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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Lotvonen
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Re: Volunteers in Winter and Continuation Wars

Post by Lotvonen » 22 Mar 2010 07:06

The course of events seems to be confirmed, Prof Luigi Anna of Turku University had written a column in Turun Sanomat Sunday 21 March about Manzocchi . His story is in line with Harri's description.
The only thing that still is puzzling: Why is Manzochhi not mentioned by name in the list of casualties of the FAF in the Winter War ?

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Re: Volunteers in Winter and Continuation Wars

Post by Jagala » 22 Mar 2010 08:07

I must wonder whether Harri opened the link I gave earlier: according to Tapio Huttunen, Manzocchi's last flight started at 1340 hrs and ended approximately 45 minutes later and the rescue party arrived at 1720 hrs. The "six hours" would appear to stem from the time between the start of the *first* sortie that day and the arrival of the rescue party.

BTW the report quited by Huttunen confirms the existence of the small boy, Matti Laitinen, who found the plane (but couldn't give any exact time for the landing). It would thus seem that he really was on or near the lake (and heard or possibly saw the approach of the descending aircraft).

Unfortunately Huttunen doesn't give any source for the alleged knocks heard by some villagers at around 1500 hrs. It could be that Manzocchi, who had received head injuries (contusions?) from ice blocks regained consciousness (briefly?), but IMHO it could also be that the "knocks" were just incidental noises.

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Re: Volunteers in Winter and Continuation Wars

Post by Juha Tompuri » 22 Mar 2010 08:35

Seppo Koivisto wrote: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
Mr. Di Anna has been working together with Mr. Torretta:
Juha 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.
Lotvonen wrote:The only thing that still is puzzling: Why is Manzochhi not mentioned by name in the list of casualties of the FAF in the Winter War
Juha Tompuri wrote:
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.
Jagala wrote:I must wonder whether Harri opened the link I gave earlier
Well... after it had been posted here already earlier.
Jagala wrote: according to Tapio Huttunen, Manzocchi's last flight started at 1340 hrs and ended approximately 45 minutes later
AFAIK no-one knows the exact time when Manzocchi landed, the 45min perhaps being the max 45-min endurance

Regards, Juha

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Re: Volunteers in Winter and Continuation Wars

Post by Jagala » 23 Mar 2010 07:54

Juha Tompuri wrote:
Jagala wrote:I must wonder whether Harri opened the link I gave earlier
Well... after it had been posted here already earlier.
Touché! (Well, that means I found it "independently"...)
Juha Tompuri wrote:
Jagala wrote: according to Tapio Huttunen, Manzocchi's last flight started at 1340 hrs and ended approximately 45 minutes later
AFAIK no-one knows the exact time when Manzocchi landed, the 45min perhaps being the max 45-min endurance
Didn't the FA have a longer flight time range, about 1.5 hrs max - but I suppose that the rate of fuel spent could vary (and, of course, the amount of fuel taken on board)? Anyway, I thought that Huttunen based his approximation on information from the other pilot who flew the same mission, i.e. the time of the aerial battle in which Manzocchi was wounded, and from eyewitnesses on ground who saw the aircraft "sway and go down in a deep dive which the pilot managed to control".

The amount of time between this and the landing is, of course, an approximation, but it must be a fairly close one, because the air combat took place over Iitti and Lapinjärvi, i.e. not far from the lake.

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Re: Volunteers in Winter and Continuation Wars

Post by Juha Tompuri » 23 Mar 2010 08:27

Jagala wrote:
Juha Tompuri wrote:
Jagala wrote:I must wonder whether Harri opened the link I gave earlier
Well... after it had been posted here already earlier.
Touché! (Well, that means I found it "independently"...)
That meaning you don't read the earlier posts here?
Jagala wrote:The amount of time between this and the landing is, of course, an approximation, but it must be a fairly close one, because the air combat took place over Iitti and Lapinjärvi, i.e. not far from the lake.
AFAIK during that mission Manzocchi never flew to Lapinjärvi.

