The Inter-war Peace 1940-1941

The most of the Squadron was located in Utti airbase until the frost heaves were repaired. The aircrafts which were located on ice-based airfields Vuohijärvi and Haukkajärvi were flewn to Utti just before the ices of the lakes were melted.

The Air Force HQ ordered the Squadron to move to Joroinen in the end of May 1940. The HQ of the Flight Regiment 2 was in the city of Varkaus and the commander of the regiment was LtCol R.Lorenz.

June 1940

14.6.1940 Commercial flight liners - Aero Oy - passenger aircraft Junkers Ju-52 "Kaleva" was shot down by Soviet SB-2 bombers near Tallinn (Estonia). Plane was piloted by a former LLv26 flight leader Capt Bo von Willebrand. The crew of two and all seven civilian passengers were killed.

17.6.1940 The Squadron got new orders from the Air Force HQ: The AA guns of the base have to keep manned and all aircraft have to be decentralized. A flight officer have to be on duty all the time (24h) in the squadrons HQ and all the vacations of the staff are cancelled so far.

The Soviet Union started the occupation of the Estonia. (The Red Army marched over the border in 17.6.1940 at 0600 AM.)

July 1940

9.7.1940 The State Aircraft Factory (VL) was trying to find solution how to install additional fuel tanks to Fiat G.50 fighters which seemed to be very difficult and unsuccessful.

12.7.1940 A new place for an airbase was found near Rantasalmi.

21.7.1940 Estonia, Lithuanian and Latvian were declared "unanimously" to be part of the Soviet Union.

22.7.1940 LtCol Lorentz rolled over the squadrons Brewster (BW-389) which was replaced by BW-392 from Malmi airbase.

28.7.1940 The squadron was ordered to move to Vaala airbase for a shooting practise camp for two weeks.

Hitler decided to attack the Soviet Union which the Field Marchal Jodl announced to the OKW (Ober Kommando Wehrmacht).

August 1940

4.8.1940 An air alert from the Army (14th Brigade, Southeast Finland) at 1051 AM. A frontier guard patrol announced that six soviet bombers crossed the Finnish borderline at 0955 AM from southeast, heading inland and returned back later from Pirkkala (near the city of Tampere) direction. Also three single-engined aircrafts were seen over Tyräjärvi. The Squadron was under alert in Vaala from 1052 AM. At 1053 AMthe squadron HQ ordered to man the AA guns of the base and put them ready to use.

9.8.1940 The Squadrons aircrafts were under maintenance and were prepared for war missions.

11.8.1940 The command and control systems in Vaala were ready to use except phone lines to the Air Surveillance Center (IVAK). A commanding officer on duty was in the squadron HQ. The squadron was ordered to return to Joroinen which order was fulfilled on the next day.

September 1940

Total of 18 Fiats were flyable, one (1) was under maintenance in base and eight (8) under repair or heavy maintenance in the States Aircraft Factory (VL). Five (5) Fiats were in the Air Force Depot so total amount of Fiats was 32.

7.9.1940 The alert state was withdrawn and the squadron returned to the normal duty. Some restrictions for the staff vacations and an commanding officer on duty remined still active.

17.9.1940 Additional fuel tanks were successfully tested by Fiat aircraft factory in Italy. One tank was assembled between machine guns to node of the aircraft and an another just behind the pilot seat. Endurance increased to 2 h 50 min at 6000 m altitude.

21.9.1940 The first german transport ships arrived to Vaasa harbour which was a suprise for the local authorities who weren´t informed the shipment.

The Germans started their troops and military materiel transports to the northern part of Norway across Finland territory according a bilateral "agreement".

24.9.1940 Soviet aircrafts was seen over the city of Joensuu. Three bases (Joroinen, Rissala and Utti) were ordered to keep 3-4 fighters ready for action (Quick Reaction Alert - QRA), but without permission to open fire. The 2nd Flight of the LLv26 started their duty at 0130 PM.

