Yrjö Olavi Turkka was born in Savitaipale
in SE Finland on 29 Jan 1909. His father was Rafael Turkka (Durchman
before Fennicising the name of the family). Considering that Rafael
had a university degree in agrology it is remarkable that Yrjö
had only four years of compulsory basic education, a basic minimum for
every child at that time. Yrjö's 2 years older brother Mauri Turkka
also served in the FAF. He also started as mechanic, then was trained
as a seaplane pilot. Mauri, too, was to be promoted to Flght Master(=W/O),
fighting the war in the bomber squadron LeLv46 flying Blenheims in 79
missions during the years 1939 to 1944.
Yrjö Turkka volunteered for his compulsory
military service in 1926 (at the earlies possible age of 17 years) in
the Land Aircraft Escadre at Utti. He was trained as assistant mechanic,
and completed his compulsory duty. However he enlisted in the Air Force
service for mechanic training, and worked as mechanic in the Utti Air
Base during the years 1928 to 1930. Then, with the rank of Lance Corporal
he applied for pilot training, was accepted and received his wings on
22 Dec 1930. With the rank of Sergeant Turkka was posted to fighter
squadron LLv 24 equipped with Gloster Gamecocks. He advanced in the
ranks, he was promoted to Sr.Sgt. in 1933, to Air Master Sgt in 1935
and finally as Flight Master (Warrant Officer) in March 1939. The squadron
was now being re-equipped with Fokker D.XXI fighters.
He was married in the early 30's with Miss Hjördis
Calamnius and they had three sons, born in 1933, 1936 and 1942.
Turkka received his nickname "Daddy"
as soon as he had lost enough hair in the 30's. In the squadron there
was another pilot just as old as Turkka, Flt.Mstr. Viktor Pyötsiä
(who had a full head of hair by the way). Pyötsiä's nickname
was "Vikki", he and Turkka were in-laws: their wives were
Karhunen (who was first flight leader and then
Squadron leader of LeLv24) and Magnusson (Squadron leader of LeLv 24
before taking over LeR 2 (2.Wing)) appreciated Turkka especially as
a builder of team spirit in the squadron. Turkka and Pyötsiä
were the two "role models" for the younger NCO pilots even
before the War.
During the Winter War Turkka was a pilot of the
1st flight of LeLv24 and Lt. Karhunen's trusted wingman until Karhunen
was transferred to lead another flight. Turkka scored his first confirmed
victory on the 23rd December 1939.
To digress a little, at that time the first serious
Red Army offensive to break the Finnish Main Defence Line in the Carelian
Isthmus (known also as the Mannerheim Line) had petered out after heavy
battles as the artillery shells and troops assigned to the task had
been spent without expected result. The Finnish high command decided
to launch a counter-attack on the morning of 23rd December in the Isthmus
front and to cover it LLv24 was ordered to patrol over the front line.
The 1st Flight comprising 5 a/c led by Lt. Karhunen
was patrolling the area between Muolaanjärvi - Kaukjärvi in
the morning hours at about 3000 m. At 10.45 hrs 3 SB-2 bombers were
spotted N of Muolaanjärvi coming toward the Fokkers. The flight
attacked at Karhunen's signal, but Ensign Linkola and Sgt. Kaarma stayed
200m above and 500 m behind as top cover.
