uniforms used by Finnish Navy were very distinctive compared to military uniforms used by other service branches (Army, Air Force and Coastal Artillery) of Finnish Armed Forces. To be more specific Ė while other service branches used in large extent variations of the same uniforms, Navy had its own specific separate uniform designs and had only few uniform items whose variations saw use with other service branches. Due to this notable difference I decided to give Navy uniforms in their own separate webpage. While coastal artillery (along Fleet) was technically part of Naval Forces since year 1927, coastal artillery used its own uniforms, which for all practical purposes were variations of army uniforms with its own versions of some navy uniform items mixed in. Another thing worth noting is that when it came to Navy, the difference in officer's uniform (variations of which also saw use with senior noncommissioned officer ranks) and uniforms worn by other ranks tended to be more visible - matter which might be related not only to foreign influence, but to larger percentage of professional soldiers and hired personnel versus conscripts than in other service arms.

Right from the start uniforms of Finnish Navy were based to already existing and established uniform designs used by most navies around the world. In many ways it made sense that Finnish navy did not try reinventing the wheel with its uniforms. What was considered as international naval uniform had been developed already in mid-19th century, after which basically all navies worth noting had adapted it with only small variations. The main influence for its development had been the naval uniforms of the largest and most successful navy of its time Ė (British) Royal Navy. Although it is worth noting that certain parts of the uniform were based to French naval uniforms of the period. Although Finnish naval uniforms followed the designs of international naval uniforms, they still had some details separating them from uniforms used by navies of other countries.

PICTURE: Sailor of Finnish Navy in studio photograph taken sometime in 1920's or 1930's. The sailor in this photo is wearing basic sailor's uniform with sailor's hat, sailor's blouse and sailor's pants. Since the loose collar has three stripes and the undershirt is white the photo originates from post year 1922 era and loose white cover in his cap indicates that the photo was taken at summer. Cap band lists his service unit as Rannikkolaivasto (Coastal Fleet). (Photograph part of Jaeger Platoon photo collection.) CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (96 KB).

The first orders concerning uniforms of Finnish Navy were issued in 2nd of August 1918, at which time "international naval uniform with two rows of buttons" was ordered as uniform of both navy and naval infantry. The uniforms were to be dark blue in color and made from wool, although also felt was used as their material. In addition a separate white uniform was ordered as summer uniform and along greatcoat it was at that time the only uniform jacket with shoulder boards. Uniforms had their rank markings in coat cuffs. The first more detailed uniform regulations for the Navy were introduced in June of 1919 and created uniform ensemble, which was later named as Navy uniform m/19. There were small changes introduced to this uniform ensemble in with new uniform regulations in year 1922 and somewhat larger changes in year 1930. The version of navy uniform fitting to year 1930 is commonly known as navy uniform m/30 and was the standard uniform used by Finnish Navy during World War 2.

PICTURE: Finnish Navy uniform brass buttons, the button on the left is m/19 which was soon replaced with m/22 on the right. Uniform buttons m/22 have remained in use of Finnish Navy to this day. CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (59 KB).

In the beginning Finnish Navy used in its uniforms gold-colored buttons with the standard lion emblem from Finnish coat of arms, but soon these buttons were replaced with gold-colored Navy buttons with anchor and rope emblem. Two version of the Navy buttons exist - the more common of those is with "anchor surrounded by rope along brim of the button" motif, is referred as Navy uniform button M/22 and is still being used in uniforms of Finnish Navy even today. Another Navy button version is early button version commonly referred as Navy button M/19 and otherwise similer to M/22, but its motif has no rope along rim of the button. As apparently typical to early orders about military uniforms, also those of the Navy were often rather vague Ė for example sailors cap was ordered simply as "international sailor hat type with cockade placed on black background". As with other service arms determining the military rank system for the Navy also took some time Ė orders about officerís ranks were first issued in July of 1918, but orders for military ranks of non-commissioned officers and enlisted men were not drawn until December of 1918.

PICTURE: Photograph showing gun crew of 40 ItK/34 Vickers anti-aircraft gun on coastal defense ship Ilmarinen in March of 1940. Finnish Gulf of Baltic Sea freezes over each winter and winter of 1940 was not exception to this. Since warships became ice-bound making naval operations impossible in late January the most powerful ships of Finnish Navy, costal defence ships Ilmarinen and Väinamöinen, moored in city of Turku / &Oring;bo for rest of the war and boosted the cities air-defence cability with their 105-mm and 40-mm guns. Since the ships had been painted white to make them blend in, the gun crew wears snow camo suits on top of their naval uniforms and fur coats. ( archive, photo number 8262). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (124 KB).

