Gloster Gladiator II in Finnish service

The urgent need for aircraft caused by the outbreak of the winter War led to the purchase of 30 Gloster Gladiator Mk.II fighters from England on 12 December 1939 (10 of these were received as a donation). The semi-assembled planes were first shipped to Sweden (Centrala Flygverkstaden, Malmslätt) and, once assembled; they were flown first to Barkarby (Sweden) and later to Finland between 18 January and 16 February 1940. In the Finnish Air Force the fighters were coded GL-251 to GL-280. Their original English serial numbers were:
N5584, N5683, N5685, N5686, N5687,
N5688, N5689, N5691, N5692, N5694,
N5696, N5700, N5704, N5706, N5707,
N5708, N5709, N5710, N5711, N5712,
N5713, N5715, N5718, N5721, N5722,
N5724, N5726, N5727, N5728 and N5729.

Four squadrons used the Gladiator during the Winter War. LLv 26 and F19 (covered elsewhere) started to use the Gladiator in January 1940. In February 1940 LLv 26 started to hand over its Gladiators to LLv 12 and LLv 14.
During the Continuation War LLv 16 used the Gladiator.

LentoLaivue 26 (LLv 26) 1940
When the Winter War began LLv 26 belonged to Lentorykmentti 2 (Air Regiment 2) under the command of Kapteeni (Captain) E. Heinilä and were based at Heinjoki. The unit was at the time equipped with Bristol Bulldog IVAs.

On 6 December 1939 Maj. J. W. R. Harju-Jeanty took office as Commander of LLv 26 with the objective to develop it into an effective fighter squadron equipped with new Fiat G.50 fighters, which were to be received during December. However, the delivery was delayed, as Germany did not allow transit permission for the aircraft. This is why LLv 26 was assigned Gladiator fighters as provisional equipment starting from 18 January 1940. Thirteen Gladiators were received in January and seventeen more in February. Interception missions were carried out together with training flights and maintenance duties. On 1 February the 1st Flight of the squadrons under the command of Lt. P. Siiriäinen had four Gladiators and the 2nd Flight under the command of Lt. E. Kivinen had seven Gladiators. Both units were based at Utti.

The squadron’s pilots entered in combat for the first time with Gladiators on 2 February 1940.
At 10:40, Luutnantti Paavo Berg was engaged in combat with six I-153s above Hanko and shot down one of them. Jorma ‘Joppe’ Karhunen described Berg’s first claim during the Winter War (Karhunen was at the time a Fokker D.XXI pilot and flight commander in 1/LLv 24):

"We shared the ice base at Littoinen near Turku in the beginning of February 1940. LLv 26’s Gladiators were flown here after they had been assembled in Sweden.
On the 2nd of February I saw Berg climbing from Littoinen in GL-263. Air raid sirens were screaming in Turku. Time passed and I saw Berg land. He ran toward me and told me:
"I shot down a Chaika (Polikarpov I-153), it crashed on the ice. My own aircraft has hits, can you borrow me a Fokker so I can go and have a look at he wreck?"
As he was very exited about his first kill, I gave him my permission to use one of our Fokkers. Berg took off and returned after some time. Unfortunately he had damaged the Fokkers undercarriage making a harsh landing on the ice, so the Fokker had to be repaired at the state aircraft factory at Tampere overnight."
Berg’s own combat report was quite short:
“A squadron of Chaikas bounced me from the above. I received several hits on my Gladiator, but a fast evasive turn prevented any further damage. I decided to test the maneuverability of my new mount and the nearest three-plane Chaika section wanted to fight with me. The rest of them went away.
The Chaikas made a tight turn to try finishing me off again. I made a turn too and I discovered that my GL was able to turn with the Chaikas. I was not even warmed up when I was able to get into a firing position behind one of them. I tightened my turn to the extreme and thus I was able to pull enough deflection and my short burst hit his engine.
The plane I fired on went down towards the ice. His comrades decided to turn for home, and my victim made a landing on the ice. It looked only slightly damaged. I decided to fly back to Littoinen because I feared the hits on my own aircraft might be critical.”
Berg’s victim was an I-153 from 38 IAP flown by leitenant Bedarev.
Luutnantti Jörn Ulrich took off for his first aerial combat from Utti airbase with GL-259 at 11:10 on 2 February (this was also the first combat of LLv 26). He had watched when Finns had made attempts to intercept the incoming raiders on the day before. The bombers were coming from an altitude of 3000 m and it took about 5 minutes to climb to that altitude with a Gloster Gladiator. This meant that the bombers were spotted too late to give sufficient time to climb and intercept. Thus Ulrich flew southwards hoping to intercept the bombers on their return leg. He spotted seventeen SB bombers in two V-formations plus a lone pair, which were returning from a bombing mission to Kouvola. He started to chase the bombers but as the SB was nearly as fast as a Gladiator on 3000 meters was, he only catched up slowly. As they arrived over the Gulf of Finland at 12:10, the lone SB pair made a turn to the right over Suursaari (an island in the Gulf of Finland, occupied by Russians) and thus he was able to cut the corner. He made a firing pass on a SB with firing range varying between 200 and 75 meters. He aimed at the right wing fuel tank and spent 120 rounds of ammunition. The bombers wing fuel tank was hit and it caught fire. As Ulrich prepared to make a second pass on the bomber it started to dive and crashed through the ice on the frozen sea. He now noticed that Russian AA in Suursaari was shooting on him and climbed above clouds before heading home. He landed on Utti 12:.55.
The Soviet aircraft was a SB from 57 SBAP, KBF flown by leitenant G. S. Pinchuk (navigator kapitan V. M. Kharlamov, gunner/RT-operator leitenant A. I. Belogurov) on a photoreconnaissance mission. The SB made a forced landing on the ice in the region of Someri-Nerva. Pinchuk and Belogurov were wounded. The Soviet crew was rescued by a ski-equipped MBR-2 of 18 AE VVS/KBF (pilot kapitan A. A. Gubriy, navigator sskadrilya kommisar Syrnikov, gunner/RT-operator Ashurkov), which landed on the ice and took them to Oranienbaum. On 7 February the entire SB-crew were made Heroes of the Soviet Union, while Gubriy got the Golden HSU-star on 21 April 1940.
In the afternoon, ylikersantti Oiva Tuominen (GL-258) was in cockpit readiness when he and another pilot were scrambled to intercept a detachment of two SBs and six I-16s above Elimäki. During the ensuing combat he damaged one of the fighters over Elimäki at 15:40, forced another to make an emergency landing at Kotka at the same time, and shot down one above Suursaari (Gogland) at 16:00. All the bombers managed however to escape. The two downed I-16s were from 149 IAP, 7 VA and were flown by Kiseliov and Pindiukov.
On 3 February, four destroyed SB bombers were found between Kouvola and the Gulf of Finland, which were later credited to the squadron’s air victory score.

The last of the squadron’s Gladiators moved from the transfer base at Littoinen in Western Finland on 4 February.

On 5 February detachment Kivinen moved with nine Gladiators to Mensunkangas base in replacement for detachment Luukkanen of LLv 24. Their task was to cover the rear of the IV Army Corps and Group T in the area north of Lake Ladoga. Two days later the detachment moved on to Värtsilä.

Detachment Siiriäinen moved with seven Gladiators to Kuluntalahti in northeast of Finland on 9 February. Their mission was to protect the Northern Battle Group.

Shortly after midday on 11 February, three Gladiators from LLv 26 fought with 15 I-16s over the north shore of Jänisjärvi. At 13:30, ylikersantti Oiva Tuominen (GL-255) claimed an I-16 from 49 IAP over Soanlahti. Five minutes later, at 13:35, lentomestari Lauri Lautamäki (GL-253) succeeded in shooting down another I-16 from 49 IAP over Jalovaara.
Both claims are credited as probables (confirmed by the HQ without witnesses).

Around midday on 12 February, a Gladiator pair led by luutnantti Knut Kalmberg (GL-261) intercepted a formation of eight SB bombers from 18 SBAP north of Lake Ladoga. Alikersantti Ilmari Joensuu (GL-256) shot down one over Jänisjärvi at 11:45 while Kalmberg claimed a second over Loimolanjärvi at 12:15.
It seems that only one SB was lost. This was an aircraft from 18 SBAP, 8 VA, flown by leitenant Shapovalov.
The 2nd Flight lost one Gladiator by accident when GL-251 crashed at Kuluntalahdella and vänrikki P.Siirilä was killed.

Detachment Kivinen encountered various enemy formations north of Ladoga on 13 February. One of the formations they encountered during the day was I-16s from 49 IAP, 8 VA (neither side sustained any losses).
In the afternoon on 13 February, lentomestari Lauri Lautamäki (GL-253) and ylikersantti Oiva Tuominen (GL-255) were first scrambled at 14:00 and sent to Matkaselkä. After this there was an alarm - a large Russian bomber formation was approaching! Luutnantti Knut Kalmberg (GL-260) and Kivinen took off first as they were in readiness with running engines. Five others followed so all nine Gladiators of Kivinen's unit were airborne. They met nine I-15bis fighters and engaged them. Six Russians tried to form a "Spanish ring"-defensive circle. Kalmberg attacked these Russians, but as he started shooting, three other Russians attacked him and hit his Gladiator. He tried to disengage by diving, but his plane went into a spin and dived into the ground at Havuvaara, killing him. Meanwhile, Kivinen’s Gladiator was hit in the engine. He disengaged with a steep dive and landed at Värtsilä. The rest of the Gladiators were now dogfighting with the Russians. In the dogfight Jörn Ulrich was hit and wounded. He made a forced landing with the last of his strength between Kuhilasvaara and Havuvaara. His Gladiator GL-257 was badly damaged and not repaired anymore. In this fight, Ilmari Joensuu (GL-256) claimed one I-15bis at 14:40 while Ulrich was credited for the destruction of two between 14:15 and 15:05. Other Finnish pilots in this engagement were Pentti Tevä and lentomestari Niilo ‘Arpinaama’ Artola. Artola was not a pilot of LLv 26 but a Blackburn Ripon pilot of LLv 16. He was on a familiarization flight with a Gladiator when the Soviet fighters appeared. He joined the battle although he was not sure how to operate the guns! However, he managed to fire a bust on an I-15 chasing a Finnish Gladiator. It seems that the I-15bis fighters were from 49 IAP, which lost starshiy politruk M. A. Kochmala (I-15bis), who was KIA after claiming two Gladiators. 49 IAP also claimed a Fokker during the day when leitenant Yakov Filippovity Mikhin of Aviagruppa Tkachenko claimed one in a ”taran” ramming attack at Värtsilä. Mikhin managed to return to his airfield with his damaged I-16.
As Lautamäki and Tuominen were returning from their uneventful flight, they met nine enemy bombers from 39 SBAP, 8 VA, which had taken off from Lotinanpelto (at River Svir) at 13:00, with the task of bombing fortifications north of Pyhäjärvi (hill 108,8) and dropping leaflets. In the ensuing dogfight Tuominen claimed 3 and 1 shared SBs in seven minutes and 1 I-152 while Lautamäki claimed the second half in the shared SB (this aircraft was claimed at Jänisjärvi). Ylikersantti Tuominen reported:

