Jorma Sarvanto 6 DB-3 down in 4 minutes 060140

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Re: Jorma Sarvanto 6 DB-3 down in 4 minutes 060140

Post by Juha Tompuri » 19 Dec 2015 20:06

Yes, very interesting.

And as I live about 10-15km from Hirvelä and from several of the DB-3 crash sites I might be able to assist you (if needed) at local/Finnish details about the case.

Regards, Juha

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Re: Jorma Sarvanto 6 DB-3 down in 4 minutes 060140

Post by Surfer » 19 Dec 2015 21:18

Juha, I was at the crash site of the seven planes of the famous battle. If you would like to talk about it, write an e-mail for more detailed discussion.

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Re: Jorma Sarvanto 6 DB-3 down in 4 minutes 060140

Post by Juha Tompuri » 06 Jan 2016 22:26

From Hirvelä cemetery on Christmas eve
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Re: Jorma Sarvanto 6 DB-3 down in 4 minutes 060140

Post by Surfer » 22 Jan 2016 12:47

As I promised, provide a link to an article that was published in one of the Russian sites devoted to military aircraft.

http://retrovtap.ru/wp-content/uploads/ ... манова.pdf


It will be very interesting to hear the comments.

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Re: Jorma Sarvanto 6 DB-3 down in 4 minutes 060140

Post by Juha Tompuri » 06 Jan 2020 19:22

80 yrs ago today.

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Re: Jorma Sarvanto 6 DB-3 down in 4 minutes 060140

Post by Surfer » 15 Feb 2020 21:19

To date, eight families of relatives of pilots from the lost squadron have been found. Despite the fact that eighty years have passed since the tragedy, Russian military archives still do not provide any information.

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Re: Jorma Sarvanto 6 DB-3 down in 4 minutes 060140

Post by igorr » 21 Feb 2020 02:54

Which archive you mean? Russian researchers made this episode long time ago.

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Re: Jorma Sarvanto 6 DB-3 down in 4 minutes 060140

Post by Lotvonen » 21 Feb 2020 07:05

igorr wrote:
21 Feb 2020 02:54
Which archive you mean? Russian researchers made this episode long time ago.
Could you kindly provide a link?

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Re: Jorma Sarvanto 6 DB-3 down in 4 minutes 060140

Post by igorr » 26 Feb 2020 03:08

https://nemaloknig.com/read-158012/?page=10
Article of M. Morozov ("Загадка тройной шестерки...") started at end of page and continued at next.
Here another air researcher Kondratiev has doubt that Sarvanto was alone - very interesting comments.
https://vikond65.livejournal.com/6743.html
All in russian, of course.

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Re: Jorma Sarvanto 6 DB-3 down in 4 minutes 060140

Post by Lotvonen » 26 Feb 2020 06:48

igorr wrote:
26 Feb 2020 03:08
https://nemaloknig.com/read-158012/?page=10
Article of M. Morozov ("Загадка тройной шестерки...") started at end of page and continued at next.
Here another air researcher Kondratiev has doubt that Sarvanto was alone - very interesting comments.
https://vikond65.livejournal.com/6743.html
All in russian, of course.
Thank you very much, dear board member, for the links.
I had a look at them and shall do my best to translate the essential content although I am not an academic in славянове́дение. Instead I imagine to have a sufficient grasp of the Russian grammar for the task.

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Re: Jorma Sarvanto 6 DB-3 down in 4 minutes 060140

Post by Surfer » 26 Feb 2020 20:41

igorr wrote:
21 Feb 2020 02:54
Which archive you mean? Russian researchers made this episode long time ago.
Russian archives do not provide information on the dead pilots. Until today, the relatives of the pilots have not been informed about the circumstances of this episode and the places of burial of the pilots. Yes, you are right,you can find a lot of colorful descriptions of the famous air battle on the Internet.,both from the Finnish and Russian sides. I believe that many years have passed and there is no difference who shot down how many planes.Each side will stick to its own version.The only fact is that the Finnish state buries Soviet military pilots, allocates money for the monument and monitors its safety,and the relatives of the pilots do not know where or under what circumstances
they died.

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Re: Jorma Sarvanto 6 DB-3 down in 4 minutes 060140

Post by igorr » 27 Feb 2020 03:07

What are you talking about? Who's relatives can't get information today, when you can all info in Internet by couple of clicks? Here is data about place of burial for Maistrenko, for example.
https://pamyat-naroda.ru/heroes/memoria ... 0%BA%D0%BE
All documents about circumstances of losses is in RGVA-archive. Relative can send request about info trough military commissariat or even visit archive by themself. Of course if them sit down at home and waiting, when somebody come and tell them everything, they never know nothing.

