Finnish Air Force Aircraft Types 1939 – 1945

The Finnish Air Force  

World War II 1939–45 

Finn Flag 2 (2nd pic)

Aircraft of the Winter War   

Fokker D.XXI 

1

The Fokker D.XXI was a Dutch designed single-seat fighter. Finland received seven aircraft in 1937, purchasing with them a licence to manufacture the aircraft. At the outbreak of the Winter War, the “Old Man Mokker” was on the verge of obsolescence, yet it was the mainstay of Finland’s fighter fleet. The subsequent version equipped with a Twin Wasp Junior engine took part in operations during the Winter War, the Bristol Mercury engine was replaced due to a critical shortage of the engine that were required for Finland’s Bristol Blenheim bombers. In terms of numbers, the Fokker D.XXI was an important aircraft, yet it was outdated by the beginning of the Continuation War. The Finnish Air Force had 97 Fokkers from 1937 to 1948, 36 Bristol Mercury powered Fokker D.XXI’s took part in the Winter War, providing Finland’s only fighter defence in the early stages against approximately 900 Soviet aircraft.

Fokker C.V E and D 

2

The Fokker C.V was a Dutch designed two-seat reconnaissance aircraft. One D-model aircraft was acquired in 1927 for evaluation purposes, which was followed by 13 examples of the C.V E in 1935. The aircraft were used primarily for night reconnaissance and bombing during the Winter War. In addition to three E-model aircraft donated by Sweden, two C.V. Ds were flown to Finland from Norway by airmen escaping German occupation. The type had become obsolete by the outbreak of the war, but the last examples were not struck off charge until 1945. The Finnish Air Force had 19 Fokker C.Vs from 1927 to 1945.

Bristol Bulldog IVA and IIA 

Bulldog

The Bristol Bulldog IVA and IIA were single-seat fighters of British origin. Finland placed an order for 17 Bulldog IVAs in 1934. The Bulldog was the first aircraft to exceed 300 km/h in level flight in Finland. However, it rapidly became obsolescent as a combat aircraft and was obsolete by the time the Winter War began. In the period between the Winter and Continuation Wars, the remaining Bulldogs were relegated to training role. Sweden donated two Bulldog IIAs to Finland during the Winter War. These aircraft had negligible effect on training effort due to the serious damage that they sustained in service. Nineteen Bulldogs were used by the Finnish Air Force from 1935 to 1944.

Fokker C.X 

4

The Fokker C.X was a Dutch designed two-seat reconnaissance aircraft and dive bomber. Finland ordered four aircraft and purchased a manufacturing license to build the C.X at the State Aircraft Factory in 1936. The C.X was the most important short-range reconnaissance aircraft of the Finnish Air Force at the outbreak of the Winter War. During the war, Fokker C.Xs flew nearly 600 combat sorties and dropped 60 tons of bombs. In the early stages of the war, the “Frans-Kalle” was slow but possessed a robust airframe, enabling the aircraft to take a considerable amount of damage and still remain operational. As the hostilities continued, losses began to mount. Only five aircraft remained in use at the end of the war. The Finnish Air Force had 39 Fokker C.Xs from 1936 to 1958.

Polikarpov I-152

5

During the Winter War the Finns captured five I-152s after they made forced landings on Finnish soil. Two of the five reached Lentolaivue (LLv) 29, the replenishment and training squadron of the Finnish Air Force. After the cease-fire, the rest of the aircraft were delivered to serve as fighter-trainers in LLv 34 After LLv 29 was disbanded, its aircraft were also handed over to LLv 34. Early in the Continuation War, LLv 34 was dissolved and the I-152s were assigned as trainers to the Täydennyslentolaivue 35 (a replenishment squadron) and two of the aircraft were placed in storage during late 1942. In mid-1943, three aircraft were transferred to the re-established LeLv 34 as target-tugs. In 1944 two of the aircraft served in T-LeLv 35. After the war, the aircraft were placed in storage at the air force depot. The last flight of the I-152s in Finnish Air Force service was on 12 March 1945 when IH-4 and IH-5 were flown to the depot. The first two Finnish I-152s initially carried the registration numbers VH-10 and VH-11, while the remaining three biplanes were given serials VH-3 to VH-5. During late 1940, VH-10 and VH-11 were renumbered as VH-1 and VH-2. On 4 June 1942, the confusion regarding the numbering of war booty aircraft was resolved and the aircraft were given the serials IH-1 to IH-5.

