|Infantry Regiment 101|
Separate Battalion 21
In the summer 1941 volunteer sentenced prisoners were started enlisting for a special battalion. The idea was to use selected prisoners as normal front soldiers who could so make amends for their crimes and become free members of the society after the war. The planned unit was not a penal battalion.
Battalion 21 (Erillinen pataljoona 21, Er.P 21) was
formed 1.8.1941 at Riihimäki. Men consisted of the
volunteer prisoners from Sukeva and Pelso prisons but
later battalion was supplemented with men from other
prisons as well. Officers, NCOs and Lance Corporals were
from 22nd and 23rd Military Police Company
Separate Battalion 21 was organized as follows:
Unit was initially considered unreliable due to its many extreme leftist political prisoners who formed a special "clique" inside the battalion. After a few serious escape and defect cases the remaining ones were moved back to prisons and replaced with "true criminals". Unlike expected by some battalion eventually fought well and Maj. Pärmi was very satisfied with his "qualified killers". Battalion eventually proved that the nickname Soviets had invented was rather close to the truth.
On 14.9. battalion was in Onkamus - Vuohtjärvi area and was moved to the front next day subordinated to 2nd Jäger Brigade (2.JPr.). Between 5./6.10. - 10.10. battalion was subordinated to Infantry Regiment 26 (JR 26) (Lt.Col. S. Laaksonen) after which it returned back to Group Oinonen. On 12.10. battalion was subordinated to Sissi Battalion 2 (SissiP 2) and on 18.10. to 8th Division (8.D). On 19.9. battalion marched to Porajärvi where it was subordinated to Brigade / Detachment K. (Pr./Os.K).
On 19.10. Finnish troops started advancing towards the city of Karhumäki (Medvezegorsk). After the conquering of Porajärvi village battalion was again subordinated to JR 26 / 4.D (II AK). Due to constant battles battalion strength had dropped to a very low level and on 16.11.1941 it had only 14 officers, 57 NCOs and 211 men (= 282 men) left. Finnish attack continued on 4.12.1941.
battalion was moved to rest and refitting and was held in
reserve of II Army Corps (II AK) between 30.1. -
21.2. On 8.3.1942 it was subordinated to Infantry
Regiment 35 (JR 35). During March two new infantry
companies were formed for Er.P 21 but only
another was attached to the battalion.
Separate Battalion 22
positive experiences a new "prisoner battalion"
Separate Battalion 22 (Erillinen pataljoona 22,
Er.P 22) was formed in Maaselkä Group (Maa.R) (former
II AK) in March 1942. An additional company
formed by Er.P 21 was also attached to Er.P
22. After that both battalions had temporarily one
additional infantry company. Separate Battalion 22
was similar to Er.P 21 and was manned by
volunteer prisoners. Among them were now also sentenced
soldiers, a fact which later caused more and more
Infantry Regiment 101
According to an order given on 28.4.1942 by Maaselkä Group (Maaselän ryhmä, Maa.R) a new Infantry Regiment 101 (Jalkaväkirykmentti 101, JR 101) (Lt.Col. Y. Hanste) was formed in May. Both Separate Battalion 21 and 22 were attached to it but retained their original names and organization of separate battalions. Regiment had also its own Personnel Supplement Centre / Infantry Regiment 101 (Henkilötäydennyskeskus / Jalkaväkirykmentti 101, HTK/JR 101) but lacked initially a full regimental HQ, heavy mortar company and [AT] gun company as well as a regiment column.
On 1.6.1942 the not full Infantry Regiment 101 was subordinated to 1st Division (1.D) but because it didn't have own regimental units those of Infantry Regiment 60 (JR 60) held in reserve were advised to use instead. The lacking regimental units were finally formed in September 1942. Regiment was on central Maaselkä Isthmus defending "Lake Vansjärvi Sector" (Vansjärven lohko).
Separate Battalion 23 (Erillinen pataljoona 23, Er.P 23) which had only two infantry companies, MG company and lacked light mortars was formed since 10.1.1942 using the additional fourth infantry companies of the other two battalions of JR 101. Er.P 23 was initially only subordinated to JR 101. On 1.1.1943 both Er.P 21 and 22 were re-organized to normal regimental infantry battalions. The still incomplete Er.P 23 was organized to a full battalion strength since 26.3.1943 and was attached to Infantry Regiment 101.
Separate Battalion 24 (Erillinen pataljoona 24, Er.P 24) was formed late in 1943 from the HTK/JR 101. It was initially a supplement battalion of JR 101 but was formed to a brigade battalion organization by January 1944.
Infantry Regiment 101 was organized as follows:
Eventually only the new Er.P 24 became IV Battalion / 21st Brigade (IV/21.Pr.) and the other battalions of the new brigade came from the 1st, 4th and 6th Divisions at the beginning of 1944. On 10.4.1944 Separate Battalion 21, 22 and 23 were suspended and became new regimental battalions which were attached to the same divisions as follows:
© 2005 - 21.10.2006 Harri Anttonen