“When I was patrolling with lentomestari Lautamäki in Jänisjärvi station area, I noticed nine SBs arriving east of Suojärvi and heading west. I signalled lentomestari Lautamäki and turned towards the enemy planes. The enemy formation banked to east and east of Soanjoki I caught them and shot the port wing aircraft into fire. It crashed in the woods. So did the next one after a minute. And the third crashed into a small pond.
Then nine more bombers arrived from Loimola direction joining the others. At first I thought they were fighters as the distance grew a little, but I caught them over Kivijärvi and shot at the starboard wing aircraft. When I fired a second burst, it crashed in flames to the north bank of Kivijärvi Lake.
At the same time an I-15 took off from the ice, I shot it immediately down at the edge of the forest, where it crashed in fire. My fighter had two bullet holes in the wings fired from the ground.
Own aircraft GL-255.”
39 SBAP lost three SBs, all of them from the 5th eskadrilya. They had taken off at 13:00 from Lodejnoye pole to bomb hill 108,8 east of Pyhäjärvi and to drop leflets when they become involved in air combat over Suistamo. The first lost was c/n 14/217, which crashed at Jänisjärvi with crew-members mladshiy leitenant N. M. Parshikov, kapitan S. N. Pitek and starshina A. A. Baranov killed. The second was c/n 16/115, which crashed at Kivijärvi with crew-members leitenant I. A Tarasenko, starshiy leitenant N. V. Begichev and starshina I. Ye. Dunayev killed. The third was c/n 11/219, which crashed at Roikonkoski after having been hit in both fuel tanks and catching fire with crew-members leitenant A. G. Lazarykov, starshina V.Grudinin and starshina Sibirkulin killed while leitenant I. S. Kramtsov parachuted at 14:50 (Moscow time) and was taken POW the following day. This was the second operational mission by the 5th eskadrilya; the first one was made the day before.
Lautamäki and Tuominen landed again at 15:30.

On 14 February detachment Kivinen returned to the Mensunkangas base and detachment Siiriäinen to Lappeenranta and, the next day, further to Joueseno where it was made subordinate to LLv 24.

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 leitenant Nechiporenko. A second DB was also damaged in this combat.
In addition, one R-5 was destroyed by vänrikki Eero Enroth in the same area at 15:25. In fact, this was an R-5 from 7 ShAP, 7 VA flown by leitenant 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.

At 13:15 on 16 February one I-16 fighter was shot down by ylikersantti Valio Porvari above Kämärä.
The only Soviet loss in this area this day seems to have been an I-15bis of 9 ShAP, 7VA, flown by leitenant Yepohin.

On 18 February, enemy bombers heavily attacked Vyborg. At 11:30, luutnantti Paavo Berg (GL-279) destroyed two and damaged one SB out of a formation of forty encountered near Kouvola.
It seems that he had been in combat with bombers from 54 SBAP, which reported that 40 SBs escorted by twelve I-153s from 149 IAP attacked Kouvola. The bombs were dropped at 11:52-11:59. Three SBs were damaged by heavy a/a machinegun fire. 3. and 5. eskadrilyas were attacked over the target by a reported five Bulldogs and nine Fokker D.XXIs. In the following combat, the gunners claimed two Bulldogs, while own losses were limited to two damaged SBs: one piloted by leitenant V. V. Butrim received 22 bullet holes, mainly in the left wing and navigator’s cockpit, and landed safely at own airfield, while the second SB flown by leitenant N. I. Ivanov was forced to land at Kotly airfield, navigator leitenant A. A. Smirnov being wounded in right hand.
The I-153s of 149 IAP reported combat south of the target with two Fokker D.XXIs and four Bulldogs and claimed three victories. Mayor Plygunov claimed one Bulldog, Mayor Kuldin claimed one Fokker D.XXI and a second Fokker D.XXI was claimed by leitenant Vladimir Vasilevich Litvinenko. Near the target, the fighters met heavy a/a fire, leitenant Litvinenko’s I-153 got 36 holes from the close explosion of a shell. Nevertheless he safely landed at the own airfield.

On 19 February, luutnantti Paavo Berg’s three-strong patrol was chasing a formation of 32 SB bombers when it was engaged in combat with various I-153 fighters above Sippola at 15:25. One of the enemy fighters was shot down by Berg and another was shared between luutnantti Poul Christensen and vänrikki Lauri Sihvo. The rest of the enemy fighters broke off and headed towards Suomenlahti. The two shot down I-153s were from 149 IAP, 7 VA and were flown by leitenant Yentsh and leitenant Osipov.

At 10:50 on 20 February, luutnantti Paavo Berg (GL-280) of LLv 26 attacked a detachment of 30 bombers above Kouvola. He attacked a bomber in the middle of the formation but this was a mistake, as he ended up in the middle of murderous crossfire from the bomber formation. His Gladiator caught fire and Berg opened the canopy and unstrapped himself to jump. He, however, got stuck when his boot got jammed in the cockpit and he struggled for a few moments, trying to remove his stuck boot and the flames burnt his face before he fell free from his blazing Gladiator. Later Berg heard that the SB he had attacked dived burning into ground. He was hospitalised for the rest of the winter war.
It seems that the bomber shot down by was SB c/n 7/216 of 5./54 SBAP, which was shot down in air combat over Kouvola and crashed at Kattilainen, Ruokolampi. leitenant Yevgenij Mikhailovich Filonenko was KIA and mladshiy leitenant Vasiliy Yefimovich Kufakov was killed at arrest. Shturman leitenant Mikhail Ivanovich Maksimov was believed to have been taken prisoner after the forced landing on the ice of Gulf of Finland and on 17 July 1940, the Soviet Legation inquired whether Maksimov had been taken prisoner; in fact he died of wounds on 21 February.
On the same day alikersantti Ilmari Joensuu (LLv 26) shot down a DB-3 over Laatokka (possibly from 54 SBAP).
During the day six SBs and one DB-3 were lost for various reasons.
149 IAP reported that six I-16s and eleven I-153s were escorting 36 SB-bombers to target no. 32 (Kouvola Junction). Finnish fighters intercepted on the return flight south of Utti and mladshiy leitenant O. A. Filatov (I-153) claimed one Fokker and got one hit on his own aircraft. No Finnish Fokkers were lost on this date.
It seems that I-153s of 12 OIAE were in combat with Gladiators in the Utti area during the day (reported as four ‘Bulldogs’). One I-153 returned damaged.

Detachment Kivinen moved to Ruokolahti on 21 February and there it was made subordinate to LLv 24.

On 25 February 1940, three Gladiators from LLv 26’s detachment Siiriäinen were sent to intercept Russian artillery observation planes above Muolaa. The pilots were luutnantti Pentti Tevä (GL-254), alikersantti Matti Sukanen (GL-258) and alikersantti Ilmari Joensuu (GL-256). They met nine R-5 planes near Muolaanjärvi, attacked and shot down four of them. Sukanen claimed one and one damaged at 15:30 while Tevä shot down two at 16:10 and Joensuu finally claimed one at 16:15. The Soviet aircraft were in fact R-Zs from 4 LBAP, 13 VA, of which two were lost. It seems that one was R-Z 2253, which crashed at Suolajärvi with pilot starshiy leitenant Fedor Z. Boldyrykhin and observer starshiy leitenant Valentin Georgiyevich Belyayev (who died of wound on 27 February). There were also six Russian I-153s from 13 OIAP (Soviet 13th Independent [O] fighter [I] regiment [AP]) in this area as an escort to the R-Zs. These intercepted and shot down and killed Tevä. His GL-254 was seen to dive straight into ground from the altitude of 3000 m without any attempts to pull up or jump, so Tevä was probably hit himself. Sukanen was also shot down. He was wounded and crashed his Gladiator at Ristseppälä. Joensuu was forced to make forced landing with a damaged fighter.
One more Gladiator was lost on the same day when Gl-266 crashed due to engine problems behind enemy lines at Kämärässä. The pilot alikersantti T. Begman was safe and returned by foot.
At 16:10 on the same day, vänrikki Lauri Sihvo (GL-279) claimed a damaged R-5 over Sippola.
It is possible that some of the Finnish Gladiators had been in combat with I-16s from 68 IAP, which reported that six I-16s lead by starshiy leitenant Plotnikov patrolled in the region of Mäkelä village and were engaged in combat with eight Bulldogs. The task of this group was to cover SB bombers attacking a target in the same area. Soon after that the SBs dropped their bombs, the I-16s saw the first Bulldog, which flew to north at the altitude of 2500 metres. It was attacked and downed by starshiy leitenant Plotnikov. According to the pilot report, the aircraft smoked and fell into the forest.
Just after that, at 17:05 Russian time, the I-16s turned to the opposite direction and saw a group of R-Z aircraft, which were flying below them and also seven other Bulldogs. Two Bulldogs attacked one R-Z and it came over Soviet territory losing altitude. Leitenant Safronenko’s flight attacked one of these Bulldogs and shot it down. The Bulldog crashed into the forest on the Finnish side.
At the same time, Plotnikov’s flight flew towards five other Bulldogs flying 1000-1500 metres higher and not seeing the Soviet fighters. While climbing, the I-16s got onto the tail of the enemy formation and all together fired a burst that missed and the Bulldogs began to turn towards the Soviet fighters. The I-16s continued to turn and shot down one more enemy fighter (claimed as a shared by the whole flight), which was observed by a command post of a Soviet Army Corps. Then the flight separated and in the following combat, leitenant Emirov shot down one Bulldog. Emirov was wounded in the hand, while his I-16 received 85 holes, but he returned safely to the airfield. At the same time, leitenant Sergei Maev got into a head on attack with a Bulldog, but simultaneously two other Bulldogs got behind his tail. Maev’s I-16 got 56 bullet holes, but the Bulldog attacked by him was hit and fell to the ground out of control. Maev returned safely.
Detachment Siiriäinen moved to Imola and the next day to Ruokolahti.