Polikarpov I-153

6

During the Winter War, eight I-153 aircraft were captured after they force landed in Finland. The first I-153 was given the registration VH-101 and was ready on 18 April 1940. It was delivered to LeLv 14. The others received the numbers VH-12 to VH-18.
During the early stage of the Continuation War, three additional I-153s were captured, receiving the registrations VH-19 to VH-21. On 4 June 1942, the prefix was changed from VH to IT. An additional nine I-153s were purchased from Germany on 18 November 1942. These aircraft, all painted overall Light Grey, were handed over to the Finnish Air Force at Vienna, Austria on 7 December 1942. During the ferry flight to Finland, three were damaged and arrived later. Another aircraft was handed over on 27 August 1943. These new I-153s were numbered IT-22 to IT-31. A total of twenty-one I-153s were taken into the inventory of the Suomen Ilmavoimat.
In Finnish service the I-153 was re-armed, having four 7.70mm Browning M.39 machine guns, in place of the original Soviet ShKAS 7.62mm guns. In addition, a BBC.AAK-1 gunsight replaced the original Soviet PAK-1 gunsight.

Bristol Blenheim Mk.I and IV 

7

The Bristol Blenheim Mk.I and IV were three-seat twin-engine bombers. At the beginning of the Winter War the Blenheim was a state of the art aircraft even on the world stage but it quickly became obsolete after 1941. It was the first aircraft to exceed 400 km/h in level flight in Finland. Its bomb load was small, bomb aiming equipment too simple and defensive armament inadequate. However, measured in numbers, the “Tin Henry” turned out to be a vital bomber. 97 Blenheims were in use from 1937 to 1958.

De Havilland D.H.89A Dragon Rapide  

8

The de Havilland D.H.89A Dragon Rapide was a British twin-engine airliner with capacity for 6 to 8 passengers and a pilot. The Finnish Dragon Rapides were operated for observation purposes during the fortification of the south-eastern border (becoming the Mannerheim Line) in the autumn of 1939. They were not requisitioned during the Continuation War but according to an agreement with Aero O/Y, they were available for operations if required.

Taylorcraft BC-12D 

9

The Taylorcraft BC-12D was an American two-seat general aviation aircraft. Two aircraft were requisitioned on 14 October 1939. both aircraft flew well over one hundred hours during their operation ending up in 1940. Other requisitioned aircraft fell short of this achievement by a considerable margin.

VL Pyry

10

The VL Pyry (Finnish language for blizzard) was a Finnish low-winged, two-seated fighter trainer aircraft, built by the State Aircraft Factory (Valtion lentokonetehdas) for use with the Finnish Air Force. The Pyry was in use from 1939 to 1962. The aircraft was a mixed construction of wood, steel, fabric, and duraluminium. The Finnish Air Force ordered a prototype of the aircraft in 1937. It was to be called VL Pyry I and carried the identification number PY-1.

The chief designer was Arvo Ylinen, with designers Martti Vainio, Torsti Verkkola, and Edward Wegelius contributing to the aircrafts design.

The first flight was made on March 29, 1939 by the factory test pilot. The Finnish Air Force ordered 40 aircraft in May which were quickly constructed and were ready in the spring of 1941. These were designated VL Pyry II, their identification numbers running from PY-2 to PY-41.

The first unit to be equipped with Pyrys was the Air Force School in Kauhava, in 1941. Around 700 pilots were trained in the aircraft and the type accumulated over 56,000 flying hours over a service life of 20 years. PY-1 and PY-27 made last flights of the Pyry in Härmälä on 7 September 1962.

