18th & 19th Century Finnish Buildings – Part I: Examples of houses

This article is the first part on a series of how to make model buildings for the 1808-1809 Russo-Swedish war. The first two articles consist of pictures of old buildings that have survived to this day. The purpose is not to make exact scale models, but some passable model buildings that look good on the gaming table. As the building style varied in different parts of Finland and also over time, the pictures state the construction year and roughly from which part of the Finland it originates (like Western, Eastern (Karelia), Central or Southern Finland). Vicarage, 1797 The building below is a vicarage from Eastern Finland, 1797. The place needed to be at least a town size for the clergyman’s quarters to be this luxurious. Walls are covered with lumber paneling, painted red. Window frames are white. Each window consists typically of 4 or 6 smaller panes as manufacturing full size panes was difficult/expensive. As a decorative detail, there are round windows at the end of the building – otherwise there are scarcely windows on the 2nd floor. The porch is not covered – there could be a closed space porch just as well. The roof has more shapes than would be typical for most buildings. Covering the roof with full length tar treated lumber was quite standard, though. The walls could also be yellow. Some wealthier households could afford and preferred yellow coloring. See the Church of Oravainen article for reference on the tone of the yellow. Red was definitely the most common and cheapest color – if paint was used at all (see examples below). Living quarters Here are three examples of common man’s houses. The first is from the Eastern Finland (Karelia), 1820-1825. The style and construction method is very simplistic – round, untreated logs with very few and small windows. Shingle-roof with logs as weight. Even the chimney is not made of bricks, but stones & clay. Houses in the other parts of Finland could be of this simple design as well, but would usually have at least bigger windows to allow more light in the house. Windows do have class panes as the climate doesn’t favor open holes in the walls. The second one is from the Eastern Finland, 1842. Single storey house with shingle-roof. The walls have not been painted, but the time has patinated them with brown hues. Also the window frames have been left unpainted – only the thin strips holding... read more

Refight of Koljonvirta, 27th of October 2008

General de Brigade scenario details are here. Setup for the game. The ceasefire is about to end and on the eastern side of Koljonvirta Russian are advancing from Iisalmi almost just off the board. While Captain Brusin goes to negotiate the continuation of the ceasefire with the Russians, on the western side IV Savo jaegers and a section of 3 pounders guard the bridge over Koljonvirta near Kauppila farm. Further to the north at Linna farm the small Oulu battalion provides infantry support for Finnish artillery. The section on the western side is commanded by Ensign Taube and the ones on the eastern side by Ensigns Gyllenbögel and Kalmberg. Way up north furthest away from the fortifications at Kattaala crown storehouse was the 2nd battalion of Pohjanmaa regiment and two 3 pounders of Lieutenant Svibelius. Somewhat to the south of Kattaala, at Fredriksdal manor, where Sandel’s command post was located, were half of the small Kajaani battalion and Swedish 1st battalion of Västerbottens regiment along with the two Ensign Tammelander’s 6 pounders. Turn 1. A battalion of Russian 4th jaegers deploys in skirmish formation and a firefight erupts between them and the Finnish rear guard. Some Savo jaegers dismantle the remainder of the bridge over Koljonvirta. Turn 2. Russians bring more jaegers into the firefight. However the IV Savo jaegers step out of the musket range and use their longer reaching rifles. The Russians fire at the 3 pounder and manage to inflict a casualty but get hit themselves by canister. Turn 3. As IV Savo jaegers try to keep the distance favourable to their rifles the first Russians manage to cross the bridge beams. However the Savo jaegers reply by rolling a double six and thus inflict more casualties. Turn 4. Undaunted by the casualties the 4th jaegers press on by sending even more men over the stream. The IV Savo jaegers steadily pick their targets and roll another double sixes. 1st battalion of 4th jaegers has now 7 casualties. Turn 5. First Russian artillery is now in position is spite of the horrendous traffic jam caused by the long time it takes for units to cross the mostly dismantled bridge and the large number of Russian troops. Turn 6. As more and more Russians cross the bridge and the Russian artillery now in position, the rear guard decides to disengage. The IV Savo jaegers cover the retreat of the artillery. Turn 7. The Russians fire at the... read more

Refight of Oravais, part 1, 29th of September 2008

General de Brigade scenario details are here. The battle consists of two parts: the preliminary action between the Swedish rearguard and the Russian avantgarde, and the main battle. Preliminary action against the Swedish rearguard Before battle of Oravainen the Russian troops were quite dispersed. The vanguard was commanded by Colonel Kulnev and was located some 500 meters from the Finnish rear guard at the bridge. Major-General Demidov’s brigade was located some 5 kilometers from the bridge and the main forces with the CIC Lieutenant-General count Kamenski were some 15 kilometers from the bridge. Kamenski’s plan was to concentrate the forces, but the battle began when the always active vanguard commander Colonel Kulnev decided to engage the Swedish rearguard at the bridge at 04.30 AM. He had been instructed to drive away the Finns from the bridge but not to engage the enemy before 10 AM and not to cross the stream before Demidov would arrive with his troops. Finns had finally received numerous reinforcements in the form of the Swedish units and most of the troops still available were now concentrated in Oravainen area. There was plenty of disagreement whether a fight should be put out in Oravainen or if the retreat should be continued. However as the king had finally reinforced the Finnish army with Swedish troops it was thought that it would be highly dubious if these fresh units were not used in battle. The Swedish rearguard consisted of half of 3 battalions, supported by two 6 pounders and a very small detachment of guard cavalry. Since we didn’t have sufficient space at our own gaming area to mount the extra piece required by Oravainen’s vanguard action next to the actual battle’s terrain we decided to play the vanguard action separately. Initial positions. Early in the morning the first elements of Colonel Kulnev’s vanguard drive away the advance guard post of the Swedes who retreat to the main rearguard alerting them of the Russian advance. Turn 1. More Russians emerge. 3rd jaeger regiment is on the left flank while Sievsk musketeer regiment stays in the vicinity of the road moving in disorganized but formed columns though the dense forest. Turn 2. Ensign count von Schwerin has his men push the guns forward whole Russians make slow advance through the woods. Turn 3. Russian artillery enters the battlefield while half of Swedish jaeger battalion (combined jaeger companies of the whole Swedish division. Unlike Finns, Swedes tended to use... read more

