The Full Wiki

Military of Estonia: Map


Wikipedia article:

Map showing all locations mentioned on Wikipedia article:

Estonian defence regions

The Estonian Defence Forces ( is the name of the unified armed forces of the Republic of Estoniamarker. The Estonianmarker military is a defence force consisting of an Maavägi (Army), Merevägi (Navy), Õhuvägi (Air Force) and a paramilitary organization Kaitseliit (Defence League). The national defence policy aims to guarantee the preservation of the independence and sovereignty of the state, the integrity of its land area, territorial waters and airspace and its constitutional order. Its main goals remain the development and maintenance of a credible capability to defend the nation's vital interests and development of the Defence Forces in a way that ensures their interoperability with the armed forces of NATOmarker and European Union member states and their capability to participate in the full range of Alliance missionsmarker.

In April 1917 the mobilization department of the Russian General Staff issued an order to concentrate Estonian military personnel in their homeland. The first ethnic Estonian military unit was formed on the 20 May 1917 when the Russian Minister of War gave his official permission to form the 1st Estonian Regiment. Colonel Aleksander Tõnisson was appointed to command the unit which comprised 32 officers and 3,372 soldiers. The formation of the 1st Regiment was transferred to Virumaa to Rakveremarker where the unit achieved its maximum numbers of 118 officers and 10,151 soldiers. Throughout its existence 216 officers and 11,538 soldiers served in the regiment. The regiment was the base for the creation of national soldiers, officers, military units and eventually the national armed forces.

After Estonia had declared independence on 24 February 1918, the armed forces of Estonia were established on 16 November 1918, (shortly after the end of the First World War), in order to protect the country.


After the German Revolution, between 11 and 14 November 1918, ending the German occupation in Estonia, the representatives of Germany formally handed over political power to the Government of Estonia. A new military invasion by the Bolshevist Russia followed a few days later, marking the beginning of the Estonian War of Independence. The small, poorly armed Estonian military, also known as the ( ) (Peoples Force), was initially pushed back by the Red Army into the vicinity of the capital city of Estonia - Tallinnmarker. A mere 34 kilometers separated Tallinn and the front line. Partly due to the timely arrival of a shipment of arms brought by a Britishmarker naval squadron the Bolsheviks were stopped.

In January 1919, the Estonian armed forces launched a counteroffensive, the May Offensive, under Commander-in-Chief Johan Laidoner. The Ground Forces were supported by the Royal Navy as well as Finnish, Swedishmarker and Danishmarker volunteers. By the end of February 1919, the Red Army had been expelled from all of the territory of Estonia. On 2 February 1920, the Peace Treaty of Tartu was signed by the Republic of Estoniamarker and Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. After winning the Estonian Liberation War against Soviet Russia and German Freikorps volunteers, Estonia maintained its independence for twenty-two years.

The fate of the Republic of Estonia before the World War II was decided by the German-Soviet Nonaggression Pact of August 1939 after Stalin gained Hitler's agreement to divide Eastern Europe into "spheres of special interest" according to the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact and its Secret Additional Protocol. O'Connor, Kevin. "The History of the Baltic States". ISBN 0313323550 The Estonian government was forced to give their assent to an agreement which allowed the USSRmarker to establish military bases and station 25,000 troops on Estonian soil for "mutual defence". On 12 June 1940, the order for a total military blockade on Estonia was given to the Soviet Baltic Fleet. Given the overwhelming Soviet force, in order to avoid bloodshed and open war, on 17 June 1940 the Estonian government decided not to resist. The military occupation of Estonia was complete by 21 June 1940. The armed forces of Estonia were disarmed in July 1940 by the Red Army according to the Sovietmarker orders. Only the Estonian Independent Signal Battalion stationed in Tallinnmarker at Raua Street continued to resist. As the Red Army brought in additional reinforcements supported by six armoured fighting vehicles, the battle lasted several hours until sundown. There was one dead, several wounded on the Estonian side and about 10 killed and more wounded on the Soviet side. The military resistance was ended with negotiations and the Signal Battalion surrendered and was disarmed.

The entire Estonian army became part of the Red Army, even retaining its uniform and most of the officers (including the supreme commander).

The Eesti Kaitsevägi was restored on 3 September 1991 by the Supreme Council of the Republic of Estoniamarker. Since 1991, the armed forces of Estonia have re-opened and restored more than 30 old and new units and several army branches.


Its main goals remain the development and maintenance of a credible capability to defend the nation's vital interests and development of the EDF in a way that ensures their interoperability with the armed forces of NATOmarker and EU member states and their capability to participate in the full range of Alliance missions.

