Winter War: Finns vs. Soviet in air combat

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Re: Winter War: Finns vs. Soviet in air combat

Post by Juha Tompuri » 30 Nov 2014 21:08

John Hilly wrote: Equipment was scarce and some of it was technically out of date, such as 76 ItK / 14 Breda and 76 ItK / 16 Vickers
They came to Finland late or after the Winter War.

Regards, Juha

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Re: Winter War: Finns vs. Soviet in air combat

Post by John Hilly » 01 Dec 2014 15:50

Juha Tompuri wrote:
John Hilly wrote: Equipment was scarce and some of it was technically out of date, such as 76 ItK / 14 Breda and 76 ItK / 16 Vickers
They came to Finland late or after the Winter War.
Regards, Juha
So Ahti Lappi was a bit inaccurate in writing this article. Not his common habit!

With best, J-P :milwink:
"Die Blechtrommel trommelt noch!"

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Re: Winter War: Finns vs. Soviet in air combat

Post by durb » 01 Dec 2014 16:53

John Hilly wrote:On 30.11.1939 Finnish AAA destroyed one, or two DB-3s according to one source.
FAAA's histories claim only one SB-2 shot down by battery situated in Suomenlinna.

With best, J-P :milwink:
This checked by Red Stars 5.(Baltic Fleet Air Force in Winter War)

1 AP (Bomber Regiment) of VVS KBF (Baltic Fleet Air Force) lost on 30.11.1939 two DB 3 bombers to enemy AA fire over Helsinki area. It seems that the Finnish AA unit in Suomenlinna identified the "confirmed" plane going down in flames as SB, it was not that but the AA unit can be credited with 2 DB 3 downed.

No further losses due to enemy activity on 30.11.1939 (but to be counted was the I-15 bis of Red Army Air Force lost to groundfire of Finnish infantry JR 24).

The rest of losses of VVS KBF on 30.11.1939 were caused by different accidents - took more heavy toll on VVS KBF than the enemy activity- seven planes were written off. One DB crashed into ammunition store at take-off and the whole crew was killed. Another was crash-landed in snowstorm and two of the crew died. VVS KBF lost 6 men due to enemy activity and 5 were killed in accidents on the first day of Winter War. One plane was destroyed by the "friendly fire". Add to this weather-related accidents of VVS RKKA (Red Army Air Force) with four bombers lost with their crews (12 men) in snowstorm and one fighter lost in crash-landing. The 30.11.1939 was quite heavy day for Soviet air forces - more by other causes than by enemy activity!

By surviving Soviet documents it seems that they lost 2 DB + one I-15 bis on 30.11.1939 to Finnish AA.

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Re: Winter War: Finns vs. Soviet in air combat

Post by CF Geust » 02 Dec 2014 21:47

This is only to inform that my book Red Stars Vol.7 (Winter war in the Air) was recently translated into Russian and published by Bair Irincheev (see http://bair-books.com/ru/printed/vvs-rk ... geust.html). The Russian title is Red Army Air Force in the Finnish war. I have just returned from presentations in St.Petersburg (Bukvoyed bookshop and Artillery museum), Petrozavodsk State University library and the Non-Fiction book fair in Moscow.

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Re: Winter War: Finns vs. Soviet in air combat

Post by John Hilly » 04 Dec 2014 16:19

durb wrote:1 AP (Bomber Regiment) of VVS KBF (Baltic Fleet Air Force) lost on 30.11.1939 two DB 3 bombers to enemy AA fire over Helsinki area. It seems that the Finnish AA unit in Suomenlinna identified the "confirmed" plane going down in flames as SB, it was not that but the AA unit can be credited with 2 DB 3 downed.
The second DB 3 was shot down by Coastal AAA.

Still with best, J-P :milwink:
"Die Blechtrommel trommelt noch!"

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Re: Winter War: Finns vs. Soviet in air combat

Post by durb » 06 Dec 2014 01:36

Thanks for info on AA claims on 30.11.1939.

As today (6.12.2014) is the Finnish independence day, I for curiosity checked what combat missions were flown 75 years ago (6.12.1939). Here summary of the most dramatic events of airwar on that day:

Finnish Air Force

Recce flights of the day had mixed success. From the direction of Salmi important reconnaisence information was adquired. However the Ripon RI-143 on recce mission on Tolvajärvi direction was shot down by enemy AA. The two man crew (pilot fm. Laakso and observer lt. Törhönen) managed to bail out and were taken POW´s. They were returned to Finland after the war.