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Re: Jorma Sarvanto 6 DB-3 down in 4 minutes 060140

Post by Surfer » 27 Feb 2020 07:18

igorr wrote:
27 Feb 2020 03:07
What are you talking about? Who's relatives can't get information today, when you can all info in Internet by couple of clicks? Here is data about place of burial for Maistrenko, for example.
https://pamyat-naroda.ru/heroes/memoria ... 0%BA%D0%BE
All documents about circumstances of losses is in RGVA-archive. Relative can send request about info trough military commissariat or even visit archive by themself. Of course if them sit down at home and waiting, when somebody come and tell them everything, they never know nothing.
The information you provide is the result (copying) of many years of work by a group of Russian and Finnish researchers. Numerous trips to archives, requests to military enlistment offices, visits to the places where all seven planes were lost,and meetings with local residents who have been tending the graves for many years. All this was the result of the fact that only some data became known.By the way, I didn't see any new information here.

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Re: Jorma Sarvanto 6 DB-3 down in 4 minutes 060140

Post by Lotvonen » 27 Feb 2020 08:03

Author: Miroslav Morozov, Major, Bachelor of History Sciences

The riddle of the triple Six or the extraordinary luck of Lt. Sarvanto
(...)

It was the second month of the Soviet-Finnish war. By this time, the initially advancing Soviet troops were stopped on the Mannerheim Line, and suffered in several locations between Lake Ladoga and the Arctic Circle considerable defeats. Instead of the planned short-lived campaign, the armed struggle between the two countries increasingly acquired the features of a war of attrition. The attacks of the Soviet Air Force on the economic and military targets in the central and western parts of Finland became more frequent.

Greater importance was attached to the destruction of the railway network. To accomplish these tasks, significant forces were allocated by the standards of the “Winter War”: 1st Special Purpose Aviation Army (AON-1; three DB-3 regiments, the third at the beginning of January 1940 in a formation stage) and an air group stationed in Estonia, brigade commander Kravchenko (one regiment of DB and SB, regiment of fighters) - up to one fifth of the combat personnel of aviation involved against "White Finns". On January 6, the next strike at the target - the Kuopio railway station - was to be delivered by the 6th dbap (long-range bomber regiment) AON-1, based at the Krechevitsa airport (north of Novgorod).

The operation plan was passed to the air crews two days before departure. The object was not chosen by chance. Via Kuopio passed through one of the three South-North railway lines, extremely important for transporting troops between central and southern Finland. The regiment was supposed to strike with the main force - 36 DB (nine of four out of five squadrons of the unit).

There was a risk in the distance to be flown over enemy territory. Even the shortest route from the coastline of the Gulf of Finland to the city covered 270 km. It took about an hour to fly it. As an alternative, the eastern route was planned - passing Lake Ladoga from the east, then north, followed by a turn to the west. In this case, no more than 160 km would have to be flown over the enemy territory, and, unlike the relatively densely populated areas of the country, there would be a continuous “green sea of ​forest” below. However, a new problem arose here - the lack of landmarks. In addition, the area was the operating theatre of the Air Force of the 8th Army, with which it would be necessary to agree on corridors, possible landing aerodromes, provision of weather reports, etc. Although all these details were not negotiated, the theoretical possibility of flying along the eastern route remained.

For the sake of justice, it should be noted that at that time such precautionary measures were considered unnecessary, especially since the Finnish air defense was not perceived as a serious obstacle. The latter fact is somewhat surprising, since, according to documents, from the beginning of hostilities, the regiment lost totally five aircraft, one of which was shot down in an air battle, and the rest did not return from missions for unknown reasons. The reaction to this was the prohibition of single aircraft missions and the order to send at least two nines [squadrons] on one mission , and also a dense bomber formation was considered quite a sufficient measure to prevent any surprises.
(...)
The first adjustments to the plan were made, as usual, due to the weather. Although the lower edge of the clouds was approximately at 3000 m, heavy snowfall forced meteorologists to classify it as "limited flying." Recognizing that the regiment was unlikely to be able to carry out the mission in its entirety (the 6th dbap was relocated to Krechevitsy from Ivanovo on November 14, 1939 and did not have sufficient flying experience in difficult weather conditions), the commanders of the unit decided to send only two nines in separate waves. The first group to take off at 09:35 hrs was the 3rd squadron of Major Maystrenko.

