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Finnish Fighter Aces (27245 bytes)

"Eikka" Luukkanen - The Youngest Squadron Leader.

by Ossi Juntunen

Luukkanen & Fokker D.XXI (21874 bytes)

Lt. Eino Luukkanen, commander of 3./LLv 24, in front of his Fokker D.XXI, January 1940.

1. The beginning of the career

Eino Antero Luukkanen was born in Jaakkima, Finnish Carelia in the family of a railway employee on the 4th of June 1909. The family moved later to Sortavala on the coast of the Lake Ladoga.

In Sortavala Eino Luukkanen was affected by the Kasinhäntä Air Base with its buzzing seaplanes and pilots in their blue uniforms, like many other boys of the town (Olli Puhakka, Illu Juutilainen..) He stayed in school to receive the minimum education needed for admission in the Cadet School. Having completed the compulsory military training he started his military career there to become a Pilot Officer in a Cadet School course during the years 1931 - 1933, after which he received his commission. Luukkanen was posted as an ensign (= 2nd Lt.) to the 1st Separate Maritime Squadron in Viipuri. He flew both as a pilot and as an observer.

In 1935, having been promoted to Lieutenant, he was married with miss Eeva Kaario. (Their first son died young, to a great grief to the parents, and another was born in 1941.) In the same year he applied an was was transferred to a fighter squadron, LeLv 26 that had been equipped with Bristol Bulldog Mk.IV A fighters. Luukkanen flew as much as possible to gain experience needed to train the pilots that in future would be under his command. In 1939 he completed a 6-month course of studies in the Military Academy needed for his future promotion to the rank of Captain. Immediately after the course he was posted as the commander of the 3rd flight of Fighter Squadron 24 (LeLv24), recently equipped with Fokker D.XXI fighters. Intensive training began immediately turn the squadron into an operational unit. Luukkanen had 8 D.XXI fighters, 3 officer pilots, 5 NCO pilots and 30-strong technical personnel under his command.

Eikka Luukkanen considered already before the war that a fighter pilot was a professional athlete, who had to be in top physical condition to be successful. Consequently,  for training in summer he would run, make long fast walks and ride bicycle and in winter he would do cross-country skiing and participate in national military skiing championship competitions. Luukkanen also encouraged his pilots to follow his example. After each training session he would go to sauna - he was a great sauna enthusiast and saw to it that a good sauna was built at a river or a lake in every base where his unit was stationed - if there was not one already. Luukkanen was convinced that during the hard battles of the summer 1944 his pilots fought so well because after a three or four-mission day they could go to the sauna and have a dip in the lake for relaxation before sleep. Also he was interested in fishing and hunting (actually shooting, to use the British term) when having a chance for it. However, he was a smoker - in those innocent days cigarettes were considered to be no more harmful than coffee.

Hitler had invaded Poland together with his ally Stalin, the war had broken out. Soon the Soviet Union began to make demands on Finland, and as a precaution the Finnish field army was mobilized in October. Soviet aircraft began to fly in the Finnish airspace - the tension was rising.

2. Winter War

On 30 November, 1939, there was the reveille at 06.00 (before sunrise) and there was the normal morning assembly at 09.00. Lt. Col. Lorenz, commander of the Flight Regiment, stood in front of the ranks. He pulled his pistol, fired a shot in the air and announced that the war had started at 06.15 on the same morning. Then he ordered the 3rd flight to an interception mission to Viipuri (100 km away).

Luukkanen and his men saw only fires started by bombardment and some enemy bombers disappearing in the clouds upon arrival on the scene. The Fokkers returned in bad weather.

The next day Luukkanen scored his first victory, which he described as one of the most memorable events in his life. (see separate story).

The weather being unsuitable for flying, the pilots set out to inspect the bombers they shot down. Examining the SB-2 that Luukkanen downed, they found that of the 187 bullet holes counted, the lethal hits were at the engine nacelles, so it would be advisable to shoot at the bomber engines only. The local railway station master told the airmen that the crew of the belly-landed Soviet bomber had barricaded themselves in a hay barn nearby, using their sidearms and refused to surrender. The local boys and old men - all the able-bodied men being in the front - had to dispatch the enemy with hayforks, axes and shotguns. After two of them had been killed the third shot himself in the head as the barn was stormed by the civilians. Two of the enemies were Lieutenants, one was a Major.

