The British Squadron near Tallinn

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12. December 1918

During the final weeks of 1918, Estonians begun to organize a more active resistance. Fewer people deserted from the fronts.

The arrival of the squadron of British light cruisers on December 12, 1918, offered a big moral support. The squadron also defended the capital from the Bolshevik Baltic Navy.

The creation of volunteer strike forces began in the second half of December. It was the birth of the famous partisan squad, led by Julius Kuperjanov, also of the Scouts Battalion and Sakala Partisan Battalion. By the New Year's Eve the Peoples Forces had recruited over 6000 men and the number was growing.

A big part of that was made up by the volunteer schoolboys, who fought in most of the War of Independence. The government's promise to start a radical land reform and the rumors of a Bolshevik repression helped to gain the support of the people. The leadership of the Peoples Force was strongly improved by the creation of the Commander-in-Chief's position, which was filled by Colonel Johan Laidoner (see image).

Finland offered help, providing weapons and a financial loan. The Finnish volunteers formed regiments, and the first units arrived in Tallinn on December 30, 1918.
The 3451 Finnish soldiers, that fought in the Estonian War of Independence, were spread all over the front, so the presence of foreign forces could be seen by as many Estonian troops as possible.

Source: Eesti ajalugu. VI, Vabadussõjast taasiseseisvumiseni. Tartu: Ilmamaa, 2005
Eesti ajaloo atlas. Tallinn: Avita, 2006.                                                                                                  



Image source:                                                                   

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