The take-off took place without incident, except for the malfunctions that almost immediately arose on the a/c of the flight commander Fedorov. His plane was forced to return to the airfield, while the rest of the squadron, 8 a/c in a wedge, took a North-western course. The flight went on above the upper cloud cover (cloud cover 3-4 points) at an altitude of 3300 m. Over the Luga Bay, the aircraft turned North.

In the airspace above the Gulf of Finland the squadron passed over a continuous carpet of clouds, but having crossed the Finnish coastline, 10 km west of Virolahti, thre were large gaps in cloud cover . It is possible that at that very moment the a/c were spotted from the ground. This, in particular, is indicated by the fact that the first attack on the Maistrenko group was carried out in the area of ​​the city of Mikkeli - 90 km north of the Utti airport, from where Finnish fighters took off. (#1)
Around 11:30, suddenly from the side of the sun, Soviet planes were attacked by seven or eight Fokkers DXXI from the 4th LeLv detachment 24.(#2)
Finnish planes attacked the aircraft of the commissar of squadron Gramotkin in a shallow dive. From a distance of 100-150 m, the Finns shot the DB-3 in flames, after which the a/c abruptly dived to the ground. Defensive fire was opened very late and, in all likelihood, turned out to be inaccurate, which, however, did not prevent the Soviet side from adding three Fokkers to its account. The fighters slipped below the bombers, but did not turn around for a second attack - obviously, there wasn’t much fuel left for them, or they didn’t want to move too far from the airfield. The attack ended as suddenly as it began, and the bombers, closing the line, continued to move toward the target. (#3)

About 40 minutes after the battle, the group reached the target. The railway station was hidden by light clouds and haze. Even despite the absence of anti-aircraft fire, attacking it from a height of 3600 m was very difficult. Only at the fourth approach at 12:25 the squadron released the bomb load (totaling 70 FAB-100, two FAB-50, six ZAB-50). The answer to the layman's question “why didn't the planes drop?” is the following. According to combat reports of the time (it is possible that they were confirmed by field tests), when bombing below 2800-3000 m, up to 30-40% scatter was expected, since it was believed that the bomb might not fall in vertical trajectory.

The decision to bomb from a great height affected only the results of the combat mission, but the subsequent decision of Major Maystrenko to return by the old route had fatal consequences. In all likelihood, the Squadron CO was more afraid of getting lost over the uninhabited open spaces of Karelia than of interceptors. Loss of orientation was a real problem of our aircraft in the “Winter War”, but nevertheless, what could have happened as a result of orientation would hardly have any worse consequences. Without detailed Finnish data, it’s hard to say now whether the enemy purposefully expected the 3rd Squadron to return, “leading” it with the help of the air support stations, or the route accidentally brought Soviet planes to Kouvola station, which was obviously the main object covered by the “Fokkers” of 4. / LeLv 24. The result was one - at 13:20 the Soviet aircraft again were under a surprise attack. (#4)

This time the Finns were eight or nine [sic!]. They attacked from the rear. The tactics were old: gently diving from a height exceeding that of the DB-3 by 15-20 m, entering the dead sector formed by the tail, approaching to a distance of 100-150 m, aiming at the unprotected fuel tanks, and leaving by diving. The Fokkers easily avoided the fire of the lower “dagger" DB formation, which had extremely small firing angles, turned around with a climb, and again went on the attack. Navigators of the bombers, watching the turns of the Fokkers, could, perhaps, threaten their pilots with their fists - their bow ShKAS almost did not deviate to the sides.
Soviet aviators could hardly oppose this tactic. It is clear that they were lacking flying and combat experience. For most crews of the 3rd Squadron, the combat mission on January 6 was the second. Covering the tails of neighboring aircraft was not worked out. The a/c were not spaced in height, which is why the leading a/c did not participate in the battle until attacked.

With each minute of battle, the resistance of the defending side decreased. The Finns had nothing to do with it - just the radio operators (the only of the three firing points of the DB-3, who had the opportunity to take a real part in the battle) could not be under the hood of their installation for a long time. A stream of cold air running through numerous slots (on the ground without wind, its temperature was around - 30-35 ° C did its job. First of all, the hands of the airmen ceased to function, since the trigger guard of the machine gun did not allow firing, Taking off the gloves! Since in this case the Finns persisted and continued to attack Soviet planes for more than 10 minutes, there was no doubt about the outcome of the battle. The left side of the formation was almost immediately shot down. Then it was the turn of the commander’s machine for Chugu ova, Maistrenko’s planes and Assistant Squadron Blinov’s commander from the head link. Burning bombers, one after another, dived to the ground like giant torches. Only DB-3 of senior pilot Ageev reached the coast of the Gulf of Finland. He would not have survived if he hadn’t witty maneuver The pilot went into a sharp dive and dropped from a height of 3300 m to 350. Finding the last enemy plane shot down, the Fokker pilots turned back, and their success was already impressive. Ageev’s plane, which had no other serious damage, except for the shot-through elevator, reached the airfield. Without losses, another nine returned, flying to the target and back by different routes.