One I-16 was destroyed by lentomestari Lauri Lautamäki (GL-253) above Heinjoki on 26 February. This claim has not been possible to verify with Russian sources and it seems that no Soviet aircraft was lost in this area during this day.

In the early morning on 29 February, mladshiy leitenant Viktor Masich of 68 IAP led a three-aircraft group making a reconnaissance mission to the Antrea area. Here they detected the well-camouflaged ice base at Ruokolahti. Over the Finnish air base, Masich claimed one Gladiator and he was able to return with some 80 holes in his fighter. The Gladiator lost was GL-269 of LLv 26, subordinate to LLv 24 (detachment Luukkanen), which was lost due to enemy fighter fire when it returned to Ruokolahti base after a morning alarm mission. The Gladiators had been on an abortive mission together with detachment Luukkanen’s Fokkers and were following in the wake of the Fokkers when a lone Russian I-153 appeared like a wraith and shot down the Gladiator in flames, and was gone as suddenly as it had arrived. The pilot alikersantti Pentti Kosola died of wounds.
At 12:00, the detachment received a message that 21 enemy bombers were heading towards Antrea from the south at an altitude of 16,500 feet. The detachments leader kapteeni Eino Luukkanen was prevented to take off due to a loose starboard ski on his Fokker D.XXI and command was given by him to luutnantti Tatu Huhanantti (6 victories). However, it seems that the control centre had given them wrong information or been referring to an entirely different formation for when the 14 Fokkers and Gladiators of LLv 24 and LLv 26 were climbing out of Ruokolahti field they were trapped in a most unfavourable position when they were attacked by an estimated 40 I-153 and I-16 fighters.
In fact, they were 17 I-16s and six I-153s from 68 IAP, which were returning after the morning’s reconnaissance mission. Twelve fighters were led by major Yakov Gil (I-16) while the remaining eleven fighters were led by Starshiy leitenant D. P. Yefimov (CO of 1 Eskadrilya). In the vicious battle that followed three Gladiators were shot down immediately on take-off. In the low-level combat that followed, the Russians destroyed two more Gladiators and one Fokker. The battle lasted only some fifteen minutes before the Russians withdrew.
Alikersantti Sulo Suikkanen (GL-256) succeeded in shooting down one I-16 over Kaukopää at 12:20. Suikkanen also claimed a second I-16 damaged over Imatra at the same time. A third reportedly I-16 hit the trees and crashed. Seven more Soviet fighters were damaged. During the combat luutnantti Tatu Huhanantti (Fokker D.XXI FR-94) was killed together with luutnanttis Aimo Halme (GL-262) and Carl Kristensen (GL-259). Luutnantti Poul Christensen (GL-261) and vääpeli Olavi Lilja (GL-268) parachuted to safety but both were injured and Christensen was burnt in his face and hospitalized for the rest of the Winter War. Vääpeli Jussi Tolkki (GL-263) had a remarkable escape by falling into a snow bank when his fighter disintegrated just above the trees.
The returning Soviet pilots claimed eleven “Bulldogs” and eight Fokker D.XXIs (one additional claim for an enemy fighter with an unknown pilot). Major Gil claimed one Fokker in a head on attack. The enemy fighter caught fire, overturned and came down. Gil’s second claim was a Bulldog, which got on the tail of leitenant Aleksandr Polukhin (I-16). This Bulldog also caught fire and went to the ground. Starshiy leitenant Vladimir Plotnikov (I-16) attacked a Bulldog, which got on major Gil’s tail. The Bulldog began to smoke, lost control and crashed to the ground. Starshiy leitenant Ivanov attacked and shot down one Bulldog, which got on starshiy leitenant Plotnikov’s tail. The Bulldog smoked heavily and went to the ground. Leitenants Pavel Sorokin (I-16) and Nikitin (I-16) attacked a Fokker, which caught fire and fell out of control from an altitude of 3200 metres. Starshiy leitenant Dmitriy Yefimov (I-16), leitenant Shishov, leitenant Terpugov, leitenant Viktor Orlov (I-16) and leitenant Aleksey Sapozhnikov (I-16) together claimed a Bulldog, which caught fire and crashed to the ground from an altitude of 70-100 metres. Leitenant Shishov then saw one Bulldog flying at 100 metres altitude, attacked it at high speed, overtook it, then turned back and attacked it again. The Bulldog began to smoke and crashed to the ground. Leitenant Orlov dived on the tail of a Bulldog that flew just over the ground and with fire forced it to crash to the ground. Leitenant Polukhin and mladshiy leitenant Ivan Mazurenko (I-16) saw a Fokker, which attempted to attack their flight. With a swift turn they got onto the enemy’s tail and shot it down with an attack from two sides. The enemy caught fire and crashed to the ground. Mladshiy leitenant Mazurenko then saw a Fokker got behind his tail. With a heavy slideslip, he turned his aircraft 45-50 degrees and the Fokker overtook him. Mazurenko turned back and with a long burst downed the enemy. The Fokker caught fire and crashed to the ground. Mazurenko’s aircraft returned with 36 bullet holes. Leitenant Aleksandr Platonov pursued one Bulldog and with an attack from behind, he forced it to dive. Platonov followed it and continued to fire until the Bulldog got into a spin and crashed into the ground. After the attack of the airfield, leitenant Viktor Popov was climbing for altitude when he saw a Bulldog chased by I-16s and I-153s. With a spilt-S, the Bulldog evaded their attack but Popov attacked it when it was recovering from its dive. Popov fired on it and it caught fire. While climbing for altitude, leitenant Sergey Mayev (I-16) saw a Fokker, which got behind an I-16 and began to fire. Mayev attacked the Fokker from behind and set it on fire. The Fokker crashed to ground out of control. Mladshiy leitenant Vasiliy Soldatov dropped bombs on the enemy aircraft parked on the frozen lake. After that he was attacked by two Fokkers, bus using the manoeuvrability and climbing performance of his I-153, he evaded the attack and climbed to the Soviet group. He saw that one Fokker was pursuing an I-16 and decided to attack it. The enemy decided to outrun him, but Soldatov manoeuvred behind it and fired several long bursts. The enemy aircraft went into a dive. Soldatov followed it and observed that the Fokker crashed into the forest. Leitenant Konyukhov shot down one Fokker in a head on attack. For some reason the enemy aircraft didn’t return fire. The Fokker began to smoke and hit the ground out of control. Leitenant Nikitin twice attacked a Bulldog and shot it down. It fell into the forest and caught fire. Having approached the target, starshiy leitenant Ivan Fedorov, saw one Bulldog at 2200 meters altitude. Fedorov got behind it and with two bursts shot it down. The Bulldog dived vertically and fell north of Salvisaari Island. After that, Fedorov dropped the bombs on one Fokker, which was taxiing on the lake. Just after taking off, this Fokker caught fire and hit the ice.
68 IAP lost one I-16 flown by starshiy leitenant Yefimov (CO of 1 Eskadrilya), who was killed when his I-16 didn’t level out from a steep dive to evade chasing enemy Finnish fighters, but crashed to the ground and one I-153 (c/n 521) were the pilot, mladshiy leitenant Mikhail Ivanovich Volosevich (2 Eskadrilya), parachuted at Tainiokoski to become a PoW.
This combat was the biggest single aerial defeat suffered by the Finns during the whole course of the Second World War.

The submittal of Gladiators to LLv 12 and LLv 14 had already started on 12 February and the remaining seven Gladiators were handed over after the Ruokolahti battle (circa 1 March 1940). LLv 26 was at last re-equipped with Fiat G.50 fighters.

During the Winter War, LLv 26 carried out a total of more than 600 missions using Gladiators between 18 January and 1 March 1940, scoring altogether 34 air victories. Its own causalities were 13 aircraft, of which 11 were lost in air combat, 1 in an accident and one owing to a technical failure. Six pilots were killed.

Lentolaivue 12 (LLv 12) 1940-1941
LLv 12 belonged to Lentorykmentti 1 (Air Regiment 1) during the Winter War.
The unit started to receive Gladiator when on 12 February 1940 the three firsts arrived from LLv 26.
Flights 1 and 2 used the Gladiators until the end of the Winter War. 1st Flight used Gladiators GL-270, 271, 272, 275 and 277. 2nd Flight used Gladiators GL-253, 255, 256 and 264.

LeR 1 reconnoitred continuously the spearhead of the Russian advance. At noon on 16 February, LLv 12 sent vänrikki Marttila to scout with a Gladiator. His report says briefly:

“Own plane GL-272, height 200 metres. Observations:
Main force heading from Kämärä station westwards, first troops at the bend of Suurjoki River consisting of 10 tanks and 15 vehicles of motorized troops. Then another 10 tanks and 5 vehicles. Three tanks towards Kämärä village, two kilometres away. Lehtola-Kämärä road full of tanks and motorized troops, firing at the aircraft.

On 3 March, the Russians commenced the advance over the frozen Gulf of Vyborg. At 14:00, the Gladiator pilots of LLv 12 gave alarming reports that the first enemy units were near the coast at Vilajoki, in the rear of the main defence.

During the Winter War LLv 12 made a total of 67 combat flights, operating over the Bay of Viipuri and the western part of the Karelian Isthmus. 5 of these flights were covering of Fokker C.X aircraft on reconnaissance missions and low-level attacks within Bay of Viipuri between 4 and 8 March 1940.
LLv 12 kept their Gladiators until 4 July 1941 when they were replaced with Curtis Hawk 75As and the remaining Gladiators were transferred to LLv 16.

Lentolaivue 14 (LLv 14) 1940-1941
LLv 14 belonged to Lentorykmentti 1 (Air Regiment 1) during the Winter War.
The unit started to receive Gladiator when on 13 February 1940 the six firsts arrived from LLv 26.
Their operation area was mainly the eastern part of the Karelian Isthmus and they flew 34 missions during the Winter War.

