Biplane fighter aces


Kapteeni Eero Gustav Enroth

1 January 1914 – 11 April 1965

From left to right: Luutnantti Olli Puhakka, vänrikki Eero Enroth and lentomestari Lauri Lautamäki at Lunkula on 13 August 1941.
Source SA-Kuva.

Eero Enroth was born in Espoo on 1 January 1914.

He received flying training in 1936-37 at IRUK 6.

During the mobilization of 1939, he was posted to LLv 26 on 9 October as a vänrikki.

At 11:30 on 19 December, leytenant Viktor Vilchik and mladshiy leytenant Oleg Filatov claimed one Fokker D.XXIs each over Kämära, 5 kilometres east of Viipuri
Totally, 25 IAP claimed four Fokker D.XXIs during the day; the two other were claimed by Kapitan N I. Zhuralev’s I-16 flight. It is possible that these were claimed in combat with Fokkers from LLv 24 and LLv 26, which reported combat against SBs and DB-3s during the day. LLv 24 flew 58 sorties on the Karelian Isthmus and was engaged in combat on 22 occasions between 10:50 and 15:20. The VVS lost 16 SBs, including five from 13 SBAP and eight from 44 SBAP, and one DB-3 from 1./6 DBAP. Ylikersantti Kelpo Virta (FR-84) was first in action and claimed one and one probable I-16s (possibly from 68 IAP) over Muolaanjärvi between 10:15-10:25, both crashes witnessed by ground troops but it seems that actually only one fighter pilot from 4./49 IAP was lost on this date. Luutnantti Per-Erik Sovelius (FR-92) of LLv 24 reported:

“On 19.12.39 from 0955 to 1105 on air combat patrol. I was leading the 3rd pair with kersantti Ikonen on my wing. We took off by the announcement. I flew over Antrea area when the radio informed 45 and I headed towars south-west. Somewhere near Kämärä, I observed a 7-plane SB formation and started the chase. The SBs were flying toward southwest, but turned towards south. However, we did not gain them, but we observed a bit aside three SB planes flying roughly in the same direction.
Kersantti Ikonen got well behind the plane on the starboard wing and shot it into flames from a very close range at the altitude of 2000 metres over Kipinola. I tried to get behind the port wingman, but did not have enough speed. I observed another three SB planes heading south-west, tried after them but began to loose them. The planes were throwing leaflets.
During the chase I observed again three SB planes a little below going southwards. I picked the port wingman as my target and shot first to the rear fuselage, when the dorsal gunner quitted firing. After this I aimed the fire to the port engine, which began to smke and finally caught fire. The plane fell to the starboard wing and dived towards the sea close to Seivästö about 10 kilometres from the coast.
I fired then at the starboard wingman, when its right engine started to pour smoke, but it stayed with the lead plane and kept going on.
I did the return flight at 3000 metres and while about 5 kilometres above the land I observed a-a artillery explosions. On the south coast of lake Muolaanjärvi two I-16s managed to take me by surprise coming from the sun. I woke up when bullets rustled in my plane.
I pulled instantly towards them, but noticed soon that the I-16 was more manoeuvrable than the Fokker. I tried to tighten my turns, but got only once the enemy into my sight and fired a short burst. I noticed at the same time that I had ammunition left only in one gun. Once after trying to turn as tight as possible I lost the control and slipped into a spin. I continued to make all sorts of evasive action and down at the surface I managed to shake my pursuers. I was then nearby Heinjoki.
Both I-16s attacked simultaneously and obviously in order to avoid collision did not get straight behind me and were forced to shoot with a small deflection. Judged by the tracers the I-16s seemed to fire all the time even when my plane was clearly out of their sights.
After the mission my plane had two hits. One in the tail plane and the other had gone in through the mg compression bottle hatch and out from the fuselage bottom.”
LLv 24 claimed six, one probable and two damaged SBs and one DB-3 shot down. Luutnantti Sovelius claimed two SBs at 10:30 over Seivvästö, kersantti Sakari Ikonen (FR-102) claimed one over Kipolanjärvi at 10:30, lentomestari Viktor Pyötsiä (FR-110) claim one over Muolaanjärvi and one damaged over Antrea (both at 11:20), vänrikki Pekka Kokko (FR-90) claimed one damaged over Muolaanjärvi at 11:30, kersantti Ilmari Juutilainen (FR-108) claimed one over Rautu at 11:55, kapteeni Eino Carlsson (FR-89) claimed one probable over Antrea between 12:35-13:20 and kersantti Toivo Vuorimaa (FR-83) claimed one over Sairala at 13:00. Luutnantti Jorma Karhunen (FR-112) and kersantti Martti Alho (FR-117) claimed a shared DB-3 (c/n 819 from 1./ 6 DBAP) over Oravaniemi at 15:20.
LLv 26 claimed five and one damaged SBs. Vänrikki Enroth claimed one damaged over Muolaanjärvi at 10:30, vänrikki Eero Malmivuo (FR-116) claimed one over Äyräpää at 10:45, luutnantti Urho Nieminen (FR-111) claimed one over Perkjärvi at 10:50, kersantti Lasse Aaltonen (FR-114) claimed one over Muolaanjärvi at 10:50, kersantti Pentti Tilli (FR-103) claimed one over Vammelsuu at 11:30 and kersantti Paavo Mannila (FR-96) claimed one over Muolaanjärvi at 11:40.
Two Fokker D.XXIs were damaged; one from LLv 24 (Sovelius’ FR-92) and one from LLv 26 (Tilli’s FR-103).