Soviet Red Army Air Force and Baltic Fleet Air Force

The most dramatic event happened when four I-16 fighters spotted on the eastern shore of Lake Ladoga a "enemy naval plane" and shot it down. In the combat one of the I-16 pilots, Murazanov was wounded by the returnfire of enemy. However there was not much joy of the first air victory of 49 IAP as the enemy plane turned out to be a Soviet MBR-2 flying boat. Three of its crew were killed (lt. Tsipiakov, capt. Belov, gunner Grishkov) and only the wounded navigator Petrov managed to bail out.

Weather conditions were not the best ones for the flying near Kiantajärvi. There fog caused the crash-landing of I-15 bis fighter of 1/72 SAP. The wreck of plane was found three days later but it seems that the pilot (capt. Sokolov) was lost. (MIA)

Poor weather caused also other accidents. Eight I-15 bis fighters of 5 AP were caught by snowstorm and three planes crashed when landing at Gorskaya and Nizino. In the crash-landings one pilot was killed.

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Re: Winter War: Finns vs. Soviet in air combat

Post by durb » 12 Dec 2014 21:38

I wonder if someone knows something about the different claim and loss records of FAF during Winter War.

I have learned that 207 is the official "confirmed claims" of FAF air victories, however I came recently up to information in one SIH publication (Ilmavoitot 1) that the official "confirmed claims" figure was as high as 281! Which is the "official truth" - 207 or 281 "confirmed"?

About the FAF combat losses of 47 planes. The structure of them according to current knowledge is:
36 lost in air combat (previously it was 35 but later research showed that FK-81 was shot down by I-153 of 49 IAP, not by Soviet AA)
7 shot down by Soviet AA
4 lost to "other enemy caused" - what are these other "enemy caused"? Destroyed on the ground?

Just a funny note: is there a knowledge if Soviet bomber gunners shot down 1 or 2 Finnish planes in Winter War? - their claims were 146! - was their overall overclaim ratio very handsome 146:1 or more modest 73:1? I guess that both overclaim ratios leave well behind all the famous overclaim records of 8th USAAF bomber gunners (IIRC, their best overclaim ratio record during one combat sortie was just 51:1) .

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Re: Winter War: Finns vs. Soviet in air combat

Post by Mangrove » 13 Dec 2014 08:46

durb wrote: I have learned that 207 is the official "confirmed claims" of FAF air victories, however I came recently up to information in one SIH publication (Ilmavoitot 1) that the official "confirmed claims" figure was as high as 281! Which is the "official truth" - 207 or 281 "confirmed"?
The official count as of January 1941 was 195 confirmed and 86 probable kills, i.e. a total of 281. This number includes the kills by F19 and one observation balloon.

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Re: Winter War: Finns vs. Soviet in air combat

Post by durb » 13 Dec 2014 14:22

Thanks for the information. Thus 195 (194 aircraft + 1 balloon) should be the official "confirmed Winter War air victories" figure of Finnish Air Force? Where did the 207 "confirmed" come from - cases later confirmed? And the current Finnish wiki - http://fi.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suomen_ilm ... n_historia - states that the official "confirmed air victories" of Winter War is 218!? It is quite a confusing to have so many "official" air victory figures!

When it comes to "probables" - they can be mentioned but I would not count them in the list of "official air victories". As one ace pilot said: "There are not probables in my score."

Then there is still the mysterious definition of "other enemy caused" four FAF aircraft losses (= combat losses not caused by Soviet aircraft or AA). It seems that one "friendly fire" case has been included in these losses - the FR-77 (Kukkonen KIA) shot down by Finnish AA on 1.12.1939. In this "other enemy caused" category remain the mysterious loss of two Ripon and one Fokker CX - destroyed on the ground by air attacks or force-landed behind enemy lines - the very definition "enemy caused" means that these losses of 2 Ripon and 1 FK were not accidents - how did enemy cause the loss if it was not by AA or air combat?

IIRC, one FAF Tiger Moth trainer was destroyed on the ground by enemy air attack, but it is not featured as a "enemy caused loss" in official FAF stats.

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Re: Winter War: Finns vs. Soviet in air combat

Post by Juha Tompuri » 13 Dec 2014 22:40

durb wrote:Then there is still the mysterious definition of "other enemy caused" four FAF aircraft losses (= combat losses not caused by Soviet aircraft or AA). It seems that one "friendly fire" case has been included in these losses - the FR-77 (Kukkonen KIA) shot down by Finnish AA on 1.12.1939. In this "other enemy caused" category remain the mysterious loss of two Ripon and one Fokker CX - destroyed on the ground by air attacks or force-landed behind enemy lines - the very definition "enemy caused" means that these losses of 2 Ripon and 1 FK were not accidents - how did enemy cause the loss if it was not by AA or air combat?

