|Warplanes of the Second World War preserved in Finland
Warplanes of the Second World War preserved in Finland
The aim of this website is to locate, identify and document Warplanes from the Second World War preserved in Finland. Many contributors have assisted in the hunt for these aircraft to provide and update the data on this website. Photos are as credited. Any errors found here are by the author, and any additions, corrections or amendments to this list of Warplane Survivors of the Second World War in Finland would be most welcome and may be e-mailed to the author at email@example.com.
Data current to 12 Nov 2018.
The Finnish Air Force (FAF or FiAF) (Finnish: Ilmavoimat) is one of the branches of the Finnish Defence Forces. Its peacetime tasks are airspace surveillance, identification flights, and production of readiness formations for wartime conditions. As a separate branch of the military, the Finnish Air Force is one of the oldest in the world, having existed officially since 6 March 1918.
Finland was forced into the Second World War when the “Winter War“ began on 30 November 1939 when the Soviet Air Force bombed 21 Finnish cities and municipalities. The Soviet Union is estimated to have had about 5,000 aircraft in 1939, and of these, some 700 fighters and 800 medium bombers were brought to the Finnish front to support the Red Army’s operations. As with most aerial bombardment of the early stages of the war, the damage against the Finnish industry and railways was relatively limited.
At the beginning of the Winter War, the Finnish Air Force was equipped with only 17 bombers and 31 fighters. There were also 54 liaison aircraft but 20 of these were only used as messengers. The most modern aircraft in the Finnish arsenal were the British-designed Bristol Blenheim bombers that had been license-built in Finland. The primary fighter aircraft was the Fokker D.XXI, a cheap but manoeuvrable design with a fabric-covered fuselage and fixed landing gear. In theory, this force should have been no match for the attacking Soviet Red Air Force.
In order to prevent their aircraft from being destroyed on the ground, the Finns spread out their aircraft to many different airfields and hid them in the nearby forests. The Finns constructed many decoys and built shrapnel protection walls for the aircraft. Soviet air raids on Finnish airfields usually caused little or no damage as a result, and often resulted in interception of the attackers by the Finns as the bombers flew homeward.
As the war progressed, the Finns tried desperately to purchase aircraft wherever there were any to be found. This policy resulted in a very diverse aircraft inventory, which was to cause some major logistical problems until the inventory became more standardized. The Finnish Air Force was to consist of numerous American, British, Czechoslovakian, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Soviet, and Swedish designs. Other countries, like South Africa and Denmark, sent aircraft to assist in the Finnish war effort. Many of these purchases and gifts did not arrive until the end of the hostilities, but were to see action later during the Continuation and Lapland wars.
To make up for its weaknesses of being equipped with few and obsolete fighters, the FiAF mainly focused on attacking enemy bombers from directions that were disadvantageous to the enemy. Soviet fighters were usually superior in firepower, speed and agility, and were to be avoided unless the enemy was in a disadvantageous position. A good example of the wisdom of this strategy was the surprise attack on the Immola air base in late February 1940 by some 40 Soviet fighters. The Finns were surprised during takeoff and lost seven planes, one Fokker D.XXI and six Gloster Gladiators.
As a result of these tactics, the Finnish Air Force managed to shoot down 218 Soviet aircraft during the Winter War while losing only 47 to enemy fire. The Finnish anti-aircraft gunners also had 314 confirmed downed enemy planes. 30 Soviet aircraft were captured – these were “kills” that landed more or less intact within Finland and were quickly repaired.
The Finnish Air Force was better prepared for the Continuation War. It had been considerably strengthened and consisted of some 550 aircraft, though many were considered second-rate and thus “exportable” by their countries of origin. Finland purchased a large number of aircraft during the Winter War, but few of those reached service during the short conflict. Politics also played a factor, since Hitler did not wish to antagonize the Soviet Union by allowing aircraft exports through German-controlled territory during the conflict.
New aircraft types were in place by the time hostilities with Soviet Union resumed in 1941. Small numbers of Hawker Hurricanes arrived from the United Kingdom, Morane-Saulnier M.S.406s from France, Fiat G.50s from Italy, a few dozen Curtiss Hawk 75s captured by the Germans in France and Norway then sold to Finland, when Germany began warming up its ties with Finland, and numerous Brewster B239s from the neutral USA strengthened the FiAF. The FiAF proved capable of holding its own in the upcoming battles with the Red Air Force. Older models, like the Fokker D.XXI and Gloster Gladiator, were replaced in front-line combat units with the new aircraft.
