Uniforms of Finnish Civil Guard



While Civil Guard had its own uniform regulations and had uniform items often similar to those used by the Army, but there they had not been introduced for Civil Guard at the time, as they had been for the Army. It is worth noting that the uniform model designations of Finnish Armed Forces and Civil Guard were typically based on what year the specific item was first mentioned in official uniform regulations. Many of the uniform items had no official model designations and those that got official named with one, often received it only later on. One good example of this is what is known referred as Civil Guard uniform m/22 – actually introduced in year 1921 simply as Civil Guard uniform and apparently not named with official model designation of year 1922 until in uniform regulations of year 1929 – and with a model number probably intended to refer its similarity to Army’s military uniform m/22.

It is worth noting that some overlap in between Army and Civil Guard also existed in a sense, that Army officers were often serving part of their career in Civil Guard and officers being transferred from Army to Civil Guard and back not being uncommon. Army officers (both active duty and reservist) serving in Civil Guard could use and commonly did use Army uniform with Civil Guard officer’s "S" insignia attached to epaulets. This practice was officially permitted already in September of 1919.


Early Uniforms

The starting point for both uniforms of Finnish Army and Finnish Civil Guard was in uniforms used by Finnish White Army during Civil War in year 1918. While Civil Guard became a militarily organized voluntary organization, whose main duties included assisting authorities, it became an entity of its own, being especially before 1930’s only rather loosely connected to Armed Forces. Yet practically all of its uniforms were either based or at least related to those used by Finnish Armed Forces at the time, which is why instead of explaining them in detail all over again in this page I decided to contrate explaining how they differed from standard military uniforms used by Finnish Army – due to which I very much recommend also reading the pages of this website that contain information about Finnish military uniforms from "m/18" to m/36. Typically the easiest way to separate Civil Guard uniforms from Armed Forces uniforms is by checking if the uniform have Civil Guard insignia, such as Civil Guard district shield patch in left sleeve or white armband with Civil Guard markings/insignia. In addition, there were some clothing accessory item designs, such as certain headwear and belts, which at the time were only used by Civil Guard or Army – but not both.

PICTURE: Two soldiers of White Guards in typical Finnish White Army uniforms "m/18" - possibly father and son. The "VS" in the armbands is probably for Vaasan Suojeluskunta (Civil Guard of Vaasa / Wasa). Rifles seem to be infantry rifles M/91. Older soldier appears to have captured Russian ammo pouch m/1893 and German ersatz-bayonet for Mosin-Nagant M/91 rifles, while younger soldier has captured Russian m/1907 Bebout dagger hanging from his belt. Photographer Photo Studio Nyblin & Co, Wasa. (Original photograph part of Jaeger Platoon photo collection) CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (120 KB).

The Finnish language term for Civil Guard is Suojeluskunta, in Swedish Skyddskår. They were always voluntary organization, the first of which were established already before Finnish Civil War of year 1918, often under the disguise of voluntary fire department or hunting club. While these early pre Civil War Civil Guards were focused in maintaining public order and protecting public & private property, they were operating without official authority in country with significant Russian military presence and had no state-wide organization or supply system, hence they relied using their own civilian clothes. The first Civil Guards had been established already in year 1905 to maintain public order during General Strike, but the ones that took part in Civil War had been mainly established in 1917 – 1918, after Russian revolutions and resulting political unrest had spread to Finland with tens of thousands of Russian soldiers stationed in Finland becoming demoralized and undisciplined. To make things worse there was no police forces in Finland at the time, since they had been disbanded in aftermath of March Revolution of year 1917. Finland declared independence in 6th December 1917, but the Russian troops still remained on its territory and Russian Bolshevik government was agitating and supplying weapons to Finnish Red Guards, who were plotting revolution. Hence in 13th of January 1918 Finnish government (Senate) declared Civil Guards to be its troops. In 28th of December 1918 Civil Guards started disarming Russian garrisons in Pohjanmaa / Ostrobotnia region and Red Guards started their armed mutiny – plunging the country into Civil War. For the war Civil Guards became volunteer units of Finnish White Army, who played vital role particularly early on the war before other recruited and conscripted White Army units could be established and trained. While they were part of White Army and during the Civil War being equipped in similar mismatch of civilian clothing and variety of "m/18" uniform items as rest of the White Army, there are reasons to suspect that on average their uniform supply situation was poorer than that of recruited and conscript units – resulting even larger percentage of civilian clothes to be used than on average.

Finnish White Army was demobilized after the Civil War with parts of it becoming first units of Finnish Army, but Civil Guard units were not included to those. So right after Finnish Civil War the Civil Guards still lacked official status, but with Russian Civil War (1917 – 1922) raging just behind the newly created eastern border, Estonian War of Independence (1918 – 1920) in the south and military incursions across the Finnish – Russian border, there was obvious need for voluntary organization that would supplement Finnish Army, building of which had barely even started. Hence Finnish Parliament gave Civil Guard official status as militia or national guard sort of organization with Statute about Civil Guard, whose first version was enacted in August of 1918 and improved second version in February of 1919. The statute determined Civil Guards status as independent voluntary organization, which was linked to state by Commander-in-Chief of Civil Guard, whose direct superior was Minister of Defence. Civil Guards were led by General Headquarters and it had been geographically divided into Civil Guard Districts and Civil Guard Areas, which each had their own headquarters. On local level larger cities often had numerous Civil Guards, with Finnish-speaking and Swedish-speaking parts of population having their own Civil Guard units.

The first orders issued by Finnish Ministry of Defence about Civil Guard uniforms are from October of 1918, at which time their uniform was determined simply as grey uniform (made from coarse cloth) with breeches, tunic with standing collar – both of which were made from the same fabric. The hat used with the uniform was a jaeger-cap style field cap, which was equipped with fabric cockade that had colours taken from the coat of arms of the province on whose area the Civil Guard unit was located. While the uniform specified in these orders was compatible with Civil War era uniforms "m/18", the specifications were also much too vague to allow creation of anything resembling standard uniform. In fact, there were considerable variations in early Civil Guard uniforms, not only due to multitude of Civil War era variations being used, but also due to local variations introduced during the first years following it.

PICTURE: Two soldiers of White Guards, the volunteer troops of Finnish White Army for Civil War. The armband design with "S" inside a circle and horizontal lines was one of the standard armband insignia designs used by White Guards during Civil War. Both soldiers are wearing typical White Army uniform "m/18" with its official winter hat. Rifles appear to be infantry rifles M/91 with their socket bayonets m/91 attached. Photo source Finnish Heritage Agency (Museovirasto), acquired via and used with CC BY 4.0 Creative Commons license. CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (154 KB).

The second set of orders about Civil Guard uniforms in November 1918 was already in much more detail. They specified that Civil Guard uniform, hat and overcoat were all made from the same grey (coarse cloth) fabric plus that the buttons used in them were also grey and made from bone. For all practical purposes both uniform tunic and breeches were similar to those used by the Army, but somewhat simplified or should one say even less decorative in that sense that the Civil Guard uniform lacked tunic epaulettes, sleeve buttons and coloured piping from sides of baggy breeches used as uniform trousers. While not having tunic epaulettes was unusual for military fashion of the era, the detail was probably based on Finnish White Army tunics, grand majority of which had no epaulets. It is also noteworthy that while Finnish Army introduced its classic brass buttons with coat of arms lion emblem, being separate entity Civil Guard uniforms had grey bone buttons. Although one again the choice of buttons may have also been related to bone buttons being common and having already been as uniform buttons for White Army uniforms. The overcoat introduced to Civil Guard in these regulations was also grey coarse cloth and its basic appearance resembled Army greatcoat, but notably shorter being only knee-height and had somewhat simplified cut. The official leather belt design was 5.5 cm wide brown leather belt with simple roller buckle with single prong. This belt design appears to be very similar to leather belts already commonly used by Finnish White Army during Civil War and remained as standard belt design for Civil Guard until partly replaced by two-pronged belt design belt m/27 and more simple single-prong leather belt m/30, which were both similar to those used by the Army as officer's leather belt m/27 and leather belt m/30. But still the most visible difference to Army uniform was white armband 10 cm / 4 inches wide with Civil Guard "S" in a circle as centre of markings, name of the particular local Civil Guard under it and possible markings indicating more exact unit with-in that Civil Guard on its sides. This white Civil Guard armband worn in left arm of Civil Guard tunic was obviously directly based to White Army armbands from Civil War.

PICTURE: Helsinki Civil Guard District had somewhat unusual uniforms early. Its tunics had brown collar and cuffs, which were still used even in its version of Civil Guard uniform m/22 and its own cap design referred as sporttilakki (sports cap). This photograph shows sentry of Helsinki Civil Guard in front of Main Guard (Päävartio) building build year 1843 as guard building next to what was then Palace of General Governor and now Finnish Presidential Palace. The rifle is apparently infantry rifle M/91. Photographed by Ivan Timiriasew. Photo source Helsinki City Museum (Helsingin kaupunginmuseo), acquired via and used with CC BY 4.0 license. CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (118 KB).

The first white armbands had appeared to use of Civil Guards already in year 1917 – presumably due to lack of any other way to make their appearance consisting of mixed civilian clothes more uniform and armband being a cheap and effective temporary way to identify who belonged and who did not. Also revolution-minded Russian soldiers and Finnish Red Guards were using red armbands, which may likely have effected to choice of colour, although apparently the colours chosen by both sides already had established roles at that time – with red being synonymous to rebellion and white being the colour to signify troops supporting establishment. The Civil War era White Army armbands varied in width and typically had name of the unit or abbreviation of its name either printed or embroidered into them. Also capital letter "S" referring to first letter of Civil Guard in both official languages used in Finland - Suojeluskunta (in Finnish) and Skyddskår (in Swedish) appeared already during early Civil War and soon became a widely used symbol in armbands of White Army’s Civil Guard units. At that time the exact style of "S" varied quite a lot and details surrounding it had no standard either, so their design tended to vary from one armband design to another.

More detailed orders about the uniform were issued in 3rd of November 1918, at which time orders specified that the material used for uniform tunic, trousers, cap and greatcoat was grey fabric (coarse cloth) with grey buttons made from bone. As to be expected at that point tunic and trousers were similar to those ordered to Finnish Army, but the tunic had no epaulets, no buttons in tunic cuffs and no piping in legs of trousers. Tunic not having epaulets was rather unusual for military fashion of its time and may have been a design detail loaned from uniforms used by Finnish White Army during Civil War, which also lacked them. Army uniform regulations had introduced epaulets to its uniforms few months earlier in regulations of June 1918. The greatcoat (overcoat) ordered for Civil Guard was also apparently notably shorter (only about knee length) than the overcoat used by Finnish Army and had two rows of buttons in its chest, with twelve buttons total, folded cuffs 18 cm wide and waist pockets with horizontal openings.