Contrary to popular belief about the repressive method of analyzing any failure at that time, the battle on January 6 did not lead to severe punitive measures or serious investigations into the military causes of the incident. The entire crew of the surviving aircraft wrote brief reports on what had happened and proposals for future. In particular, they contained statements regarding the reconstruction of the bow and lower firing points to turrets, the transfer of fuel tanks from the wings to the fuselage, and the bomb compartments into the wings, machine-gun ammo exclusively tracer and incendiary bullets. It was recommended to distribute the formations in height and pay more attention to working out the methods of mutual protection by each other's airplanes. It is well known how much all these tips were implemented, or rather, not put into practice. The factories were required to non-stop production of new machines, and the pilots did not engage in combat training, but flying new sorties. The result was obvious. Until the end of the Soviet-Finnish war, another 31 DB-3s were lost due to military reasons (14 went missing, 11 were shot down in aerial combat, six were shot down by anti-aircraft artillery). The total losses during the war amounted to 74 a/c (including 27 due to non-combat reasons), of which five became Finnish trophies. Given the fact that long-range bombers made about 3,500 sorties (including 2,530 from the AON-1), and the Finnish air defense did not have very large forces, the level of losses can be considered quite high. In fact, every fifth DB-3 who took part in the war died.

Something to notice about the Finns. Their battle descriptions do not determine the exact number of Fokkers participating in it. If we take as a basis the information of the Soviet side (eight to nine fighters), then the score of Jorma Sarvanto of six downed vehicles seems incredible. Another Soviet bomber in this battle shot down another ace, Per-Eric Sovelius. The sum of seven a/c, in all probability, was obtained by the Finns, taking into account the surviving Ageev’s a/c. According to the opposite side, on the same day, Sovelius shot down another DB-3. It could be only the plane of Commissioner Gramotkin, destroyed in the first battle. Nothing is said in the Finnish descriptions and about the loss or damage of the attacking side. Only in the second battle did the Soviet side claim to bring down 5 fighters. (#5)

And yet, with all the “buts”, Finnish arithmetic is clearly not contrary to reality, and if the historians of our former adversary insist that almost all DBs brought down Sarvanto, this is, after all, their business. Summing up, it is nevertheless necessary to note: in the largest confirmed air victory of World War II there are much more miscalculations and shortcomings of the injured party than the courage and skill of the victorious. Apparently, this is the mystery of the triple "six", as well as many other similar cases.

Translator's remarks, based on the book “Ilmavoimat talvisodassa”, by Kalevi Keskinen and Kari Stenman.
#1. There were no Finnish fighters defending Mikkeli although the GHQ was located there. There had been a heavy air raid at Mikkeli on 5.Jan.1940
#2. Four Fokkers of 4/LeLv 24 were temporarily based at A/B Utti
#3. Lt. Sovelius, the sole attacker, was ferrying his FR-92 from maintenance in Lappeenranta to Utti. Not a single Finnish Fokker D.21 was lost on 6th January 1940.
#4. Apparently the Soviet bombers used the Kouvola – Kuopio railway as their orientation aid in both directions. The fighter base in Utti was well informed on the position of the Soviet bomber formation all the time.
#5. Could not disagree more.

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Re: Jorma Sarvanto 6 DB-3 down in 4 minutes 060140

Post by igorr » 27 Feb 2020 09:44

Surfer wrote:
27 Feb 2020 07:18
The information you provide is the result (copying) of many years of work by a group of Russian and Finnish researchers. Numerous trips to archives, requests to military enlistment offices, visits to the places where all seven planes were lost,and meetings with local residents who have been tending the graves for many years. All this was the result of the fact that only some data became known.By the way, I didn't see any new information here.
Two post later you write that there no any info for relatives. Память народа - official site of Ministry of Defence and military archives (mostly TSAMO). From where info was taken - is second question. Fact is that info for relatives now present online. Circumstances of losses all keeps in RGVA-archive. This is not secret now.

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