Turkka ciel de gloire - histoire des as de l\'aviation de 1914 à nos jours
TURKKA Yrjö Olavi "Pappa"




Né le 29 janvier 1909 à Savitaipale

Aspirant (Lentomenstari)

15 victoires aériennes individuelles
4 victoires aériennes en collaboration

350 missions de combat 

- Croix de la Liberté 4eme Classe
- Croix de la Liberté 4eme Classe & Feuilles de chène
- Croix de la Liberté 3eme Classe
- Médaille de la Liberté 1ere Classe
- Winter War
- Continuation War


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 sisters.

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.

Winter 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 in flames.

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 the ground.

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 jam.

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 his Fokker.

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 to attack.

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, too.

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 Soviet DB-3.

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 upper hand.

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 within sight.

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 advantageous position.

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.

New unit

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 clothing.

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 about.

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 of Lavansaari.

"Pena" saw another three LaGG-3s coming from 6 o'clock high, he turned toward Tytärsaari and the enemies followed him.

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 kmh.

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 to fight.

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 day.

"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.

Summer 1944

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 an offensive.

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 G-6 fighters.

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



Années Fonction Secteur
Aspirant 31/03/39
VM 1  
1./LeLv 24 01/01/38   Winter War
VR 4  
2./LeLv 24 6/41   Continuation War
VR 4 tlk  
LeLv 34 17/04/43   Continuation War
VR 3  
HLeLv 24 10/04/44   Continuation War


Date Heure Type Unité Statut Pilote Type Numéro Unité Lieu
23/12/39 . SB 2 . Détruit (1/2) . D XXI FR 83 1./LeLv 24 Kannas
23/12/39 . SB 2 . Détruit . D XXI FR 83 1./LeLv 24 Kannas
25/12/39 . SB 2 . Détruit . D XXI FR 83 1./LeLv 24 Kannas
29/01/40 . R 5 . Détruit (3/4) . D XXI FR 83 1./LeLv 24 Kannas
18/02/40 . SB 2 . Détruit . D XXI FR 83 1./LeLv 24 Kannas
21/02/40 . DB 3 . Détruit (1/3) . D XXI FR 83 1./LeLv 24 Kannas
25/06/41 . SB 2Bis . Détruit . Buffalo BW 351 2./LeLv 24 Etelä-Suomi
25/06/41 . SB 2Bis . Détruit . Buffalo BW 351 2./LeLv 24 Etelä-Suomi
03/07/41 . I 153 . Détruit . Buffalo BW 351 2./LeLv 24 Kannas
13/07/41 . I 16 . Détruit . Buffalo BW 351 2./LeLv 24 Karjala
24/01/42 . I 15Bis . Détruit . Buffalo BW 352 2./LeLv 24 Maaselkä
24/01/42 . R 5 . Détruit (1/2) . Buffalo BW 352 2./LeLv 24 Maaselkä
28/01/42 . R 5 . Détruit . Buffalo BW 357 2./LeLv 24 Maaselkä
01/02/42 . LaGG 3 . Détruit . Buffalo BW 357 2./LeLv 24 Maaselkä
30/03/42 . Hurricane . Détruit . Buffalo BW 357 2./LeLv 24 Maaselkä
02/04/43 . I 153 . Détruit . Buffalo BW 355 2./LeLv 24 Suomenlahti
04/05/43 . LaGG 3 . Détruit . Me 109 MT 203 LeLv 34 Suomenlahti
21/05/43 . I 153 . Détruit . Me 109 MT 218 LeLv 34 Suomenlahti
26/07/43 . Il 2 . Détruit . Me 109 MT 219 LeLv 34 Suomenlahti

During the war Turkka flew about 350 missions and scored 15 victories:
23.12.1939, Carelian Isthmus: 1.5 SB-2
25.12.1939 Carelian Isthmus 1 SB-2
19.1.1940 Carelian Isthmus 0,75 R-5
21.2.1940 Carelian Isthmus 0.3 DB-3 (all Winter War victories with FR-83)
25.6.1941 Southern Finland 2 SB-2bis
3.7.1941 Carelian Isthmus 1 I-153
13.7.1941 Carelian Isthmus 1 I-16 (1941 victories with BW-351)
24.1.1942 Eastern Carelia 1 I-15bis, 0,5 R-5 (BW-352)
28.1.1942 Eastern Carelia 1 R-5 (BW-357)
1.2.1942 Eastern Carelia 1 LaGG-3 (BW-357)
30.3.1942 Eastern Carelia 1 Hurricane (BW-357)
2.3.1943 Gulf of Finland 1 I-153 (BW-355)
4.5.1943 Gulf of Finland 1 LaGG-3 (MT-203)
21.5.1943 Gulf of Finland 1 I-153 (MT-218)
26.7.1943 Gulf of Finland 1 IL-2 (MT-219)

During his FAF career he logged 1656 flying hours and flew 18 different aircraft types.

Civilian career

Having resigned from the FAF service with full pension on 16 May 1947 Turkka was employed by the national forestry company Enso-Gutzeit OY as pilot, based in Laitaatsilta near Savonlinna. He flew a Republic Seabee amphibian in the Saimaa lake system area, for the purpose of managing timber floating operations during open water season.

Turkka loved flying, he had no problems in adapting to civilian life. Especially he enjoyed the fact that he could fly at ease over beautiful lake landscape "without fear of anybody plotting to haul his machine guns behind my butt".

He logged more than 4000 hours during years 1947 to 1974. However, he was part time pilot only since 1949 . He also was granted the civilian title of Captain.

His hobbies included swimming, fishing and hunting.

Deceased 19.Feb.1991 in Savonlinna.


Suomen ilmavoimien historia 11: Hävittäjä-ässät (Finnish fighter aces); Keskinen, Stenman, Niska