During World War 2 Navy uniforms apparently erroded a bit in the manner, that in practice the uniform items being used got somewhat more mixed with civilian clothing items and uniform items used by other service arms getting mixed in uniforms worn by its sailors. Although is seems likely that Navy being notably smaller and more professional service arm than Army, hence it probably did not suffer from uniform shortage in such degree. While the navy uniforms did not see any drastic development during World War 2, snow camouflage suits and fur coats appeared into its inventory during Winter War. While Finnish sailors did not usually fight on land, there was a notable Winter War exception to this - Battalion Hällfors and Battalion Aaltonen, which were infantry units created from Navy personnel, which was ice-blocked in middle winter. What is known both of these battalions went to war in navy uniforms, fur hats and snow camo suits.

PICTURE: Standard World War 2 era Finnish Navy sailor's uniform with short overcoat and sailor's cap. The weapon is Neuhausen MKMS sub machinegun. The ship named in the cap band is gunboat Turunmaa, which was one of the numerous warships being built in Finnish shipyards for Russian Navy during World War 1, but not yet delivered before Russian Revolution and once completed was delivered to Finnish Navy. Gunboat Turunmaa served Finnish Navy from year 1918 to year 1952 and took part in several battles of World War 2 with considerable battle-damage in 1943 and 1944. Unfortunately original photo has reflections, which cannot be removed. While the uniform may appear black, like other uniforms of Finnish Navy it is actually dark blue. Photograph taken in Finnish Military Museum (Sotamuseo), Helsinki in year 2002. CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (68 KB).

There were no drastic changes in traditional Navy uniforms in post-war era either, although more modern service uniforms were eventually issued along them. In early 1990ís other service branches of Finnish Armed Forces replaced their previous system of multiple different uniforms issued to each conscript with single uniform design system, in which camouflage uniform M91 was used not only as combat uniform, but also in service uniform and holiday/dress uniform roles. But Navy did not partake this change and even today issues its conscripts with holiday/dress uniform, which is still almost completely composed from uniform items originating from navy uniform m/30. The other uniforms being used along this holiday/dress uniform are naval warfare uniform M95 and camouflage uniform M05.



Basic sailorís uniform:


Sailorís blouse (merimiespusero, "Aku Ankka paita"): The basic parts of early Finnish sailorís uniform included "the ordinary open-collared dark blue sailorís blouse" with its V-shape collar was pull-over type, made from wool and blue-white striped undershirt usually worn under it. Length-wise sailorís blouse was long enough to reach slightly below waist and had collar opening extending downwards about 15 cm / 6 inches. Sailorís blouse was/is worn with loose blue collar (irtokaulus) and sailor's black necktie (merimieskravatti). The loose blue collar is made from cotton and early on had two white stripes 8-mm wide near its rim, but already year 1922 it was replaced with collar version that that have three 5-mm stripes that are 3-mm apart and the outmost stripe being about 1-cm from collar rim. It is worth noting that similar collar design with three white stripes was and is standard for most navies. Blouse sleeves have taper in the cuffs, which have three buttons each. Also the original blue-white striped undershirt used with sailorís blouse was replaced with white undershirt that has blue shirt collar band already by year 1922 Ė possibly in effort to make Finnish sailorís uniform to differ from Russian/Soviet uniforms. The sailorís blouse with its loose collar has remained in dress uniform use for Finnish Navy sailors, non-commissioned officers and officer candidates to this day. This blouse is commonly referred in slang of Finnish Navy as "Aku Ankka paita" ("Donald the Duck blouse") after attire of popular Disney cartoon character. While Finnish Navy had little use for tropical uniforms in its normal area of operations on Baltic Sea, there have been some exceptions. Maybe the historically most notable of those were tropical naval uniforms issued for Finnish Navy school ship Suomen Joutsen, which is a sailing ship that in 1930ís did several long trips sailing to places such as Mediterranean, North-Africa, Caribbean and South-America. One of these tropical uniform items was white color version of sailorís blouse issued for ship crew of Suomen Joutsen in year 1930. The white blouse version had blue cuffs with 5-mm wide white stripes and was used with similar white sailorís cap as used in US Navy. Service uniform version of sailorís blouse used by non-commissioned officers and recruited personnel did not originally have any rank markings, but for obvious reasons they had to be able to be differentiated from enlisted men, due to this they got issued with blue-white striped stripe whistle cord, which they wear with sailorís blouse even today. With year 1930 regulations the use of the pipe cord with sailorís blouse also became standard for reserve officer candidates and conscript non-commissioned officers.

Two uniforms of Finnish Navy. The uniform on the left is sailor's white uniform and the uniform on the right is officer's uniform with cloak. Notice the cap used with sailor's white uniform - this cap design similar to that used by US Navy was used in Finnish Navy with white uniform only. Photographed on Finnish navy school ship Suomen Joutsen (Finnish Swan), which is in Forum Marinum maritime museum in city of Turku. CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (113 KB).