In peacetime the main tasks of EDF are to monitor and maintain control over territorial borders and airspace, maintain combat readiness, train conscripts and develop reserve units, participate in NATO and UN-led international missions, and provide assistance to civilian authorities in case of national emergency.

In crises the main tasks of EDF are to increase the readiness levels of units as required, prepare for transition to wartime structure and begin mobilization as ordered, integrate units from other ministries, and prepare for assistance from and reception of friendly forces.

In wartime the main tasks of EDF are to defend the territorial integrity of the state, to facilitate the arrival and deployment of forces from other countries and co-operate with them, to maintain control over national airspace and facilitate the air defence of strategic assets in co-operation with forces from other countries.

Headquarters and budget

In peacetime the Estonian Defence Forces and the national defence organisations, including the National Guard, are led by the Commander of the Defence Forces. In wartime all these components are commanded by the Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Forces. The Chief of the Defence Forces and the Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Forces are appointed and released from office by the Riigikogu on the proposal of the President of the Republicof Estonia. Starting from 5th of December 2006 the Chief of the Defence is Lieutenant General Ants Laaneots.

The Kaitseväe Peastaap is the headquarter of the military of Estonia and the working body of the Kaitseväe Juhataja of the Defence Forces. The General Staff is a joint staff engaged with operational leadership, training and development of the Defence Forces. Operational leadership is implemented by the Operational Staff, which plans and controls operations and ensures defence readiness and mobilisation. The departments for training and development are responsible for long-term and mid-term planning, resource planning, organisation and control of the planning of training and implementation of national defence activities. The General Staff of the Defence Forces is headed by the Chief of the Headquarters of the Estonian Defence Forces.

Components and units

Military police
Size: ~50

Leadership of the national defence

The national defence of Estonia is conducted on the principles of civilian control inherently bound with the democratic organisation of the state. Democratically elected and appointed executive institutions make decisions on the use of the Defence Forces and determine the respective objectives, allocate the necessary resources and monitor the attainment of the objectives.The implementation of the principles of civilian control is guaranteed by defence-related rights, obligations and responsibilities legislatively laid upon the Parliament, the President of the Republic and the Government of the Republic.The highest leader of the national defence is the President of the Republic advised in national defence matters by the National Defence Council comprising of the Chairman of the Parliament, the Prime Minister, the Chief of the Defence Forces (the Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Forces in wartime), the Defence Minister, the Minister of Internal Affairs, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Chairman of the Parliamentary National Defence Committee. Executive power in the leadership of the national defence is executed by the Government of the Republic.


The Defence Forces consist of regular military units totaling 5,600 officers and men, and a voluntary corps, the Defence League with about 10,000 soldiers. The planned size of the operational (wartime) structure at the moment is 16,000 personnel. The Defence Forces are a reserve force, and as such, "all physically and mentally healthy male citizens" must undergo compulsory military service for the duration of either 8 or 11 months, during which time the conscripts are taught the basic skills needed to be mobilized into active duty. The Defence Forces are stationed within four defence districts with headquarters in Tallinnmarker, Rakveremarker, Tartumarker, Pärnumarker.

Ground Force

Estonian soldiers in Iraq

The Estonian Army is the main arm of the Defence Forces. The Army development priorities are the capability to participate in missions outside the national territory and perform operations protecting the territory of Estonia in co-operation with Allied forces.

Naval Force

The Navy is responsible for protecting the territorial waters of the Republic of Estonia. In case of a crisis situation the Navy must be ready to defend sea approaches, harbour areas, sea lines of communication and to co-operate with coalition units. Beginning in 1995 a number of mine clearance operations have been carried out in Estonian waters in close co-operation with other navies of the Baltic Sea region in order to find and dispose ordnance and contribute to safe seagoing.
Vessel type Class Name Pennant
support frigate Beskytteren-class ocean patrol vessel
"Admiral Pitka"
minehunter Lindau class
minehunter Sandown class
"Admiral Cowan"
minehunter Sandown class
minehunter Sandown class
support vessel Maagen class
support vessel Lindormen-class

Air Force

The Õhuvägi is the main arm of the Estonian aviation forces which has an important role in enhancing flight safety in Estonianmarker airspace. One of the main goals of the Õhuvägi is to build up an air surveillance system, which will be the cornerstone of the air traffic safety and airspace control and the development of an air surveillance system to a level which allows close cooperation with the NATOmarker air defence system.

