Monday, 8 July 2013

What are they then good for? Part 1: The Åland crisis

What are these Swedes good for? What conflicts did they fight?

Well, almost none actually.

So what good are they then?

You can game a lot of different what-if scenarios! Here are the first of many ideas:

1 The Åland Crisis 1918 - part of the Finnish Civil War and part of World War One.

Background: Åland is a archipelago in the middle of the Baltic Sea between Sweden and Finland. The population is Swedish speaking, but belongs to Finland since the war in 1808-09. During the Finnish civil war the islands had a Russian garrison of 2000 men. White Guards (Sydvästra Finlands Skyddskår/Nystadskåren) from Turku/Åbo decided to go over the frozen Baltic Sea to confront the Russians. Soon after they arrived, Red Guards, also from Turku/Åbo, arrived too. The two groups started shooting at each other. At this point the Swedish government sent a few warships to help mediate between the Finnish forces and protect the civilians. They all agreed on a peace agreement. A little later the Swedes sent over a battalion (from Göta Livgarde) to help the Finnish and Russian troops to evacuate the islands. At this point the Germans arrived with a reinforced battalion! They were here to help the Finnish government (white) in the civil war. Everyone went home (except for the Germans who went first to Finland and then to the west front). Crisis over.

What-if: There are at least two different scenarios

1 What had happened if the Finnish forces had continued to fight each other? Then there could have been fighting between an alliance of Sweden, White Finland and Germany against Red Finland and Russia.

2 There was at this point a strong opinion in Sweden in favour of making Åland a part of Sweden. The population on Åland was not considered, by Sweden, to be Swedish speaking Finns (like those on mainland Finland) but "real" Swedes. Finland, including Swedish speaking Finns, saw the islands as a part of Finland, and was very suspicious about the Swedish forces on Åland and why they were there. They suspected that they were there to “take back” the islands. So the second scenario is a Swedish invasion of Åland against White Finland supported by Germany and Red Finland supported by Russia. We could here have a nice threesome!

Forces: 1000 Germans, 2000 Russians, 200 Red Guards, 600 White Guards (Nystadskåren), a few hundreds civilians from Åland and 600 Swedes. Both the White and Red Guards were from Turku/Åbo, which by the way has many Swedish speaking Finns.

Nystadskåren was badly equipped; they had only 115 rifles and a machine gun when they left Nystad for Åland. The whole reason why they went to Åland was to try to take guns from the Russians.

The 200 Red Guards were only a vanguard; 400 more arrived after the peace agreement.

The Russian garrison had plenty of good and modern weapons, but their motivation is low, the war is over they just want to go home.

The German battalion is the Prussian Jägerbattalion no 14.

The Swedish forces are three infantry companies from Göta Livgarde and a company of coast gunners.

Swedish artillerymen and Russian cannons in Haraldsbyn, Åland
Prussian Jägerbattalion no 14, the German battalions at Åland



  1. Greate blog post Björn !

    Realy inspiring, so I hope that you have painted some Russians or will wery soon, I have a bunch of WW1 Germans that I made in to a Jointe force of Lithuanins and Freikorps, unfortunally multi based, but who havent rebased;)

    Best regards Michael

  2. Thanks Michael.
    Of course I have to get some Russians, as always you are right.
    Open question to every one: Who makes the best late ww1 Russians?
    Musketeer's Russians look nice.
    Copplestone's Back of Beyond are also looking nice.
    But who else are making ww1 Russians?

  3. Thats a nice idea for a campaign there

  4. Most interesting post filled with great gaming ideas.
    Did the Aland isles get invaded threatened later in the 1930s or ww2