Even I must
admit that this newest offering in the Finnish Air Force History series may have
a very limited audience. But, for those who do get this first of a two part
monograph, it will be a unique opportunity to become acquainted with nearly
every fighter pilot / aerial gunner who flew for the FAF during the Winter and
Continuation Wars (It appears that only pilots are included, as I did not see a
reference to a gunner in a multi-man aircraft.).
The purpose of
this two-part edition, according to the authors, is to set the record straight,
as best as possible, with regard to claimed aerial combat victories.
As is the case
with any air force in combat, accuracy of combat claims is always open to
question. The primary problem is overly inflated numbers. In Finland, a fairly
strict system requiring confirmation of a claim by a neutral witness was in
place during the Winter War. But the system began to breakdown during the
Continuation War, with the resulting “steeply ascending amount of unconfirmed
The authors set
themselves the task of confirming the accuracy of the claims as best as
possible. With the opening of the Russian archives, the authors were able to
confirm many of the claims and whether a claim of a damaged aircraft was
actually a destroyed aircraft.
This first part
covers airmen whose last name began with letter A through M. The number of
claims is immaterial; there is Kalervo Anttila with one probable destroyed and
Paul Matilainen with one-half confirmed destroyed. In both Finnish and English
there is a brief overview of each airman’s service in the FAF.
To the extent
possible, and it is to a great extent, there is a picture of each airman. There
is also a list of each airman’s claims that sets out the date, time, location,
unit, the airman’s aircraft, the type of enemy aircraft claimed, the enemy unit
and the type of verification of the claim.
there are a number of pictures of various aircraft flown by those who claimed an
aerial victory. There are also eight small profiles.
For those who
are interested in the Finnish Air Force this monograph will be another addition
to their collection. It will also be of interest to those who love the
statistics of war. With the continuing verification of claims of all combatants
involved in the Second World War, perhaps there will be airman cards someday;
similar to baseball cards, but with aerial combat claims instead of runs, hits
errors and batting averages.
(Note: As of the
date of this review, it appears that Part 2 is now available.)
A selection of pictures and color profiles in this book may be seen
on the Kari Stenman Publishing web site.
for the sample.
All Keri Stenman
Publishing books are available
direct from the publishers,
who now accept credit cards (Visa, Mastercard).
Review Copyright © 2006 by
Steven "Modeldad" Eisenman
Page Created 11 April, 2006
Last updated 10 April, 2006
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