Lt. Karhunen engaged the left wing SB, firing
a brief burst at its left engine but his guns jammed. He disengaged
and climbed above the battle. While trying to remove the jam he saw
that all bombers were being attacked and the left wing bomber was already
Flt.Mstr. Turkka, Karhunen's wingman, engaged
the right wing bomber after Sgt Heikinaro with his FR-83. At a short
range he fired at the engines of his target, which caught fire. Immediately
he approached the left wing bomber, the left engine of which was already
in flames after Karhunen's bullets. Turkka shot the SB's right engine
into flames, then he turned at the leader. After a brief chase he was
within range and again aimed at the engines of the bomber. When the
bomber was in flames, the Finnish pilot fired another burst at the fuselage
and watched how the SB went into a turning dive and soon exploded on
Sgt. Heikinaro had as first fired at the right
wing bomber but only his right wing gun was working. He fired about
350 bullets at the enemy then climbed above the battle to remove the
At this moment Sgt. Heikinaro spotted 3 I-16
fighters diving at him at 11 o'clock direction while he was reloading
his guns. Having standing orders to avoid dogfights with the faster,
nimbler and better armoured enemies the Fokker pilots scattered and
tried to disengage by the only means available to them, steep dive.
Sgt:Heikinaro evaded by turning below the oncoming enemy and then diving.
He returned to base with four bullet holes in his fighter.
Ensign Linkola and Sgt Kaarma as the top cover
could not escape at once and had to take on the enemy fighters.
Linkola fired at a I-16 passing his nose but
at the same time another enemy fired at his Fokker, a piece of plywood
was ripped off from his right wing and the aileron was damaged. The
Finnish pilot pushed his fighter into a shallow dive to pick up speed
but he found he was being fired at all the time. He dived "to the
deck" from 2000m but could not shake the enemy off. He was now
flying toward the base at treetops at a speed of 330 kmh. An I-16 was
following the Fokker, 30 m behind and a few meters higher, firing occasionally.
The chase went on for a few minutes. Then Linkola pulled the stick,
climbing to 400 m whereby the enemy abandoned chase. The Finnish pilot
landed at Immola at 11.10 hrs. About 100 bullet holes were found in
Sgt. Kaarma, Linkola's wingman, was less lucky.
Too late he saw an I-16 behind his FR-111, and immediately motor oil
was splashed on his windscreen - his engine had taken hits. He opened
the canopy sliding window to see out, and there was another I-16 right
in front of him. But his oil pressure was zero and oil temp was going
up, so he decided to make a forced landing as soon as possible. Kaarma
dived 3000m and saw a frozen lake suitable for landing - the Fokkers
were equipped with ski undercarriage. He heard machine guns shooting
behind, he sideslipped, turned right and left, finally the FR went into
a spin. The pilot managed to recover the fighter at 200m, and he had
lost the lake from his view. He tried to land on the nearest field,
but due to too much speed he overshot the field, taking hits from the
enemy fighters all the time. FR-111 crashed against the trees on the
edge of the field and was overturned and smashed. Witnesses on the ground
had seen the FR tracing black smoke and pursued by two I-16.
Kaarma got out of the wreck, confused, and headed
for the nearest farmhouse to find a telephone. He found one and called
the base, asking for a mechanic and some motor oil; he could fly to
the base after repairs. The mechanic arrived some hours later - and
found a burned out wreck. Sgt. Kaarma was diagnosed with a brain concussion,
but he recovered in a week.
As Turkka saw Linkola's damaged aircraft he commented:
- It is not a Fokker but a sieve. At debriefing Turkka was credited
with 1and 1/2 victories, his first ones. (To further digress, the Finnish
counteroffensive was a failure due to shortage of artillery ammunition
and inexperience of commanders in moving large units of troops.) It
was found that due to the cold weather it took the enemy a lot of time,
more than 15 minutes, to scramble the fighters, which enabled the Fokkers
to patrol over the front line that day. Finnish fighters that were in
readiness could be scrambled in five minutes no matter how cold.
On 29 Jan 1940 Maj. Magnusson had given strict
orders to Lt. Karhunen to seek and destroy enemy artillery fire spotter
R-5's over the main defence line at Summa, where the enemy was shelling
the Finnish defences preparing for a breakthrough.
