Estonian Army: photo, strength and armament
The Estonian Defense Forces (Eesti Kaitsevägi) arethe name of the Joint Armed Forces of the Republic of Estonia. They consist of ground forces, the Navy, the Air Force and the militarized organization "Kiteseliyt." According to official statistics, the Estonian army's strength is 6,400 troops in the regular army and 15,800 in the Defense League. The reserve consists of about 271,000 people.
The national defense policy is aimed atensuring the preservation of the independence and sovereignty of the state, the integrity of its territorial possessions and the constitutional order. The main objectives of the Estonian army remain the development and maintenance at an appropriate level of the ability to protect the vital interests of the country, as well as the establishment of interaction and interoperability with the armed forces of NATO member states and the European Union to participate in the entire range of missions of these military alliances.
What can be proud of the army of Estonia
Establishment of national paramilitary structuresbegan during the First World War. Despite the relatively small population, about 100,000 Estonians fought on the Eastern Front, of whom about 2,000 were awarded the title of Officer. 47 native Estonians were awarded the Order of St. George. Among the officers were:
- 28 lieutenant-colonels;
- 12 colonels;
- 17 Estonians commanded battalions, 7 - regiments;
- 3 senior officers served as commanders of divisional headquarters.
Formation of the National Army
In the spring of 1917, anticipating fundamental changesin the Russian Empire, Estonian politicians initiated the creation of two regiments within the Russian army that would be deployed in the vicinity of Tallinn and Narva. The backbone of these militarized formations was to make the First World natives hardened on the fronts. The commander of the Petrograd Military District, General Lavr Kornilov, approved the composition of the commission. The General Staff received a telegram from the General Staff about the redirection of Estonian soldiers in reserve to the fortress of Tallinn.
The leadership of the creation of national regimentswas occupied by the Military Bureau. In May the garrison consisted of 4,000 troops. However, soon the command of the Baltic Fleet canceled this initiative, suspecting in these actions an attempt to separate Estonia from the Russian Empire.
After the bourgeois and the subsequent socialistThe revolution of 1917 changed the situation. The Provisional Government, counting on the loyalty of the Estonians, allowed the formation of 5,600 fighters of the First National Division, whose commander was Lieutenant Colonel Johan Laidoner. Thus, this formation can be considered the ancestor of the Estonian army.
Germany after the actual collapse of Russiantroops occupied Estonia. However, November 11, 1918 in Germany itself a revolution occurred, the German troops left the territory, passing the administration of the national administration.
The Bolsheviks decided to take advantage of the unexpectedsituation and sent to the "liberation of the Baltic states from the bourgeoisie" 7th Army. Quite quickly a significant part of Estonia was under the control of the Soviets. The national government tried to create a capable army, however, workers and peasants, tired of wars and revolutions, deserted mass. However, by February 1919 there were already 23,000 troops in the troops, the Estonian army's armament consisted of a battalion of armored trains, 26 guns, and 147 machine guns.
When the front line approached Tallinn on 34kilometer, an English squadron arrived at the port, delivering military equipment and supporting the defending fire of its guns. A number of units of the White Army also went there. The May offensive of 1919 under the command of Commander Johan Laidoner, supported by the Royal Navy, as well as by Finnish, Swedish and Danish volunteers, led to the liberation of the territory.
By the end of 1919 the army of Estonia numbered 90000 people: 3 infantry regiments reinforced with cavalry and artillery, as well as volunteer detachments, separate battalions and regiments. There were 5 armored cars, 11 armored trains, 8 aircraft, 8 military ships (destroyers, gunboats, minesweepers) and several tanks.
The Estonians rendered worthy resistance, forcing the Bolsheviks to recognize the independence of this proud people. On February 2, 1920, the RSFSR and the Republic of Estonia signed the Tartu Peace Treaty.
World War II
In 1940, according to the secret part of the pact"Molotov-Ribbentrop", the Baltic republic was annexed by the Red Army almost without resistance. The government decided to avoid senseless bloodshed.
After the arrival of the fascists, many Estonians, offendedon Soviet power, joined the auxiliary units of the German Wehrmacht. Eventually, the formation of the 20th Waffen Grenadiers Division of SS (1st Estonian) began from volunteers and recruits.
The Estonians fought on the side of the USSR againstfascists. They formed the backbone of the 22nd Estonian Rifle Corps. The fighters showed special heroism in battles for the city of the Bottom of the Pskov region. However, due to frequent cases of desertion, the unit was disbanded. In 1942, the 8th Estonian Rifle Corps was formed.
After regaining independence,caused by the collapse of the USSR, the question of the formation of national defense again arose. The Estonian Army was restored on September 3, 1991 by the Supreme Council of the Republic of Estonia. Today, the country's armed forces number 30 units and several army units.
Since 2011, the commander of the Estonian Defense Forcesis appointed and liable to the Government of Estonia through the Ministry of Defense, and not before the Riigikogu State Assembly, as was practiced earlier. This was due to constitutional amendments proposed by the President of Estonia Toomas Hendrik Ilves.
Command and leadership:
- Ministry of Defence.
- Military headquarters.
- The Commander-in-Chief.
Types of troops:
- Ground troops.
- The Air Force.
- Defense League "Defense League".
Today, a large-scale program for rearming and strengthening the Estonian army is being carried out. A photo of new military equipment shows that the main focus of management is on mobile units.
In peacetime, the main tasks of the Ministrydefense is to control borders and airspace, maintain combat readiness, train draftees and create reserve units, participate in international missions of NATO and the UN, assist the civil authorities in case of emergency.
In crisis situations, the main management tasks are:
- Increasing levels of preparedness of units as required;
- preparations for the transition to a military structure and the start of mobilization;
- Integration of units from other law enforcement agencies;
- preparation for receiving assistance from friendly forces.
In wartime, the main tasks areprotecting the territorial integrity of the state, facilitating the arrival and deployment of forces from other countries and cooperation with them, maintaining control over the national airspace and assisting the air defense of strategic facilities in cooperation with NATO forces.
The number and armament of the army of Estonia
Defense forces consist of regular militaryunits of a total of 6,500 officers and soldiers, as well as the voluntary corps of the Defense League, numbering about 12,600 soldiers. In the future, it is planned to increase the size of the operational military grouping to 30,000 people. Defense forces are the main reserve, therefore "all physically and mentally healthy male citizens" must undergo compulsory military service for a period of 8 or 11 months. The defense forces are located in four defensive areas with headquarters in Tallinn, Tapa, Luunja and Pärnu.
The ground forces are mainly equipped withweapons of the NATO model. The basis is small arms, mobile vehicles, anti-tank and anti-aircraft portable systems.
The Navy includes patrol boats, minesweepers,frigates and coast guard forces. Most naval forces are located at the naval base of Miynisadam. It is planned to purchase modern high-speed patrol boats.
The Estonian Air Force was restored on 13 April 1994of the year. From 1993 to 1995, two L-410UVP transport aircraft, three Mi-2 helicopters and four Mi-8 helicopters were delivered to Estonia. The service branch received old Soviet radars and equipment. Most of the units are deployed at the military airfield of Aimari, where in 2012 the reconstruction was completed. In 2014, Estonia showed interest in acquiring Saab JAS-39 Gripen fighters from Sweden, which are necessary to create an aircraft wing, which currently does not exist.