In 1998, the Finnish Ministry of Defense produced a campaign short film Taistelukenttä (Battlefield). It showed how the Finnish Defense Forces would act in the event of an armed conflict. A lot of time has passed since then, and a lot has changed, because of which the film has lost its relevance. Therefore, the Ministry of Defense shot a new picture “Taistelukenttä 2020”, designed to show the modern capabilities of the army.
The short film begins and ends with speeches by the representative of the Ministry of Defense, Colonel E.Yu. Raitasalo. He points out that in recent years the nature of hostilities has changed, and this is taken into account when planning military development. A blow can be delivered in many ways – and the Defense Forces must be prepared for this, as the film shows.
Hybrid war: the enemy cuts off the power supply
The events of the film begin with the fact that the peaceful life of Finland is faced with unusual threats. There are problems in communication systems that disrupt the operation of all major structures. The work of the water supply was disrupted, one of the power plants was turned off. The background for these events is the deterioration of the international situation in the Baltic region.
The Defense Forces are moving to level B readiness and are stepping up combat training. The gathering of reservists is announced, combat aircraft are scattered over alternate airfields, the fleet begins joint exercises with the Swedish Navy and prepares for mine laying. The construction of fortifications and other military facilities began in important areas.
An unknown submarine is found dangerously close to the Finnish coast. An unknown enemy launches a missile strike at a temporary airfield located on the highway. The planes take off just a moment before the missiles fall. Readiness level rises to “C”
Television reports: submarine found in coastal waters
Disturbing news comes from Kajaani airport. The plane, which arrived on schedule, brought fighters of unclear identity to the platoon, and they seized the airport. The police are unable to resist them, and a unit from the Kainuu Jaeger Brigade is sent to the captured object. After studying the situation and careful preparation, a successful assault takes place. The enemy will not be able to use the airport to transfer his forces.
Enemy saboteurs neutralize the full-time security of the port of Hanko, and one of the moored ships is unloading infantry fighting vehicles. In the area of n. An airborne assault has been landed by a tyak. The Pori Jaeger Brigade and the Guards Jaeger Regiment, which will have to work on land, are thrown into the fight against these threats. The Uusimaa Marine Corps Brigade attacks the enemy from the sea.
Headquarters – a key element of defense and “protagonists”
Meanwhile, air defense forces are spotting enemy tactical aircraft over the Gulf of Finland. Air Force fighters are sent to intercept, military and object air defense are preparing for work. Not a single enemy broke through to their goal.
The military and political leadership announces the beginning of the war. Defense forces move to high alert “D”. The mobilization of the reserve begins, and the formations of the ground forces are pulled south, into the area of hostilities. The enemy also begins a full-scale transfer of forces and equipment, which leads to the beginning of full-scale battles.
The enemy is trying unsuccessfully to conduct an amphibious assault – the landing boat sinks after being hit by a missile. The enemy ground forces manage to break through the first line of defense, but Finnish reserves enter the battle. They manage to push the enemy back to the sea, after which systematic work begins to destroy the “boiler” with artillery, tanks, missiles and aircraft.
The enemy delivers a missile strike
In the afterword, Colonel Raitasalo talks about the importance of building a strong national defense and the importance of serving all those involved. He encourages military personnel and recruits to study and prepare responsibly in order to protect their country if necessary.
The synopsis of the two Finnish short films, despite the large time gap, is generally the same. An unnamed country unexpectedly attacks peaceful Finland, but she bravely opposes it. With decisive action by well-trained, trained and armed fighters, the Finnish side strikes a decisive blow and wins. However, the films have a lot of differences of all sorts.
First of all, the plot of the plot is different. In the old film, the enemy attacked suddenly and almost with all his might. Two decades later, the fictional enemy is acting differently. He starts by sabotaging infrastructure, incl. through cyberattacks, then with small forces trying to capture key objects through which the main invasion can go.
By this, the filmmakers showed the application of the concept of hybrid war, which has become relevant in recent years. Many European countries have recently expressed fears that fighters without identification marks may appear on their territory, but with very specific combat missions. The Finnish film shows that these fears are fully justified, and hybrid warfare is no less dangerous than “traditional” war.
In the process of liberating the airport
In “Battlefield” in 1998, the main characters were servicemen directly participating in the battles. In Taistelukenttä 2020, staff members are more often included in the shot, whose job is to receive and process information to coordinate the actions of the army. However, they do not forget about the shooters, pilots, tankers, etc. The reasons for this shift in emphasis are obvious. The role of communication and command in a developed army and in modern warfare cannot be overestimated, and the filmmakers have clearly demonstrated this.
Another important participant in actions and events is the media. They describe the main part of the events of the film. In addition, representatives of the military and political leadership constantly appear on the air. By this, the Ministry of Defense showed its intention to maintain information openness to the population even in difficult war conditions.
Again, the features of the work of aviation, artillery, motorized infantry, etc. are shown in an effective and accessible way. In spectacular battle scenes, modern models of weapons and equipment are involved, which generally shows the current level of development of the material part. Moreover, even the modern Finnish army is not shown invincible. The soldiers are wounded, the units are forced to retreat, but in the end they manage to win.
Landing of troops in Hanko
The image of the enemy in the new film again does not differ in originality. Finland is confronted by an unknown country, armed according to the standards of the Internal Affairs Directorate with an admixture of NATO systems. Moreover, not all of its weapons and equipment are novel, and the strike forces are not too large.
The specific equipment of the enemy suggests not too secretive portrayal of the “Russian threat”. On the other hand, they don’t talk about it directly. Either in order not to disturb the nearest neighbor, or the notorious probable enemy without a specific nationality, who is a constant “hero” of any military exercises, appears in the film.
Fighters fly to intercept
It is very interesting that Finland is fighting aggression on its own. Despite the long-term and mutually beneficial cooperation with NATO, the Finnish command from the movie prefers not to turn to foreign partners for help. Probably, by this they wanted to show the ability to independently solve emerging problems – and at the same time demonstrate their strength.
The Finnish Defense Forces perform the most important task of ensuring national security and protecting the country’s territory from outside encroachments. However, in conditions of a long peaceful life, this role of the armed forces may be forgotten, and this should be regularly reminded in various ways. One of them is the creation of propaganda films of various kinds, like the two “Battlegrounds”.
Final elimination of the enemy group
With the help of such films, the Ministry of Defense clearly shows its servicemen what they serve for and what they should do. At the same time, the civilian population is reminded of the importance of the army, demonstrating its capabilities and assuring that it will cope with any threats from third countries. In a period of political instability and deteriorating international situation, such cinema can be useful. Of course, if it does not provoke panic on the topic of an imminent war.
Thus, both Taistelukenttä shorts can be considered good examples of the correct approach to campaigning in favor of the armed forces among personnel and civilians. In addition, two films show how the army has changed over the past decades and how many new systems it has mastered. Perhaps, many countries would not hurt to adopt this experience of agitation and film their “Battlefields”.