The Utti Jaeger Regiment is subordinated to the Chief of the Army. The principal tasks of the Utti Jaeger Regiment are helicopter operations and army special forces training and development.
The operational status of the regiment will be enhanced by 2010.
The regiment was established the 1st January 1997, including the Parachute School, the Helicopter Flight transferred from the Air Force and the Military Police School transferred from the Armoured Brigade.
The regiment cherishes the traditions of the Finnish long-range patrol units in the Second World War and traditions of the Finnish military helicopter activity.
The military history of Utti dates back to the18th century. Utti is located on the Salpausselkä ridge, along the road to Lappeenranta and Vyborg, and became thus of strategic importance. Due to Utti’s geographical location on the Haukkasuo and Haukkajärvi Isthmus, the road could easily be blocked there.
In Summer 1789, the battle of Utti was fought between the Swedish and Russian troops in Utti. About a hundred Russians as well as a hundred Swedish-Finnish soldiers were killed in the battle. After the fight, the Russians had to withdraw in the direction of Taavetti.
As a consequence of the war, the Russians secured the border zone, and the defense of St. Petersburg, by building Utti fortification in 1792. No fighting took place there, and it was of no importance after 1809, the end of the Russo-Swedish War.
As the Russians had built a new garrison in Kouvola in the 1910’s, Utti heath was established as an important exercise area. As Finland became independent, exercises held in the area increased and in the 1930’s the number of troops in training in Utti could even number 10000 men.
Today Utti is above all known for its airfield and special units. In 1918, General Mannerheim decided that the first Air Force base be established in Utti. Thus Utti became the most central Air Force base before the Second World War. Of special significance could be regarded the influence of troops and commanders from Utti in creating the true pilot spirit and developing orthodox fighter tactics. During the Second World War, several fighter and bomber units operated from Utti. The place was bombed 23 times during the Winter War.
After the Second World War, Karelia Wing was stationed at the base until 1958, and the Transport Squadron operated in Utti from 1961 to 1996.
The training of Army special troops in Utti has also its origins in the Second World War. During the Continuation War in spring 1944, three parachute jump courses were arranged in Utti for the special troops of the time, the long-range reconnaissance units subordinated to the wartime General Headquarters. Currently the army special forces are trained in Utti in close co-operation with helicopters.
The garrison buildings and training areas and tracks offer an excellent opportunity to arrange basic training connected with all special units and flying training within the area or in the near airspace. The vicinity of the garrison area is quite sparsely populated which does not limit the activity hardly at all.
The tasks given to Utti Jaeger Regiment are divided into training and operational tasks.
Besides the normal unit tasks, the regiment is responsible for
the following training among personnel:
- basic training for military helicopter pilots
- advanced training for helicopter pilots
- helicopter engineering training
- advanced training for reconnaissance and other special branches
- advanced training for military police
- military police training for enlisted
- parachute training for flight cadets
- parachute training for personnel
The regiment offers the following training for conscripts, reservists and professional personnel:
- special jaeger training for conscripts and enlisted personnel
- parachute jump training
- military police training for professional soldiers
The operational tasks include:
- the maintenance of flying readiness and execution of flying tasks as required by helicopter operations
- the development of combat technique, tactics and training aids and methods in the branches of reconnaissance, special unit, military police and helicopter operations
- the development of parachute jumping in the FDF
- executive assistance for other authorities as required
And the regiment participates in:
- the development of parachute activity in the FDF
- the writing of manuals, guides, handbooks and safety instructions
The Utti Jaeger Regiment consists of the Headquarters, the Helicopter Battalion, the Special Jaeger Battalion, the Combat Support Company and the Combat Service Support elements. The total strength of the regiment is about 500 of which 300 are professionals and some 200 are conscripts.
Army of Special Units
The traditions of Army special units date back to the period of the Continuation War. At the time there were four long-range patrol companies. In 1943, during the War, the companies were united into the 4th Detached Battalion. The companies completed a total of 275 reconnaissance and demolition patrol missions in the rear of Russian and German troops. The longest patrol missions lasted more than 50 days, reaching the Archangel railroad. Of the long-range scouts, totally nine have been awarded the Mannerheim Cross of the Order of the Cross of Liberty.
The training of parachute rangers started in the early 1960’s, after a quiet period following the Second War War. The Parachute School was established in Utti – close to the transport aircraft – in 1962. Ever since, about one hundred paratroopers have received their training annually.
From 1997, units for special operations, special jaegers, have been trained in the regiment. They are trained and equipped to encounter enemy special forces as well as conduct the special reconnaissance. Besides normal forest terrain, the area of operation also includes an inhabited and a maritime environment. The specialists receive more versatile weapons and firing training. They must be able to use various vehicles and helicopters while carrying out their duties. This special training is aggressive by character – it consists of attacks in all terrain, lightning and weather conditions.
Each year 500 to 600 young men apply for admission to the Special Jaeger Battalion. Of the applicants, some 80 are admitted to the 362-day course.
MILITARY POLICE TRAINING
In early 1997, the Military Police School was transferred from Parola to Utti. Within a few years, this special know-how was adapted in Utti. Annually, MP basic and advanced courses are held for about one hundred persons of FDF personnel. Various MP special courses and negotiations are arranged by which the MP School co-ordinates the MP activity on a national basis and bears, for its part, responsibility for its quality and standard.
Officially the Finnish helicopter operations were started in the early 1960’s as the Air Force decided to procure helicopters. The first helicopters were acquired in 1961 and they were first stationed in Pori. Very soon it was decided to deploy them in Utti, and the transfer took place in 1962.
In 1962-1996 the helicopters served in the Air Force, and it was their main task to secure quick materiel transports and transfers of the Air Force in peacetime and in a threat of war. They were also used to support Army forces in training. In the past years, the Helicopter Battalion has also been engaged in rescue services on a national level.
The greatest challenge of the last years has been the integration of the helicopter operations into the Army and the procurement of new transport helicopters and also creating a new helicopter system in the FDF. New NH90 helicopters will be received in Utti in early 2006. 20 pieces of the new NH90 helicopters will be operationally ready by the beginning of next decade. The Utti Army Aviation base offers outstanding facilities for the new helicopters. Both the Utti garrison and the training areas nearby form an optimal and cost efficient combination for the helicopter training system. The main focus in the future will be put into the combined operations with helicopters and army special forces.