Finnish Aces, Their Planes and Units 1939-1945

Published on
Review Author(s)
Book Author(s)
Kari Stenman and Karolina Holda
Other Publication Information
Editor: Roger Wallsgrove
Illustrators: Karolina Holda, Artur Juszczak, Andrzej Olejniczak, and Janusz Światłoń
Hard Cover, Square Bound, A4 [8.63” x 11.94”], 432 pages

Series: White, Rainbow 9150
Provided by: Casemate Publishers - Website: Visit Site
Front Cover

One of the latest in Mushroom Model Publications’ White Series, Finnish Aces. Their Planes and Units 1939-1945 follows up earlier volumes on Finnish aircraft: (2021’s Finnish & German Seaplane Colours, Finland 1939-1945; 2018’s Finnish Jet Colours; 2018’s Finnish Bomber Colours, 1939-1945; 2015’s Finnish Fighter Colours, 1939-1945, Volume 2; and 2014’s Finnish Fighter Colours, 1939-1945, Volume 1); MMP is calling this book part of their "Rainbow Series." I'm guessing that refers to their large format camouflage and markings set of books in their "White" series that have addressed Bulgaria, Finland, Hungarian, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, and Sweden. This series seems to share a commonality of discussing the specific topic of the evolution of a countries' evolution in markings. To that end, this book utilizes many previously un-published pictures and focuses in on individual aircraft to supplement with superb color illustrations.

Kari Stenman is the foremost authority on the Finnish Air Force in World War II, having written dozens of books on the subject since the late 1960s. He is the co-author of the successful Aircraft of the Aces volume on Finnish fighter pilots and runs his own publishing company in Finland.

Karolina Holda has illustrated several books for MMP. Some of these titles include: Finnish Fighter Colours 1939-1945 Volume 1 (White); Finnish Fighter Colours 1939-1945 Volume 2 (White); Finnish Bomber Colours 1939-1945 (White); Finnish Fighters WWII (Camouflage & Decals 3); Messerschmitt Bf 109F (Camouflage & Decals 5); and Petlyakov Pe-2 & Upe-2 / Tupolev USB (Polish Wings 26).

Kari Stenman opens with how Finland counted victories for their aces and a discussion of what the actual victories were following combat report research and interviews. Then we are into the meat of this book where each of the 100 Finnish aces are supported with their portrait, a short biography, color aircraft profile (s), and a table of each ace’s victories. A good example is on Page 18 that describes Klaus Jalmari Alakoski who flew 239 missions and claimed 28 victories. You can see his portrait, a summary of his victories, the planes he flew, and a biography from birth to death, including his military service. The rest of Page 18 shows off his first aircraft, a Fiat G.50, coded FA-15, with a page width color profile and two period photographs of FA-15. The following page shows off another mount, a Bf 109G-6, coded MT-445, with another color profile and period black and white photograph. Finally, a table of each of his victories identifying Date, Time, Area, Unit, Aircraft, Enemy Aircraft, Enemy Unit, and Victory Type. You will find this information repeated for all 100 Finnish Aces, although some sections are perhaps only one page (Page 137 and 204), or multiple pages, depending on their victory count (Eino Ilmari Juutilainen with 94 victories gets six pages).

The next section covers the Fighter Units and covers their activities in all three Finnish wars during World War II. The first was the Winter War that essentially a defensive battle against the Soviet Union. The Continuation War followed where Finland again battled the Soviet Union fighting alongside Germany. Finally, Finland joined the Allies and fought against Germany, the Lapland War. Here Kari Stenman includes many first-person accounts that put the reader in the fight as the Unit histories are described. You can see this on Page 232 where parts of three first person accounts can be seen, along with period black and white photographs of personnel and aircraft. The book ends with massive detail with twenty-three Appendices. Many of these details are in tables, but there are many detailed photographs and color illustrations. This can be seen on Page 415 where part of Appendix 21 on Tactical Markings is displayed. This page includes twelve of the fifty-four color tail illustrations. Page 422 is part of Appendix 23 that highlights individual aircraft markings with both period photographs and color illustrations. In this case two Morane MS 406 aircraft are shown: MS-326 with a Sea Horse (although it looks like a winged dragon to my eyes) and MS-311 with a Shark Mouth and Eyes.

The book is a nice hardbound, with a glossy cover, and 432 pages on high-quality stock with a matt finish. The text is in English and although there are a few spelling issues, it is quite readable. The front cover features a colour photograph of a Morane Saulnier MS 406 pilot retelling his recent battle. I counted 746 black and white period photographs to go with an additional 7 period color pictures. There is a color map of Finland that identifies the 40 Finnish airfields along with nine Russian airfields. If you like tables, I counted 142 of them. Karolina Holda, Artur Juszczak, Andrzej Olejniczak, and Janusz Światłoń provide the 134 color side profiles along with 81 scrap color illustrations highlighting unit or aircraft specific markings.

