Volunteers in Winter and Continuation Wars

Discussions on the Winter War and Continuation War, the wars between Finland and the USSR.
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Re: Volunteers in Winter and Continuation Wars

Post by Juha Tompuri » 15 Mar 2010 08:42

Lotvonen wrote:Can anybody confirm this ?
Sorry, no I can't:

It seems to be that D. Manzocchi wasn't even at Finland when the "witness" mentions him being killed at Valkeala:
http://users.kymp.net/ilmakilta/diego.pdf (only finnish)


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copy of the Pyhäniemi estate guestbook. (at the book of Ahti Saarinen, "Parolasta Pyhäniemeen")
Ike_FI wrote:Manzocchi's name is number six from the top on that list and it is obvious that he was indeed still very much alive on March 4.
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... it#p217877

Who was the writer of the Iltalehti article and was there mentioned the identity of the "eyewitness"?


Regards, Juha

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Re: Volunteers in Winter and Continuation Wars

Post by KarlReissman » 15 Mar 2010 22:04

I think there was 18 german volunteers.... But im not sure. But this was once property of german veteran. And there are memorial medal of winter war and finnish medal of freedom.
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Re: Volunteers in Winter and Continuation Wars

Post by Lotvonen » 17 Mar 2010 07:02

"Who was the writer of the Iltalehti article and was there mentioned the identity of the "eyewitness"?"

Iltalehti 5.3.2010 p.25, "Talvisodan salainen agentti"
Writer: Paolo Torretta
Witness mentioned: "Matti Laitinen"

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Re: Volunteers in Winter and Continuation Wars

Post by Jagala » 17 Mar 2010 07:50

The small discrepancies of the date (Jan 13th vs. Jan 11th) and place (Valkeala vs. Iitti) aside, we could perhaps choose to trust the alleged eyewitness and speculate that there was a conspiracy of silence and a cover-up to hide an embarrassing case of friendly fire - but IMHO it is far more likely that the youthful impressions, memories and stories the heard and read about (during the war and later) have, so to speak, fermented in the mind of the eyewitness and created a combination of two unrelated events.

The "official" story that Manzocchi was wounded, made an unsuccesful forced landing on the slushy ice of Ikolanjärvi, was unconscious (or unable to release himself) and drowned or otherwise perished in the cockpit of the upturned aircraft.

The Italian author Ulderico Munzi wrote a biography of Manzocchi, "Gli aquiloni non volano piu" ("Kites don't fly anymore"), in 2007. According to him the Italians did not want his remains transferred back home even at the cost of his family, because he was considered a deserter and an anti-fascist.

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Re: Volunteers in Winter and Continuation Wars

Post by Jagala » 17 Mar 2010 13:17

A follow-up: according to Osmo Hyvönen - who unfortunately only mentions that, apart from war diaries and other documents (which in his opinion are often in error), his sources are various, including interviews - the very same Matti Laitinen was the boy who found the aircraft on the ice of the small lake and alarmed the military authorities.

In the "new" version of the story, the trigger-happy Civil Guard members do not discover that the airplane is Finnish until after shooting the unfortunate pilot. (Well, maybe they expected an enemy aircraft, proceeded to shoot the pilot, discovered their mistake, concocted up a story and dragged the body back to the wreck - and it is not until 70 years later that the poor boy who was told to lie by the grownups dares to tell the true story...)

Paolo Torretta, the journalist who wrote the story in "Iltalehti", doesn't give any direct quotes or reveal when he interviewed Matti Laitinen. (Torretta also claims that Manzocchi was some kind of secret agent who first staged his flight into France in order to prepare for the Italian invasion of France etc.)

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Re: Volunteers in Winter and Continuation Wars

Post by Hanski » 17 Mar 2010 15:33

Lotvonen wrote:He reported by phone to the local Civil Guard that sent a patrol. The guardsmen saw a pilot in a foreign uniform shouting in a foreing language. So they assumed the pilot was an enemy and (being trigger-happy) fired at him. Later the Guardsmen found that the aircraft (FA-22?) was marked with blue swastika in white roundel.
Utter nonsense!

It is an insult towards the Suojeluskunta organisation to suggest that its members, motivated volunteers and key soldiers in both wars, would be trigger-happy morons who would fail to recognise correctly the nationality of an aircraft and who would fire at a pilot hanging upside down in the cockpit from his seat belts rather than capture him if suspecting him to be an enemy pilot.

Outright rubbish, for whatever the motive (attention seeking? senile dementia?).

A far more credible explanation is that those who failed to help him on the spot were Finnish civilians. AFAIK Diego Manzocchi was wounded from a machine gun burst in a dogfight and the bullet was found inside his chest in the autopsy.

The official Italy still regards him as a deserter, never paying tribute at his grave in Hietaniemi.