LLv 14 was taken from the eastern part of the Karelian Isthmus to repel the Russian invasion across the frozen Gulf of Vyborg. The morning mission report on 5 March 1940 says:

“Aircraft and crews: FK-110 vänrikki Ala-Panula and luutnantti Honkanen, FK-107 vänrikki Arkko and vääpeli Harju, GL-267 luutnantti Ollikainen, GL-273 luutnantti Pitkänen, GL-274 luutnantti Kuula, GL-276 vänrikki Malinen, GL-278 ylikersantti Perälä and GL-279 alikersantti Roine.
Task: Reconnaissance, bombing and strafing on the columns and camps in Häränpäänniemi-Pulliniemi-Teikarsaari-Vilaniemi.
Take-off at 06:05 hours and retrun at 07:30 hours.
Observations: On ice between Pulliniemi and Teikarsaari a continuous row of trucks towards Tuppuransaari Island. Tuppuransaari-Vilaniemi ice road full of troops, trucks and tanks. At Vilaniemi on the beach 20 tanks. Flak battery at Teikarsaari shooting at us. At Teikarsaari one kilometre long column of troops heading SE from Teikarsaari. At Vilaniemi bay several company strong waves of troops heading towards the beach. Dropped 2x50kg, 3x25kg and 6x3,5kg bombs and strafed with 2000 rounds. Enemy fighters at 5 kilometres distance north of Vyborg.”
Between 13:25 and 14:20 in the afternoon on the same day, ylikersantti Martti Perälä (GL-278) claimed an I-153 over Äyräpää. This was an I-153 from 68 IAP, 13 VA, which according to Soviet sources crashed on the ground with no apparent cause.
According to 68 IAP’s war diary, pilots kapitan Povoroznikov and Semin, while escorting a group of SB bombers, saw a flight of four Bulldogs. Two Bulldogs escaped to the clouds, while the other two entered into a combat. At 15:40, Povoroznikov shot down one Bulldog in the region of Vuoksenranta. Semin got onto the tail of the other enemy aircraft and while making a tight turn at the altitude of 150-200m got into a spin and crashed with no apparent cause.

On 7 March 1940, luutnantti Tauno Ollikainen (GL-279) led a group of six Gladiators from LLv 14 flying top cover for ground troops at Tienhaara (west of Viipuri). Between 15:15 and 15:25 and despite being outnumbered, three Russian I-153s attacked over Tervajoki. LLv 14 reported:

“Aircraft and crews: GL-279 luutnantti Ollikainen, GL-273 luutnantti Pitkänen, GL-274 luutnantti Kuula, GL-276 vänrikki Malinen, GL-278 ylikersantti Perälä and GL-279 alikersantti Roine.
Mission between 14:35 and 16:10 hours.
When patrolling over Tienhaara, two pairs of I-16s were observed, no contact. Over Tervajoki village met three I-153s, which pulled over, turned and attacked the second pair. The first pair turned around and started the combat, which was carried out between 15:15 and 15:25 hours, from 300 metres to the surface. The wind shifted the participants west of Tervajoki. Two I-153s were shot down and they both crashed in the forest. Luutnantti Ollikainen claimed one witnessed by luutnantti Kuula. The other was claimed by vänrikki Malinen and witnessed by luutnantti Pitkänen. Alikersantti Roine made a successful emergency landing to Löytöjärvi after being hit in the fuel tank. Ylikersantti Perälä’s wing touched the wing on an I-153, breaking the starboard tip of the upper wing.”
These aircraft were claimed in combat with three I-153s from 3./148 IAP led by major N. V. Gavrilov (CO) and including starshiy leitenant Ivan Rybin and mladshiy leitenant Yevgenii Ivanovich Zaichikov (I-153 c/n 7325). When they returned, Gavrilov claimed two Gladiators while Rybin claimed one. Zaichikov was killed in the combat, the wreck of his fighter was located in Chulkovo (former Tervajoki) only in October 2009.
The same day, both surviving Soviet pilots were decorated with the Order of the Red Banner.

At 11:10 on 10 March 1940, luutnantti Tauno Ollikainen of LLv 14 was involved in combat with I-153s. He crashed into trees in Gladiator GL-279 at Kirvu and was killed.
It seems that luutnantti Ollikainen was shot down by Marchenko of 5./7 IAP (I-153), who reportedly claimed an enemy fighter during the day.
It’s also possible that the Gladiator was claimed by 68 IAP, which according to some sources claimed a “Bulldog” during the day.

LLv 14 kept their Gladiators until 9 July 1941 when they were replaced with Curtis Hawk 75As and the remaining Gladiators were transferred to LLv 16.

Lentolaivue 16 (LLv 16) 1941-1944
At the beginning of the Continuation War LLv 16 was assigned the task of supporting the Karelian Army by reconnaissance, interception, photography and bombing duties. The order of battle of the unit on 25 June 1941 was:

Squadron Commander: Majuri (Major) R. Pajari at Rissala.
1st Flight under command of kapteeni (Captain) H. Pursiainen, based at Rissala with 6 Gloster Gladiators.
2nd Flight under command of luutnantti (Lieutenant) V. Härmäla, based at Rautavaara with 3 or 4 Westland Lysanders.
3rd Flight under command of kapteeni J. Gabrielsson, based at Rissala with 4 or 5 Fokker C.Xs.

On 29 June, the 1st Flight moved to Joensuu where it operated from the sand of Lake Höyriainen.

On 10 July, a reconnaissance Gladiator from 1/LLv 16 engaged enemy fighters. The combat report of luutnantti Börje Laaksonen described the clash:

“At 17:50-18:00 hours. When reconnoitring Tolvajärvi area at 500 m altitude four I-16s managed to take me by surprise from behind. When I heard the sound of the machine-guns I made a steep left banking dive and pulled toward the attacking aircraft, when we both fired each other from opposite directions. After the attack the enemy pulled up to the others and the next one continued the attack in turn. I pulled against all these attacking aircraft, when we fired each other from opposite directions. I always turned homewards promptly after firing and gradually approached the border. At Petäjärvi height, I finally managed to break off. When firing one aircraft from the opposite direction I managed to shoot somewhat from the side, when all tracers seemed to go between the engine and cockpit. The aircraft went straight to the surface, where it levelled a bit. After that, I did not see it again since three I-16s pressed on the attacks. With the GL plane I could not do anything else than to turn into them. The turn was easily performed though I started it at 400-500 metres distance. Judging by the way of flying, the I-16 pilots were inexperienced and the shooting was inaccurate. My damages four holes in the wings and stabilizer. My plane was GL-255.”

Luutantti Jussi Mäki (GL-267) was shot down by Soviet anti-aircraft fire at Suvilahdessa on 17 July. The pilot was safe.

On 22 July, the 1st Flight moved to Tohmajärvi.

On 5 August, 1/LLv 16 reconnoitred with a pair flown by luutnantti Börje Laaksonen (GL-265) and alikersantti Reino Pättiniemi (GL-271):

“At 19:20 hours Hietajärvi, altitude 1.500 m: Own troops at north end level of Hietajärvi. Fighting going on.
At 19:30 hours Ägläjärvi, altitude 200 m: In possession of own troops.
At 19:40-20:00 Ägläjärvi-Vuontele, altitude 1.500-100 m: About 4 km to east of Ägläjärvi foremost own troops. The foremost enemy troops at the level of south end of Porasjärvi. About 2,5 km east of the south end of Porasjärvi the end of the column. The column was homogenous for 3 km, cars, guns, tanks and horses. Further on to Aittojoki solitary horse vehicles and cars. About 1 km east of Aittojoki bridge 4 tanks, 3 trucks heading east. About 0,5 km east of Vuontele 3 tanks, 3 trucks, 2 cars heading east.
At 20:05 hours Hietajärvi-Ägläjärvi: No traffic on the road, own troops leaving towards Ägläjärvi. Vuontele-Lylylampi: No traffic.
At 20:15 hours Kokkari: Dropped the message.”

On 24 August, the 1st Flight moved with its five Gladiators to Uomaa.

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 Toivo 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.”

On 15 September, the scout of 1/LLv 16 entered in a combat. Lentomestari Viktor Törhönen reported:

”At 14:20-15:55 hours. I observed south of Ala-Pandjärvi three I-16s in a echelon in a large gap of clouds about 1,500m to the right from me. Flying at me, the aircraft noticed me. I banked swiftly back in the cloud and took more altitude. After coming into an opening in the clouds, I observed tracers coming towards my aircraft, when I pulled my nose down to starboard away from the stream of tracers. With over speed I pulled my plane back in the cloud and again gained more altitude, in order to move from one cloud to another with over speed by just pulling the nose down. This way I continued my return to the west. In every opening of the clouds, I observed one I-16 coming behind me, but did not even once observe any tracers. One I-16 followed my aircraft almost 60km. No damage to my plane GL-255.”

The Uomaa airstrip was attacked by three Russian I-16s on 17 September and one Gladiator was damaged.

At 10:40 on 18 September, vänrikki Toivo 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).

On 25 September, a Gladiator pair of 1/LLv 16 wrote in the reconnaissance report:

“Planes GL-265 vänrikki Auvinen and GL-255 kersantti Komonen. Start at 15:40 and landing at 17:30 hours. Route Uomaa-Patojärvi-Viitana-Puoliväli-Lohijärvi-Uomaa.
16:15 5 km south of Matrossa at 1,000 m. About 800 m higher six R-5s came towards us heading to the west and above these two bi-plane fighters 1,000-1,500 m higher than us. The fighters dived straight towards us, we returned back in the cloud. We came out after about 15 minutes to continue the mission.
16:35-16:50 Puoliväli-Patojärvi-Viitana 1500 m. No fortifications observed on the river line, no traffic on the roads and railway. At point 53,3 about 500 m logging to southwest, on the logging 1 tractor and 1 horse standing still. Railway Petrozavodsk-Suunu no traffic. About 800 ton vessel anchored close to pier outside Petrozavodsk.
16:55 Lohijärvi 500 m. About 3 km west of north tip of Lohijärvi 2 camp fires, which GL-255 shot with msg. In north-western terrain of point 291,1 about 20 camp fires.
17:00 Prääshä 800 m. In 100-300 m altitude north-east of Prääshä circled 6-7 aircraft, the type of which we couldn’t determine. Friendly flak shot at the planes.”

The whole LLv 16 moved to Solomanni near Äänislinna (Perrozavodsk) on 9 October with operations directed mainly towards the north.

