What If-Finland had been prepared for the Winter War?

Discussions on the Winter War and Continuation War, the wars between Finland and the USSR.
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John Hilly
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Re: What If-Finland had been prepared for the Winter War?

Post by John Hilly » 13 Sep 2011 09:50

CanKiwi2 wrote:Männikön läpi kulkeva osastoraja, joka samalla toimi palokatuna / A Firebreak in the Pine Forest, which at the same time was the Border (with the USSR)
Sorry to interrupt, but you have misunderstood the word osastoraja. It doesn't mean State Border, but section line of the forest owner(s).

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Juha-Pekka :milwink:
"Die Blechtrommel trommelt noch!"

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Re: What If-Finland had been prepared for the Winter War?

Post by CanKiwi2 » 13 Sep 2011 14:22

John Hilly wrote:
CanKiwi2 wrote:Männikön läpi kulkeva osastoraja, joka samalla toimi palokatuna / A Firebreak in the Pine Forest, which at the same time was the Border (with the USSR)
Sorry to interrupt, but you have misunderstood the word osastoraja. It doesn't mean State Border, but section line of the forest owner(s).

Greets
Juha-Pekka :milwink:
Thx Juha-Pekka, I got "Department of Border" when I translated that and it didn't quite make sense so I took a guess. Urk! So it's a really a border between different forestry companies.

Cheers........Nigel
ex Ngāti Tumatauenga ("Tribe of the Maori War God") aka the New Zealand Army

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Re: What If-Finland had been prepared for the Winter War?

Post by John Hilly » 13 Sep 2011 16:35

CanKiwi2 wrote:So it's a really a border between different forestry companies.
It can also be a border between same owner's timbering sections.
Funny, ha?

Juha-Pekka :milwink:
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Fire Fighting and Aerial Surveillance

Post by CanKiwi2 » 13 Sep 2011 21:25

Fire Fighting and Aerial Surveillance

As the Finnish Forestry industry expanded through the 1920’s, the early identification of forest fires became, as we have seen, an issue of greater economic importance than previously. While networks of Fire Watchtowers were built and fire patrols undertaken, a small group of aviation enthusiasts began to advocate the use of aircraft for aerial surveillance of forests in order to spot forest fires. It was a case of technology, enthusiasm and economics converging. The end of WW1 saw large numbers of war-surplus aircraft on the market. Even in Finland, somewhat isolated as it had been from the mainstream of WW1, there were young air enthusiasts in small numbers making a case for any area where aviation could be applied and where they could fly and make a living from it. And at one and the same time, the forestry industry was beginning to expand again in the aftermath of WW1. Finland was ready to take to the skies to detect forest fires.

The first steps in aerial surveillance through the 1920’s were intermittent. It is often said that Finnish aviation began during the country’s civil war of 1918, when the Finnish Air Force received its first aeroplane as a gift from the Swedish Count Rosen. But aviation, be it floating by hot air balloon, flying a model aeroplane, gliding a sailplane or soaring in a motorized aircraft, was practised long before. The early annals of Finnish flight contain the names of numerous aviators whose efforts and sacrifices, successes and failures and above all, their burning passion for flight, paved the way for the development of aviation at the beginning of this century and onwards to the present day. One such aviator in the early 1920’s was Baron Kaspar Fabian Wrede of Elima. Kaspar Wrede was born on October 24, 1892 to a family of the “old” nobility. His parents were the District Judge, Baron Kasper Hjalmar Wrede and Anna Sophia Ihre of a Swedish noble family. In 1911, Kaspar and his 13 year old brother had built a hang glider neaf Turku which, pulled by a horse, rose to 5-6 meters above ground and glided “for significant distances.”

Kaspar Wrede graduated from the Helsinki Swedish Lyceum in 1913 and then studied at the Dresden University of Technology, Mechanical Engineering Department from 1913 to 1914. Wrede joined one of the first set of Jaeger volunteers who undertook military training in Germany and whose goal was the independence of Finland from RussiaHe enrolled on the 25 February 1915 and was placed in 1 Komppaniaan, but he was released from service due to illness on 15 April 1915. Returning home to Finland to convalesce, in 1915, he had flown a home-made monoplane of the ice of the Kymijoki river. In 1916, Kaspar Wrede travelled to Sweden and studied flying at the Thulin Ljungbyhed flight school. Later in 1916, he traveled to the United States and went to work in the Curtiss aircraft factory in Buffalo. At the same time, he continued his flying studies at the Newport News Airport over 1917-1918 and on 21 February 1917 the Aviation Club of America awarded him what was apparently the first Finnish International Airplane Pilot Certificate No. 661 This certificate was conditional on a test flight that was carried out in a Curtiss JN-4 aircraft.

Wrede returned to Finland in the autumn of 1918, after the civil war. He then served in the Finnish Army, was promoted to Sergeant on 12 October 1918, and was placed in the Hermanni flight department. He became a mechanic and later served for a short period in the Maintenance Unit at Utti airport, where he worked for a short time. He resigned from the army on 16 January 1919. His family had interests in the Forestry Industry and in April 1919 Wrede purchased a Curtiss Flying Boat and in May, after a number of familiarization flights, he made an initial flight in order to demonstrate the viability of using aircraft in fire surveillance. The Head of the State Forest Service offered to hire him but Wrede refused pay, saying that he wanted only the expenses of the aircraft reimbursed together with a salary of “many thanks.” Wrede flew almost daily in July and August 1919 as a flying fire warden over the forests of Eastern Karelia.

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Kaspar Wrede’s second-hand Curtiss Flying Boat

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Kaspar Wrede (seated) in the Curtiss hydroplane he used to spot forest fires, 1921

News of Wrede’s work quickly spread; Finnish Forestry magazine had an article about it in their September 1919 issue. However, among some foresters, reviews of the tool were mixed. The trial continued through the 1920 fire season but not as many fires were first spotted by the air patrol as had been hoped, and the lack of wireless radios for communication between pilot and ground crew slowed the fire reporting process down significantly. In addition, the Curtiss Flying Boat itself was a bit of a problem. While it provided the pilot with an excellent panoramic view, it had serious drawbacks, being notoriously unreliable and it was also not an easy plane to handle. The engine broke down regularly, forcing emergency landings on the closest body of water. If the engineer (who always accompanied the pilot) couldn't fix the problem, the crew had to walk out of the bush to get help - unless they had a messenger pigeon or a wireless transmitting set on board. It also needed lots of room to manoeuver - to take off, gain altitude, and descend. This left a very narrow margin for error in mountainous, or even hilly country. By the end of the flying season the H-Boat was waterlogged and unwieldy, since the wooden hull steadily absorbed water over the summer.