The first accident with a Pyry happened in March 1943, when Major E.O. Ehrnrooth, commander of a Messerschmitt Bf 109 squadron, fatally overstressed his aircraft.

Waco YKS-7 and ZQC-6 

12

The Waco YKS-7 and ZQC- 6 were four-seat touring aircraft of U.S. origin. The Waco YKS-7 was requisitioned by the Ilmavoimat in the Autumn of 1939, and the Waco ZQC-6, donated by Sweden, was operated by the F19 Volunteer Squadron as a liaison aircraft in Northern Finland during the Winter War. This aircraft was later transferred to the Swedish Air Force. These aircraft were in service until 1940.

Junkers F 13 

13

The Junkers F 13 was a six-seat German airliner. It served as a liaison aircraft of the Swedish F19 Volunteer Squadron during the Winter War. The aircraft remained in Finland after the Swedes left in 1940. It had an enclosed cockpit and a radial engine. The aircraft remained in service until 1947. Two further aircraft were requisitioned from Aero O/Y in 1939 bringing the total number of Junkers F.13s in the Ilmavoimat inventory to three.

Fiat G.50 Freccia 

16

The Fiat G.50 Freccia was an Italian single-seat fighter. The order was placed for the fighter at the outbreak of the Winter War on the 30th November 1939. The Fiat’s would arrive too late to take part in the Winter War, however, In the early stage of the Continuation War, the G.50 proved to be a modern and capable fighter although it was logistically challenging and difficult to maintain. The Fiat had excellent flight characteristics but its armament was light for a fighter. At the beginning of 1944, the “Fiius” were transferred onto advanced training squadrons. 35 examples were in use with the Finnish Air Force from 1939 to 1946.

Blackburn VL R.29 Ripon IIF

Rippon

One example of the Rippon was bought in 1928 from UK. Licence production of seven VL R.29 Ripon IIF maritime patrol aircraft (series I) started in 1929. The first planes were manufactured between 1930 and 1931 for engine evaluations but finding a suitable engine was difficult due to the wartime shortage. Several different engine models were tested and changed during the 1930’s and even as late as the Winter War.

licence production problems plagued the development of the project and work was periodically stopped. Despite of delays the second batch (series II) was completed in 1932. The last ten RIs (series III) were externally almost similar to Blackburn Baffin and equipped with more powerful and reliable Bristol Pegasus II engines were later mounted to many  series I aircraft.

During Winter War RIs served in reconnaissance role in LLv.16 (Flying Squadron 16) and LLv.36 (Flying Squadron 36) although the Rippon was already obsolescent, slow and very vulnerable to fast Soviet fighters, it proved an invaluable maritime reconnaissance platform. During the Continuation War, the RIs were used by LLv.15 (Flying Squadron 15) and LLv.12 (Flying Squadron 12) between 1941 – 1942 as well as LLv./Le.Lv./PLe.Lv.6 (Flying/Bomber Squadron 6) between 1941 – 1944. Other units used these aircraft temporarily in the target-towing, liaison and transport roles. LLv.15 and 6 used RIs equipped with floats. In 1943 the VL Rippon IIF was already in a poor condition and most of them were taken out of service while a few remained in service until 1944. One “hulk” is restored for future repairs.

Jaktfalken II 

14

The Jaktfalken II was a Swedish single-seat fighter. Sweden donated three Jaktfalkens in 1939. These aircraft were immediately assigned as training aircraft to operational training squadrons and subsequently to the Air Warfare School. The Air Force had three Jaktfalkens in service from 1940 to 1945.

Hawker Hart 

17

The Hawker Hart was a British two-seat light bomber. It was manufactured under license in Sweden under as the B 4A. The aircraft were operated by the Swedish F19 Volunteer Squadron for defensive operations in Northern Finland during the Winter War. The contribution of the F19 and its Harts and Gladiators in Northern Finland was significant; without Swedish support there would have been no air defence in the North of Finland. Five aircraft were in use with the F19 in 1940.

