The Germany was preparing to attack to the Soviet Union. The Finnish Army started full mobilization of the Army at the 17th of June. Five days later the Germans started their operation called 'Barbarossa'.
On the 25th of June Soviet bombers insulted the Finnish airspace making several bombing attacks to the cities in the southern part of Finland and so Finland was at war again.
In the beginning of the Continuation War the Finnish fighters were divided in two flight regiments, Lentorykmentti 3 (LeR3 - Flight Regiment 3) and Lentorykmentti 2 (LeR2 - Flight Regiment 2).
The commander of the 2nd Flight Regiment (LeR2), LtCol R.Lorenz, had three fighter squadrons; Flying Squadron 24 (LLv24) equipped with
In the morning there were an internal flight practise between 1st and 3rd Flight. The communication lines were not operable yet and the radios that should make communication between the interceptors and ground stations better had to sent to the Air Force Depot to be repaired. So the war of the squadron started by relying on a few command phone lines.
Despite that the War had already begun and massive bombings had made to the southern cities of Finland, the information of the declaring of war had not reached the squadron neither the LLv28 which was based in Naarajärvi airbase. The Air Force HQ was moving from Helsinki to Mikkeli and was under bombing attack at Heinola so it was not able to inform the squadrons about the war.
Pilots had their lunch in base when there was an air alarm at 11:05. Eight twin-engine aircraft were heading to the city of Varkaus. The QRA fighters, four Fiats (MSgt Hämäläinen, MSgt Aaltonen, Sgt Joensuu and Sgt Suikkanen), got airborne, but they did not met enemy which turned back and bombed the station of Heinävesi on their return flight. The patrol was ordered to return the homebase.
At 11:52 the Air Surveillance Center of Savonlinna announced that 15 enemy bombers were seen near Enonkoski at 11:30. An another flight of six Fiats led by Lt U.Nieminen (co-pilots Puhakka, Kokkonen, Porvari, Paronen and Pöysti) were alarmed and they headed from Joroinen to Rantasalmi direction and they did not noticed the enemy formation which was approaching the base at low level. At the same time the first 4-ship patrol was landing to the base. The first pair (MSgt Hämäläinen and Sgt Joensuu) had already landed and MSgt Aaltonen was about to getting out his Fiat and Sgt Suikkanen was just ending his landing when those 15 bombers approached the base. The base was alarmed - Sgt Suikkanen turned quickly around and took off again and MSgt Aaltonen restarted his engine and made a fast takeoff when the bombs were already dropping just behing his plane.
MSgt Aaltonen and Sgt Suikkanen attacked the bomber formation and destroyed 3 of the attacking SB-2bis bombers (1 1/2 airkill each). Lt U.Nieminen and his flight were alerted to head back to the home base when they met the returning bomber formation and got 10 airkills more (Nieminen 3, Porvari 3 1/2,Paronen 1 etc). All the Fiats returned to Joroinen at last.
At 12:15 a 5-ship formation of bombers attacked the base again, just when all the returned aircraft were under refuelling. Fortunately the base AA was awake and opened fire from 5500 m distance causing the formation to spread and the bombs did not hit anything vital in the base. One bomber was damaged by the 40 mm AAA and it crashed later (after LLv28´s Morane patrols attack) near Ruokolahti.
Afterwards was calculated that around 130 bombs (from 50 kg to 250 kg) was dropped to the base, but only a few caused some damage when the most of the bombs were dropped to the forest and the fields. The runway was repaired within 3 hours.
LLv28 was ordered to move to Joroinen at the same evening since 22:00 o´clock. Later in the same evening Soviet propaganda radiostation called "Tiltu of Moscow" announced that the brave Soviet air forces had attacked the airbase of Joroinen and destroyed it and its aircraft. In the air they had shot down 13 "Merserschmitt" planes.
Cadet O. Puhakka (he was a lieutenant in reserve during the Winter War) was promoted to lieutenant. He took part the air battles a day before, but forced to disengage because his Fiats machine guns was jammed. The ammunition belts were twisted and cut off during shooting causing the gun jam. Lessons were learned and the ammunition belts were always checked after a aerobatic flight to prevent ammunition belt twists.
The Soviet aircrafts had intensive activity near the Finnish borderline so the 2nd Flight (Lt Kivinen) was moved to the Rantasalmi airbase.
At 23:53 was announced that eight twin engine aircrafts are approaching the city of Varkaus from east. The takeoff of the fighters was delayed and when they were just taxiing then bombers that were changed their direction attacked the base engines idling in a shallow dive. The Fiat flight took off when bombs were exploding around the base. All fighters survived and none was damaged on the ground, but the attack was more accurate than the previous ones: 40 dropped bombs which hit the base caused 17 craters (with 6 unexploded ones) to the field area.
A pair of Fiats led by Capt E.Kivinen (wingman Hämäläinen) was alarmed to intercept approaching six SB-2bis bombers. They met the bombers over the city of Rantasalmi and shot down one bomber each.
The 1st Flight moved from Joroinen to Joensuu.
The 1st Flight were in air patrol when SSgt O.Tuominen saw a 12-ship SB-2bis bomber formation over the Lake Pyhäselkä. He attacked straight from front and shoot down 4 bombers after a short battle.
The 3rd Flight moved also from Joroinen to Joensuu and on the next day the 2nd Flight arrived from Rantasalmi to where LLv24 arrived. Base maintenance of the squadron stayed in Joroinen. Sgt Saarni (FA-19) destroyed one SB-2 bomber in a intercept mission about 20 km southeast from Joensuu.
Fiat pairs escorted friendly artillery observation plane near Korpiselkä in 15 min intervals due the short endurance.
Sgt Hämäläinen strafed a friendly convoy by mistake north from the city of Värtsilä. Ground attacks were banned for so on and the Army was adviced to show their locations more visible way. The Finnish Army take over the city of Värtsilä.
Patrol flights near Tolvajärvi. Lcpl Länsivaara got lost east from Pielisjärvi and was forced to land near Lieksa. The plane rolled over and the pilot injured slightly. FA-31 was transported to the States Aircraft Factory (VL) for repairs. The 3rd Flight was ordered to move to Värtsilä more closer the frontline.
The 3rd Flight was operating from Värtsilä airbase at afternoon. Lt O.Puhakka and his patrol downed a lone SB-2 bomber near the Lake Jänisjärvi.