October 1940

Total of 16 Fiats, two Brewsters (BW-356 and -389) and one liaison aircraft were flyable. 12 Fiats and three liaison or recon aircraft (Fokker CX, Tiger Moth and VL Vihuri) were under repairs or maintenance.

11.10.1940 The Squadron was ordered to make an estimation of costs for command and control lines from airbases to the local Air Surveillance Centers (IVAK) at Pieksämäki and Parkunmäki, which were now also equipped with radios (range 40 km). Later the phone lines were built between Joroinen (airbase) - Rantasalmi (airbase) - Pieksämäki (IVAK) - Parkunmäki (IVAK) - Sulkava - Enonkoski.

12.10.1940 A new basic training program for Fiat was published.

The Italians attacked the Greece (20.10.1940).

30.10.1940 The Government announced that the Finland had lost 35 084 km2 (9%) of its territory to the Soviet Union in the truce agreement.

November 1940

The LLv26 was positioned to Joroinen airbase. Squadron had total of 20 Fiats flyable, one Brewster (BW-356) and one Fokker CX (FK-79). In base maintenace were 8 and in the Air Force Depot 4 Fiats. Total 32 Fiats, 1 Brewster and 1 Fokker CX.

25.11.1940 Lt Kivinen ordered 4 Fiats for a patrol route: Joroinen - Juva - Pääskylahti - Enonkoski - Kangaslampi - Kolma - Joroinen. Only 2 Fiats managed to take off for mission (MSgt O.Tuominen and SgtMaj L.Lautamäki). Patrol leader MSgt Tuominen got lost and the patrol found themselves near Lahdenpohja - Sortavala (they had crossed the borderline) railroad from where they headed straight back to Joroinen. MSgt Tuominen had to make forced landing when his fuel ran out, SgtMaj Lautamäki managed to reach Rantasalmi airbase (fuel ran out while taxiing and engine stopped on runway).

December 1940

The Soviet Union protested and blaimed Finland for a violent recon flight over their territory. At the same time one soviet SB-2 bomber had crashlanded at Petsamo (in the Finnish territory) and the Soviets suddenly forgot the protest they just had made. The remains of the SB-2 was returned later to Leningrad as the authorities was mutually agreed.

13.12.1941 One Fiat was equipped with retractable skiis for testing purpose by the States Aircraft Factory (VL)

16.12.1940 MSgt O.Tuominen was punished (a week arrest) because crossing the borderline and getting lost there (!).

Hitler signed under the attack plan of the Operation Barbarossa (18.12.1940).

January 1941

24.1.1941 The Soviet SB-2 bomber that was crashlanded to Petsamo was returned to the Soviet Union.

25.1.1941 The Air Force HQ ordered to check out all the mobilization plans and tighten all the necessary timelines.

30.1.1941 A special test flight was established to find solutions how to get the Fiat more war capable fighter.

The Soviet aircrafts insulted the Finnish airspace at least 9 times during the month.

February 1941

4.2.1941 FA-1 was re-equipped with wheels again.

8.2.1941 Two reserve pilots, 2ndLt Bruun and 2ndLt Kokkonen, reported in military service.

11.2.1941 The new pilots were on flight with the Fiat on the first time.

15.2.1941 The special test flight had one Fokker CX and five flyable Fiats. Two Fiats were under maintenance.

22.2.1941 Orders for the aircraft fuel storages were given. Aviation fuel for fighters will be storaged for 2 hours flight per an aircraft per a day.

The Soviet aircrafts insulted the Finnish airspace at least 6 times during the month.

March 1941

12.3.1941 2ndLt Bruun landed Fiat (FA-14) with the landing gears retracted.

13.3.1941 SgtMaj Linnamaa (FA-9) made forced landing on the fields through the power lines.

15.3.1941 It was announced that one Finnish aircraft was flewn over the borderline near Viipurinlahti. The Soviets ground forces opened fire against it. None of the Finnish Flight Regiments (LeR1, LeR2, LeR3) did not have flight activity that time and that designated area.

The Soviet aircrafts insulted the Finnish airspace from Hanko to Petsamo at least 37 times during the month.