Karhunen's division took off at 15 hrs. It comprised
Karhunen, Turkka as his wingman and another pair, Ensign Mustonen and
his wingman, Sgt. Kaarma. The hard part of their mission was to get
within firing range. The enemy kept the airspace well observed and the
fire spotter pilots were immediately alerted about the approaching Finnish
fighters. To catch the enemy by surprise Karhunen led his fighters first
to the W from Viipuri before turning E toward Summa at 2000 m. The Fokkers
were well hidden by the cloudy weather.
Above Summa Karhunen "peeked " out
of the cloudbase and saw two R-5 a/c circling above the Finnish main
defence line that was under heavy shelling. He climbed up and gave signal
The Fokkers bounced the R-5s that had no chance.
Karhunen and Turkka had one firing pass each at one of them before it
dived in flames. The second R-5 was attacked by Mustonen and Kaarma,
but their victim did not catch fire but went on flying on a shallow
dive deeper in the enemy positions. Turkka dived after the R-5 and gave
it the final blow at a few dozen meters while the other pilots were
waiting for him. By chance Turkka had flown just in front of an enemy
152mm field gun division which fired a volley. The shells barely missed
the FR, the pressure waves buffeted the fighter and Turkka was barely
able to avoid crashing to the ground. He pulled up, followed by AA tracers,
then the Division retreated having accomplished their mission before
the approaching I-16's would intercept them.
Back in the base Turkka commented his carelessness:
- I think I have had enough single handed artillery battles now.
Turkka had distinghuised himself in the Winter
War so that Maj. Magnusson considered him fit for promotion to Ensign,
but "Pappa" refused immediately when "G" mentioned
about this in private.
Turkka said: "Sir, please do not spoil an honourable Flight Master.
Imagine a bald-headed Ensign - even a barrel-organist's monkey would
laugh at him!"
The rank of Flight Master was actually socially
more prestigious than that of Ensign. The highest rank of NCO's had
to be earned, whereas any man with some education and basic abilities
would become Ensign having done the 100 day Officer Course. Without
formal education and Officer course Turkka would have fallen between
two categories, cadre NCOs and cadre officers, not belonging socially
to neither group.
A new war
On the 25th June 1941 the 1st Flight of LeLv24
was based at Selänpää in combat readiness. War had not
been declared, but German Army had invaded Soviet Union some days before
and the country was in a crisis. At about 07.10 hrs the phone rang and
the flight commander received a scramble order to intercept bombers
at Voikkaa. Turkka's BW was parked just at the end of one of the two
crossing runways. He took off as the first one, flew over Voikkaa, then
Kuusankoski, finally he checked Inkeroinen and seeing only bomb craters
he reported to the base and returned. The enemy had bombed and returned,
Turkka had landed and parked at dispersal as
his mechanic climbed on the wing of the BW. The mech asked whether the
pilot had met "them". Sgt. Kinnunen and Lce.Cprl. Lampi had
just landed having shot down some SB-2s, and the rest of the flight
was pursuing a large formation that had flown over the base. Turkka
was astonished at not having been contacted by radio, and he said so.
The pilot and his mech discussed the situation and somewhat confused
goings-on until they saw a lone SB-2, losing altitude with smoke-tracing
right engine. As Turkka saw the enemy was about to crash anyway, he
did not make haste in his start. The engine of the BW-351 was just running
as another BW took off and shot down the SB.
"Pappa" was annoyed at the destruction
of a potential piece of war booty and was just about to cut ignition
as the mech exitedly pointed at the sky: Five unescorted SB-2's in a
wedge formation were approaching at 2500 m! Again no warning had been
received ! The mechanic removed the chocks and Turkka applied full power.
As BW-351 accelerated down the dusty runway the
SBs were almost above the base, the fighter pilot looked up and saw
how the bombs were released - they seemed to fall just at him! Turkka
winced and pulled the stick. The bombs hit the runway, pressure waves
buffeted the BW. The pilot estimated that he had been saved by a margin
of one second.