IIRC, one FAF Tiger Moth trainer was destroyed on the ground by enemy air attack, but it is not featured as a "enemy caused loss" in official FAF stats.
In addition to the Tiger Moth loss there was, if I remember correctly, a Ripon that was "left behind" (stuck on ice or something) when the war ended.

Regards, Juha

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Re: Winter War: Finns vs. Soviet in air combat

Post by durb » 14 Dec 2014 13:43

The Ripon "left behind" - was it damaged due to Soviet action? If it was damaged by other way, it cannot be considered "enemy caused" loss.

The known Ripon destroyed or lost by Soviet action are to my knowledge only these:
6.12.1939 RI-143 shot down by enemy AA near Tolvajärvi
23.12.1939 RI-155 shot down by enemy fighters (5 IAP) while on reconaissing Paldiski
26.2.1940 RI-130 shot down by enemy AA near Suursaari

The FAF combat loss list mentions also 2 other "enemy caused" Ripon losses, which are a bit mystery to me - are they hidden somewhere in accidental losses? I do not know if this might include "missing in action" (MIA) case of the RI-141, which never came back from its recce flight over Ägläjärvi on 19.12.1939 (crew MIA up today?) - but on that it is difficult to tell if the loss was caused by weather or engine failure rather than by enemy.

Of the Fokker CX losses these are documented enemy caused losses:
1.12.1939 FK-93 shot down by enemy AA over Ahijärvi
23.12.1939 FK-96 shot down by enemy fighter (25 IAP) over Johannes
15.1.1940 FK-87 shot down by enemy fighter (49 IAP) over northern Ladoga
26.1.1940 FK-81 shot down by enemy fighter (49 IAP) over north of Ladoga
29.1.1940 FK-111 shot down by enemy AA over Saunasaari

- seems that these are all the verified enemy caused combat losses of Fokker CX during Winter War - there were 5 "enemy caused" losses in official summary stats (of which 2 to enemy fighters, 2 to enemy AA and 1 to mysterious "other enemy caused" - this seems to be FK-87 which on 15.1.1940 was reported that it did not come back from mission - thanks to opening of Soviet archives we now know that it was shot down by the fighter of 49 IAP and the crew was KIA)

Although I think that FAF stats are very accurate there remain still some details in few cases. What was the definition of "enemy caused loss" including combat losses of 2 Ripon, which are not mentioned in losses caused by air combat and enemy flak?

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Re: Winter War: Finns vs. Soviet in air combat

Post by Mangrove » 16 Dec 2014 17:14

durb wrote:The Ripon "left behind" - was it damaged due to Soviet action? If it was damaged by other way, it cannot be considered "enemy caused" loss.
VL Kotka II "KA-146" had to be left behind due to engine problems and was burned at Värtsilä on 15 March 1940.

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Re: Winter War: Finns vs. Soviet in air combat

Post by durb » 16 Dec 2014 17:37

The Kotka loss was not exactly a loss caused directly by enemy activity - and the plane was burned after the hostilities had ended.

What interests more is the fate of Ripon RI-141 and its crew who went MIA upon recce flight on Ägläjärvi direction on 19.12.1939 - it is still a mystery? Have the studies of Soviet archives given any light to what may have happened with RI-141?

I did find from French (!) wiki an info that the remains of the deceased crew of RI-141 (pilot Hallakorpi and observer Norvola) were found in 1943.

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Re: Winter War: Finns vs. Soviet in air combat

Post by Seppo Koivisto » 16 Dec 2014 18:36

The remains of RI-141 were found in October 1942 along with the body of Norvola and grave of Hallakorpi. (Kohtalokkaat lennot 1939-1944)

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Re: Winter War: Finns vs. Soviet in air combat

Post by durb » 17 Dec 2014 12:30

Interesting - I have to look for the book. Maybe there are questions answered like these:

- what caused the demise of RI-141 and its crew on 19.12.1939, was it an accident related to weather or engine failure? From Red Stars Vol. 7 I could not find any Soviet IAP claim corresponding clearly to RI-141. Could the Soviet AA/groundfire be the cause? Who buried Hallakorpi, why Norvola was not buried? If the Soviets found the wreck and buried Hallakorpi, there could be some report of this hidden somewhere in Soviet archives.

- are in the Finnish archives to be found details of all 5 "enemy caused" Ripon losses during Winter War? So far I know only 3 clearly "enemy caused" RI losses.

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