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Hemmo Leino - From Wilderness Squadron To Messerschmitts

Quick index:
[ Childhood in the neighbourhood of the Malmi airport - Visit of a Zeppelin | Pilot training in the Joroinen course and War Pilot course | Training in the squadrons | Morane and her weapons, gunsight problems and about air-to air shooting skill | Kullervo Lahtela as superior and "my worst bungle" | About the victories of Hemmo Leino and the validity of victories | AERIAL BATTLES BY HEMMO LEINO | Hemmo and five I-15bis behind the enemy lines | Morane equipment and weapons - well trimmed plane | About the aircraft types flown by Hemmo | Cannon Messerschmitt and a scrap with Lightnings | Leafing an identification manual | Intelligence and operation Stella Polaris | Picking up Messerschmitts in Germany | First enemy contact | Life in a base in wilderness | Pilot skills and preparation, replacement pilots | About victory statistics and their validity | About Russian aircraft weapons | MiGs. Yaks, Airacobras and other neighbour aircraft | R-5 shot down and dogfights with Yak-9s | "It's only Russki planes that I have broken" | Meeting Russians | About the effect of G forces and plane markings | From Bulldog to Messerschmitt | Selected parts out of Hemmo Leino's aviation history | Credits ]


 

  
  

Virtuaalilentäjät - Hemmo Leino Capt. Hemmo Leino, a successful fighter ace with a long civilian flying career after the war, was interviewed by us in Helsinki May 8th 2002. Capt. Leino started his career flying the Fokker D.XXI and the Morane-Saulnier 406, then was transferred to LeLv34 to become a Me109 pilot. Later he continued his career as airliner pilot and businessman. He finally retired in 2003 at the age of 82 years, deserved after decades of active business.

Mr. Leino checked and approved the text of the interview early 2003.

Interview by: Timo "Kossu" Niiranen, Matti "My" Yrjölä and Jukka O. Kauppinen "Grendel".
Recording and proof reading by: Jukka O. Kauppinen
Typing :
Part 1: Jarmo Paimen
Part 2: Pasi "Jannu" Kajo
Part 3: Ari Simolin

Research of the aerial battles of Hemmo Leino by Carl-Frederik Geust, aviation historian
Selected samples of the aviation history of Hemmo Leino: Kyösti Partonen

Hemmo Leino in the Internet - Google search.
References to Hemmo Leino in the other articles of Virtuaalilentäjät Ry.
Hemmo Leino in the TV - download and watch.

Leino, Hemmo Kullervo
S. 8.4.1921 Helsinki
Finnish Pilot's Emblem no. 812
Training: The course in Joroinen War Pilot Course no.1 during the Winter War
War plane types flown: Fokker D.XXI, Morane-Saulnier 406, Fiat G.50, Brewster B-239, Hurricane, Messerschmitt 109
Flying hours logged: 560 / 10 480
Profession: Airliner captain

Units:
Sept16.1941 LeLv30
Aug 1.1942 LeLv14
Apr19, 1943 LeLv34
Resigned from service May15, 1945

Decorations: Freedom Medal 1st Class, Freedom Cross 4th Class, Freedom Cross 4th Class with Oak Leaves
Confirmed victories: 11 in 251 missions

Aerial victories of Hemmo Leino
Officially credited. Compare to the research by C.F.Geust in this article.
Date Own aircraft Location Target
9.1.1942 FR-146 Maaselkä 1 Hurricane
19.1.1942 FR-146 Maaselkä 1/2 R-5
5.11.1942 MS-313 Maaselkä 1 LaGG-3
16.3.1943 MS-319 Maaselkä 2 I-15bis
10.10.1943 MT-204 Karelian isthmus 1/2 Boston
16.5.1944 MT-418 Gulf of Finland 1 Boston
14.6.1944 MT-422 Karelian isthmus 1 IL-2
18.6.1944 MT-424 Karelian isthmus 1 Mustang (Spitfire V)
20.6.1944 MT-423 Karelian isthmus 1 Jak-9
5.7.1944 MT-402 Karelian isthmus 2 Jak-9
Source: Suomen Ilmavoimien historia 11: Hävittäjä-ässät Kari Stenman / Kalevi Keskinen (Apali Oy).

Virtuaalilentäjät - Hemmo Leino
Mr. Kyösti Karhila and Mr. Hemmo Leino signing Messerschmitt posters by Mr. Gripenberg in the Aviation Museum.

 
  
  
Childhood in the neighbourhood of the Malmi airport - Visit of a Zeppelin

What did you do before the pilot course and joined the Finnish Air Force?

It is all described in this book. I had to write about the background so much that I suggest you copy some pages off it...(laughs)
That's it! You would hear the same stories if I start telling, just I do not remember it all anymore. But what has once been written remains in the record and a lot of the details have been checked so that they should be considered as facts.

Is there any mention about how your interest in aviation and aircraft was inspired, and why you chose to join the FAF?
I was born and living in Tapanila, next to the Malmi airport until I had to do my compulsory military service. When aviation enthusiasm smote me I always could run to the airport after school and watch the planes and goings-on. Actually I spent all the time I could at the perimeter of the airport. By the by I could get inside and when once smitten, my enthusiasm did not recede. Seeing new planes and their maneuvering just fueled it. I had a very good observation point even though the Malmi airport was not completed until 1938. Before that there in fact was nothing.

A Zeppelin was seen once. Then the Germans demonstrated on the fields of Tuomarinkylä their Bueckers and gliders. They were showing what was going on in Germany. That was a grand thing to see. Then there was the aviation exposition, I believe in 1938. The Germans were the stars of the show, but there were others, too. It was a fine show. It was a good exposition and one could see the progress of the aviation at that time. There were fine aircraft and it was a pleasure to look at them. It was that show and its atmosphere that breathed life and gave content to my dreams and ideas about aviation.
 

  
  
Pilot training in the Joroinen course and War Pilot course

You did the War Pilot course, what were the training and atmosphere like in your opinion?

Initially in the summer of 1939 I did the Air Defense Society course in Joroinen where we logged 35 flying hours of basic pilot training with the Smolik. Then we were automatically drafted in the FAF. The course was just as told in the books and the War Pilot course no.1 likewise... (laughing) I believe the easiest way is that you go and read about those courses. Every one can tell about those events in their own style.

You flew the Smolik during training, which other types did you encounter in training?
We had just Smoliks (in summer 1939). In the very last phases of the course we received a Viima-1 and we flew her a little. I cannot recall how many hours, but very little. Then in Kauhava there was the Sääski, and with her I flew quite a lot with observer trainees. I also flew the Tuisku and Jupiter Aero. Then we had some odd types, the Klemm and even a Piper Cub.
Was the Piper one of the commandeered civilian planes?
Yes, it was. It is also known as the Taylor Cub.
Shoulder wing and tailwheel?
Yes, a very simple construction. She flew for a quite long time after the war. It was the smallest and cheapest plane to fly! We had also different Tiger Moths in Kauhava, and what else... I don't think we had much more, but we flew them all right. We had logged about 100 hours each when we left Kauhav During the 1940-1941 peace as I was demobilized and studying the Academic Air Defense Society organized a Tuisku course where the participants flew the Tuisku 15 hours each. I think it was good training! The instructors were very good, that is all I can say about it. I don't think the trainees were bad either, because none was flushed out during the course.
The memoirs of the trainers also confirm that the War Pilot course no.1 was the best, because all of you had some previous experience and training...
Yes, all of us had some, about equaling the course in Joroinen. Some had taken flying lessons at the Karhumäki Brothers' Flying School. Some had even been in the FAF training and had been flushed out but joining our course.
 

  
  
Training in the squadrons

Kyösti Karhila told that in the front line squadron he served there were but a few older pilots willing to instruct the young ones.
Instruction was indeed not in vogue. Maybe everyone thought that who am I to instruct others. Or was it the idea that let everyone get wise on their own! Illu (Ilmari) Juutilainen was one of those who liked to instruct and tell. He was quite an exception in that respect. I cannot remember any other who would have come to us to give advise. In fact there were not many who would have had the war experience to be able to advise others. The veterans of the Winter War would tell if asked about it, but Visapää (initially Jorma Backberg, pilot's emblem no.326 Feb17 1934) used to tell stories. It was fun to listen to them but I cannot tell whether one learned anything about them. They used to say that it is one of the Visapää stories (laughing). Visapää was a good pilot, no doubt about that. There were different styles! The instructors taught us what they knew, of course. But in the squadrons you never could tell who would know something.

In practice you just flew (battle missions)?
That is right. We had completed our training, you see. Yet there was some training in the squadrons, too. Replacement pilots did all sorts of training flights and then the leaders considered that certainly what I can do, he can do. It is difficult for anyone to go and offer to share one's knowledge unless you are asked to do it.
There must have been type training to introduce the pilot to the controls of a new plane?
The type training was a pretty summarily business.
When converting from the Fokker to the Morane, what kind of training did you get?
We did have type training. We had to go to A/B Hirvas where LeLv28 was operating from with the Moranes (M-S 406). We learned to fly them, it was a few hours' instruction course and then we continued in practice. When back in Tiiksjärvi we went on training on our own. As a matter of fact there was not much to learn! The Morane was just another aircraft with its quirks but when we were informed about them or instructed about them, they could be flown like any other plane.
 