On 5 December, a Gladiator pair of 1/LLv 16 reconnoitred in front of the Finnish advance:

Planes GL-271 kapteeni Pursiainen and GL-255 vänrikki Håkan Strömberg. Take-off 13:20 and return 13:55 hours. Route Viiksjärvi-Karhumäki-Poventsa-Viiksjärvi. 13:00 Karhumäki 2,000m. The NE end of the road bridge appeared blown up. South of the bridge 3 trucks, SE of the bridge 5 trucks and 5 horses. 13:35 road Karhumäki-Lumbusi 2,000m. 20 trucks to east, a couple to Karhumäki. 40-45 horse vehicles on the road heading east. 13:35 road Lumbusi-Pindisi-Brjuhova 2,000m. 3 trucks coming from north. 10 horses on the road. On the main road 15 trucks and 15 horses. Road Lumbusi village-Poventsa 4 trucks heading north, 20-30 horse vehicles heading east, 5 horse vehicles heading north. About 30 men on the road in small groups. 13:40 road Karhumäki-Poventsa. 5 trucks to Poventsa, 4 trucks to Karhumäki and 10 horse vehicles to both directions. On the streets of Poventsa about 50 men, 5 trucks and 5 horses. 13:40 road from Poventsa to Voljärvi for 5km. No traffic. 13:40 road from Poventsa to east for 2km. No traffic. A few men on the road.”

On 6 December, kapteeni K. Kurimo was appointed Commander of LLv 16. At the turn of the year the squadron had only six aircraft in working order of which two were Gladiators.

On 19 January 1942, the aerial reconnaissance of 1/LLv 16 was finding out the Russian movements on the Maaselkä isthmus. Vänrikki Håkan Strömberg reported:

”GL-255, vänrikki Strömberg, altitude 500m. … At 14:20 in the southern road junction of Meri-Maaselkä village 40 truck parked, snow on the vehicles. In the village 15 trucks and every yard full of men. Between Meri-Maaselkä-Parakki 28-35 trucks towards SW, 120 loaded horse-drawn vehicles to SW. Two columns of about 200 men SW. About 30 empty trucks NE. South of Parakki 28 village 30 trucks nearby the two houses. In the village itself 8 trucks and 16 horse-drawn vehicles and about 120-150 men. At 14:30 at Parakki 28-21 twelve horse-drawn vehicles and 30 men westward. Between Parakki 21-Hiisjärvi 50 loaded horse-drawn vehicles to south. 1km north of Hizozero a camp in a depression. The camp area in east-west direction from the road to point 90. In the yards of the building between the railway and Raz 14 5-6 trucks and 30-40 men. At 14:40 at Raz 6 in small columns 35 men to south. Between Karbozero and Raz 6 two about 200 men groups and horse-drawn vehicles to south. At 14:45 at Karbozero 60-70 men and 20 horse-drawn vehicles in the yards. At Karbozero-Aitalampi junctions two groups of about 200 men to east, with 25-30 horse-drawn vehicles, 10-15 trucks to east. At 14:50 between Aitalampi junctions and Aitalampi 15 horse-drawn vehicles and about 100 men south. In Aitalampi village about 50 men and 12 horse-drawn vehicles. Between Aitalampi and Nopsa 15 trucks and 3 buses to east, 5-6 trucks to west and two groups of about 200 men east. At Nopsa 8 wagons on side rails. Between Banbozero and Suurlahti 3 trucks, 8-10 horse-drawn vehicles and 20 men east and 5-6 horse-drawn vehicles west. The road to Suurlahti goes vio point 12, a camp there.”

One of the Gladiators was destroyed when it crashed into an ice-covered lake in bad weather on 19 January.

On 26 February, 1/LLv 16 was searching for partisans in south of Äänislinna:

“GL-278 kapteeni Pursiainen, altitude 50-5m. At 14:55 Soksu, in Karelgran village 2-3 smoking ruins. At the bottom of the bay 1ruin, near the lighthouse 1 smoking ruin. Ski tracks to Bezzorovskaya direction. 30 own men seen. At 15:00 no ski tracks from the lake to the shore between Soksu and Soutjärvi. At 15:15-15:35 on the ski track Soksu-Bezzorovskaya about 10 km from Soksu about 200 ski men in snow clothes spread into 3 km depth heading eastwards. Rifle fire. Up to this level a few cracks in the ice, skis, rods and a jacket. Halfway in the lake shooting barrages caused by the cracks and large pieces of ice. About 7 km from the west shore a wind shelter built of snow. Behind the wind shelter a horse with a snow cloth and possibly another horse and a few men. Fired, one horse down. The men shot back. On the return flight the columns were shot at. At 15:35 Derevyannoye, I landed by a motor sleigh and informed the men about the situation on the ice, the promised to start the chase of the enemy.”

On 28 February, the air commander post of the Karelian Army was disbanded. LLv 12 was subdued to the commander of the Aunus Group and LLv 16 to the Maaselkä Group. The tasks and the means remained the same.

On 2 May, 1/LLv 16 flew a routine ice reconnaissance to Lake Onega:

“At 12:25-13:55, GL-276 lentomestari Törhönen and GL-253 vänrikki Paakkanen, altitude 800-50m. Route Äänislinna-Olkova-Tsornajajoki-Semenova-Limosaari-Äänislinna. At 12:55 Olikova, river Andoma free of ice and the barges still in their winter storage locations. At 13:20 Terebovskaja, river Vodla free of ice, except thin ice 100m from the mouth. At 13:45 Lake Onega, the whole lake covered with ice, open cracks.”

On 3 May, LLv 16 was made subordinate to Lentorykmentti 2 (2 Flying Regiment) and was renamed to LeLv 16. The Gladiator Flight was assigned the task of reconnaissance in the northern parts of Lake Ääninen (Onega) and in the areas of it.

When the aerial reconnaissance had discovered that several barges had passed the winter at the mouths of Vodla and Andoma Rivers running into Lake Onega, the task to destroy these was given to LeR 4 and LeR 2in addition to the saw mill at Vodla River.
The target for LeR 2 became the barges at the mouth of Vodla River and it commenced the operation on 9 May, five minutes before the Blenheims of LeR 4. Four Fokker C.Xs of 3/LeLv 16 bombed the village and the barges at the mouth of the river. Right after this, six Gladiators of 1/LeLv 16 strafed the target area. LeLv 16 based at Äänislinna repeated the attack with the same units being the last over the target. The mission report from 3/LeLv 16 reported:

“FK-78 kapteeni Saxell and kersantti Koski, FK-94 lentomestari Rantala and luutnantti Kahla, FK-109 kersantti Sarin and kersantti Määttänen and FK-85 kersantti Komonen and vänrikki Astala. At 11:30 altitude 700m bombed 7x100kg, 16x15kg incendiaries and 14x12.5kg.
Hits: West end of target N:o 4, one 100kg one meter from a motor barge and another 100kg about 30m from third barge counting from the west end. All other bombs hit the village of Ustjenkylä. One house in the caught fire. The motor barge at the village shore was sunk due to the previous bombardment.”
The mission report of 1/LeLv 16 reported:
“GL-276 luutnantti Strömberg, GL-253 vänrikki Malmberg, GL-264 vänrikki Maunula, GL-265 vänrikki Timonen, GL-252 vänrikki Paakkanen and GL-275 lentomestari Törhönen. At 11:50 altitude 300-100m. Ustjenkylä village strafed, also the board yard and buildings. At the saw mill about 20 men were strafed. Also on north shore of Vodla River a group of men in the forest. After the bombing 31 intact barges upstream the mouth of Vodla River.”

The 2nd Flight received three Gladiators on 8 June and moved to Hirvas under the command of luutnantti M. Somppi.

On 9 July luutnantti Håkan Strömberg’s Gladiator GL-264 of 2/LeLv 16 was hit by anti-aircraft fire 6 km south-west of Särkijärvi. The aircraft was hit in the oil-tank and Strömberg had to rescue himself by parachute.

On 13 July luutnantti M. Somppi was transferred to command the 1st Flight and he was succeeded in the 2nd Flight by kapteeni Härmälä who in his turn rendered the duties to luutnantti Håkan Strömberg on 17 August.

The 1st Flight lost on Gladiator in an air accident on 2 September.

Majuri O. Seeve was appointed commander of LeLv 16 on 16 November.

On 9 December the 1st Flight moved with four Gladiators to Hirvas.

During January 1943, the Gladiator flights moved nearer their operation area on the Maaselkä Isthmus, the 1st Flight being based at Viiksjärvi and the 2nd at Kumsjärvi. However, owing to the stabilised position warfare on the ground, air activity was rather slack during the whole year.

On 7 January, 1/LeLv 16 flew a regular reconnaissance mission to Maaselkä isthmus. The Gladiator pair was led by the flight leader luutnantti Mikael Somppi (GL-270) and included vänrikki V. Koski (GL-272). At 12:00, a Polikarpov U-2 was observed having landed on a swamp 6km east of Petrovskiy Jam. Both pilots strafed it until it caught fire and burned.

Between 19:00-20:00 on 15 February, a Gladiator pair of 2/LeLv 16 led by luutnantti Håkan Strömberg (GL-273) flew a routine reconnaissance on the Maaselkä isthmus on the Kumsjärvi-Vojatsu-Sekehe-Kärkijärvi-Kumsjärvi route counting traffic on the Murmansk railway and roads joining it. At the end of the flight, the Finns arrived from north to Kärkijärvi airfield at 20:05. A single R-5 took off from the base and Strömberg sent it down into the forest with his second burst.
This claim was claimed into the wing’s account.

In the morning on 7 April, 2/LeLv 16 lost its flight leader luutnantti Håkan Strömberg on a reconnaissance mission to the enemy side:

“Planes and pilots: GL-273 luutnantti Strömberg and GL-276 kersantti Kuuluvainen.
At 09:20-10:30 hours.
Route Kumsa-Suurlahti-Käsrkijärvi-Urosjärvi-Pinemolahti-Kumsa.
Kärkijärvi at 09:40 (1,500m), no traffic on airfield and no planes in shelters. Rail Kärkijärvi-Urosjärvi no traffic. Kärkijärvi airfield at 09:50 (1,500m), when GL-273 piloted by luutnantti Strömberg dived from 1,500m to 500m the plane went to pieces in an inverted dive. The wingman kersantti Kuuluvainen did not observe any flak before the dive or during it. NE bay at 09:55 (1,000m), camp area, plenty of motion about 50 men. Rifle and aut. Gun fire. Road Kärkijärvi-NE bay motor sleigh base (500m) 5 horse vehicles to east and 3 to west, of which 3 were strafed. Shore of Seesjärvi at NE bay, fortification works, log barracks and on the shore 2 horse vehicles to NW. Rifle and automatic gun fire. Oinemolahti (500m), rifle fire. 40mm enemy flak about 500m NW from the NW tip of Kärkijärvi airfield.”