At 14:25 a Fokker CX (FK-91) took off for recon flight to Tolvajärvi from Joensuu airbase. A pair of Fiats, which was ordered to escort the Fokker, took off 15 min later did not find it, because it was shot down by enemy AAA.
At 18:45 flew three SB-2 bombers over the base and Lt O.Puhakka took off alone after returning bombers and he met six I-16 fighters over the city of Värtsilä. He shot down one I-16 fighter and forced the second fighter to stall and crash from low altitude. Lt O.Puhakka returned to the home base with two fighter airkills.
The 1st Flight was patrolling over the Lake Suojärvi when they met three SB-2bis bombers without escort. Only one bomber survived when SSgt O.Tuominen (FA-26) downed two of them.
Seven I-16 fighters attacked Värtsilä airbase at 05:00. Five Fiats got some bullet holes, but not any serious damages. Between 07:00-08:00 a patrol (Porvari and Kokkonen) had an air battle against I-16 fighters. MSgt Porvari made one I-16 smoking. His wingmanhad to make forced landing to Ilomantsi because his fuel ran out, plane (FA-21) damaged and was transported to the States Aircraft Factory (VL) for repairs. At 11:40 six enemy bombers escorted by fighters bombed Värtsilä airbase without any results.
Patrol and leaflet dropping flights. Three Fiats had a ground attack mission near the bridges of Uuksunjoki. Lt Puhakka (FA-1) arrived from Joensuu and taxied to a bomb crater which caused damages to prop and wing. Lt Kivinen visited Suistamo airfield and found it untouched but it had very soft surface.
One friendly Brewster (LLv24) of a 4-ship formation attacked a Fiat patrol twice, fortunately without any results. A patrol made a ground attack against enemy troops near Helylä damaging one 40 mm AA gun and some vehicles. At 15:15 a Pe-2 bombed Värtsilä airbase without results.
Three SB-2 bombers attacked Värtsilä airbase at 02:05. Eight bombs were exploded near Fiats, but did not cause any damages. At 04:25 four MiG fighters attacked the base, but the base AAA kept them away. A Fiat patrol was kept ready in cockpit during the dark time.
Lt O.Puhakka damaged one I-153 over Sortavala. Lt Lassila and 2ndLt Bruun were assigned to the 3th Flight which operated from Värtsilä.
At 05:45 five I-153 made again a suprise attack to Värtsilä airbase bombing and strafing without any results. The 3rd Flight was ordered to move back to Joensuu because there were no cover for aircrafts in Värtsilä airbase. Fortunately the enemy couldn´t shoot better. At 14:00 the Fiats left the base. An airstrip (SE-NW 900 m x 250 m) was found near Sortavala south from the railway station of Helylä and an another, almost ready one (800 m x 250 m), near Läskelä.
At night the main parts of one Soviet Marine Brigade made a landing to the island of Lunkula. Enemy was destroyed. Maj Harju-Jeanty and some pilots were observing the end of the battle while the enemy ships still were firing the Finnish defenders.
Squadron commander and Lt Linkola were looking for a new airbase positions at the coast of the Lake Ladoga. The strait of Lunkula was dry because the water level of the Ladoga was almost 2 m below normal. They found a very good placement for a new airbase at the strait where was a dry and hard large sandfield.
The Fiats were ordered to move to the new base at Lunkula. A convoy to Lunkula departed on the next day and arrived to the placement at 24:00.
The 1st Flights Fiats arrived to Lunkula and started their operations. The planes had good placements near the forestline. At 12:30 three enemy SB-2 bombers escorted by two I-153 fighters bombed Lunkula. After a noon arrived also the 3rd Flight to the base. The whole LLv26 was ordered to move to Lunkula and also the HQ of the 2nd Flight Regiment.
Two MBR-2 seaplanes bombed the island of Lunkula. A patrol of Fiats took off and SSgt Tuomikoski shot the another MBR down. SgtMaj Tuominen continued his flight finding two SB-2bis bombers 12 km north from Aunus and shot both down. At 12:10 was an interception mission for three Fiats where Sgt Saarni damaged heavily three SB bombers.
At 09:30 Lt M.Linkola led a patrol which was in a recon mission over the Lake Säämäjärvi. The patrol met some soviet fighters and SgtMaj Tuominen shot down one I-16bis(?), possible a MiG, fighter. At 12:40 Fiats led by Lt Nieminen was scrambled to intercept enemy aircrafts over Tuulos. They met three I-153 Tshaikas and Lt Nieminen shot down one of them and Lt Puhakka damaged another.
The airstrips of Mantsinsaari was ready. One runway SE-NW 850 m and an another W-E or N-S 1000 m. Lt Kivinen found the place at 1939. The 2nd Flight arrived to Lunkula airbase.
2ndLt L.Sihvo and SgtMaj Tuominen met three MBR-2 seaplanes over the Lake Ladoga and shot them all down (1 1/2 airkill each).
Six Fiats led by Lt O.Puhakka were scrambled to intercept mission over Tuulos where they met three I-15bis and three I-153 fighters strafing the Finnish frontline. Fiats attacked and shoot down all the three I-15bis fighters. Lt Puhakka and SgtMaj Tuominen downed one each and Lt Lassila and Sgt Kokkonen shared the third one.
The 1st Flight of the LLv28 (Moranes) arrived to the east coast of the island of Lunkula.
Three Fiats led by Capt Kivinen met four I-153 Tshaikas over Tuulos and Lt Hämäläinen shot one down.
Four Fiats from the 1st Flight led by Lt Linkola met a lone DB-3 bomber over Aunus and shot it down. Lt Linkola had to bail out, because the engine of his Fiat ripped off due to loss of one blade of his prop. The synchronizer of his machine guns failed and one of his own 12.7 mm bullets cut off the blade. He made a successful jump 70 km behind enemy lines and walked through enemy lines back to the friendly side.
At 13:00 two 4-ship patrols led by Lt Puhakka and Lt Hämäläinen were ordered to escort a Fokker CX recon aircraft over Aunus when nine I-153 Tshaikas attacked the first patrol. After a hard air battle the first patrol managed to shot down five of them and when the second patrol arrived, it destroyed the last four ones. Airkills were nominated: Puhakka and Suikkanen 2 each; Joensuu, Alakoski, Lautamäki, Enroth and Hämäläinen one each. Gen Talvela sent an acknowledge telegram, because the frontline troops saw the successful air battle in front of them.
