ITALERI Kit No.2705 Hurricane Mk.I 1/48
The Finnish government negotiated the purchase of 12 Hawker Hurricane Mk,I Fighters from the United Kingdom in January 1940. Osasto Räty (detachment Raty) made the journey to St. Athan on the 30th January 1940 arriving on the 05th of February where they began advanced flying training on the NA Harvard I. The pilots received just 10-15 hours of instruction in the Hurricane after advanced flying training, many of the Finnish pilots had never flown an aircraft with retractable landing gear or a variable-pitch propeller.
The first group of 6 aircraft left the UK for Finland on 26.2.40 taking an Edinburgh-Wick-Stavanger-Oslo-Västeras route. The group was led by two Lockheed Hudsons with a Sunderland flying boat flying in support to pick up and pilots downed in the North Sea during the transit. Despite extremely poor visibility at only 15-20 metres, the group arrived at Stavanger without incident. The second group of 6 aircraft took the same route on 28.2.40. HU461 was damaged on landing at Wick and recovered by the R.A.F. Visibility on the second ferry-flight was worse than the first. The group lost sight of the support aircraft and had to navigate by dead reckoning. Kersantti (Sergeant) Uuno Karhumäki the flight leader had to find Sola airfield himself. The cloud cover was low and visibility was down to 30 metres. Added to this, the group had to fly between two mountains to reach Sola. Sergeant Laitinen in HU462 was unable to reach Sola due to technical difficulties and was forced to divert to Eigeröyn island off the coast of Norway.
The remaining Hurricanes had all arrived in Finland by 10.3.1940 but were too late to see active service during the Winter War. Due to a lack of spares and maintenance issues the Hurricane Mk.I made little impact in the Continuation War scoring only 5.5 kills. 8 Aircraft were serviceable and incorporated into LeLv 32 “Osato Kalaja” (Detachment Kalaja) in the defence of Helsinki. The last surviving aircraft was retired in late 1944.
Hurricane I N2394, Finnish Air Force serial number HC-452 is in storage at Aviation Museum of Central Finland (Keski-Suomen Ilmailumuseo), Tikkakoski, Finland. The exhibition tells the story of the Soviet strategic bombing offensive at the Finnish capital and other towns during February 1944.
The greatest showpiece is the lone surviving Finnish Hurricane, HC-452. One of only 12 Finnish Hurricanes, this plane was flown in the defence of the capital during 1943-44, though not as a night fighter against the ADD strategic bombing raids.
The aircraft has been shown shown to the public for the first time in 10 years. It’s been at FiAF Museum’s storage and is not restored to museum quality as the museum lacks space and funds. This will be changing in near couple years, hopefully. The plane, HC-452, is credited with 2 and half aerial victories.
Gallery photograph of preserved HC452 can be seen HERE
The information for this build was provided by Kari Stenman’s excellent book ‘Hurricane & Gladiator available from Stenman Publishing.