In September 1920, after a two-season trial, the Head of the Forest Service ended the program as not having proved itself particularly useful, and the Forest Service went on to concentrate on the Fire Tower construction program. Disappointed, Wrede sold his aircraft and traveled to Australia. He went on to rent a deserted island in Fiji, where he died on 16 October 1921 from a serious and hitherto undiagnosed illness. Thus, the first Finnish experiments in aerial fire surveillance ended – but they were not forgotten and would be resurrected a decade later. And as with many other initiatives, the resurrection in this case was sparked off by experiments being undertaken in the USSR.

Intermittent experiments in the use of aircraft in Finland took place of and on through the late 1920’s, when Ilmavoimat aircraft were occasionally used to patrol and detect forest fires. At this time also, various attempts were made to drop water and primitive foam mixtures on fires, using such devices as five-gallon cans, paper bags, and wooden beer kegs attached to parachutes. These early experiments met with little success but sporadic experiments with fire retardents continued and aerial surveillance did continue. During this same period, occasional non-emergency parachute jumps were being made by the military and a few thrill-seeking barnstormers.

However, as in so many other areas, Finland received a real and sharp impetus from events in the USSR. In 1931, the USSR had set up the Avialesookhrana organisation, an aerial patrol organisation for forest protection responsible for patrolling some 1.5 million hectares in the Nizhni Novgorod Province. The first group of Forest Engineers were trained as Pilot Observers and in that year 40 hours flying was logged, with some 16 fires detected. From 1932 to 1935 research on the use of aviation in forestry was conducted by the Leningrad Branch of the All-Union Research Institute of Agriculture and Forest Aviation. Furthermore, in 1934, the same institute started a project to investigate the feasibility of using parachutes in fighting forest fires. A number of tests were carried out on the delivery of both equipment and people to the sites of forest fires by air. In 1935, a team of three fire-fighters under the leadership of G.A. Mikeev carried out 50 parachute jumps for forest fire suppression from a U-2 (PO-2) aircraft using the PT-1 model parachute.

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Soviet Avialesookhrana Aircraft, Patrols and Smokejumpers – 1930’s: In 1936 the Leningrad Branch of the All-Union Research Institue of Agriculture and Forest Aviation was reorganized into the State All-Union Trust of Forest Aviation (VGTLA) based in Leningrad. P. A. Tsetlin was appointed head of the organisation and all activities relatred to aerial forestry fire protection throughout the USSR were placed under the control of VGTLA. An Air Services Department was formed, with four Forest Aviation Detachments – Leningrad (headed by M.D. Artamonov), Northern (headed by V. S. Rekunov), Krasnoyarsk (headed by A. T. Hramtsov) and Tyumen (headed by S.Z. Beloborodin). These detachments were responsible for aerial forest fire protection, assisting with wood floating, aerial photography of forest resources, providing transportation and communications and carrying out general forest aviation functions. The areas patrolled and the number of flight hours grew rapidly and by 1939 the areas covered had increased by more than 45 times, reaching 95 million hectares, and the flight time logged had increased to 7,200 hours. The number of aircraft involved, primarily the PO-2, had climbed to approximately 110 overall.

In 1931, aware of the experiments in the USSR and also kept up to date on similar experiments in both the USA and Canada, the State Forest Service decided to conduct further experiments with aerial fire surveillance. A number of criteria were decided on, largely based on the North American experience. Most important was that detection aircraft should provide excellent visibility, be reliable, and handle well at slow speeds. Visibility was particularly important. Fire observers needed a wide, unbroken view of the land below, in order to spot that thin spiral of smoke that signals a fire. When a fire was spotted, the detection aircraft slowly circled over the fire. The observer would take a good look at the fire behaviour, note the closest source of water, and estimate the number of firefighters and the equipment needed to put it out. Within a year or two, the Forest Service would experiment extensively with air-to-ground wireless transmission, but in the first two years no patrol planes carried wireless equipment.

Planes without wireless followed these procedures.

Detection. When the observer detected a smoke, he passed a note to the pilot, or pointed. The roar of the engine made normal conversation impossible.
Information. The pilot flew to the spot and circled over the fire, while the observer plotted the location on a map. He studied the fire carefully, noting fire location, size, and rate of spread; timber type; topography; access routes; available water; and the equipment and numbers of fire fighters required.
Communication. Once the observer located the fire and sized it up, he had to get the information to headquarters as fast as possible. There were several options:
- Drop a message bag over forestry headquarters;
- Relay the message from a telephone or telegraph station, if the pilot could readily locate a nearby lake to land on;
- Use a portable phone, a time-consuming task. First, the pilot located a suitable lake to land on, close to a telephone line. Then the observer headed out on foot to the line. He threw a phone wire over the line to make contact, shouted into the phone until someone heard him, and reported the fire.
Reporting wildfire using these methods was not always 100% reliable, but it was incomparably faster than ground patrols.

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State Forest Service patrol planes flying in close formation, Eastern Karelia, 1933.

The aircraft used in aerial fire surveillance over 1931-1933 were all borrowed from the Ilmavoimat – which loaned the Forest Service half a dozen IVL A.22 Hansa’s – while as a floatplane the aircraft was suitable, the Hansa was also a low-winged monoplane which was somewhat limiting in terms of visibility. After the first two seasons, with over 400 major fires detected and put out before they could do significant damage, and numerous smaller fires spotted and quickly put out bt fire response teams, the Forest Service declared the program a success and in 1933, the State Forest Service went ahead and purchased six De Havilland Moths which were fitted with floats on delivery. The Moth was light and maneuverable, reliable, and did not require the services of an in-flight engineer. On the Moth, the pilot doubled as the fire observer and everyone who flew the aircraft loved the Moth. According to one, it took to the air 'like a homesick angel'. The Moth went on to fly on fire patrols until the 1940s.