On 21 June, the engine of GL-265 of 1/LeLv 16 quit during take-off from Vitska near Karhumäki and in the forced landing, the aircraft crashed. The pilot, vänrikki Jouni Tela was injured in this accident.

On 22 July, a Gladiator pair of 2/LeLv 16 flew a routine recce mission.

"Planes and crews: GL-275 luutnantti Malmberg and GL-276 ylikersantti Pakarinen.
Route: Hirvas-Povents-Marnaniemi-Hirvas.
Time: 02:20-05:05, height 1,000 m.
At 02:45, the road Poventsa-Lobskaya 3 trucks to southeast, no traffic on side roads. The road Lobskaya-Kostinskaja one car and 4 horse carts southeast.
At 03:20, the road Kostinskaya-Marnaniemi, no traffic. No ships on shore- Log rafts at Oravilahti, Nelmusalahti and mouth of river Tuba. Heavy AA machine gun fire from Oravilahti and Lobskaya. Halfway between Oravilahti and Tsolmutsa we were attacked by 3 enemy fighters (LaGG-3?) who went for one GL By going down to the deck, he managed to evade."

Majuri O. Holm took over command of LeLv 16 on 24 August.

At the turn of the year, the 1st Flight had three Gladiators in working order at Vitska. Flight missions were scanty in number.

On 14 February 1944, the frontline squadrons received a task prefix into their name and LeLv 16 thus became TLeLv 16.

On 6 March 1944, vänrikki Onni Helppi's Gladiator pair of 1/TLeLv 16 reconnoitered in the Urosozero direction and came over Meri-Maaselkä under the attack of two Russian Tomahawks. The patrol exploited the better maneuverability of their aircraft to break off and returned to their base at Vitska near Karhumäki.
It seems that they had been attacked by P-40 Kittyhawks from 152 IAP and leitenant Tsylbul'kin returned claiming one Gladiator in the Uunitsa direction.

On 17 March 1944, kapteeni Pursiainen took command of TLeLv 16 and kapteeni Somppi took command of 1st Flight.

At 06:35 on 11 June, GL-252 of 1/ TLeLv 16 crashed at Vitska. Luutnantti A. Kurki was however safe.

On 19 June, luutnantti Aulis Kurki of 1/TLeLv 16 was involved in air combat with Gladiator GL-253, which was hit a few times. However, Kurki was able to bring back his aircraft safely to Vitska at Karhumäki..

The 1st Flight moved to Hirvas on 19 June and handed over its remaining three Gladiators to the 2nd Flight, which were replaced by Polikarpov I-153s.

On 4 July, two Kittyhawks from 152 IAP flown by starshiy leitenant Pavel Levchuk and mladshiy leitenant Mizin claimed a shared Gladiator over Karelia. This is the last known Gladiator claim by the VVS.
This claim can’t be verified with either a Finnish combat report or losses.

The last war mission with a Finnish Gladiator was flown on 31 July 1944. The pilots of the 2nd Flight were assigned the new Finnish Myrsky fighters.

During the Continuation War, TLeLv 16 operated with Gladiators in one or two flights from 25 June 1941 to 16 August 1944, scoring one air victory and losing ten aircraft, four of which in combat missions, two in accidents and four owing to technical failure. Three pilots were killed.

Finnish pilots with claims while flying Gloster Gladiators
Ylik. Oiva Tuominen, LLv 26 - 2 and 1 shared victories
Ltn. Paavo Berg, LLv 26 - 5 victories
Ylik. Valio Porvari, LLv 26 - 2 (+1 damaged with Bristol Bulldog) victories
Alik. Ilmari Joensuu, LLv 26 - 4 victories
Ltm. Lauri Lautamäki, LLv 26 – 1 and 1 shared and 1 probable (+ 1 shared victory with Bristol Bulldog) victories
Ltn. Pentti Tevä, LLv 26 - 2 (+ 1 victory with Bristol Bulldog) victories, killed 25/02/40 in GL-254 at Muolaanjärvelä
Ltn. Jörn Ulrich (Danish), LLv 26 - 3 victories
Ltn. Knut Kalmberg (Danish), LLv 26 - 1 victory, killed 24/01/40 in GL-260 at Havuvaara
Ltn. T. Ollikainen, LLv 14 - 1 victory, killed 10/03/40 in GL-279
Ltn. Håkan Strömberg, LeLv 16 - 1 victory, killed 07/04/43 in GL-273
Vänr. Eero Enroth, LLv 26 - 1 victory
Vänr. Kalervo Malinen, LLv 14 - 1 victory
Ylik. Martti. Perälä, LLv 14 - 1 victory
Vänr. Toivo Purhonen, LLv 16 - 1 victory
Kers. S. Suikkanen, LLv 26 - 1 victory
Alik. Matti Sukanen, LLv 26 - 1 victory
Ltn. Poul Christensen (Danish), LLv 26 - ½ victory
Vänr. Lauri. Sihvo, LLv 26 - ½ victory
Fän. Arne Frykholm (Swedish), F19 - 2 shared victories
Fän. Ian Iacobi (Swedish), F19 - 1 victory
Gideon Karlsson (Swedish), F19 - 1 victory
Roland Martin (Swedish), F19 - 1 victory
Fän. Per-Johan Salwén (Swedish), F19 - 3 victories
Carl-Olof Steninger (Swedish), F19 - 2 shared victories
Einar Tehler (Swedish), F19 - 2 victories
Note: One of Lautamäki's claims are not included in official lists of claims and are therefore not included in his total.

LLv 14: 3 victories
LeLv 16: 1 victory
LLv 26: 29 victories (all during the Winter War)
F19: 10 victories (all during the Winter War)
Totally: 43 victories

Finnish claims with Gladiators:
Kill no. Date Type Result Pilot Plane type Serial no. Locality Unit
  Winter War              
1 12/01/40 I-15 Destroyed Fänrik Ian Iacobi Gladiator II "F" Märkäjärvi F19
2 17/01/40 I-15bis Destroyed Fänrik Roland Martin Gladiator II "C" Märkäjärvi-Salla F19
3 17/01/40 I-15bis Destroyed Fänrik Per-Johan Salwén Gladiator II "F" Märkäjärvi-Salla F19
4 01/02/40 SB-2 Destroyed Fänrik Per-Johan Salwén Gladiator II   78km N Rovaniemi F19
5 02/02/40 I-153 Destroyed Ltn. Paavo Berg Gladiator II GL-263 Bromarv LLv 26
6 02/02/40 DB-3 Destroyed Ltn. Jörn Ulrich Gladiator II GL-259 Gogland LLv 26
7 02/02/40 I-16 Destroyed Ylik. Oiva Tuominen Gladiator II GL-258 Gogland LLv 26
  02/02/40 I-16 Probable Ylik. Oiva Tuominen Gladiator II GL-258 Kotka LLv 26
  11/02/40 I-16 Probable Ylik. Oiva Tuominen Gladiator II GL-255 Soanlahti LLv 26
  11/02/40 I-16 Probable Ltm. Lauri Lautamäki Gladiator II GL-253 Jalovaara LLv 26
8 12/02/40 SB Destroyed Alik. Ilmari Joensuu Gladiator II GL-256 Jänisjärvi LLv 26
9 12/02/40 SB Destroyed Ltn. Knut Kalmberg Gladiator II GL-261 Loimolanjärvi LLv 26
  13/02/40 I-152 Probable Ylik. Oiva Tuominen Gladiator II GL-255 Karjala LLv 26
10 13/02/40 SB Destroyed Ylik. Oiva Tuominen Gladiator II GL-255 Karjala LLv 26
11 13/02/40 SB Destroyed Ylik. Oiva Tuominen Gladiator II GL-255 Karjala LLv 26
  13/02/40 SB Probable Ylik. Oiva Tuominen Gladiator II GL-255 Karjala LLv 26
12 13/02/40 SB Shared Destroyed Ltm. Lauri Lautamäki Gladiator II GL-253 Karjala LLv 26
12 13/02/40 SB Shared Destroyed Ylik. Oiva Tuominen Gladiator II GL-255 Karjala LLv 26
13 13/02/40 I-15bis Destroyed Alik. Ilmari Joensuu Gladiator II GL-256 Havuvaara LLv 26
14 13/02/40 I-15bis Destroyed Ltn. Jörn Ulrich Gladiator II GL-257 Havuvaara LLv 26
15 13/02/40 I-15bis Destroyed Ltn. Jörn Ulrich Gladiator II GL-257 Havuvaara LLv 26
16 15/02/40 DB-3 Destroyed Ylik. Valio Porvari Gladiator II GL-264 Suulajärvi LLv 26
  15/02/40 DB-3 Damaged ? Gladiator II   Suulajärvi LLv 26
17 15/02/40 R-5 Destroyed Vänr. E. Enroth Gladiator II GL-266 Valkjärvi LLv 26
18 16/02/40 I-16 Destroyed Ylik. Valio Porvari Gladiator II GL-264 Kämärä LLv 26
19 18/02/40 SB Destroyed Ltn. Paavo Berg Gladiator II GL-279 Kouvola LLv 26
20 18/02/40 SB Destroyed Ltn. Paavo Berg Gladiator II GL-279 Kouvola LLv 26
  18/02/40 SB Damaged Ltn. Paavo Berg Gladiator II GL-279 Kouvola LLv 26
21 19/02/40 I-153 Destroyed Ltn. Paavo Berg Gladiator II GL-279 Sippola LLv 26
22 19/02/40 I-153 Shared Destroyed Ltn. Poul Christensen Gladiator II GL-261 Sippola LLv 26
22 19/02/40 I-153 Shared Destroyed Vänr. L. Sihvo Gladiator II GL-276 Sippola LLv 26
23 20/02/40 SB Destroyed Ltn. Paavo Berg Gladiator II GL-280 Kouvola LLv 26
24 20/02/40 DB-3 Destroyed Alik. Ilmari Joensuu Gladiator II GL-256 Kurkijoki LLv 26
25 20/02/40 SB Destroyed Fänrik Per-Johan Salwén Gladiator II   E Vaala F19
  20/02/40 SB Shared Damaged Fänrik Per-Johan Salwén Gladiator II   E Vaala F19
  20/02/40 SB Shared Damaged Fänrik Gideon Karlsson Gladiator II   E Vaala F19
26 21/02/40 SB Shared Destroyed Fänrik Arne Frykholm Gladiator II   SE Rovaniemi F19
26 21/02/40 SB Shared Destroyed Fänrik Carl-Olof Steninger Gladiator II   SE Rovaniemi F19
27 21/02/40 DB-3 Shared Destroyed Fänrik Arne Frykholm Gladiator II   SE Rovaniemi F19
27 21/02/40 DB-3 Shared Destroyed Fänrik Carl-Olof Steninger Gladiator II   SE Rovaniemi F19
28 25/02/40 R-5 Destroyed Alik. Ilmari Joensuu Gladiator II GL-256 Muolaanjärvi LLv 26
29 25/02/40 R-5 Destroyed Ltn. Pentti Tevä Gladiator II GL-254 Muolaanjärvi LLv 26
30 25/02/40 R-5 Destroyed Ltn. Pentti Tevä Gladiator II GL-254 Muolaanjärvi LLv 26
31 25/02/40 R-5 Destroyed Alik. M. Sukanen Gladiator II GL-258 Muolaanjärvi LLv 26
  25/02/40 R-5 Damaged Alik. M. Sukanen Gladiator II GL-258 Muolaanjärvi LLv 26
  25/02/40 R-5 Damaged Vänrikki Lauri Sihvo Gladiator II GL-279 Sippola LLv 26
32 26/02/40 I-16 Destroyed Ltm. Lauri Lautamäki Gladiator II GL-253 Heinjoki LLv 26
33 29/02/40 I-16 Destroyed Kers. Sulo Suikkanen Gladiator II GL-256 Kaukopää LLv 26
  29/02/40 I-16 Damaged Kers. Sulo Suikkanen Gladiator II GL-256 Imatra LLv 26
34 05/03/40 I-153 Destroyed Ylik. Martti Perälä Gladiator II GL-278 Äyräpää LLv 14
35 07/03/40 SB-2 Destroyed Fänrik Einar Tehler Gladiator II   65km S E Uleåborg F19
36 07/03/40 SB-2 Destroyed Fänrik Einar Tehler Gladiator II   65km S E Uleåborg F19
37 07/03/40 I-153 Destroyed Ltn. T. Ollikainen Gladiator II GL-279 Tervajoki LLv 14
38 07/03/40 I-153 Destroyed Vänr. K. Malinen Gladiator II GL-276 Tervajoki LLv 14
  08/03/40 SB-2 Damaged Fänrik Per-Johan Salwén Gladiator II   E Vaala F19
39 10/03/40 TB-3 Destroyed Fänrik Gideon Karlsson Gladiator II   5km E Kemijärvi F19
  Continuation War              
40 18/09/41 MiG-3 Destroyed Vänrikki Toivo Purhonen Gladiator II GL-277 Prääsä 1/LLv 16
  07/01/43 U-2 Shared destroyed on the ground Luutnantti M. Somppi Gladiator II GL-270 6km E Petrovskiy Jam LeLv 16
  07/01/43 U-2 Shared destroyed on the ground Vänrikki V. Koski Gladiator II GL-272 6km E Petrovskiy Jam LeLv 16
41 15/02/43 R-5 Destroyed Luutnantti Håkan Strömberg Gladiator II GL-273 Kärkijärvi LeLv 16

