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The Operations of the Headquarters

The Operations of the Headquarters

 

Apart from a few interruptions, the operations of the headquarters continued in Mikkeli from 3.12.1939 up to the spring of 1945. A short interruption was caused by the interim peace between the Winter and Continuation Wars.

In autumn 1944 the headquarters became the main headquarters of the Finnish Armed Forces under the command of President-Commander-in-Chief Mannerheim.

He was the acting Commander-in-Chief till the end of 1944. At the beginning of 1945, Chief of the Main Headquarters, A.E. Heinrichs, was appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.

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  Photo: Military archives

The daily routine of the headquarters consisted of reports presented by the commanders, inspectors and departmental chiefs. Operational matters were handled by the Quartermaster-General, A.F. Airo. The Commander-in-Chief's orders of the day were for ordinary people the most visible manifestation of the headquarters operations. The Commander-in-Chief issued his first order of the day on 30.11.1939. Mannerheim issued his last order of the day, as acting Commander-in-Chief, on 31.12.1944.

The operations of the headquarters had to be dispersed several times during the war years. In early January 1940 Mikkeli was the target of very heavy bombing, as a result of which, for example, the Seurahuone Hotel used by the headquarters was destroyed. During the Winter and Continuation Wars, the Central Elementary School in Mikkeli was used by the headquarters. Because of the bombing, the Commander-in-Chief moved to Otava College, which was some 12 km south-west of Mikkeli. Owing to bombing in early March, he had to move again, going to Inkilä Manor in Juva, where he stayed until the end of the war. During the Continuation War, too, the Central Elementary School in Mikkeli functioned as the centre of the headquarters operations. When the Soviet Union strengthened its attacks in spring 1944, the Commander-in-Chief moved out of the town and went to live at Sairila Manor, some 5 km east of Mikkeli. Some of the headquarters departments were also dispersed to the surrounding countryside in the spring and summer of 1944.