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De Havilland Gypsy Moth floatplane – the State Forest Service used aircraft that were largely identical to the aircraft in this photo

The rumor that each Forest Service aircraft was equipped with a telescope and machine gun (which probably originated from the early use of the Hansa’s by the Forest Service) laos proved a powerful deterrant to arson and to timber theft. (An interesting cultural theme of the 1920’s and 1930’s was the popularity of books and films about logging – an early example being Erkki Karu’s 1923 film, “The Logroller’s Bride” with superb cinematography by Jäger and Oscar Lindelöf. A later movie was “Tukkijoella” (Log River – 1928). Films of this genre gave the Finnish cinema and the viewing public one of its most popular characters – the lumberjack (tukkijatka, tukkipoika, tukkilainen) who at his most heroic hour becomes the log-roller or the shooter of rapids (koskenlaskija). The significance of this character in Finnish cinema is comparable to that of the Cowboy on American cinema. He is the pioneer, the wandere, the adventurer. He negotiates the frontier, he is an embodiment of the conflict between wilderness and civilization. We meet this figure in “Koskenlaskijan Morsian” (The Logroller’s Bride), 1922, remade 1937), “Tukkijoella” (Log River, 1928 – remade 1937 and 1951) and in “Tukkipojan Morsian” (The Lumberjack’s Bride, 1931) as well as in others.

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Poster for Tukkijoella

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Erkki Karu, founder of Suomen Filmikuvaamo (later to become Suomi-Filmi) and then Suomen Filmiteollosuus: He also directed the most important films of the era and was the prime figure of Finnish cinema before his early death in 1935. His “The Village Shoemakers” (1923) is the essential silent masterpiece, a freshly told folk comedy after Aleksis Kivi's play with mildly experimental camerawork by German Kurt Jäger. Other notable films by Karu include: Koskenlaskijan Morsian (The Logroller's Bride) (1923), with superb cinematography by Jäger and Oscar Lindelöf, and also the first Finnish film distributed widely abroad; When Father Has Toothache (1923), a short and surrealistic farce; and Our Boys (1929), a patriotisic forerunner of many military farces. Audiences of the agricultural country were affected by Suomi-Filmi's rural subjects. Dealing with deeply national countryside stories remained as company's policy through the silent era. Occasionally there were some attempts to make more urban, or more "European" films like Karu's Summery Fairytale (1925), but the public stayed away. Another important director at Suomi-Filmi was Puro, who made the company's first feature “Olli's Years of Apprenticeship” (1920) and one of the few Finnish horror films, “Evil Spells” (1927). An interesting oddity of the last two silent years was Carl von Haartman, a soldier and an adventurer, who had worked as a military advisor in Hollywood. Because of this he was considered capable of directing films. His two upper-class spy dramas, The Supreme Victory (1929) and Mirage (1930), were quite passable, but didn't attract the public. We will see more of Carl von Haartman as this Winter War history progresses….

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Poster for “Tukkipojan Morsian” (The Lumberjack’s Bride, 1931).

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And a Poster from a later remake of Tukkijoella

In the mid-1930’s, the State Forest Service also contracted aircraft from Veljekset Karhumäki for aerial fire surveillance patrols and also for aerial mapping. It was through these contracts that the State Forest Service became aware of the Noorduyn Norseman, first introduced into Finland in July 1937 by Veljekset Karhumäki. Impressed by the aircraft, the State Forest Service’s Aerial Surveillance and Fire Fighting Unit purchased eight Norseman aircraft from Noorduyn towards the tail end of 1937, taking delivery in 1938 in time for the start of the Fire Season. Originally designed and constructed to handle the harsh flying conditions of the Canadian bush, the Norseman was not intended to be a detection plane but was to be used as a reliable, all-purpose utility machine, a “half-ton truck with wings”. The Norseman had phenomenal STOL: short take-off and landing capabilities and this capability made all the difference on loaded fire patrols carrying firefighters and equipment. Even on a small lake, or in a tight spot, a heavily loaded Norseman needed very little room to land, or to take off. (Incidentally, the eight Norseman purchased by the State Forest Service, together with Veljekset Karhumäki’s five and the Ilmavoimat’s twenty five, gave the Ilmavoimat thirty eight of these very useful utility aircraft as of the start of the Winter War. Able to carry 10 passengers each and with a range of 810 nautical miles, thirty five of these aircraft gave a significant air-lift capability to the Finnish military all on their own).

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State Forest Service Noorduyn Norseman flying through mountains on the Norwegian Border – near the Finnmark

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State Forest Service Fire Surveillance Patrol utility aircraft: Transferring fire equipment from a fire truck to a utility aircraft. Use of the utility aircraft greatly speeds up the transportation of equipment and supplies. The Norseman aircraft can carry 10 men and equipment into fires for initial attack thus saving many hours of time necessary to cover the same distances by boat, portage & hiking. Arriving at a fire soon after it starts means that often the fire can be put out while it is still small.

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State Forest Service patroller checking a fire cache on an island. The availability of utility aircraft meant added capability for the fire fighting teams responsible for fighting forest fires.

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Forest Fire Fighting Noorduyn Norseman dropping fire tools near a fire

Fire Fighting and the Origins of the Forest Service Smokejumpers (Savusukeltaja)

Over the early 1930’s the use of aircraft for Fire-Spotting over the summer months proved effective, with a large number of fires in remote areas being spotted, enabling teams to be dispatched to get them under control. With the emphasis on a fire exclusion policy (complete fire suppression) in forests nationwide, improvements were being continually made to firefighting tools and techniques. However, forest fire fighting teams still had to hike for miles into a fire area with heavy equipment and then work frantically to fight the fire once they arrived on the scene. They would dig trenches or cut fire lines to clear an area down to the soil. By leaving nothing to fuel the advancing fire, they hoped to keep the fire from spreading further. In the early days these “firefighters” were any men the Forest Service could recruit to work and it often took long periods of time for the firefighters to hike to fires. And despite this, some fires nevertheless did get out of control before the teams could get there.

With larger passenger aircraft now flying regularly around Finland, in early 1935 Erik Rasmussen, head of the Forest Services Fire Fighting Department received a proposal from one of the Regional Fire Fighting Teams proposing that Forest Fire Fighters be parachuted in to remote fires as a means to provide a much quicker initial response. By parachuting in, self-sufficient firefighters could arrive fresh and ready for the strenuous work of fighting fires in rugged terrain. The Forest Services Fire Fighting Department asked for advice from the Ilmavoimat, who responded that “….parachuting into forests is dangerous and impractical and should not be attempted other than as an emergency measure….” However, after meeting with the Team that had proposed the technique, who almost unanimously were strongly in favor of giving it a go, Rasmussen went ahead and authorized an experiemental program which began in early 1934. Much time was spent on the development of special parachutes and equipment, with the first actual jumps made in the summer of 1935. Pictured below is the first team of Forest Service Fire Fighting Parachutists.