Three Gladiators of LLv26 revving their engines on an unknown iced-lake base in February 1940. In front is GL-255, then GL-254 (with only skis visible) and GL-253.

Gloster Gladiator IIs in Finnish service.
Serial number Squadron use Notes Struck off charge Total flying time
GL-251 18/01/40 2/LLv 26 12/02/40 Crashed at Kuluntalahdella.Vänrikki P.Siirilä killed 11/03/40 37 hours
GL-252 18/01/40 2/LLv 26
19/06/40 LLv 16
19/06/41 1/LLv 16
11/06/44 Crashed at Vitska. Pilot luutnantti A. Kurki safe. 19/10/44 252,30 hours
GL-253 18/01/40 2/LLv 26
29/02/40 2/LLv 12
30/07/40 Er.LLv
10/04/41 LLv 14
19/06/41 1/LLv 16
08/06/42 2/LeLv 16
11/05/44 1/TLeLv 16
21/06/44 2/TLeLv 16
16/08/44 2/HLeLv 30
27/11/44 LeSK
11/02/40 1 probable I-16 claimed by lentomestari Lauri Lautamäki of LLv 26 at Jalovaara.
13/02/40 1 shared SB claimed by lentomestari Lauri Lautamäki of LLv 26 at Karjala.
26/02/40 1 I-16 claimed by lentomestari Lauri Lautamäki of LLv 26 at Heinjoki.
19/06/44 Damaged in air combat.
18/02/45 Placed in storage
22/06/50 503,25 hours
GL-254 26/01/40 1/LLv 26 25/02/40 2 R-5s claimed by luutnantti Pentti Tevä after which Tevä was shot down and killed. 10/05/40 50,05 hours
GL-255 19/01/40 1/LLv 26
01/03/40 2/LLv 12
04/07/41 1/LLv 16
11/02/40 1 probable I-16 claimed by ylikersantti Oiva Tuominen of LLv 26 at Soanlahti.
13/02/40 1 I-152 claimed by ylikersantti Oiva Tuominen of LLv 26 at Karjala.
13/02/40 2 and 1 shared and 1 probable SBs claimed by ylikersantti Oiva Tuominen of LLv 26 at Karjala.
19/01/42 Crashed on the ice of Lake Viiksjärvi. Pilot luutnantti Håkan Strömberg safe.
23/07/42 271,20 hours
GL-256 26/01/40 2/LLv 26
01/03/40 2/LLv 12
30/08/40 LLv 16
12/02/40 1 SB claimed by alikersantti Ilmari Joensuu of LLv 26 at Jänisjärvi.
13/02/40 1 I-15bis claimed by alikersantti Ilmari Joensuu of LLv 26 at Karjala.
20/02/40 1 DB-3 claimed by alikersantti Ilmari Joensuu of LLv 26 at Laatokka.
25/02/40 1 R-5 claimed by alikersantti Ilmari Joensuu of LLv 26 at Kannas. Aircraft damaged by I-153s
29/02/40 1 I-16 and 1 I-16 damaged claimed by kersantti Sulo Suikkanen of LLv 26 at Kaukopää.
09/06/41 Crashed on take-off at Paltamossa. Pilot luutnantti E. Pikänen killed.
06/11/41 145,20 hours
GL-257 24/01/40 2/LLv 26 13/02/40 2 I-15bis’ claimed by luutnantti Jörn Ulrich of LLv 26 in the Kuhilasvaara-Havuvaara area.
13/02/40 Shot down and destroyed at Havuvaarassa. Pilot luutnantti Jörn Ulrich wounded.
11/03/40 25,50 hours
GL-258 26/01/40 2/LLv 26 02/02/40 1, 1 probable and 1 damaged I-16s claimed by ylikersantti Oiva Tuominen of LLv 26 at Kotka and Gogland.
25/02/40 1 R-5 claimed by alikersantti M. Sukanen of LLv 26 at Muolaa. The aircraft was then shot down and destroyed at Ristseppälässä. The pilot was WIA.
10/05/40 53,40 hours
GL-259 26/01/40 1/LLv 26 02/02/40 1 DB-3 claimed by luutnantti Jörn Ulrich of LLv 26 at Suursaari.
29/02/40 Shot down and destroyed at Ruokolahti. Pilot luutnantti C. M. H. Kristensen killed.
10/05/40 33,10 hours
GL-260 24/01/40 2/LLv 26 13/02/40 Shot down and destroyed at Havuvaarassa. Pilot luutnantti Knut Kalmberg killed. 11/03/40 26,40 hours
GL-261 31/01/40 2/LLv 26 12/02/40 1 SB claimed by luutnantti Knut Kalmberg of LLv 26 at Loimolanjärvi.
19/02/40 1 shared I-153 claimed by luutnantti Poul Christensen of LLv 26 at Sippola.
29/02/40 Shot down and destroyed at Ruokolahti. Pilot luutnantti Poul Christensen wounded and hospitalised for the rest of the Winter War.
10/05/40 40,30 hours
GL-262 31/01/40 1/LLv 26 29/02/40 Shot down and destroyed at Ruokolahti. Pilot luutnantti Erkki Halme killed. 10/05/40 35,05 hours
GL-263 31/01/40 2/LLv 26 02/02/40 1 I-153 claimed by luutnantti Paavo Berg of LLv 26 at Hangö.
29/02/40 Shot down and destroyed at Ruokolahti. Pilot vääpeli J. Tolkki parachuted and was safe.
20/08/40 47,25 hours
GL-264 02/02/40 1/LLv 26
29/02/40 2/LLv 12
30/09/40 ErLLv
03/04/41 LLv14
18/06/41 1/LLv 14
10/07/41 1/LLv 16
08/06/42 2/LeLv 16
15/02/40 1 DB-3 claimed by ylikersantti Valio Porvari of LLv 26 at Suulajärvi.
16/02/40 1 I-16 claimed by ylikersantti Valio Porvari of LLv 26 at Kämärä.
09/07/42 Shot down and destroyed by Soviet anti-aircraft at Särkijärvellä. Pilot luutnantti Håkan Strömberg of 2/LeLv 16 parachuted and was safe.
10/10/42 192,35 hours
GL-265 02/02/40 1/LLv 26
10/08/40 ErLLv
09/04/41 LLv16
18/06/41 1/LLv 16
??/06/42 Based at Viska near Karhumäki in June 1942
21/06/43 Crashed at Vitska. Pilot vänrikki J. Tela safe.
16/08/43 344,05 hours
GL-266 02/02/40 1/LLv 26 02/02/40 1 R-5 claimed by vänrikki E. Enroth of LLv 26 at Valkjärvi.
25/02/40 Crashed due to engine problems behind enemy lines at Kämärässä. Pilot alikersantti T. Begman safe and returned by foot.
10/05/40 27,15 hours
GL-267 06/02/40 LLv 26
13/02/40 2/LLv 14
18/06/41 1/LLv 14
09/07/41 1/LLv 16
17/07/41 Shot down and destroyed by Soviet anti-aircraft fire at Suvilahdessa. Pilot luutnantti Jussi Mäki safe. 10/08/41 107,45 hours
GL-268 04/02/40 1/LLv 26 29/02/40 Shot down and destroyed at Ruokolahti. Pilot vääpeli Olavi Lilja safe. 10/05/40 43,40 hours
GL-269 04/02/40 2/LLv 26 29/02/40 Shot down by mladshiy leitenant Masich and destroyed at Ruokolahti. Pilot alikersantti Pentti Kosola died of wounds. 10/05/40 36,30 hours
GL-270 08/02/40 LLv 26
12/02/40 1/LLv 12
18/06/41 2/LLv 12
04/07/41 1/LLv 16
??/03/40 Based at Karhusjärvi ice base near Lappeenranta.
07/01/43 1 U-2 claimed shared destroyed on the ground by luutnantti Mikael Somppi of LeLv 16 6km E of Petrovskiy Jam.
14/06/45 Placed in storage.
03/01/50 310,00 hours
GL-271 09/02/40 LLv 26
12/02/40 1/LLv 12
30/07/41 1/LLv 16
01/08/42 2/LeLv 16
11/05/44 1/TLeLv 16
21/06/44 2TLeLv 16
27/06/44 Crashed at Hirvaksen. Pilot majuri H.Pursiainen safe. 06/11/44 498,35 hours
GL-272 09/02/40 LLv 26
12/02/40 1/LLv 12
18/06/41 1/LLv 16
07/01/43 1 U-2 claimed shared destroyed on the ground by vänrikki V. Koski of LeLv 16 6km E of Petrovskiy Jam.
11/04/44 Engine breakdown at Vitskassa. Pilot vänrikki J. Tela safe.
06/11/44 316,15 hours
GL-273 09/02/40 LLv 26
12/02/40 2/LLv 14
29/06/41 1/LLv 16
01/08/42 2/LeLv 16
24/05/42 – 22/07/42 At KLeV2 (Field Flight Depot 2) at Solomann Airport in Äänislinna for replacement of left upper wing.
15/02/43 1 R-5 claimed by luutnantti Håkan Strömberg of LeLv 16 at Kärkijärvi.
07/04/43 Crashed at Kärkijärvi. Pilot luutnantti Håkan Strömberg killed.
??/09/20 Parts of GL-273 found near Kärkijärvi together with remains of Strömberg.
05/06/43 314,20 hours
GL-274 10/02/40 LLv 26
13/02/40 2/LLv 14
18/06/41 1/LLv 14
05/07/41 1/LLv 16
09/02/40 flown to Finland by luutnantti Morgens F. Fensboe (Danish).
13/02/40 Assigned to lentomestari U. Ahokas.
25/06/41 Assigned to kersantti U. Paavolainen.
20/11/41 Fitted with skis.
15/12/41 Flown to depot for major overhaul.
17/01/42 To State Aircraft factory.
30/04/42 War painted with light grey undersides.
25/05/42 Delivered to 1/LeLv 16.
31/05/42 Damaged when landing at Vitska and banking to left in side-wind and flipped over. luutnantti E. Telajoki not injured.
26/06/42 Delivered to factory for repairs.
11/06/43 War painted with light blue-grey undersides.
03/08/43 Delivered to 1/LeLv 16 and assigned to luutnantti M. Somppi.
10/01/44 Fitted with skis.
21/04/44 Fitted with wheels.
17/06/44 Last flight.
06/07/44 Sent to depot for storage due to faulty engine.
03/01/50 321,40 hours
GL-275 13/02/40 LLv 26
17/02/40 1/LLv 12
18/07/40 LLv 16
06/03/42 1/LLv 16
22/02/43 LeLv 28
21/03/43 1/LeLv 16
28/04/43 2/LeLv 16
27/09/43 1/LeLv 16
21/06/44 2/TLeLv 16
16/08/44 2/HLeLv 30
27/11/44 LeSK
20/02/45 Placed in storage. 22/06/50 303,50 hours
GL-276 17/02/40 2/LLv 26
01/03/40 2/LLv 14
11/03/41 LLv 16
17/03/42 1/LLv 16
08/06/42 2/LeLv 16
19/02/40 1 shared I-153 claimed by vänrikki Lauri Sihvo of LLv 26 at Sippola.
07/03/40 1 I-153 claimed by vänrikki K. Malinen of LLv 14 at Tervajoki.
15/06/45 Placed in storage.
02/01/50 369,35 hours
GL-277 13/02/40 LLv 26
17/02/40 1/LLv 12
04/07/41 1/LLv 16
18/09/41 1 MiG-3 claimed by vänrikki Toivo Purhonen, then shot down and pilot KIA.. 11/10/41 255,10 hours
GL-278 17/02/40 1/LLv 26
01/03/40 2/LLv 14
21/06/40 LLv 16
18/06/41 1/LLv 16
05/03/40 1 I-153 claimed by ylikersantti Perälä of LLv 14 at Äyräpää.
07/03/40 15:15-15:25 Damaged in combat with I-153 when wing touched the wing on an I-153 at Tervajoki, breaking the starboard tip of the upper wing. ylikersantti Perälä of LLv 14 safe.
08/06/42 – 23/07/42 At KLeV2 (Field Flight Depot 2) at Solomann Airport in Äänislinna for replacement of propeller.
02/09/42 Crashed at Vilska airfield after hitting a tree. Pilot kersantti T. Ruuhela killed..
10/10/42 347,45 hours
GL-279 16/02/40 2/LLv 26
01/03/40 2/LLv 14
18/02/40 2 SBs claimed by luutnantti Paavo Berg of LLv 26 near Kouvola.
18/02/40 1 SB damaged by luutnantti Paavo Berg of LLv 26 near Kouvola.
19/02/40 1 I-153 claimed by luutnantti Paavo Berg of LLv 26 at Sippola.
25/02/40 1 R-5 damaged by vänrikki Lauri Sihvo (GL-279) of LLv 26 at Sippola.
07/03/40 1 I-153 claimed by luutnantti T. Ollikainen of LLv 14 at Tervajoki.
10/03/40 Crashed at Korpilahti. Pilot luutnantti T. Ollikainen killed.
20/08/40 26,00 hours
GL-280 16/02/40 1/LLv 26 20/02/40 1 SB claimed by luutnantti Paavo Berg of LLv 26 at Kouvola.
20/02/40 Shot down at Utti by Soviet SB. Pilot luutnantti Paavo Berg parachuted and was safe.
11/03/40 9,40 hours
Total numbers: 30 (+12 additional in F19 from Sweden which returned after the Winter War)