In the evening Lt Linkola arrived to friendly lines. Later there were only one flyable Fiat because there were lots of engine problems and overhaul ongoing. The commander of the regiment (LtCol Lorenz) decided to send his personal Brewster (BW-359) to the squadrons use.
Capt Nieminen took the Brewster and flew to the Lake Ladoga where he met a SB-2bis bomber escorted by two I-153 Tshaikas. Capt Nieminen tried to shoot down the fighters which breaked off and finally he shot down the bomber. In the evening a patrol led by SgtMaj L.Lautamäki (FA-26) met eight I-153s over Nurmoila and shot down one Tshaika. The 2nd Flight moved to the shore of Vitele.
Lt Linkola damaged a Pe-2 bomber. SgtMaj V.Porvari shoot at a DB-3 bomber which turned to inverted deep dive to low laying fog, a possible airkill him.
Capt Nieminen with the Brewster was leading three Moranes from LLv28 to an intercept mission over Suojärvi where nine I-15bis planes were attacking Finnish ground forces. The Finnish fighters attacked and the Soviet Air Force lost five I-15bis aircraft of which one was destroyed by Capt Nieminen.
SgtMaj V.Porvari from the 3rd Flight was scrambled to an intercept mission with the Brewster. He met two SB-2 bombers escorted by five I-153 Tshaikas. After a while one Tshaika was shot down and SgtMaj Porvari headed back to the home base.
An additional 50 cm wide yellow band was painted on the engine cowlings.
The long endurance of the Brewsters and the Moranes suited well for patrol and escort missions. Squadrons Brewster patrolled with LLv28´s Moranes. MSgt Linnamaa brought a Fiat (FA-6) from maintenance where they had replaced the engine. The engine had a major problem with crankcase bearings which were worn off even in 40 flight hours.
The last air battle of the LLv26 over the Aunus area.
At 11:50 A four-ship formation led by 2ndLt L.Sihvo were at a recon flight over Säntämä-Aunus area when they met two I-16 and three I-153 fighters chasing a lone Morane fighter. None of the Soviet fighters returned to their base. 2ndLt Sihvo, Sgt Paronen and 2ndLt Bruun shot down one I-153 each and 2ndLt Bruun and SgtMaj Tuominen one I-16 each. 2ndLt Bruun thought that he had shot down a friendly Curtiss fighter so he did not agreed the airkill so it was shared with Sgt Paronen which also shot at the same plane. The remaining Fiats were moved to Vitele airbase.
The squadron commander and few officers visited Nurmoila airbase which was just captured by the Finnish Army. On the next day the 1st Flight was ordered to move to Immola airbase and a day after that the first ground convoy departed Lunkula.
The 1st Flight of LLv24 Brewsters led by Lt E.Luukkanen arrived to Lunkula without previous information. The last three flights arrived later and were positioned to Mantsinsaari and Lunkula.
The squadron was relocated to Immola airbase where it was subordinated to the 3rd Flight Regiment (LeR 3). The squadron had only seven flyable Fiats and one Brewster. On the next day the Brewster (3 airkills) was handed over to the LLv24. The first Brewster period was over. Four Fiats were kept ready for mission (QRA) since 17th of September.
The commander and few officer were looking for new placement at Sakkola to where the 3rd Flight moved three days later. Capt Nieminen returned from a vacation and brought one repaired Fiat (FA-22) from Joroinen.
The 1st Flight took care of the alert duty at Sakkola airbase. The 3rd Flight moved back to Immola.
The squadron lost a Fiat (FA-4) during a ferry flight. SSgt Alakoski had to make an emergency landing near Parikkala and was injured.
SgtMaj O.Tuominen destroyed an artillery observation balloon which was defended by heavy AAA near Lempaala.
A patrol (SgtMaj Lautamäki and Sgt Saarni) destroyed an artillery observation balloon again.
Lt Lassila was assigned as a leader of the 1st Flight.
The 2nd Flight took care of the alert duty at Sakkola airbase. The 1st Flight moved to Immola.
Capt E.Carlsson was ordered to took the command of the LLv26 when Maj JWR Harjy-Jeanty took over the LLv48. The LLv26 got 64 airkills with Fiat and 3 with Brewster during his time of command. The squadron was divided in two fighter flights, the 1st Flight and the HQ was in Immola and the 2nd Flight in Sakkola. The base maintenance group was still working in Joroinen and one group in Immola. Only four Fiats of total of 19 fighters were flyable. Without an operable engine were 15 fighters, 11 in Joroinen and 4 in Immola.
An order from the HQ of the 3rd Flight Regiment: The squadron have to leave Sakkola airbase and move it parts to Suulajärvi. Four days later the order was withdrawn and the squadron was ordered to move fully to Immola airbase as soon as weather is good enough.
The commander ordered the 1st Flight and its ground crews and equipment for ten aircraft to move to Malmi airbase via Utti. Capt Kivinen went to Malmi to prepare the base for Fiats on the next day. Five Fiats took off from Sakkola arrived at 15th of December. One Fiat (FA-11) got lost and landed on the ice of the sea and sunk at night (11 m depth). It was lifted up on the next day and transported to the Air Force Depot for repairs.
LLv26 was ordered to protect the city of Helsinki from Malmi airbase when the other flight were staying at Immola.
P-41 Tomahawk fighters reported to seen near Leningrad.
At the year 1941 LLv26 had scored 53 airkills by Fiat and 3 by Brewster. Own losses were two planes, one during operations and one in an accident.
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The beginning of the year was very quiet and there were no contacts to Soviet aircrafts. Seven new pilots reported to the service (2ndLt K.Stenberg, 2ndLt R.Stenberg, 2ndLt O.Helenius, 2ndLt L.Kalkkinen, Sgt L.Markkanen, Cpl Y.Korpisalo and Cpl V.Leskinen). The 1st Flight was in Malmi (Lt Lassila).
The Soviets captured Suursaari (an island in the middle of the Finnish Gulf).
The 2nd flight took over the duty in Malmi airbase and the 1st Flight returned to Immola.