April 1941

4.4.1941 14 members of the LLv26 were familiarized the Army defence lines at the southern Saimaa area and Puumala airbase.

18.4.1941 A modified Fiat (FA-22) was introduced. It was equipped with new types of rudder and vertical stabilizer and open cockpit (removed canopy). It has also retractable undercarriage with skiis and armoured seat for pilot. On the next day the FA-22 arrived to Joroinen for several test flights with non-modified FA-15.

22.4.1941 A serie of test flights was started. Flights included climbing to 5000m altitude, turns with different speeds, stalls, aerobatics, dives, takeoff distances etc.

26.4.1941 In test flights Fiats reached indicated dive speeds of 750-800 km/h (IAS) from 3000 m altitude.

May 1941

The last month of peace.

Test flights with the Fiats (FA-22 and FA-15) continued during the month from Utti airbase. Unarmoured FA-15 reached 200 m more altitude after an Immelmann turn than modified FA-22.

31.5.1941 2ndLt C-E.Bruun was returned to reserve after his service period.

The Soviet aircrafts insulted the Finnish airspace at least 22 times during the month.

June 1941

9.6.1941 The Soviets (Maj Gubin) announced that a Finnish aircraft flew over Hermansö at 0958 AM. None of the Finnish aircraft were on flight on that time.

16.6.1941 The Air Force HQ ordered that a yellow "east-front" bands had to be painted to all Finnish aircrafts.

18.6.1941 The first day of the major military exercises (YH) and the reservists started to return to the service.

19.6.1941 The Malmi airbase was assigned for the German Luftwaffe use. In the Utti airbase the AA guns was set on readiness state and were camouflaged. Ammunitions were decentralized and covered. The AA gunners were trained and they camped near their guns. Command lines was built from the base to the local Air Surveillance Centers (IVAK). One fighter flight was set ready to takeoff (QRA) and the others were ready for action within 30 minutes.

20.6.1941 One Fiat rolled over during test run. Two Dornier Do-215 and one Heinkel He-111 from the Luftwaffe landed to Luonetjärvi airbase (near city of Jyväskylä).The German aircrafts flew two sorties which lasted about 3 hours.

21.6.1941 Very early in morning few German Junkers Ju-88 aircrafts, probably recons, landed to Utti airbase for refuel after their mission near Kronstadt and returned to the German territory. Base radios were tested (range 30 km), Fiats got only receivers. The Rantasalmi airbase was manned and base runway repairs and preparations were started. The LLv26 was ordered to cover troop transports at area Huutokoski - Simpele - Savonranta - Huutokoski. Preparations of emergency landing strips at Puomila and Kerisalo were ordered. Buildings got their camouflage paintings.

At noon the General HQ of Finnish Army was informed that the Germans will attack the Soviet Union. A part of the German aircrafts used the Finnish airspace during their flights to the Karelian Ishtmus, but did not use the Finnish airbases.

22.6.1941 The Fiats got their yellow bands and unique tail numbers (1st Flight - white, 2nd Flight - black with blue borders and 3rd Flight - yellow) were painted. A phone message from the Flight Regiment HQ: "Even if the war has already begin, the Finland is not involved it. The actions against us from the our eastern neighbour is more than possible. The squadron must arrange it state of readiness to keep that in mind."

The Germans attacked the Soviet Union early in the morning - Operation Barbarossa had started. Hitler kept a speech in which he told that Finland will fight beside the Germans(?). Finland was announced to be a neutral country by several Finnish embassies. The Great Britain and The Soviet Union assured their neutraliness against Finland. At 0605 and 0645 AM Soviet bombers already bombed Finnish ships near Sottunga and Korppoo and at 0615 AM the coastal fort of Alskär was attacked.

23.6.1941 The German Luftwaffe bombed Hanko area in Finland which was occupied by the Soviets according the truce agreement.

24.6.1941 2ndLt C-E.Bruun arrived to the service again and was positioned to the 3rd Flight. Quick alerts with four Fiats were tested and during a speed race tests it was noticed that all the planes were almost equal in speed.

The Continuation War was begun.