27th Jäger Battalion (Finland)

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The pioneer company of the battalion returning form a parade in Liepāja (Libau). The company commander riding on the white horse is lieutenant Basse. The battalion stayed almost a year in Liepāja for special training in 1917 after the Riga Bay period of 1916.

The Finnish 27th Jäger Battalion (German: Königlich Preussisches Jägerbataillon Nr. 27) was an elite light infantry unit in German Army 1915–1918 which consisted mainly of volunteers of Finnish Jäger troops.

The recruitment of the Jäger volunteers from the Russian Grand Duchy of Finland had to be secret, and was dominated by German-influenced circles, such as university students and the upper middle class. The recruitment was however in no way exclusive. The recruits were transported across Finland's western border via Sweden to Germany, where the volunteers were formed into the Royal Prussian 27th Jäger Battalion. It was a continuation and expansion of the "Boy Scout Training" (Pfadfinderkursus).

Scout course and permanent training group[edit]

Later the Pfadfinderkursus received more permanent forms and the course was changed into a permanent training group in Lockstedt, Ausbildungs-Truppe-Lockstedt, which had given military training to Finnish volunteers eager to fight for independence.

More than 200 university students had participated in the so-called Boy Scout training – they dressed in Boy Scout uniforms during the training, and they became the officers of Finnish Jäger Troops. This group was expanded by extensive recruitment autumn 1915 and spring 1916. Goal was to grow the unit to 1,200 men, including artillery and pioneers. As the new recruits included working class young men and farmers as well as sailors, not so many of them knew German. So it was necessary to create military guide books in Finnish, and the commanding vocabulary was created.

On 9 May 1916, the Lockstedt training group (Ausbildungs-Truppe-Lockstedt) was named as the Royal Prussian Jaeger Battalion number 27 (Königlich Preussisches Jägerbataillon Nr. 27) and received new, green German Jaeger uniforms. Some of the soldiers to be trained stayed in Ausbildungs-Truppe-Lockstedt and their unit preserved its name. If the number of the recruits had increased enough Ausbildungs-Truppe-Lockstedt would have been formed again as a Jaeger battalion, but with the number 28 (i.e. German: Königlich Preussisches Jägerbataillon Nr. 28). This did not happen as there were no political initiatives for this in Finland or in Germany, which were preparing for the separate peace with the Russian Empire in order to fight more effectively on the Western front against France and the United Kingdom.

Regular battalion[edit]

To achieve experience from war-faring the main part of the Ausbildungs-Truppe-Lockstedt became a regular Jaeger battalion, the Royal Prussian Jaeger battalion number 27 (German: Königlich Preussisches Jägerbataillon Nr. 27), which was used with relatively modest losses to achieve experience, but also re-trained for the more technical demanding duties of artillery, engineers, supplies, etc. in order to establish this expertise in the future national army of the independent state of Finland.

The Jaeger Battalion participated in the ranks of the 8th German Army from 1916 in the battles of World War I on the northern flank of the eastern front. After the outbreak of the Civil War in Finland Jaegers who intended to engage on the "White" (anti-communist) side in the war were released.

Periods[edit]

Pfadfinder-Kursus Lockstedter Lager[edit]

Pfadfinderkursus - the pathfinder course - was the beginning of the new Finnish military training as it had been abolished in the Grand Duchy of Finland due to the political schism in Finland between the Finns and the Russian imperial government. There were 189 Finns, one Norwegian Swede (Gösta af Geijerstam) and one Balt, altogether 191.

On 26 January 1917, the representatives of the German ministries for foreign affairs and also war, general headquarters and navy headquarters had made a decision for providing military training for 200 Finns. The commander was major Maximillian Bayer, who was a war veteran from German African colony and the chairman of the German scout league, Deutsche Pfadfinderbund, which he established in 1907 and served it as the chairman, Reichsfeldmeister. In World War I he had served in the Regiment Prinz Louis-Ferninand, the 27th Infantry Regiment, and took part in the attack against Liege in Belgium. Since that ha had served in the non-combatant duties as the German commandant of Liege since 5 January 1915. The original idea was to nominate the commander, one infantry captain and one pioneer captain, but the decision was to nominate four captains: Julius Knaths, Hans Bade, Walter Just and Karld Heldt. They all went to the German ministry for War on 13 February for the instructions. In April for the machine gun training an Offiziersverstellvertreter Hans Eller also was ordered to the pathfinder course. From 12 to 13 non-commissioned officers were ordered to the course and also 6 pioneers. Master sergeants (Fäbel) were Perper and Steinmuller and non-commissioned officers in lower ranks, Unteroffiziers, were Claussen, Huyssen, Hoden and Toeppel. Hoden and Toeppel were ordered to the other duties later. The pioneer non-commissioned officer Claussen and machine gun trainer Huyssen server still during the 27th battalion period and became lieutenants.[1]