The city of Helsinki was bombed using small fragment bombs. The bomb raid caused three dead civilians.
One Fiat was destroyed during a ferry flight (FA-23) when pilot crashlanded to the forest after engine failure. Pilot (MSgt O.Paronen) survived without serious injuries.
The base maintenance group at Joroinen moved to Immola airbase.
One Fiat (FA-5) crashed during a strafing training at Villinki. One of the youngest pilots, Sgt L.Markkanen, died later on the same day in hospital.
Capt Linkola was nominated as a leader of the 1st Flight and Capt P.Hyvönen as a leader of the 2nd Flight since 4.3.1942.
Two Fiats (Bruun and Länsivaara) flew a escort mission when the Crown Prince of Sweden Gustav Adolf returned his visit in Finland.
The HQ of the 3rd Flight Regiment ordered the LLv26 to give air cover and close air support (CAS) for the Army when they attack Suursaari.
The 1st Flight to Malmi. 2ndLt Y.Piiparinen reported to the service.
The 3rd Flight established again and Lt M.Hämäläinen was ordered its leader. It get (war bounty) aircrafts which were rebuild or overhauled by the State Aircraft Factory (VL) and the ground crews of the Immola airbase. Three days later the 3rd Flight was moved to Sakkola airbase and they established a training flight for new pilots.
The squadron got two Tiger Moths (MO-104 and -109) for mail delivery flights from the city of Käkisalmi to local monasteries Valamo and Konevitsa and to Mökerikkö and Heinäsenmaa (pilots were Lassila, Bruun, Aaltonen and Metsola).
A group of the 2nd Flights ground crew and a part of the signal troops moved to Petäjärvi airbase.
The commander visited Sakkola airbase. During his visit one of the new pilots rolled over his Fiat (FA-20) and injured slightly.
A patrol led by SgtMaj O.Tuominen was in a intercept mission near Loviisa (Kallbådagrung) where they met few Soviet aircrafts and he shot down a Hurricane fighter. This was the first airkill of the squadron in the year 1942.
Eight Brewsters and seven Fiats were ordered to fly air cover. A Brewster flight was escorting an approaching Focke Wulf Condor and Heinkel He-111 aircrafts which were arriving to Immola and Fiats continued from Helsinki. It was known that some German generals (Keitel and Dietl) were coming to visit Marchall Mannerheim, but it was a suprise for all that Hitler was onboard. The sky was empty and enemy aircrafts showed up until late in the evening when the visitors had already left, the Soviet spys were far too late.
SgtMaj Lautamäki met a lone SB-2 bomber over the city of Porvoo. He fired without any seemable results. The Fiats moved from Immola to Petäjärvi airbase.
An interception mission over Äyräpää. The friendly AA shoot the patrol, excused later. A Brewster flight moved from Hirvas to Suulajärvi airbase.
S/s Thielbeck arrived to the harbour of Helsinki with four Italian MAS -torpedoboats (armament: 2 torpedos, 6 depth charges, 2 machineguns, speed 42 knots) which were transported by trucks to the Lake Saimaa and from there to the Lake Ladoga.
A flight led by Lt O.Puhakka (wingmen Mattila, Paronen and Piiparinen) was in a recon flight over Lempaalanjärvi-Kasimovo area. 2ndLt Piiparinen started strafing enemy frontline without permission when the ground fire shot him down (FA-14) and 2ndLt T.Piiparinen was caught as a POW and presumed to be executed later (MIA).
The MAS torpedoboats were ready for action in Sortanlahti, Lake Ladoga.
A phone message from the HQ: Petäjärvi airbase will be given to the Luftwaffe flying unit. The LLv26 had to move to captured Kilpasilta airbase (runway 06-24, 1400 m - worse another runway about 1000 m long).
The LLv26 start moving at night. The German ground units arrived with nine Ju-52 transport planes and one more arrived on the next day.
The squadron was ready at Kilpasilta. On the next day Lt Hämäläinen had to made forced landing near Sortanlahti and rolled over.
In the next month four German KM -boats and about heavily armed 30 "Siebels-rafts" arrived to the Lake Ladoga.
The German Me-109Fs will start their operations from Petäjärvi airbase at 08:00 on the next day.
SSgt P.Aikala arrived to Malmi airbase with a Hurricane (HC-455).
SgtMaj O,Tuominen shot down a lone MBR seaplane near Lavansaari. The HQ of the squadron moved to Kilpasilta airbase.
The Germans had six Me-109s in Mensuvaara and nine at Petäjärvi and four Arado seaplanes near Käkisalmi.
A six-ship flight led by Lt O.Puhakka was ordered to a intercept mission to Soviet Kasimovo airbase where firts four of them attacked against four landing Spitfires (Yak-9?). Sgt Y.Korpisalo approached too high speed and flew straight to front of one enemy (a Soviet hero Ustinov) who shot him down and his Fiat crashed very near the runway. 2ndLt N.Trontti made a deep dive and shot Ustinovs plane down straight from above. Both sides lost one aircraft and the second operational loss of a LLv26 pilot was seen.
A patrol led by Lt O.Puhakka (wingman Sihvo) was in a intercept mission over Miikkulainen where they met four I-15bis fighters, both pilots shot down one fighter. Later on the same day a patrol led by 2stLt O.Helenius (wingman Metsola) met four I-16 and two Spitfire (Yak-9?) fighters over Lumisuo. One I-16 fighter was shot down and the airkill was shared. 2ndLt Bruun made a belly landing with FA-20 when his landing gear collapsed during landing.
SSgt L.Jutila reported to the service at Malmi.
The 2nd Flight led by Lt Hämäläinen took over duty at Malmi airbase.
Lt Puhakka and SgtMaj Paronen met three I-15bis and one I-153 over Vaskisavotta. Lt Puhakka damaged two and SgtMaj Paronen one I-15bis fighter.
The MAS torpedoboats searched submarines near Konevitsa and the northern part of Lake Ladoga.
SSgt P.Aikala was doing aerobatic manouvers over Malmi airbase. When he was straightening from a dive, some big pieces was ripping off his Hurricanes left wing. Hurricane banked strongly to the left and crashed on the airfield almost hitting the administration building. SSgt Aikala was known one of the Finlands best stunt pilot before wartime.
