Advent Calendar #23: Blue Territorials

The Finnish Territorial Forces (Fi. Maakuntajoukot) are made up of reservists who volunteer for additional service. The vast majority of these make up the bulk of the Local Defence Forces (Fi. Paikallisjoukot), light infantry for different kinds of security duty in wartime and inter-agency cooperation in peacetime, to the extent that the terms are sometimes incorrectly used interchangeably. However, there are some that doesn’t fit the mold, of which Raivaajaosasto Sääksi (Minesweeper detachment Osprey) is the best example.

The unit consists of five small inshore minesweepers of the Kiiski-class, as well as the larger inshore minesweeper Kuha 26 and the small tender L-110. While all vessels are among the older ones in active service in the Finnish Navy, they still provide valuable service thanks to the basic design being sound and the equipment having been upgraded since launch. Making sure that the numerous sea lanes in Finnish waters are free from mines is a crucial mission for the Navy as the country’s supply lines rely on it, and it is a mission where the number of available hulls is important. As such, the use of motivated reservists being able to leverage their training is a win-win situation for the Navy, which always struggle with finding the right balance between the number of vessels and manpower requirements. Picture source: Rannikkolaivasto Twitter