Now Turkka began to pursue the enemy, that now
had bearing SE, but the BW was not closing the distance to the SB's
despite max revs and high boost. The noticed that he had forgotten to
pull in the undercarriage. He worked the lever and with the wheels in
the BW picked up speed. As the enemy pilots found that the fighter was
approaching, they applied emergency power, indicated by a puff of smoke
from the exhausts. Now they were crossing the Carelian railway line
W of Luumäki at 2500 m.
As the BW was 500 m behind the bombers the gunners
opened fire, but the fighter did not take hits and kept closing in.
At a range of 200 m, staying behind the tail of the enemy Turkka took
aim at the left engine of the left wing bomber and fired a burst with
all guns. The bomber's engine began to emit smoke, the SB pulled up
and left, then went into a shallow dive while three men bailed out.
The abandoned bomber continued its glide toward the Gulf of Finland
leaving a trace of smoke - now the coastline at Virolahti could be seen.
Turkka kept pursuing the four survivors and caught
them at coastline. At a range of 150m he fired at the nearest SB in
the fuselage. The gunner stopped shooting and one undercarriage leg
was extended, the SB lost speed. The fighter pilot had to throttle back,
at a close range he gave the bomber another burst, one undercarriage
wheel fell off. Finally Turkka gave the bomber a 4 second burst at the
right engine. The engine and the wing fuel tank caught fire which spread
in the fuselage. The SB dived shrouded in flames. The three surviving
bombers had made some headway and escaped in the cloud bank hanging
above the sea at 3000m.
The fighter pilot turned back and saw how his
second victim crashed in the forest and exploded, while the first victim
dived in the sea with a splash. Wind was pushing three parachutes in
the enemy territory. No other a/c could be seen. Turkka returned to
base about 8.30 hours. (He was credited with one kill only, Karhunen
says that he gave away the second kill for a newcomer to boost his self-confidence.)
In the tent that the 1st division was billeted
the pilots discussed the situation. The breakout of the war had caught
the FAF high command by surprise. The air surveillance network had not
been set up properly and the AA guns - three 40mm Bofors and some 20mm
- of the Selänpää base were manned by untrained men.
That is why the enemy bombers had not been shot at from the ground.
Friday the 13th August 1941
At this time the 1st flight was based at Joensuu.
The waters of Lake Pyhäselkä were so low that the lake bed
could be used as runway. Sgt. Kinnunen, moderately superstitious, was
just fretting about the risks of Friday the 13th during war as there
was a scramble order. Five BWs were ordered to intercept enemy bombers
that were bombing Finnish front line south of Värtsilä.
The BWs took off, Lt. Sarvanto led the first
patrol (unusually three a/c) and the second patrol comprised Flt. Mstr.
Turkka and Sgt Kinnunen . The weather was good summer weather, sunny,
warm, with some Cumulus cloud with base at 2000m and tops at 5000m.
Haze caused by forest fires extended to 3000 m and the horizon line
had disappeared .
At Soanlahti the Finnish pilots spotted five
twin-engined bombers flying in opposite course, a little higher. Lt.
Sarvanto ordered everyone to climb and stand by for attack. When the
BWs were 300 m above the bombers they were also 200 m behind, and "Zamba"
rocked his wings as the signal to attack: the BWs dived at the five
At the very moment Sgt. Kinnunen looked around
and saw three enemy fighters at 12 o'clock and warned about them. Three
BW's pulled up - Turkka as one - while two fighters kept on diving at
the bombers which jettisoned their loads and banked as hard as they
could for E as their formation scattered.
Turkka saw how one BW got within shooting range
of the bombers and shot up one engine of one of the bombers, then he
was attacked by a I-16 from 12 o'clock high. The Finnish pilot pulled
up, but decided against heads-on shooting, instead he pushed the stick
as the enemy fired. The burst passed above the BW, then the fighters
passed each other in opposite courses.