  
  
Morane and her weapons, gunsight problems and about air-to air shooting skill

What was it like to fly the Morane (Morane-Saulnier 406) after flying the Fokker? What was it like as a plane?
It was a jolly good plane. It was agile, the only fault was the miserably weak engine. She could not climb fast enough in an emergency, that was the problem. The armament could also have been better. The rat guns were miserably weak and the mags were of small capacity, it was not much good for anything. But the Berezina heavy machine gun was good. There have been complaints that it did not want to work but mine fired every time! I never wanted to blame it.
The Hispano cannon has been complained about, can you comment on that?
We only had the 12,7mm Berezina.
It has been said about the Berezina that it used to have mechanical problems, it was not strong enough? But when it was working, it was a very good gun?
The main problem, I think, was that our engineers began to tinker with it. The gun had a forced feed system, as far as I remember, which was removed. Anyway the gun was modified and then problems started emerging. But I don't know for sure... In my opinion the gun used to work well enough. The pilot may be partially responsible for any problem. I never really suffered from jammed guns but I had a couple of times such trouble with the gunsight that it ruined my mission. I was flying the Messerschmitt then, as a pair with Myllylä at Lavansaari and we encountered some LaGGs or Yaks. They approached from the other side of the island. Myllylä was flying ahead of me and he attacked one of them. Of course he got the second enemy behind his tail and I tried to get behind him. I pushed the stick - and the gunsight left its slot and fell in my lap! Myllylä kept yelling, "shoot him, get rid of him!" I had to tell him that how could I shoot as the gunsight was in my lap. I cannot remember what happened really. One of the enemies went down, I saw how Myllylä shot him. It seemed to me that also the other one went down. I tried to shoot according to tracers but it was no good. Sometimes if you have good luck you might hit something. Things like this could happen. The other case was when (Capt.) Pekuri was shot down, then I again had to shoot with a blacked out gunsight. You actually cannot accomplish anything.

The gunsight illumination was out?
Quite so. There are some who think that you should be able to hit with the help of your tracers but I cannot believe that. It is the gunsight that tells you where you are hitting. The tracers do have their own trajectories! Before you can see where the tracer goes the target has already moved!
So in your opinion you cannot aim with tracers?
I do not want to start an argument. In my opinion aiming by tracers cannot be successful, except at a bomber. You can approach to a very short range and then shoot, the target would be a big lump.
Especially when you have to take deflection to shoot.
That is right. It would be darn difficult! You have to start by estimate and if the situation changes ever so little, your burst is going somewhere else. The ones who are saying that they have shot down planes by observing their tracers. I would like to tell them that you must have been dreaming and telling tales.

Did you tell your opinion already in the war or afterwards?
I said that at least I never shot down a plane by observing my tracers. I am not able to do that. If anyone can, he is a better pilot! But not me. Someone boasted a little, saying he shot down a plane with the help of his tracers only. Allow me have my doubts!
The ammunition consumption is considerable, if you start shooting and observe the tracers...
Yes, considering that the burst has its trajectory and the target its own course! And you have to take deflection! There is no way to be successful!
Maybe when shooting at a ground target...
Well, a ground target is another matter, it stays put!

Do you remember from which angle you used to shoot at a target?
It depended on the plane you were shooting at. The Il-2 had to be fired at from the side, you could not down him from any other direction. It was in vain to shoot a well armoured plane like the Il-2 from behind. You could not accomplish anything. But fighters were vulnerable from every quarter. And the bombers had a lot of weak spots. Although I did not get to shoot at bombers very often! I cannot tell much about them. We were shooting at a Boston and that was a piece of experience. You do know what would happen if you approach very close behind, you shall be hit by the debris. Next time you know to avoid that.
 

  
  
Kullervo Lahtela as superior and "my worst bungle"

Virtuaalilentäjät - Hemmo Leino (Hemmo Leino and Cdr.Capt. Robert "Bob" Shaw, a U.S. aviation writer)
Another matter came in my mind, did you fly with Kullervo Lahtela or did you know him?
Yes he was my superior.
You mentioned about shooting down a Boston. Did you ever fly with Lahtela hunting for a Boston?
I cannot remember that I would have done that. But I do remember one incident when Lahtela was leading us and I did quite a bad mistake. Kotka was being bombed and Lahtela managed to take off with his pilots far ahead of me. They were five or six and I was alone. My plane was parked farther away in the base, I, poor man, had to take off after the others, not much later, but I lost them from my view. The Russians had raided Kotka and we started pursuit. Lahtela was heading from Kotka to Lavansaari, the AAA puffs showed us the way. I followed the others and my radio was not working. I saw them heading for Lavansaari, there go the Russkies and after them our lads. I thought, the bombers are not going to land at Lavansaari, they just allow their fighter escort to join them before heading for the East and their base in Kronstadt or in the Carelian IsthmSeveral And I was right, I had headed for Peninsaari and just after a while I saw the formation of ten bombers covered by one single LaGG-3. I thought this would be a piece of cake!

It was my plan to get rid of the Lagg and then I would have a great time! I turned to get behind the fighter - and he banked away! I decided to chase him to some distance at least. He headed for Lavansaari and I followed him for a while. I did not even bother to fire at him. I thought that there is Lavansaari and the bombers were heading for East, I went after them - and did not find them anywhere! In my opinion there were just a few seconds of time, but they vanished from my view and I don't know where! I chased them, knowing that they would be going for their base in the IsthmSeveral I continued in the same direction, passed Seiskari, then I dived to the sea level, then climbed up again... I thought that they must be somewhere! Ten planes in one formation, they should be visible!

Then I flew among some clouds, but there were not much of them. Someone was shooting, there were hits on the sea, like lashes with a whip. Still I did not spot anything. Where the heck could they be? I was approaching Kronstadt and then I saw: the entire formation of ten planes was above me! We were just about to fly above Kronstadt. Of course the enemy on the ground saw me behind the bombers and such a diabolic AA fire was opened that I had nothing to do there. I was lucky to escape by diving and headed for Suulajärvi. It was among my worst bungles of my life, I have lost my night's sleep many a time and even cried!

The chance, ten planes - bombers - always a desired target, and so completely I bungled! But you could not help it. I could not spot them however hard I looked in any quarter! But they had maneuvered craftily. Lahtela was leading but I could not even inform them that here they are, above Peninsaari, come here! I believe we would have very soon done in the entire formation.

Did you frequently have radio problems?
Well, I did have them fairly often! Often, even though the FuGs were pretty good pieces of equipment.
Judging by the literature there were frequently problems with the radios?
Yes, there were lots of radio problems everywhere. But thinking about it, the least with the Messerschmitts. They were equipped with good radios. But...in a crucial moment they did not work. It was bad luck.

What is your opinion about Lahtela as a man and superior ? He was a nice man. We never had any disagreement, he never even gave me a chewing even though I had an unmilitary bearing (joke) like many others. Many officers were not pleased seeing pilots lacking every hint of soldierly appearance. Some took it seriously, Lahtela didn't.
It was the main thing for him that his pilots did their job?
Right! I think so. Puhakka, too, even if he would yell, he was a decent man after all. He appreciated us when we had fought together. We flew in battle with him quite often. He always remembered to give his thanks if we had done well. But he did take up issues I failed to understand properly. In the book "Iskulaivue" is told what happened after I had shot down a Boston in Kiuskeri. We were sitting on a bench near the dispersal area as Puhakka returned from his furlough. Luukkanen was sitting among us as Puhakka asked, "Well, has anything happened here?" Well, Luukkanen said. " Hemmo shot one Boston". Puhakka said "Oh" and came over to me to ask, "Well, how much ammo did you spend?" I told him that more than half (a magazine) was used. "More than a half for one single Boston!?" In my opinion that remark was not well thought of...

Did you have any shared battle experience with Lahtela?
Well, Lahtela was based in Helsinki for such a long time and I but for a month. I was posted to his flight here in Helsinki but nothing happened actually. We accomplished nothing while we were here. Then he was as far as I remember transferred as the Squadron leader of LeLv32. He was in Utti as I joined the LeLv34. I cannot remember, the flying log book is so badly designed that there is no space for notes with whom you were flying and you cannot remember them for each mission. It would be a great help if my log would include the names of the pilots flying with me. It is not easy to remember afterwards who were in each mission. Now there is no knowing who to ask if you would like to find out about some incident.
 

  
  
About the victories of Hemmo Leino and the validity of victories

Aviation historian C.F. Geust has researched in Russian sources. The result has been quite a change in types and numbers (of victories). But the victories listed in the official record of the FAF cannot be changed any more, however new information would be available.

I wonder how valid are the Russian archives?
They must be valid because even the names of the victims are listed, and their units. It is quite detailed data! It is in my opinion much more reliable than the stories of our pilots. I mean that a report stating "I fired...I fired...I fired and the enemy went down!" is not as reliable as an enemy report stating that they lost an identified plane or a pilot.
I have been reading Russian battle reports and books in aviation history written in the 70s and 80s. And their own losses are, should I say, understated in a certain degree, because they were not checked against the archived statistics.
Well, it is just human! I understand them fully well! This kind of things happen! They compare with their own score and are a little ashamed of their own losses. In the time of the war the (Russian) commanders had a risk, if their units performed badly, they could get a bullet through the head!
Or they were posted in a worse duty.
Yes, they might have to give up their position
To become a gunner of an Il-2 for example.

I read through the report that Geust gave me (enclosed) about my battles. In my opinion they help me a lot if I start reminisce about the war and examine whether someone else claims the kill. What do I have written up actually? Here is the data Geust found in Moscow. Here are the first battles with the Fokker in Tiiksjärvi. Then the Morane battles ... and the rest I was flying with the Messerschmitt. Here are all the scraps in which I scored. He has researched and found nothing else where I would have committed any evil. But there are some details which I must try to verify in the Finnish War Archive. But as to Tiiksjärvi, it is almost impossible to find anything! All documents were burned up in 1944 as Tiiksjärvi was abandoned.
 

  
  
AERIAL BATTLES BY HEMMO LEINO

Report:
Research and list by Carl-Frederik Geust

Dated 25 Feb 2002

FR = Fokker D.XXI
MS = Morane-Saulnier 406
MT = Messerschmitt 109 G-2 or G-6
(MT-2xx planes G-2, MT-4xx G-6)

Date

Time

Plane

Opponent

Lento

Mission

Downed

Downed plane

Unit

Place of crash

Remark

9.1.42

12.15-12.45

FR-146

4 HC

Interception

Tiiksjärvi-Ontrosenvaara

ltn V.N.Ljusov (+)

HC

152 IAP

3-4 km N Ponnokka

 

19.1.42

8.10-9.05

FR-146

1 R-5

Interception

Ontajärvi

Matvejev (OK)

PR-5

OAG GVF

(ErLeRyhmä)

 

18.1.42 ?