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The first team of Finnish Forest Service Fire Fighting Parachutists – Summer 1935

The first jumps were made from whatever aircraft were available. The first team consisted of eleven fire fighters, all of whom were self-taught. As Henrik Garvar, a founding member of the first Savusukeltaja team and one of the first ParaJaegers - and who would later go on to command a ParaJaeger Battalion by the end of the Winter War, recollected in his biography, “Savusukeltaja” (Smokejumpers) (Otava, Helsinki, 1951), “Our training consisted of our Team Leader saying: ‘This is your parachute. You know what a fire is. We jump tomorrow.” We were all volunteers of course, and we all jumped. Later, we developed a training program but to start with, it was all self-taught and we had some problems we hadn’t really thought about too well. Like how to get down if you got hung up in a tree.”

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Equipment was almost all hand-made with the exception of the Parachutes. Here, a member of the first Fire Fighting Parachutist Team, suited up in a complete Fire Fighter-Parachutist's outfit, Summer 1935.

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Savusukeltaja taking a last glance at his objective before leaving the plane. Note right hand gripping ripcord. (Reflection shows in plane window).

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The view from inside the aircraft as the Savusukeltaja prepare to jump

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Forest Service Fire-Fighter–Parachutist about to leave the plane on his descent to a small forest fire. Note right hand gripping ripcord.

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Forest Service Fire-Fighter–Parachutist has jumped but not yet pulled the Ripcord. All jumpers used Ripcords – Static Lines were not used. Given that jumping was from a fairly low height to avoid drifting away from the fire, this added a further element of risk to what was an already hazardous occupation

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Forest Service Fire-Fighter–Parachutist soon after leaving plane with the pilot 'chute completely distended and the 30-foot canopy unfolding.

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Forest Service Fire-Fighter – Parachutist immediately after leaving plane before parachute is completely distended. Forest fire is at lower left.

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Aerial view of wildfire, smoke columns with Forest Service smokejumpers with parachutes on ground.

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Forest Service Fire-Fighter – Parachutists dropping towards the fire. The aircraft used in these photos was a chartered Ford Trimotor.

With hand tools, explosives, and the ability to think fast on their feet, Forest Service Fire-Fighter Parachutists had one job – to contain the fire they were dropped to extinguish. First, they had to get there by parachuting into often unchartered territory and treacherous forests and hills – with the risk of dropping into a lake or river to contend with as well. Often, they were the only hope to stop a fire burning out of control, and they rapidly became the most important line of defense against one of the deadliest of natural disasters. Success meant saving valuable forests, but failure could mean losing lives, property and millions of dollars in damage.

With a successful first season, the Forest Service Fire-Fighter Parachutists expanded rapidly and for the 1936 Fire Season, some 250 forest fire fighters were trained in parachuting techniques. By this time, the first team had set up a training program based on their experiences over the first season, and budding Fire-Fighter Parachutists were recuited and trained early on, before the high-risk fire season period started. They rapidly became a news story, with papers carrying headline stories about the courageous “Savusukeltaja” and their exploits in fighting fires in the depths of the remote forests.

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The first Smokejumper Base; ca. 1937. Building on the left is the parachute maintenance building (loft not visible). The middle building is the accommodation barracks. The building on the right is the fire-fighting equipment cache.

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Early Parachute Training simulator, designed and built by the first Forest Service Fire-Fighter Parachutist Team. Smokejumper trainees learnt the control, feel and turning characteristics which closely simulated those of smokejumper parachutes.

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A Forest Service Fire-Fighter Parachute Instructor-Rigger instructing a prospective smokejumper in the use of a "drop rig". This simulated landing when a chute was caught in a snag or other obstacle and trained the candidate in the use of a landing rope.

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A trainee Smokejumper leaving a 30-foot platform used for training jumps.

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A trainee Smokejumper leaving a 30-foot platform used for training jumps.

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1936 Smokejumpers – this Team was the first to graduate from the Smokejumpers School in 1936. This particular team, led by Henrik Garvar, made up largely of Suojeluskuntas members, were also the first soldiers in the Maavoimat to parachute into a military exercise and all those pictured here went on to become founding members of the first Maavoimat experimental Parajaeger unit – the forerunner of the Parajaegerdivisoona.

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Unlike the first Smokejumpers, who learnt on the job by parachuting straight into the forest, subsequent Smokejumpers got to learn by jumping into clear areas that were obstacle-free

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This made learning a little less dangerous

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A Safe Landing… Henrik Garvar showing the “newbies” how it’s done

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And a more typical tree landing encountered by Forest Service smokejumpers. The Smokejumper has released risers from the shoulder snaps of his harness, and has lowered himself approximately 6 feet down by means of the 75-foot let-down rope carried for this purpose in the leg pocket of the jumper's suit.

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April 1937: Chute near top of 125 foot Douglas fir where it was purposely guided by the jumper (Henrik Garvar demonstrating again…) as a demonstration for Candidate Smokejumpers. The Canopy is caught on branches ten feet below the tip. The Jumper descended on his rope with relatively little difficulty.

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A Smokejumper in a rather more difficult but not unusual situation on landing

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Savusukeltaja, suited up, loading into Ford Tri-Motor.

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Savusukeltaja in a Ford Trimotor plane about to jump. This practice jump is being made with a static line, which became the preferred technique by the late 1930’s, and which went on to become adopted by the Maavoimat’s ParaJaegers. Note webbing on the parachute which is hooked by a snap catch to a wire line stretched at the side of the doorway.

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Savusukeltaja descends with his parachute, nearing the tops of the trees. This photo from Erkki Karu’s 1938 film “Savusukeltaja”. The film made the term a household word and did much to make the newly forming ParaJaegerdivisoona a much sought after unit by young conscripts. The image of the “Savusukeltaja”more or less overwhelmed the inherent Finnish dislike for authority and being told what to do that made conscript service undesirable for many young Finnish men. The ParaJaegerdivisoona would go on to capitalize heavily on the“Savusukeltaja”image with young men from the rural areas.

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Savusukeltaja at end of descent about to free himself from chute, remove protection suit, and start for fire. Much of his equipment is similar to that used at the battlefronts, since he encounters many of the same perils.

The Forest Service Savusukeltaja pioneered the way for military parachuting within Finland. From their early origins, they went on to develop the techniques, parachuting equipment and training that the Maavoimat’s ParaJaegerdivisoona would go on to adopt and adapt. They would also pioneer and test variations in parachute design. The first Maavoimat ParaJaeger units started from a core of Forest Service Fire-Fighter Parachutists who went on to teach volunteers from the Maavoimat combat parachuting skills. When we come to look at the Maavoimat in detail, we will further examine the evolution, structure and training of the Maavoimat’s ParaJaeger units.