Aimo E. Juhola provides a personal account of flying the Gloster Gladiator during the Winter War. Juhola was a pilot in LLv 12 and appointed Gladiator GL-277. He writes:

The Gladiator was nice and easy to fly, slower than our opponents, the Russian I-16 and I-153 were. The GL’s aileronforce was less than the I-16’s. The GL was slightly more “agile” than the I-16 and the I-153. The climbing performance was inferior at low levels up to 5,000 meters, at higher altitudes the GL was equal. In straight up climb the Russians were superior because they had adjustable propeller-pitch, which the GL’s didn’t have. In airbattle situations Russians were far more numerous, thus the GL’s greater manoeuvrability became almost meaningless. The greatest difficulty was in getting rid of the enemy after the battles. This was the main reason for the great losses of GL’s. I was in airbattles 5 times; minimum number of enemies was two I-153’s (above our own base) and my guns even jammed! In the Winter War I flew the numbers GL-270, 271 and mainly 277.

Englantilaiset Hävittäjät - Kalevi Keskinen, Kari Stenman and Klaus Niska
Fighter over Finland - Eino Luukkanen, 1963
Finnish Aces of World War 2 - Kari Stenman and Kalevi Keskinen, 1998 Osprey Publishing, London, ISBN 1-85532-783-X
Finnish Air Force 1939-1945 - Kalevi Keskinen and Kari Stenman, 1998 Squadron/Signal Publications, Carrollton, ISBN 0-89747-387-6
Hävittäjä-Ässät (Finnish Fighter Aces) - Kalevi Keskinen, Kari Stenman and Klaus Niska, 1994 Apali, Tampere, ISBN 952-5026-00-0
Hurricane & Gladiator - Kalevi Keskinen and Kari Stenman, 2005, ISBN 952-99432-0-2
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
Kari Stenman Publishing
LeR 2 - Kalevi Keskinen and Kari Stenman, 2001 Suomen Ilmavoimien Historia 17, ISBN 951-98751-0-7
Oiva ”Oippa” Tuominen - from mechanic to Knight (WWII Ace Stories) - Ossi Juntunen, 1999
Red Stars 5 - Baltic Fleet Air Force in Winter War – Carl-Fredrik Geust, Samuil Tirkeltaub and Gennadiy Petrov, 2004 Apali, Tampere, ISBN 952-5026-31-0
Red Stars 7 - Talvisota Ilmassa - The Winter War In the Air - Carl-Fredrik Geust, 2011 Apali Oy, Tampere, ISBN 978-952-5877-04-5
Soviet Fighter Pilots 1936-1953 - Mikhail Bykov
Suomen Ilmavoimat part II – 1928-40 – Kalevi Keskinen and Kari Stenman, 2006, ISBN 952-99743-0-2
Suomen Ilmavoimat part III – 1941 – Kalevi Keskinen and Kari Stenman, 2007, ISBN 978-952-99743-1-3
Suomen Ilmavoimat part IV – 1942 – Kalevi Keskinen and Kari Stenman, 2007, ISBN 978-952-99743-2-0
Suomen Ilmavoimat part V – 1943 – Kalevi Keskinen and Kari Stenman, 2007, ISBN 978-952-99743-3-7
Suomen Ilmavoimat part VI – 1944 – Kalevi Keskinen and Kari Stenman, 2008, ISBN 978-952-99743-5-1
Talvisodan taistelulentäjät - Joppe Karhunen (kindly via Tuomo Lukkari)
Personal letter from Aimo E. Juhola.
Additional information kindly provided by Seppo Alaruikka, Alexey Andreev, Carl-Fredrik Geust, Mark Horan, Jari Lappalainen, Jukka Nisula, Alexei Stepanov and Mirek Wawrzynski.

Much of the information in section has been kindly provided by Lars Larsson.
Image kindly via Tuomo Lukkari.

Last modified 23 November 2021