PICTURE: Studio photo showing Platoon Leader (Joukkueenjohtaja) of Civil Guard with markings of rank introduced in year 1919. The uniform tunic already has high standing collar of tunic m/22, but buttons appear to be made from bone. Cap is non-standard for Civil Guard, but similar to officer's version of jaeger cap. Left tunic pocket has badge for School of Vöyri (Vöyrin Koulu), which was non-commissioned officer's school of Finnish White Army during Civil War. Belt appears to be leather belt m/19 and pistol holster a design, which was used with variety of 7.65 mm x 17 (.32 ACP) calibre pistols. (Original photograph part of Jaeger Platoon photo collection). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (131 KB).

Civil Guard’s rank markings were also different from those used by the Army and more task-orientated than traditional military rank system. Not surprisingly non-commissioned officer rank system seem have been directly based on those used by Finnish White Army in year 1918, although simplified. Early on there were only three ranks for non-commissioned officers – korpraali (lance-corporal), kersantti (sergeant) and vääpeli (sergeant major), while rank of varavääpeli (was added in year 1919 as NCO rank placed in between kersantti and vääpeli, but proved short-lived. These early NCO-ranks had apparently been designed to be task-orientated - vääpeli was to assist company commander as company sergeant, varavääpeli was to assist platoon leader as platoon sergeant, kersantti was to command squad and korpraali served as his assistant and possible replacement. Another NCO rank alikersantti (corporal) was added sometime in 1920 - 1921. NCO rank markings were chevrons made from white piping placed in tunic sleeves in area between elbow and cuff and number of chevrons indicating rank. Until year 1921 non-commissioned officers had markings of rank (chevrons) in their left sleeve only, that year the regulations changed with rank markings being worn in both tunic sleeves from that on.

The design of ranks markings for non-commissioned officers was changed somewhat in year 1921 with length of chevrons used or NCO ranks being shortened and sergeant major’s (vääpeli) four narrow chevrons being replaced with single wider (20 mm wide) chevron. Unlike with earlier uniforms, chevrons used with uniform m/27 are yellow in colour . Year 1935 Civil Guard added one more non-commissioned officer's rank into its rank system - senior sergeant ylikersantti.

When it comes to officer’s ranks they all has similar status of Civil Guard officer (suojeluskuntaupseeri) and were also task-orientated. While this may seem weird compared to typical military hierarchy, there were actually very good practical reasons behind this. Creating of Finnish Army started from Civil War in year 1918, so early on Civil Guard had a lot of leadership without officer's training provided by the Army, but also had Army officers joining it. Hence it was not uncommon that person who had maybe only non-commissioned officers rank from Civil War, but being wealthy businessman or farmer having notable local influence to become chief of (local) Civil Guard - and superior to person(s) with officers rank in the Army. Hence the Civil Guard officers rank, which set the persons with and without Army officers training at somewhat equal level regardless their training background. Early on there were only ranks for Civil Guard officers - platoon leader (joukkueenjohtaja), company commander (komppanianpäällikkö) and chief of local Civil Guard (paikallispäällikkö). This rank system was insufficient for large Civil Guards (of larger cities), so in year 1919 ranks of battalion commander (pataljoonanpäällikkö) and regimental commander (rykmentinpäällikkö) were introduced and persons serving as staff in headquarters of local Civil Guards, district headquarters, battalion HQ or regimental HQ were ordered specific new uniform markings, which indicated that status. Early on Civil Guard officer’s ranks were marked into tunic cuffs with 15 mm wide vertical stripes (piping).

Dark blue collar patches with spruce branch insignia was introduced for Civil Guard officers in year 1921. The spruce branch insignia could be either embroidered to collar patches or purpose-made brass badges. The standard version of spruce branch collar patches was silver-coloured, with only officers of Civil Guard General Headquarters using gold-coloured version. More changes followed. Year 1925 leadership hired by Civil Guard received their insignia system, which provided visual way of identifying their separate status from voluntary leadership of Civil Guard and in what kind of task-based function they served. From that on they were also to use Civil Guard officers uniform, but without the collar patches with spruce branch insignia and brass S insignia badges on epaulets. The insignia system for hired Civil Guard personnel was again redesigned in year 1929, with new metal badges (besides just "S" on epaulets) being introduced, new green coloured rank indicators for Civil Guard officers.

PICTURE: Civil Guard officer of Helsinki Civil Guard probably in early - mid 1920's. Besides breast pockets in tunic m/22 also brass "S" badges in tunic epaulets and spruce branch insignia in blue collar patches are indicators for status of Civil Guard officer. The spruce branch insignia seen here seems to be standard version - apparently the silver-coloured coating did to survive too well. The officer seen here also has some sort of merit badge (possibly 3rd class) attached to left breast pocket and Commemorative Medal for War of Liberation (Vapaudensodan muistomitali) with heraldic silver rose (indicating being awarded one or several medals belonging to Vapaudenristin ritarikunta order). Photographer Atelier Paris photo studio, Helsinki. Photo source Finnish Heritage Agency (Museovirasto), acquired via and used with CC BY 4.0 Creative Commons license. CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (76 KB).


Civil Guard Insignia - Armbands, Shields and Cockades

The most visible difference of Civil Guard uniforms when compared to Armed Forces uniforms was Civil Guard insignias used them – the most important of which were armbands, district shield patches and cockades. The oldest of these three types of insignia was armband. White armbands worn in left arm had already been used as identification by Finnish White Army during Civil War in year 1918. First armbands had wide variety of versions, but typically had name of Civil Guard and possibly its unit marked in them – often marked with abbreviations. Only November 1918 uniform regulations introduced standard armband design for Civil Guard – it was 10 cm wide white armband with "capital S inside a circle" insignia, name for location of local Civil Guard under it and more detailed unit markings on each side of "S inside a circle" insignia. Markings made to armbands were typically printed with black ink, but could also have the text sewn into them. Sometimes the armband markings were made with both official languages of Finland – Finnish and Swedish. Civil Guard’s district system was officially founded in April of 1919 and district shield patch system in which each district was identified with its own combination of colours was introduced that same year. Starting year 1925 new white armband design equipped with district shield replaced older version equipped with "capital S inside the circle" insignia. Just like normal district shield patches of that time, the shield patches used in armbands came in two sizes (60 mm x 90 mm for officers and 50 mm x 75 for other ranks) and the two sizes of district shield apparently remained to be used for that purpose to the end. Starting year 1925 lower officer ranks had district shield patch placed into their armbands in such manner, that top of the patch touched upper brim of the armband.

PICTURE: One sample of Civil Guard armband of the type introduced in November of 1918 regulations. Markings are for 2nd Battalion of 1st Regiment of Turku / Åbo Civil Guard. These armbands had typically been printed on fabric. Photo source Turun museokeskus, acquired via and used with CC BY ND 4.0 Creative Commons license. CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (31 KB).

PICTURE: Another sample of printed Civil Guard armband of the type introduced in November of 1918 regulations. Markings are Alberga Skyddskår. Nowadays former municipality of Alberga / Leppävaara is part of city of Espoo / Esbo. Photo source Espoon kaupunginmuseo (Espoo City Museum), acquired via and used with CC BY ND 4.0 Creative Commons license. CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (32 KB).

As mentioned, Civil Guard’s district shield patch system was introduced in year 1919. It seems that it was likely introduced because the white armband had been found less than ideal for field use and Armed Forces was already using armband only for parade and holiday uniform – the matter had been brought up in December of 1918. The basic design for the district shield patches originated from Finnish artist Joseph Alanen (1885 – 1920). The colours selected to these patches were loosely based on colours that were used in traditional coats of arms for historical Finnish provinces. Each shield had two colours and in some cases two districts shared the same colours, but individual district can be identified due to colours being used in specific order. Each district patch had the same colours that were also used in its cockade. When introduced in year 1919 the district shield patch system contained 12 patch variations, some of which were used by multiple Civil Guard districts, whose total number at that point was 22 districts. The district shield patch system remained very much the same until Winter War, after which in year 1940 the whole Civil Guard district system was rebuilt into 34 Civil Guard districts and nine additional district patches being introduced - which raised the total number of Civil Guard district patches in use into 21 patches total.

PICTURE: Photograph of old postcard, which shows coats of arms for historical provinces of Finland and original district shields of Civil Guard districts as introduced in year 1919. Photograph of Carl Gustav Emil Mannerheim in the middle. Mannerheim commanded Finnish White Army in Civil War and was named as honorary commander of Civil Guards in year 1919. Photo source Mikkelin kaupungin museot (Museums of Mikkeli city), acquired via and used with CC BY-ND 4.0 Creative Commons license. CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (65 KB).

District shield patches worn by individuals in their uniforms differed in sizes and other details. Early on in 1919 district shield patches existed in no less than five or six different sizes depending rank and function of person in Civil Guard organisation, but year 1920 the system was simplified into two district shield patch sizes only. Hence from year 1920 till year 1930 district patches were made in two sizes - officer’s version is 60 mm x 90 mm in size, while other ranks used version with size of 50 mm x 75 mm, but starting that year all ranks used patches of similar size (50 m x 75 mm), although they still varied certain details in detail depending rank and function of the person using the patch.


PICTURE: Sometimes size is better indicator than colours. These two Civil Guard District shield patches got used by Turunmaa, Turku and Varsinais-Suomi Civil Guard Districts. The patch on the left is for NCOs and rank-and-file guardsmen, while the one on the right is officer's version. Photo source Turun Museokeskus (Turku Museum Centre), acquired via and used with CC BY-ND 4.0 Creative Commons license. CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (125 KB).

District shield patch had versions, which were used in following manner:

  • Officer’s version (60 mm x 90 mm) with golden S and silver frame:
  • Officer’s version (60 mm x 90 mm) with silver frame:
  • Other ranks version (50 mm x 75 mm) of districts shield patch with white S and brown frame:
  • PICTURE: This Civil Guard district patch was for non-commissioned officers and rank-and-file guardsmen of Civil Guard Districts of Häme, Etelä-Häme, Pohjois-Häme and Jyväskylä. Photo source Lahden Museot (Museums of Lahti), acquired via and used with CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 Creative Commons license. CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (61 KB).


    Civil Guard shield patches were worn above elbow in left arm of practically all tunics and overcoats used by Civil Guard. These included tunics of Civil Guard uniform m/22, Civil Guard field uniform m/27, Civil Guard uniform m/36, light uniform m/27, summer uniforms, greatcoats, field overcoat and fur coats.

    The first Civil Guard cockade design was specified in regulations of November 1918 as roundel-shape fabric cockade 25-mm in diameter and having colours of the province in which the Civil Guard was located. Already the next year (1919) the fabric cockade was replaced with painted tin cockade for guardsmen and enamelled cockade for officers – the diameter of these cockades is 25 mm and early production versions have hole or two with which the cockade is sewn into cap. The cockades introduced in 1919 can also be identified from having indentation in the middle and their first production version have two small holes, through which the cockade as to be sewn into a hat. Uniform regulations of year 1930 changed size of Civil Guard cockade, making it similar in size to cockade already used by Armed Forces - in other words about 20 mm in diameter.