Refight of Oravais, part 2, 29th of September 2008

General de Brigade scenario details are here. Finns and Swedes occupy the forest north of the field. There are quite a few brigades but some of them are extremely small, especially the Finnish 2nd and 6th which only have one battalion present each. In 4th (Savo-brigade) the Savo battalions have been strengthened by combining them. Before Russians managed launch the attack with Kulnev’s and the recently arrived Demidov’s brigades the Swedes had time to man the positions on the north edge of the meadow. On the western edge of the meadow lies the Gulf of Bothnia (ie. sea) and the terrain south of the bridge around the stream is quite soggy. The stream itself is several meters wide but a Swedish officer writes in his memoirs that he was able to go across with dry feet with the use of hay pole. On the meadow were quite a few barns which the Finns dismantled and used them to build positions quickly. Some trees had also been felled on both sides of the meadow. Initial positions. Finns and Swedes on the left and Russians on the right. Gulf of Bothnia in the front. Russians have claimed that Swedes used some gunboats during the battle, but Swedish records don’t show this usage. Turn 1. Demidov’s brigade (the further units) starts to advance through the forest. Kulnev’s brigade, now commanded by Riman, supports the attack and guards the retreat route. Finns and Swedes have decided to leave the barns intact instead of dismantling them and erecting them as temporary cover. Turn 2. Russian troops advance slowly through the forest. Turn 3. Moving slowly through forest and felled trees the Russians advance. Swedish artillery opens up and manages to hits a Sievsk battalion. Turn 4. Demidov’s troops reach the meadow. Turn 5. Demidows troops reach the stream while Riman’s troops just start to emerge from the forest. Turn 6. Having crossed the stream Demidov’s skirmishing jaegers now engage 4th (Savo-) brigade and even manage to score a hit against one small Karelian jaeger half battalion. Turn 7. Most of the two Russian brigades have now crossed the stream. The large 1st battalion of Pohjanmaa regiment trundles towards the front lines from the reserve. Artillery of neither side is willing to expend ammunition for extreme range counter battery fire. Turn 8. The Russian advance consists mainly of skirmishers and to counter this threat half of the 2nd Västerbotten battalion is deployed in skirmish order.... read more

Refight of Juutas, 13th of September 2008

General de Brigade scenario details are here. Setup for the game. The Russian are advancing having driven the Finnish vanguard of some jaegers of Pori battalions from the crown’s distillery just off the map to south. Russian 26th jaegers are in pursuit of the retreating vanguard while their guns have taken a position near the small field. The Russian commander Major-General Kozatškovski is nearby as well as the Azov musketeer regiment which unfortunately is located behind the big spruce and not visible. On the opposite side of the field, to lead his troops Colonel von Döbeln has just arrived from his sick bed in Uusikaarlepyy some 3,5 kilometers to the north. The road is guarded by artillery flanked by the two half battalions of Pori regiment. Further to the forest guarding their flank in soggier ground is the Captain Gyllenbögell’s free corps. It consists of volunteer as well as troops formerly stationed in Suomenlinna (Viapori/Vyborg) island fortress just outside Helsinki. After the capitulation of the fortress Russians allowed the Finnish troops to return to their homes having extracted from them a solemn promise not to take up arms against Russian forces any more. After the dishonorable capitulation some men still wanted to regain their honor by joining the Finnish forces. The sharpshooter battalion consists of such men. The free battalion contains volunteers from Ahvenanmaa islands (Åland), who without any help from proper soldiers had captured and driven away the invading Russian forces from their islands. Later on they received some proper uniforms and arms from Sweden as well as training. Maalahti and Närpiö volunteer battalions were raised in the Pohjanmaa area. All units of free corps with the exception of the sharpshooter battalion should be classed as militia. Captain Gyllenbögell served originally in Pori regiment. The aim of the Russian is to break through the defending Finns since just behind the Finnish positions leads a road to west. This road leads to Oravainen (some 18,5 kilometers away) and if Russians capture this crossroads the main Finnish army at Oravainen will have no retreat route. Turn 1. Azov musketeers advance and get shot by Finnish artillery. The jaegers of Pori regiment give ground to the advancing Russian 26th jaegers. The free corps, with the exception of sharpshooters, deploys in skirmish formation and advances. Russian artillerymen push their gun forward. Turn 2. Replay of the previous turn. Azov musketeers start to enter woods but still get hammered by Finnish artillery. Russian... read more

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