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Päämaja Helsingin Ritarihuoneella 1918

The so-called Military Committee (Militärkommitté, M.K.) formed by a few Finnish activists with officer training, had secretly become a state organ during the autumn 1917, to plan the implementation of conscription and the establishment of the army.

The committee elected Gustaf Mannerheim their new chairman in the middle of January 1918. To make the committee work more effective, Mannerheim requested a change to military management. The duties of the General Staff were defined on 17 January, 1918, and on the following evening Mannerheim travelled to Vaasa with his closest assistants. Colonel Martin Wetzer became Chief of Staff, Cavalry Captain Hannes Ignatius Quartermaster General, Colonel W. Holmberg General on Duty, Colonel A.G. von Rehausen Garrison Chief, bank manager A. Hallberg Chief Intendent, and director B.F.Lohman Chief of Communications

The Staff of the Commander-in-Chief, organized in Vaasa on 19 January, was modelled on the Russian army staff, although some of the functions had to be combined due to the shortage of personal resources. Only some of the members of the staff had been involved in the battles of the world war. As to the others, their military activities often dated from a period of ten or more years back. The Staff was criticised for lack of competence and civilian approach.

When the disarmament of the Russian troops in Finland began, the staff was first located in Ylihärmä, then in Vaasa. On 9 February, after the first war activities, the headquarters (högkvarter) were moved to Seinäjoki for nearly a month and a half. The Seinäjoki staff was lodged in a train, which was later surrounded by a wire fence. This gave rise to the irrespectful nickname, "chicken coop".

After Wetzer had been transferred to the front, the duties of the Chief of General Staff were taken over by Colonel K.E.Berg, an officer of General Staff (5 February till 6 March), and later by Colonel Gösta Theslöf, similarly an officer of General Staff, with Cavalry Captain Hannes Ignatius as Quartermaster General. The Chief of General Staff was not the head of the other chiefs of staff, although in principle he was responsible for the coordination of the activities of the headquarters. Quartermaster General was in charge of operational matters. He introduced the orders concerning the action of the troops.

Efficient work of the Staff of the Commander-in-Chief had been hindered by the shortage of qualified officers. The situation improved a little when four Swedish staff officers arrived in Seinäjoki on 10 and 11 February: Captains Gösta Törngren, Carl Petersén, Archibald Douglas and Henry Peyron. They were commissioned to organize the headquarters so that now the headquarters had Swedish as well as Russian models. Starting from 16 February, the headquarters was divided into four divisions:

– Main, i.e. General Staff, which included the division of the Quartermaster General (which in turn was divided into four divisions: operations, intelligence, communications and topography) and the personnel division.

– Arms Staff, which consisted of two divisions: the first (the d. of the Inspector of Artillery) and the second (the d. of the Inspector of Hand Weapons)

– Staff of Rear Area, including the following divisions: intendenture, traffic, medication, post, telegraph and police.

– Bureau of Superintendence

Ylipäällikkö, yleisesikuntapäällikkö Theslöf, päämajoitusmestari Ignatius After the reorganization of the headquarters, Holmberg, the "General on Duty", became chief of the personnel division. Colonel V.P.Nenonen became chief of the artillery division, and Colonel von Rehausen chief of the division of hand weapons in the Arms Staff. The staff of rear area was to a great extent in charge of matters of military administration, e.g. those concerning the internal security of the country. Colonel Gösta Theslöf was chief of rear area from 15 February till 6 March, and after him Major (later Lieutenant-Colonel) Rudolf Walden. The office of General Intendent, i.e. Superintendent, was in charge of the organization of the army with Major-General Paul von Gerich as its head. After Major-General N. Mexmontan, who had done the basic planning work in Stockholm, had arrived from Sweden, he became head of the division of superintendence in charge of trained troops on 9 March, and Von Gerich became the head of the division in charge of the training.

Päämaja siirtyi huhtikuussa Mikkelin Seurahuoneelle.

Commander-in-Chief 1918 | Headquarters 1918 | Vaasa Senate | Hannes Ignatius  | Martin Wetzer | Harald Hjalmarson | Ernst Linder | Gösta Theslöf | Jägers | St Petersburg Question | Relations with Germany | Cross of Liberty | Eastern Karelia | Uusimaa Dragoon Regiment | Fir Twig | Finnish Flag | Swedish Brigade | Civil Guards | Jäger Conflict | Heikki Kekoni | Red Prisoners | Wilhelm Thesleff  | Aarne Sihvo | Rudolf Walden  | Air Force - Air Weapon | Red and White Terrorism | Great Parade 16 May, 1918 | Åland Question | Monarchy | Mannerheim's Resignation