The peacetime navy comprised the Coastal Fleet and coastal artillery troops. The main wartime missions of the navy were maritime traffic protection and coastal defence.
The main mission of the navy was maritime traffic protection
Protecting maritime traffic was the naval forces’ main mission during the war. Their other mission was to participate in coastal defence. In the protection of the maritime routes, the main focus had to be on western connections. The navy particularly had to protect the routes in the Archipelago Sea and the Sea of Åland and prevent the enemy from invading the Gulf of Bothnia. In the northern Baltic Sea and the Gulf of Finland, the naval forces had to fight against the enemy with light forces. The navy also had to prepare to lay mines with submarines in the Gulf of Finland.
The navy was the only defence branch whose development was regulated by law in the 1920s. In accordance with the law, a small-scale naval fleet that resembled the naval forces of a maritime power was built for Finland.
The Finnish Navy’s fleet comprised Russian vessels left in Finland as well as ships built in the 1920s and the 1930s. Vessels that dated back to the First World War included four gunboats (Uusimaa, Hämeenmaa, Karjala and Turunmaa), two motor torpedo boats (Sisu and Harja) and the minelayer Louhi.
The gunboats Turunmaa and Karjala in Helsinki on the anniversary of the Finnish Navy in the 1930s. Image: Military Museum. Kuva: Sotamuseo.
Newer vessels included two coastal defence ships (Väinämöinen and Ilmarinen), five submarines (Vetehinen, Vesihiisi, Iku-Turso, Vesikko and Saukko), five motor torpedo boats (Isku, Nuoli, Syöksy, Raju and Vinha) and six Ahven-class minesweepers.
A naval parade in the Gulf of Finland towards the end of the 1930s. Both coastal defence ships coming to meet the submarine. Image: Military Museum.
The submarine Vetehinen in Helsinki on the anniversary of the Finnish Navy in the 1930s. Image: Military Museum.
The motor torpedo boats Nuoli and Syöksy in Helsinki on the anniversary of the Finnish Navy in the 1930s. Image: Military Museum.
The Ahven-class minesweeper Särki and the patrol boat VMV-8 in Helsinki on the anniversary of the Finnish Navy in the 1930s. Image: Military Museum.