An artillery observation flight of Lt Puhakka escorted by three Fiats to Miikkulainen for the Finnish 15th Division artillery. The flight and the results of the artillery firing was a success. Same mission was flewn two days later.
A captured SB-2 made an unsuccessful takeoff in Malmi and crashed to a village nearby. The crew survived and woke up the people of the village before the aircraft and its 200 kg depth charges exploded after a 20 minutes.
Lt O.Puhakka with three wingmen flew to Terijoki-Suomenlahti area. Over Kronstadt they had a air battle with ten I-16 fighters. Each of them shot down one I-16. Additional one I-16 was propably shot down (not confirmed) and one was heavily damaged. After that the LLv26 was prohibited to take part air battles over the Finnish Gulf without help of the LLv24, because the Fiats could not manage with the Soviet fighters (?).
Lt O.Puhakka opened fire from long distance a escaping Pe-2 bomber which exploded southeast from Miikkulainen. At night a Finnish MAS torpedoboat met three Soviet "Bira" -class gunboats on the Lake Ladoga and sank one of them by torpedoes.
A patrol led by Lt O.Puhakka was covering German "fleet" at the Lake Ladoga when four Il-2s and six Hurricanes attacked the ships and Siebel-rafts. Two Hurricanes were shot down by Lt Puhakka and 2ndLt Trontti. Lots of enemy activity due the German-Italian ships.
Seven Fiats led by Lt O.Puhakka engaged six Il-2s and four I-16s south from Konevitsa and shot down all the I-16 fighters (Lt Puhakka, SgtMaj Lautamäki, SgtMaj Tuominen and 2ndLt R.Stenberg).
At 16:40 SgtMaj O.Tuominen and 2ndLt R.Stenberg with their patrols were alerted to intercept Soviet aircrafts between Morje and Miikkulainen. They met twelve I-16 fighters of which two were shot down by SgtMaj Tuominen and 2ndLt Länsivaara. 2ndLt R.Stenberg damaged one I-16 fighter.
Two flights led by Lt O.Puhakka and SgtMaj O.Tuominen took off to intercept mission over the Lake Ladoga. In the very low weather they met 20 different types of enemy planes (I-15, I-16, I-153, Spitfire, Il-2) and shot down two I-153 Tshaikas by SgtMaj Tuominen, two Spifires (Yak-9?) by 2ndLt Trontti and SgtMaj Lautamäki and one Il-2 by 2ndLt Länsivaara. Lt Puhakka damaged one I-16. Sgt Saarni got several hits and disengaged and returned to base.
SgtMaj O.Paronen was on ferry flight (FA-33) from Immola to Kilpasilta when he met almost thirty Soviet planes (10 Il-2s, 10 I-16s and top cover 8 Spitfires). SgtMaj Paronen engaged and shot down a I-16 fighter. At 11:50 seven Fiats were ordered to intercept mission over Konevitsa monastery. The Fiats met seven I-16s, six Spitfires (Yak-9?) and four Il-2s. No results. During the next days the German "fleet" moved to southern part of the Lake Ladoga without any enemy contacts.
Three enemy torpedoboats were met at the Lake Ladoga. A 4-ship flight attacked them without any results.
SgtMaj Tuominen made a forced landing to Sakkola airbase because of engine oil problems.
Ten Brewsters from LLv24 moved from Römpötti to Hirvas airbase.
Nine Fiats took off instantly to intercept seven I-153 fighters which suddenly came close the base. After a chase to the Lake Ladoga they met a formation of three I-153s, four I-15bis and several I-16 fighters. After a fight one I-15bis and one I-153 were shot down by SgtMaj Tuominen.
Similar SB-2 accident happened (takeoff with elevator locked) at Malmi as on the 6th of August. Plane crashed almost the same place and its bombs exploded later. Again few houses were destroyed without casualties.
The Brewsters returned to Römpötti airbase.
A seek and destroy flight over Lake Ladoga with the squadron commander, no results.
At night the German "fleet" (24 rafts, 3 MAS and 2 KM boats) tried to attack Sucho. Due the bad weather they missed the island and had to turn back when they suddenly met a Soviet gunboat escorted by 6-8 armed boats. 2 enemy ships were sunk.
14 enemy fighters (I-16, I-153 and Hurricane) turned away and escaped when they met eleven Fiats over the Lake Ladoga.
Ten Fiats met suddenly over 12-15 Hurricane fighters about 15 km southwest from Morje at the Lake Ladoga. The Soviets lost two Hurricanes. At 10:50 Lt Puhakka damaged a I-153 before he got guns jammed and disengaged.
At 11:40 six Fiats were a fighter sweep over the Lake Ladoga when they saw two I-153 Tshaikas of which one was shot down by SgtMaj Tuominen. At 13:50 a 6-ship patrol met a lone DB-3 bomber escorted by six I-16s. After the battle two I-16 fighters were damaged and the bomber were shot down by 2ndLt Trontti. After that the weather went bad and the enemy did not fly almost all, so the end of the year was very quiet.
Bad weather. A help message from a German aircraft and one Fiat took off to lead it safely to the base. The Fiat landed, but it was sent to the air again. Suddenly a Soviet TB-1 bomber landed on base and stopped on the runway crossing between the Finnish AA guns. The gunner of the bomber noticed that they were in wrong place and the pilot tried to take off again. The 40 mm gun shot straight to the hull of the bomber without results and the 20 mm almost killed the another AA guns men when it opened fire from opposite side. The bomber managed to get airborne and vanished to the fog, but it turned back and came visible again. One of the aircraft mechanics took one of the 12.7 mm BREDA machine guns and shot the bombers engines and it crashed to the forest nearby, crew of 6 were killed. The plane was a mail plane on its way from Arkangel to Leningrad. Eight bags of mail was delivered to the HQ of the 15th Division.
FA-9 arrived from Tampere equipped with a droppable fuel tank.
SSgt Suikkanen destroyed a barrage balloon 8 km southwest from Hanko.
A lone Pe-2 bombed Helsinki. Unfortunately one bomb hit a crowd in front of a movie theatre Tivoli killing 28 and injuring 90 civilians. Capt kivinen was informed that a new radio station is available at Santahamina so the Hurricanes that were operating from Malmi airbase could be better controlled when they are chasing the faster Pe-2 bombers.