A small number of Caudron C.714 light fighter aircraft developed by Caudron-Renault for the French Armée de l'Air just prior to the start of the Second World War were supplied to Finland. Six Caudron C.714s were received in a semi-assembled state. An additional 10 were on the dockside at the time of France's Armistice with Germany, subsequently, further shipments were halted. After assembly, operations in Finland were limited to test flights and, in September 1941, combat flights with the fighters were prohibited. The aircraft were maintained on the roster until they were retired and scrapped on 30 December 1949. One example, CA-556 was transferred to the maintenance personnel school as an instructional airframe.
The FiAF’s main mission was to achieve air superiority over Finland and prevent Soviet air power from reinforcing their front lines. The fighter squadrons were very successful in the Finnish offensive of 1941. A stripped-down, more manoeuvrable, and significantly lightened version of the American Brewster B239 Buffalo was the FiAF’s main fighter until 1943. Results with this fighter were very good, even though the type was considered to be a failure in the US Navy and with British Far East forces. In the Finnish use, the Brewster had a victory rate of 32:1 – 459 kills to 15 losses. German Messerschmitt Bf 109s replaced the Brewster as the primary front-line fighter of the FiAF in 1943, though the Buffalos continued in secondary roles until the end of the wars.
Other types of aircraft, especially the Italian Fiat G.50 and Curtiss Hawk 75 also proved capable in the hands of well-trained Finnish pilots. Various Russian designs also saw action when lightly damaged “kills” were repaired and made airworthy.
Dornier Do 17s (received as a gift from Hermann Göring in 1942) and Junkers Ju 88s improved the bombing capability of the Finnish Air Force. The bomber force was also strengthened with a number of captured Soviet bombers, which had been taken in large numbers by the Germans during Operation Barbarossa. The bomber units flew assorted missions with varying results, but a large part of their time was spent in training, waiting to use their aircraft until the time required it. Thus the bomber squadrons of Flying Regiment 4 were ready for the summer battles of 1944, including the Battle of Tali-Ihantala.
While the FiAF was successful in its mission, the conditions were not easy. Spare parts for the FiAF planes were scarce - parts from the US (Buffalo & Hawk), Britain (Hurricanes), and Italy (G.50) were unavailable for much of the war. Repairs took often a long time, and the State Aircraft Factory was burdened with restoration/repair of Soviet war booty planes, foreign aircraft with many hours of flight time, and the development of indigenous Finnish fighter types. Also, one damaged bomber took up workshop space equalling three fighters. Finland was required to expel or intern remaining German forces as part of its peace agreement with the Soviets in mid-1944. As a result, the final air battles were against retreating Luftwaffe units. The Finnish Air Force did not bomb any civilian targets during either war. Curiously, overflying Soviet towns and bases was also forbidden, as to avoid any unneeded provocations and to spare equipment. According to Kalevi Keskinen’s and Kari Stenman’s book Aerial Victories 1–2, the Finnish Air Force shot down 1,621 Soviet aircraft while losing 210 of its own aircraft during the Continuation War. (Wikipedia)
Preserved combat aircraft from the Winter War and Continuation War in Finland include:
Polikarpov I-16UTI two-seat trainer, Reg. No. UT-1, in the Keski-Suomen Ilmailumuseo, Tikkakoski, Finland;
Hawker Hurricane Mk. I, (Serial No. HC-452), ex (Serial No. N2394), Keski-Suomen Ilmailumuseo, Tikkakoski, Finland;
Hawker Hart, Reg. No. Fv 714, displayed in Finnish Air Force markings in the Flygvapenmuseum, Linköping, Sweden. This aircraft was part of the F19 volunteer force sent to Finland.
Gloster Gladiator, (Serial No. G5/59066), Yellow H, Rweg. No. Fv 278, displayed in Finnish Air Force markings in the Flygvapenmuseum, Linköping, Sweden. This aircraft was also part of the F19 volunteer force sent to Finland.
Gloster Gauntlet, (Serial No. GT-400), ex-K5271, Lentomuseo Kymi, Finland.