Turkka kept climbing toward a Cumulus cloud with
its base 300 m above, and once in it he pulled an Immelman turn. Then
he descended carefully out of the base of the cloud - altitude 1800
m- hoping that the I-16 pilot would have had enough sporting spirit
to stay in the scene. Looking around he did see the enemy at 8 o'clock
only 150 m away. Immediately he banked at the enemy who spotted him
only a couple of seconds later, but the Finnish pilot already had the
After a couple of 360 degree turns the BW was
behind the I-16, Turkka fired a burst but he could not get enough deflection.
The enemy pilot now found that he was in trouble, he rolled 180 degrees
and dived. Turkka followed, having checked that no other enemies were
The enemy pulled out of the dive at 200 m and
headed for East. Turkka fired again, but the enemy evaded by a roll
and kept manouvering so that the Finnish pilot could not keep him in
the gunsight long enough to hit. Turkka had to struggle to keep his
The battle had drifted to Tolvajärvi as
the enemy fighter was balanced in level flight at 200 m - probably due
to sheer physical exhaustion. Turkka was ready and got the enemy in
his gunsight for long enough. The burst of the focused 0.5" machine
guns hit the fuselage of the I-16 between the cockpit and the engine,
and the Soviet fighter caught fire.
Turkka saw how the enemy lost speed. He decreased
power and flew on the wing of the I-16, so close that he could see the
face of the enemy pilot who kept flying in level flight. The Soviet
pilot turned his head and looked at the Finnish pilot, then the flames
burst in the cockpit and at the face of the pilot. He lifted one hand
to protect his face, then turned his fighter upside down and dived in
the terrain. The fuel tank of the I-16 exploded in a fireball that ignited
the surrounding forest.
Turkka saluted, then he applied full power and
climbed, heading for West. Lt. Sarvanto called his pilots and ordered
rallying at the N end of Lake Jänisjärvi. All five fighters
came and continued for Joensuu.
In debriefing it was found that two DB-3 had
been shot down, as well as two I-16, the other one by Sgt. Kinnunen.
When Messerschmitt Bf 109 G-2 fighters were purchased
for the FAF and HLeLv 34 was created to operate them in 1943 Flt.Mstr.
Turkka was transferred to the new unit.
The xth Flight of HLeLv 34 was based at Utti,
the "home of the Finnish fighter aviation" in 1943. Turkka
had managed to rent a house near the base and his wife and children
moved there with him. It was a gentleman's war, to be able to live with
one's family. "Pappa" was preparing the garden for spring
planting, gardening was a relaxing occupation and the vegetables would
add to the coupon rations available in the stores. A neighbour, a man
unfit for military service, went by on his way to the town and sarcastically
remarked to Turkka that he was fighting his war by rooting in his garden.
The pilot admitted there was some truth in that and went on digging.
Soon his wife shouted that "Pappa" had been phoned orders
to get to the base as soon as possible. The pilot took his bike and
pedaled to the base. He slipped the flying overalls over his civilian
Enemy fighters in patrols of two were harassing
Finnish ships in the Gulf of Finland, South of Kotka, and Turkka and
another pilot, Sgt.-Maj."Pena" (unrecognised nickname) were
ordered by the flight commander to stop the mischief.
Then he climbed in MT-205, took off with his pair and headed South in
a cloudless sunny weather.
Abut 15 minutes later the two pilots were approaching
Lavansaari as they saw two LaGG-3 about 500m above. The enemies tried
to pursue, but they were too far to catch the slightly faster MTs. The
Finns continued to the Estonian coast, then turned back, bearing N,
and climbed to 2500m hoping to find the two LaGGs would still lingering
They were there. "Pena" and "Pappa"
saw the enemy fighters about 600m below and apparently unaware of the
MTs between Lavansaari and Tytärsaari, (nowadays marked on the
maps as Ostrov Moschnyi and Ostrov Tuyters) flying about 100m from each
other. "Pappa" instructed "Pena" to take the one
flying a little behind, and not to let the enemy shoot him in the back
in any case.