Sailorís pants (merimieshousut): Finnish Navy sailorís pants also represented uniform designs of international naval uniforms. They were made from similar dark blue wool as the sailorís blouse and had had very wide pants legs (maximum width 58 centimeters / 22.8 inches, with similar width for their whole leg length.



Work uniform: It is worth noting that Finnish sailors were also issued with work uniform, which had similar cut as in their sailorís uniform composed by sailorís blouse of pants, but differed from normal sailorís uniform by being different color and not made from wool, but from fabric better suited for the purpose. As the name suggests work uniform was intended for such work in which uniform was likely to get dirty and due to its fabric it would survive this sort of use and would survive much large number times of being washed than uniforms made from wool. According literature the standard color for these work uniforms was khaki and besides early version(s) they were apparently mostly made from sailcloth (canvas). Although wartime photographs suggest that darker colored (dark blue?) work uniforms were actually more common during the war - it is possible that they have also been worn out normal sailor's uniforms recycled as work uniforms. Sailor's work uniform was often worn with sailorís bow tie but always without (loose) collar, although if blouse had undercollar for loose color or not seems to have varied at last during World War 2. In addition as to be expected also overalls seems to have been quite common attire as work uniform of sort on navy ships.

PICTURE: Sailors in work uniforms on coastal defence ship Väinämöinen. The two sailors are preparing to move 254-mm artillery shell used in ship's main guns. Photograph taken by Military Official Eino Varo in June of 1942. ( archive, photo number 93362). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (108 KB).



Navy overcoats:


Finnish Navy had three separate overcoat designs, one of which (short overcoat) was used all by all other ranks except officers, another (long overcoat / greatcoat) used by all ranks and third design (officerís overcoat) only used by officers and military officials.

Short overcoat (lyhyt takki): This navy peat coat type overcoat is notably shorter than greatcoats used by other service arms and made from thick dark blue coarse cloth (wool). Coatís chest has two rows of navy buttons (with Finnish Navy anchor insignia) with 12 buttons total, from these six buttons can be buttoned. Length of the overcoat is such that it should reach 20 cm / 8 inches below cuffs. Open collar is about 10 cm / 4 inches wide downwards folded collar is closed with metal clasp. Coat pockets are horizontal level with pocket flaps. Back of the coat has no centre seam. Finnish Navy still uses this overcoat as part of parade and dress uniform as overcoat m/30 and it is nowadays often referred as kavilji-jacket, although the term kavaiji-uniform being used of navy officerís uniform.

PICTURE: Finnish Navy sailors with short overcoats crew Maxim anti-aircraft machinegun in November of 1939. Original photo caption suggests that the ship they are on is minesweeper Karjala, but Finnish Navy also had gunboat of that name. Machinegun-mount shown in the photo seems to have been Finnish Navy standard design for Maxim-machinegun. ( archive, photo number 1565). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (100 KB).

Long overcoat / greatcoat (pitkä takki / päällystakki): This overcoat design is quite similar to greatcoats used by other service arms, although it had some notable differences. Fabric used for manufacturing it is thick dark blue coarse cloth (wool) and liner fabric is also dark blue. Lengthwise the long overcoat is knee-long or slightly shorter with waist pockets equipped with pocket flaps and two rows of navy buttons (with Finnish Navy anchor insignia) in the chest with six buttons in each row. From these 12 buttons normally only four were buttoned. It is the only Finnish Navy overcoat design to be used with shoulder boards, although only officers and military officials used shoulder boards in their long overcoats. Other ranks have their military rank markings in coat cuffs. This overcoat was normally used only in guard duty or while serving on a ship. Two model variations of this overcoat exist and they can be separated from one another by comparing the number of buttons in them. The earlier version is m/19, which has four buttons in back of the coat in square formation and cuffs that have three buttons, while later m/30 has only two buttons in the back and no cuff buttons.

PICTURE: Finnish Navy long overcoat m/30. This particular coat was made by tailor for Navy Ensign in year 1937. Markings of rank have been removed. Notice coat of arms lione in jacket sleeve used in officer's uniforms. Photo source - original photo by Jorma Kontio for Forum Marinum, used with CC BY-ND 4.0 Creative Commons license. CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (49 KB).

Early on before the long overcoat became available in sufficient numbers Finnish Navy was issuing its own version greatcoat, which was coastal artillery greatcoat m/22 with dark blue collar and epaulette. Some sources also claim that dark blue version of jacket intended as overcoat m/27, which was never introduced for other service arms, but saw Navy use at least in some kind of scale.


PICTURE: Uniform of Komentajakapteeni (Commander) of Finnish Navy. The uniform seen here contains peaked cap, kavaiji-coat and pants. Notice dark blue color of uniform and how rank markings are in coat sleeves. Photo taken in Finnish Military Museum (Sotamuseo), Helsinki. CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (60 KB).


