Infantry Regiment 101

Jalkaväkirykmentti 101
5.1942 - 12.1943

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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.

Separate 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 (22. &
23.SPol.K) (strength 10 officers + 40 NCOs + 138 men = 188 men) of which all Privates and Lance Corporals were promoted and became the core personnel of the battalion.

Separate Battalion 21 was organized as follows:

Komentaja / Commander Maj./Lt.Col.(5.3.42) N. Pärmi (31.8.41 - 5.5.42)
Komentajan apulainen / Commander's Assistant Capt. A. Kartano (-10.41)

Esikunta (E/Er.P 21) (HQ)
Jääkärijoukkue (Jääk.J) (Jäger Platoon) Lt. Johnhem
Viestijoukkue (VJ) (Signals Platoon)
Lääkintäryhmä (Lääk.R) (Medical Squad)
Kaasusuojeluryhmä (Kss.R) (Gas Protection Squad)
1. Komppania (1.K) (1st Company) Capt. H. Mure, Lt. Kuokkanen (acting)
2. Komppania (2.K) (2nd Company) Capt. R. Svinhufvud
3. Komppania (3.K) (3rd Company) Lt. S. Jauho, Lt. Johnhem (8.11.41 WIA), Lt. Kurri
4. Komppania (4.K) (4th Company ? (Formed and attached in March 1942.)
[4.] Konekiväärikomppania ([4.]KKK) ([4th] MG Company) [12x Maxim MG] Lt. E. Siljanto
Panssarintorjuntajoukkue (Pst.J) (Anti-Tank Platoon) [?]
Kranaatinheitinjoukkue (Krh.J)
(Mortar Platoon) [3x 81 mm mortar] Lt. E. Paltanen

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Between 9.9. - 12.9.1941 battalion was first transported by train to Suojärvi, East Karelia where it was attached to Group Oinonen (Ryhmä Oinonen, RO) of Karelian Army (Kar.A). Battalion Commander Major N. Pärmi, a personal old Civil Guard officer, accepted a nickname "Black Arrow" [Musta nuoli] for his battalion but Soviet propaganda started soon using another name "Pärmi's Devils" [Pärmin pirut] in which battalion was later better known.

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.

On 29.1.1942 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.
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Separate Battalion 22

Due to 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 problems.
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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:

Unit
Finnish Name (and Abbreviation)
(Name in English),
Notes
Commander / Chief
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Rank Name
Rykmentinkomentaja / Regiment Commander
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Esikunta (E/JR 101) (HQ)
Formed in May 1942 but under strength until September 1942
when completed. Became HQ / 21st Brigade (E/21.Pr.) on
1.1.1944.

Erillinen pataljoona 21 (Er.P 21) (1.8.1941 - 10.4.1944)
(Separate Battalion 21)
Formed on 1.8.1944. Suspended on 10.4.1944.
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Erillinen pataljoona 22 (Er.P 22) (3.1942 - 10.4.1944)
(Separate Battalion 22)
Formed in March 1942. Suspended on 10.4.1944.

Erillinen pataljoona 23 (Er.P 23) (12.1942 - 10.4.1944)
(Separate Battalion 23)

Formed in December 1942. Suspended on 10.4.1944.

Erillinen pataljoona 24 (Er.P 24) (late 1943 - 1.1944)
(Separate Battalion 24)
Supplement battalion of JR 101. Battalion was suspended
and became IV Battalion / 21st Brigade (IV/21.Pr.) at the
beginning of 1944.

Tykkikomppania (Tyk.K/JR 101) (9.1942 - ?)
(Gun Company)
[2+2+2x ? mm AT gun]

Kranaatinheitinkomppania (Krh.K/JR 101) (9.1942 - ?)
(Mortar Company)
[6x 120 mm mortar]

Rykmentin kolonna (Kol./JR 101) (9.1942 - ?)
(Regiment Column)
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Lt.Col./Col.
(16.9.42)

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Capt.
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Lt.Col.
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Maj.

Lt.Col.
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Maj.(42)
Maj./Lt.Col.
(43)

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Y. Hanste (5.42 - 5.12.43)
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N. Posti (acting 1.4.-25.4.42,
5.5.-?.5.42)
O. Saarelainen (?.42-)
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K. Vaarnas
(?-)

O. Savolahti (3.42-)
? (?-)
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N. Posti (12.42-)
Y. Hakanen
(?.42-)
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Infantry Regiment 101 had gradually grown to a brigade sized unit. Later in 1943 an idea to form a new 21st Brigade (21.Pr.) from its troops was although abandoned because such a big unit with partly unreliable prisoner battalions was seen too risky. Regiment was taken away from the front late in 1943 and 3rd Brigade (3.Pr.) took its defense sector. Regiment composition of JR 101 was suspended on 5.12.1943 and its units were attached to other formations during the winter and spring 1944. Regiment HQ / JR 101 became HQ / 21st Brigade on 1.1.1944.

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:

  • Er.P 21 -> III Battalion / Infantry Regiment 5 (III/JR 5 / 4.D) (Retained the old nickname "Pärmi's Devils".)
  • Er.P 22 -> III Battalion / Infantry Regiment 56 (III/JR 56 / 1.D)
  • Er.P 23 -> III Battalion / Infantry Regiment 12 (III/JR 12 / 6.D)

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Sources: SUOSO [6], VAATO1, METTA1

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© 2005 - 21.10.2006 Harri Anttonen