Gloster Gladiator II 

18

The Gloster Gladiator II was a British single-seat fighter. After the outbreak of the Winter War 30 examples were purchased from England by the Finnish Air Force. In addition, the Swedish F19 Volunteer Squadron operated 12 Gladiators in the interception role in Northern Finland. The “Gelli” was an agile fighter with good flight characteristics but in combat it proved to be out-of- date and vulnerable. The importance, performance, and type of missions flown with the Gladiator are perhaps best illustrated by the fact that only two aircraft remained in service at the end of the Continuation War. The Air Force had 30 Gladiators in 1940–45. The F19 Squadron operated 12 examples during the Winter War in 1940.

Koolhoven F.K.52 

19

The Koolhoven F.K.52 was a Dutch two-seat reconnaissance and general-purpose aircraft. The Netherlands donated two examples to Finland in 1940. The Koolhovens proved unpopular with Finnish pilots due to their poor flight characteristics, however, they flew a number of combat sorties. One aircraft went missing in August 1941 while the other was lost in February 1943.

Douglas DC-2  

20

The Douglas DC-2 was a two- seat airliner and transport aircraft of U.S. manufacture. It accommodated three crew and 14 passengers. One DC-2 was donated to Finland during the Winter War; incredibly the aircraft was modified and used operationally as a bomber, but was soon reconfigured for transport role. The aircraft was put into intensive operational use and it provided extremely useful service. The first DC-2, baptized “Hanssin-Jukka”, was the Air Force’s only real – and best-known – transport aircraft until two additional aircraft were purchased in 1949. The Air Force operated three DC-2s from 1940 to 1956.

Gloster Gauntlet II 

21

The Gloster Gauntlet II was a British single-seat fighter. After the outbreak of the Winter War, the Union of South Africa sympathized with Finland by donating 29 examples of this obsolete fighter. Not all of the aircraft were brought to an airworthy condition. The “Gotlets” were used intensively throughout the Continuation War as advanced trainers. Ten aircraft were written off, and practically every airframe was damaged in some way indicating the demands that were put on these aircraft in training Finnish Air Force pilots. The Air Force operated 24 aircraft from 1940 to 1945.

Beechcraft B17L and D17S 

22

The Beechraft B17L and D17S were four-seat touring and liaison aircraft of US manufacture. One B17L was received from Denmark during the Winter War in 1940; it was used as the communication hack of the Air Force Headquarters until it was damaged in January 1945. The D17S was bought from the Karhumäki Company in 1951. This aircraft, called “whip”, logged around 700 hours with the Air Force before its retirement in 1960.

De Havilland D.H.86B 

23

The De Havilland D.H.86B was a four-engine British airliner. It was ferried to Finland in February 1940. This became possible thanks to the industriousness of the Consul-General Henry McGrady Bell, who arranged a series of lectures in order to collect money for the purchase of a medical transport aircraft for the Finnish Red Cross. The aircraft, which could be configured for twelve stretchers, was destroyed during take-off on a ferry flight to the Air Force at the Malmi Airport in Helsinki in May 1940. The aircraft, baptized “Silver Star”, was the first four-engine aircraft in Finland.

Caudron-Renault C.R.714 

24

The Caudron-Renault C.R.714 was a French single-seat fighter. The French government decided to donate 80 aircraft to Finland during the Winter War. However, due to the invasion of France by Germany, only six aircraft reached Finland in May 1940. Despite their theoretically good performance, the aircraft proved useless in service. These midget fighters were grounded in September and subsequently struck off charge, only a year after their arrival. Six examples of the type were in the Ilmavoimat inventory during 1940.

