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Military history of Estonia

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Title: Military history of Estonia  
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Subject: Military history of Estonia, Military history of Europe, Outline of Estonia, Artur Sirk, Military history of Austria
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Military history of Estonia

This article is part of a series on the
Military history of Estonia
20th century
21st century
Estonia portal

Two years after the end of the Estonian War of Independence (1918-1920), the Estonian Army consisted of 3 field divisions and a number of small independent battalions and companies (1922).

The Republic of Estonia had 47,750 km2. of territory with a population of 1,507,000 inhabitants. The armed forces had 12,000 men and, in the opinion of the Lithuanian armed forces General staff, it was large enough to defend The Republic of Estonia. Estonia had a good position - two big lakes were useful natural obstacles. The serving time for conscripts was 18 months in infantry, 24 months in other parts of the army, 36 months in the Navy.

In 1919, the year's military budget was EEK 573.6 million which was 80.3% of all states outcomes. Two years later, in 1921, state outcomes for defence were EEK 640.4 million (50% of the state budget). But it was too little, so the real military outcomes were EEK 856 million.

The Army


  • I division
    • Regiment (2 battalions)
    • Regiment (2 battalions)
  • II division
    • Regiment (2 battalions)
    • Regiment (2 battalions)
    • Detached battalion
  • III division
    • Regiment (2 battalions)
    • Detached battalion

Infantry organisation

The army had 12 line battalions. Every battalion consisted of:

  • 3 line (infantry) companies of 3 platoons of 2 squads
  • Mg's company
  • Technical company
  • Cavalry platoon for recognition

Infantry was using Russian made and English made rifles, accoutrements and ammunition were American made. Two battalions make a regiment in peace time. After the mobilisation every battalion become regiment.

Comparison of companies
Formation Amount of mg's Organization
Line coy 6 mgs (light) 3 platoons of 2 squads
Mg's coy 12 mgs Maxim system


There was 3 regiments of light artillery of 4 batteries everyone for every Infantry division. There were 2 groups of heavy artillery like separate units. Every battery had 4 guns. Most part of the guns - 3 inches Russian guns. There were some English French and German guns. In that time Estonia had enough guns to make artillery two times larger.


It was one regiment of Hussars. After the mobilization squadrons would become regiments.

  • Hussars regiment:
    • 2 line squadrons
    • Mg’s squadrons

Technical formations

Estonian Mark V driving along Tallinn.
  • Armoured brigade
    • 3 armoured trains (with light artillery guns and mgs)
    • 1 armoured train (narrow gauge)
    • Column of Armoured cars (16)
    • Tanks company (4 heavy and 10 light tanks) – Mark V and Renault FT

Armoured trains had an important role in Estonian War of Independence. They were used very effectively in supporting Latvians in fighting against Bermontians in Latvian War of Independence.

  • Technical battalion
    • Railway company
    • Engineering company
    • Signal company
    • Training company


3 squadrons – 34 planes and hydroplanes

The Navy

EML Lembitu (gun boat)

EML Lennuk (former Avtroil)(destroyer)

EML Wambola (former Kapitan 2. ranga Kingsbergen,Kapitan 1. ranga Mikluhho-Maklaiks,Spartak)(destroyer)

EML Ristna (minesweeper)

EML Suurop (minesweeper)


  • Central school of NCO’s
  • Military technical school - for cadets (2 years) and officers (short courses).
  • Military school – for preparing candidats for officer corps to The Army (3 years course). Here were studying young men who after graduation got lieutenant rank.
  • General staff courses (from 1921) in Tallinn - one year long course for senior officers to prepare for working in The General Staff. It was 15 students in 1921.

See also

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