5.11.42

11.55-12.40

FR-146

1 LaGG-3

Interception

Seesjärvi-Voijärvi

 

 

 

 

(No record found)

16.3.43

13.40-15.05

MS-319

5 I-15

Escort

Jeljärvi-Kotskoma-Sekehe

Sgt. Nemtsov (+)

Sgt. Kolesnikov (+)

Sgt. Brutinin (+)

I-15bis

I-15bis

I-15bis

839 IAP (all)

Jeljärvi (all)

 

 

20.5.43

5.15-6.35

MT-JAPP

2 I-153

Interception

Lavansaari

v.Sgt. Rustamov (wounded)

I-153

71 IAP

Lavansaari

(Ruotsila +)

21.5.43

1.05

MT-227

8 I-153

Interception

Lavansaari

v.Sgt. A.V.Sitnikov (bailed out, KIA)

v.Sgt. A.M.Sofin (+)

I-153

I-153

71 IAP

71 IAP

15 km SW Lavansaari

SW Lavansaari

(collided with Saalasti)

23.5.43

18.10-19.25

MT-224

5 La-5

Interception

Lavansaari

 

 

 

 

(No victory)

27.7.43

5.25-6.40

MT-227

Several La-5

Interception

Lavansaari-Seiskari

 

 

 

 

(No victory)

2.8.43

5.20-6.45

MT-227

10 Pe-2 + 1 Lagg-3

Interception

Lavansaari-Kronstadt

 

 

 

 

(No victory)

22.8.43

15.10-16.30

MT-230

Several La-5

Interception

Tytärsaari-Seiskari-Kronstadt

 

 

 

 

(No victory)

10.10.43

9.25-9.55

MT-204

1 Boston

Interception

Kouvola-Luumäki

Sr.Lt. Volkov (captured, died 16.10)

A-20G

1 GMTAP

Luumäki

(2 other KIA)

27.10.43

0.55

MT-223

Several La-5

Interception

Suursaari-Lavansaari

jr.Lt. Seleznev

Jak-7B

12 KOAE

off Lavansaari

(a/c sunk, pilot rescued)

19.11.43

11.00-11.35

MT-201

2 LaGG-3

Interception

Lavansaari

jr.Lt. Belousov (wounded)

LaGG-3

13 KIAP

Lavansaari (belly landing)

 

20.11.43

8.40-9.20

MT-232

? Jak-7

Interception

Suursaari-Lavansaari

jr.Lt. Dorozhenko

Jak-7B

12 KIAP

Off Lavansaari

(a/c sunk, pilot rescued)

7.4.44

7.35-8.10

MT-241

? Jak-9

Interception

Lavansaari

ltn Aleksejev (+)

Jak-9

21 IAKP

N Lavansaari

(a/c exploded)

16.5.44

4.30-5.10

MT-418

1 Boston

Interception

Kiuskeri

 

 

859 ODRAP

 

 

14.6.44

9.50-11.05

MT-425

 

Interception

Rintamal.

 

 

 

 

 

14.6.44

13.40-14.30

MT-422

1 balloon + 6 Il-2

Recce

Kivennapa-Mustamäki

jr.Lt. Je.A.Andrejev (+)

Il-2

566 ShAP

2 km E Kivennapa

(gunner KIA)

14.6.44

19.45-20.50

MT-420

 

Interception

Rintamal.

 

 

 

 

 

16.6.44

18.55-19.45

MT-425

6 Il-2

Interception, ferrying

 

 

 

 

 

(3 Il-2 down 16.6.44)

18.6.44

5.15-6.25

MT-424

2 Jak-3

Interception

Koivisto

 

 

 

 

(2 La-5, 3 AC, 1 Pe-2, 3 Il-2 down 18.6.44)

18.6.44

7.35-8.50

MT-424

circa 30 planes

Interception

Merij.-Koivisto

 

 

 

 

(look above)

20.6.44

7.10-8.10

MT-424

Jak-9

 

Virolahti-Koivisto

Cpt S.G.Rusak (sv)

Jak-9

14 GIAP

Viipuri

 

23.6.44

17.00-17.45

MT-430

 

 

Viipuri

 

 

 

 

(1 Il-4, 1 Jak-9, 5 Il-2 alas 20.6)

26.6.44

11.00-12.15

MT-453

Lots

Patrol

Viipuri-Tali-Äyräpää

 

 

 

 

(2 Jak-9, 3 La-5, 3 Il-2 downed 26.6.)

28.6.44

18.50-20.00

MT-426

 

Interception

Viipuri-Tali

 

 

 

 

(8 Jak-9, 7 La-5, 6 AC, 5 Il-2 downed 28.6.)

30.6.44

10.50-12.05

MT-423

 

Patrol

Viipuri-Tali-Juustila

 

 

 

 

(1 Il-4, 5 Jak-9, 1 KH, 2 AC, 1 Pe-2, 2 Il-2 downed 30.6.)

1.7.44

10.10-11.25

MT-422

 

Interception

Uuras-Koivisto

 

 

 

 

(3 Jak-9, 1 La-5, 2 AC, 5 Il-2, 1 LaGG-3 downed 1.7.)

1.7.44

13.15-14.30

MT-422

 

Interception

Viipuri-Äyräpää

 

 

 

 

 

2.7.44

6.10-7.30

MT-453

 

Interception

Viipuri-Tali

 

 

 

 

(2 La-5, 1 AC, 10 Il-2 downed 2.7.)

4.7.44

4.50-6.10

MT-422

 

Interception

Pölläkkälä-Teikari

Cpt Danilko (+)

jr.Lt. Jegorov (OK)

Jak-9

Jak-9

13 IAKP

13 IAKP

Uuras

Ruonti

(KIA)

(rescued)

5.7.44

9.40-10.55

MT-402

2 Jak-9

Interception

Virolahti-Vatnuori

jr.Lt. R.P.Tebenkov (+)

jr.Lt. Korzun (wounded)

Jak-9

Jak-9

13 IAKP

13 IAKP

Uuras

Makslahti

 


 

  
  
Hemmo and five I-15bis behind the enemy lines

The War Archive has no authentic records about that time, but only self-serving adventure stories. It ends spring 1942, and nothing later than that. It is a great pity, I cannot find out the facts but here are some clear cases. For example I have tried to find someone who was with the raid against the Jelijärvi Russian depot. In that case Matti Tainio was leading the flight. We were six. We arrived at Jeljärvi, he told us that Kalima and Leino stay at 4000 and observe the surroundings. The rest dived as something began to move on the ice. They went but Kalima joined them. They all bounced the alleged enemy planes moving on the ice. One tried to take off but it was shot up at the takeoff. I saw that but I also saw five I-15bis flying in a beautiful formation in the direction of Segezha, past Jeljärvi.
Well, of course I did not stay up there but started pursuing those planes. I had a lot of extra speed, diving from up there, and they were flying at the treetops. I could not decelerate in time, yet I hastily fired. I managed to get a shot at two of the planes as they were flying in a parade formation wingtip to wingtip! I don't know what happened to them. I passed them, but nothing happened, four planes kept flying in formation as I approached again. I went on shooting and wondered deeply when one of them is shot at and there is a plane on each side yet they appear unmoved by the fact that their neighbour is being fired at!
Then I thought it must be a training flight. These are no real military men! I did not have any time more... Finally we were pretty deep in the enemy rear. We crossed a railway line, it was the Murmansk railway. It did not worry me but while shooting at one of the planes I saw the chimneys of Segezha ahead. And there is an airbase behind them! Then fear overcame me! I thought, here I am alone deep in Russia and soon lots of planes shall be coming to attack me. I headed for home. Nobody else but me shot at those five planes. Now Geust comes with this data, and I would like to get it confirmed.

To find out whether they really went down?
Yes, here is data about a five plane flight that lost three, these fellows were shot down.
(Studying the information about the battle provided by Geust)

Does this mean that it is officially recorded?
This is recorded in a way... Our HQ approved two victories for me. Whatever way they examined my claim. They just informed the Squadron or the Flight that two downed planes are approved. I do not know how they approved them.
The wrecks must have been found or a ground observation post may have seen the plane fall down?
Something like that, in principle, but these were deep in Russia! I don't know how they got the information but this here proves that all three went down. They must have been trainees all of them, because their rank was Junior Sergeant. They did fly like trainees! It did not make any sense, flying like that...They could have attempted to do something! The instructor must have had a hard time in explaining after landing where his trainees actually are.
I think he paid dearly for this. One trainee out of four survived.
Obviously the instructor and one trainee survived. This is the data found, but there is no kind of Finnish contributing data to be found! No documents, all gone! All witnesses are dead!
I was thinking, there might be some documents of the Radio Surveillance Companies?
I do not think there is anything there.
Geust anyway is finding out what he can in Russia. If it should be so that there were no others flying but that group of five then it is a fact: those victories belong to me. However ugly it was to shoot at those lads. Of course in that situation it never occurs you to think whether the enemy can fly or not. But it looked like their flying was no good. I might have been able to shoot down all of them had I not been frightened! It was my bungle, but you do panic when you suddenly find yourself alone deep in the enemy rear.
 

  
  
Morane equipment and weapons - well trimmed plane

You mentioned that the Morane had small magazines. However, in this case you had shot down three planes, did you have any ammo left?
The Berezina did have a large magazine! It was enough if you only knew to spend them according to the situation. But the light MGs were just toys with tiny little magazines. They could be spent with one burst!

Did the Morane have one or two triggers?
There was one. Each plane was different! I had an electric trigger installed in my plane! The airscrew was also electrically adjustable, usually it was pneumatic.
You had the Escher-Wyss airscrew, the Swiss one?
Right.
Then you must have had a well trimmed Morane.
You know about it?