Regards, Juha

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Re: Volunteers in Winter and Continuation Wars

Post by Jagala » 23 Mar 2010 12:12

Juha Tompuri wrote: That meaning you don't read the earlier posts here?
No, I just somehow managed to hop over the link. (I suppose that I was momentarily dizzy or something...)
Juha Tompuri wrote: AFAIK during that mission Manzocchi never flew to Lapinjärvi.
According to Huttunen the pair of FAs caught up with the enemy bombers over Sääskjärvi in Iitti and the DB-3 shot down by Puhakka crashed in Kimoböle/Kimonkylä in Lappträsk/Lapinjärvi. Obviously neither of the Finnish fighters must have flown as far as the bomber did, but it is IMHO unlikely that either flew much further - and the point is that the distance and thus the time between the aerial combat and the crash landing probably cannot have been very long.

Since people on the ground could see the aircraft in combat, it is quite conceivable that the approach and the landing of the FA was also observed (by people other than a small boy who didn't know the time and may or may not have taken his time to alarm the grownups; he hardly picked up a phone on his own) and since a winter road crossed the lake(1) it wouldn't have taken too much time for villagers and or Civil Guard members to arrive at the scene.

It would be curious to see what the documents left by the local Civil Guard have to say (if anything).

(1) Ilolanlampi, in the NE corner of grid F7 in this map: http://www.iitti.fi/kuntakartta.html?setLang=fi-FI

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Re: Volunteers in Winter and Continuation Wars

Post by Juha Tompuri » 24 Mar 2010 21:39

Jagala wrote: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.
Now as you seem to have understood the local geography (at the area the events took place) that question perhaps has become irrelevant.
Just in case, here a map (from Kansalaisen karttapaikka) some of the relevant places marked with blue, Ikolanjärvi with red:
Image

Jagala wrote:This could be when Ulderico Munzi visited to Finland
AFAIK he has never visited Finland.
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...)
The eyewitness, Matti Laitinen has been dead for over 40 years.
What Civil Guard?
Any evidence to back up the claim that any Civil guard unit/members were at the wreck?

Regards, Juha

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Re: Volunteers in Winter and Continuation Wars

Post by Juha Tompuri » 24 Mar 2010 21:45

Paolo Torretta contacted me and wished to reply to some of the post made at this thread:
Jagala wrote about 'Gli aquiloni non volano più", the book by Ulderico Munzi. Jagala can read the page 41. Manzocchi is on the plane. Finally, arrived some rescuers. With a sleigh. A REINDERS sleigh. The book by Munzi is full of these things. It's a great comic book. I didn't interview Matti Laitinen. I found his name on page 220 of the book by Ahti Saarinen "Parolasta Pyhäniemeen". And I didn't interview another witness: Esko Laiho, mechanic of HLeLv 26. And I didn't meet his brother. But another person interviewed Esko. May be this person can tell what Esko said.
Hanski wrote: "the bullet was found inside his chest in the autopsy". Hanski wrote: "Attention seeking? Senile dementia?". About me, Paolo Torretta.
Senile dementia, of course. Is for that I ask you, Hanski, to show me the autopsy or a copy. You know, I have the senile dementia and I want to see that document (or a copy). Where did you find or see it?
/Juha

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Re: Volunteers in Winter and Continuation Wars

Post by Jagala » 25 Mar 2010 09:10

Juha Tompuri wrote:
Jagala wrote: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.
Now as you seem to have understood the local geography (at the area the events took place) that question perhaps has become irrelevant.
It may come as a surprise to you, but I know Voikkaa and Kuusankoski rather well and I have a fairly good idea about the geography of the general area between Lapinjärvi and Valkeala. The only place I couldn't instantly put on a map was Ikolanjärvi - which I should have thought of to look for as Ikolanlampi, its real (current?) name - and I must thank you for pointing out that it is located in the vicinity to Kuusankoski and that therefore it was entirely logical to send a rescue party from Kuusankoski rather than from Iitti.