On the 18th of  December the fuel tank of Luukkanen's Fokker was punctured by friendly fire. As the fighter engine run out of fuel, he had to land on a rough field, damaging his plane considerably. On Christmas Eve he shared a R-5 with another pilot over Summa and soon after that with his wingman got in a dogfight against ten I-16s. Both Fokkers escaped thanks to their superior diving speed. 

On the 24th of December the 3rd flight was ordered to Värtsilä, NE of Lake Ladoga to provide air cover. The airfield was covered with one meter of snow, and there were no amenities except a telephone line. A barn was serving as hangar - only the nose section of the Fokker could be pushed in for engine service. The barn was serving only for blackout purposes, the inside was as cold as outside. Luukkanen gives a special recognition to his technical personnel, who maintained the Fokkers airworthy in primitive conditions, virtually under open sky and at -40 (forty) degree centigrade weather. Once the mechanics even replaced the Mercury engine of a fighter. The technical team had two sets of tools, one set was warmed with a blow-lamp while the other set was used until the tools began to freeze fast in the mechanics' hands.

Soon Luukkanen saw that his task was hopeless. The enemy pilots flew as they wished and the air surveillance network was full of holes. Still the Fokker pilots did their best during the 6 weeks they stayed at Värtsilä. Luukkanen increased his score by shooting down one SB-2 on the 6th of January 1940 - his last victory in the Winter War.

Although Luukkanen was the commander of the 3rd Flight, his rank was only Lieutenant. The reason was that in the 30's it was a rule that a Lieutenant could not be promoted until after five years, even if the man had completed the Captain training. The rule was laxed so that Luukkanen became Captain on the 15th of February 1940 - five weeks ahead of time!

The 3rd Flight was ordered to return to the main theater of war on the 6th February. Luukkanen was amazed to find out how the Soviet Air Force had improved their act. The enemy had more aircraft (3253 deployed against Finland), no unescorted bombers and the fighters were equipped with extra fuel tanks for longer range. The Finnish fighter pilots were fighting desperately against large formations of I-16 and I-153. The only escape from a dogfight was a steep dive, that neither enemy fighter type was capable of following.

February 29, 1940, at Ruokolahti was the black day of the Finnish Air Force. Fifteen FAF Gloster Gladiators and Fokker D.XXI were bounced at takeoff by 36 I-16s and I-153s. In fifteen minutes Luukkanen's unit lost 5 Gladiators and one Fokker, the enemy lost one I-16 which was rammed by his second-in command, Lt. Huhanantti. Both pilots were killed. Luukkanen did not participate because his fighter was not airworthy.

On the 4rd of March Luukkanen led his flight in a ground strafing attack against Red Army column of some 500 men plus horses pulling sleighs on the ice of the Gulf of Finland. The attack was a success, and ground attacks against the enemy columns on the ice near Viipuri were the main activity for the Squadron 24 up to the end of the war (11.00 hours on the 13th of March1940). Luukkanen had scored 2 1/2 victories. He had also lost his home like 300.000 other people, who voluntarily left their homes that were left on the Soviet side of the new border.

3. One year of peace and then another war

When the Winter War ended, the personnel of the squadron were exhausted, but they soon recovered. Luukkanen had the pleasant task of ferrying new Brewster 239 fighters (BW) from Trollhättan, Sweden to Finland, completing four trips (see Brewsters to Finland). Squadron 24 was re-equipped with this modern fighter and training was started immediatel. Luukkanen, serving as the commander of the 1st Flight, was also the second-in-command for Major Magnusson, the Squadron leader. To Luukkanen this duty meant administrative desk work, which he detested.

The war started again on June 25, 1941. The 1st Flight was based at Vesivehmaa, north of Lahti. They failed to score that day, due to communication problems.

His first battle in the new war took place on the 8th of July 1941. Four BWs under Luukkanen's command had taken off from the base of Rantasalmi at sunrise (03.00 hrs). They were flying at 1500 m over Parikkala when they caught sight of six I-153s flying at very low altitude over the front line. Luukkanen told everybody to pick a target, then the Finnish fighters attacked.

Luukkanen approached a Chaika which was flying at 100m altitude until he saw the head of the pilot - then fired at the engine and the cockpit. The victim blew smoke from her engine, shed some debris and banked into a dive, vanishing from the view under BW-375.

Luukkanen saw immediately three fighters line astearn, the middle one being one of his BWs. He fired at a long range at the last plane of the line, forcing her to abandon the BW. That Chaika was flown by an expert, he knew how to make use of the better turning radius of his fighter to avoid being shot down. The Finnish pilot soon lost the I-153 from his sight and turned to find the others.