The following sections are addressed:

  • Acknowledgements
  • Vocabulary [Table]
  • Ranks [Table]
  • Soviet Aviation Units [Table]
  • Introduction
  • Aerial Victories
  • Aerial Victories [Table]
  • Re-Valuation
  • Combat Report
  • Air Victories
  • Aerial Victory List
  • Aces of Suomen Ilmavoimat 1939-1945
  • Aaltonen, Lasse Erik
  • Ahokas, Leo
  • Alakoski, Klaus Jalmari
  • Alapuro, Veikko Sakari
  • Alho, Martti Aslak
  • Avikainen, Onni Ilmari
  • Berg, Paavo David
  • Bremer, Aulis Nathanael
  • Durchman, Matt Ensio
  • Ehrnrooth, Erkki Olavi
  • Erkinheimo, Niilo Johannes
  • Evinen, Veikko Arvid
  • Frantila, Mauno Mikaael
  • Gerdt, Aimo Emil
  • Halonen, Eero Martti Olavi
  • Hattinen, Lars Paul Erich
  • Hillo, Jaakko Jubo
  • Huhanatti, Tatu Mauri
  • Huotari, Jouko Armas Antero
  • Hyrkki, Tuomo Uuno Martti
  • Ikonen, Heikki Sakari
  • Inehmo, Martti Olavi Kalervo
  • Jarvi, Turo Tapio
  • Joensuu, Antti Ilmari
  • Jutila, Lauri Olavi
  • Juutilainen, Eino Ilmari
  • Kalima, Martti Tauno Johannes
  • Karhila, Kyosti Keijo Ensio
  • Karhunen, Jorma
  • Karu, Veikko Johannes
  • Katajainen, Nils Edvard
  • Kauppinen, Osmo Kalervo
  • Kauppinen, Viljo Ilmari
  • Keskinummi, Kosti Rauni Iisakki
  • Kiljunen, Aaro Jaakko
  • Kinnunen, Eero Aulis
  • Kirjonen, Mauno Ilamari
  • Kokko, Pekka Johannes
  • Koskelainen, Arvo Ilmari
  • Koskinen, Eino Eero Sakeus
  • Lahtela, Kullervo
  • Laitinen, Ahti Ilmari
  • Lakio, Vilppu Mikael
  • Lampi, Heimo Olavi
  • Lansivaara, Osmo Ilmari
  • Lautamaki, Lauri Johannes
  • Lehtovaara, Urho Sakari
  • Leino, Hemmo Kullervo
  • Lindberg, Kim Konrad
  • Linnamaa, Aarre Paivio
  • Lumme, Kaarlo Aulis
  • Lukkanen, Eino Antero
  • Lyly, Erik Edvard
  • Magnusson, Gustaf Erik
  • Massinen, Pauli Aatos
  • Mattila, Ture Allan Nestor
  • Melllin, Paavo Kullervo
  • Metsola, Johannes Kai Kalevi
  • Myllyla, Paavo Urho Johannes
  • Myllymaki, Jouko Jalo Johannes
  • Nieminen, Urho Abraham
  • Nissinen, Lauri Vilhelm
  • Nuorala, Aaro Eerikki
  • Nurminen, Pentti Emil
  • Nyman, Atte Eirik Olavi
  • Pallasvuo, Yrjo Armas
  • Paronen, Onni Kullervo
  • Pasila, Mikko
  • Pekuri, Lauri Olavi
  • Peltola, Eino Lisakki
  • Pokela, Vaino Nikolai
  • Porvari, Valio Valfrid
  • Puhakka, Risto Olli Petter
  • Puro, Kauko Olavi
  • Pyotsia, Viktor
  • Riihikallio, Eero Juhani
  • Rimmenen, Toivo Veikko Johannes
  • Saarinen, Jorma Kalevi
  • Salminen, Paul Erik
  • Salovaara, Martti Johannes
  • Sarjamo, Urho Kaarlo
  • Sarvanto, Jorma Kalevi
  • Savonen, Joel Adiel
  • Sovelius, Per Erik
  • Suhonen, Vaino Ilmari
  • Tani, Antti Johannes
  • Teromaa, Erik Uolevi
  • Tervo, Altto Kalevi
  • Tilli, Pentti Teodor
  • Tomminen, Toivo
  • Torronen, Iikka Veikko Santeri
  • Trontii, Nils Rudolf
  • Tuomikoski, Kauko Olavi
  • Tuominen, Oiva Emil Kalervo
  • Turkka, Yrjo Olavi
  • Vesa, Emil Onerva
  • Virta, Toimi Kelpo Jalmari
  • Virtanen, Vaino Johannes
  • Vuorimaa, Toivo Olavi
  • Wind, Hans Henrik
  • Fighter Units
  • Lentolaivue 24
  • Fighter Tactics
  • Towards the War
  • Winter War
  • Main Target Bombers
  • 6 January 1940
  • Frequent Combats
  • Viipurinlahti
  • Brief Analysis
  • Preparing for the Next War
  • Continuation War
  • Offensive Begins
  • Karelian Isthmus
  • Back to Karelia
  • Brief Analysis
  • 1942
  • Suursaari Occupation
  • Hurricane Party
  • Gulf of Finland
  • Brief Analysis
  • 1943
  • Brief Analysis
  • 1944
  • Messerschmitts
  • Great Attack
  • Brief Analysis
  • Lentolaivue 26
  • Winter War
  • FIATs
  • Brief Analysis
  • Continuation War
  • To Karelia
  • Brief Analysis
  • 1942
  • Lake Ladoga
  • 1943
  • New Old Planes
  • The Great Attack
  • Brief Analysis
  • Lapland War
  • Lentolaivue 28
  • Winter War
  • Viipunnlahti
  • Brief Analysis
  • Continuation War
  • To Karelia
  • Northwards
  • Brief Analysis
  • 1942
  • 1943
  • Last War Year
  • Soviet Offensive
  • Lentolaivue 14
  • Brief Analysis
  • Morane Fighters
  • Lentolaivue 32
  • Continuation War
  • Stalemate
  • Brief Analysis
  • Olonets
  • More Curtiss Fighters
  • Major Offensive
  • Brief Analysis
  • Lentolaivue 30
  • Continuation War
  • Eastern Karelia
  • Gulf of Finland
  • Brief Analysis
  • 1942
  • 1943
  • 1944
  • Lentolaivue 6
  • Lentolaivue 34
  • Messerschmitts
  • Great Attack
  • Appendixes
  • Appendix 1 Fighter Regiment Commanders
  • Appendix 2 Lentolaivue 24 Commanders
  • Appendix 3 Lentolaivue 26 Commanders
  • Appendix 4 Lentolaivue 28 Commanders
  • Appendix 5 Lentolaivue 14 Commanders
  • Appendix 6 Lentolaivue 32 Commanders
  • Appendix 7 Lentolaivue 30 Commanders
  • Appendix 8 Lentolaivue 10 Commanders
  • Appendix 9 Lentolaivue 6 Commanders
  • Appendix 10 Lentolaivue 34 Commanders
  • Appendix 11 Aces in Descending Order
  • Appendix 12 Almost Aces
  • Appendix 13 Air Victories by Other Units
  • Appendix 14 Air Victories by Foreigners
  • Appendix 15 Destroyed Balloons
  • Appendix 16 Destroyed on the Ground/Water
  • Appendix 17 Bases
  • Appendix 18 Wartime Fighter Availability
  • Appendix 19 Monthly Missions of the Squadrons
  • Appendix 20 Victory Markings
  • Appendix 21 Tactical Markings
  • Appendix 22 Unit Emblems
  • Appendix 23 Individual Markings
  • Index of Personal Names
  • Bibliography