FA-9 collided on ground with a fuel truck and the unsuccessful testing with the droptank was over.
A German Gen Keller sent his thanks to the squadron for good co-operation in the operation at the Lake Ladoga.
The squadron got a Fokker CX recon plane (FK-85) with its crew (2ndLt Halmetoja and SSgt Kauppi) from LLv30. Two days later the first snow came.
LLv46 (Dornier Do-17 bombers) arrived to Immola airbase. They were planning to bomb the airbases near Leningrad at night when the Soviet bombers were returning their missions.
The Dorniers successfully bombed the airbases near Leningrad.
At the year 1942 Lentolaivue 26 had scored 33 airkills by Fiat. Own losses were four planes, two during operations and two in accidents.
The German "fleet" returned to Tallinn in December. They lost 2 heavy and 2 light Siebel-rafts and 79 men died or injured. The Soviets informed that they had destroyed 13 rafts, 6 boats and 14 aircraft when their losses were only 5 planes. The Germans (fleet and fighters) announced that they destroyed 19 aircrafts and the Fiats destroyed four. Operation Brazil was over.
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The year started very quietly and remained the same the whole year because the Soviets transferred lots of their aircrafts to the southern front.
The Squadron HQ, the 1st and the 3rd Flights were at Kilpasilta, the 2nd Flight at Malmi and the base maintenace group at Immola. Total of 18 flyable Fiats (14 in Kilpasilta AB and 4 at Malmi AB), two Hurricanes and one Viima liaison aircraft in Malmi and one Tiger Moth in Kilpasilta. Under maintence were four Fiats and one Fokker CX.
One Hurricane (HC-460) managed to shoot at Pe-2, but it was too fast even if the Hurricane had over 530 km/h IAS.
An artillery fire observation course was started. Lt Puhakka was the vourse leader assisted by Lt Halmetoja.
One Fiat (FA-13) was lost in an accident when 2ndLt Trontti made a forced landing south from Kilpasilta due an engine failure. Pilot was slightly injured and the aircraft was totally wrecked.
Four pilots were transferred to the other units (Bergman, Metsola, Suikkanen and Hyvönen).
Lt Puhakka and SgtMaj Tuominen were transferred to the new fighter squadron (LLv34) which was equipped with the new Me-109G-2 fighters. Lt Sihvo replaced Lt Puhakka as a course leader.
MSgt Alakoski destroyed a drifting barrage balloon. On the next day squadron´s Fokker was flying search and rescue flights at the Lake Ladoga trying to find the crew of one crashlanded MBR-2 seaplane.
Squadron got again a new type of aircraft, a Finnish made VL Pyry trainer. Three days later the commander of the squadron rearranged the flying staff to the flights.
Seven new pilots (2ndLt´s E.Helin, A.Juurinen, T.Kartiala, J.Neva, O.Laaksonen and L.Silvennoinen and Cpl E.Takkinen) reported to the service and their training started ten days later.
The last 2nd flights aircrafts arrived from Malmi airbase. Two days later two more new pilots (Cpls U.Metiäinen and T.Kylliäinen) were assigned to the squadron.
An artillery fire observation flight with Fokker CX. The artillery of the 15th Division destroyed enemy artillery positions at Perämäki. The Fokker was escorted by six Fiats and one Brewster which was taking photos.
Four pilots (Leskinen, Jutila, Länsivaara and Paronen) were transferred to the other units.
Flyable aircrafts in the end of the month: 15 Fiats, one Hurricane and one Fokker CX. Under maintenance were three Fiats and two Hurricanes.
Cpls A.Huomo and A.Oranummi were assigned to the squadron.
One Fiat (FA-21) was damaged in a rollover made by 2ndLt Helin and three days later an another (FA-26) of which landing gear collapsed during landing.
The HQ of the 3rd Flight Regiment asked if the squadron can help the LLv24 with its aircraft. So the world changes.
Six Fiats led by Lt Lassila moved to Suulajärvi to support the LLv24. Two pilots (Alakoski and Aaltonen) were transferred to LLv34.
A patrol led by 2ndLt Trontti was in a recon flight over the Lake Ladoga when they met four I-15bis fighters. During the air battle two I-153s joined the fight. Five more Fiats piloted by rookie pilots were sent to the fight from Kilpasilta. One I-15bis (by Saarni) and one I-153 (by Trontti) were shot down. These were Fiats only airkills during the year.
The Fiats returned to Kilpasilta from Suulajärvi.
The first ant the last bombing mission by the squadron. The enemy war building fortifications near Lumisuo. Halmetoja and Kauppi took the Fokker CX equipped with 2 x 100kg and 8 x 25kg bombs and bombed the fortifications. Bombs were 5-10m wide. The Fokker was escorted by two Fiats (Kalkkinen and Pöysti).
A new artillery fire observation flight was made by Fokker (Puronto and Kauppi) which were escorted by six Fiats. The fire control was a success and the enemy artillery positions at Perämäki was hit. Two MiG-3 fighters took off from Kasimovo airbase and during the air battle one Fiat got serious hits along its centerline. The pilot (Natri) was heavily injured, but managed to return to the base. The Fiat was far too slow against enemy new fighters.
MSgt Lautamäki was transferred to another unit. Four new pilots were assigned to the squadron (2ndLt´s O.Lahti, U.Ulvio, E.Castren and J.Marttila).
During the May two 2nd Flights Hurricane fighters (HC-454 and HC-456) were handed over to the Air Force Depot. In the beginning of the June the squadron had five flyable Fiats, one Fokker CX and one Ripon float plane. 16 Fiats and one Hurricane were under maintenance.
The new commader of the flight regiment, LtCol E.Magnusson, visited the squadron. Five Fiats were in a intercept mission over the frontline when they were forced to an air combat with Tomahawk (P-40) fighters. One Fiat was shot down. Sgt T.Kylliäinen bailed out from burning aircraft and injured, but he managed to get back to the friendly lines.
Fiat flights were stopped until there were enough flyable aircrafts (at least 9-10) for missions. The time should be used for rest and training of the new pilots.
On the next month the remaining Hurricanes (HC-452 and -460) were handed over to the Air Force Depot. Four pilots were reported back to the flying service from the Military Academy (Lt´s Enroth, Mattila, Saarve and Joensuu).