Fokker D.XXI III/11, Reg. No. FR-110, partial replica, in the Keski-Suomen Ilmailumuseo, Tikkakoski, Finland;
Curtiss Hawk 75A-6, (Serial No. 13659), Reg. No. CU-554, recovered in Russia, now under restoration in New Zealand.
Caudron C.714, No. 6, Reg. No. CA-556, Vesivehmaan Varastohalli, Lahti, Finland.
Brewster B-239, No. 39, Reg. No. BW-372, recovered from Russia in 1998, being restored at the National Museum of Naval Aviation, Pensacola, Florida.
VL Humu, (Serial No. 632567), Reg. No. HM-671, Keski-Suomen Ilmailumuseo, Tikkakoski, Finland;
VL Pyry Mk. II, No. 26, Reg. No. PY-27, Suomen Ilmailumuseo, Helsinki, Finland.
VL Pyörremyrsky, No. 1, Reg. No. PM-1, Keski-Suomen Ilmailumuseo, Tikkakoski, Finland;
Bristol Bulldog Mk. IV, (Serial No. 7810), Reg. No. BU-59, Hallinporti Ilmailumuseo, Halli, Tampere, Finland.
Bristol Blenheim Mk. IV, VI/3, Reg. No. BL-200, Keski-Suomen Ilmailumuseo, Tikkakoski, Finland;
Blackburn Ripon IIF, No. 12, Reg. No. RI-140, Vesivehmaan Varastohalli, Lahti, Finland.
Aero A-32 biplane, Reg. No. AEj-59, Vesivehmaan Varastohalli, Lahti, Finland.
Aviation Museums of Finland
Hallinportii Ilmailumuseo, Hallinportii Aviation Museum, Haukilahdentie 3, 35600 Halli.
Museo Torpin Tykit, The Cannons at Torp Museum, Torppanummentie 73, 10210 Inkoo.
Flying Museum of Karhula’s Flying Club, Kymi Airport.
Aviation Museum Association of South-East Finland, Kaakkois Suomen Ilmailumuseo, Lappeenranta Airport, 53600 Lappeenranta.
Keski-Suomen Ilmailumuseo, Aviation Museum of Central Finland, 41160 Tikkakoski. (BW-372 Brewster Buffalo, Messerschmitt Bf 109G-6Y (MT-507/O)).
Suomen Ilmailumuseo, Finnish Aviation Museum, Helsinki-Vantaa Airport, Tietotie 3, 01530 Vantaa. (Fieseler Fi 156K-1 Storch (OH-FSA), Messerschmitt Bf 109G-2 (MT-208)
Ilmatorjuntamuseo, Anti-Aircraft Museum, Klaavolantie 2, 04300 Tuusula.
Paijat-Hameen Ilmailumuseo, Finnish Aviation Museum Society Storage Hangar, Lahti-Vesivehmaa Airfield, Lentokentta, 17130 Vesivehmaa.
Finnish Airforce Museum (Suomen Ilmavoimamuseo)
This museum is located near Jyväskylä Airport in Tikkakoski, Jyväskylä, Finland. The museum exhibits the aviation history of Finland, from the early 1900s until today. The museum is owned by the Foundation of Aviation Museum of Central Finland (Keski-Suomen Ilmailumuseosäätiö).
(USAAF, Library of Congress Photo)
Bell P-39L-1-BE Airacobra, USAAF (SerialNo. 42-4673?) at Nome, Alaska, in 1943-44. The red Soviet stars under the wings identify this as a lend-lease aircraft ferried to the USSR via Alaska.
Bell P-39Q Airacobra (Serial No.). "White 26". This aircraft was originally a Soviet lend-lease fighter, shot down and captured by Finnish troops during the Second World War. It was one of 3,291 delivered to the Soviet Union during the war. The Finns captured three in fairly intact condition. It has been restored in the original wartime camouflage and markings, using the wings of the 44-3255 that landed in Inkeroinen on June 17th 1944, the fuselage of the 44-2664 found in Aunus and the fin and the rudder from aircraft on the Norwegian fells.
Brewster Buffalo B-239 (Serial No. BW-372).
(Jukka Kolppanen Photos)
Bristol Blenheim Mk. IV (Serial No. BL-200).
Douglas C-47 Skytrain (Serial No. DO-4), former civil Reg. No. OH-LCF.
