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Air Force (Ilmavoimat) - History

Until the independence of Finland, military aviation was carried out in the territory of Finland by Imperial Russian air forces. The war between the Red Guard and the white troops led by General CGE Mannerheim following the Russian Revolution in January 1918 triggered the development of domestic military aviation.

In the late winter of 1918, the White Army received as a donation from Sweden aircraft with airplanes forming the base of the Finnish Air Force. The first to arrive was the NAB typ 9 Albatros reconnaissance and school aircraft, which arrived at the end of February, but its transfer flight to Vaasa was interrupted by an engine crash on Pietarsaari.

Instead of Albatros, the Air Force's first aircraft is generally considered the Thulin typ D reconnaissance aircraft, which arrived in Vaasa on March 6. The date has since been celebrated when the Air Force was established. The aircraft was donated by Count Eric von Rosen of Sweden, whose personal luck, the blue hakaristi (swastika) painted in Thulin's wings, became the national emblem of all Air Force aircraft until 1945 [1958??].

The Air Force's early fleet was a mixed selection of donated and purchased aircraft and Russian warfare equipment, often supplied by defective pilots. In addition to the aircraft, the new weaponry also came from abroad, as Swedish and German officers were among the first pilots and commanders of the Air Force.

During the war of 1918, the Air Force was still relatively small-scale. It consisted of reconnaissance flights, bombing and dropping flyers from temporary aerodromes set up on lake ice and field openings. The Air Force's 1918 troop structure consisted of two flight divisions based on Kolho in North Pirkanmaa and Antrea Vyborg. At the end of the war, the Air Force began to be organized into an airport structure consisting of airborne troops from Utt land, Sortavala and Koivisto seaports, and Santahamina Island, where the current Guards Armed Forces garrison area had both a seaplane harbor and a runway.

Already at the beginning of its operations, the Air Force formed its own organization and independent position as its own branch of defense, and like many other countries, the Air Force was not developed as part of the Navy or Navy.

After the conditions had stabilized after the war of 1918, the formation of the principle of using an airport in independent Finland began. During the Great War, the Air Force sent its personnel to the doctrine of Imperial Germany, after which the trainers were recruited from France in 1919. This was followed by the English period from the mid-1920s to the Second World War. At that time, the Air Force was staffed by experts from the United Kingdom, to whom staff was also sent to study.

In the early 1920s, the focus of air force development was on maritime operations, as surveillance, reconnaissance and surveillance activities based on Finnish waters and thousands of lakes were seen as the most important task for the airport. Thus, the first major acquisition of the Air Force's fleet was the floating machine. The Air Force Aircraft Factory, the forerunner of today's Patria, built from 1922 onwards, under German license, as many as 122 IVL: A.22, or more commonly, Hanseatic.

Otherwise, a varied line of equipment procurement continued. Various types of aircraft were acquired in small quantities overseas, sometimes as a basis for licensing, when to influence domestic aircraft production. Production of our own aircraft, designed and built in Finland, began in 1928 with the Sääski school aircraft.

Despite the predominance of seaplanes, ground-based military aviation also developed. In 1923, the Air Force began fighter pilot courses. In addition, 1920s Air Force organizations included, in addition to naval fleets, ground-based fleets capable of fighter and bombing operations, organized by airport division.

The era of maritime operations ended in the 1930s, when the leadership of the development of the Air Force changed to emphasize the importance of land-based aircraft. The development of fighter skills, especially fighter tactics adapted to domestic conditions, was strengthened by the introduction of the British fighter Gloster Gamecock, which was licensed in Finland in 1927.

At the same time, the Air Force's training arrangements also changed. Originally established in Santahamina, the Aviation School was transferred to Kauhava in 1929, where training of flying personnel and aeronautical professionals began with basic personnel and reserve.

In the 1930s, Finland was also influenced by the fashion doctrine of the era, Douhetism. According to him, a strong, attack-capable aircraft with powerful bombers as the main vehicle would resolve conflicts. This was also evident in the era of equipment procurement and the Air Force organization, where bomber equipment was of greater importance.

In the wake of the threat of the Great War, the Air Force launched in 1936 an extensive preparedness program to acquire and build licensed equipment for fighter, cooperative, and long-range fleets under the renewed air regiment structure. The program provided the Dutch Air Force with Fokker D.XXI Fighters and Fokker CX Intelligence Bomber and British Bristol Blenheim Bomber. The preparedness program did not end before the acquisition of equipment as the international situation tightened. Still, purchases made in connection with it were central to the Winter War, which broke out in November 1939.

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