The squadron had another Fokker CX (FK-98) for recon aircraft.
2ndLt T.Heporauta were assigned to the squadron as an flight observator. The squadron started to drop leaflets to the enemy positions.
Maj Carlsson ordered the 2nd flight to move to Petäjärvi airbase and the first part of the flight arrived to the base on the next day.
The squadron received an order from the Air Force Commader in which were announced that the commander did not have given permission to use Petäjärvi airbase.
Enemy Il-2 landed to Petäjärvi during lunchtime. Lt Hämäläinen ordered his men to the positions and they opened fire, but the bullets of the old Terni rifles did not penetrated the armour of the Il-2 and it took off again and was shot down later by Finnish Me-109 (MT-219, SgtMaj Y.Turkka, LLv34).
2ndLt Sartjävi took off from Kilpasilta and an aircraft mechanic Melander was a passenger. They were going to get some spare parts for Fiats from Immola. Their Viima liaison aircraft (VI-11) was flying too low for some reason and collided to a power line near Räikkylä. Plane crashed, caught fire and the crew died instantly.
Training to the Me-109 fighters was stopped, because of saving aircrafts and the training was not an urgent issue just now.
The squadron was ordered to take photos of the positions of the 3rd Finnish coastal artillery regiment (RTR 3). The enemy had radio direction finder stations (radio recon) at Kronstadt, Peninsaari and Lavansaari which have a detection range of 20-40 km.
A crashed Yak-7, which was found at the Karelian Ishtmus, was equipped with armoured plexyglass seat rear cover instead of steel plate.
One Fiat (FA-20) was lost in take-off accident when Lt Riekki stalled and made an inverted dive to the fields. The pilot was lucky and was only slightly injured.
The engine of the Fokker (FK-85) stopped just after take-off. The plane entered a spin and was crashed. The pilot (R.Sartjärvi) was uninjured, but the mechanic (K.Wikström) got some head injuries.
An enemy Hurricane pilot was taken as a POW north from Kilpasilta airbase. During the investigation he told that there were MiG-3 and Tomahawk (P-40) planes in Kasimovo and Airacobra fighters (P-39) had arrived to the front. He told that he took part air battles against Fiats twice and once they lost one Hurricane. He had about 1000 flight hours and four air victories (three German Me-109s and one FW-190 from the Finnish Gulf area).
A Fiat patrol met a lone Pe-2 bomber about 14 km south from Valamo monestery. Lt Lassila opened head-on fire from 200 m distance and from rear without any results.
A Fokker piloted by R.Sartjärvi were dropping leaflets at Tipuna when enemy Hurricanes attacked. He hided to the clouds and the enemy lost the contact.
Capt J.Ruuskanen and Lt T.Puolakka were assigned to the squadron.
An english language course was started in the squadron.
A bombing mission to Lavansaari when two Finnish Blenheims and seven Junkers Ju-88s were destroyed or damaged.
A new insignia of the Soviet planes were introduced. The red star had two 5 cm circles around it of which the inner one was white and the outer one was red.
A photo recon mission to Kuokkala was interrupted by enemy fighters and the Fokker (crew Kauppi and Halmetoja) returned to the base.
One Fiat was destroyed in crash. Sgt A.Huomo took off from Suulajärvi to search and destroy enemy´s observation balloon. Unfortunately he got lost due the dark. Light rockets were shot from Suulajärvi base when they heard the sound of his engine. Probably Sgt Huomo tried also give a rocket signal from his plane, but the rocket lit his cockpit on fire and he crashed.
At the year 1943 Lentolaivue 26 scored only 2 confirmed airkills. Own losses were six planes, one in operations and five in accidents.
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The LLv26 squadron had very few flyable fighters and the Fiat was far too old and slow for primary combat missions.
The Squadron HQ, the 1st and the 3rd flights were at Kilpasilta and the 2nd flight at Petäjärvi. The base maintenance group were at Immola. Flyable aircrafts: 6 Fiats, one Fokker, one Ripon and one Tiger Moth. Eight Fiats were under maintenance.
In the December on 1943 the squadron got 11 new pilots (Lt E.Ehanti, 2ndLt´s S.Heiskanen, K.Joutseno, M.Kukkonen, L.Mattson, J.Nurmi, A.Nyberg, P.Palm, O.Pitkäpaasi and A.Toukoniitty) and their training started in the February.
The 1st flight was ordered to replace the 2nd flight at Petäjärvi.
The Fokker had a photo recon flight to Ohta. The recon plane was escorted by six Brewsters. The Fokker and Tiger Moth got skiis to their undercarriages.
Three pilots (Karpala, Hautamäki and Kleemola) were sent to the States Aircraft Factory (VL) to be introduced to the new Finnish made fighter VL Myrsky. Two days later one more pilot (Lemmilä) was joined the group.
Two men (Castren and Nippala) were assigned to an another unit.
Enemy U-2 recon aircraft made an emergency landing to Koskenitsa.
A Fokker CX was moved to Petäjärvi airbase.
One Fiat was damaged in a taxiing accident. Two days later the squadron was renamed to Fighter Flying Squadron 26 (Hävittäjälentolaivue 26 - HLeLv26). The first four Fiats were handed over to HLeLv30. During February nine more Fiats were given to HLeLv30 and in the March the last two aircrafts.
Maj L.Larjo was ordered to replace Maj Carlsson as a squadron commander. Two pilots (Silvennoinen and Porvari) was assigned to the other units.
HLeLv26 received the first example of Finnish VL Myrsky fighter (MY-4) for frontline testing to Kilpasilta from Tampere.
Major L.Larjo took over the Squadrons Commanders post. Three flyable Fiats, one Myrsky, one Fokker CX and one Tiger Moth. Two Fiats under maintenance.
An announcement from the regiment HQ: A new Yak-9 was seen. Flying skills of the soviet pilots are improved and fighters are led by ground stations by radio. Brewster fighters are in troubles with the new enemy fighters.
Training to the new Myrsky fighter was started. All the pilots agreed that it was not suitable for frontline because of weak structure of its wings. The wings bend a lot during aerobatic manouvres. "This plane will be ripped in pieces. Under whom, we do not know yet." said Lt Sihvo.
Capt L.Hämäläinen was making rolls with the Myrsky and one of the aileron hinges broke. The aileron was sent to the States Aircraft Factory (VL). Mechanical stoppers were assembled to the ailerons by VL engineers.