The very first pathfinders became to the Lockstedt military training camp on 25 February 1915. The oldest member of the course was Alma Fabritius, who stayed for four months. Another old participant, doctor Marcus Kjöllerfeld stayed six weeks from 25 February to April.

Month Finland Germany Denmark Norway USA Total Accumulated Resigned
February 63 63 63
March 66 9 1 76 139
April 8 3 11 150 -1
May 2 1 1 5 155
June 3 3 158
July 3 3 161
August 3 2 1 6 167

[2]

Later as already Jaegers, two ex-pathfinders resigned and two died from disease, Runar Appelberg and Urho Kalsko. Already in the service of the Guards majors Friedel Jacobson, Olof Lagus and Armas Ståhlberg were killed in action in the Finnish Civil War 1918 like Rittmeister (Cavalry captain) Paul Ljungberg and captain Bertel Paulig. Also six other ex-pathfinders died in the civil war. Two of them were master sergeants (faebel) and third sergeant. The last three did not have in Finland a military rank at all for the unknown reason.

Captain Toivo Kuisma died in the Aunus attack 1919 and major Sven Weckström in 1921 having been wounded in Maaninkajärvi 1921.

Later the ex-pathfinders achieved high military ranks

Rank
infantry general 3 A. E. Heinrich, A. Sihvo, A. Sundman
lieutenant-general 10
major-general 12
colonel 30
lieutenant-colonel 26
major 38
captain and rittmeister (cavalry captain) 29
lieutenant 14
2nd lieutenant 3
Total 165

[3]

Ausbildnungs-Truppe-Lockstedt[edit]

  • September 1915 - May 1916

*Royal Prussian Jaegerbattallion number 27 9th May, 1916 Königlich Preussisches Jägerbataillon Nr. 27[edit]

1916[edit]

Many German officers served in the battallion. The first commander was major Maximillian Bayer, who became later a regiment commander on the West from. After him the commander was captain Julius Knaths.

German officer military rank unit
Ausfeld captain
Basse lieutenant
Braun senior lieutenant
Claussen lieutenant
von Coler lieutenant
captain
Franzen lieutenant
Haase lieutenant
Höcker lieutenant
captain
Jacobssen lieutenant
Just captain
Knaths captain
von Mangold captain
Ladewig assistant doctor
Mellis lieutenant
Oberdörfer lieutenant
Rütz lieutenant
Schultze lieutenant
Stahel senior lieutenant
Wilhelmsson lieutenant
Battallion 1st rifle company 2nd rifle company 3rd rifle company 4th rifle company Engineer company Artillery unit Signals unit
Major Maximillian Bayer
Hauptzugführer Erik Jernström

Misa river period[edit]

Month officers others promoted decorated deceased released horses
May l
June Jäger Alfred Hyytinen
- 13 June, 2 o'clock
- artillery granade
- position of the 1st company
Jäger Max August Kronqvist
- 25th June
- artillery granade
Jäger Matti Nykänen
- 25 June
- hospital
- Skrabbe
- Skrabbe war grave
July Jäger Paavo Kinnunen
- 25 July
- 24 July shooted to head
- Smarde (Schmarden)
- Tukums war grave
August Jäger Ilmari Pahkajärvi
- 15 August
- artillery granade to the truce
- Misa River

[4]

Riga bay period[edit]

Month officers others promoted decorated deceased released horses
September Jäger Frans Heinonen
- 15 September
- grenade fragmentation onto forehead
- Riga bay
- Dumbe war grave
Jäger Einar Myntti
- 20 September
- killed in patrol
- Riga bay
- Dumbe war grave
Jäger Emil Kantola
- 20 September
- engineers protecting squad, shot by the Russians
- Riga bay
- Dumbe war grave
October [
November
December Jäger Konrad Pehrsson
- 1 December
-
- Riga bay
- Dumbe war grave