The Finnish pilots approached them from 5 o'clock
above. "Pena" had his victim well in gunsight, but he did
not fire until "Pappa" would get a good aim at his target.
But at the very moment as Turkka squeezed the
trigger the enemy evaded: his wingman had seen the threatening MT and
warned by radio. But the Soviet wingman had not seen "Pena"
who gave him a lethal blast at the same moment. The LaGG went into an
uncontrolled dive while Turkka kept pursuing the other one in the direction
"Pena" saw another three LaGG-3s coming
from 6 o'clock high, he turned toward Tytärsaari and the enemies
The enemy pursued by Turkka did not fly straight
for one second, he kept pulling rolls so that the Finnish pilot had
no chance to shoot, and all the time kept approaching Lavansaari and
the cover of its AAA. In fact, "Pappa" realized that they
were in its range already, but he was not fired at. Why? Instinctively
he pulled a 180 degree turn and found the answer: Another three LaGGs
were diving at him.
The MT pilot pulled a tight climbing turn, but
the enemy kept gaining him due to the speed picked up by diving. Knowing
he would in the end out-climb the enemy he kept the nose of the MT up.
But one LaGG was approaching from the left and kept shooting. The enemy
salvo was a near miss, and to throw him off his aim "Pappa"
pulled the stick a little too hard, his airspeed decreasing below 120
The control column of the MT went slack, and
the fighter stalled characteristically by dipping its left wing and
going into a spinning dive. "Pappa" would crash in the sea
if he could not recover his fighter in time, and there were not many
seconds left. He pushed the stick ahead, and the spinning ceased, but
now the fighter was in a steep dive and descended very quickly. The
pilot pulled the stick very hard, he began to black out and had to ease
the pull. As he regained his vision he was flying safely at wavetops
but now tactically the underdog.
He began to climb again and saw the enemy. One
of the LaGG-3s approached while the other two remained as top cover.
Turkka watched how the enemy flew in front of
his fighter, and as it was about 600m away he pulled the nose of the
MT up and gave the enemy a burst, hoping to scare him a little. It was
a 90 degree shot, and hopelessy long range but to his surprise the Finnish
pilot saw that the tracers seemed to go home, and a 20mm shell exploded
with a flash in the side of the enemy.
The LaGG half-rolled and dived right in the sea
with a splash. Turkka kept climbing, but the enemy pilots did not make
use of their good tactical position. At 2000m the Finnish pilot was
above the enemy and he turned at the other one. "Pappa" had
him in the gunsight but his guns jammed. The enemy pilots were unwilling
It was time to disengage. Turkka enquired over
the radio whether his wingman was still alive, and got a reassuring
answer. Soon a fighter approached from South, rocked his wings to identify,
and the MT pair headed for Utti.
They reported to the flight commander that three
LaGG-3s had been shot down and were given off duty for the end of the
"Pappa" was again working in his garden
as the neighbour came back, having run his errands. He looked at the
patch that Turkka was working at and said that he had accomplished very
little during the hours he had had at his disposal. The pilot was amused
and declined to comment.
When the G-2 Me's were handed over to HLeLv 24
Turkka was transferred to his old unit and familiarized the old Brewster
pilots with the new equipment.
All the serviceable fighters of LeLv 24 were
scrambled from Suulajarvi a/b on the 9th June 1944 forenoon. Turkka
was off-duty but as one more MT became available after maintenance he
took off, alone.
Turkka took course to East and climbed. At 2000m
he saw another MT and at a higher altitude 5 unknown fighters, but the
other MT pilot did not seem to notice anything but continued right at
the enemy. Turkka tried to contact the "blind" pilot by radio
but only disturbed his flight commander "Jotte" Saarinen who
was in a scrap above Siestarjoki (Sestroretsk), one hundred km away.
The other MT was a G6 of HLELv 34 which had a different radio.