Then he saw a lone I-153 above. Using the superior speed of the BW he approached the victim from below and behind. Carefully he aimed, and then at a range of 50 m fired, raking the belly of the Chaika from the nose to the tail with the bullets from his heavy machine guns. The victim pulled up, stalled and dived in a wild spin, striking the ground at 04.32 hrs at Oppola.

Luukkanen radioed an order to join above the church of Parikkala. All four BW's were there at 4.43. They had scored a total of five victories, but Luukkanen could prove only one.

During 1941 Luukkanen scored 5 1/2 victories. The enemy was passive and preferred to avoid contact with the superior Brewsters. Luukkanen's flight was transferred to Eastern Carelia, which provided fine fishing and hunting opportunities during bad flying weather. On the 7th of October 1941 he was preparing for a reconnaissance mission with four planes as four Pe-2s attacked the base. The bombs missed, but the fast bombers escaped. The enemy was escorted by three LaGG-3s, which the four Brewsters engaged. To the amazement of the Finnish pilots, the enemy dispersed. Luukkanen chased one of them, which was keeping a straight course. He caught the LaGG and fired from a range of 50 m. The enemy did not try any evasive action before Luukkanen's bullets were hitting his plane. Then it was too late, his engine stopped and he had to land on the wrong side of the front line. The pilot was taken prisoner.

LaGG-3 (16235 bytes)

The LaGG-3 shot down by Luukkanen (on the right)

He had this man, whose name he withheld, sent to his base in April 1942. This pilot was a Second Lieutenant with about 100 flying hours, shot down on his second mission. This explained his helplessness, all his attention was consumed to keep his fighter in the air. The enemy pilot was treated friendly and given a good meal by Luukkanen and his pilots. Before being taken back to the prisoner camp, the Soviet pilot made a thank-you speech and wished success to Luukkanen and his unit.

During 1942 Luukkanen scored 9 more victories. There is a separate story on the battle of the 30th of October 1942. The Soviet Air Force was recovering and new Western aircraft types appeared, providing tougher resistance to the Finnish pilots.

BW-390 (15936 bytes)

Luukkanen's Brewster, BW-390 taking off

4. Reconnaissance squadron commander

On 11 January, 1942, Luukkanen was promoted to the rank of Major - and posted as the commander of Reconnaissance Squadron 30. The joy of promotion was overshadowed by the necessity to leave good comrades and a chance to fly a good fighter plane. Hans Wind took over the 1st Flight.

Luukkanen took over 400 men and ten aircraft. Half of them were Wasp-powered Fokker D.XXIs and half war-booty I-153s. (The squadron was chronically under-equipped.) The task of the unit was to reconnoiter the enemy shipping on the eastern part of the Gulf of Finland and count the enemy aircraft on the islands of Seiskari and Lavansaari.

Luukkanen, an ace with 17 victories, had to resign in flying slow, unreliable planes. The weather was bad, there was only little flying during the winter 1942-1943. The pilots would ski a lot and go to sauna nearly every day.

Soon the Fokkers were taken away, nothing was received in replacement. The MiG-3 war booty aircraft that were to be supplied by Germany, were destroyed in the shipping harbour in an air raid.

On the 8th of January 1943 when returning from mission, the engine of a Chaika flown by Capt. Paltila stopped cold in flight. The pilot had to land in the sea, covered by thin ice. The ice broke under the plane and the pilot was killed in hypothermia in a matter of minutes. It was a bitter thing to see for Luukkanen. It was the third I-153 of the squadron lost with the pilot in this manner.

Luukkanen received a nice surprise on the 27th of March 1943. He was posted as the commander of Fighter Squadron 34, whose commander, Maj. Ehnrooth, had been killed in a Pyry PY-25 aerobatics flying accident at Utti.

5. The Ace Squadron ftrsqn34

Major Luukkanen took the command of Fighter Squadron 34 on the 29th of March 1943 as the youngest of all FAF Fighter Squadron commanders. The Squadron was created recently and equipped with Messerschmitt Me 109 G2 fighters, flown by the top aces of the Finnish Air Force, making it the elite unit.

As a leader of his pilots Luukkanen led by example. By the end of the war he had logged 441 missions. In comparison, of his top aces Lehtovaara, Tuominen and Puhakka each flew about 400 missions between October 1939 and September 1944. One can see that the squadron leader did not demand more of his men than he accomplished himself. In practice, he flew as one of the pilots of the 3rd flight, the commander of which was Capt. Puhakka, his friend and second-in-command. One of his merits for earning the Mannerheim Cross was the excellent fighting spirit that he had created in his squadron.

