I think we should rely on the original versions of the story:
- On 11.3.1940 SSgt Manzocchi
was flying an intercept mission of LLv.26 over Southern Finland.
- He was in aerial combat with Soviet planes. His plane is hit (?) and also Manzocchi
is wounded. It is mentioned that a bullet had gone through his chest (and if so bullet was not found I think, and because of open cabin plane may have not damaged at all at that stage).
- Seriously wounded Manzocchi
tries to get plane back to Haukkajärvi base but he is running out of fuel before he can found the base because he wanders over Southern Finland for too long time.
- When fuel runs out Manzocchi
has no choice but to force landed on a nearest lake. He believes that the plane will suffer less damage if he takes the landing gears down. That is a fatal mistake because lake is covered by deep snow flush.
- During a forced landing on a lake Ikolanjärvi Manzocchi
's plane crashes and turns upside down.
- Flush is packed into the open cabin of FIAT G.50.
- Wounded Manzocchi
can't release himself away from the belts and hangs head down in cold flush for hours.
- He was still alive when the rescue patrol found him six hours later
. He had already hung too long time upside down and died soon afterwards because of his wounds and injuries.
It is clear that there was no eyewittness (not seen the crash) because if there had been plane would have been found much faster. I think the rescue patrol had had some sort of idea where Manzocchi
's plane might have been. The searchers for sure knew they were looking for a Finnish plane.
I agree with Hanski that Manzocchi
was definately not shot by the Finns. Probably Manzocchi
could not say a word because of his bad state. If someone has wittnessed shooting, there may have been a harmless miss-shot which is misunderstood by a child. That kind of miss-shots were not quite exceptional during the war. Or it was some another case that happened elsewhere and earlier (to me sounds a bit equal to the famous Huhtiniemi case of summer 1944). Even if that plane had been a Soviet one, pilot(s) wouldn't have been killed just like that (unless shooting started first by the opponent), definately not before interrogation, thats for sure.