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JonathanRL

The Finnish Bombers of the Helsinki Lennosto

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In 1946, Finlands military forces was in shambles after the war, and with the Soviet Union on a close watch on purchases and spending, it did not seem likely that a military buildup in order to protect from Soviet Aggression would be likely anytime soon. As diplomats sat and debated exactly how large the Finns Air Force was to be, a young Finn had a brilliant idea that might just fool the Soviets and get Finlands way at the same time. The roof would not be limited in number of aircraft, but in their cost.

 

The proposal was sent to Stalins desk for approval and despite the words of his advisors, he signed a treaty declaring that Helsinki Lennosto could be established with his approval as long as the Aircraft involved did not cost more then 40 000 dollars per Aircraft. Content that they had limited the treat to their nation and sea lanes, the Soviets did not think more on the matter.

The Finns however did, and they asked the Allies to aid them in this matter and Churchill, mostly to annoy Stalin decided to sell the Finns thirty Beaufighters alongside torpedoes and ammuniton for the net cost of 10 000 per Aircraft. Deliveries started at once from the large number of spare aircraft avalible after the war and Helsinki Lennosto was operational in 1948.

 

The Aircraft was well liked by the Finnish Air Crews and was used as a Gunfighter for Air Support as well as a Torpedo Bomber. Stalins mistake would have deadly consequences in the 1956 War when these thirty aircraft succesfully prevented any Soviet traffic in the Gulf of Finland.

 

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In 1948, as the last of the Beaufighters was delivered, the Finns decided to stir the pot once more with the Soviet Union. They asked the French and the United States Army Air Force if there where any medium bombers that could be bought - officially for maritime patrol and target tug duties. The United States decided to sell Finland - against the wishes of some on the Staff that tough Finland lost to Communism - sixteen B-26 Marauders. In an effort to test the Soviets intelligence network in Finland, no markings was ever painted upon the aircraft and the number of aircraft was a closely kept secret, while at the same time, rumours of up to forty aircraft was released to run wild across the Baltic.

 

The Soviets took the bait and in their official breakdown of the Finnish Air Force in 1954, Finland was indeed listed to have "at least" thirty B-26s, operational and capable for bombing missions. In the 1956 war, they where responsible for the bombing of the Soviet Headquarters at Leningrad but took heavy losses and was retired from duty alongside the Beaufighters in 1958.

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As Finland looked for a replacement, the Soviet Union - who at last had quite enough - offered Finland the purchase of MiG 21s and Il-28s in the hope that military hardware alongside a softer touch after Stalins death would get the finns into the fold. Deciding to play both sides, the Finns turned to the French who offered Finland their newest bomber, the Vatour for a reduced price compatible with the Helsinki Lennosto treaty. In order to not upset the Soviet Union too much, Finland decided to purchase MiGs and a few recon variants of the Il-28, while also equipping Helsinki Lennosto with fourteen specially equipped Vatours. These aircraft could be equipped with the Swedish RB-04 and was a considerable hazard to any Soviet fleet movements in the Baltic, something they proved beyond doubt during Operation Mannerheims Sköld.  They where retired in 1991, at the same time as the order for F-18s was completed.

 

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Sadly no, since all these are fictional. The Finns used the Blenheim until 1956 for the Bomber Role. I`ve been wanting one of those as well as the Saab 18 for the mod for quite some time.

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