Finnish Coastal Jaegers
|Finnish Coastal Jaegers
Green beret with Eagles head pin
|Part of||Uusimaa Brigade|
|Garrison/HQ||Dragsvik, Raseborg, Finland|
|Motto||"Militärt kunnande, sammanhållning, framåtanda"
"Military knowledge, cohesion, forward spirit"
|Commodore Olavi Jantunen|
The Finnish Coastal Jaegers (Swedish: Kustjägarna, and Finnish: Rannikkojääkärit) are the amphibious arm of the Finnish Navy. The unit consists of both regulars and conscripts, predominantly Swedish-speaking, and is located at Nyland Brigade (Uusimaa Brigade) in Dragsvik, near Ekenäs.
The Finnish Coastal Jaegers role is to conduct counter attacks against enemy landings in the Finnish archipelago, an environment known for small islands and skerries. Jaegers can act on independently or with the support of artillery units, including light or heavy mortars. A small subsection of the Jaeger unit is trained for unconventional warfare and reconnaissance behind enemy lines.
Conscripts are selected for training at KustJK (the coastal Jaeger company, Swedish; Kustjägarkompaniet) in Dragsvik on the basis of the physical review taken by all conscripts before they enter military service. After 8 weeks of basic training, privates are assigned tasks. The number of jaegers trained varies, but usually about 30-50% of the conscripts at KJK go through marine training of which approximately 40% are NCOs or officer candidates. Other conscripts are trained for support roles such as cook, medic, driver, easier combat tasks or transfer to another unit.
Conscripts are selected for NCO (Stage 1) education during basic training. Candidates for officer training are selected during the 7-week-long Stage 1 of NCO training. About 10-20% of Stage 1 NCO candidates become officer candidates.
The main elements of Jaeger training are combat training, weapon handling, endurance and mobility. For privates the training is 6 months and encompasses the fundamental elements of marine warfare. NCO and officer training lasts for 12 months, incorporating urban combat training. A Jaeger candidate is more likely to spend time marching with a heavy rucksack than doing push-ups. Marches are usually carried out with "full field equipment" (meaning 40-50 kg) and can be as long as 80-90km. Instructors put tremendous mental pressure on the soldiers. This is sometimes combined with sleep deprivation. NCO and officer trainees can go with as little as 2–4 hours of sleep during a 4-day exercise.
The difference in length, quality, and intensity of private compared to NCO and Officer training is reflected in the units sent for international duty. These usually consist almost exclusively of NCOs and Officers.
The Green Beret
Coastal Jaegers obtain the right to wear the unit's green beret (jaeger green beret with a golden sea eagle) by reaching the required standards in shooting, running, swimming, strength, completing all major exercises and completing the beret march. The beret march is approximately 80 km in length, over which the Jaeger candidates must navigate by foot, carrying 40–45 kg of equipment. Every 5–10 km the candidates stop to complete tasks, such as medical evacuation of "wounded" soldiers, shooting, weapons handling and map reading. At one point, candidates are put on a boat and driven to an unknown location. They must locate themselves on a map and find their way back to the route.