    Once the district shield patches had become widely used, there was less use for arm bands, so in year 1921 the basic principle for using them with Civil Guard uniforms become quite similar to that of using white arm band with Finnish coat of arms insignia in Armed Forces – adding armband to uniform elevated its status from everyday field uniform to dress uniform suitable for more festive events. It is noteworthy that the district shield patch was permanently sewn into left arm of tunic – a location in which it would be covered by armband. The armbands with district shield patch also had a feature related to status of the person using the armband – officers and district chief had the shield sewn into their armband in such manner that top of the shield peaked above top of the armband, while others had the shield lower in the armband.

    PICTURE: Civil Guard armband of Old Boys Battalion of Helsinfors Skyddskår. Old Boys Battalion was battalion of Helsinki Civil Guard for aged Swedish-speaking guardsmen of with its name originating from gentlemen's sport club. Its Finnish-speaking equivalent was Ikämiessuojeluskunta. Notice top of the district shield, which peaks above top of the armband - indicating that this armband belonged to chief of particular Civil Guard or Civil Guard officer. Photo source Lappeenrannan museot (Museums of Lappeenranta), acquired via and used with CC BY ND 4.0 Creative Commons license. CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (46 KB).

    PICTURE: The last version introduced by Civil Guard was again printed, with also Civil Guard District shield being printed on it. As indicated by brown frame in district shield this armband is the version for non-commissioned officers and rank-and-file guardsmen. The unit it is for was 3rd Civil Guard Artillery Battery of Turku Civil Guard. Photo source Turun museokeskus, acquired via and used with CC BY ND 4.0 Creative Commons license. CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (31 KB).




    Basic Uniforms





    Civil Guard uniform m/22 was introduced to its use in year 1921. It was directly based on Army uniform m/22, whose essential parts had been introduced already in year 1919, but was its notably simplified version. Due to its more no-frills steel grey visual appearance Civil Guard uniform m/22 also more closely resembled Civil War era White Army uniform "m/18" than its Army equivalent – intentionally or not. Most of the simplifications were in tunic design, which lacked numerous details found in Army tunics. While the uniform was normally made from coarse cloth (type of wool fabric), officers could have their made from diagonal (another somewhat fancier type of wool fabric). Height of tunic collar was based on length of neck for person for which the tunic had been made.

    PICTURE: Photograph from Civil Guard troops in Helsinki parade in year 1932. All guardsmen in the photo are wearing Civil Guard uniforms m/22 with World War 1 era German and Austo-Hungarian steel helmets. As to be expected rifles seen in the photo seem to be a mix of all sorts of Mosin-Nagant rifles, which were in use of Civil Guard at that time. Belts are leather belt m/19 and have rifle ammunition pouches made from brown leather in them. They are marching in Pohjois-Esplanadi Street and building on the background is Hotel Kämppi. Photograped by Pietinen. Photo source Finnish Heritage Agency (Museovirasto), acquired via and used with CC BY 4.0 Creative Commons license. CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (142 KB).

    May of 1921 Civil Guard officer’s uniform got now insignia - blue fir branch collar patches and 30 mm high "S" brass badges, which were attached to tunic epaulets. Fir branch markings used in Civil Guard office’s collar patches were either gold coloured for those serving in Civil Guard General Staff and silver coloured for other Civil Guard officers – these markings could be embroidered or brass badges. In 1925 – 1929 officers could use fir branch brass patches in their summer tunics.

    PICTURE: Studio photo of guardsman in uniform m/22 of Finnish Civil Guard. The medal ribbons in his chest are probably for Medal of Freedom 2nd class (Vapaudenmitali 2. luokka) and Commemorative Medal of Liberation War (Vapaussodan muistomitali) below which he seems to have chest badge of rural police officer. Belt is leather belt m/19. The sword is most likely World War 1 era German infantry officer's sword, which may have been provided by the photo studio. (Original photograph part of Jaeger Platoon photo collection). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (119 KB).

    As a whole the earlier rank system introduced in 1919, which indicated function and unit size, was retained. But with additional markings and their variations being introduced the marking system got more complicated and stars of various colours (gold, silver and blue) being used in cuffs starting year 1925 to indicate the official position in which the officer served in Civil Guard. That same year Civil Guard started using in brass badges indicating service branch in tunic epaulets – the basic designs used in these badges are similar to those used by the Army.

    Year 1921 Civil Guard considered introducing its own uniform button design with stylized capital "S" insignia, but that button design never saw large-scale use. Uniform buttons used in tunics and greatcoats of Civil Guard uniform m/22 are normally with coat of arms lion and similar to those used in Armed Forces uniforms, but oxidised grey. Also the design for belt hooks was similar to those of Army tunic. (More info about Army uniform buttons).

    PICTURE: Soviet prisoners of war re-dressed during Winter War with what was available at the time. Five of the nine POWs seen in the photo appear to have Civil Guard tunic m/22 with Civil Guard insignia removed and at least six of them have on their heads what is probably Civil Guard field cap m/22. Photographer unknown, photo taken in Rovaniemi in January of 1940. ( photo archive, photo number a_237). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (94 KB).

    Once field uniform m/27 had been introduced Civil Guard expected that old Civil Guard uniforms m/22 to get replaced it in five years, but this estimation proved to be way off with uniform m/22 still seeing use even during Winter War. Admitted at the time uniforms m/22 may have mostly been used in home front and were even supplied as replacement clothing for prisoners of war.


    Tunic of Civil Guard Uniform m/22:

    Tunic m/22 is a close-fitted uniform tunic with row of six buttons in front. Tunics use by officers, non-commissioned officers and rank-and-file guardsmen all shared similar cut, but officer’s version had two belt hooks, both of them in seams in back of the coat, while other ranks had four belt hooks (two in back of the tunic and one in each side). Just like with Army tunic officer’s version have applied waist and breast pockets, while tunics of other ranks have only in-seam waist pockets, all of these tunic pockets had pocket flaps closed with button. In addition of outside pockets, the tunic has inside it in tunic’s hem a small pocket intended for first-aid bandage, although it is unclear if this pocket was already included to early tunics, since it is not mentioned in uniform regulations before year 1930.

    PICTURE: Standard version of Civil Guard tunic m/22 used by rank-and-file and non-commissioned officers of Finnish Civil Guard. Notice that the tunic has no breast pockets and compare details to Army's tunic m/22. Photo source - original photo by Armémuseum (Sweden). Used with CC BY 4.0 Creative Commons license. CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (130 KB).

    Tunic buttons and belt hooks used in Civil Guard uniforms m/22 were similar to Army's "m/18" uniform buttons with coat of arms lion insignia as those used by Finnish Army, but according uniform regulations their materials seem to have been somewhat different. Namely Civil Guard officer’s tunic was to have its buttons and belt hooks made from oxidised copper, while other ranks had either oxidised metal buttons or grey (zinc?). Although I would not be surprised if in reality there was some variation when it comes to details such as tunic buttons. Only the belt hooks in back of the tunic were with lion insignia. In all, Civil Guard version of the tunic is very similar to Finnish Army tunic with same model designation, but they have also some notable differences.

    PICTURE: Civil Guard officer's tunic m/22. This particular tunic is company commander's tunic as indicated by blue piping in cuffs and two blue lines next to it indicating exact rank. Blue collar patches with silver spruce branch insignia and S-insignia on epaulets were indicators of officer's status. Notice breast pockets, which were not used in tunics m/22 of other ranks. Compare details to Army's tunic m/22. Photo source - original photo by Armémuseum (Sweden). Used with CC BY 4.0 Creative Commons license. CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (125 KB).

    Mainly Finnish Army tunics m/22 had details such as coloured epaulets indicating service branch and shoulder boards for officers, plus dark grey or black collar and cuffs, with cuff design also indicating service branch – while Civil Guard version has none. The tunic is steel grey wool – typically coarse cloth, but officers had an option of having theirs made from diagonal wool. Liner is typically made from grey twill, but officers had also option of having grey silk satin liner in their tunic. Unlike its predecessors Civil Guard tunic m/22 does have epaulets, but their material is the same steel grey cloth as rest of the tunic (*). In addition, also the tunic collar and cuffs are also the same steel grey fabric cloth and cuffs have no indicator buttons. Cuffs are 12 cm wide, while epaulets are 11 cm long and 5.5 cm wide from their narrow end. The tunic’s length was such, that hem of the tunic was to end 2 cm above guardsman’s groin. Civil Guard officer’s tunic m/22 has no shoulder boards, but a totally separate marking system worn in tunic’s cuffs.

    (*) Only notable exception to this being Helsinki Civil Guard district, which had its uniform tunic m/22 brown collar and cuffs. Although it is worth noting that apparently early on some Civil Guards apparently had also non-standard coloured cuffs and collar in their uniforms.

    PICTURE: Tunic m/22 of non-officer guardsman selected as (local level) headquarters of Civil Guard from circa 1925 - 1929. Starting year 1921 green collar patches were introduced for the purpose, but year 1925 they were replaced with blue collar patches with light grey embroidered swastika insignia seen here. Year 1929 these patches were replaced with blue patches that were otherwise similar but gold-coloured swastika insignia was a batch made from brass, which allowed the same brass badge to be used in collars of field uniform m/27 tunic. The district shield in tunic's arm is for Civil Guard District of Turunmaa. Photo source Turun museokeskus, acquired via and used with CC BY ND 4.0 Creative Commons license. CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (91 KB).


    Trousers for Civil Guard uniform m/22:

    Originally Civil Guard uniform m/22 was only used with one type of trousers - baggy breeches. These breeches share the same basic design with those used by Finnish Army, but again vary in detail. Normally Civil Guard breeches for uniform m/22 has blue stripe 1.5 centimetres wide in side of its legs. Those who served in General Headquarters of Civil Guard has two 1.5 cm wide blue stripes with 1 cm wide gap in between them. In addition ranks other than officers, wo served in HQs of local level Civil Guards had single 1,5 cm wide green stripe and those serving in district HQs wore single 1.5 cm wide red stripe. According year 1925 and 1930 uniform regulations trousers had four pockets – traverse side pockets in waist, back pocket in the right side and small pocket for pocket watch in left side of waist seam.

    PICTURE: Breeches for Civil Guard uniform m/22. Notice blue stripe partly visible in side of upper leg. Fabric of these pants is the same steel-grey coarse cloth (wool) as standard version of Civil Guard tunic m/22, liner fabric is probably twill or cotton. Notice pockets and how they are arranged. Photo source - original photo by Armémuseum (Sweden). Used with CC BY 4.0 Creative Commons license. CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (125 KB).

    Uniform regulations of year 1925 introduced also riding breeches for use of officers, officials, cavalry and artillery. That same year straight pants made from diagonal wool were also introduced for officers and officials. Normal breeches and riding breeches have visible difference in design of legs – in normal breeches the legs start narrowing only below knee-hight, but in riding breeches the legs start narrowing already bit higher – at knee-hight or already above it. Riding breeches use by cavalry and artillery units were to have riding reinforcements. Normally breeches and riding breeches were manufactured from similar steel grey coarse cloth as tunic, but officers could also have their made from diagonal wool and what is known straight pants were made from diagonal wool only.





