Biplane fighter aces


Lentomestari Tarmo Aarne Hämelä

26 November 1905 – 27 March 1942

Tarmo Hämelä was born in Hämeenlinna on 26 November 1905.

He received flying training in 1926-27 and served with MeLE.

On 1 March 1934, he was promoted to lentomestari and transferred to to ISK as an instructor.

On 31 January 1938, he was assigned to LLv 10, where he flew in the Winter War.

In the mobilization on 18 June 1941, he was transferred to LLv 6 and the 3rd Flight, which was equipped with Polikarpov I-153s.
LLv 6 was assigned to the Naval Headquarters for patrol, anti-submarine operations, and attacking Soviet ground troops. LLv 6 under the command of majuri K. Ilanko included a bomber flight with captured SB-2s and a fighter flight (the 3rd Flight) with I-153s. The 3rd Flight was under the command of kapteeni L. Karjalainen and was based at Turku with five operational aircraft.

On 25 June, the Soviet Air Force attacked Turku in three waves of 40 aircraft. The Finnish fighter didn't catch the attacker but the Continuation War had started.
In the first attack at around 06:00, 30 DB-3Ts and 54 SBs from 1 MTAP and 57 BAP VVS/KBF took part, escorted by 2 escadrlia from 13 IAP from Hanko.

Early in the morning on 26 June (between 03:00 and 04:05), 18 Soviet aircraft attacked Turku and the first attack was made by 9 SBs from the VVS/KBF. A patrol led by kapteeni Karjalainen took off and caught the SBs at 3,000 meters height. Lentomestari Hämelä (VH-14) caught up with the bombers at Korpoo, though he could get no closer than 200-300 meters as his landing gear would not retract. After firing short bursts for one minute, his victim started to smoke and according to ground observer at Pansio it dived into the sea. The remaining formation evaded into a cloud at 2,000 meters. All Russian aircraft fired all the time when an opportunity arose but the didn’t score any hits.
According to Soviet sources, all aircraft returned to base.
The Turku airport became none operational due to damages in the attack and the 3rd Flight moved to Nummela.

On 2 January 1942, he was transferred to LLv 42 which was followed by an assignment to LLv 44 on 28 February 1942.

He was killed when his Blenheim BL-147 crashed into the ice outside Loviisa in bad weather on 27 March 1942.

At the time of his death, Hämelä was credited with 1 biplane victory.
During his career, he was awarded with theVapauden Mitali 2nd Class and the Vapauden Risti 4th Class.

Kill no. Date Time Number Type Result Plane type Serial no. Locality Unit
1 26/06/41 03:00-04:05 1 SB (a) Destroyed I-153 VH-14 Korpoo 3/LLv 6

Biplane victories: 1 destroyed.
TOTAL: 1 destroyed.
(a) Not confirmed with Soviet sources.

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
‘Pollies’ in Finland – Kari Stenman, 2005 Air Enthusiast November/December 2005 No. 120
Venäläiset Hävittäjät - Kalevi Keskinen, Kari Stenman and Klaus Niska, ISBN 951-9035-25-7
Sovietskije bombardirowki Finlandii w ijunie 1941 goda - Carl-Fredrik Geust, 2005 Aviacja i Vremia 2/2005 kindly provided by Mirek Wawrzynski
Suomen Ilmavoimat part III – 1941 – Kalevi Keskinen and Kari Stenman, 2007, ISBN 978-952-99743-1-3
Additional information kindly provided by Mirek Wawrzynski.

Last modified 08 August 2007