Defence League


Education and training


Decorations and symbols

Uniforms and flags

The Estonian Defence Forces are using a number of different uniforms, including the modern digital combat uniforms designated as the Estonian digital combat uniform (ESTDCU), which comes in three different versions: in forest, urban and desert camouflage patterns.


In service
Robinson R44 utility helicopter R44 Clipper 4
SAM System
Mistral surface-to-air missile MANPAD 25
armoured personnel carriers

armoured car



International cooperation

Since 2004 Estonia has been a full member of the NATOmarker; it had been one of its foremost priorities since the restoration of independence.The United Statesmarker is among the countries with which Estonia has very close cooperation in the defence and security fields.Currently Estonia takes seriously participation in the NATO Response Forceand contributes in NTM-I (NATO Training Mission - Iraq). Until 2009, Estonia had 40 soldiers fighting alongside American Forces in the Iraq Warand 140 soldiers, or about 3% of its total active military force, fighting alongside British Forces in the Afghanistan. Estonian forces have since been withdrawn from Iraqmarker.In both cases, the units are regularly rotated. Estonia also provides peacekeepers for international missions in both Bosniamarker and Kosovomarker within the framework of the KFOR and contributes to EU battlegroups and NATO Response Force rotations.The Estonian military employs STANAG(NATO interoperable) weapons and equipment acquired from Finland, Sweden, Germany, Denmark, Great Britain, the United States and Israel.

Eletronic warfare

The Military of Estonia is introducing a new 21st century based cyber warfareand defenceformationin order to protect the vital infrastructureand e-infrastructureof Estonia. Currently the leading organization in the Estonian cyber defence is the CERT(the Computer Emergency Response Team of Estonia), established in 2006, as an organisation responsible for the management of security incidents in .ee computer networks. Its task is to assist Estonian internet users in the implementation of preventive measures in order to reduce possible damage from security incidents and to help them in responding to security threats. The unit deals with security incidents that occur in Estonian networks, are started there, or have been notified of by citizens or institutions either in Estonia or abroad.On 25 June 2007, Estonian president Toomas Hendrik Ilves met with the president of USAmarker, George W.Bush. Among the topics discussed were the attacks on Estonian e-infrastructure.The attacks triggered a number of military organisations around the world to reconsider the importance of network security to modern military doctrine. On 14 June 2007, defence ministers of NATOmarker members held a meeting in Brusselsmarker, issuing a joint communiqué promising immediate action.First public results are estimated to arrive by autumn 2007.In the aftermath of the Cyberattacks on Estonia 2007, plans to combine network defence with Estonian military doctrine, and related NATOmarker plans to create a Cybernetic Defence Centre in Estonia, have been nicknamed the "Tiger's Defence" ( ), in reference to Tiigrihüpe.

See also

Notes and references

  1. Estonian National Defence Policy
  2. The World Book Encyclopedia ISBN 0716601036
  3. Smith, David J. "The Baltic States: Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania", Page 24, ISBN 0415285801
  4. Pavel Petrov at Finnish Defence Forces home page
  5. Documents published from the State Archive of the Russian Navy
  6. Smith, Page 19.
  7. Smith, Page 27.
  8. Five Years of Dates, Time magazine, 24 June 1940
  9. History of the Estonian Defence Forces
  10. 51 years from the Raua Street Battle at Estonian Defence Forces web site
  11. Sõjaväepolitsei saab miljoni krooni eest kaheksa tsiklit
  12. Sõjaväepolitsei sai soomustatud maasturi
  13. About CERT Estonia
  14. President Bush to welcome President Toomas Ilves of Estonia, White House press release, 4 May 2007
  15. Bush, Ilves eye tougher tack on cybercrime, Yahoo/Agence France-Presse (AFP), 25 June 2007
  16. NATO andis rohelise tule Eesti küberkaitse kavale, Eesti Päevaleht, 15 June 2007
  17. President Ilves kohtus Ameerika Ühendriikide riigipeaga, Office of the President of Estonia, 25 June 2007

External links

self-propelled artillery


anti-aircraft missile launchers

anti-aircraft artillery

anti-tank missile launchers

recoilless rifle


179 120mm
fighter aircraft

helicopters and UAV

transport aircraft

4 / ?

Units and number of personnel
300 / Estonian Afghanistan Contingent
50 / Estonian Kosovo Contingent
United Nations
5 officers as military observers
United Nations
5 officers as military observers
Former mission
Units and number of personnel
50 / Estonian Iraqi Contingent

Embed code:

Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address