    Field uniform M/27 (kenttäpuku m/27)

    This uniform design was shared by Civil Guard and Army – it is quite apparent, that the idea was to have the same uniform for both with only insignia and rank markings being different. But in real world field uniform m/27 was far more common in use of Civil Guard, that it ever was with Army to such extent that it became commonly referred as "Civil Guard uniform" ("suojeluskuntapuku"). One could note that when it comes to international military fashion with wide-scale adaptation of field uniform m/27 and its uniform items Civil Guard started the shift from already somewhat old-fashioned breeches and jackboot-type leather boots to laced boots and straight pants earlier than Finnish military. This could be noted as one of the samples indicating their more advanced nature in adaptation of new equipment.

    PICTURE: Civil Guard's field uniform m/27. This combination of district shield and cockade was used by Kajaani / Raahe, Oulu ja Kainuu Civil Guard District. (Photo taken in Sotamuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (179 KB).

    Fabrics from which the uniform could be made included brown-green-grey coarse cloth or other wool fabrics of similar colour, while tunic’s liner was made from brown or grey twill or silk satin. Civil Guard was faster than Army to officially approve field uniform m/27, with its approval pre-dating that of the Army with about two months.

    PICTURE: Officers of Civil Guard in shooting range. All four are wearing field uniforms m/27 and three out of four are Civil Guard officers with spruce branch brass badges (seen to lower corners of this photo) in tips of their tunic collar. Two of them also have what is probably summer cap m/25, while third one has one of numerous "jaeger cap" style peaked caps. One of the officers also has pistol holster for Parabellum pistol. (Original photograph part of Jaeger Platoon photo collection). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (158 KB).

    There were two types of trousers used as part of field uniform m/27 – straight pants and riding breeches. Straight pants were long without turn-ups and riding breeches, which were worn with "jackboot" type leather boots or ankle boots / shoes with puttees. Pockets used these trousers were similar to those earlier used for trousers for uniform m/22 – two side pockets in waist, back pocket in right side and pocket left in the waistline for pocket watch. Legs of these trousers normally have 1.5 cm wide green stripe.


    Light uniform m/27 (kevyt puku m/27)

    This uniform is the same as light uniform design, which Army officers could acquire for their own use, with only difference in between Civil Guard and Army being insignia and markings of rank. It is made from brown-green-grey diagonal wool or other (light) wool fabric. Tunic has notable resemblance to business suit jacket of the era with close-fitting cut and open collar. Its main users in Civil Guard were officers and officials who served in General Headquarters of Civil Guard and its numerous district headquarters. The uniform was apparently mostly used for office work and for various festive events. Civil Guard uniform regulations specifically banned field use of light uniform m/27. Unlike other uniform tunics light uniform tunic m/27 was equipped with version of uniform button m/18 made from bright copper. When used as parade or service uniform the uniform was worn with brown-green dress shirt (of lighter shade than the uniform) and dark red-brown coloured necktie. When used as visit uniform (used for less formal festive events) it was used worn with white dress shirt and black necktie. Two trouser type options existed for light uniform m/27 – straight pants or riding breeches. Both of these trousers were made same colour as the tunic, but made from cotton and did not have stripes in side of their legs.

    PICTURE: Civil Guard light uniform m/27 belonging to medical doctor. The tunic has shield of Pohjanmaa or Kajaani Civil Guard District (Photo taken in Sotamuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (97 KB).





    Just like with earlier uniform m/27, also uniform m/36 was apparently already originally intended for both Army and Civil Guard, with the only real distinction between their uniforms being uniform insignias and markings of rank. Although it must be noted that World War 2 changed plans with limited supply of materials and production capacity of uniforms and Army often getting priority status for new supplies, while what remained of Civil Guard after most of its weapons and substantial part of manpower had been mobilized for the Army became Home Front Troops and had to do with what was available. "What was available" included what ever uniforms its guardsmen had previously acquired and even British battle-dress being issued to its guardsmen during the war. Autumn of 1940 uniform m/36 equipped with Civil Guard insignia was officially approved as Civil Guard uniform. The markings of Civil Guard rank and other insignias were the same as used with Civil Guard uniform m/22, although if used with the uniform Army ranks markings and special insignias needed to be comply with uniform regulations of the Army. Starting from that point Civil Guard personnel and guardsmen could use either Armed Forces white-blue-white cockade or cockade of their Civil Guard district.



    Summer Tunics and Summer Uniforms

    Summer tunics and summer uniforms belong to uniform items, which were notably different from what Finnish Army was issuing at the time. As the name suggests they had all been designed to be used summertime, when normal wool uniforms were too warm and sweaty for comfortable wear. But that was not the only reason why summer uniform was first introduced - it was deemed that in the large- scale summer uniform total spending used for uniforms. Summer uniform replaced standard wool uniform for warmer summer months, allowing it to be speared from wear and tear. Items of this category included summer tunics m/22 and m/36 plus summer uniforms m/25 and m/29. While identifying of these uniforms can sometime be challenging, they can most easily be recognized from arrangement of buttons used to close the tunic and in what extent those buttons are visible. At least early on, possibly also later, summer tunics and summer uniforms were items which the national organization did not normally provide and were hence presumably acquired with financing gathered at lower levels.

    PICTURE: Group of guardsmen in Civil Guard summer uniforms m/29. Photographer Selim Björses. Photo crop. Photo source SLS (Svenska litteratursällskapet i Finland), acquired via and used with CC BY 4.0 license. CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (104 KB).

    Summer tunic m/22 (kesäpusero m/22): This is a thin khaki-colour blouse-like tunic made from thin fabric and opening from collar to chest closed with three buttons. It has low collar, the opening closed with buttons and collar are very similar those in Army’s summer tunic m/22, but beyond that those two summer tunic designs have very little in common. The only pockets in Civil Guard’s summer tunic are breast pockets m/22, which are patch pockets with pocket with flaps that are closed with button, but the pocket design is less elaborate than the breast pocket design used in summer tunic m/22 for Army’s bicycle troops. The tunic has no epaulets and unlike Army tunics has elbows reinforced with patches of second layer of fabric. Cuffs have wristbands closed with single button. Markings of rank were worn in similar manner as in Civil Guard tunic m/22. Civil Guard intended to end use of this tunic model in 1930’s, with its year 1930 uniform regulations ordering that all remaining summer tunics m/22 were to be worn with summer uniform m/29 until too worn out and then replaced with tunic of summer uniform m/29.

    Summer uniform m/25 (kesäpuku m/25): Trousers used with summer tunic m/22 were the normal uniform pants m/22 and made either from coarse cloth or diagonal wool. Apparently they proved too warm for warm summer weather, since year 1925 Civil Guard introduced new summer uniform, whose tunic and trousers were both made from light fabric of khaki colour. Hence this uniform included:

    PICTURE: Drawing showing uniform items of Civil Guard summer uniform m/25 from uniform regulations manual of year 1925. CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (66 KB).

    Civil Guard intended also to end use of this uniform model in 1930’s, with its year 1930 uniform regulations ordering that all remaining summer uniforms m/25 were to be used along new summer uniform m/29 until too worn out and then replaced with summer uniform m/29.


    Summer uniform m/29 (kesäpuku m/29): It seems that this summer uniform was introduced as part of the uniform ensemble of field uniform m/27. In fact, year 1930 uniform regulations introduce it as summer uniform m/27. Material of this uniform is cotton of similar brown-green-grey colour as field uniform m/27 and includes:

    PICTURE: Civil Guard' summer uniform m/29. The district shield patch and cockade are for Helsinki Civil Guard District. The pistol wooden pistol holster with leather harness is for Mauser C96 pistol. Pants might not be original to the uniform. (Photo taken in Sotamuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (110 KB).

    PICTURE: Pants for Civil Guard summer uniform m/29. Notice colour of fabric, cut and green stripes on both legs. Photo source Nurmijärven museo (Museum of Nurmijärvi), acquired via and used with CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 Creative Commons license. CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (79 KB).

    Summer tunic m/36 (kesäpusero m/36): After two previous summer uniforms Civil Guard introduced a new summer design. The basic design this groin-length less blouse-like tunic was apparently very similar to Army’s summer tunic m/32. In addition tunic’s sleeves have 6 cm wide cuffs closed with two buttons. Also new summer cap design was introduced with this summer uniform.

    PICTURE: Civil Guard summer tunic for summer uniform m/36. The tunic has signs of removed collar patches. According museum this tunic was manufactured by Armeijan Pukimo (Army Outfitter, later VPU aka State Uniform Factory) in year 1936. Photo source Nurmijärven museo (Museum of Nurmijärvi), acquired via and used with CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 Creative Commons license. CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (99 KB).




    Greatcoat m/22 (päällystakki m/22): was very similar to greatcoat m/22 used by the Army. It is steel-grey in colour and usually made from coarse cloth, but officers could also have their made from diagonal wool. Normally the overcoat’s liner is twill, but officers had option of having it made from satin. Coat’s chest has two rows of buttons with 12 buttons total and back of the coat has a crease. Length of the coat is such that its hemline was supposed to be 30 – 35 cm from the surface of ground when guardsman was standing. In other words unlike earlier Civil Guard’s overcoat it had similar length to overcoat used by the Army at the time.

    PICTURE: Drawing showing greatcoat m/22 from uniform regulations manual of year 1925. CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (94 KB).

    Only guardsmen whose duties included riding horses and officers had a slit in the back of their coat, others not. Sleeves have 18 cm wide cuffs. Collar and epaulets are both the same steel grey fabric as rest of the overcoat and the pockets are horizontally placed slit pockets with box shaped space with rounded corners. Buttons used for this overcoat are the as used in Army’s overcoat m/22 – in other words oxidized copper buttons with Finnish coat of arms insignia. Back of the coat has two belt-hooks. Starting year 1923 officer’s and those hired by Civil Guard could use grey fur collar with their overcoat, but in the field.

    Greatcoat m/27 (päällystakki m/27): For all practical purposes the design and cut of this greatcoat was similar to earlier Civil Guard greatcoat m/22, with the main difference being that greatcoat m/27 was colour co-ordinated to rest of uniform m/27 assembly - and therefore being made from brown-green-grey wool. Back of the coat has small belt and slit starting from hem of the jacket, which is closed with four small buttons. This coat has waist pockets with pocket flaps and epaulets are made from the same fabric as rest of the coat.

    PICTURES: Greatcoat m/27 of Finnish Civil Guard. It seems that at least most of the original buttons have been removed from coat and some civilian buttons added - possibly as to make the coat pass better as civilian clothing after World War 2. Notice color of fabric and cut. Originally this coat had two horizontal rows of buttons on chest and single button in both end of the short belt in back of the coat. Photographed by Tiina Rekola for Museums of Lahti (Lahden Museot). Photo source Lahden Museot (Museums of Lahti), acquired via and used with CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 Creative Commons license. CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PICS (61 KB and 64 KB).

