FORMATIONS (TO&E), PART 8

World War II, Antiaircraft Formations

 

Finnish antiaircraft training started in 1925 and first AA-unit was 1. Ilmatorjuntapatteri (1st Antiaircraft Battery) established in August next year. Finnish coastal artillery had been the first part of Finnish armed forces to get interested about shooting air-targets with guns and machineguns. This can be seen quite natural considering the situation it found itself in mid 1920's: Coastal artillery had large static fortifications to which fast developing aircraft was seen as potential new threat. Finnish antiaircraft weaponry and methods were developed little by little, but amount of acquired AA-weaponry remained much too small. Year 1937 Defence Ministry even sent circular letter to cities, towns, municipalities, industry and other communities offering them possibility to finance AA-weaponry and promising to issue the financed weaponry to units defending the area where the community was situated. But even this came too late. When Finnish AA-units were mobilised for wargames in summer of 1939 their weaponry situation was so poor that men of 34 units had to be sent home as there was no weaponry for them. Finland got more weaponry just before and during Winter War, but Finnish AA-defence remained so weak that almost all had to be concentrated for defending most vital areas of home front. This left Finnish frontline units with very little air-defence. New AA-units were created during Winter War and existing ones trained to use new weaponry. Basic method for training these units was first giving them basic training and then giving further training for them in unit already using the weaponry and other equipment similar to one that would be equipped with. This allowed these newly armed AA-units to get battle-ready in minimal amount of time after arrival of weaponry. During early part of Continuation War the focus of Finnish air-defence was with Field Army (Army units in front), as war progressed more and more units were concentrated back to home front. As a rule the largest calibre AA-weaponry Finnish frontline units had defending them were 40-mm, anything bigger was almost always used further away from front.

 

1st AA-Battery, 1929:

Battery Commander

1st Fire Section (2 guns)
2nd Fire Section (2 guns)
Machinegun Unit (one or two 7.62-mm AAMG)
Supply Section

 

Antiaircraft Regiment, May/1934 - 1939:

Regimental Commander

Regimental HQ

NCO School (Reserve NCO School starting from 1937)

AA-Battalion

Repair Shop

HQ Battery (added in 1939)

 

AAMG Company, 1939- 1940:

3 AAMG Platoons

Example: 1. ItKkk (1st AAMG Company), 1939 - 1940:

1st Platoon (light)

2nd Platoon (heavy)

3rd Platoon (heavy)

(Notice: During Winter War units such as this mixed this organisation as combination of 20 mm AA-guns and 7,62 mm AAMG proved in same platoon proved more effective).

 

Light Battery, 1939 - 1940:

2 - 3 x 40 mm Bofors AA-gun

 

Heavy AA-Battery, 1939 - 1945:

2 - 4 x heavy AA-guns (75 - 88 mm)

1 - 2 x AA-machinegun 7,62 mm

Central fire control machine (mechanical fire control computer)

Generally speaking heavy AA-battery followed that TO&E. Amounts of guns used heavy AA-battery varies depending model of guns used. And amount of antiaircraft-machineguns varied. Crew size of fire-control computer also varied depending model of FC-computer. Here is one example of actual unit:

Example: Heavy AA-Battery with

Fire control Unit

Fire Battery (1 officer + 6 NCO + 30 men)

 

Heavy 4-gun AA-Battery (Homefront), 1941:

AA-Battery Commander (pistol) [Captain]

Driver (passenger car + rifle)

Fire Control (FC) Unit

AA-Gun Battery

Supplies Squad

Heavy 3-gun AA-Battery (Homefront), 1941:

AA-Battery Commander (pistol)

Driver (passenger car + rifle)

Fire Control (FC) Unit

AA-Gun Battery

Supplies Squad

 

Mobile Heavy AA-Battery of Field Army, 1941:

(Notice: Units of this type belonged to Finnish Army General HQ assets)

Battery Commander (pistol)

Driver/messenger (passenger car + rifle)

Fire Control (FC) Unit

AA-Gun Battery

Supplies Section

One of the two supply trucks does towing the field kitchen.

 

Light AA-Section (homefront), 1941:

Section Commander (pistol)

Distance Measuring Team

Observation and telephone Team

2 AA-Guns

AAMG Team

Supplies Team

(*) 2 of the men with anti-chemical weapons training.

 

Mobile Light AA-Section (homefront), 1941:

AA-Section Leader (pistol) [2nd Lieutenant/Lieutenant]

Distance Measuring Team

Observation and telephone Team

AA-Gun Section

Supplies Squad

Supply truck used for towing the field kitchen.

(*) 2 of the men with anti-chemical weapons training.

 

AAMG Platoon (homefront), 1941:

Platoon Leader (pistol)

Distance Measuring Unit

Observation and Telephone Team

2 AA-Gun Teams

2 AAMG Teams

Supplies Team

(**) Also anti-chemical weapons trained

 

Mobile Light AA-Battery of Field Army (1941):

Battery Commander (pistol) [Captain]

Driver (passenger car + rifle)

Signal Section

2 AA-Gun Sections, in each AA-Gun Section:

Supplies Section

(***) 2 of the men with anti-chemical weapons training.

 

AA-Machinegun Company of Field Army (1941): (****)

Company Commander (pistol) [Captain]

Driver (passenger car + pistol)

3 AA-Gun Platoons

Supplies Platoon

Strenght:

(*****) For some twisted reason Finnish Army liked to call 20-mm AA-Guns as heavy AA-machineguns in AA-organisations. I have changed this for other organisations, but kept it here not mix this organisations to other organisations. The reason behind this weard naming system might be in pre-WW2 plans of arming units such as these with 13 mm AAMG, which never reached mass-production.

 

Light AA-Battery of Field Army, 1941 - 1943:

(Notice: This unit was Army Corps level asset)

2 Sections, in each section:

Notice: Around 1941 - 1943 each Finnish Army Corp had three of these light AA-batteries.

 

Light AA-Section, 1941 - 1945:

2 x 40 mm Bofors AA-gun

 

Divisional AAMG Company, 1941 - 1943:

6 x 20 mm AA-gun (divided in 3 platoons, each platoon had two AA-guns)

2 - 5 x 7,62 mm AAMG

 

Mixed Antiaircraft Battery, 1943 - 1945:

Battery Commander

Driver

Signal team

1st Section

2nd Section

OR

2nd Section

 

Total strength of mixed AA-Battery: 3 officers + 17 NCO + 66 men = 86 men

 

 

STRUCTURE OF AA-UNITS IN FINNISH FIELD ARMY:

ANTIAIRCRAFT UNITS 1941 - 1943:

Army Corps

WITH MIXED BATTERIES 1943 - 1945:

Army Corps

 


Last updated 6th of November 2003
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