Next: Radios and Waterbombers....
ex Ngāti Tumatauenga ("Tribe of the Maori War God") aka the New Zealand Army

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CanKiwi2
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The development of Radios for the Forest Service

Post by CanKiwi2 » 28 Sep 2011 17:11

The development of Radios for the Forest Service and for the Maavoimat

While the growth of the Fire Watching network and other fire-fighting initiatives were underway in the late 1920’s and eatly 1930’s, there were a number of parallel developments which would go on to be increasingly utilized by Forest Fire Fighters as their benefits were realized. One of these developments was the increasing use of wireless transmissions, which were beginning to revolutionize communications. While Fire Watchtowers were connected to local exchanges using bush telephone lines to allow the calling in of fire reports, the stringing of such lines was both expensive and time-consuming, and in some cases the distance was prohibitive. In cases where the distance was prohibitive, radios began to be used almost from the start. The radios were sourced from the military, who had the most knowledge and experience with such technology at the time, and who supplied the Forest Service fore watchers with the training needed.

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Forestry Service Radio Technician installs a towerman's radio in the 1930s

The early radio sets used were large and cumbersome, which was not an obstacle when they were located statically in Fire Watchtowers. Early aerial surveillance aircraft also began to utilize wireless transmissions. Aerial patrol crews could transmit fire reports to headquarters on the spot. The tapped out the fire report using Morse Code. It was one-way communication only, from aircraft to base – but the wireless equipment was costly and comptent operators were hard to find so more often that not it was Ilmavoimat personnel who were “borrowed” for this work. The first major milestone was in 1929 when positive steps were taken to formulate and develop a new series of wireless sets for Forest Service patrol aircraft which became available in 1930. This series was a great improvement on the then obsolete World War I pattern equipment.

The standard process that was followed was that when the aerial fire surveillance crew detected a fire, they sent a wireless message to their base who in turn notified the nearest ranger station by phone and alerted local Fire Fighting Teams. The aircraft would often return to the site of the fire and monitor it from above, communicating with the teams on the ground by dropping hand-written messages. Teams could communicate with the aircraft using a combination of panels laid on the ground as signals or markers. However, this was a rudimentary form of communication at best and Fire Fighting Teams asked for radios to be provided to enable them to communicate from the fire site to their base and to assisting aircraft and the early portable radios were built in response to this demand.

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This model was among the first of the portable radios, built to Forest Service specifications, about 1930. They greatly improved communications in the control of forest fires. Not a backpack radio, but a step in that direction.

With the introduction of the Forest Service Savusukeltaja teams, the demand for a useful and robust portable and backpackable radio became even more pressing as these teams operated in more remote locations. These radios needed to operate in severe environmental conditions while maintaining acceptable radio communication, being used to help establish command posts and supply depots as well as to control operations, and communicate with aircraft dropping supplies and additional fire-fighters. The Forest Service again worked closely with the Maavoimat and the Finnish Radio industry to design and build such a radio, a prototype of which was in use by Savusukeltaja teams in 1937.

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Forest Service Fire Fighter operating an emergency radio station on the fire line, 1937

The ability to communicate rapidly and effectively was seem as a critical military requirement and the Maavoimat was quick to adopt the Savusukeltaja radio itself. As a result, thanks to a combination of factors, the Suomen Maavoimat entered the Winter War with what was, at the time, probably the most robust and effective military radio system in service in the world. A comprehensive network of Corps, Divisional, Regimental Combat Group, sub-unit, Artillery, Vehicle and Aircraft Radios existed in parallel to an older but equally comprehensive Field Telephone network. A rear-area communications network of Civil Defense and Air Surveillance Radios and Telephone links also existed, as did a uniqley capable specialist radio for Sissi and similar units that today we would call “Special Forces”. Within the Maavoimat, every Infantry Unit down to the Company level (and in some select units down to the Infantry Platoon level) was equipped with a man-portable radio with an effective range of up to 8 miles. All Artillery Units were equipped with Field Radios, as was every armored fighting vehicle in service. And all this was at a time when the French High Command was equipped with no radio whatsoever, relying on land-lines for communications.

As has been mentioned, Maavoimat doctrine emphasized a combination of strategic defensive and tactical offensive – with an added emphasis on mobility, quick withdrawals, even more rapid counter-attacks and high-speed flanking maneouvers all combined with effective artillery and close air support. In modern terms, the Maavoimate aimed to be “inside the enemy’s decision loop” at all times, out-thinking and out-fighting them, and acting and reacting faster than the enemy could counter. What made this doctrine even more effective was the Maavoimat’s radio communications network which reached down to each infantry company (and in some cases down to each Platoon), with a radio in each artillery battery, in each aircraft and in each tank or armoured vehicle. This communications network allowed the Maavoimat commanders to control their forces effectively, and to utilize their artillery and close air support destructively and efficiently. Radio allowed Maavoimat commanders to rapidly advance with their forces, see the battlefield with their eyes, not just on the map, and so achieve much greater control of the situation and much better use of their forces. Radio also enabled the Maavoimat senior commanders to efficiently control their mobile forces, more than ever before in history, allowing large scale cooperation and effective unity of command.

As a side-note, the Suomen Maavoimat had also developed a remarkably effective signals intelligence organisation within the military, derived in part from their research work, in part from experience in Spain and in part from their own assessment of what was needed. We will not consider signals intelligence in these Posts (apart from mentioning this and that the subject will be covered in detail in a later Post as we study the Maavoimat in detail).

The Maavoimat’s radio and landline communications network did not emerge from thin air in 1939. It had been a full decade in the making, an evolution which we will follow through in detail in the next Post where we will start by looking first at the early military use of radios, then at the military usage and evolution of radios in WW1, followed by the formation and evolution of the first Suomen Maavoimat Signals units. We will then go on to look at Maavoimat Signals equipment – both Field Telephones and Radios – and the Finnish (and Estonian) companies which designed and manufactured the equipment used by the Maavoimat – among then Helvar Oy Ab, Nokia Oy Ab and the Estonian Tartu Telefonivabrik AS (which had become a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Finnish Nokia in the mid-1930’s). In this, the Maavoimat was benefitting from the remarkably advanced state of Finnish radio and telephone technology in the 1930’s.

Finnish radio technology in the 1930’s was surprisingly advanced.