Aircraft of the Continuation War 

Morane-Saulnier M.S.406 and 410 

25

The Morane-Saulnier M.S.406 and 410 were French single- seat fighters. Thirty aircraft were donated by the French government during the Winter War, but they arrived too late to have any significant effect on the war effort. The number of Moranes increased further through the purchase of additional batches acquired through Germany as “war booty”. The Moranes were the third most numerous fighter type in the Finnish Air Force’s inventory. The development of the “Bogey-Morane”, an indigenous version with a more powerful engine and armament, was severely delayed due to teething trouble. The Moranes were delivered in a confusing array of different configurations and their armament was inadequate, however, their contribution to the war effort was noteworthy. The Air Force operated 87 aircraft from 1940 to 1948.

Brewster Model 239 

26

The Brewster Model 239, often referred to as the B.239, was an American single-seat carrier-based fighter. Finland signed a contract to purchase the type during the Winter War, but the aircraft arrived too late to be involved in combat. When the Continuation War broke out, the Brewster was Finland’s best fighter, and its many nicknames such as the “Pearl of the Sky” speak volumes about its popularity. By 1943, the Brewster had become obsolescent and was withdrawn from front-line service. The Brewster had exceptionally good flight characteristics, more than adequate endurance, and it was well armed by Finnish standards. 44 Brewsters were in use from 1940 to 1948.

Hawker Hurricane I and IIA 

27

The Hawker Hurricane I and IIA were single-seat fighters of British origin. Britain sold Finland 12 Hurricane Mk.Is during the Winter War, but they arrived too late for combat. The sole Hurricane IIA of the Air Force was a Russian example that fell into Finnish hands in the Continuation War. Even though the Hurricane was already nearing obsolescence at the outbreak of World War II, it ranked among Finland’s top fighters when the Continuation War began, predominantly seeing service in the defence of Helsinki. By 1943, Finnish Hurricanes had all but disappeared from Finnish skies due to accidents, combat losses, and spares shortages, so the significance of this famed fighter remained modest in Finland. 13 examples were in use with the Finnish Air Force from 1940 to 1944.

Westland Lysander I 

28

The Westland Lysander I was a British two-seat reconnaissance aircraft specifically designed for short-field takeoffs and landings. Finland purchased 17 Lysanders during the Winter War; of these 12 reached their destination, only too late to see operational service. The aircraft, dubbed “Äly-Santeri”, was not well suited to the harsh winter conditions it experienced in Finland in the Winter of 1939-40. When the war ended in 1945, only one airworthy Lysander remained in the Air Force’s inventory, which is illustrative of the aircraft’s operational success in Finland. The Air Force operated 12 aircraft in 1940–46.

Focke-Wulf Fw 44 J Stieglitz 

29

The Focke-Wulf Fw 44 J Stieglitz was a German two-seat trainer. The Finnish Air Force acquired 30 aircraft in April 1940. An additional batch of ten was ordered in March 1944, but only five reached Finland. The “Stiku” handled well and excelled in aerobatics. It contributed enormously to the development and maintenance of flying skills both during the war and during the post-war years when the Air Force suffered from chronic shortage of aircraft. It was eventually replaced in its role by the Saab Safir in the late 1950s. The Ilmavoimat had 35 Stieglitzes from 1940 to 1960.

Heinkel He 115 A and C 

30

The Heinkel He 115 A and C were German twin-engine three-seat maritime patrol aircraft. They could accommodate the crew and 12 to 14 long-range patrol troops. One Heinkel was flown by a defector from Norway to Petsamo in June 1940; this aircraft was used for carrying long-range patrols until it was written off in June 1943. Germany lent two He 115Cs to the 4th Detached Battalion during the Continuation War, one of which continued in the transport role until it was relinquished to the Soviet Union in November 1944. The Heinkels were extremely well suited for their task and had a significant role in transporting long-range patrols. The Air Force had three aircraft from 1940 to 1944.

Junkers W 34fa, W 34hi and K 43fa

Junkers K43

Junkers W 34fa / K 43fa export versions were bought in 1930 from Germany and Sweden where Junkers produced military versions of its aircraft. They were too slow for reconnaissance and bombing missions as a result, they were handed over  after the war to undertake transport duties.