Yet in Squadron 34, as in all FAF fighter squadrons, saluting and other military manners were not in use. The relationship between the fighter pilots and their ground crews became "informal" because the fighter plane belonged to both. The men, regardless their rank, would greet each other friendly, then discuss the condition of their aircraft. The pilot and the mechanics were responsible for the plane, one in the air and the others on the ground. Olli Puhakka has written an essay on this, explaining how a fighter pilot had to trust that the technicians were keeping his plane in reliable condition. Without that there would not have been any victorious air combats. Air battle requires mental capital, the basics of which is the pilot's trust in his own fighter, its airworthiness, the proper functioning of its weapons and radio transceiver. One must keep in mind that FAF was chronically short of airplanes, mostly no replacements were available. The pilots knew this, and many a pilot sacrificed his own life trying to save his damaged plane.

Luukkanen flew the Messerschmitt Me-109 (MT) for the first time as soon as possible and fell in love with his new tool. He made use of the opportunity to join the ferrying of the second lot of 14 fighters from Erding, Germany, to Helsinki. It was a nice trip, which he remembered fondly later. (see Messerschmitts to Finland)

Equipped with 28 fighters divided in three flights the squadron was operational on the 19th of May 1943. During the first 20 days the squadron scored 10 victories and lost two aircraft with pilots - one in accident, the other one was rammed by an I-153 in combat.

Luukkanen had a heavy responsibility: he had to defend more than 400 km of coastline which included the main harbours and the capital of the country. He divided the operation into three bases: Malmi to defend Helsinki, Kymi to defend Kotka and Hamina, and Suulajarvi to defend the western section of the main front line. He flew actively and his score increased steadily, during 1943 he scored 12 victories. (see separate story)

MT-203 (13439 bytes)

The "Boss" in front of MT-203 at Utti in summer 1943

Luukkanen expected that some day the enemy would attack the Kymi base as the Me-109s would be taking off, but his fear never materialized. Yet according to the information gleaned from the shot-down and captured Soviet airmen, the enemy knew perfectly well the location of the base and the defender's small strength.

The Squadron was involved in active fighting. The personnel celebrated the 100th victory on the 11th of September 1943. A particularly heavy and successful battle was fought on the 17th of May 1944 at Kotka. At 10.30 hrs Luukkanen led 10 Me-109s against 27 Pe-2s escorted by 15 Yak-9s and La-5s. The Finnish pilots attacked through the defensive AAA fire from below, shooting down eight of the bombers before the escort fighters were able to intervene. Three Yak-9s were shot down in the ensuing dogfight at the cost of one Me-109, whose pilot survived.

On 16 February 1944 the 2nd Flight was detached and posted to the Squadron 30 (now renamed a Fighter Squadron) to defend Helsinki only. In April 1944 the Me-109 G-2 model was replaced by the more heavily armed G-6. Squadron 24 took the older Me-109s.

6. Hell breaks loose

On the 9th of June 1944 the Red Army launched an offensive against the Finnish Army on the Carelian Isthmus. The enemy employed daily at least 1000 aircraft, often flying in 100-plane formations.

FAF had 38 serviceable Me-109 fighters to resist the enemy in early June. A desperate battle began for the fighter pilots and bomber crews. Yet the VVS never attempted to destroy the FAF the way the USAF systematically attacked Luftwaffe. The FAF fighter bases were attacked just a few times, and the bomber bases were left totally alone by the Soviet Air Force. Even the bombers retreating after a raid were not vigorously pursued by Soviet fighter pilots. Maybe the FAF was too small a target for the mighty VVS to be bothered about?

There is enough light for 19 hour flying days in mid-summer in the northern latitudes. The pilots flew a lot, and between missions they took naps in tents that were put up next to the parked fighters. The noise of engines did not disturb them. Only off-duty pilots could sleep in their regular quarters. Luukkanen noticed that the morale of the Finnish fighter pilots remained high. The men still cracked jokes and laughed at them, and everyone was eager to fly as much as possible. The strain made the pilots indifferent to their own person, they ceased to consider their situation as abnormally dangerous.

On 12 June 1944 Squadron 34 had to leave the Immola base for Lappeenranta. Luftwaffe Task Force Kuhlmey arrived to the base to assist the Finnish Air Force with 30 Ju-87 dive bombers and 30 FW-190 fighter bombers.