    Field overcoat m/27 (kenttäpäällystakki m/27): This was a new overcoat design intended for all service ranks and part of field uniform m/27 assemble. Its length was similar to overcoat m/22 – with coat’s hem intended to reach about 35 cm from ground surface. But otherwise it had notable differences to earlier m/22. It is loosely fitted overcoat whose fabric is brown-green-grey coarse cloth or other wool fabric, while coat liner is twill or satin. Unlike other overcoats, this coat had been designed to be equipped with removable fur liner. Chest of the two coat has two rows of buttons with 12 buttons total, which along two hooks waist-area are being used to close the coat. Collar is made from the fabric as rest of the jacket, low and downwards folded. Officers could use brown-grey fur collar with the coat in wintertime. Both cuffs and epaulets are the same fabric as rest of the coat. Coat sleeves have 18 cm wide cuffs and horizontal waist pockets with pocket flaps, which have rounded corners. Back of the coat have slit extending about 10 cm below the fabric belt in back of the coat. The slit had four buttons, which could used be used to close it. Buttons used for the coat were with standard Finnish coat of arms insignia and had colour similar to the coat. What is known field overcoat m/27 was always private purchase item, which officers and guardsmen could acquire with their own finances and hence rare. Also due to field tunic m/27 working remarkably well in winter on its own, with plenty of room for layers of clothing under it, there does not seem to have been as much need for this sort of overcoat as with other uniform designs.

    PICTURE: Field overcoat m/27 in use. Hat is probably field cap m/27 and its cockade seems to be of some Civil Guard district, but it is impossible to say for sure which district it is for. The belt is probably either leather belt m/19 or leather belt m/30 and pistol holster is either for Parabellum/Luger or Lahti L-35. The bag with shoulder-strap is a gas mask bag. Partially visible poster is for Helsinki Olympics of 1940, which got cancelled due to war. Photographed by Aarne Pietinen in year 1940. Photo source Finnish Heritage Agency (Museovirasto), acquired via and used with CC BY 4.0 Creative Commons license. CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (154 KB).

    Fur overcoat (turkki) (m/25): Short grey duffel-type fur overcoat for troops who rode horses – hence quite similar to fur overcoat m/22 of Finnish Army. Fur used for this coat and its collar is lamb. Chest of the coat has two rows of buttons with 12 buttons total, from these four lowest buttons are being attached to hidden leather or cord loops. Buttons are leather-coated fur coat buttons. This fur overcoat was introduced as part of year 1925 uniform regulations.

    Sentry service fur overcoat (vahtiturkki) (m/25): Loosely fitted ankle-length fur coat with large fur collar. Presumably only intended for sentry duty. This fur coat was introduced in year 1925 uniform regulations.

    Fur overcoat m/27 (turkki m/27): Basically this fur overcoat seems to have been earlier fur overcoat design updated to brown-green-grey colours of m/27 uniform assemble. Like its predecessor it is short duffel-type fur overcoat, but approved for use of officers only. Its fabric was specified as brown-green-grey coarse cloth, diagonal or other suitable wool fabric while fur was lamb fur and collar also made from brown-grey lamb fur. Coat has epaulets made from the same fabric as used for rest of the coat. Chest of the coat has again two rows of buttons in chest with 12 buttons total, from these four bottom buttons were to attached into fabric projections and two top buttons into loops of leather or cord. Buttons are leather-coated fur coat buttons. Pockets are slit pockets with slightly canted openings. What is known this fur coat was likely exactly the same item, which Army had available for officers and military officials as officer's fur coat m/27.

    Sentry service fur boat M/27 (vahtiturkki m/27): Long loosely fitted ankle-length fur coat with large fur collar presumably quite similar to earlier sentry fur coat design, but with brown-green-grey fabric and brown-grey fur to make it compatible with m/27 uniform assemble.



    Unlike Finnish Army, Civil Guard had raincoat, which could be used by all its personnel, although it seems likely that it was not a common item. At least wo model variations existed:

    Raincoat (sadetakki) (m/25): This is a trench coat type steel grey long coat made from wool or cotton fabric. Length of the coat was similar to that of a greatcoat m/22. As mentioned the coat design was intended for all ranks – officers, non-commissioned officers and rank-and-file guardsmen. The coat’s chest has two rows of buttons with eight buttons total and have a low downwards folded collar. Waist of the coat has 6 cm wide fabric belt with two belt loops. It also has horizontal waist pockets closed with claps that have rounded corners. Sleeves are raglan-type sleeves with markings of rank carried in cuffs. Buttons used for this coat are similar leather-coated buttons as used with fur coats. This raincoat model was introduced in uniform regulations of year 1925 and there may have been already an earlier version approved for officers only predating it.

    Raincoat m/27 (sadetakki m/27): This is also trench coat type long coat made from wool or cotton, but its colour is brown-green-grey standard to uniform assemble of uniform m/27. Lengthwise it is similar to field overcoat m/27. It was intended for all military ranks alike. As its predecessor it has two rows of buttons in chest with eight buttons total in them and 6 cm wide fabric belt in waist. It also has raglan-type sleeves, low downwards folded collar and side pockets with pocket flaps that have rounded corners. Back of the coat have slit coming up to waist-line with four buttons that can used to close it. Markings of rank have been attached to removable fabric patch 15 cm x 7 cm in size, which was attached about 18 cm from the cuff.



    Uniform Belts

    Leather belt m/19 (nahkavyö m/19): This was the standard issue uniform belt design for Civil Guard later sometimes referred leather belt m/19. It is a simple light brown coloured leather belt 55 mm wide with roller buckle that has one prong and seems to be identical to belts issued for Finnish White Army in year 1918. Officer’s version of the belt was introduced in year 1923 for those serving as officers in Civil Guard. It and is otherwise similar to standard leather belt m/19, but officer’s version is equipped with removable vertical 25-mm wide leather strap going across chest, over right shoulder and across back – which in effect turns the belt into Sam Browne type belt. Starting year 1925 also non-commissioned officers were allowed use this removable strap with their belts while carrying a pistol holster or a sword in their belt and those who were officers in Finnish Army were allowed to use buckle of Army officer’s belt in their leather belt m/19.

    PICTURE: Leather belt M/19. Notice buckle design and colour of vegitable tanned leather used in this belt design. Similar belt had already been used by Finnish White Army during Civil War. Photo source - original photo by Armémuseum (Sweden). Used with CC BY 4.0 Creative Commons license. CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (99 KB).

    PICTURE: Officer's version of leather belt M/19. Basically this a Sam Browne sort of version of the belt with " command strap" added to the design. This individual belt has manufacturers stamp of Veljekset Åhström factory - major Finnish leather goods manufacturer located in city of Oulu / Uleåborg, which was probably the most important provider of such goods for Finnish Civil Guard. Photo source - original photo by Armémuseum (Sweden). Used with CC BY 4.0 Creative Commons license. CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (92 KB).

    Belt m/27 (vyö m/27): Two version of this dark brown leather belt exist. Belt m/27 for non-commissioned officers and guardsmen is 50 mm wide with simple brass roller belt buckle of single prong. The officer’s version is the same as Army's officer's leather belt m/27. To be more specific the officer's version is Sam Browne type 55mm wide dark brown leather belt with brass roller belt buckle that has two prongs and vertical 27mm wide leather strap that goes across chest and over right shoulder. Army did not use the version intended for non-commissioned officers and rank-and-file guardsmen.

    Leather belt m/30 (nahkavyö m/30): This is dark brown leather belt 45 mm wide with simple brass roller belt buckle of single prong – identical to Army’s leather belt m/30. Beside width and details, the basic design has so many similarities to earlier leather belts m/19 and m/27, that it is likely based on them. Cavalry troops version used by Civil Guard was equipped with 25mm wide separate sword hanger (m/27).




    Finnish Civil Guard had number of hat designs, some of which shared with the Army, but also few that were unique. Early on in year 1919 the only headgear options officially approved only "jaeger cap" type hat and German/Austo-Hungarian steel helmet. In general variations of "jaeger cap" type hats ended up seeing service with Civil Guard for the organizations whole lifetime from year 1918 to year 1944. Period photos suggest that in particular early on also other White Army hat designs and civilian hats were commonly used by guardsmen of Civil Guard.

    PICTURE: Sample of "jaeger cap" type Civil Guard hat originating presumably from year 1918. Before tin cockades became available, cockades made from felt were used for the purpose. Colors of the cockade fit to those of Häme Civil Guard district. Photo source Turku Museum Centre (Turun Museokeskus), acquired via acquired via and used with CC BY 4.0 license. CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (109 KB).

    Field cap m/22 (kenttälakki m/22): This is the steel grey "jaeger cap" type hat, based on one variation of the hat design, which had become the standard field cap for Finnish White Army during Civil War and was related to cap used by Austrian-Hungarian mountain troops and World War 1 era German ski troops via Finnish volunteers of Königlich Preussisches Jägerbataillon Nr. 27. Early on it was also the only officially approved hat model for Civil Guard. The model designation for this peaked cap introduced in year 1918 apparently varied over the years – early on it was referred as due to its fabric as "coarse cloth cap" (sarkalakki) and apparently after introduction of uniform m/27 assembly it got re-named as field cap m/22. Early hats apparently had similar height from all sides, but year 1925 the design was modified with from that on rear of the cap being about 2 cm higher than the front. According uniform regulations of that year the peak was about 5 cm long and about 20 cm wide, while the cap was 7.5 – 8 cm high at the front and 9.5 – 10 cm high at the rear. As noted, the standard material for the hat was coarse cloth type wool, although officers could also have theirs made from (fancier) diagonal wool. It seems that the nickname verikauha (blood scoop) commonly used for this type of field cap in Finland may have originally started as nickname for this particular field cap model with most early mentioning of it being quoted as being used in Communist propaganda for this specific cap. While presumably intended derogatory the term apparently stuck and was later used from other caps following the same basic "jaeger cap" design - including field cap m/36.

    PICTURE: Civil Guard's field cap m/22. While design of this peaked cap is based on Civil War era "jaeger cap" of Finnish White Army and later used in numerous other caps, this hat model has rather small peak. Although I would not use that as identifying detail, since there were variety of manufacturers, which tends to result also differences in such details. Photo source - original photo by Armémuseum (Sweden). Used with CC BY 4.0 Creative Commons license. CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (109 KB).

    Field cap m/27 (kenttälakki m/27): For all practical purposes design of this cap was similar to post year 1925 field cap m/22 "jaeger cap"-type peaked cap design, but made from fabric of similar brown-green-grey colour as other items of field uniform m/27. The cap could be made from coarse cloth or other suitable wool fabric. Also what is known, the cap peak may have been slightly longer than with field cap m/22 – about 5 – 6 cm long instead of 5 cm. This cap has no sweatband and the buttons used in it are small uniform buttons with coat of arms lion insignia.