Five second-hand W 34hi versions were bought from Germany in spring 1944 and they arrived on 18.5.1944. These had been overhauled by Flugzeugwerke Letov in Czechoslovakia.

During Winter War all planes were allocated to LLv.16 (Flying Squadron 16). During Continuation War the remaining aircraft were initially seconded to LLv.15 (Flying Squadron 15) and subsequently in the spring of 1942 to the Ambulance Flight / Le.R 4. Aircraft were subordinated for ambulance and transport duties when needed. In 1942 a few planes belonged to Detachment Räty, in spring 1943, Detachment to Malinen and after in 1944 to Detachment Jauri. In 1944 a few planes served also in FAF Signals School for radio and radio-homing training.

Roles:

W 34 Liaison, reconnaissance and light ambulance, passenger and transport aircraft

K 43 Light bomber / reconnaissance, light ambulance and transport aircraft

De Havilland D.H.82 Tiger Moth 

31

The de Havilland D.H.82 Tiger Moth was a British two-seat trainer. Its design was based on the Moth, which was already familiar to the Finnish Air Force. A Norwegian pilot escaping the German occupation flew the sole Tiger Moth to Finland from Norway to Petsamo in June 1940. The aircraft was interned and put into service as a liaison aircraft.

M.F. 11 

32

The M.F. 11 was a Norwegian three-seat maritime patrol aircraft. Three M.F. 11s escaped German occupation to Finland, where they were pressed into service. The aircraft were flown on operational missions from summer 1942 onward. These aircraft undertook maritime reconnaissance, convoy protection, and anti-submarine warfare missions. The Air Force had three aircraft from 1940 to 1944.

Curtiss Hawk 75 A-1, 2, 3, 4 and 6 

33

The Curtiss Hawk 75 A-1, 2, 3, 4 and 6 were single-seat fighters of American design. Finland acquired these aircraft from Germany, 13 were captured Norwegian examples, the remainder were captured French aircraft. The “Sussu” had excellent flight characteristics and were well liked by their pilots creating a number of “Aces”. The Air Force operated 44 aircraft from 1941 to 1948.

Hanriot H.232.2 

34

The Hanriot H.232.2 was a French twin-engine two-seat advanced trainer. Finland bought three aircraft in July 1941. One of them was lost on the ferry flight. The contribution of the aircraft to multi-engine training fell far from expectations after the second aircraft was damaged in August 1942. The Air Force had three aircraft from 1941 to 1945.

Dornier Do 22 Kl and L 

35

The Dornier Do 22 K1 and L were German three-seat maritime patrol aircraft. Three of the four aircraft used in Finland were initially ordered by Latvia as indicated by the “L” in the designation, with the other a prototype of the Do 22 series. The aircraft entered operational service during 1942 in the maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare roles, fitted with depth charges and/or bombs. They could be fitted with a wheel or ski landing gear or with floats.

The Air Force operated four aircraft from 1941 to 1945.

Desoutter Mk.II 

37

The Desoutter Mk. II was a British three-seat touring aircraft based on the Dutch Koolhoven F.K.41 light sports aircraft. The Danish Red Cross donated one Desoutter to Finland in 1941. The aircraft remained in service until 1944 in the liaison and medical evacuation roles.

Fokker F.VIIA 

38

The Fokker F.VIIA was a Dutch airliner with accommodation to two crew and eight passengers. The Danish Red Cross donated one example in 1941. Unfortunately, the aircraft, dubbed “Poison Can”, showed severe signs of age already upon its arrival and only logged around one hundred hours in Finland. It was used for medical evacuation and general transport duties from 1941 to 1943.

Dornier Do 17 Z-1, 2 and 3 

39

The Dornier Do 17 Z-1, 2, and 3 were German four-seat twin- engine bombers. The Finnish Air Force accepted them as “presents from Göring”, despite the fact that the Luftwaffe apparently recognized no change in their ownership. The aircraft had good handling characteristics, but by the final stages of the war they had become hopelessly slow. Fifteen Dorniers were in use from 1942 to 1948.