Fieseler Fi 156K-1 Storch (Wk. Nr. 4230), 39, Finnish Air Force (Serial No. ST-112). This Storch was purchased by the Finnish Air Force in 1939, sold for civil operation in 1960. Finnish Aviation Museum, Helsinki-Vantaa Airport.
Focke-Wulf Fw 44J Stieglitz (Wk. Nr.).
(Glavkom NN Photo, Dec 1939)
- SA-kuva Photo)
( - SA-kuva Photo, 1 Nov 1944)
(Jukka Kolppanen Photo)
Fokker D.XXI (Serial No. FFR-110).
(Reino Myllymäki Photo)
Gloster Gamecock fuselage, Finnish Air Force, Finnish Aviation Museum, Helsinki-Vantaa Airport.
Hawker Hurricane (Serial No. HC-452), 5.
Lockheed Lodestar 18-07 (Serial No. OH-VKU), Finnish Aviation Museum, Helsinki-Vantaa Airport.
Messerschmitt Bf 109G-6Y (Wk. Nr. 167271), ex-VO + GI, Finnish Air Force (Serial No. MT-507) "Yellow 0", Central Finland Aviation Museum, Tikkakoski.
Messerschmitt Bf 109 F-4 (Wk. Nr. 7108), ex-NE + ML, 9./JG 5, Central Finland Aviation Museum, Tikkakoski.
Messerschmitt Bf 109 G-2 (Wk. Nr. 14743), ex-RJ + SM, Finnish Air Force (Serial No. MT-208, Finnish Aviation Museum, Helsinki-Vantaa Airport.
Messerschmitt Bf 109 G-6/U2 (Wk. Nr. 165227, ex-BV + UE, Finnish Air Force (Serial No. MT-452), "Yellow 4", Suomen Ilmailumuseo, Utti.
Messerschmitt Bf 109 E-3 (Wk. Nr. 3285), ex-Bf 109E-7, 4./JG 5, "Black 12", "White 4", and "Yellow 2", Central Finland Aviation Museum, Tikkakoski.
Polikarpov UTI-4 two-seat training version of I-16 Soviet fighter, (Serial No. UT-1), Finnish Aviation Museum, Helsinki-Vantaa Airport.
VL Sääski II (Serial No. SA-122), 11, Finnish made trainer aircraft of Finnish Air Force 1928–1941.
VL Humu (Serial No. HM-671). The Humu is a Finnish fighter designed by Valtion lentokonetehdas, based on the American Brewster F2A Bufflo. The Humu was largely constructed out of wood, due to scarcity of metals, but the frame was made from steel and its design followed closely that of the Brewster. Because of the small numbers of Brewsters in service (44) in the Finnish Air Force, the Finns wanted to see if they could design a fighter based on the Brewster design. The aircraft designers Torsti Verkkola, Arvo Ylinen and Martti Vainio were called upon to lead the project. The Finnish Air Force ordered 90 Humus; however, production was stopped in 1944, when only one aircraft had been produced (Serial No. HM-671. The first flight took place on 8 August 1944, HM-671 flying for a total of 19 hours and 50 minutes. The aircraft was 250 kg (551 lb) heavier than calculated, its engine was underpowered, and the aircraft was simply not of the standard expected from a fighter aircraft of 1944. It was noted, however, that the change from wing guns to fuselage mounted machine guns was worthwhile. The sole survivor has been preserved in the Central Finland Aviation Museum, Tikkakoski.
( Photo, 1 Sep 1945)
VL Pyörremyrsky (Hawker Hurricane). This aircraft was a Finnish fighter, designed by DI Torsti Verkkola at the State Aircraft Factory for service with the Finnish Air Force during the Second World War. The war ended before the type's first flight and only a prototype was built.
VL Pyry (Blizzard). This aircraft is a Finnish low-winged, two-seated fighter trainer aircraft, built by the State Aircraft Factory for the Finnish Air Force. The Pyry was in use from 1939 to 1962. The aircraft was a mixed construction of wood, steel, fabric, and duraluminium. Central Finland Aviation Museum, Tikkakoski.
(Guillaume Baviere Photo)
VL Pyry II fighter trainer (Serial No. PY-27), and VL Viima II (Serial No. OH-VII), former VI-21 primary trainer. Finnish Aviation Museum, Helsinki-Vantaa Airport.