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 2003-2004, the Finnish MOD introduced a new combat uniform and a new series of camouflage patterns. The M05 Maastopuku forest pattern 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, and was originally manufactured for Finland by the Belgian firm Seyntex. All four patterns have been licensed by the Finnish Defence Forces and are not available for released to the public.
- The desert camouflage version of the new uniform series is the M04 Hellepuku (Hot Weather Uniform M2004). The pattern consists of dark green & light brown variegated blotches on a sandy base. Early versions of this uniform were known as K2004; the Hellepuku was in fact the first of the series to be issued to Finnish personnel.
- Another version, the M05 Pakkaskuvio forest 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 Lumipuku 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.
- ↑ J.F. Borsarello: Camouflage Uniforms of European and NATO Armies (Schiffer Military History, Atglen, PA) p 53