(OTOH it was not my assumption that the entire active membership of Iitti Civil Guard was sitting in the village or had to turn up there in full force before acting on the alert.)

Juha Tompuri wrote:
Jagala wrote:This could be when Ulderico Munzi visited to Finland
AFAIK he has never visited Finland.
FWIW in an interview he says that he was in Finland. I have of course no way of knowing whether he really was. In any case, it's IMHO less likely that he invented the two Italians who assisted him in his research in Finland.
Juha Tompuri wrote:
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...)
The eyewitness, Matti Laitinen has been dead for over 40 years.
What Civil Guard?
Any evidence to back up the claim that any Civil guard unit/members were at the wreck?
In case you failed to notice it - in which case I must take at least some blame for writing in a confusing or misleading manner - or forgot it, the "new" version is the version that appeared in Iltalehti with a by-line "Paolo Torretta". According to Torretta, the witness is Matti Laitinen (who would thus appear to have a new story to tell), but he doesn't either give any quotes or indicate when he interviewed Laitinen, if he ever did, or what was his source for this testimony.

But again thank you for telling us that Torretta cannot have interviewed him in the past forty years.

The Civil Guard in the above quote is, of course, the very same Civil Guard that appears in Iltalehti. IMHO it is Torretta who should have been concerned about the evidence (or lack of it).

( I was more interested in the apparent absence of members of Iitti Civil Guard.)

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Re: Volunteers in Winter and Continuation Wars

Post by Jagala » 25 Mar 2010 09:20

Juha Tompuri wrote:Paolo Torretta contacted me and wished to reply to some of the post made at this thread
Jagala wrote about 'Gli aquiloni non volano più", the book by Ulderico Munzi. Jagala can read the page 41. Manzocchi is on the plane. Finally, arrived some rescuers. With a sleigh. A REINDERS sleigh. The book by Munzi is full of these things. It's a great comic book. I didn't interview Matti Laitinen. I found his name on page 220 of the book by Ahti Saarinen "Parolasta Pyhäniemeen". And I didn't interview another witness: Esko Laiho, mechanic of HLeLv 26. And I didn't meet his brother. But another person interviewed Esko. May be this person can tell what Esko said.
It was my impression - I haven't read the book - that Munzi wrote what is called "documentary fiction" and Finland in his view is a romantic and exotic place. But it is IMHO one thing to put reindeer (instead of a horse) before a sledge and quite another thing to somehow conclude from this that Manzocchi was, in fact, shot in mistake.

Am I to infer that (1) the "new" version stems from page 220 of "Parolasta Pyhäniemeen" or from an interview with Esko Laiho (who, in turn, heard about it from Matti Laitinen?)? It is a pity Torretta wasn't more forthcoming about this.

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Re: Volunteers in Winter and Continuation Wars

Post by Juha Tompuri » 25 Mar 2010 20:09

Jagala wrote:
Juha Tompuri wrote:
Jagala wrote:This could be when Ulderico Munzi visited to Finland
AFAIK he has never visited Finland.
FWIW in an interview he says that he was in Finland. I have of course no way of knowing whether he really was.
I got the info that Munzi never have visited Finland from Mr Torretta.
Jagala wrote: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.
A great deal at Hyvönen book about Manzocchi is not based on facts.
Image

Anyway, thanks for also clearing some events at the issue.
I think we now can forget the "trigger-happy" Civil Guard conspiracy theories.

Regards, Juha

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Re: Volunteers in Winter and Continuation Wars

Post by Hanski » 25 Mar 2010 20:25

Juha Tompuri wrote:Paolo Torretta contacted me and wished to reply to some of the post made at this thread:
Hanski wrote: "the bullet was found inside his chest in the autopsy". Hanski wrote: "Attention seeking? Senile dementia?". About me, Paolo Torretta.

Senile dementia, of course. Is for that I ask you, Hanski, to show me the autopsy or a copy. You know, I have the senile dementia and I want to see that document (or a copy). Where did you find or see it?
/Juha
Mr Torretta seems to have partially misinterpreted what I wrote as my opinion on the matter on March 17, 2010.

