Republic of Finland
This nation of 5.4 million people is officially known as the Republic of Finland (Suomen tasavalta). During the Winter War (Finnish: Talvisota, Swedish: Vinterkriget, Russian: Зимняя война) of 1939-1940, also known as the Russo-Finnish War, Finnish soldiers were often clad in a solid white snow suit, which seems to be the first instance of using camouflage by this nation. Finland did not develop its own distinctive camouflage pattern until around 1962, but it was retained with relatively few changes until 2003. Since then, a variegated pattern (often mistaken for a pixelated pattern) has been worn, with several variations for different types of terrain and climate.
Finnish Camouflage Patterns
The Finnish M62 camouflage pattern entered service in the early 1960s, and continued to be issued and worn well into the late 2000s. A variety of color combinations have been documented; some sources suggest these were intentionally printed for deployment in a variety of seasonal conditions, although this has never been officially confirmed. A three-color pattern incorporating spot shapes in two darker colors on a lighter colored field, the pattern is nicknamed kurkkusalaatti (cucumber relish) in Finnish. Most of the M62 uniforms are reversible to solid white.
Originally released in 1990, the Finnish M91 combat uniform was a significant design upgrade from the lightweight reversible cotton uniforms worn during the previous thirty years, although curiously enough it was never completely implemented as a field uniform for the Finnish Defense Forces (being more commonly used for barracks dress and leave). The M91 camouflage pattern is essentially a reprinting of the M62 pattern using a slightly different and much more consistent coloration. Nevertheless, variations have been documented. The M91 uniform did not see widespread use as a field uniform until the early 2000s, by which time the Finnish Defense Forces were already in the process of phasing in a new series of uniforms utilizing a variegated camouflage design.
Beginning in 2003, the Finnish MOD tested and ultimately adopted a new combat uniform design and a new series of camouflage patterns for the armed forces. The prototype design for this new series of camouflage was labeled K2004 and was produced in desert coloration, since at the time the Finnish armed forces did not have a desert camouflage uniform to issue personnel deployed to arid regions of the world. The desert camouflage uniform was ultimately issued as the M04 Hellepuku (Hot Weather Uniform M2004), and was the first of the new designs issued to Finnish military personnel. Two basic variations are issued, one on heavier twill fabric and another on ripstop fabric. Both patterns were issued concurrently. The pattern itself (hellekuvio or "heatwave pattern") consists of dark green & light brown variegated blotches on a sandy base, with some variation in color based on the type of fabric and the manufacturer.
The M05 Maastokuvio (Landscape pattern) forest design is the standard temperate camouflage pattern of the Finnish Defence Forces. It is a blotchy or variegated pattern of black, olive green & apple green on an earth-tone base.
Another version, the M05 Pakkaskuvio (Frost pattern), is issued specifically for cold and inclement weather; the uniform is insulated and water repellent. The camouflage pattern printed on this uniform has black, moss green & grey variegated blotches on an earth-tone base.
Fourth in the series of current camouflage designs is the M05 Lumikuvio or snow pattern. Consisting of dark green variegated blotches on a white background, the uniform is in fact an oversuit (smock, trousers & helmet cover) designed to be worn over the standard combat clothing. All four camouflage patterns were originally licensed by the Finnish Defence Forces and not available for release to the public; in 2016 the license expired and was not chosen to be renewed. Commercially available versions of the pattern are now available to the public, but military issue clothing continues to be controlled by the Ministry of Defence.
Finnish Commercial Camouflage Patterns
This pixelated design MP10 (Maanpuolustusyhtiö 2010 or "National Defence Group 2010") was commissioned by the Reserve Officers' Association and is used on outer shell garments sold via their downtown Helsinki boutique, Intti Store. Although they are mainly used by active reservists and by instructors at the National Defense School (Maanpuolustuskoulu a.k.a. MPK), MP10 garments are also popular with airsoft and mil-sim hobbyists.
Other Camouflage Patterns Worn by Finland
Although not of indigenous design, Finnish Special Operations Forces have worn Multicam since at least 2015, and possibly earlier. Photographic documentation shows members of both the Rannikkojääkärit (Coastal Jaeger Battalion) and the Erikoisjääkärit (Special Jaeger Battalion) have utilized this design.
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