Biplane fighter aces


Vänrikki Toivo Ilmari Purhonen

4 December 1918 – 18 September 1941

Toivo Purhonen was born on 4 December 1918 in Helsinki.

Vänrikki Purhonen took part in the Continuation War where he served in 1/LLv 16, which was equipped with Gloster Gladiators.

On 12 September, a reconnaissance patrol of 1/LLv 16 had a close call. The reconnaissance report of vänrikki Teuvo Auvinen recalled:

“Planes GL-278 vänrikki Auvinen, GL-277 vänrikki Purhonen and GL-255 alikersantti Komonen, at 09:15-10:45 hours. At 10:05 hours, we observed about 10km northwest of Ylä-Prääshä a three-plane patrol on our south side and 500-600m higher than our flying altitude. The planes did not notice us until they had passed us for some distance and thus we thought they had seen our insignias and that we were friendly aircraft. We observed the abovementioned aircraft separate behind us and press to dive towards our patrol. One plane of our patrol broke off and one of the attackers chased it close to Tulemajärvi. One of the attacking aircraft fired at my plane, but however, both attackers observed our insignias after the first firing pass. We continued the reconnaissance mission with two aircraft to Villavaara, where the leak from my oil reservoir forced me to interrupt the reconnaissance mission. We observed that the attacking aircraft were friendly Moranes.”

At 10:40 on 18 September, vänrikki Purhonen took off for a solo reconnaissance flight towards Säämäjärvi in GL-277. Over Prääsä he was intercepted by MiG-3s from 179 IAP, which shot him down, killing him.
179 IAP reported that kapitan Nikolay Ivanovich Alabin had shot down one reconnaissance aircraft in Karelia. Alabin, was forced to bail out after the combat (in some sources this is claimed as a ”taran” ramming attack).

At the time of his death, Purhonen was credited with 1 biplane victory.

Kill no. Date Time Number Type Result Plane type Serial no. Locality Unit
1 18/09/41 10:40- 1 MiG-3 (a) Destroyed Gladiator II GL-277 Prääsä 1/LLv 16

Biplane victories: 1 destroyed.
TOTAL: 1 destroyed.
(a) MiG-3 flown by Nikolay Alabin of 179 IAP shot down. The pilot baled out.

Soviet Fighter Pilots 1936-1953 - Mikhail Bykov
Suomen Ilmavoimat part III – 1941 – Kalevi Keskinen and Kari Stenman, 2007, ISBN 978-952-99743-1-3
Tervetuloa Sota-arkiston

Last modified 09 June 2020