I am happy to discuss further what I meant in my post, if Mr Torretta first registers himself at the AHF to engage in direct personal discussion (instead of using intermediaries) about the events related to the death of Staff Sgt. Manzocchi and about Mr Torretta's article about it published in Iltalehti of 5 March 2010.

As I have not seen this article but only read references to it in this thread of the AHF, it would be helpful if Mr Torretta would begin by posting his article here in its entirety for us to continue the discussion.

I agree with Jagala about Tapio Huttunen's article http://users.kymp.net/ilmakilta/diego.pdf seeming quite reliable, and if need be, I can translate it into English.

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Re: Volunteers in Winter and Continuation Wars

Post by Jagala » 29 Mar 2010 07:16

As a follow-up: I dug up a copy of "Parolasta Pyhäniemeen" just to see what was written on p. 220. It turns out that the author, Ahti Saarinen, merely quotes the relevant passages in "Kohtalokkaat lennot" and in an earlier book by Joppe Karhunen.

There is absolutely nothing new about the tragic death of Diego Manzocchi or the circumstances around it - and the sole "basis" for questioning the "official" story is that (1) it is mentioned that there was no damage due to enemy fire in the enemy aircraft and (2) Saarinen writes that Hyvönen has admitted that that the account in his book is not necessarily 100% factual.

Since (1) is not in any way mysterious; the aircraft had an open cockpit and fighter pilots are known to have been hit in similar manner, and (2) the statement need not be interpreted too freely; it's a shame, though, that Saarinen doesn't bother to single out the facts which in his view are not correct, may not be correct and cannot be verified by documents.

(It's a pity, too, that Mr Torretta didn't wish to comment on the "big question": how did his "new" version of the story materialize? We now know it doesn't stem from Matti Laitinen (although the "Iltalehti" story certainly claims or suggests it), it doesn't stem from any published sources or documents - so are we to infer that it stems from Esko Laiho (via "another person" who allegedly interviewed him; Mr Laiho passed away in 2002) or is its sole source free speculation by Mr Torretta - as would seem to be the case?)

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Re: Volunteers in Winter and Continuation Wars

Post by Hanski » 07 Nov 2010 13:33

I promised above to translate Tapio Huttunen's article on Diego Manzocchi if needed.
http://users.kymp.net/ilmakilta/diego.pdf

Sorry about the long delay, but here it comes:



DIEGO MANZOCCHI the forgotten hero

By Tapio Huttunen



In the memorial occasions of the 70th anniversary of the beginning of the Winter War, the fate of the Italian volunteer Diego Manzocchi has received little attention. However, he sacrificed his dearest for the freedom of Finland, his life! His story well deserves to be told.

Diego Manzocchi’s arrival at Finland as a volunteer in the battles of the Winter War was most obviously a mere co-incidence. This fact in no way lessens his appreciation here in Finland. At the end of 1939, Diego Manzocchi was receiving flying training at the Cameri Flying School in Northern Italy, close to Milan. By his rank, he was a Senior Sergeant in the Italian Air Force. He had earlier served in Tripoli, Libya, which then was a colony of Italy. He was aged 27 years and a bachelor. On his leave in the Italian Riviera in the autumn of 1939, he met a French lady named Justine, with whom he fell in love with such fervor that after his return from leave, he started planning a flight to France to meet his object of admiration. He was also dissatisfied in the progress of his career in the Air Force as well as in the then fascist Italian regime of Benito Mussolini.

Diego Manzocchi put his plan into practice on 29th September 1939. He let his old Fiat CR 20 biplane fighter be filled up with fuel. Fiat CR 20 served as an advanced trainer at Cameri, before transition to modern fighters. The aircraft was single-seated, with a range of 500-700 kilometres fully fuelled, depending on the circumstances.