As we covered in an early post, in 1927, three companies, which had been jointly owned since 1922 (Finnish Rubber Works-Suomen Gummitehdas Oy, Finnish Cable Works-Suomen Kaapelitehdas Oy and Nokia Company- Nokia Aktiebolag) were merged to form a new industrial conglomerate named Nokia Oy. In the 1920s and 1930s, the world telephone markets were being organized and stabilized by many governments. The fragmented town-by-town systems which had grown up over the years, serviced by many small private companies, were being integrated and offered for lease to a single company. Finland was no exception and in 1932, Nokia was awarded the contract for Finnish Telephone Services nationwide. Within two years, Nokia had expanded into Estonia, purchasing Tartu Telefonivabrik AS and had begun selling telephones and switches to the other Baltic States and to Poland. As part of the trade deals with the USSR, in 1935 the Government secured a contract for the delivery of automated switches to the USSR, a minor order for the established European and American manufacturers but a significant sale for Nokia. By 1935, the Finnish Cable unit of Nokia was securely established as a small (by world standards) telephone equipment designer and manufacturer. And in 1935, influenced by Finnish Cables success in the communications field, the Defence Forces signed a research and development contract with Finnish Cable and Helvar Oy Ab to form a joint R&D Team to design and develop a number of military communications devices for the Maavoimat and Ilmavoimat. These will be discussed in the next post, but suffice it to say at this stage that the Finnish radio industry had close ties to Germany – and German radio technology in the inter-war period was a full 20 years ahead of all other countries in many cases.

What was the key to the superiority of German radio technology of that time? CERAMICS. German engineers of the Hescho Porcellain Fabrik, developed ceramic substrates with stable dielectric properties patented as Calit / Calan. The Lorenz Company introduced magnesium-aluminum die-cast techniques for chassis construction, which considerably improved the specifications of their new products. Hans Vogt invented low-loss iron dust-core materials. Construction became modular and sectional. The standard 19 inch rack was invented and used for the first time. The Köln E52 series of receivers were constructed with modules that plugged into a "motherboard". These devices are examples of the best engineered and most aesthetically appealing technology produced by engineers during that era and with their close ties to the German telecommunications industry (and also having their own specialist company in ceramics – the Arabia Porcelain Factory, started in 1874 in Helsinki and producing a wide variety of porcelain and earthernware articles including technical porcelain) the Finnish radio and telephone industry was among the most capable and advanced in the world – and has remained so to the present as evidenced by the superb Nokia cellphones (commercial plug – please note I will be invoicing Nokia appropriately… :lol: ).

As will see, not only did the Finnish Communications industry produce telephones, radios and cables for the Maavoimat prior to the war, they also proved capable throughout the Winter War of making good losses and also manufacturing additional equipment, to the extent that by the end of the Winter War, the Field Radio communications network had been extended down to every Infantry Platoon. This was not an overnight development, but one that had taken a decade to evolve and build, with some trial and error along the way. But as we have seen, the core of the communications network, the man-portable tactical radio used at the Infantry Company and Infantry Platoon level, had its origins in the Forest Service Savusukeltaja Fire Fighting Teams of the early to mid 1930’s.

Such portable radio transceivers were not inexpensive pieces of equipment. Once the early Savusukeltaja teams had proved the effectiveness of the prototype, the Maavoimat was quick to place a series of large orders for the Radios with Helvar Oy Ab and Nokia. In addition, many local Suojeluskuntas units saw the benefits of the radios and conducted their own fund-raising campaigns to purchase the radios for themselves, as did many Lotta Svard units, among them the Lotta Svard Ilmavalonta, Anti-aircraft and Searchlight units. Such was the popularity of the radios that Helvar Oy Ab and Nokia were unable to fill the orders quickly enough. The end result was that the Suojeluskuntas Headquarters established there own Radio Workshop dedicated to manufacturing the radio. It was this combination of study of technology and the military applications thereof from within the Maavoimat, the capabilities of Finnish industry and the individual dedication of many Suojeluskuntas and Lotta Svard members that resulted in the uniquely capable Maavoimat communications network and Signals units.

These we will look at in the next post, where we will start by looking first at the early military use of radios, then at the military usage and evolution of radios in WW1, followed by the formation and evolution of the first Suomen Maavoimat Signals units. We will then go on to look at Maavoimat Signals equipment – both Field Telephones and Radios – and the Finnish (and Estonian) companies which designed and manufactured the equipment used by the Maavoimat – among then Helvar Oy Ab, Nokia Oy Ab and the Estonian Tartu Telefonivabrik AS (which had become a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Finnish Nokia in the mid-1930’s) and then at the overall state of Maavoimat Signals in late 1939, immediately prior to the Winter War.
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Re: What If-Finland had been prepared for the Winter War?

Post by Juha Tompuri » 28 Sep 2011 22:23

Some links about the Estonian field telephones & accessory in Finnish service

http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... it=p681408

http://www.militaar.net/phpBB2/viewtopi ... &view=next

http://www.huuto.net/kohteet/sa-kenttap ... /190357677 (Finnish ebay)

Regards, Juha

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Re: What If-Finland had been prepared for the Winter War?

Post by CanKiwi2 » 28 Sep 2011 23:12

Juha Tompuri wrote:Some links about the Estonian field telephones & accessory in Finnish service

http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... it=p681408

http://www.militaar.net/phpBB2/viewtopi ... &view=next

http://www.huuto.net/kohteet/sa-kenttap ... /190357677 (Finnish ebay)

Regards, Juha
Kiitos Juha

Also, Antero Tanninen has given me permission to reuse content from his website so it should be quite interesting :D

Cheers.........Nigel
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Bit of an interlude here - something from March 1940

Post by CanKiwi2 » 30 Sep 2011 22:10

Had this drafted up, seeing as my Sigs stuff is moving slowly, thought I'd slip it in out of sequence. More of a teaser than anything else. Working on the wording and style here, some of it's kindof borrowed from a couple of old air-war novels I read, the style of which I'm trying to emulate so the final version will change to be a bit more original. Call it practice - hope you enjoy anyhow.....

Airbase 53, Eastern Karelia. March 1940

The cold was physical in it’s intensity at the isolated forward maintenance base deep in the forests, lakes and swamps of Eastern Karelia. A bone-chilling body-piercing soul-destroying unrelenting ever-present freezing cold that had been present for weeks now. A cold that drilled right down to the marrow of the exhausted, bone-weary ground crew as they worked on the planes. Spit and urine froze before it hit the ground, then bounced. Skin froze on contact with anything metallic. The sun shone palely, when it shone at all, through the meager daylight hours. The ground-crew manning the airbase were doing so with a minimum of tools and equipment, priority for transport went to fuel and parts for the aircraft, bombs and ammunition and food for the men and women who manned the remote airbase. Not much else. As they had trained for again and again in peacetime, the ground crew had built their own revetments for the aircraft, built their own shelters and accommodation, the one thing that made life bearable were their portable sauna-tents and the seemingly endless stockpile of vodka that the Soviet Airforce had left behind at the former Red Air Force forward airfield, captured in the first weeks of the war and put to immediate use as soon as it was far enough in the rear not to be actually on the front-line.