On 15 February, a patrol led by luutnantti Siiriäinen attacked a nine-strong DB formation. One bomber was forced to land on the ice of Lake Suulajärvi after being shot down by ylikersantti Valio Porvari at 15:15. This was a DB-3 from 42 DBAP flown by leytenant Nechiporenko. A second DB was also damaged in this combat.
In addition, one R-5 was destroyed by vänrikki Enroth in the same area at 15:25. In fact, this was an R-5 from 7 ShAP, 7 VA flown by leytenant Stepurenko, which was only damaged and made a forced landing. The aircraft was however destroyed when the pilot attempted a take-off after a quick repair.

On 4 June 1941, he was accepted to KadK but during the mobilization, he was again assigned to LLv 26 on 21 June.

On 13 August 1941, LLv 26 escorted an artillery fire-control aircraft over Aunuksenjoki, south of River Tuulos, Lake Ladoga.
At 14:00, when luutnantti Lauri Hämäläinen’s (FA-3) swarm (kersantti Ilmari Joensuu (FA-35), alikersantti Klaus Alakoski (FA-28) and ylikersantti Sulo Suikkanen (FA-18)) was changing the shift with luutnantti Olli Puhakka’s (FA-1) swarm (vänrikki Enroth (FA-3), lentomestari Lauri Lautamäki (FA-26) and one unknown pilot), nine I-153s of 195 IAP and 197 IAP attacked the fire controller. In five minutes of combat, the eight Fiats claimed all Russians. The victories were claimed by Hämäläinen, Joensuu (one and one damaged), Alakoski, Suikkanen (two I-153s), Puhakka (two I-153s), Enroth and Lautamäki. Puhakka initially claimed one damaged and one destroyed, but the Air Force HQ recorded it as two destroyed:

“At Hoski, I saw two I-153s at about 200 m altitude, I attacked and shot the latter quite close and saw the bullets hit the fuselage. Then I saw two more above me and pulled up. When I looked back to the scene, I saw already two Fiats having attacked and saw one I-153 parting company and sliding to southeast. It came down at Alavoinen and catching fire. After that I tried to get behind the tail of another. The other two were already fired at by other Fiats. The whole battle occurred in a small area. When I finally got behind one and shot very near, I saw after pulling up and going down again that no Chaikas remained. My plane was FA-1.”
Hämäläinen’s swarm’s mission lasted from 13:00-14:10 while Puhakka’s swarm’s mission lasted from 13:45-14:45.
The 195 IAP lost two I-153s (leytenants I. D. Vinogradov and A. F. Ilyin KIA) and 197 IAP lost one (leytenant K. F. Meshalkin KIA).

On 9 October 1941, he was promoted to luutnantti.

He continued as a cadet at MaaSK on 1 July 1942 and retuned to LeLv 26 on 23 June 1943.

On 14 March 1944, he was transferred to HLeLv 34, which was equipped with Messerschmitt Bf 109Gs.