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Re: Volunteers in Winter and Continuation Wars

Post by Juha Tompuri » 17 Mar 2010 21:21

Lotvonen wrote:"Who was the writer of the Iltalehti article and was there mentioned the identity of the "eyewitness"?"

Iltalehti 5.3.2010 p.25, "Talvisodan salainen agentti"
Writer: Paolo Torretta
Witness mentioned: "Matti Laitinen"
Thanks,
A couple of years ago a group of people contacted me and asked info about the fate of D. Manzocchi, Torretta being one of the group.
At that moment (2007 IIRC) Torretta had "cooked up" a story where Manzocchi had died or injured at a car accident at Helsinki Jan-40, being a some sort of a spy etc.
I tried to explain him how the things in real life had gone, but seems that in vain.
Also I remember that his finnish language skills were just a bit over zero.
jagala wrote:The small discrepancies of the date (Jan 13th vs. Jan 11th) and place (Valkeala vs. Iitti) aside
Not small - Torretta claims Manzocchi had been killed 13th Jan-40 compared to the official 11th March-40.
Also I do believe that IF Matti Laitinen was an eyewitness, he sure would have known where he was at that moment.

jagala wrote: we could perhaps choose to trust the alleged eyewitness
Actually I haven't seen by so far any proofs that Matti Laitinen was an eyewitness.
Nor that Toretta had interviewed him or never even met him.


jagala wrote: The "official" story that Manzocchi was wounded, made an unsuccesful forced landing on the slushy ice of Ikolanjärvi, was unconscious (or unable to release himself) and drowned or otherwise perished in the cockpit of the upturned aircraft.
Didn't drown or wasn't unconscious (at least all the time).
jagala wrote:In the "new" version of the story, the trigger-happy Civil Guard members do not discover that the airplane is Finnish until after shooting the unfortunate pilot. (Well, maybe they expected an enemy aircraft, proceeded to shoot the pilot, discovered their mistake, concocted up a story and dragged the body back to the wreck - and it is not until 70 years later that the poor boy who was told to lie by the grownups dares to tell the true story...)
Nice story, but let's concetrate to the facts in the future.

Regards, Juha

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Re: Volunteers in Winter and Continuation Wars

Post by Juha Tompuri » 17 Mar 2010 21:34

Hanski wrote:Outright rubbish, for whatever the motive (attention seeking? senile dementia?).
From the impression I've had from him - I would suggest the attention seeking.
Also I do believe that his article wasn't published for free.
Hanski wrote:AFAIK Diego Manzocchi was wounded from a machine gun burst in a dogfight and the bullet was found inside his chest in the autopsy.
AFAIK that autopsy (if there was any) report haven't been found.
Hanski wrote:The official Italy still regards him as a deserter, never paying tribute at his grave in Hietaniemi.
Actually 11th March 1990 Italian Embassy in Finland (not ambassador, but some lower ranking secretary) took part to a delegation that payed a visit to Manzocchis' grave:
Sergeant Diego Manzocchi (died at combat 11th March-40. About 20km
where I live. He is buried at Hietaniemi military cemetery at
Helsinki I´ve once visited (as part of a delegation) his grave)
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... it#p217877


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Re: Volunteers in Winter and Continuation Wars

Post by Lotvonen » 18 Mar 2010 07:00

But why is the Manzocchi incident not mentioned for example in "Ilmavoimat talvisodassa" by Stenman&Keskinen ? It seems he was flying a regular LeLv26 mission ?

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Re: Volunteers in Winter and Continuation Wars

Post by Juha Tompuri » 18 Mar 2010 07:22

Lotvonen wrote:But why is the Manzocchi incident not mentioned for example in "Ilmavoimat talvisodassa" by Stenman&Keskinen ? It seems he was flying a regular LeLv26 mission ?
Actually it is mentioned.
Not at the tables at the end of the book, but at text in page 143.

Regards, Juha

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Re: Volunteers in Winter and Continuation Wars

Post by Jagala » 18 Mar 2010 08:05

Hanski wrote: It is an insult towards the Suojeluskunta organisation to suggest that its members, motivated volunteers and key soldiers in both wars, would be trigger-happy morons who would fail to recognise correctly the nationality of an aircraft and who would fire at a pilot hanging upside down in the cockpit from his seat belts rather than capture him if suspecting him to be an enemy pilot.
Well, "trigger-happy" is perhaps an unfortunate choice for an adjective, but IMHO it could also seen as a kind of insult towards those - over- or underage Civil Guard members and others - who actually had to deal with armed desants and enemy aviators to suggest that these encounters weren't tense with nervousness. Accidents do happen and a rifle shot can be a finger's squeeze away, especially when the rifle is held by someone who is essentially a civilian rather than a fully trained soldier. Besides, it wasn't said that the pilot was shot while he was still trapped in the cockpit.
Hanski wrote: Outright rubbish, for whatever the motive (attention seeking? senile dementia?).
The motives for the journalist are rather simple to guess, but I'm not quite sure what made the editor of the tabloid buy such a poorly documented small story; it was perhaps a small "scoop", but not one for the headlines or to sell copies.