    PICTURE: Civil Guard's field cap m/27 with cockade of Mikkeli Civil Guard District. The basic design is similar to late version of Civil Guard field cap m/22, which predated this cap model, but the colour of fabric (coarse cloth) is brown-green-grey as with other uniform items of uniform /27. (Photo taken in Jalkaväkimuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (98 KB).

    Cap for light uniform m/27 (kevyen puvun m/27 lakki): As the name suggests this cap was introduced to be used with light uniform m/27 and was otherwise similar to field cap m/27, in other words "jaeger cap"-like peaked cap design, but made from thinner brown-green-grey diagonal wool or other lighter fabric.

    PICTURE: Civil Guard cap for light uniform m/27. This cap has officer's cockade of Satakunta Civil Guard District. Notice fabric used as its material - thin brown-green-grey diagonal wool. Photo source - original photo by Armémuseum (Sweden). Used with CC BY 4.0 Creative Commons license. CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (88 KB).

    Officer’s cap m/27 (upseerinlakki m/27): This was not really one of the Civil Guard’s official hat designs, but officers of Armed Forces who served in Civil Guard could use also Armed Forces officer’s cap m/27 correct to their Armed Forces rank. The matter was officially approved in Civil Guard uniform regulations of year 1929. Also Finnish Army referred to this cap model as officer's cap m/27.

    PICTURE: Civil Guard's officer's cap m/27 with officer's cockade for Viipuri / Wiborg Civil Guard District. Photo provided by friendly collector. CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (69 KB).

    Summer cap m/25 (kesälakki m/25): This hat is design-wise similar garrison cap like side cap design as Army’s field cap m/22, but made from khaki-coloured cotton (typically twill?). It was intended to be used with summer uniform m/25 and hence made from similar fabric.

    PICTURE: Civil Guard's summer cap m/25 seen from two sides. The cockade is version manufactured for Finnish Army during World War 2. CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (101 KB).

    Summer cap m/29 or m/27 (kesälakki m/29 / m/27): Apparently summer cap m/25 was not a major success with Civil Guard, since it got replaced very soon. One possible reason may have been not having a peak, which would have been useful while shooting in sunny weather. Sources seem to use both m/27 and m/29 designations for this cap, so it may have actually been introduced before introduction of summer uniform m/29. The hat design is again similar to field cap m/27, a "jaeger-cap" like peaked cap design, but made from khaki-coloured lighter fabric quite similar to that used in summer uniform m/29. Unlike field cap m/27, this cap should have sweatband.

    PICTURE: Civil Guard's summer cap m/29 with cockade of Kymenlaakso Civil Guard District. CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (69 KB).

    Summer cap m/36 (kesälakki m/36): Summer cap m/29 proved rather short-lived as well, with a completely new kind of kepi-like soft cap with vertical sides and flat top being introduced as summer cap m/36. The cap’s peak is 5.5 cm long and on top of it is chip-strap made from same fabric as rest of the cap and attached into it with two small uniform buttons, which have Finnish coat of arms insignia. This summer cap model does appear every now and then in period photos during World War 2 even with individual soldiers in particular in summer of 1941, which suggests that it was probably quite popular. Although it must be noted that at that time there was no summer cap, which Army would have issued and Army's standard issue field cap m/36 was/is often uncomfortably warm for summer temperatures.

    PICTURE: Two sergeants of Finnish Army in August of 1941. The peaked cap worn by sergeant on the left is Civil Guard's summer cap m/36. Another sergeant on the right is wearing old field cap m/22. Both soldiers seem to be wearing summer tunic m/36 and sergeant on the right has rifle marksmanship qualification badge m/33 on his left breast pocket. Photographed by Akseli Neittamo. ( photo archive, photograph number 23247). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (92 KB).


    Winter hats and helmets

    While Civil Guard had plenty of cap models for summer use, it was far less prepared for winter. Field caps were apparently often equipped with warm liners for that purpose, but otherwise there seem to have been surprisingly little effort placed on the matter. As mentioned early on field cap m/22 was the only officially approved hat model for Civil Guard, although period photos often show also other hats in use – including White Army’s old official winter hat made from coarse cloth which had proved not warm enough for the purpose, "Mannerheim-hat" and variety of civilian fur hats, from which design commonly referred as "koivistolainen" had apparently enjoyed somewhat of unofficially approved status. Not having official winter hat design was a problem and various hat designs were apparently tested in winter of 1922 – 1923 with Army’s fur hat m/22 and white "Mannerheim-hat" both being found less than satisfactory. The ultimate result proved to be grey-coloured version of "Mannerheim hat" being approved as winter hat in April of 1923. At the same time also use of white-coloured "Mannerheim-hat" was and white (lamb) fur collar was approved on temporary bases. Yet it remains uncertain how widely used the official fur hat model succeeded to become, since it is rarely seen in period photos.

    PICTURE: Early 1920's group photo of Kuopio Civil Guard. Highest ranking Civil Guard officer probably in centre of front row with other officers around him. Notice white Mannerheim fur hats and greatcoats with white fur collars. Although every person in the photo has at least basic Civil Guard uniform m/22 some of those in rear rows have of civilian hats of various kind. Added to photo's left lower corner is Finnish Civil Guard capability badge 3rd class (3. luokan kuntoisuusmerkki) and in lower right corner pursuit badge 1st class (1. luokan harrastusmerkki). (Original photograph part of Jaeger Platoon photo collection) CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (155 KB).

    Starting year 1925 Civil Guard started receiving German and Austrian-Hungarian World War 1 era helmets, which had been acquired for Finnish military first in year 1919. Before this there seem to have been some French m/15 and Russian m/17 in Civil Guard use, but presumably in rather limited numbers. Year 1921 Civil Guard’s uniform regulations had specified steel helmet to be used for frontline service only, while later uniform regulations no longer limited use of steel helmet for field use only.




    The officially approved shoe-options for Civil Guard included:

    Approved shoes were supposed to be dark brown. Laced leather shoes were used with straight pants, while shoes used with riding breeches were either "jackboot" type leather boots or laced boots used with puttees.

    But in reality when it comes to footwear, there appears to have been a wide variety of shoes and boots in use – quite likely what ever the individual guardsman personally bought with his own money, since Civil Guard did not finance acquisitions of footwear. Still the goal was at least each platoon should have shoes of similar colour. Uniform regulations specified three options for footwear - laced shoes with puttees, Laplander boors or jackboot-type leather boots, but since guardsmen used their own footwear, there was a very wide variety of boots and shoes in use. Year 1925 regulations allowed use of leather garters instead of puttees with laced shoes, but apparently the garters did not gain much popularity. In addition year 1925 laced boots were approved for officers, but only when worn with straight pants.




    Uniforms of the Civil Guard Navy


    Army has always been manpower-wise clearly the largest service arm of Finnish military with Navy being much smaller in size, hence it should be no surprise that Finnish Civil Guard had no sea-going units early on. The first real efforts for creating naval units for Civil Guard appeared in early 1920’s in form of Moottorilaivasto (Navy of motor boats) with its naval units being established in year 1923 and officially renamed as Civil Guard Navy (Suojeluskuntalaivasto) in year 1932. Planning of Civil Guard Navy uniforms also seems to have started already year 1923 with architect Carolus Lindberg (1889 - 1955) being named as person first tasked in developing them and standard uniform of sort being apparently approved in year 1924. By year 1925 about one third of its sailors had been equipped with basic uniform, but due limited financing wool sweaters and overcoats could not be provided early on unless financed on local level, which limited capability for training in autumn and spring. For some reason uniforms of its navy were not included to Civil Guard uniform regulation manuals until year 1930. As to be expected uniforms of Civil Guards Navy were closely related to those used by Finnish Navy and quite similar to what were internationally used as naval uniforms at the time. Due to the naval Civil Guards being established prior to actual uniform regulations existing, it seems likely that the early uniforms probably had quite a lot of variation. Before World War 2 Civil Guard Navy had numerous units created particularly in Civil Guard Districts, which were coastal regions of Baltic Sea or great lakes, but their size and efficiency seem to have been limited by two factors – much smaller number of men and Civil Guard’s rather limited financing not being sufficient for acquiring of real naval vessels. Hence the boats operated by Naval Civil Guards tended to be small or smallish used civilian boats of all sorts. Civil Guard Navy had its rank system with six or seven ranks for leadership and four ranks for lower leadership, all task-orientated with lowest leadership rank (boat captain) being non-officer, but being listed as leadership due to being command of motor boat.

    Organization-wise Civil Guard Navy contained two sort of units – naval units and coastal artillery units. Unlike other Civil Guard units, they also were apparently separate from normal Civil Guard district organisation and had their own small headquarters attached to General Headquarters of Civil Guard.

    One small, but useful detail for separating uniform items for Finnish Navy and Civil Guard Navy from another is that while Navy uniforms have bright gold-colour uniform buttons that have anchor and anchor chain insignia, Civil Guard Navy while also bright and gold-coloured were with standard Finnish military coat of arms lion insignia. This does not mean, that all gold-coloured bright buttons with Finnish coat of arms lion insignia were those acquired by Civil Guard Navy, since similar uniform buttons were also used for light tunic m/27 by both Armed Forces and Civil Guard.

    PICTURE: Group of Civil Guard Navy (Suojeluskuntalaivasto) sailors in Suomenlinna in year 1933. Photographer Olof Sundströ and the persons seen in the photo are probably from Helsinki Civil Guard of Civil Guard Navy. One might assume that the front row is officers and sailors behind them non-commissioned officers and rank-and-file sailors, but the reality is bit more complicated. Markings of rank are cuffs and majority of the persons in front row have single horizontal stripe with single star on top of it - indicator of rank for captain of motorboat, which could be held by any person commanding a boat, no matter office or not. At least two persons have horizontal stripe with star on each end - indicator for person serving in HQ. Two persons in middle of photo have small swastikas in their collars - marking for persons serving in local level HQ of Civil Guard Navy. The person in middle of them has blue collar patches indicating status of Civil Guard officer. Photo source Helsinki City Museum (Helsingin kaupunginmuseo), acquired via and used with CC BY 4.0 license. CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (176 KB).