Diego calculated that with this amount of fuel he could fly over the Alps to Gap Tallard airfield on the French side. The take-off was successful, and the flight path went first passing Turin around its Northern side (to avoid encountering fighters possibly sent from Turin air base to intercept), over the Gran Paradiso National Park, to the North-West, crossing the border between Italy and France at Brianconi. However, the warning light for low fuel finally lit up, and Diego understood that the fuel could never suffice for Gap Tallard. Thus he carried out a forced landing on a corn field by the river Durance, while the engine was already coughing, indicating shortage of fuel. The landing took place without damage, and soon Diego had to explain the reasons of his arrival to the French Gendarmerie who had been alarmed on the site. Diego had studied the French language already at school in his home town, Morbegno, and later with French tourists while spending his leaves on the Italian Riviera. The outcome was that Diego was allowed to stay in France, but he was all the time under the surveillance of the French military intelligence service, and he was ordered to reside at the remote town of Bolle from mid-October 1939 on. From there, Diego managed to visit Paris on 28th December 1939, in the address that he had received from his object of admiration. However, the door was opened by a tall man, who announced he was the husband of the lady in question. That admiration saw its end there and then, and Diego noticed he was in worse than trouble!

On the following day, 29th December, in a café by the Gare de Lyon street he met two Canadian pilots, who were on their way to Stockholm, and from there, later on to Finland for volunteers in the Winter War. These two Canadians were Lieutenant John McMaster and Sergeant John Jenkins, who also did arrive at Finland. The Canadians were well aware about things in Finland, and they gave Diego the address of a recruitment office as well as instructions for the journey by rail from Stockholm to Tornio.

Diego returned to Bolle, where he filled in an application to be allowed to “fight against communism”. The application was returned with a negative response on 9th January 1940. Another application of 12th January was also returned as negative. Only the third application was approved on 25th January 1940, with permission of transit to Paris and further on to the border.

Diego boarded a train in Paris and his journey went through the neutral Belgium and Holland to Germany, and from there, to the neutral Denmark. At the Swedish border there was already a Finnish contact person to meet him, who helped Diego to get a visa for residence in Sweden from the day of arrival 29th January until 15th February 1940. The Finns interviewed Diego for a long time in an office near the Finnish Consulate. Finally they were satisfied with Diego’s answers and they ordered him to report at the recruitment office in Tornio on 7th February 1940, where he arrived on the given day. In Tornio Diego was paid one month’s salary in advance and given clothes better suited for the Finnish climate.

From Tornio, Diego Manzocchi was sent to Lapua, where “Detachment Sisu” had been established for foreign volunteers on 8th January 1940. The Commander of Detachment Sisu was Captain Bertil Nordlund. The pilots of Detachment Sisu were sent further to Parola, where the Täydennyslentolaivue 29 (abbreviated T-LLv 29, Replenishment Flight Squadron 29) was deployed. From there, chosen pilots were sent to different units of the Air Force, or back to Lapua, as there were all sorts of volunteer “pilots”, for example the American Captain Julien, “Black Eagle” and “Field Marshal of Abyssinia”, and a countless number of other swindlers and adventurers. But Diego Manzocchi was a top class pilot, and he was ordered to report at Utti in the Lentolaivue 26 (Flight Squadron 26).

Diego Manzocchi arrived at the Lentolaivue 26 on 16th February 1940. He had served as a Senior Sergeant in the Italian Air Force, and the same rank was given to him also in the Finnish Air Force. He had flown the Fiat G.50 aircraft already in his homeland, so he was a most welcome help in the Squadron. There is no precise knowledge on when he flew in Finland for the first time. According to the documents preserved, he flew an interception sortie to Viipurinlahti Bay with Lieutenant Puhakka on February 29th at 14.50 hours, and another one at 16.25 hrs, totaling 60 minutes. According to the war diary of the Squadron, Manzocchi flew in February 3 hours and 20 minutes, so the first flight has been earlier in February.