I have read about the Escher-Wyss airscrew. Did the Berezina also feature electric trigger?
Not in the MS-319. The MS MGs were operated with a finger trigger in the control column. For my own plane I had the system modified into a thumb operated push button. How were the wing guns selected again? Did they have a separate trigger...cannot remember now.
I am not sure but if I am right there was a selector and one trigger
I agree, but where was the selector? Can't remember. But I do remember the trigger of the Berezin It was a long one if pneumatic, but mine was electric and I had it replaced. Initially it was in the stem of the control column. I had it moved so that I could press it with my thumb! That was far more natural! I cannot remember how the wing guns were activated. It could be that there was a selector. It must have been, because I can remember only one trigger.
When the rat guns of the Morane were out of ammo did you fire with one MG only?
Yes. But the Berezina was pretty effective! The magazine held quite a lot of ammunition. I would have had enough bullets to get all the five down (laughing) if only I had had the courage. But it was still unfamiliar to me. It was one of my first dogfights. I surely would not have blundered in that way in the final months of the war. In the beginning of the war there was some insecurity when flying deep in the enemy rear. I must have got cold feet! There is no other explanation.
Quite far out there in the foreign lands!
Yes (bursts to laughter)!
 

  
  
About the aircraft types flown by Hemmo

First you flew trainers, then as first line aircraft the Fokker, the Morane and the Messerschmitt. Was any of them your special favourite?

A new type was fortunately always better than the old one. You could feel right away that you are going to do better now. Yet each of them had their good characteristics. The FR (Fokker D.XXI) was not a bad plane! It was just slow and as the Russkies got better planes then you did not have a chance fighting them with a Fokker. It was right that Brewsters (Brewster B-239)were based in our front section. But the FR could take a lot of punishment. One had 140 holes yet she returned to the base.
Whose plane was it?
Both (Martti) Kalima (SLM 549/303) and (Aaro) Nuorala had both 130 to 140 holes. Their planes were like sieves but yet they returned. That was good about the Fokker. But the weakness were that she was equipped with only four 7.6 mm MGs, they were not so wonderful. But if you hit well so... I did get my first victory with these four MGs, it was a Hurricane. The Fokker was a robust plane. Of course she was underpowered just as my next type was, the Morane. But the Morane had the benefit of being agile.
Which one did you fly, the Mercury or the Wasp powered Fokker?
The Wasp Fokkers. The Mercury would have been better but all Fokkers produced after 1940 were wasp powered.

One question about the Fokker: how were the guns harmonized?
They were adjusted to converge at 300m. At least I had mine focused at 300. That is the range to start shooting, and the bullets go where you aim at. Then it does not matter much if the bullets go a little off the aiming point.
You used to start shooting at 300m?
300m, yes. Or any other in each case.
Did that concern other planes than the Fokker?
According to what I recall...yes! I am not sure, however! Some time has passed. It must have been 300m, it could not have been closer. It would not make sense - else the bursts would converge too soon. Shooting from 300m the focal point would be in a wrong place! It must be 300m. When the range gets shorter the MG bursts stay quite well bunched. But if the focal point is quite near the burst disperse.

The Messerschmitt had weapons placed in the nose...
That is the ideal place, one cannot think of anything better! The guns fire straight without dispersal!
Did you apply the same range (with the Messerschmitt)? Did the cannon affect shooting in any way?

The weapons did not need to be focused because they were side-by-side. Only wing cannons, if installed, needed that.

Virtuaalilentäjät - Hemmo Leino

 
  
  
Cannon Messerschmitt and a scrap with Lightnings

What about the Cannon Messerschmitt?
Kössi (Karhila) said, "I can fly her, I take her." But I said, very well, I don't want... She was such an unwieldy one. I got in a dogfight flying one against (P-38) Lightnings and was unable even to climb up to them. They were a little higher, and I tried to climb to get at them but ran out of speed... I don't know how Kössi managed to fly her. He must have his own tricks or he had a different starting point. I had to fly one in battle only two or three times. If all the enemy planes had been Il-2s or bombers, I would have preferred her. It would have been another matter to engage them with three cannons.

A scrap with Lightnings?
Yes, it has been written that there were none there. But I swear there were four of them with which me, Myllylä and Puhakka... There were four of them and I was flying a three-cannon MT (G6/R6)
Where did this happen?
It was above the front line in the IsthmSeveral There were also Airacobras, and the Lightnings... Puhakka and Myllylä were above me in a dogfight with them. I tried to climb up and join the ring but could not. My plane was so much heavier that they out-climbed me.
They escaped by climbing?
Yes they did, they were good planes, no doubt.
So the Lightings were in battle duty, dogfighting?
These ones were. Puhakka and Myllylä were in a dogfight above me, these four Lightings were involved. I tried to join them. I could not do it and of course it was infuriating.

It was in 1944 as the Mustangs and P-38s made their appearance?
Yes, it was June or July...June, I should say... One of the no-victory missions...(flipping an identification manual and Leino's battle diary) Here it is...
The enemy plane type is not mentioned...
Others may say anything but I say there were at least four Lightnings...

For example Geust maintains that Kössi never saw a Mustang, and he does not believe it was a Mustang that Kössi shot down. I showed this ID manual to Kössi and asked him to describe the plane. He told me it was one with rectangular rudder and fairly straight wings, of equal thickness and straight tips. Then he said there was an air intake behind the cockpit. That fairly does it look like a Mustang.
Where was the air intake?
Below the fuselage behind the cockpit
Right, under the cockpit. But I did shoot down one plane of which I said that it must have been a Spitfire`, because there was a radiator in the right wing. At first I thought it was a dangling undercarriage leg. But as I got closer and fired I found it was a radiator. But I was among a big formation and I was being fired at from behind I had no chance to remain observing, even though the wing broke, turning up. In my opinion the wing broke because it turned up. I reported it as a Spit. "There are no Spits there" our intelligence officer told me. I said, "What could it be then, I don't know but there was a radiator in the right wing, that much I know and it is a fact.""It must have been a Mustang, it cannot have been anything else" the officer stated. I said, "Make it a Mustang for all I care, I cannot tell you more." In my opinion it was a Spit. And now, afterwards, it has been proven that there were Spits over there.
 

  
  
Leafing an identification manual

(Ed.rem: While reading the 1943 aircraft ID manual we discuss the profile of the Spitfire and start discussing the manual.)

This manual is dated October 1942, with update in 1943. I met one friend who told me that he knew I was interested in military history and he had salvaged some stuff to be dumped. He had recovered something that looked like interesting. I said, dammit if...
That one is from the trash can?
It is salvaged from the trash can.

I know. Once I was sitting in the outhouse (in Kymi) and there was paper coming from Kuppi (=flight control tower in Kymi). I took a look at them, a radio operator had been monitoring radio traffic and written up the discussion during a mission, including the flight control matters. Everything that was spoken over the air he had written up. Dammit, a thick wad of paper and it was there. I salvaged it but then lost it later, and that annoyed me. It was one of the scraps I was involved in and there was quite a noise in the radio. Everything had been written up. Your trash can story is of the same class...
It is an historical artifact...
Is there any indication about the number of Lightings ?
No, but the pictures and data.

It was in June-July (1944) as the Lightings and Mustangs appeared...
(Leafing the ID manual) - The Mustang is here and there is the Lightning...
Yes it was just this one.
You must have pretty good ID manuals because you knew the Spitfire featured a radiator in the right wing?

Yes, the manual definitions were pretty clear. I don't think the details were wrong in any major extent.
 

  
  
Intelligence and operation Stella Polaris

The archives of the radio intelligence have been destroyed almost entirely, or exported in the U.S. in the Stella Polaris operation after the war was over. It was feared that the Russians would take them over, so they were either destroyed or exported. My father was serving during the war in Radio Intelligence, he was in the Air Force Radio Intelligence.
Your father, did he? In the Isthmus?
I don't know... Either in the Isthmus or Olonez.
There were listening posts in Olonez, Rukajärvi and Uhtu Also in the IsthmSeveral The HQ was in Munkkiniemi (Helsinki). There was this Russian fellow who did an excellent job.
My brother has a portrait of my father painted by a Russian POW.
That is how it used to be... Every branch of the armed forces have their own duty...
My father was involved in the Stella Polaris, later he was arrested and interrogated.
Were the Stella Polaris men ever sentenced?
I don't think they were.
That is my opinion too. In those days it was preferable to get out of the country, the insecurity was great. Those who had a chance had better to get out.
 

  
  
Picking up Messerschmitts in Germany

Back then, it was spring 1944, the Anklam Fliegerhorst had been raided so accurately that probably not one bomb had strayed outside the perimeter fence, everything was flattened down. All the buildings were destroyed, some bunkers only were standing. The American bombing raid had been intense and accurate. Admirable.

Was it the raid that holed most of the Messerschmitts to be delivered to Finland?
It was Anklam. Our lads were there to pick them up, they had to get new ones from Wehrneuchen, or whatever the place was. All were broken there. Pokela was in that outfit...
What did the situation in Germany look like at that phase of the war to a visitor?
I cannot tell. The Germans appeared to adapt to the situation admirably. It was East Prussia, the situation there was not like in Haburg, Cologne, the Ruhr area or other cities. The people adjusted to the situation without panic or hysteria, none of that was visible. We wondered how they could take it as they did even though everything was in ruins.

How did the situation change as the Russian invasion from the East started?
Then it was a panic. Germans knew what kind of people the Russians are... We did see how the Germans dealt with the (occupied) people, the Germans had been stupid. They should have taken the nations they occupied under their protection, instead they began to deal with them as crudely as men ever can. They just created enemies all over. How did they think they are able to cope among enemies? It would have been another matter if there had been friends. In the Soviet Union there would have been large nations ready to cheeringly welcome Germans...
Initially they did...
They did until they saw what the Germans would do...

The Mosquito was a tough plane. We were standing in the airfield in Anklam as there was an alert. There was a single plane up there, flying at a very good speed. I asked, what is this, there is an alert yet nobody is taking off to intercept? "No use, it is a Mosquito". It seems they were able to roam freely.
There were Mosquito hunters, but not very successful?
They were not successful. They should have had the Me262 or a rocket plane. I think they designed them as interceptors of the Mosquito. Millions upon millions were thrown in the winds.
 

  
  
First enemy contact

When did you for the first time see enemy planes and in what circumstances?

I did not see any until January 1942. Actually I did see them before that but from the air January 11, 1942. Four Hurricanes raided our base. It is a long story, described in several magazines and books.

There is an abstract in the book "Sotaohjaajakurssit 1-4". I wrote a pretty detailed article about it, it was such a special incident.

Refer to the end of this article.
 

  
  
Life in a base in wilderness

Which bases were you serving in? What was life like in different places?