Navy officerís uniform:

Notice: In addition of officers these items were typically also used by senior non-commissioned officer ranks, although when used by senior NCO ranks they often had minor differences in details.

PICTURE: Good example of Finnish Navy World War 2 era Senior non-commissioned officer's uniform. This photo of Sotilasmestari (Master Sergeant) A.I. Pitkänen shows him in uniform in which basically only markings of rank and cockade in peaked cap indicating senior NCO rank instead of officer. Photograph taken by Military Official J.M Wuorela in September of 1943. The coat is kavaiji-coat and peaked cap is version used by senior NCO ranks, which can be identified from its cockade arrangement. ( archive, photo number 136588). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (108 KB).


Standard Navy officerís uniform:

Coat (kavaiji): This is Navy officerís coat is made from dark blue baize (type of wool fabric) and cheviot (another type of wool fabric) with two rows of buttons in the chest. The basic appearance of this coat is not very different from normal traditional menís dress jacket. Normally only four of the chest buttons are buttoned. The basic design of jacket was such that length of the jacket varied depending individual soldierís arm length, with its total length being is about 5 cm / 2 inches longer than jacket sleeves. Back of the jacket has a seam in middle of its back. The coat has open folded collar about 5 cm / 2 inches wide made from the same fabric as rest of the jacket. The jacket pockets are all internal type and all other pockets but breast pocket are equipped with pocket flaps. Officers wore rank markings in jacket sleeves, while senior NCO ranks early on had theirs in epaulets, from which they were later moved to jacket sleeves. There were three models of this jacket design, which can be most easily identified from number of buttons used:

  • m/19: Twelve chest buttons total, three buttons in each sleeve.
  • m/22: Ten chest buttons total, three buttons in each sleeve.
  • m/30: Ten chest buttons total, no sleeve buttons.
  • From these versions m/30 is still in limited use as part of Navy officer and senior NCO dress uniform.

    PICTURE: Senior NCO version of Finnish Navy officer's overcoat m/30. This particular coat belonged to Master Sergeant (Sotilasmestari) with rudder badge in sleeve indicating that he served at the bridge and took part steering the ship. Photo source Original photo by Jorma Kontio for Forum Marinum, used with CC BY-ND 4.0 Creative Commons license. CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (65 KB).


    Trousers: Navy officerís uniform ensembles came to consist quite a large variety of trousers, although they all tended to fit into sailorís pants or straight pants category. The first pants design was m/19, which was basically dark blue sailorís pants with their wide legs, but with slight taper on legs of the pants. In addition navy officerís had also separate dark blue parade uniform pants with gold colored piping on side of legs and width of piping varying depending military rank. The dark blue wool pants could be made from variety of wool fabrics, with pants made baize presumably being intended for summer use. Another pants design was that was referred as white pants due to their color was only intended to be used as part of white colored uniform and usually made from either cotton or linen

    PICTURE: Trousers for Navy officer's uniform. Photo source Original photo by Jorma Kontio for Forum Marinum, used with CC BY-ND 4.0 Creative Commons license. CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (43 KB).


    Work uniform (työpuku): This uniform was apparently intended for navy officers for duties in which clothing could be expected to get dirty and was listed among items that officers could acquire privately. The uniform was made from blue or grey cloth, which was not specified beyond being fabric that needed to survive being frequently washed - although one of the regulations mentions damask as fabric for the work uniform jacket. Basic design and cut of work uniform jacket is quite similar to white uniform jacket. In other words it is groin length jacket with standing collar, two breast pockets and single row of five buttons in the chest. Uniform trousers were of similar color as the uniform jacket. The uniform trousers are white-colored straight pants made from cotton or linen.

    PICTURE: Photograph of two Finnish officers on Teikarinsaari Island (Viipurinlahti Gulf) having cigarette break in May of 1942. The Navy officer on the left is Lieutenant who wears officer's work uniform - notice tunic's breast pockets, plus Navy summer cap. The officer on the right is military doctor (rank markings are combination of military official's stars and indicator of medical troops) in normal Army uniform m/36 containing summer tunic m/36 and summer cap m/39. Photo taken by 2nd Lieutenant Arvo Ääri. ( archive, photo number 89866). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (118 KB).


    Dress items uniform for Navy officers:

    Tail coat (frakki) and mess jacket (messitakki): Both of these coats were for navy officerís dress uniform use only made from dark blue (practically black) wool.

    Tail coat: Tail coats were apparently common with other navies at the time, which resulted tail coat being introduced by Finnish Navy in year 1922 for this purpose. It has two rows of buttons with six buttons total and on the back in waist-line two false pockets with three-peaked pocket flaps. Coat shoulders have attachment points for epaulette. This coat design proved short-lived with Finnish Navy, since already year 1930 it was replaced in uniform regulations with mess jacket.