    Ranks of Civil Guard Navy in year 1924:


  • Commander of Civil Guard Navy (Suojeluskuntalaivaston päällikkö)
  • Inspector of Civil Guard Navy (Suojeluskuntalaivaston tarkastaja)
  • Commander's Assistant for Civil Guard Navy (Suojeluskuntalaivaston päällikön apulainen)
  • Flotilla Commander (Laivuepäällikkö)
  • Deputy Flotilla Commander (Varalaivueen päällikkö) or Boat Group Commander (Divisionapäällikkö)
  • Boat Captain (Moottorialuksen komentaja)
  • Lower leadership

  • Boatswain (Pursimies)
  • Senior non-commissioned officer (Vanhempi aliupseeri)
  • Junior non-commssioned officer (Nuorempi aliupseeri)
  • Senior Seaman (Ylimatruusi)
  • Ranks of Civil Guard Navy in year 1930:


  • Commander of Civil Guard Navy (Suojeluskuntalaivaston päällikkö)
  • Inspector of Civil Guard Navy (Suojeluskuntalaivaston tarkastaja)
  • Commander's Assistant for Civil Guard Navy (Suojeluskuntalaivaston päällikön apulainen)
  • Flotilla Commander (Laivuepäällikkö)
  • Chief of Civil Guard in Civil Guard Navy (Merisuojeluskunnan päällikkö)
  • Divisioonan päällikk&aouml; (Chief for Unit of Motorboats)
  • Boat Captain (Venepäällikkö)
  • Lower leadership

  • Boatswain (Pursimies)
  • Sergeant (Kersantti)
  • Corporal (Alikersantti)
  • Senior Seaman (Ylimatruusi)

    PICTURE: Young looking Corporal (Alikersantti) of Civil Guard Navy. Notice Civil Guard district shield badge in left sleeve. Loose collar with its three white stripes (as in Finnish Navy version) do not seem to fit to known uniform regulations of the time and markings of rank are higher in the sleeve than usual and pointing upwards while in regulations they are pointing down. (Original photograph part of Jaeger Platoon photo collection). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (90 KB).


    Blue uniform (sininen puku) of Civil Guard Navy

    Blue coat (sininen takki): This coat was for use of only Civil Guard Navy officers and captains of its boats (regardless their rank) and seems to have been quite similar to kavalji-takki used by Finnish Navy. This coat is groin length jacket made from dark blue baize, cheviot or diagonal wool and black coat liner. It has open V-collar with lapels about 5 cm wide, waist pockets with horizontal openings closed with pocket flaps and on left side also ticket-pocket like breast pocket without pocket flap. Collar and cuffs are made from the same fabric as rest of the coat. Coat’s chest has two rows of buttons with ten buttons total. Markings of rank are in cuffs. Uniform buttons used in this coat are dark copper coloured buttons with anchor insignia of Finnish Navy.

    PICTURE: Officer of Civil Guard Navy (Merisuojeluskunta) in a studio photo. He is wearing officer's uniform of Civil Guard Navy, which includes blue coat (officers) and cap. Notice padges on left sleeve - the top one is district shield patch - probably for either for Viipuri ja Sortavala District or Helsinki District. The patch below it is Civil Guard Navy officer's insignia, picture of which has been added to upper right corner of this photograph. The badges in tunic's chest are probably Civil Guard activity badge and badge of Reserve Officer School (Reserviupseerikoulu). (Original photograph part of Jaeger Platoon photo collection). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (80 KB).

    Sailor’s blouse (merimiespusero): This is traditional sailor’s pull-over blouse with open V-collar and was the standard coat for non-commissioned officers and rank-and-file sailors of Civil Guard Navy. It is made from dark blue soft wool with collar being made from the same fabric as rest of the blouse. Sleeves are crinkled to make them narrower towards cuffs and the crinkles are closed with two small uniform buttons. Buttons used in the blouse are bright copper coloured buttons with anchor insignia of Finnish Navy. Sailor’s shirt was worn under this blouse with loose sailor’s collar.

    PICTURE: Sailor's blouse of Civil Guard Navy (Suojeluskuntalaivasto). This individual blouse is from year 1932. Barely visible in this photograph is in the left sleeve a district shield of Turunmaa Civil Guard District. Photo source Turun museokeskus, acquired via and used with CC BY ND 4.0 Creative Commons license. CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (54 KB).

    Vest (liivi): This was part of uniform used by officers of Civil Guard Navy and captains of its boats (regardless their rank) and worn under blue coat. It is rather traditional men’s suit vest made from similar dark blue fabric as blue jacket that it was used with. The vest has small V-opening and is closed with single row of six buttons in the front.


    Pants: There were two basic options for pants in Civil Guard Navy uniforms.

    PICTURE: Sailor's pants of Civil Guard Navy (Suojeluskuntalaivasto). Photo source Turun museokeskus, acquired via and used with CC BY ND 4.0 Creative Commons license. CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (165 KB).


    Shirts: Three options existed for Civil Guard Navy uniforms.


    Loose collars: Two loose collar designs were used with uniforms.

    PICTURE: Group of sailors from Kristinestad / Kristiinankaupunki Civil Guard of Civil Guard Navy. Notice single white stripe in loose collars of sailor's blouse. Photo crop, photographer unknown. Photo source SLS (Svenska litteratursällskapet i Finland), acquired via and used with CC BY 4.0 license. CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (176 KB).


    Work uniforms

    Work uniform (työpuku) of Civil Guard Navy: As in Finnish Navy, also Civil Guard Navy had separate work uniforms for duties, in which too dirty or otherwise hazardous to standard (wool) uniforms.



    Civil Guard Navy had three standard overcoats – (short) overcoat, long overcoat and raincoat.

    Overcoat (päällystakki): This was short overcoat made from dark blue "overcoat fabric", which was apparently thicker wool fabric. Colour of the coat liner is black. It existed in two versions depending rank having numerous differences:

    Both versions of collar the same dark blue fabric as rest of the overcoat. Waist of the coat has slit pockets with pocket flaps, which have rounded corners. Wintertime officers and captains of boats could use 12 – 15 cm wide black fur collar with their overcoat.

    PICTURE: Short overcoat of Civil Guard Navy (Suojeluskuntalaivasto). This individual ovecoat is from year 1931. Left sleeve of the coat has district shield patch of Turunmaa Civil Guard District. Photo source Turun museokeskus, acquired via and used with CC BY ND 4.0 Creative Commons license. CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (94 KB).

    Long overcoat (pitkätakki): This dark blue overcoat (presumably also made from "overcoat fabric") was for use of officers of Civil Guard Navy only. Regardless the name instead of actual greatcoat length jacket, it was more of medium length overcoat with some variation allowed. At most it could reach middle of kneecap for standing soldier and at least had to extend 8 cm above his kneecap. Only four of the chest buttons were to be buttoned and the coat had 5 cm wide downwards folded standing collar made from the same fabric as rest of the coat.

    Raincoat (sadetakki): This was a dark blue coat made from water-proof fabric with hidden front buttons, no epaulets and downwards folded open V-collar. Apparently it was intended for officers and captains of boats only and it is uncertain how common it actually was. Non-commissioned officers and rank-and-file sailors of Civil Guard Navy were supposed to have jacket and pants made from oilcloth, but it remains uncertain how common the suit really was either.


    Other uniform items intended for Civil Guard Navy officers only

    White uniform (valkoinen puku): The design (cut, length, collar, cuffs and pockets) for the jacket of this uniform intended to be used in summertime was similar to work uniform, but as the name suggests the uniform was made form white cotton or linen. Pants used with it were similar as blue pants, but made from the same white fabric as the jacket. White dress shirt was used with the uniform.

    Cloak (viitta): Finnish Navy had cloak among overcoat options available for its officers and Civil Guard Navy had it as well, although its use was limited for visitation uniform – in other words for less official festive events only. The cloak was loosely fitted, made from dark blue blaze with black or dark blue liner and had such length that it ended 10 – 20 cm above knee. It has standing folded collar about 8 cm wide and closed with a single clasp. Front of the cloak is closed with four or five large buttons and there is a metal chain with clasp that has lion’s head decoration about 12 cm below the collar’s clasp. Regulations allowed cloak to equipped with warmer liner placed in between its layers of fabric.


    Shoes and belts of Civil Guard Navy

    The shoe options for Civil Guard Navy were quite similar to those of Civil Guard in general. Officers were to use in normal service either jackboot-type leather boots or laced boots, while they would use laced shoes, laced patent leather shoes or laced boots with visit and parade uniform. Other ranks used black jackboot type boots (for normal service only) or laced shoes.

    There were two belt designs reserved for leadership of Civil Guard Navy only, both of these belt designs seem very similar older officer’s belt designs of Finnish Navy

    Officer’s belt of Navy (meriupseerivyö): As mentioned this belt was in use with officers and captains of boats for Civil Guard Navy. It is a Sam Browne type belt design, which they used for normal service and the belt design appears to be quite similar to Finnish Navy’s officer’s belt m/22. It is made from black leather, about 3.5 cm and with equipped with two 2 cm wide leather straps for carrying sidearm plus leather strap also 2 cm wide going across chest and over right shoulder.

    Officer’s leather belt with moiré fabric: Also this belt design was only for officers of Civil Guard Navy and apparently quite similar to officer’s belt m/19 of Finnish Navy. It is leather belt 3.5 cm wide covered with black moiré and two 2 cm wide straps for carrying sidearms. It was intended to be worn over long coat only and only as part of visitation or parade uniform.

    Non-commissioned officers and rank-and-file sailors of Civil Guard Navy used leather belt for all uniform types. The basic leather belt design used by Civil Guard Navy seems to have been similar to that in use of other parts of Civil Guard, but narrower and had to versions.

    Petty officer’s belt (pursimiehen vyö): Pursimies (petty officer, highest NCO rank of Civil Guard Navy, comparable to sergeant major) had black leather belt 4.5 cm wide with roller belt buckle that has single prong.

    Belt for sergeants, corporals and rank-and-file sailors: As the term used in manual suggests this leather belt was for other lower non-commissioned officers of Civil Guard Navy and its rank-and-file sailors. It was otherwise similar than petty officer’s belt, but made from brown leather. While the manuals have no picture of the belt, the description fits to leather belt m/30 of Armed Forces, hence it may have actually been the same belt.


    Headgear of Civil Guard Navy

    Cap (lippalakki): This was peaked cap for officers, captains of boats and non-commissioned officers of Civil Guard Navy. Top of the cap is made from dark blue baize, headband is 4 cm wide and made from gathered black silk and peak is black patent leather. The cap has chinstrap made from patent leather and attached to the hat with two small gold coloured buttons. As exception to this Commander of Civil Guard Navy and his assistant had corded gold-coloured chinstrap in their caps.

    Sailor’s cap (merimieslakki): This was the hat for rank-and-file sailors. It is quite typical round flat-topped sailor’s cap quite similar to that used by Finnish Navy. Around the hatband is tied a black silk ribbon, which has placename for the Naval Civil Guard in which the sailor belonged. Inside the cap is 0.5 cm wide elastic black chinstrap, which was only used in windy conditions. Just like its Finnish Navy equivalent, summertime the cap was equipped with equipped with white cover. When used with work uniform, the cap could be equipped with brown-green-grey coloured cover.

    PICTURE: Sailor's cap of Civil Guard Navy with "Pargas" cap band. Just like sailor's cap of Finnish Navy it could be equipped with white cap cover seen in this photo. Cockade belongs to Turunmaa Civil Guard District and cap band with "Pargas" indicates, that the sailor that used the cap served in Civil Guard Navy unit of Pargas / Parainen, which is a municipality near city of Turku. Photo source Turun museokeskus, acquired via and used with CC BY ND 4.0 Creative Commons license. CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (29 KB).