Tiiksjärvi was the extreme one. There was nothing there... Russians were sneaking behind the hut and there was no protection but the wide forest, we counted on it. In winter guarding was easier, there were these sentry ski tracks and it was easy to see if someone had crossed the track. But there was nothing in summertime, it was easy to sneak behind the corner. But the enemy came just once, which is amazing.
In summer we used to live on the shore of the Lake Tiiksjärvi (Osero Tiksha) and behind our huts were dozens of km of uninhabited wilderness, where anybody could be sneaking about with any designs. Many a time our supply road from Lieksa to Rukajärvi was raided by the partisan patrols with nasty results. Kalima was once as a passenger in a columns attacked by the Russkies, killing quite many of ours. We lost at least two Lottas (volunteer non-combatant women). But Kalima survived again, he was always lucky.

Tiiksjärvi was the base for other outfits, too, there were some from LeLv 16 or LeLv14?
14.
Initially there was one flight of our LeLv30. LeLv14 was the main unit and we were a detached flight under 14th Division. As we got the Moranes we were attached to LeLv14 as one of its flights. We were the 1st Flight equipped with Moranes. Then the Wasp Fokkers were there and Mercury Fokkers. There were quite a lot of planes, actually, regarding the FO's (Fokker C.V). Our Flight comprised some twenty Moranes finally.

As I was transferred from there more Moranes were delivered, also the other flights were equipped with them. Me and Nuorala left in March 1943. It had been an interesting period. There was not much air warfare. We were relieved of that as the Brewsters were based there. Our last day in alert duty was the 11th January 1942. Brewsters were there already but it was so cold that their weapons would not have functioned, so it was not worthwhile to scramble them. It was me and Kalima who took off but that is another story. A colourful one but true to detail.
For me it was a very special incident. There were bungles and the result was that I managed to shoot down one Hurricane which paid for all my toil and trouble.

Virtuaalilentäjät - Hemmo Leino

 
  
  
Pilot skills and preparation, replacement pilots

What kind of abilities and skills does flying require in you opinion?
You had better chances of surviving if you knew how to fly. And most important of all, know how to use your eyes. Vision was important. You also had to never panic whatever the situation. It was a great help to be able to stay calm
What if you got cold feet? For example when you found yourself at Segezha alone in the enemy rear?
The fact is that you are going to bungle if you are scared. I should not have been scared in that incident. But you could not have taken off for a mission if you had been thinking too much. I was so far in the other side that it would have been a long walk home should the engine have failed. You just had to take one hole in the plane in a vulnerable spot and there you remained. It was due to cold feet that I abandoned the chase, but I don't know if it would have any significance if I had shot them all down. They were old planes piloted by unskilled men, so what? They should have survived. But that is just another point of view. We were there to shoot down planes.

How did you get acquainted with your plane and prepared for various situations?
For example training for a certain situation against approaching enemy plane? I don't believe... How the heck can you train for something like that? The actual situation is going to be different every time. Of course you can train for a situation of being surprised or for a situation where it is possible to shoot. You can train but we never knew what kind of man the enemy would be, would he know his job or not? In my opinion it is difficult to train for such... But you learn when you have been in trouble for a few times. You begin to understand what to do in each situation. At least as to me, I should say that during the last summer of the war (1944) was such that you had to know your job. If not, you were gone.

Replacement pilots kept coming even then. What kind of men were they and how did they cope?
They did come and fortunately with long training. Some had been for years in replacement training squadrons and in courses. It helped them. But many were lost in that stage. Those with long career survived. But the young fellows, too many of them got killed. Our losses were small, however...
Did you try to put no more than one novice in every schwarm?
Well, no. The books tell that the (exchange) ratio is one to twenty and it is true, oddly enough. It has been under suspicion, it could not possibly be true.
I meant, that in a schwarm one pilot would have been a novice and three veterans.
Well, we did not have more new ones and did not need more. Our Squadron was building on the old resources mainly, but as you said, one of the new could be taken on a mission and we could manage. We did not lose the newcomers very often. But the data is listed in the books and the relation of Russian losses to ours. They are correct, a wonder in itself. Even according to the data found by Geust.
 

  
  
About victory statistics and their validity

With regard to the research of victory statistics around the world after the war, the Finnish front is an exception: the claimed Finnish victories are fairly valid.
They are quite valid.
According to international research there is a lot more air in them everywhere else. Even the Germans have exaggerated claims. They had certain Squadrons and certain Flights within the squadrons which were scrupuloSeveral Then, other outfits may have cheated with abandon.
That was it in those days...

The British did it, the Americans were generous and the French used to count victories so that every participant scored: Four pilots shooting at one plane were credited with a victory each...
I have read in the memoir of a French fighter pilot his description of becoming an ace. He got his fifth victory with a Curtiss Hawk. His first victory he had got with a Lieutenant, his second with another one. He shared his third but the fourth was a little controversial: they did not know whether all four pilots had hit the victim or only three. They then decided that all four had hit him. He became an ace and his partner got his sixth victory. I was amazed: His first victories were more like one-halves, one-thirds or one-fourths...

The French have such a bad conscience about the whole war that it is difficult to discuss with them about that war in general. Our society "Pilvenveikot" once visited France at the invitation of their Fighter Pilot's association. We were on a cocktail party near the Arc of Triumph and we found out their conscience was not clear in any respect. It seemed that one half of them had been collaborating with Germans and the other half had been Free Frenchmen. And then Communists and whatever factions, nobody could tell who was whose friend. All glowering at each other. How to chat with such men about a nice common cause? There was no common ground.
It was another matter in Germany, we have been there many a time. There they, frankly speaking, love Finns. And we are brothers-in-arms. It was the Kuhlmey outfit (Task Force Kuhlmey) that did a job that would have remained undone by Several We did not even have the equipment for the job they did. They pressed on unflinchingly, disregarding losses although they kept taking them. Yet they were fighting in a foreign country. I want to lift my hat at them.

Kössi (Karhila) was telling us about Kuhlmey in December, in our Christmas party in the Aviation Museum. He had prepared a lecture about the Kuhlmey men and he agrees with you. They did an irreplaceable job. Yet they have not been properly remembered over here.
We have tried to keep up the spirit, we do appreciate the job they did back then.

One Pilvenveikko told about the Stuka action. He explained to me as I wondered how the gunner survives in the rear seat of the Stuka when diving and specially when pulling up, with his back to the direction of flying. How can he be there, not losing his consciousness? He told that there is a revolving seat. Before diving the gunner rotates his seat facing the engine like the pilot...He locks the seat for the dive and after that the gunner is facing the same strain as the pilot. He told me that after each dive his ears would be bleeding, his nose would be bleeding, and now he had a hearing damage. He also told that the gunners were not allowed to fly as many missions per week as the pilots. Obviously the pilot was sitting closer to the point of gravity. The G force is smaller there. The rear gunner, a couple of meters behind the pilot, is worse off.
It is some job, he told me... The Stuka pilots would fly in a tight formation up to the target and return to the target after bombing. He stated that if a fighter would attack, the formation sticks together and it is the job of the gunners to repel the intruder. It was the style of his Flight. Some other flights used to disperse after bombing and return to the base one by one.

I say, once in Vuosalmi...I was looking around for any targets. Mainly I was watching the ground, what was going on there...Then I noticed ten (Ju) 87s coming right at me. I had to make haste to get out of their way. Just as I was clear of them the dust began to fly. As they released the bombs I already was far enough out of the harm's way. But they did not care about me at all, they were aiming at their target as their orders were. If a fool called Leino happens to be in their way, it was none of their worries. Why is he loitering there?
So it was, you could see that their bombs hit just the spot it was aimed at. None of them went their own way, they stayed in formation while the AAA blasted at them like H***. That time none of them was shot down, but they lost someone at every mission nearly. And it was easy to shoot at a formation coming right on. It is natural for the AA men to fire as they know that soon bombs are going to explode.
 

  
  
About Russian aircraft weapons

(After discussing other matters, aircraft weapons are studied in the ID manual.)

Machine guns...Berezina, in this book there are listed also the other Russian weapons ShVAK guns and others. The ShVAK was installed in the Yaks as the nose cannon...
Shooting through the hub?
This one seems to be the 23mm wing gun of the Il-2. These are GHQ documents, actually German intelligence data loaned to Finland. Here is information about the construction of Russian bombs, rocket projectiles, rockets carried in underwing racks which they also had.

I was involved with one of those in November 1942. I was in a dogfight with a LaGG-3 and he fired one of those at me. I never had seen one before. Fortunately he had aimed badly, it exploded on a cloud, ahead of me anyway.
Did he fire at you from behind with those rockets?
No, he approached from the left, and with a Russian firing one of those, you can guess! He should have aimed better. I certainly was surprised as he came right behind me...
The splinter effect range is considerable, 160 to 170m, you need not hit right at the target...
Correct... Yes, these were employed. It was the very first time that we saw those rockets in the Rukajärvi section.
Fired by a LaGG-3?
Right, LaGG-3.
Did you encounter them later, too?
No, because we fired first.
Probably later also others encountered rockets.
Certainly...Fortunately he did not get right behind me again, he was more to the side.
 

  
  
MiGs. Yaks, Airacobras and other neighbour aircraft

MiG-1 and -3, they look alike, weren't they equipped with different type of engine and armament?
I never had to fight them, strangely enough.

There is the La-5
That was a tough one.

LaGG-3 picture is there...Armament comprises one cannon and one MG
No more than that?
20mm cannon and one 12.7mm. Yes, the rockets, here it is mentioned: three rockets under each wing.
A pilot can accomplish things with those, too.

This is good data, turning radiuses and every other possible information. This kind of guide would probably have been useful back then?
Yes, when you were engaging them... Useful not only in the GHQ!

Are the Yaks listed there?
Let us see...Here is the Yak-7...The Yak-9 is on the last page, it has been appended afterwards.
Yes it was in the final months almost the only fighter we encountered.
Here are the heavy British and American bombers, too.
The Yak did not have more than one cannon...
It was equipped with a heavy MG and 20mm cannon. The cannon features a high rate of fire and high initial velocity. Quite a cannon but not so much ammo... How many shells, sixty?
We managed to shoot down quite a large number of them.
Anything about the ammunition? Here is: 150, the Messerschmitt has the same capacity for 20mm shells
Thick armour glass, 60mm armour glass and 9mm steel rear armour, it is not enough...