    Mess jacket: Just like tail coat also use of mess jacket was/is limited to dress uniform use and as mentioned it replaced tail coat in year 1930. Design-wise this jacket is again based to similar jackets used in naval officerís uniform in numerous countries and even its official name for Finnish Navy as messitakki is literal direct translation of mess jacket. The jacket is made from dark blue (practically black) wool with black liner and length-wise reaches slightly below waist. It has open chest design and below near the waist-line two rows of four large buttons, which are not intended to be buttoned. The coat is being closed with weaved silk cord placed near the top button. The jacket has no pockets of any sort on its exterior surface. Back of the mess jacket has centre seam ending to blunt angle on hem of the jacket. Fabric used for the collar is the same as for rest of the jacket and the collar is about 5 cm / 2 inches wide. Markings of rank are worn in jacket cuffs. Mess jacket has remained as part of officerís dress uniform to this day.

    Dress vest (liivit): Finnish Navy officerís uniform included also dress vest, which existed in several versions, which were either dark blue or white. Dark blue vests were made from the same fabric (baize or cheviot) as navy officerís coat (kavaiji) or while white vests were cotton (often piqué) . The vests have single row of four or six small buttons depending what kind of jacket they are intended to be used Ė with vest used with tail coat having four buttons. Only dark blue vests were listed in year 1919 uniform regulations, hence the white vests were apparently introduced in year 1922. Shorter version of the white vest was introduced in regulations of year 1930.

    PICTURE: Mess uniform for ylipursimies (senior petty officer), besides rank markings and propeller in sleeve indicating service in engine crew this mess unform is identical to mess uniform also used by officers since year 1930. The uniform contains mess jacket, dress vest and mess uniform pants with side stripes. Photo source Original photo by Jorma Kontio for Forum Marinum, used with CC BY-ND 4.0 Creative Commons license. CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (68 KB).


    White uniform

    White (tropic) uniform (valkoinen puku / hellepuku): Originally this uniform is a white color version of navy officerís standard uniform and intended for summer months, but later it also saw limited use as tropic uniform. White rest of Finnish military had little need for separate tropic uniform, white-colored navy officerís uniform was highly useful in long trips of school ship Suomen Joutsen, whose sailing trips in 1930ís reached areas that had tropical climate. The uniform consisted of uniform jacket and trousers. The uniform jacket was groin-length jacket with standing collar, two breast pockets and single row of five buttons in jacket chest. Breast pocket are the only pockets of this jacket and they do not have pocket flaps. It could be claimed that basically this jacket was a simplified version of officerís coat made from lighter white-colored fabric. Jacket has no rank markings in cuffs, since it has attachment points for either shoulder boards or epaulette. Nowadays white uniform is listed in uniform regulations of Finnish Navy as hellepuku (hot weather uniform).

    Some details of the jacket design varied a bit over the years:

  • White jacket m/19: Jacket shoulders have attachment points for (m/19 style) shoulder boards.
  • White jacket m/22: Jacket shoulders have attachment points for epaulette.
  • White jacket m/30: Jacket shoulders have attachment points for (newer) shoulder boards.


  • Cloak (laivavaippa): This loosely fit dark blue cloak is from baize or wool fabric was also included to Finnish navy officerís uniform items already in year 1919. The cloak has a collar, is equipped with steel grey lining and is long enough to end some 10 Ė 20 centimeters / 4 Ė 8 inches above knees. Front of cloak can be closed with clasp attached in a chain that has lionís head decorations and four or five buttons designed from be buttoned from the inside. Collar is wide and folded downwards Ė and unlike collar of cloak m/22 it is similar color as rest of the cloak and does not carry any markings of military rank.


    Officerís overcoat (upseerin päällystakki): This is overcoat was basically officerís medium-length overcoat that length-wise was in between short overcoat and long overcoat. It is made from dark blue coarse cloth (wool) or baize with black liner and 12 buttons in the chest. From those 12 buttons normally four or six are buttoned (depending if coat is worn with its collar open or not). Length of this overcoat is such that it ends about 2 cm above knee. Back of the coat has fold with a slit following to leading to hem of the jacket. This slit has three small buttons. Overcoat collar is made from the same fabric as rest of the jacket, is folded and about 8 cm / 3.1 inches wide. It also has folded cuffs about 18 cm / 7.1 inches wide and in back of the jacket is a fabric belt about 7 cm / 2.8 inches wide sown in center seam and equipped with three buttons (overcoat m/22), two buttons (overcoat m/30) or with one button (senior NCO overcoat m/19). This coat has vertical waist pockets with pocket flaps, which have rounded corners. During wintertime the jacket could be used with black fur collar and black fur liner.