[5]

Liepaja Christmas period[edit]

Month officers others promoted decorated deceased released horses
December

[6]

Lielupe (Misse) period 1916/1917[edit]

Month officers others promoted decorated deceased released horses
December
January
February
March

[7]

Liepaja training period 1917/1918[edit]

Battallion 1st rifle company 2nd rifle company 3rd rifle company 4th rifle company Engineer company Artillery unit Signals unit
Captain Julius Knaths
Hauptzugführer Erik Jernström
Month officers others promoted decorated deceased released horses
April 34 1277 Jäger August Jukarainen
- 21 April
- hospital
- Thorn
Jäger Herman Hirvonen
- 27 April (notification)
- hospital
- Jelgava (Mitau)
186 [8]
May 37 1314 Jäger Kustaa Heinonen
- 5 May
- hospital
- Liepaja (Libau)
Jäger Wilhelm Blomberg
- 16 May
- suicide attempt 15 May
14 Jägers of D. U.
- 14 April
190 [9]
June 36 1316 Gruppenführer Rudolf Jahnke
-20 June
-hospital
-Altona
190
July 36 1297 Hilfsgruppenführer Johannes Ammunet
- 6 July
- suicide attempt 5 July
- Liepaja (Linbau)
Jäger Karl Hellman
- 15 July
- hospital
- Liepaja (Libau)
Oberzugführer Runar Appelberg
- 22 July (notification)
- hospital
- Tukums (Tukkum)
190
August 34 1271 Zugführer 14
- 9 August
Gruppenführer 21
- 11 August
Hilfsgruppenführer 48
- 25 August
Jäger Matti Fält
13 August
- hospital
- Hannover
Jäger August Tenno
- 25 August
- hospital
- Szczecin ( Stettin)
191
September 34 1342 Zugführer 3
- 19 September
Gruppenführer 8
- 19 September
Hilfsgruppenführer 26
- 19 September
159
October 24 1293 Zugführer 1
- 28 October
Gruppenführer 1
- 28 October
Hilfsgruppenführer 34
- 28 October
iron cross 4 Jäger Erik Martois
- 26 October
- hospital
- Altona
155
November 22 1280 157
December 22 1265 Oberzugführer 3
- 25 December
Zugführer 3
- 25 December
Gruppenführer 21
- 25 December
Hilfsgruppenführer 25
- 25 December
30 Jägers
- 11 December
40 Jägers
- 17 December
40 Jägers
- 29 December
163
January
February

[10]

Later as already Jaegers, two ex-pathfinders resigned and two died from disease, Runar Appelberg and Urho Kalsko.

1918[edit]

Already in the service of the Guards majors Friedel Jacobson, Olof Lagus and Armas Ståhlberg were killed in action in the Finnish Civil War 1918 like Rittmeister (Cavalry captain) Paul Ljungberg and captain Bertel Paulig. Also six other ex-pathfinders died in the civil war. Two of them were master sergeants (faebel) and third sergeant. The last three did not have in Finland a military rank at all for the unknown reason.

Killed in action in Finland 1918[edit]

  • Lauri Kutilainen, aliupseeri, 21 June 1896 - 3 April 1918.
  • Ahti Johannes Karppinen, vänrikki, 25 August 1895 - 28 April 1918.
  • Matti Leonard Kokko, korpraali, 23 October 1893 - 3 April 1918.
  • Nikolai Matias Perälä, aliupseeri, 23 August 1892 - 4 April 1918.
  • Johannes Pärmi, aliupseeri, 27 January 1892 - 5 April 1918.
  • Oivo Urbanus Rustanius, vänrikki, 17 July 1893 - 8 April 1918.
  • Frans Sandstedt, aliupseeri, 17 July 1899 - 3 April 1918.
  • Johan Vilhelms Sjöholm, vääpeli, 9 June 1897 - 3 April 1918.
  • Elias Teppola, aliupseeri, 25 December 1895 - 4 April 1918.
  • Emil Vainionpää, vääpeli, 7 January 1892 - 3 April 1918.
  • Juho Veijalainen, aliupseeri, 20 June 1892 - 3 April 1918.

1919[edit]

Captain Toivo Kuisma died in the Aunus attack 1919 and major Sven Weckström in 1921 having been wounded in Maaninkajärvi 1921.