Five new pilots (2ndLt´s O.Sarantola, E.Ståhlberg, M.Tervo and M.Tihveräinen) were assigned to basic squadron training.
Lt J.Marttila was flying frontline test flights with the Myrsky (MY-4) fighter when his plane went to uncontrollable flat spin and after that a steep, high speed dive (over 550 km/h). During the dive, pieces of wing surfaces ripped off and the wings broke off about 2 meters from tip. Lt Marttila was unable to bail out and the aircraft crashed into woods near the base and was totally destroyed killing the pilot instantly.
Two more pilots arrived for basic training (2ndLt L.Linden and Sgt M.Durchman).
A Fiat (FA-11) taxied to a snow wall and was damaged. The squadron was preparing a new base to Raulampi near Heinjoki where the squadron operated during the Winter War.
Usable aircrafts: Three Fiats and two liaison aircrafts. Three Fiats and a Fokker under maintenance.
An enemy fighter visited over Kilpasilta.
A ground unit moved to Heinjoki airbase and ten days later the 2nd flight moved to the new base.
An detachment of Fiats led by Lt Bruun operated from Petäjärvi. Actually the base was almost unoperable because of the melting ice and soft field area (only 200 m long "hard" runway).
The first "summertime" flight from Petäjärvi. A Ripon piloted by Saarni visited Kilpasilta.
Squadron moved to Heinjoki airbase and started to receive war worn Brewster fighters. The squadron got the first nine Brewsters from Fighter Flying Squadron 24 (HLeLv24). During the month the HLeLV 24 handed over nine aircrafts more and two aircraft were received from the States Aircraft Factory (Valtion Lentokonetehdas - VL) during June and August.
The squadron was rearranged to two fighter flights.
Squadrons first war mission with Brewsters (actually the first mission was 1942 when one Brewster was given as a reinforcement to the Squadron for a couple of weeks). Four Brewsters met 12 IL-2s and La-5s over Lempaala. The combat was run without any results.
All remained Fiats except one were handed over to Täydennyslentolaivue 35 (TLeLv35 - Supplemental Flying Squadron 35). Last was given away 27.6.1944.
The Soviets started their major offensive at Karelia. Six Brewsters led by Maj L.Larjo shot down a lone Pe-2 over Kivennapa. A couple of hours later Lt E.Teromaa´s five Brewsters met two DB-3 bomber formations escorted by a large fighter groups and shot down one DB-3 bomber. One Brewster got hits from the escorting P-39 Airacobras and was forced to land.
Four Brewsters met six Pe-2 bombers near Suulajärvi and shot one Pe-2 down. Later the same group of Brewsters met mixed formation which consisted of 15 aicrafts and managed to damage one DB-3 bomber. Later afternoon one Brewster was shot down at Raivola, pilot bailed successfully.
Seven Brewsters were on intercept mission over Kanneljärvi-Kivennapa area when they met several IL-2s and P-39 Airacobras. One Brewster, piloted by Lt T.Mattila, was missing after the fight, probably he was shot down by the P-39s.
At night about 150 enemy aircrafts were bombing the city of Viipuri. Four Brewsters led by Lt E.Teromaa took off to intercept mission and met a returning formation of DB-3 bombers. One of the bombers was shot down. Two days later the squadron moved to Käkisalmi airbase.
12 Brewsters had an air duel with 10 Airacobras and 35 Pe-2s, which were going to bomb Hiitola and Käkisalmi. One Pe-2 and one Airacobra were shot down.
30 Pe-2 bombers escorted by several fighters tried to bomb Hiitola again. 10 Brewsters shot 2 Pe-2 bombers down and later one La-5. After this day the enemy´s air operatios over the eastern Karelia became quite rare.
A lone R-5 aircraft was shot down over the Lake Ladoga. Lt E.Teromaa was transferred to Fighter Flying Squadron 24 and Lt C-E.Bruun was ordered to lead the 1st Flight.
50 Pe-2 bombers and 20 IL-2s attacked Immola airbase. One hangar caught fire and three Brewsters inside it were destroyed. The German Detachment Kuhlmey lost five of its FW-190 and JU-87 aircrafts.
During the days before the Brewsters flew several escort and close air support flights over Karelia meeting almost every time enemy fighters without any results. On the 16th day three Brewsters led by Maj L.Larjo met six La-5s over Pitkäranta and shot down two of them.
Four Brewsters led by Maj L.Larjo took off from Värtsilä when they were forced to an air combat against 17 Yak-7s, 8 IL-2s and several P-39 Airacobra and P-40 Kittyhawk fighters. Maj Larjo was shot down and he died later the same day because the injuries he got during the bail out. In the afternoon one Airacobra was shot down south from Tolvajärvi. Maj E.Metsola was appointed to the squadron commanders post.
Lt C-E.Bruun´s four Brewsters were in an air combat against nine Yak-7Bs over Tolvajärvi and one of the Brewsters caught fire and was shot down. Pilot, Lt M.Kukkonen, bailed successfully and managed to run to friendly lines seriously injured. Capt K.Mustonen was appointed to the 2nd flights leaders post.
One Brewster was heavily damaged in a taxiing accident at Värtsilä.
The squadron was subordinated to the Flight Regiment 2 (commander Col J.W.R.Harju-Jeanty). Two days later all the Brewsters moved to Värtsilä and the squadrons headquarters moved to Sortavala.
Last air combat in the Continuation War was over Värtsilä airbase between five Brewsters and 6 La-5s and 2 Yak fighters. None of the participants got victories. To the end of the month the air war became very quiet. Lt E.Teromaa was transferred back to the squadron and was appointed to the 2nd flights leaders post.
Last war mission in the Continuation War. Four Brewsters flew a recon flight. On the same day the Regiment Headquarters ordered three Fokker CX -aircrafts and eight captured I-153 fighters from LLv16 to join the squadron. The combined squadron moved to Onttola airbase.
At 5.50 AM the squadron received a call from the Regiments Headquarters that said that the hostilities will be over at 7:00 AM. The Continuation War was over.
The Brewsters flew to Onttola.
The LLv26 scored 19 air victories. Own losses were 7 aircraft of which 4 were shot down by enemy.
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