    Uniform regulations from year 1922 specified for officers also another lighter jacket design of about similar length (knee-long) and design made from dark blue baize. The regulations manual refer this jacket design simply as takki (jacket). The jacket has folded collar and breast with two rows of buttons of ten buttons total. Back of the jacket have four buttons, rank markings are in cuffs with three buttons in each cuff. Jacket shoulders are equipped for epaulette.


    Officerís fur coat (turkki): This was one of the items that officers could acquire on their own expense. Basically it is a fur-coat version of officerís overcoat and was introduced in year 1930 uniform regulations. It is worth noting that wartime photos show also other fur coats being used in warships during wintertime.


    Raincoat (sadetakki): Apparently this was/is de facto dark blue (almost black) version of raincoat m/36, since besides color it appears to be identical. Later on the same coat was also officially known as overcoat m/36 (päällystakki m/36) and remained as part of Navy officer's attire until year 2013.

    PICTURE: Raincoat belonging to Commodore(kommodori) of Finnish Navy. Besides color this coat was identical to steel-grey raincoat m/36 used by officers of Army and Air Force since year 1937. Photo source Copyrights of the photograph Forum Marinum, used with CC BY-ND 4.0 Creative Commons license. CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (61 KB).



    Navy hats:


    Sailorís cap (merimieslakki, "Aku Ankka lakki"): Finnish sailor cap was and is a round, flat-topped cap without a visor, but equipped with white-blue-white roundel cockade place in front of the cap. Around the cap is tied a cap band, to which name of the ship or unit in with the sailor serves is marked with gold-colored (yellow) letters about 1.5 cm high. Ends of the cap band are typically about 30 cm / 12 inches long and hang free from left rear side of the cap. It is noteworthy that the manner in which cap band is carried has changed since and it no longer has ends that hang free. The cap also has elastic chin strap, which is normally hidden inside the cap. During summer months the sailor cap was/is to be worn with loose white cover. It is possible that bezkozyrka hat of Russian Navy and/or sailorís hat of German Navy may have had some influence for details, but again the Finnish sailorís cap was based on established widely used sailorís hat design. This hat model has always been issued to enlisted men and non-commissioned officers. Sailorís cap is one of the many Finnish Navy uniform items that have remained in use to this day in wide-scale use Ė and that includes being issued to navy conscripts. In the Finnish Navy this hat design is also unofficially known as "Aku Ankka lakki" ("Donald The Duck cap") after attire of well-known Disney cartoon character. Finnish Coastal Artillery used with its uniform m/22 a grey-topped version of this cap with unit name marked in it the similar manner.

    PICTURE: Sailor's cap of Finnish Navy with and without its white cover. While this individual cap is of rather recent production, the design of this cap has apparently remained unchanged at least since early 1920's. The cap that is with cover has post-war plastic cockade, while the one wihout the cover has painted tin cockade of the World War 2 era model. The cap band marking RANNIKKOLAIVASTO (Coastal Fleet) - military unit of Finnish navy that existed in 1928 - 1944, 1980 - 1992 and the third time since year 2015. CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (73 KB).


    Peaked cap (lippalakki): This peaked cap was the basic "ship captainís hat" of the era, representing peaked cap design sometimes referred as Prinz Heinrick peaked cap. Its users included navy officers, military officials and senior non-commissioned officer ranks. It has black cap strip with dark blue top, slightly decorative black cap band black leather visor. Version used by officers sported a chin-strap made from yellow twisted cord, while version used by non-commissioned officers had black leather chin-strap or in case of senior NCO ranks had chin-strap made from black twisted cord. Hard-top version of this cap design had been officially introduced for navy officers by year 1919, but was with soft-top version was introduced in year 1930 regulations. During summer months the cap was/is worn with loose white cover that covers dark blue top portion of the hat. Starting year 1930 front of hat was equipped with a dark blue patch of fabric with officerís cockade (red cockade with gold-colored coat of arms lion) surrounded by yellow/gold-colored fir twig motifs and anchor motif on the top. Senior officerís version of the cap had decorative embellishments in its visor and version intended for admirals has double-doze of the embellishments. Peaked hat m/30 is one of the hat designs that have remained in use of Finnish Navy to this day. Coastal artillery officers, military officials and senior non-commissioned officer ranks used grey-topped version of this cap. Also World War 2 era Air Force officer's peaked cap was modeled after this cap design, but made from lighter shade of dark blue fabric.

    PICTURE: Officer's peaked cap m/30 with white cover, which was/is used summertime. Notice gold-colored wreath and anchor around red and gold officer's cockade. Photo source Original photo by Jorma Kontio for Forum Marinum, used with CC BY-ND 4.0 Creative Commons license. CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (64 KB).