    Fur hat (turkislakki): This fur cap seems to be similar to fur hat m/30 of Finnish Navy. It has black fur with dark blue fabric. Officer’s version have bright blue ribbons forming a cross on top of the hat.


    Civil Guard Navy Cockade designs

    Civil Guard Navy used cockades in all of these three hat designs. There were four arrangement versions of cockade for Civil Guard Navy hats and three of them used Civil Guard Navy’s own cockade design of white cockade with capital S in centre of it:




    Civil Guard's Uniform Supply


    It is probably needless to mention that early on there was a very mixed variety of uniforms being used in Civil Guards. One major factor that benefitted this was that Civil War era White Army uniform items with variations with Civil War era tunics issued for them during Civil War in addition of hats, belts and boots being used in Civil Guards for years after the war. Another factor was civilian clothing items used due to shortage of proper uniforms, but in addition some Civil Guards acquired themselves early on uniforms, which did not fit to uniform regulations. As if this was would not have been enough, fabrics acquired from multiple sources tended to vary not only in exact shade of colour, but also in quality, with low-quality fabrics apparently proving to have durability issues. Acquiring uniforms was a major item of expenditure for Civil Guards, which spent much of its limited funds for the purpose especially in its early years. It is worth noting that apparently there was notable difference in how wealthy (read: how well-supported by local community and businesses) each Civil Guard was and therefore how capable it was to equip its guardsmen with proper uniforms. Some Civil Guard adopted a practice in which they provided their guardsmen fabric for the uniform, but each guardsman was personally (financially) responsible for getting their own uniform made. At least in some Civil Guards for example acquisition of new boots could be assisted by paying certain percentage of the expense. It seems to have been common practice that leadership and financially well-off guardsmen acquired their own uniforms at their own expense. Yet there seem to have been also visible variation in how capable each Civil Guard was for equipping its men with proper up to date uniforms.

    PICTURE: Group photo showing guardsmen of Tampere Civil Guard sometime in late 1920's or early 1930's. Front rows are wearing field uniforms m/27, while rear rows still have Civil Guard uniforms m/22. Guardsmen in the photo have spruce branches attached to left side of their field cap - this was part of Civil Guard's parade / dress uniform and based on spruce branch attached to hat being used as identification of White Army during Battle of Tampere in Civil War. While guardsmen could use normal spruce branch for the purpose, there were also spruce branch badges made from metal for the purpose, one such batch is seen in upper corner. Photographer unknown. (Original photograph part of Jaeger Platoon photo collection). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (215 KB).

    Due to its limited financing especially early on Civil Guards were forced to prioritize what sort of uniform items to acquire – with field cap and uniform tunic plus possibly belt apparently being the absolute minimum and basic uniform set (field cap, tunic, pants, belt and ammo pouches/bandolier) being the de facto basic standard, which Civil Guard first tried to equip its guardsmen with. What is known suggests that it took about three years (1918 – 1921) for (national level) Civil Guard organization to be able to first equip its guardsmen (about 85,200 men at that point) with tunic (*). Year 1921 Civil Guard Organization supplied its guardsmen about 6,000 field caps, 20,000 belts, 15,500 uniforms (with 40,000 meters of coarse cloth fabric being used for them) and 100,000 ammunition pouches. Year 1922 Civil Guard organization was able to start supplying greatcoats, but due to shortness of funds only to Civil Guards in nations eastern border – what is known apparently greatcoat alone cost about as much as basic uniform (of tunic and pants).

    (*) It seems that caps and belts were often acquired at local level.

    PICTURE: Pauni uniform factory (Paunin sotilaspukimo) was specialised in manufacturing of Civil Guard uniforms. The factory was in Alberga / Pitäjänmäki and existed only in 1922 - 1923. Photo source Espoon kaupunginmuseo (Espoo City Museum), acquired via and used with CC BY 4.0 Creative Commons license. CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (72 KB).

    During 1920’s financing provided by the state achieved substantial role in Civil Guard’s financing acquisitions of uniforms. For example, in 1924 – 1928 financing provided by the state to Civil Guard allowed acquisition of 50,000 uniforms, which included about 21,000 field uniforms m/27 and some 29,000 summer uniforms acquired in 1925 – 1927. In addition in 1925 – 1927 Civil Guard acquired some 24,000 overcoats.

    Civil Guard’s goal was to have all its men equipped with basic uniform and equipment kit, but in reality this proved to be a goal, which it was never alone able to fully achieve – at least partly due to never having the level of funding required for the task. In 1930 – 1938 on average some 12% of the annual budget of Civil Guard organization was used for acquisitions of uniforms and equipment kits, but without contribution of local Civil Guards, guardsmen and financial support from various benefactors the effort would have been totally impossible. The most important individual manufacturer for Civil Guard uniforms was Armeijan Pukimo (Army Outfitter) established in year 1922 as manufacturer of uniforms for military and other authorities. In eve of Winter War in general guardsmen of Finnish Civil Guard were properly equipped with basic uniforms and items of equipment kit, but still suffered from shortages of certain items, which should have been included to their kit (such as backpacks, from which 45% were missing at the time).

    According year 1925 price list Civil Guard’s guardsmen could order readily made uniform or parts of it for following cost:



    Winter War turned Civil Guard as it has been upside down and basically halted its previous activities. Much of its personnel and guardsmen were called to serve in Armed Forces and those who remained in their civilian duties were probably more then busy enough with home front and industrial production being mobilized to support war effort. General Headquarters of Civil Guard (Suojeluskuntain Yliesikunta) turned into Headquarters of Home Front Troops and district level headquarters became regional headquarters for Home Front Troops. Company- and platoon size units were created from Civil Guard personnel unfit for military service to perform guard duty in home front - typically the personnel in these units were boys who had not yet received military training and men who were too old to serve. During Continuation War Civil Guard provided basic military training courses for 17 - 19 year olds as voluntary preparative training before they were called to military service. Also the Suojeluskuntapojat (Civil Guard Boys) organisation for boys aged 12 - 17 was turned into Sotilaspojat (Soldier Boys) organization.

    PICTURE: The lieutenant on the right, which appears to be less than happy to be photographed, is wearing Civil Guard insignia in his uniform m/36. There is a Civil Guard district shield patch in left arm of his tunic and also the cockade in his field cap appears be of some Civil Guard district. The colour combination in them could be that of Viipuri, Sortavala, Joensuu or Pohjois-Karjala Civil Guard District. Photographed by Military official A. Viitasalo in August of 1941 in Oravankytö (in Carelian Isthmus). ( photo archive, photograph number 36874). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (163 KB).

    If the uniform supply for Civil Guard had been having problems early on, they were nothing compared to those experienced due to World War 2. Year 1939 Finnish military had serious shortage of military equipment of all sorts, which included major shortage of military uniforms, hence guardsmen of Civil Guard mobilized for the Armed Forces were instructed to bring their uniforms and field gear with them. As a result some 60,000 guardsmen took their uniforms and equipment with them to war. In addition those not mobilized were instructed to hand over their uniforms and field gear for military, which resulted additional 90,000 sets of uniform being handed over. This transfer of uniform materials was so extreme, that guardsmen called to serve in home front had to rely in what ever they could find - which included civilian clothing such as wind breakers and coveralls being issued in uniform manner. Autumn of 1940 Finnish military returned some of the uniform materials handed to it, but the items were worn out and insufficient for equipping Home Front Troops. As with Armed Forces the uniform supply situation improved slowly, with air defence companies and training units that arranged basic training courses for 15 - 19 year olds both serving in home front being equipped with somewhat decent manner with variety of uniforms by Continuation War. During the war Finnish uniform production concentrating into manufacturing of military uniform m/36. Hence production of field uniform m/27 ended almost completely, although at the same time due to its brown-green-grey colour too similar to khaki-coloured Soviet uniforms, there was conscious effort to transfer existing field uniforms m/27 to home front. With supply of new Finnish uniforms being of military uniform m/36, it became the uniform, which remaining Civil Guard / Home Front Troops personnel were issued with. In addition of Finnish uniforms, also British battle dress pattern 37 played important role in equipping Finnish Home Front Troops for Continuation War.

    PICTURE: Corporal Tauno Savolainen poses for photograph with SVT-38 rifle. Hanging from his belt are holster for Nagant m/1895 revolver and puukko knife. Tauno Savolainen (1913 - 1944) was farmer and mapper, who was awarded with Mannerheim Cross in October of 1941. While serving as combat messenger (runner) in Infantry Regiment 3 he in two occations had firefights against enemy groups of more than ten men, won both times firefight single-handedly and took number of prisoners. In somewhat unusual manner while he served in frontline infantry his uniform has Civil Guard district patch in it and also has Civil Guard pursuit badge and Finnish Army marksmanship badge for submachine gun. Photographer 2nd Lieutenant K.O. Räntilä. ( archive, photo number 57804). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (124 KB).

    Items of uniform supply and soldier's personal kit of Finnish Civil Guard 1st of June 1939:




    Stig Roudasmaa: Suojeluskuntapuvut, Suojeluskuntajärjestön puvut 1918 - 1944 (Civil Guard Uniforms, the Uniforms of Civil Guard Organization 1918 – 1944).

    Pekka Aarniaho: Kaluunat ja rähinäremmit, Itsenäisen Suomen asepuvut ja arvomerkit 1918 – 1945 (Shoulderboards and Command Straps, Uniforms and Rank Markings for Uniforms of Independent Finland 1918 – 1945).

    Suojeluskuntain Historia I – III (History of Civil Guard, parts I – III).

    Manual: Suojeluskuntain ylipäällikön määräys Suojeluskuntajärjestön virkapuvuista (1921).

    Manual: Suojeluskuntain ylipäällikön määräys Suojeluskuntajärjestön virkapuvuista (1925).

    Manual: Suojeluskuntain päällikön ohjesääntö Suojeluskuntajärjestön virkapuvuista (1929).

    Manual: Suojeluskuntajärjestön virkapukusääntö (1930)

    Article: Petteri Leino: Suojeluskuntajärjestön virkapuvun m/22 synty. "Mantteli" lehti vol. 1/1995.

    Article: Päivän kysymyksiä (Questions of the day) by Jääkärimajuri S. in Suojeluskuntalaisen lehti vol. 38/1920.

    Article: Suojeluskunta 1921 (Civil Guard 1921) in Suojeluskuntalaisen lehti vol. 51-52/1921.

    Article: Viikon saalista (Catch of the week) in Suojeluskuntain lehti vol. 9/1922.

    Article: Suojeluskunta 1922 (Civil Guard 1922) in Suojeluskuntalaisen lehti vol. 51-32/1922.

    Finnish National Archives, archive folder PLM-47/Hb:6. Ministry of Defence, Intendenttiosasto. List of uniform items for Civil Guard in June of 1939.

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

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