On 19 May, luutnantti Paavo Myllylä of 3/HLeLv 34 scrambled at 04:45 with nine Bf 109s to Kotka, meeting 20 Pe-2s from 12 GBAP escorted by 15 Yak-9s from 21 KIAP, KBF. In a chase that went all the way to Lavansaari, two bombers and three fighters were sent into the sea. Luutnantti Myllylä described the combat:

"Altitude 2,000-100m.
I saw several Pe-2s escorted by Yak-9s approach Kotka from southeast at 3,000 meters. I managed to shoot at one Pe-2 over the south side of Kotka, it caught instantly a strong fire between the starboard engine and fuselage. I was not able to follow the aircraft as I got several Yaks in my back. But kapteeni Puhakka saw the plane come down 5-10kms southwest of Rankinsaari. Then I fought with the Yaks and shot one in the sea 5-10kms north of Lavansaari.
My plane MT-406."
Luutnantti Myllylä claimed one Pe-2 over Raukin saari and one Yak-9 over Lavansaari between 04:35 and 05:10. Luutnantti Enroth (MT-415) claimed one Pe-2 over Someri between 04:45 and 04:50. Ylikersantti Klaus Alakoski (MT-416) claimed one Pe-2 over Ristisaari between 04:35 and 05:00. Vääpeli Onni Paronen (MT-414) claimed one Yak-9 over Lavansaari between 04:35 and 04:55. Ylikersantti Aaro Nuorala (MT-428) claimed one Yak-9 over Haapasaari between 04:35 and 05:35. Kapteeni Olli Puhakka (MT-419) claimed a damaged Yak-9 over Haapasaari between 04:35-05:10.
The Soviet records states that at 05:38, 16 Pe-2s of 12 GBAP bombed Kotka harbour destroying six rail wagons, flak battery and two building. Additionally, the phosphate factory was set on fire. Over the target, the flak downed one bomber and the fighter another. In the following combat, six Bf 109s were shot down and 21 IAP lost one Yak-9 piloted by leytenant Remizonov near Lavansaari.

Enroth ended the war with 1 biplane victory and a total of 3.
During his career, he was awarded with the Vapauden Risti of the 4th Class twice.

After the war, Enroth changed his last name to Eroila and served with LeSK until resigning from duty on 15 May 1947 as a kapteeni.

Enroth died on 11 April 1965.

Kill no. Date Time Number Type Result Plane type Serial no. Locality Unit
  19/12/39 10:30 1 SB (a) Damaged Fokker D.XXI FR-103 Muolaanjärvi LLv 26
1 15/02/40 15:25 1 R-5 (b) Destroyed Gladiator II GL-266 Valkjärvi LLv 26
2 13/08/41 13:45-14:45 1 I-153 (c) Destroyed Fiat G.50 FA-3 Aunuksenjoki LLv 26
3 19/05/44 04:45-04:50 1 Pe-2 (d) Destroyed Bf 109G MT-415 Someri HLeLv 34

Biplane victories: 1 destroyed.
TOTAL: 3 destroyed, 1 damaged.
(a) Probably a SB from 13 or 44 SBAP.
(b) R-5 from 7 ShAP, 7 VA flown by Leytenant Stepurenko, which was only damaged and made a forced landing. The aircraft was however destroyed when the pilot attempted a take-off after a quick repair.
(c) Claimed in combat with I-153s from 195 IAP and 197 IAP. LLv 26 claimed nine victories but it only seems that 195 IAP lost two I-153s (Leytenants I. D. Vinogradov and A. F. Ilyin KIA) and 197 IAP lost one (Leytenant K. F. Meshalkin KIA).
(d) Claimed in combat with Pe-2s from 12 GBAP, which reported one lost to AA fire and one to fighters. 3/HLeLV 34 totally claimed three Pe-2s.

Englantilaiset Hävittäjät - Keskinen, Stenman, Niska
Ilmavoitot, osa 1 - Kalevi Keskinen and Kari Stenman, ISBN 952-99432-8-8
Ilmavoitot, osa 2 - Kalevi Keskinen and Kari Stenman, ISBN 952-99432-8-8
LeR 2 - Kalevi Keskinen and Kari Stenman, 2001 Suomen Ilmavoimien Historia 17, ISBN 951-98751-0-7
Red Stars 7 - Talvisota Ilmassa - The Winter War In the Air - Carl-Fredrik Geust, 2011 Apali Oy, Tampere, ISBN 978-952-5877-04-5
Suomen Ilmavoimat part III – 1941 – Kalevi Keskinen and Kari Stenman, 2007, ISBN 978-952-99743-1-3
Suomen Ilmavoimat part VI – 1944 – Kalevi Keskinen and Kari Stenman, 2008, ISBN 978-952-99743-5-1
Additional information kindly provided by Alexey Andreev, Lars Larsson and Tuomo Lukkari

Last modified 20 February 2020