    Navy summer cap m/39 (merivoimien kesälakki m/39): This is only Navy-used dark blue version of Armyís summer cap m/39. Like many of the Navy uniform items the cap is so dark in color that it may be mistaken as being black, leather chinstrap is made from black leather and sides of the cap have yellow piping. Buttons used in cap for attaching the chinstrap are bright brass navy buttons with anchor surrounded by wreath symbol. The cap is side type hats such as this are commonly referred as "venelakki" ("boat cap) and "suikka" in Finland. Originally this cap was intended for officers only, but nowadays it is also used by military officials and senior NCO ranks. Finnish Navy apparently has somewhat of a tradition of using the stage of wear and tear of the cap as rough indicator of personís service years, so sometimes senior officers may use caps that are in rather poor shape. While officially part of Navy, coastal artillery used Army's "standard" grey version of summer cap m/39.

    PICTURE: Navy summer cap m/39. Notice color, black leather chinstrap and yellow piping. Buttons used in the cap are also Navy buttons with anchor-motif. Photo source Original photo by Jorma Kontio for Forum Marinum, used with CC BY-ND 4.0 Creative Commons license. CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (64 KB).


    Bicorne hat (kaksikolkkahattu): This old hat model originating from late 18th century had once been popular among navies, but when introduced to Finnish Navy (probably in year 1918 or 1919) it was already on its way going out of fashion. Still, it was still included even to uniform regulations of year 1930 remained as dress/parade uniform item for Navy captains and above until post-war era. The hat was black with gold-colored embellishments and there was a specific separate version of the hat that existed for admirals.

    PICTURE: Finnish Navy officer's bicorne hat with its storage/transport case. Photo taken in Finnish Naval Academy (Merisotakoulu), Helsinki. CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (84 KB).


    Winter hats:


    Navy fur hat m/19 (laivaston turkislakki m/19): This fur hat was the first winter hat issued to Finnish sailors and basically all black version of fur hat m/19 (turkislakki m/19), which was apparently related the traditional fur hat design from Koivisto region, with side of the hat that has fur brim of its height going around the hat. The fur brim has only one cut in it that allows the brim to be turned down for extra protection if needed. The standard version issued to officers was black, but admiralís version was white.


    Fur hat m/22 (turkislakki m/22): This fur hat design seems to have been further development of fur hat m/19 with front section of brim being a separate piece, which made using the hat more convenient, if the brim needed to be folded down. Officerís version has blue fabric ribbons sawn on seams on top of the forming a blue cross on top of the fur hat, while non-commissioned officerís & enlisted menís version had no such ribbons.


    Fur hat m/30 (turkislakki m/30): Year 1930 previous winter hats were replaced with fur hat m/30, which was again introduced in two versions. The officerís version of fur hat m/30 is structurally very similar to fur hat m/19 with short ear flaps that are normally folded upwards at sides of the hat, has black fur sides and front with dark blue top and light blue ribbons forming a cross on top of the hat. Unlike earlier fur hat m/19, officerís hat version of fur hat m/30 has in front of hat a dark blue patch of fabric with officerís cockade (red cockade with gold-colored coat of arms lion) surrounded by gold-colored/yellow fir branch motifs and anchor motif on the top. The other version of fur hat m/30 is version for non-commissioned officers and enlisted men, which is otherwise quite similar to officerís version, but is all black, has longer ear flaps and have only simple white-blue-white cockade in front of the hat. The version used by admirals is all white with blue ribbons forming a cross on top of the hat - in other words the same version of fur hat m/19 as used by Generals of Army and Air Force. Fur hat m/30 has remained in wide-scale use with Finnish Navy to this day, being the winter hat design routinely issued to conscripts.

    PICTURE: Navy officer's fur hat m/30. Notice short ear flaps and blue ribbons forming a cross on top of the hat. Photo source Photograph copyrights Forum Marinum, used with CC BY-ND 4.0 Creative Commons license. CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (74 KB).


    PICTURE: Group of Finnish Navy sailors photographed in 1920's. The sailors are again wearing the basic sailor's uniform. Cap bands suggest that these sailors are from numerous ships and units of Finnish Navy - at least Miinanetsintälaivue (Minesweeper Flotilla), Torpedovene S1 (Torpedoboat S1), (Gunboat) Karjala and (Gunboat) Turunmaa. Notice pants and type of shoes worn by all sailors in this photo. (Photograph part of Jaeger Platoon photo collection.) CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (155 KB).



    Footwear and belts:


    Navy officerís had quite a wide selection of footwear in their disposal. Black laced shoes and black dress shoes were standard footwear for them, but also privately bought galoshes were approved and they could also use white shoes with white (tropical) uniform. The black shoes and dress shoes were normally worn with black leather gaiters. Officers were also allowed to use jackboot-type leather boots and short leather boots were approved for other ranks, but it is difficult say in how a large scale they were actually used. At least in 1930ís the standard shoe type issued to sailors seems to have been derby-boots type laced short boots, which were often worn with brown leather gaiters.