As for the eyewitness: it is human and I'm afraid quite unavoidable that memory plays tricks on all of us, regardless of whether we are approaching senile dementia or not. (Just think about crime trials or remember the Soviet veterans who "personally saw" Finnish cuckoos or female snipers.)

If you allow for a bit of "kitchen psychology", I could suggest that the eyewitness may have developed feelings of guilt because he later learned that the pilot had been alive and could possibly have been saved and that he - or his unconscious mind - thus has a motive to create a version of the story where someone else is wholly responsible for the death of the pilot.
Hanski wrote: A far more credible explanation is that those who failed to help him on the spot were Finnish civilians. AFAIK Diego Manzocchi was wounded from a machine gun burst in a dogfight and the bullet was found inside his chest in the autopsy.
FWIW what would seem to be the best researched piece is the one written by Tapio Huttunen http://users.kymp.net/ilmakilta/diego.pdf

What strikes me as odd(ish) is that there is no mention of any actions by Iitti Civil Guard, which should indeed have been the first on the scene. Instead we have a rescue party sent from an infantry training company in Kuusankoski.

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Re: Volunteers in Winter and Continuation Wars

Post by Jagala » 18 Mar 2010 08:30

Juha Tompuri wrote:
A couple of years ago a group of people contacted me and asked info about the fate of D. Manzocchi, Torretta being one of the group.
At that moment (2007 IIRC) Torretta had "cooked up" a story where Manzocchi had died or injured at a car accident at Helsinki Jan-40, being a some sort of a spy etc.
I tried to explain him how the things in real life had gone, but seems that in vain.
Also I remember that his finnish language skills were just a bit over zero.
This could be when Ulderico Munzi visited to Finland or after the biography was published. Munzi mentions a Palminteri, from the Italian embassy in Helsinki and a Villani, an Italian student, who helped him here.

(Tapio Huttunen, the author of the monograph i linked to, appears to be the foremost expert on the subject and a native of the region.)


Juha Tompuri wrote:
Torretta claims Manzocchi had been killed 13th Jan-40 compared to the official 11th March-40.
Also I do believe that IF Matti Laitinen was an eyewitness, he sure would have known where he was at that moment.
Actually I haven't seen by so far any proofs that Matti Laitinen was an eyewitness.
Nor that Toretta had interviewed him or never even met him.
The mistake about the date is IMHO understandable, since the same mistake is engraved in stone in Hietaniemi, and I reckon the date comes from Torretta and not from Laitinen. (But even if it did, mistakes about dates do not per se render an eyewitness account untrue.)

If there never was a small boy who first discovered the aircraft, i.e. there is no mention of such thing in the documents, it could of course be that Matti Laitinen was already a tale-teller in (or before) 1982 and managed to fool Jaakko Hyvönen - and that he then, for some reason. had a different tale to tell.

Or it could indeed be that Torretta never interviewed Laitinen and simply made up the "new" version.


Juha Tompuri wrote:
Nice story, but let's concetrate to the facts in the future.
Sometimes it is necessary - in addition to looking at and checking the facts - to alow yourself to speculate in order to weigh the arguments for and against different versions of the same story. It is only when you manage to confuse yourself about which is which that problems begin (or when you allow yourself to fill in a too large area between sparse facts or facts that aren't true facts but simply your own interpretations of facts...).

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Re: Volunteers in Winter and Continuation Wars

Post by Jagala » 18 Mar 2010 08:40

[quote="Juha Tompuri"]
Actually 11th March 1990 Italian Embassy in Finland (not ambassador, but some lower ranking secretary) took part to a delegation that payed a visit to Manzocchis' grave.[/quote

According to Munzi the publication of the book led to demands to "rehabilitate" Manzocchi. In any case, the author gave a lecture about Manzocchi at an Italian Air Force facility and a Brig.Gen. gave a speech. In Manzocchi's home town it was proposed to name a street for him.

BTW I don't think "official" Finland ever pays tribute to (for instance) those Finns who were killed (on either side) in the Spanish Civil War and were buried there.

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Re: Volunteers in Winter and Continuation Wars

Post by Seppo Koivisto » 21 Mar 2010 10:21

Today´s Turun Sanomat published a column by Luigi G. de Anna, professor of Italian language and culture at University of Turku. De Anna suggests that the reason for Manzocchi´s flight to France was a secret mission, not that he was in love with a French girl. A reconnaisance flight on French side or carrying a message from Italian anti-German circles.

http://www.ts.fi/online/mielipiteet/kir ... 19328.html

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Re: Volunteers in Winter and Continuation Wars

Post by Harri » 22 Mar 2010 01:24

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. :lol:

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