Here are rubber lined wing tanks are marked out. The Thunderbolt.
Russians did not like it for some reason
It would have been better in higher altitudes than in low altitudes.
I never was involved with such one.
Quite an armament, eight heavy MGs, four in each wing. Shooting with them the projectile density must be tremendoSeveral ..
I have seen one of them shooting. We were in Anklam and about to go downtown...Two Thunderbolts came skimming the field, and pushed still lower so that if there had been an electric line there they would have hit the wires. They came right on the deck and fired, there was a tremendous quantity of bullets in the air. We saw them no more, they disappeared.
It must have been quite a ground attack plane, it could carry a heavy load of bombs, rockets and anything.
It must have been too a complicated piece of equipment for the Russki...They wanted something simpler.
It is a huge one. And the Russians spared their better planes received from the Allies, they were preparing for the next war against the West.
They must have had some such reason.

They did get at least 1500 pcs of P-63 Kingcobra, the improved version of the Airacobr And they kept them all in the rear in reserve.
In reserve?
Yes, they were not engaged in battle activities. It was a much better version of the Airacobra, with a more powerful engine.
Yes, there were quite a lot of the Airacobras. It was an agile plane, nothing to play with. If you wanted to shoot down one, you had to be careful.

Yak-6, a liaison plane...
Aha, Yak-6...It does look like the Pe-2, we thought...
That is the Pe-2
Kalle Temmes had shot down one like this. He thought it had been a Pe-2 but as he described the victim it must have been this one (Yak-6).
It had just one vertical rudder instead of two.
B-25. Those were among the planes raiding Helsinki (in March 1944)

Virtuaalilentäjät - Hemmo Leino
Hemmo Leino (middle) and Kyösti Karhila (right) interviewed by the Virtual Pilots. To the left Robert "Bob" Shaw, an aviation expert, USN F-4 and F-14 pilot.

 
  
  
R-5 shot down and dogfights with Yak-9s

There is a U-2, I believe those visited us in the nighttime and dropped small fragmentation bombs?
They were seen in Tiiksjärvi, too?
No, they were R-5s
Actually U-2 and R-5 are the same plane

One such was shot down or forced to land on Antajärvi by me and Veijo Tain One morning we received a report that two R-5 had landed on Antajärvi.
Our entire flight took off. We were six planes. Our plan was to destroy them on the ice. I was flying with Veijo Taina on the left wing of the formation, and I was the left wing plane. Then I saw them in the middle of the lake - one R-5 was taking off. Another plane was a little closer at the shoreline of an island. I pointed to Taina the second plane.
We dived down with some haste because the R-5 was already taking altitude. Having been in the "business" but for a couple of months I was not sure whether it was a FO or was it definitely a R-5. I let Veijo, as the senior, go ahead and he flew behind the plane. Then I was sure it was a Russian. The insignia were visible at that distance...

Did the enemy planes ever get a shoot at you? Did you take hits?
Never really... There were some holes but very little. It was the last dogfight actually as the enemy got to shoot at me a little. But it was by accident really. It was a case as two Yak-9s came toward me. They approached from the North and made me turn at them. The altitude was about one and a half thousand (meters). They engaged me, being a little above. I was coming from South and my red light was on (indicating low fuel), because our base was nearby. I was heading for Lappeenranta but as they slipped behind my back I had to start climbing.

In a spiral climb??
Yes, a spiral. We kept climbing. Finally we were at 5000m and I had forgotten to put on the oxygen mask. All the time I was worrying how far my petrol reserve would take me. We kept going round and round in a spiral. Each time I saw the enemy was about to shoot I pulled some more and each time he missed. But I heard two snaps and I came to Lappeenranta with two holes. But my underlying intention was that in case there is enough fuel, I shall take a shoot. I thought this is such a juicy situation that I shall not let them out of my hands even though I should run out of petrol, because there was an airfield just below. Which airfield was it? I can't recall, it was the old base with a manor as the Officer Mess. We did not operate from there...
(looking for the airfield in maps)
It was just next to Viipuri. There was this grand Officer Mess.
Suur-Merijoki maybe, the seaplane base?
Suur-Merijoki right! We had talked about it, and decided that one could make an emergency landing there. I was thinking that I shall get him, I have enough... My plane was so light that I was able to climb better than they could. There were no problems. We flew nose to tail and the rearmost Yak had no chance of shooting. But the one behind me kept jerking, trying to get deflection ...
It was such a special situation, that I have a training mate who was killed in Olonez, he vertically dived in the Lake Oneg He did not get enough oxygen and it killed him. And I, too, had forgotten about my oxygen when approaching five thousand (meters). The face of my mate, Lasse Andersen, appeared to me before my eyes. (Lars Andersen was killed on 29 Feb 1944). Then it dawned to me, oh my, I shall be short of breath soon, I grabbed my oxygen mask and kept turning. Then I saw the (Russian) boys were being left behind. First one turned and dived, then the other one and I as the third. Then I kept shooting at them as long as I could. I was sure that the first one I fired at was in my opinion definitely going to fall. I got to shoot at the other one too, but then I throttled back and took direction to Lappeenrant I was not sure, I could not be sure because I had not seen them crash. Yet I reported them. Now that I can find in the Geust list both names, so they both fell down.
And the very next day the same thing. Another two, another two Yak-9s (shot down) according to Geust. I don't know how fellows are able to see in a real intense scrap, how they can observe a plane going down and crash. I always was in such situation that I was damn satisfied getting disengaged and finding that that one will not be a problem anymore. It never occurred to me to watch whether he hit the ground. Yes, it is not interesting at that stage. I don't know, I wonder how in such a situation someone, under stress, can be interested in watching whether the victim goes down or not. It is not in the least interesting. When you have calmed down then you start thinking "Did he fall - did I shoot down something?"

You could have inspected the wreck?
Well, I cannot recall...I have seen some. I often have seen how others have shot, but I never checked the own ones... It is great that there is someone like Geust researching these things for Several I cannot make any new demands, I am satisfied with the score officially credited to me. At least it is not exaggerated. The main thing is that I did not make a career as storyteller.
Well, I did have a couple of holes. Not many other cases...The hits were in the rear, where I guessed they would be. They kept trying. But always they lagged behind, being unable to take deflection.

How well could you observe those pursuers?
It could be done quite well. There was nothing. I did see when he would...I learned to notice that there, now he is about to shoot because he tightened his turn and it could be seen that he tried... Actually it was very amusing. I was not in any trouble.
How steep was the climbing angle?
It was about the optimal rate of climb

About looking down, could you stretch yourself to look down or were you tightly strapped in the seat?
We used to pull the belts tight
I have enough experience about having slack belts. During training we were once doing instrument flying under hood as my instructor Vilkuna said: "I am steering". I thought, what is he up to? His wife was a teacher in the local school. I was under the dark hood. I felt and could also tell by the instruments that he was pushing the nose down and picking up speed. Then I felt I was being pressed in the seat and then going up again. Then the cockpit tilted and I found, heck, my belts are not fastened. I had no chance of grabbing the speaking tube and shout him, neither had I any time to fiddle with the belts. I just hang on the fuselage tubes of the Viima with my hands. There we kept going, I was sweating as the plane climbed in a spiral. The instructor must have been buzzing the school. After that incident I used to keep my belts buckled. It never occurred to me that during an instrument flying lesson anything like that would happen...
During the flight I did not dare to say anything. I was ashamed of admitting that my belts were not fastened. I sighed of relief as we returned to level flight. I was under the dark hood and it was uncomfortable. I would have flown right through the hood (if my grip slipped). It was not so well fastened that it would have held me inside.
 

  
  
"It's only Russki planes that I have broken"

Did you ever get to examine Russian aircraft, either intact or wrecks?
Only one and on the ground. Well, actually I took off in one I-15 and, er, destroyed one plane. But I always keep saying that I never broke a single Finnish plane. Russkies only.

How did that happen? What was it like to fly the I-15?
She was quite pleasant to fly (I-15). The only problem was that she was a short bouncy one.

We were being moving our base from Utti to Kymi. And Luukkanen told me, you take that I-5 and bring her to Kymi. I had flown her earlier and thought not much of the task. I flew to Kymi and landed all right. I touched down nicely and rolled down the runway. The plane was equipped with wheel brakes but there was but a tail skid. But as she began to lose speed...I thought now she is veering, either left or right, I adjusted a little and gave a little burst of power. She did not recover, I applied power but then she bounced on the other side and began to veer powerfully. Finally she was upturned. I thought, " Oh heck, what a blunder".
It certainly was one. I estimated that the plane were repairable but she was written off. Then I had to go to Helsinki, and I did not like that at all. Nothing actually happened there and I was sitting there in idleness. But one day Oippa Tuominen paid us a visit. We sat and chatted. Oippa said, "Heck, what a lot to do I would have here in Helsinki!" I told him to come over here, I would replace him in Kymi. "Are you ready to come if I fix you a transfer?" (Tuominen asked). "Why of course!" At once he called Luukkanen and asked for a transfer in Helsinki as Hemmo was ready to swap. Luukkanen told me that it was OK, swap duties then. Oippa returned to Kymi, then he called me and told he had agreed with Puhakka about his transfer to Helsinki the very next day. He would come with an I-15 and I would fly her back. I thought, "Dammit, I have sworn never to get in that contraption again". Puhakka rang me up as soon as Tuominen had finished his call, telling me that he would send Tuominen to Helsinki and I would have to fly the I-15 back to base. "Are you able to keep her upright?" I told him that I cannot take an oath for that but I shall do my best. He told me she would be coming.
That is what was done. I flew her back to Kymi and again - as the speed decreased- the blasted thing began to veer, this time tilting, too. But not anything worse this time. I told Puhakka I have had enough. As long as we have Messerschmitts I would not be touching that thing.
I cannot say what it was, but I could not control her. She is such a wiggler, specially if you have to apply power. Then she veers violently over to the other side. There is no tailwheel, just a skid. A tailwheel would keep her in direction, but a skid slides uncontrollably on a hard surface.
That was that bungle. The life is full of them.