Airspeed AS.6E Envoy 

40

The Airspeed AS.6E Envoy was a British twin-engine six-seat airliner. A single example was received from Germany to compensate for the loss of a Finnish Dragon Rapide that had force landed in Kiestinki after taking fire from a German fighter. The aircraft had previously been flown in the livery of the Czechoslovakian national airline.

The Envoy was a useful training platform for signal personnel; unfortunately, its contribution in this role ended too soon due to the loss of the aircraft. The aircraft served with the Air Force from 1942 to 1943.

Ilyushin DB-3F (Il-4) 

41

The Ilyushin DB-3F, redesignated the Il-4 in 1944, was a Russian twin-engine bomber with the crew of 3 or 4. Of four aircraft that Finland managed to buy from the German stocks of captured war material, one was written off during the ferry flight.

The DB-3F required a great deal of maintenance, yet it was a reasonably effective bombing platform The Air Force had four aircraft from 1942 to 1945.

Messerschmitt Bf 109 G-2, G- 6, G-6 AS and G-8 

42

The Messerschmitt Bf 109 G was a German single-seat fighter. Finland bought a total of 164 aircraft from Germany; four of these failed to reach their destination due to accidents, and one had to be returned upon its arrival due to technical problems. At the time of purchase, the Bf 109 G was the best fighter in the Suomen Ilmavoimat and the equal to any fighter in theatre at that time.

During the latter half of the Continuation War it was Finland’s only modern and consequently the most important fighter. Of the Finnish “Mersus”, 49 aircraft were of the G-2 sub-type; three were G-8s, three were of the G-6 AS variant, and 109 were G-6s. The aircraft were in use from 1943 to 1954.

Junkers Ju 88 A-4 

43

The Junkers Ju 88 A-4 was a German twin-engine four-seat bomber capable of level and dive bombing. The Ju 88 was technically the most advanced aircraft and most modern bomber in service with the Finnish Air Force during the war. It had excellent flight characteristics, and its performance was unrivalled among Finland’s bomber fleet. Yet its engines were prone to failures, which resulted in a number of accidents. 24 examples were in use from 1943 to 1948.

Heinkel He 59 D and B 

44

The Heinkel He 59 D and B were German twin-engine maritime patrol aircraft that could carry 13 fully-equipped long-range patrol troops and four crew. Two He 59 Ds were accepted into Finnish Air Force service for this role under a lease arrangement from Germany in May 1943. Two He 59Bs entered service in the maritime rescue role in August. The Heinkel He 59 performed an invaluable role in the insertion and extraction of long-range patrols and were able to ferry large amounts of freight and supplies to troops in remote locations.

VL Myrsky 

45

The VL Myrsky (“Storm”) was a single-seat fighter of Finnish design. The prototype first flew in 1941 but failed to meet specifications. A number of improvements were incorporated in a pre-production series of three aircraft which were all written off in accidents. A production batch of 47 aircraft were subsequently delivered, most of them between July and December 1944. The aircraft would deteriorate quickly if left out in the elements due to its plywood construction. The Myrsky, however, handled well and possessed a good performance. A continuous string of accidents led to the grounding of all of the aircraft in 1948. The Myrsky must be viewed as a failure, despite the fact that the type flew no less than approximately 3,500 hours in service. 51

VL Pyörremyrsky 

46

The VL Pyörremyrsky (“Hurricane”) was a single-seat fighter of Finnish design. Design work on the aircraft began in 1942 but could not be completed by the end of the war. However, a single prototype was built; its flight characteristics and performance were found to be good, yet many things needed improvement. Had the Pyörremyrsky reached squadron service, its wooden construction would most likely have resulted in the same problems with deterioration as the Myrsky. The Air Force had one Pyörremyrsky from 1945 to 1947.

References

Richard Reynolds.

examples were in use with the Finnish Air Force from 1941 to 1947.

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