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Finland: Jäger Movement

Last modified: 2014-05-29 by zoltán horváth
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Jäger Movement

The flag of the 27th Jäger Battalion can be seen here: The Jäger movement were volunteers from Finland trained in Germany as Jägers (elite light infantry) during World War I (1914-1918). Supported by Germany to enable a Finnish sovereign state, it was one of many means by which Germany intended to weaken Russia and to cause Russia's loss of western provinces and dependencies.

The recruitment of the Jäger volunteers from the Grand Duchy of Finland were clandestine, and was dominated by Germany-influenced circles, such as university students and the upper middle class. The recruitment was however in no way exclusive.

The recruits were transported across Finland's western border via Sweden to Germany, where the volunteers were formed into the Royal Prussian 27th Jäger Battalion. The Jäger Battalion fought in the ranks of the German Army from 1916 in the battles on the northern flank of the eastern front.

After the outbreak of the Civil War in Finland the Jägers were engaged on the "White" (non-socialist) side in the war and formed the nucleus of the new Finnish Army. In Finland, these 2,000 volunteers were simply called "The Jägers" (Finnish pl. Jääkärit).

The "White", or The White Guards is one translation of the Finnish term Suojeluskunta (plural: Suojeluskunnat, Finland-Swedish: Skyddskår), which has received many different approximations in English, including Security Guard, Civil Guard, Civic Guards, National Guard, White Militia, Defence Corps, Protection Guard, Protection Corps and Protection Militia. These White Guards constituted the bulk of the victorious White Army during the Finnish Civil War (1918), and parts of it formed the main forces of the Lapua Movement's failed coup d'état, the Mäntsälä Rebellion (1932).

On 1916-05-09 the battalion was baptized to Royal Prussian 27th Jäger Battalion (Königlich Preussisches Jägerbataillon Nr. 27)
Esteban Rivera on 13 July 2009