One topic that I really enjoyed was in the Fighter Unit histories. Each includes many first-person accounts. One such account is from March 6, 1944 when Maj. Eino Luukkanen (54 victories) took off to intercept a forty-plane formation:

“The first air raid report came from Someri, and based on that, I took off with all five available planes (Bf 109G). I saw 27 Pe-2s and 12 La-5s above me, South of Kotka. I went for the bombers because the fighters were quite far off to the side. I got the first Pe-2 burning with a short burst of the cannon, and two men bailed out. The plane went through the ice at Kilpisaari.

Of the other PE-2 I got the right engine to quit at 20km NW of Narvi, and it went down in a dive through a half flat spin, but I was unable to follow it as I was jumped by eight La-5s. I managed a shot at one from below and behind, with pieces flying off before the engine, and it went through the ice 10km NW of Narvi.

As I shot at the next La-5, I heard a loud bang in my plane, for one La-5 had crept up behind me unnoticed and it hit me with four cannon shells, in the fuel tank, the radio, and the back armour. I broke off and performed a good belly-landing at the base,,,”

This is easily one of the more complete books available in the English language on Finnish Aces. It covers all 100 Finnish aces, all eight Fighter Units, and a whopping 23 Appendices. To really dig deeper on this subject you will need to brush up on your Finnish and grab some of the Kari Stenman’s earlier books and journals, especially in the Suomen Ilmavoimien Historia series. I was extremely impressed with the coverage and quality of this title. This is an incredible tome that is valuable to both the aviation historian and the modeler of any of the Finnish WWII fighter aircraft. To see a video of the book’s contents, check out: .

My thanks to Casemate, Mushroom Model Publications, and IPMS/USA for the chance to review this excellent book.

Highly recommended!

Frank Landrus, IPMS# 35035


Add new comment

All comments are moderated to prevent spam

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.