Turkka kept climbing to distract the attention
of the enemy from the other MT, and having climbed above the horizon
of the enemy pilots was spotted by them. The G6 happily kept course
and flew below the enemy, apparently noticing nothing.
Now Turkka saw a lone fighter approaching from
behind and trying to get behind his tail. It was approaching at such
an angle that the Finnish pilot could see the red star adorned with
a white "tail" in its side. Turkka identified the enemy as
P-51B Mustang. "American sympathy for the Russians", he thought
as he pulled into a tight climbing left turn.
Soon the Mustang pilot realized that the MT outclimbed
him, he turned and dived. Immediately Turkka pulled a chandelle turn
and dived at the enemy, getting behind him and within range. He fired
a burst and the enemy began to emit a trace of black smoke. He did not
have any chance to finish off his victim as the other five engaged him,
flying around in a circle.
There was a lone Cumulus cloud with base at 3000m
and top at about 5000m. Turkka decided to hang near it to have a place
to hide should the enemy decide to attack one at a time. He pulled a
tight turn, got one of the Mustangs in his gunsight and gave it a burst;
it disengaged, trailing engine coolant fume.
Now another five enemies joined the scrap - this
time LA-5's dived at Turkka. The lone Finnish pilot considered the odds
too high and climbed in the cloud. When surrounded by mist he contacted
"Jotte" and asked for reinforcements so that he would not
have to "flee dishonourably". The flight commander however
informed him tersely that the entire flight was about to disengage due
to being out of fuel and ammunition, still engaging "about a million
enemy planes". He wished "Pappa" good luck and cut off.
Turkka headed for compass bearing 270 and soon
came ouf of the side of the cloud. At 12o'clock high he spotted two
wedges of five enemy fighters each almost in range. He pulled up against
them and fired, the enemies dived at him. He again put the MT in the
cloud and climbed to the top until he was out of it. Immediately he
dived back, having a feeling of being fired at. Turkka was not sure
whether he really had noticed anything, but then he saw two 0,50"
holes in his left wing, fired from above. It had been a fairly close
shave, the hits were about one meter from the cockpit.
Turkka was now tired of the hide and seek game,
he applied full battle power, raced out of the cloud and pulled a 360
degree climbing turn.
The sky was clear and empty. Turkka returned
to the base, where the general opinion was that the Red Army had launched
Around 15 June 1944 both MT squadrons (24 and
34) were operating from Immola after Suulajarvi had been abandoned due
to enemy advance. The Finnish fighter pilots were in low spirits. There
was a worse shortage of aircraft than there had been in the Winter War.
On the 9th June Maj. Karhunen had been able send 9 MT fighters against
hundreds of enemy a/c and now the situation was worse.
Co.Lt. Magnusson, commander of the fighter wing,
decided to give a pep talk to his pilots to cheer them up. He gave orders
and soon all off duty pilots stood in triple row in front of their commander
in the Lappeenranta air base.
Magnusson told the pilots that the times were
tough, the fighting was hard indeed, but it had been worse during the
Winter War, and there were pilots among them who had been there.
"There I see "Illu"... And there
is "Pappa"..." Magnusson scanned the faces of the men
in ever deepening silence as the terrible truth was revealed to every
man: No other Winter War veterans were standing in the ranks.
Magnusson cut the awkward silence: "Anyway,
we shall make it, shan't we, "Pappa"?
"Yes sir!" was the military answer to the question.
"Fall out!" The palaver was over. The pilots were amused:
Magnusson had assembled his fighter jocks just to hear whether "Pappa"
believed they would make it. And they did. A few days later President
Ryti made a "deal" with Hitler and Finnish armed forces began
to receive war material form Germany, including dozens of new Me 109
In July 1944 Turkka was posted as instructor
to train replacement pilots to fly the Me109 for the remainder of the
war in Utti.
Quitte le service atif le 16 mai 1947