Military ranks[edit]

Rank
Hauptzugführer (chief platoon leader)
Oberzugführer (senior platoon leader) Friedel Jacobsson
Zugführer (platoon leader) Aarne Heikinheimo
Tauno Juvonen
Gruppenführer (squad leader) Johan Forsman
Osmo Grönroos
Mikko Kohonen
Åke Sumelius
Hilfsgruppenführer (assistant squad leader)
Jäger (light infantry private) 38
Month
infantry general 3 A. E. Heinrich, A. Sihvo, A. Sundman
lieutenant-general 10
major-general 12
colonel 30
lieutenant-colonel 26
major 38
captain and rittmeister (cavalry captain) 29
lieutenant 14
2nd lieutenant 3
Total 165

[11]

  • May 1916-February 1918

Misa river period[edit]

  • June 1916 - August 1916

Riga Bay period[edit]

  • September 1916 - December 1916

Liepaja Christmas period[edit]

Lielupe period[edit]

  • December 1916 - March 1917

Liepaja training period[edit]

The Liepaja training period consisted all kinds of special training from general leadership to special skills.

Course beginning end place goal
March 1917[edit]
  • 25 March 1917 - 13 February 1918 [12]
April 1917[edit]
  • 1 April 1917, 34 officers, 1277 others and 186 horses [13]
  • 2 April 1917, general von Shotzes inspection [14]
  • 10 April 1917, ten iron crosses for the jaegers [15]
  • 17 April 1917, poticians Fabritius, von Essen and Ekola paid visit[16]
  • 27 April 1917, notification of jaeger Herman Hirvonen's death in a hospital in Jelgava (then Mitau),[17]
May 1917[edit]
  • 1 May, 37 officers, 1344 others, 190 horses
June 1917[edit]
  • 1 June, 36 officers, 1316 others, 190 horses
July 1917[edit]
  • 1 July, 36 officers, 1297 others, 190 horses
August 1917[edit]
  • 1 August, 34 officers, 1271 others, 191 horses
September 1917[edit]
  • 1 September, 34 officers, 1342 others, 159 horses
October 1917[edit]
  • 1 October, 24 officers, 1293 others, 155 horses
November 1917[edit]
  • 1 November, 22 officers, 1280 others, 157 horses

See also[edit]

Notable Jäger[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Lauerma, 1966:118-119
  2. ^ Lauerma, 1966: 95, 102
  3. ^ Lauerma, 1966: 115
  4. ^ Jaatinen, Olsoni, Suomalainen, Sundwall, 1920: 1159,
  5. ^ Jaatinen, Olsoni, Suomalainen, Sundwall, 1920: 1159,
  6. ^ Jaatinen, Olsoni, Suomalainen, Sundwall, 1920: 1159,
  7. ^ Jaatinen, Olsoni, Suomalainen, Sundwall, 1920: 1159,
  8. ^ Jaatinen, Olsoni, Suomalainen, Sundwall, 1920: 1159 1st April, 1917
  9. ^ Jaatinen, Olsoni, Suomalainen, Sundwall, 1920: 1159 1st May, 1917
  10. ^ Jaatinen, Olsoni, Suomalainen, Sundwall, 1920: 1159,
  11. ^ Lauerma, 1966: 115
  12. ^ Jaatinen, Olsoni, Sundwall, Suomalainen, 1159, 1163
  13. ^ Jaatinen, Olsoni, Sundwall, Suomalainen, 1159
  14. ^ Jaatinen, Olsoni, Sundwall, Suomalainen, 1159
  15. ^ Jaatinen, Olsoni, Sundwall, Suomalainen, 1159
  16. ^ Jaatinen, Olsoni, Sundwall, Suomalainen, 1159
  17. ^ Jaatinen, Olsoni, Sundwall, Suomalainen, 1159
  18. ^ Ahlbäck, Anders (2010). Soldiering and the Making of Finnish Manhood: Conscription and Masculinity in Interwar Finland, 1918–1939 (PDF) (Doctoral thesis). Äbo Akademi University. ISBN 9789521225093. 
  • Lauerma, Matti Kuninkaallinen Preussin Jääkäripataljoona 27: vaiheet ja vaikutus. Porvoo, Helsinki: WSOY, 1966

External links[edit]

Media related to Finnish 27th Jäger Battalion at Wikimedia Commons