Two days later (on 14 June) before noon Luukkanen led 12 Me-109s to search and destroy two balloons the enemy used to control artillery fire against the main defence line at Kuuterselkä. The balloons were defended by 20 La-5s and P-39s. The Me-109s engaged the enemy. Luukkanen found himself 30 m behind a P-39 and fired. The victim dived, trailing smoke and fuel fume, then crashed on the ground. His wingman shot down another, together they continued to get at the balloons. Soon the fighting dispersed, as usual. Luukkanen surprised a La-5, whose pilot tried to evade battle, but soon was hit by the Finnish fighter's shells and crashed in the forest. Then Luukkanen saw one balloon against the sky at 600 m. To avoid the AAA he first climbed south to be able to attack from altitude and from the glare of the sun. This was a successful operation, nearly undisturbed he shot the balloon in flames and retreated. The second balloon was shot down, too, alongside with a third and five enemy fighters at the cost of one Me-109 missing.

Luukkanen and his flight returned to base and refueled. In the afternoon the squadron was sent to intercept Stormoviks terrorizing Finnish infantry at Kuuterselkä. That day the squadron fought four air battles, scoring 11 victories and four balloons. One Me with pilot was missing. Then a five-hour sleep before a the next, similar day..

On June 18 Luukkanen was pleasantly surprised when he heard from the radio news that he had been decorated with the Mannerheim Cross. There was no time for celebration, however.

Next day (on 19 June) Luukkanen was shot down (see separate story). The very next day he continued flying, for fear of becoming fearful, if he took any leave. He managed to shoot down a Yak-4 bomber. That restored his self-confidence.

On the 23rd of June 1944 the squadron once again moved to another base, this time 40 km NW of Taipalsaari. It was a field hastily built on sandy soil. There was a clump of trees in the crossing of the runways, impairing visibility. The sand of the field was blown in the air by slipstream so much that tropical filters had to be fitted in the Messerschmitts. The narrow undercarriage wheels dug ruts in the soft sand so fast that the field maintenance team could not keep up with smoothing the runways. The pilots had to have the skill of juggler to be able to take off and land on the bumpy field.

On the 13th of July Luukkanen led 12 Me-109s to escort 40 bombers raiding the Soviet bridgehead at Vuosalmi. Due to the 90-minute endurance of the Me-109 without external tank the mission was scheduled by the minute. On schedule the fighters took off and grouped into three sections of four planes before climbing to 5500 m for the join-up at Vuoksenranta. There they saw forty Finnish bombers arrive in formation, just on schedule. The bombers comprised nine Junkers Ju-88s in the front, then four Dornier Do-17Zs, the rest were Blenheim Mk. Is and IVs - all the airworthy bombers of the FAF on that day.

The fighters were spread on each side of the long formation, posing a tactical problem. Luukkanen thought that the time was standing still, so slow was the approach flight to the target. Fortunately no enemies were seen. Finally, about 20 minutes later, the Vuoksi river appeared below the formation. The enemy opened heavy AAA fire. The JUs dived for attack, and soon the escort pilots saw flashes of exploding bombs and clouds of dust and smoke rising in the sky from the bridgehead area. The other bombers, one by one, began to deliver their loads from level flight as Luukkanen saw ten small specks approaching from south. The enemy interceptors were going to attack.

Luukkanen gave a command over the radio: "Eight up to the right" meaning that two sections engage the enemy while the third stays with the bombers that had not yet dropped their loads. After a few seconds the airspace over the target resembled a beehive. To protect their brothers in arms in the bombers the Finnish fighter pilots tied the attacking Yak-9s in a dogfight. Now the main objective was to prevent the enemy from getting within firing range from the bombers, not scoring victories. However, in the next minute two Soviet fighters dived in flames, but Luukkanen had to watch powerlessly how one Blenheim left the formation, trailing smoke. (However, no Blenheims are recorded to have been lost that day. The damaged plane must have been able to land safely.)

As soon as the last three Blenheims had turned North to join the returning convoy, the Me-109s retreated due to threatening lack of fuel. The red low fuel alert light (indicating no more than 20 minutes worth of fuel) was turned on when the fighters were about 15 minutes from the base. Luukkanen told his pilots to land at Lappeenranta in case they had any doubts about their fuel reserve. Four Me-109s had to divert.

At Taipalsaari the fighters were reloaded and refueled. Meanwhile the pilots had a snack, interrupted as all available fighters were scrambled for an interception mission.