    Belts issued to conscripts:


    Apparently there was no separate navy belt design for conscripts, hence were issued similar belts as in rest of the Armed Forces Ė in other words leather belts m/22, m/27 and m/30. While other service arms commonly wore belt on top of the uniform, navy personnel normally wore belt only on top of long overcoat.


    Officerís belts:


    Navy officerís belt m/19: Officers belt as it was ordered in year 1919 was blue 4 centimeters / 1.57 inch belt with moiré fabric on it. Senior NCOís version was made from black leather. Both versions have a brass buckle and sword carrier.

    PICTURE: Finnish Navy officer's belt m/19 with navy officer's dress dagger. Photo taken in Finnish Naval Academy (Merisotakoulu), Helsinki. CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (102 KB).

    Navy officerís belt m/22: Relatively narrow black leather belt of Sam Browne type. Belt is 3.5 centimeters / 1.38 inches wide with gold-colored round metal belt buckle 4 centimeters / 1.57 inches in diameter.

    PICTURE: Navy officer's belt m/22 with sword hanger. The motif used in belt buckle is basically a standard for Finnish officer's dress belts, but for belt be made from black leather is a navy thing and the shiny metal decorations used for straps are unique to Navy. Photo source Photograph copyrights Forum Marinum, used with CC BY-ND 4.0 Creative Commons license. CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (43 KB).

    Navy officerís belt m/30: Sam Browne type black leather belt for officers and military officials. Intended to be used while carrying a sword.


    Parade and dress uniform belts ordered to officers in regulations of year 1930:

  • For admirals: 5 cm / 2 inches wide dark blue belt covered with 4 cm / 1.57 inch wide gold-colored decorative embroidery. Sword carriers have 1.8 cm / 0.7 inches wide decorative embroidery.
  • For senior navy officers (Lieutenant-commander and higher ups): 5 cm / 2 inches wide dark blue striped belt covered with opaque silver colored decoration 4.2 cm / 1.6 inches wide and similar decoration 1.8 cm / 0.7 inches wide in sword carriers.
  • For junior officer ranks and military officials: This belt is structurally similar as the one used by senior officers, but otherwise it varies considerably. Namely it is about 3.5 cm / 1.38 inches wide belt covered with black moiré and with gold-colored round belt buckle 4 centimeters / 1.57 inches in diameter. The belt buckle has Finnish coat of arms lion on vertically dashed background and wreath going around the buckle. The belt also has two about 2 cm / 0.8 inches wide stripes covered with moiré for carrying sword or dagger. These sword carriers have gold-colored fittings and buckles, which have lionís head decoration.

    Pekka Aarniaho: Kaluunat ja rähinäremmit. Itsenäisen Suomen virkapuvut ja arvomerkit 1918 Ė 1945 (Uniforms and Rank Markings of Independent Finland 1918 - 1945).

    Juhani U.E. Lehtonen: Sotilaselšmšn perinnekirja (The Tradition Book of Military Life).

    Suomalaisen sotilaan historia ristiretkistš rauhanturvaamiseen (History of Finnish Soldier from Crusades to Peacekeeping).

    Marko Palokangas: Itsenäisen Suomen sotilasarvot ja Ėarvomerkit / Military Ranks and Rank Badges of Independent Finland.

    Military manual: Valtakunnan sotavoimien virkapukuja (Uniforms for State's Armed Forces). Document of uniform regulations enacted in June of 1919.

    Military manual: Uniformsbeklädnad för Rikets krigsmakt (Uniforms for State's Armed Forces). Document of uniform regulations enacted in year 1922.

    Military manual: Valtakunnan puolustusvoimien virkapukuohjesääntö (V.P.O.) (Uniform Regulations for the State's Defence Forces). Book of uniform regulations in year 1930.

    Military manual: Suomen puolustusvoimien virkapuvut (Uniforms of Defence Forces). Attachment to Valtakunnan Puolustusvoimien virkapukuohjesääntö of year 1930 with high quality color drawings of uniforms, uniform items and details.

    Article: Marko Palokangas: Sotilasarvomerkkiemme taustaa ja taivalta (Background and Development of Our Military Rank Markings), (Ase-lehti magazine vol 5/1995).

    Special thanks to Forum Marinum maritime museum in Turku.

    Special thanks to Finnish Military Museum (Sotamuseo) in Helsinki.

    Special thanks to Finnish Naval Academy (Merisotakoulu) in Helsinki.

    Last updated 16th of December 2021
    Webmaster: JTV
    Copyrights (text and graphics): Jaeger Platoon Website. Copyrights of photographs vary on case to case basis and are marked along each picture.