You never did aerobatics with the I-15?
I did do aerobatics and she was quite nice to fly. My bride who was living in Hämeenlinna was in Sipoo on a visit. Of course I had to fly there and do some stunts. I did some fine aerobatics over the place she was visiting, and it was a pleasant plane for such maneuvers. Each plane has her good and bad characteristics. That problem would have been fairly easy to repair in my opinion. I just wonder how the others could live with her as I about broke her each time. Always I had landing problems. True enough, on the first time flying the I-15 I noticed no problems. I flew over Hamina for one hour as training target for the AA I landed at Utti, maybe there was the reason for the better landing.
Softer surface?
Yes, you see, the new base in Kymi had just been rolled. There was harder surface on which she would slip. I cannot say if that is a valid excuse, she did get out of control. Fortunately a Russian plane.
 

  
  
Meeting Russians

Did you ever meet Russians in person, during the war or after?

I once was interviewing a POW in Anteroisenvaar His name was Viktor Shinitsin (?) He was a tall man, a Captain. He was handsome and lacking any servile manners even though he had become a POW. He was held in a potato cellar in Anteroisenvaar He was fetched up and we tried to ask him questions about war secrets. He said without flinching: "I do not have to answer that question". We tried to ask about their planes and where they were, but he told us: "My name is Viktor Shinitsin and that is all I have to say".
He was one case. Another two POWs were captured form the R-5 that we forced to land on Antajärvi. But I did not meet them, they were one Major and one Captain. Veijo Taina and me were a little embarrassed when we returned from that mission, we thought we actually should have shot the men on the ice. But we could not do that, them being in the trouble they were. They bounced in the thick snow trying to get over to their own lines. They believed they would make it but after all they did not. Our infantry had gone and captured them on the ice and brought to the HQ for interrogation.
 

  
  
About the effect of G forces and plane markings

What I would like to know is what it feels like when a Messerschmitt pilot pulls or pushes the stick? Could a pilot push the stick so that he felt it in his head?
Not really...You can do that but it was not done that way. First you tilt then you push Did the horizontal rudder have much effect in that situation?
You could have done that, nothing wrong in principle, but it could happen as it happened with me, the gunsight dropped out as I gave a couple of negative Gs. But that is not the usual way to dive, not even when attacking. You tilt first...

This is only an simulator problem, because the flight sim modeling has several solutions. I am personally much annoyed by the solution of one sim on the stick force. If you are doing 400 to 500 kmh and push the stick just a little too much, there is a blackout and you cannot see a thing. That surely cannot happen in an instant?
It is not a good maneuver at all. It is a trifle to tilt and dive. That is the natural way...

I have been wondering about these Messerschmitt pictures. For instance Illu's (Ilmari Juutilainen)MT-222 and MT-225. In many a pic they appear to be evenly gray. This one too. It has been drawn as if it were evenly gray without any German camouflage painting or anything.
I ferried at least one plane from Germany in German markings. Could it have been JE-TP?
There was JE-TP and XP-QB and what not...
The fact is that there was not much time for paint jobs. They came in several colour schemes. Some were painted for Africa, others for mountain areas. And we got what they happened to deliver.

Just some planes, e.g. MT-208 which Pokela had to ditch in the sea after the war, were green-black. Were they the planes of the 24?
They received the G-2s from Squadron 34. Here is one of our planes that is MT-205 or MT-206. Those were initially our planes. They were G-2s.
Was it not so that the identification codes of your G-6s were in the 400 range?
Yes. That one is Luukkanen's MT-432 if I remember right.
 

  
  
From Bulldog to Messerschmitt

This article was initially published in the book "Sotaohjaakurssit 1-4" ("War Pilot Courses no. 1 to 4"). Published here with permission by Hemmo Leino.

The Winter War was ended on 13th March 1940, and an interim peace ensued. That also aborted the far advanced plan to command 40 selected trainees of our course to Britain to train and ferry home an equal number of Hawker Hurricanes. The cancellation of the trip was a bitter disappointment. Especially as I had purchased new clothing for traveling abroad, including an Eden hat.

Replacement Squadron 35

I was transferred with the majority of our course (SOK1) on 19 March 1940 From the Air War School in Kauhava to the Replacement Squadron in Parol Here our course was divided in two. One troop was billeted in Tyrväntö for training on a base plowed on the ice of Lake VanajThe other troop, including me, was transported near Camp Parola and billeted in farm houses near lake Armijärvi and Parolanharju ridge. Part of the Camp Parola had been rebuilt into an airfield, but the flying stock included in March just one Gloster Gamecock, some Bristol Bulldogs, one Sääski, one Jaktfalk in bad condition and one war booty I-15. As the spring thaw set on the Tyrväntö group joined us with their comparable planes. In addition we received about ten of the Gloster Gauntlets donated by the South African Government, plus one Bulldog, one Pyry and later one Fokker C.X and Fokker D.XXI Wasp.

Flying activities were minimal specially in the beginning due to the thaw. Also there was some administrative fumbling after the Winter War because the high command did not appear to have a vision what could be done and what was to be done in a situation that appeared to be temporary. Would there be a new war or should the reconstruction of an peace time air force be started? Soon the view was cleared and the direction of the foreseeable events. Another war was looming and we had to prepare for it. Only the schedule was open.

Our flying was led by Lt. Pauli Ervi initially and more instructors arrived at the onset of summer. W/Os Eino Jääskeläinen, Lennart Mild and Niilo Artola were joined by instructors Oiva Maukonen and Sr.Sgt.Topi Vuorimaa and Captains Pekka Käär and Jorma Visapää. Then the rate of training had become lively. The trainees with an urge to join the first line squadrons were never satisfied with the process of the training. Satisfaction was definitely not improved by shoveling duties in the construction of fuel dumps and closed order drill when there were no possibility to flight training. Quiet protesting did not help, we had to succumb to the schedule imposed on Several

As early as spring 1940 a part of us was posted to Niinisalo for Officer training and from there to the Cadet School. We who remained in Parola went on flying and learning various tricks and ruses using the available equipment, satisfactorily according to the training plan, I should say. We did stunts, shot on ground targets and at a bag towed by another plane, we tested the limits of the Bulldog and the Gauntlet and that of our abilities. We enjoyed the summer in Lehijärvi, in the terrain and in the social life of Hämeenlinna until the autumn approached. Since the war did not seem imminent and there was a standstill in training, some of us, including me, preferred to continue our civilian education, when we were offered a chance.

In autumn 1940 the Academic Air Defense Society organized a 15 hour Tuisku training course in Malmi. Afterwards that 10 month interruption in flying training was found to have been a mistake, which was paid for as delay in transfer to the front line squadrons.

Continuation War breaks out

The World War engulfed Finland again in June 1941 and we were mobilized in Parol Others from our course were already in the front line squadrons but we schoolboys had to continue for months, swearing about the slow process of training and suffering from a feeling of uselessness. The distance flights and repeating of procedures according to the training scheme were frustrating for us because in our opinion we were ever so ready to become heroes as soon as we were given a plane with enough performance. The biggest worry was to miss the war entirely. (Information received by radio was that "according to official sources the men will be back from the front by harvest time")

Squadron 30 in Utti and Tiiksjärvi

The autumn came again and the war went on even though the summer was over. It was the time for me to take a step ahead. I was transferred to Utti where LeLv30 was to provide FR training before letting me in the real action. It took two months before I was posted in a detached Flight of my Squadron in Tiiksjärvi. It was led by my old instructor from Kauhava and Parola, Capt. Pekka Käär and the flight was operating with the same Fokker Wasps that I had flown in Utti more than 10 hours. It was not what I had been dreaming of, because the plane was almost ready for museum and many other squadrons had far more modern equipment. After completed training I could look at the war as an active participant. Time would tell what kind of one.

Carpet of bed bugs and rally driver
Virtuaalilentäjät - Hemmo Leino

The journey to Air Base Tiiksjärvi, near Rukajärvi started with a train from Utti to Lieks There I and my companion and co-trainee Cadet Mauri Nysten tried to find a place to sleep in the hall of the local Civil Guard among the soldiers who had placed themselves on the floor while waiting for furlough transport. There was six hours before the transport column was to depart and the alternative was to walk about in the dark streets of Lieksa in -20 deg C weather, we preferred it. We had noticed that the snoring soldiers were surrounded by an army of millions of bed-bugs. There was one officer whose collar badges were so completely covered by the insects that one could not see his rosettes.

A transport column comprising dozens of lorries set off some time after the midnight. We managed to get seats in the cabin of one lorry loaded with war material and we found out the source of the talent of the Finnish rally drivers. They must be the offspring of those wartime lorry drivers. It took several hours to complete the 200 km icy, hilly and winding distance, ending in darkness in the middle of a wilderness. There we found, however, a hut made of boards and heated by tin stoves where more than ten brothers in arms, known to us through various connections, were waiting for us, cold-pinched settlers. Getting settled in Tiiksjärvi among acquaintances was not problematic.

Mr. Murphy gets involved in warfare

The 12 Fokker Wasps of Detachment Käär had been responsible for the air defense of the Rukajärvi Front Sector basing in Tiiksjärvi until the Russians surprised our base just before Christmas 1941 with their "American Aid" or Hurricanes. They were considered to comprise such an imbalance in power that better gear was needed to replace our Fokkers. Today, January 9th 1942, the weather was so cold that the Brewster flight of LeLv24 transferred to Tiiksjärvi was not operational. We had to take their duties. I was with Martti Kalima in the cardboard alert hut, the temperature was fairly below -30 C and the smokes of the stoves rose in straight columns on the clear sky, then spreading over the base. The sun had climbed low in the horizon and its rays illuminated the landscape resembling an allegorical painting of eternal peace.

