I was recently fortunate enough to get invited to the Parola Armour Museum in Finland. The Museum is located about 110 Km’s from Helsinki, an easy drive, even with all the snow. Here are some of the highlights.
Nationality Markings of Finnish Armoured Vehicles
The Vehicles in the Museum carry the national markings that they last carried. During the Winter War (November 1939- March 1940) they were painted with nothing. Later in 1940 they were painted with a blue-white ring but this was soon discontinued.
In June 1941 the Finnish Armoured vehicles began to display the newly adopted national symbol the blue Finnish hooked cross “Hakaristi”.
Originally a symbol of luck for the family of Count Von Rosen who donated his first plane to the Finnish in 1918.
Only after the German Socialist National Party adopted a similar hooked cross as their emblem did this ancient symbol acquire political significance. The Finnish hooked Cross had nothing to do with the ideology of the National Party or fascism in general.
T34 M-1941 (Below): The Soviets tested prototypes of a new T34 (below) on the Mannerheim Line after the Winter War in 1940. It was deemed as “superb” and immediately went into production. It was also deployed after the outbreak of the Continuation War in 1941.
T34-85 (Below): The improved version with larger turret and 85mm gun. The Finnish Troops captured seven and immediately put them to use. This amazing example has only 61 hours of driving time.
ZSU- 57-2 (Below): Based on a modified T54 MBT chassis and armed with twin air cooled 57mm automatic cannons. This Anti-Aircraft gun was capable of firing 210-240 rds per minute, depending on the type of ammunition. Seven ZSU-57-2 tanks were modified in the early 90’s and fitted with the Marconi Series 400 target indicator radar and two Swiss made 35mm automatic Cannons.
T50 (Below): Only two are remaining, Parola owns one. “Little Sotka” as it’s called by the Finnish (T-34 is referred to as “Big Sotka) was only produced in very small numbers as the superior T-34 was being launched at the same time.
ISU-152 (Below): Plenty of ISU Assault guns were operating on the Finnish Front in 1944, two ISU-152’s were captured and one was put into service with the Finnish Army. Armed with a 152mm Cannon and incredibly heavy ammunition (Armour Piercing Round weighed 48.5 kg). Due to this weight the ISU -152 had two loaders and could only carry 22 Rounds inside the vehicle.
My huge thanks to everyone involved for showing me around, I have barely scratched the surface of this amazing collection, if you get the chance visit. I guarantee you will not be disappointed.
Visit the Museum.
This article is written by Richard Cutland. This is an uncensored version of the original article published at WorldOfTanks.eu. Finnbay thanks to Richard for preparing the uncensored version for Finnbay.