This was now one of the forward maintenance airfields to which the old and battered and shot up aircraft which the mechanics and airmen at the forward combat airstrips could no longer fix came to be cannibalized or repaired or modified. The airbase was isolated. Connected only by ice-roads through the snow to the rear. Whatever roads that had existed were buried under snow and mostly ran towards the Front with the Red Army. The ground crew provided their own security. Finland had very few troops to spare to provide rear area security, certainly none for this small and isolated rear-area maintenance airbase. The men (and women, for almost 50% of the airbase personnel were women) guarded their own perimeter, sent their own patrols into the forest, slept with their rifles and submachine guns and pistols at their side. The Red’s had never attacked. Not even a raid. Not yet. No doubt they had other things on their mind. But for all its isolation, Airbase 53 was busy.

Aircraft flew in every day. Or were driven in on trucks in pieces. Despite having air superiority, the Ilmavoimat still took casualties, aircraft were still shot up or so badly worn out from the constant patrols and sorties that the mechanics and crews at the frontline bases couldn’t fix them up. When they arrived they were usually in bad shape. Shot to hell. Damaged from crashing on landing. Engines burnt out. Holes everywhere. Pieces missing. All the work the forward airstrips couldn’t handle, Airbase 53 did. Day and night. Seven days a week. Week in, week out. They took the planes, patched them, replaced parts, built parts, did whatever it took to get the precious aircraft back into the air again and back to the Squadrons that needed them desperately. Aircraft engines ran here all the time, snorting and choking, popping and howling, running low and slow, running to full power, screaming and growling and howling. It was a sound that was part of the men’s lives at any time of the short days or the long winter nights.

Aircraft engines these men and women knew. Intimately. They’d serviced them all. So it was strange that a faint intrusive hum of aircraft engines in the distance would gain their attention. They’d heard enough aircraft engines throbbing in the sky by now to know it wasn’t the neighbors come to pay them a visit, not that they did anymore. But it wasn’t an engine they were familiar with. Not the usual front-line fighters or the ground-attack aircraft that were their regular customers. And there was a subtle difference to this engine sound. It took an experienced man to detect it, but now, after three months of continuous war where they were outnumbered in the air and on the ground every hour of every day and they worked with engines day in and day out, the airbase was full of experienced men. Something about the sound drew the men and women one-by-one from their improvised workshops and the warmth of their shelters and their dugouts to peer into the cold winter’s sky.

The hum grew louder, louder still, and turned into synchronized thunder. A solid wave of sound that came from so many engines that it should have been garbled, discordant, grating even, but it wasn’t. And then they saw what some of them had begun to suspect they might see in the clear cold pale blue sky. Distant black twin-engined shapes. And with just that first glimpse they knew that this outfit was different from any other that had straggled into Airbase 53 in the eight weeks they’d been operational here. These aircraft were different, clearly recognizable as they grew rapidly closer. From the silhouette, unlike anything else in the Ilmavoimat, it was obvious that this was one of the famed Wihuri strike-bomber groups, and the watchers on the ground all wondered what they were doing, out here in the remoteness of Eastern Karelia.

Something grabbed the attention of the ground-crews, in a winter world where men and machines flew themselves to exhaustion and then staggered into the air yet again. And then again. And again. It was the way the aircraft were being flown. No one aircraft chased another. They flew in formation, tight, easily riding the thermals and the spinning slipstream of the great propellers and the vortices pummeling back from the wingtips. But other men, other pilots, also did that, so that wasn’t what called the attention of the men on the ground. There was some other invisible mark that etched this formation in the minds of the men watching. Men for whom damaged and shot up aircraft were an everyday sight. Men who lived with the ever-present bone-chilling soul-destroying cold and the knowledge that, whatever they did, the enemy still outnumbered them and would continue to do so whatever they did, whatever miracles they wrought, however good they were in combat. But despite all of that, the sight of these aircraft stirred a deep surge of pride in the watching men and women.

They flew with a precision that was so precise it was beautiful. And as the Wihuri’s continued their approach they could see ever more clearly just how beautiful that formation was. They flew as if one man touched the controls of all twenty aircraft, and the men watching from the ground, knowing that distance has a habit of glossing over imperfections, held their breath and wondered if closeness would mar what had grasped at their souls. But as the thunder of the Merlin engines swelled and the machines enlarged, as the distance decreased, they saw that there were no imperfections and they were holding it in tight, all bunched in together as if they were flying in a parade with the air soft and untroubled. The widening eyes of the men and women on the ground were joined by unaccustomed grins and startled exclamations. Everyone on the base who could hear and see was looking into the sky, squinting into the glare as they watched the twenty bombers come in low, just above the tree-tops, until the thunder of their engines was a massive pounding wave of sound and the watching men knew that the twenty pilots at the controls knew how good they were and were trying to impart their pride and their confidence and there just wasn’t any better way to do it than what they were doing, rushing now with furious speed, hammering sound waves over the trees and the snow.

The Wihuri’s flattened it out on the deck, smack down the runway, all twenty of them holding what by now everyone had to know was their combat strike formation, and as they swept by, just above the treetops, the watching men and women on the ground recognised the Squadron emblems on the aircraft and another collective gasp went up. Pommituslentolaivue 666, the “Devil’s Squadron”, the bomber wing who had led the attack on the Soviet Navy at Murmansk, who had attacked Soviet airbase after Soviet airbase, who had destroyed the Leningrad KV1 Works and who had led the revenge raid on the Leningrad People’s Military Hospital. The Ilmavoimat’s elite bomber squadron which had achieved the impossible again and again. The Wihuri’s passed by in a storm of thundering engines before hauling up in a sudden wild steep climb, the first twelve bombers in a vee of three vees, then the second eight and they were really hauling coal now, flashing before the sun as they rolled smoothly, beautifully, out of their climbing turns, their thunder more ragged now. They seemed to ease up into an impossible floating movement as the pilots let up on the power and from every bomber, virtually at the same moment, flaps were sliding back and down from the wings, the two legs of the landing gear of each bomber jutted stiffly into the wind, and as the watchers below strained to make out more details, the first four Wihuri’s had curved gracefully, like fighters, through the pattern of the airfield, and rolled around, sliding into final approach still in tight formation and staying tight and it was now obvious that they were going to land like that.