Our ersatz coffee pause was interrupted by the ringing of the field phone. The message: "Four Hurricanes heading for our base". While we ran to our planes the Hurricanes were already overhead, firing their MGs at the base. I waited in the hole of an AA MG behind my plane until the mechanics had removed the tarps over the wings and were cranking the starter. I got fast in the plane, the engine was started and I taxied right to the start while closing the cockpit hood. To save time the tarp had been left over the wing, to slide down on its own at takeoff. But this time a rope loop of the tarp got stuck in the navigation light. It did not seem to make sense to take a big, heavy tarp in a dogfight so I opened the hood and tried to beckon to the mechanics to inform them about my predicament. But the snowstorm created by the prop backwash prevented them from seeing anything, I had to return to the parking. The tarp was removed and it was time to start before the Hurricanes would come.

To save time the tarp had been left over the wing, to slide down on its own at takeoff. But this time a rope loop of the tarp got stuck in the navigation light. It did not seem to make sense to take a big, heavy tarp in a dogfight so I opened the hood and tried to beckon to the mechanics to inform them about my predicament. But the snowstorm created by the prop backwash prevented them from seeing anything, I had to return to the parking. The tarp was removed and it was time to start before the Hurricanes would come.

In the haste I had closed the hood carelessly and the air stream began to open it, there was about minus forty degrees C and 300 kmh. With adrenalin in my veins I did not feel cold, my only idea was to get my four machine guns emptied at one of the four Hurricanes heading for East before the cockpit hood would finally be ripped off. With emergency power setting and holding the cockpit hood with my left hand I gained on an enemy, thinking how to push the MG trigger in the power adjustment lever with my left hand. I could have done with two left hands. Would the canopy be ripped off as soon as I let go of it and does the entire plane break up if hit by the canopy in such a high speed?

I did not have to wait for long, because I found myself in a shooting position. I released my grip and fired a long burst at an enemy fighter. My speed vanished during shooting and I turned carefully back to the base. Then I found another Hurricane coming at me. We fired at each other on opposite courses and as if by miracle survived without being hit or losing the cockpit hood.

Next day I ferried my plane to periodic maintenance in Joensuu and when returning one week later the mechanics informed me about my successful aerial battle. The pilot of the Hurricane I had fired first had been killed by an armour piercing bullet through his rear armour and the plane had crashed in a swamp 20 km away.

Better equipment

In August 1942 our Flight was re-equipped with the Morane. I went on flying in Tiiksjärvi and being unwilling to do the Officer course in Niinisalo I was nominated in a vacancy with five other reserve NCO pilots. My duties were unchanged but the daily allowance changed into salary.

As always in the FAF, unexpectedly I was transferred in spring 1943 in the recently created LeLv 34 - the Messerschmitt Squadron in Utti. Now you could not talk about insecurity. You were flying a plane whose performance could not be blamed.

The war ended finally and as the Messerschmitts were not sent to Lapland although that was planned for, we spent our time in Utti. Flying was about zero. My only flights after the war were to ferry my plane to Selänpää and later back to Utti. In June 1945 I applied for discharge from FAF to become a civilian entrepreneur.

Let it be stated that Hemmo Leino is one of the fighter aces for whom the Messerschmitt must have become very dear.

Virtuaalilentäjät - Hemmo Leino Virtuaalilentäjät - Hemmo Leino
Hemmo Leino taking the controls of a simulator Messerschmitt during Aviation Enthusiast Exposition.

 
  
  
Selected parts out of Hemmo Leino's aviation history

By Kyösti Partonen

DO-1
From Malmi on Feb27 1944 0805hrs departure to K/D (1135)(Captain: W/O Väänänen, passengers, to ferry home the first MT G-6 delivery: Capt. Puhakka, Lts Evinen, Pekuri, Karhila, Mattila, Sec.Lts. Kirjonen, Pallasvuo, W/O Turkka, Staff Sgts Aaltonen, Paronen, Sr.Sgts. Alakoski, Gerdt, Lehto, Leino, Nuorala, Inspector lt Rautanen and Mechanic, Sgt. A Donner, (1200) - (1415) Luftpark Anklam.
Note:(K/D = Königsberg/Devau)

FR-138
Sept27 1941 0925-1025hrs battle at Ontajoki, 8 FR against 5 I-153. (Score)FR-150/Lt. Kalima shot one I-153 in fire FR-154/Sec.Lt.Salomaa made one I-153 trail smoke FR-155/Sec.Lt.Virtanen, FR-148/Sgt. Nuorala, FR-141/Sgt. Kilpinen: one I-153 in fire FR-156/Lt. Lehtonen, FR-153/Sec.Lt Ukkonen undercarriage hit the upper left wing of an I-153 (caught fire, pilot bailed out over his side) FR.138/Lce.Cpl. Leino, LLv10
Note: Some aerial circus!

FR-146
Jan9 1942 1215 - 1245hrs 4 FR scrambled from Tiiksjärvi (Flight Käär), Score: one Hurricane of 152IAP (Lt. V N Ljusov KIA) 3 to 4 km N of Ponnokka by H Leino.
Jan19 1942 0810 - 0905 5 FR scrambled from Tiiksjärvi (Flight Käär) to Ontajärvi Score : PR-5 of GFV OAG (Pilot Matvejev survived) by Lt.Taina/FR-156 and Lce.Cpl.Leino/FR-146

HC-465
(note: Hurricane Mk.II, few FAF pilots flew her!)
May4 1944 0400-0510 hrs AAA training target flight over Kotka, Sr.Sgt. Leino, 1/HLeLv34
June2 1944 1450-1545 hrs AAA training target flight over Kotka, Sr.Sgt. Leino, 1/HLeLv34

MT-204
Oct10 1943 Staff Sgt.Tani and Sr.Sgt.Leino (MT-204) shot down a Douglas Boston, crashed at Herajärvi 10km SE of Luumäki. The plane had taken off from Kamenka 0543 Russian time (0443 Finnish time), crew Sr. Lt Pavel Volkov POW, died Oct17 1943, Observer Feodor Ilmorenkov KIA, radio operator Grigoriy Tihiy KI Unit 1. MTAP

MT-227
First mission for the aircraft, interception mission May20 1943 0515 - 0635 hrs, Sgt. Leino

MT-232
Nov20 1943 0940 W of Suursaari an aerial battle, 6 Yak-7 against 2 Messerschmitt, one Yak-7b shot down, pilot Jr.Lt.Dorozhenko rescued), H Leino of HleLv34 or another
Note: Incident not mentioned in literature!

MT-402
Ferried, Anklam-Elbing Mar7 1944 1015 - 1130hrs, Elbing-Riga Mar14 1944 1405 - 1540hrs, Riga-Malmi Mar16 1944 1215 - 1330hrs, Malmi-Kuorevesi Mar16 1944 1440 - 1525, Sr.Sgt. Leino, 3/HLeLv34

MT-418
16May 1944 0430- 0510 S of Kiuskeri Sr.Sgt Leino shot down one Boston belonging to ODRAP(Separate Long-Range Weather recce Rgt). Victim fell burnin in flat spiral dive into sea, four bodies rescued by Finnish navy.

MT-422
June21 1944 0915 - 10.05hrs dive bombing practice, Sr.Sgt.Leino, 1/HLeLv34

MT-423
Summer 1944 assigned to Hemmo Leino.

Virtuaalilentäjät - Hemmo Leino Virtuaalilentäjät - Hemmo Leino Virtuaalilentäjät - Hemmo Leino
Scale model: P.Guiller

MT-424
Probably on Jun20 1944 0710 - 0810hrs at Viipuri (Virolahti-Koivisto area) one Yak-9 of 14.GIAP (Capt. S.G. Rusak POW) shot down by Hemmo Leino

MT-425
Jun16 1944 1855 - 1945hrs ferrying and interception mission Immola - front line (battle contact MT-420 Pekuri shot down) - Lappeenranta, Sr.Sgt Leino, 1/HLeLv 34.

MS-319
Mar16 1943 1340 - 1505hrs from Tiiksjärvi covering area Jeljärvi - Kotskoma - Sekehe Flight Tainio shot down three 839 IAP I-15bis (Sgt. Nemtsov KIA, Sgt. Kolesnikov KIA, Sgt. Brutinin KIA) (Finns claimed seven, at least by the following: Nuorala 1 [MS-611], Leino 2 [MS-319] ja Kalima 1 [MS-326]).
Note: Unchecked in sources

MS-326
Nov5 1942 1155 - 1340hrs Lt. Kalima/MS-326 and Sgt. Leino/MS-313. Score: Kalima 1 LaGG-3 at Voijärvi, first victory for LeLv 14 MS planes 1/LeLv 14.
Note: not confirmed by Geust.

IH-2
Started at Utti 1820hrs Aug2 1943 for ferrying to Kymi, landing 1845hrs. At landing veered and nosed over, pilot Sgt.Leino 2/LeLv 34. Instructed by a Mechanic for the mission. Result: orders not to fly the type before fully familiarized with the characteristics


Credits

Virtuaalilentäjät - Hemmo Leino Virtual LentoLaivue 34 "pilots" donated to Hemmo Leino a T-shirt of their Squadron in summer 2002.
This page includes the interview of Captain Hemmo Leino. Interview took place in Helsinki May8 2002 in restaurant Elite and in a café belonging to Capt. Leino.

Interview by: Timo "Kossu" Niiranen, Matti "My" Yrjölä and Jukka O. Kauppinen "Grendel".
Recording and proof reading by: Jukka O. Kauppinen
Typing :
Part 1: Jarmo Paimen
Part 2: Pasi "Jannu" Kajo
Part 3: Ari Simolin

In addition:
Research of the aerial battles of Hemmo Leino by Carl-Frederik Geust, aviation historian
Selected samples of the aviation history of Hemmo Leino: Kyösti Partonen

Other sources:
Suomen Ilmavoimien historia 11: Hävittäjä-ässät Kari Stenman / Kalevi Keskinen - (Apali Oy)
Ilmavoimien historiajulkaisuja III - Sotaohjaajakurssit 1-4;

Illustrations:
- Photos Jukka O. Kauppinen
- B/w drawings from Hemmo Leino
- MT-423 scale model P.Guiller

Copyright VLeLv Icebreakers / Virtuaalilentäjät r.y. / Finnish Virtual Pilots Association 2003.

 

  

Viimeksi muokattu: 2003-10-29 00:46