76 K 02 (76-мм дивизионная пушка образца 1902 года), The first and the last horse-drawn gun in the Finnish Defense Forces
This artillery gun, nicknamed ”Nollakakkonen” (Zero-Two) was the most commonly used and the most long lived model of artillery guns utilized by the Finnish Defense Forces during its first 100 years of existence. It was used since the civil war of 1918. After the interwar years, the gun model took part in the Winter War, the Continuation War, and the Lapland War. After the war the gun was used in conscript training and as a reserved equipment for war-time artillery units until the mid 1990s. The gun could be drawn by horse or by vehicle. When being towed by horses, the gun was attached to the frontmost collar aisles, and it took 2 or 3 pairs of horses to draw one gun. On the first pair or a troika of horses, on top of the leftmost horse, a rider controlled the three or two collar aisled horse herd tasked with pulling the gun.
The 76 K 02 guns served an important part in the history of Tuusula. The Russian garrison in the town was housing the artillery units of the Czarist army since 1890. Then after the Civil War the local garrison hosted The Field Artillery Regiment 1 during 1918-1934, and the the Civil Guards artillery school between 1934 and 1944. During the war, 4th Field Artillery and later, during the time period 1944-1957, the 2nd Field Artillery Regiment. So for a period of almost 60 years, the gun along with its horse carriage was a common sight in the roads and forest paths around Tuusula.
Artillery school gave horse riding lessons and trained soldiers to use horses as a method of pulling artillery guns to conscripts and enlisted personnel until 1971. The last horses in the Finnish Defense Forces were later allowed to retire in the early 1990s, when the Cadet School stables were closed in Santahamina, Helsinki. The last FDF horse remaining was S.A. Uusi-Matti (1988-2019) who spent his old age in the care of the horse association of Niinisalo. Matti was euthanized in November of 2019, due to advanced old age-related complications. With old Matti’s passing, the age of horses in the FDF thus entered eternity, and the pages of military history.
Sources: Nieminen, Jarmo Santahamina Sinivalkoinen saari (2012), Käyhkö, Pekka Tykistö Tuusulassa 1918-1957 (2017), https://www.kankaanpaanseutu.fi/a/9f51af3f-07fc-4c48-a256-80a368120975 (accessed on 25.6.2020), https://yle.fi/uutiset/3-10796045 (accessed on 25.6.2020)