Landing in formation wasn’t something you did at Airbase 53. Maybe before the war started, but not now. The runway was all screwed up from the fighting and from the early Ilmavoimat bombing raids that had gotten through before the front passed over as the Maavoimat had advanced. It wasn’t that wide, it just wasn’t the place to pull off this kind of super-precision crap, but no-one had told the pilots up there that, and they were doing it, and every man on the ground who knew what the inside of a cockpit looked like knew also that the manifold pressure gauges and the revolution per minute and fuel pressure and oil temperature and the rate of descent and the air-speed needles and the gyro compasses in each plane were dead-on, every set of instruments in each plane like those of it’s companion aircraft. If the instruments worked of course. They came sliding down their invisible rail in the sky, glued together, all of them shimmering in the cold blue air, and as the runway came up to meet them the pilots set their trim just right and they flared, control yokes easing back with practiced skill, without deliberate thought, for this was rote and instinctive motion and the noise of each bomber came higher as they bled off air speed and ghosted their descent to earth. And on the ground, the watchers wondered what in hell’s name Pommituslentolaivue 666 was doing out here, down near the Syvari.

Image
Pommituslentolaivue 666 Wihuri's over Eastern Karelia
.........
Last edited by CanKiwi2 on 01 Oct 2011 12:44, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What If-Finland had been prepared for the Winter War?

Post by CanKiwi2 » 01 Oct 2011 11:02

Copied from a Post by Jotun on the alternativehistory dot com thread.

My artistic bone (underdeveloped as it is) was tickled by the last post and led to what you can see below. Approved by CanKiwi, of course

Excerpt from "Quality is our Strength. Suomen Ilmaivomat. A history of the world's most remarkable air force 1918-2008" by Prof. Dr. Michael Wolffsohn, Department of History at the University of the Bundeswehr at Munich, Berlin/Munich/Opladen 2010, pp. 311/312

"[...] Even today, the official crest of what has come to be the most efficient and respected deep-strike special operations bomber squadron in the world, surpassing in reputation even the famed USAF stealth bombers and the German Luftwaffe's JaBoG z.b.V. 71 which incidentally was formed after the founding of the FRG modeled on the 666th -the squadron's performance against the Soviet Union in general and the Third Reich in particular must really have made an impression- strikes certain more religiously inclined people as strange, even offensive. Originally sketched free-hand in a rare moment of quiet shortly after the commencement of hostilities between the SU and (as it then seemed) little defenceless Finland by then-Yliluutnantti Erkki Tempponen, the B/N of the squadron CO's plane (who was unfortunately dyslexic and to the amusement of the rest of the squadron personnel, always had problems with his spelling - and as a result was the butt of many jokes - the original drawing reflected this, but while the spelling was correct on almost every aircraft in the Squadron, Tempponen's was painted with his original spelling to the amusement of everyone, including Tempponen, who had long learned to live with the problem).

The Finns are not known for being a particularly light-hearted people so especially compared to other unit crests in other countries of that time and even Finland itself which often displayed a humorous slant, at the same time taking into account the dire situation Finland found itself in and the unit's exhausting round-the-clock cycle of extremely dangerous strikes deep behind enemy lines, the crest was especially grim. The original sketch - black ink and color pens - survived the war and was included in the official unit war diary. It was accepted in its original form and, in a rather more polished and exact version, found its way to the fuselages of every plane of the unit and the flight suits of the unit's members.

Notably, "666" unit patches are a highly coveted and sought-after souvenir in most European and North American Air Forces. Below is a scan of the original paper sketch on display at the Finnish Winter War museum in Tampere"

Image
Last edited by CanKiwi2 on 01 Oct 2011 12:51, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What If-Finland had been prepared for the Winter War?

Post by John Hilly » 01 Oct 2011 12:23

Great, Nigel!
But concerning to the emblem of the 666th, it seems that it is been drawn by a preschool student. :lol:
LENTOLAIVUE it should be.
And please be careful in using frase East-Karelia, because it means parts of Karelia, which aren't or weren't part of the "Old Finland", defined by the Czar.

Keep up the good work!
Juha-Pekka :milsmile:
"Die Blechtrommel trommelt noch!"

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Re: What If-Finland had been prepared for the Winter War?

Post by CanKiwi2 » 01 Oct 2011 12:42

John Hilly wrote:Great, Nigel!
But concerning to the emblem of the 666th, it seems that it is been drawn by a preschool student. :lol:
LENTOLAIVUE it should be.
And please be careful in using frase East-Karelia, because it means parts of Karelia, which aren't or weren't part of the "Old Finland", defined by the Czar.

Keep up the good work!
Juha-Pekka :milsmile:
Sad to say, I see that Lentoluvai was copied from my spelling. Urk! :oops: I'm going to go back and erase my embarassing mis-spelling :roll: and tweak the writeup - Tempponen, who did the original drawing, was actually slightly dyslexic (hope you enjoy the modified explanation above :D )

Re Eastern Karelia - was down near the Syvari part of "Old Finland"? The airbase is down there somewhere, probably out by Lake Onega.
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Re: What If-Finland had been prepared for the Winter War?

Post by John Hilly » 01 Oct 2011 13:18

CanKiwi2 wrote:Tempponen, who did the original drawing, was actually slightly dyslexic (hope you enjoy the modified explanation above :D )Re Eastern Karelia - was down near the Syvari part of "Old Finland"? The airbase is down there somewhere, probably out by Lake Onega.
In that case East-Karelia is correct.
I would neme this famous Tempponen as Temppunen, the Tricky!

With best
Juha-Pekka :milwink:
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Re: What If-Finland had been prepared for the Winter War?

Post by CanKiwi2 » 02 Oct 2011 13:10

And now, the squadron uniform patch, courtesy of Josephus on the alternativehistory dot com thread

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Re: What If-Finland had been prepared for the Winter War?

Post by John Hilly » 02 Oct 2011 18:04

An ugly looking bastard indeed! 8O
Must be "Vanha Vihtahousu" - "The Old Devil Himself"!
Again a Finnish expression almost impossible to translate.

Terveisin...............Juha-Pekka :milsmile:
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Re: What If-Finland had been prepared for the Winter War?

Post by CanKiwi2 » 07 Oct 2011 16:55

And then of course, there was the well-known movie made shortly after the War, focusing on the well-known and highly publicised "Operation Sampi," one of two Ilmavoimat missions which were instrumental in bringing an end to the Winter War. In both of these missions, Pommituslentolaivue 666 played a key part.

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