On March 1st 1940 there were two interception sorties. On the next day, there was a transit flight from Hollola to Haukkajärvi, where the aircraft capsized on its nose in soft snow while taxiing after landing. The following entry is for 9th March 1940, when Manzocchi participated in combat at Viipurinlahti Bay, although the landing gear did not entirely retract because of a hydraulics failure. Flight time was 65 minutes. Then, on the fateful day of 11th March, an interception flight of 40 minutes took place at 11.20, and then the fatal flight at 13.40 hrs, which ended in forced landing after 45 minutes. There is varying data on the flight hours logged by Diego Manzocchi. He flew in March 1940 at least a total of 6 hours and 10 minutes, maybe more. He flew Fiat in Finland at least a total of 9 hours and 30 minutes.

On that fateful day of 11th March 1940 the events unfolded as follows: at 11.20 hrs Lieutenant Olli Puhakka and Senior Sergeant Diego Manzocchi took off for an interception mission in the direction of Viipuri without encountering the enemy, and returned to the base. The flight time was 40 minutes. After the aircraft were serviced and refueled, the couple took off again at 13.40 hrs for an interception sortie in Viipuri direction. Again, the bombers had already left the air space of Viipuri, and the pair decided to return.

As they arrived at Haukkajärvi, they spotted a huge formation of about a hundred bombers at 5000 meters. The aircraft were heading towards Lahti, and the fast Fiats went chasing the formation. They reached the bombers above Sääskjärvi Lake of Iitti, and went for attack. Lieutenant Puhakka managed to shoot down one DB-3 aircraft from the formation. The bomber fell in the forest at Kimonkylä village of Lapinjärvi. Captain Grigori Bulava and his crew were killed.

The attack of Senior Sergeant Manzocchi was not equally successful, but from the defensive fire of the bombers, he sustained the hit of a bullet in his lungs. Observers on the ground saw Manzocchi’s plane swing and fall steeply towards the ground, but however in a controlled fashion. The wounded pilot chose the small Ikolanjärvi Lake as his site of forced landing. As he approached the lake, he lowered his landing gear in the down position. This decision most likely cost him his life. If he had done a traditional “belly landing” with the landing gear retracted, the aircraft would most likely have glided on along the ice and stayed upright. Now, instead the aircraft landed on soft ice with a layer of wet snow on it, and the locals had made a winter road across the ice.

Manzocchi’s Fiat G.50 hit the bank of the winter road, turning upside down and continuing its way with the inertia of its speed. The open cockpit of the aircraft was packed with ice and wet snow, bruising the head of the pilot. As the plane stopped, the pilot was left hanging from his seat belts head down.

The first one to find the plane was a small boy, Matti Laitinen, who informed the authorities about it. But the rescue work started very slowly. At Kuusankoski, there was a training company, and its men were collected for a rescue group. From the stables of the Kymi Company, a horse and a sleigh were borrowed. Thereafter, mechanical jacks were fetched, as they were thought to be needed in lifting the aircraft. Finally the group was under way and they reached the plane at 17.20 hrs.

Villagers had been near the plane earlier in the day, and knocking was heard from inside the plane at about 15.00 hours. Now it was all silent. The rescue group lifted the tail of the aircraft with the jacks, and then snow was shoveled away from where the cockpit was. There became a space of about 70 cm and a volunteer crawled into the cockpit and cut the seat belts of the pilot. The body of the pilot slid on the ice and was lifted in the sled. The body was still warm but lifeless. Manzocchi was taken by sled to Kymi vocational school, which then served as a makeshift war hospital. He was carried to the lobby, where a doctor confirmed him as dead. According to the doctor, the bullet in the lungs alone was not the cause of death, but the bruises of the head, loss of blood, and hanging head down for several hours all together caused the death.

The information on Diego Manzocchi’s fate went extremely slowly. Not until the evening of the same day did the Commander of Hävittäjälentolaivue 26, Major J. W. R. Harju-Jeanty receive the message, and passed on the information to the staff of Lentorykmentti 2 (Flight Regiment 2) on Senior Sergeant Manzocchi not having returned from his flight. The Headquarters of Flight Regiment 2 was located in Selänpää of Jaala in March 1940.

At 19.35 hrs, LLv 26, Utti

I hereby report that today at 17.20 hrs Ensign Alppisara found on the ice of Ikolanjärvi Lake, 7 kilometres to the South-West from Voikkaa, at the map location 70,4 on the spot of the number 7, a downed Finnish fighter aircraft Number 4946 FA-22. The aircraft has green colour, it has fallen at about 13.00 hrs, according to what a small boy Matti Laitinen has told, today in the time between 12.00 – 15.40 hrs, and as reported by Ensign Alppisara, it is on the ice upside down, partially sunken in water. Inside is at least one dead pilot. I have arranged for guarding of the plane, and sent a task group, which will try to lift the aircraft so that the bodies can be removed.

Deputy Commander of II / Training Company IV, Olavi Järvelä




Diego Manzocchi was a very cheerful and polite, gregarious gentleman. The pilots and mechanics liked him a lot. In Finland, he became enthusiastic about the sauna and bathing. He taught the pilots and mechanics an Italian song ”E l`aeronautica e`l árma elegante”. Mechanic Veikko Lappalainen remembers that once when he went to the tents of the pilots he met Manzocchi, who was laughing while reading aloud a Finnish cartoon “World of Adventure”, pronouncing the words in a perfectly correct manner, but without understanding a word. He was a real easy-going fellow for a pilot!

Diego Manzocchi was born in Morbegno, Northern Italy, on 26th December 1912. He has been buried at the Hietaniemi hero cemetery in Helsinki, fairly close to the tall cross. The tombstone bears the text “Italian pilot Diego Manzoechi + 13.1.1940 Valkeala”. In other words, the name has been misspelled, and the date is false, too! Diego Manzocchi is the only Italian fallen in the Winter War.

Manzocchi’s Fiat G.50 aircraft was disassembled on site and transported back to Utti and the report of the aircraft inspector of Flight Squadron 26, Väinö Lemmilä, is as follows.

Senior Sergeant Manzocchi made a forced landing on the ice of Ikolanjärvi Lake for an unknown reason. In the forced landing, the propeller of the aircraft was bent, and the canopy of the cockpit, the wings, and rudder were damaged. The aircraft has been sent for repair to the depot of Härmälä at Tampere on 19th March 1940.


From the depot, the aircraft was not returned to the strength of Flight Squadron 26 as repaired until 19th April 1941 – just suitably for the Continuation War. The aircraft served the Air Force honourably for the duration of the whole war. The last flight with the aircraft took place on 28th August 1944. It was handed over to the depot on 25th February 1945, and removed from the strength of the Air Force on 31st May 1945.

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Dr Eisvogel
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Location: Croatia

Re: Volunteer in Winter War

Post by Dr Eisvogel » 19 Feb 2011 21:41

Dear colleagues,

I have questions regarding a person who was a recipient of a Finnish decoration "for bravery and merit". The decoration was awarded to him by Marshal Mannerheim "for participation in the war against the Soviets in the winter 1939/1940". (I quoted parts of narrator's explanations from the Croatian newsreel. The link to the newsreel is posted below.)

The person, a lieutenant in the Armed Forces of NDH (Independent State of Croatia) received the decoration from His Excellency Finnish chargé d'affaires Armas Yöntilä in Zagreb.

The period when the event on the newsreel might have taken place is any time in the period His Excellency Finnish chargé d'affaires Armas Yöntilä served in Zagreb between August 1942 and September 1944.

Unfortunately, the surname of the officer in question is not Bagatin as it is written under the youtube video, although his Christian name is Ante (Antti, Anthony). The surname could be something like Patarčić (Finnish: Patartšitš, English: Patarchich), but I cannot hear it clearly enough.

Additional complication is the fact that during the Winter War Croatia wasn't independent, so he might have had either Yugoslav, Italian, Hungarian or any other citizenship or simply be stateless.

The relevant part of video starts at 0:31.


Questions:
1.) What is the precise name of the decoration/medal he received?

2.) Is there any data about the recipient?

Thank you. Best regards!

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