The front line on the Carelian Isthmus was stabilized finally on the 16th of July. Now the pilots had more time to rest, and Luukkanen could spare some of his time for fishing.

Task Force Kuhlmey left on the 28th of July. Luukkanen scored his last victory on the 5th of August as he and his wingman each shot down one Yak-9 from the escorts of an IL-2 escadrille at Narvi on the coast of the Gulf of Finland. He flew his last mission on the 26th of August, reconnoitering traffic and airfields on the western Carelian Isthmus. Illu Juutilainen was his wingman as he had been in the Winter War.

The armistice day for Finnish troops was the 4th of September 1944, but for the Red Army the 5th.

Luukkanen's squadron did not participate in the fighting against Germany in Lapland. To make his men useful the Squadron Leader commanded them to logging work to make firewood, much needed by the national economy.

Major Luukkanen and his pilots scored 345 victories in the period of 29 March 1943 - 4 September 1944. During the same period his squadron lost 30 Messerschmitts, 18 of which in battle and 12 pilots were killed plus one taken as prisoner of war.

7. End of the war

The quiet life of the grounded squadron was briefly interrupted in late September by a rare visitor. A high-ranking Soviet Air Force officer came to visit the pilots of Fighter Squadron 34 at Utti air base. In their memories Finnish pilots vaguely identify him as "general" - to protect a colleague. Fraternizing with a recent enemy in September 1944 was a very serious thing to do for a Soviet officer! Recently it has been made public that the officer was Lt. Col. V.F. Golubev, the commander of 4.GIAP (Guards' Fighter Regiment). His La-5 pilots had had many hard battles against the pilots of Luukkanen's squadron above the eastern Gulf of Finland in 1943-1944. According to the stipulations of the cease-fire treaty Golubev's unit had been stationed for a while at Malmi, the airport of Helsinki. He decided to make use of the opportunity and see for himself the men he had fought against - with a risk to himself.

The Finnish pilots were astonished to learn that the Soviet officer already knew the names and nicknames of the top aces (used as call codes in radio traffic) and other details of the squadron. Golubev wanted to shake hands with the pilots, and as he stood in front of Olli Puhakka, he asked with a smug smile (with the help of his interpreter):

"- Do you remember, Captain, how we once came to bomb Kotka when you and Major Luukkanen were just in sauna?" That really had happened, Puhakka was dumbstruck. Could there have been a spy in the base at Kymi?

8. End of career

Lt. Col. Luukkanen's military career was ended in Court-Martial, 1951. He was sentenced to lose his rank and office due to espionage. Luukkanen had in good faith handed over some aerial photographs to a man who turned out to be the agent of a foreign (NATO-affiliated) country. Later his right to pension was returned to him, however.

He wrote his memoirs which were published in 1956 and were a minor success: three printings were taken. His book was translated in English and published in Britain in 1961 and reprinted in the US in 1992 (Alexandria, VA. Time) titled "Fighter over Finland".

Luukkanen died in 1961- his career and health had been ruined, although he was never jailed. Luukkanen was survived by his widow and his son Risto, who also entered military career.

9. Trivia

In 1943 Luukkanen flew mostly the MT-201 (9 victories) and in 1944 MT-417 (8 victories plus two balloons) until on the 19. June 1944 he was shot down and the fighter destroyed. Then his "mount" was the MT-415 (yellow "5" in the vertical stabilizer) with which he scored 16 victories.

Aircraft types he had flown at least once:

Caudron C.60, DH Moth, Letov Smolik, VL Paarma (prototype), Aero Jupiter, IVL A.22 Hansa, VL Sääski, Martinsyde, Junkers K.43, W.34, Gloster Gamecock, Bristol Bulldog, VL Tuisku, Blackburn Ripon, Fokker C.V, C..X, D.XXI, VL Viima, F-W Stieglitz, Fieseler Storch, VL Pyry, I-153, Morane-Saulnier 406, MSv, Hawker Hurricane Mk.I, Fiat G.50, Me 109G2/G6, Brewster B-239, Curtiss A75, Blenheim Mk.I, Mk.IV, Douglas DC-2.

Aircraft he shot down, by type:

Type Numbers Type Numbers
SB-2

R-5

I-153

MiG-3

I-15

DB-3

LaGG-3

Pe-2

3

1

5

1

1

1

7

7

I-16

Spitfire

La-5

IL-2M

Airacobra

Yak-4

Po-2

Yak-9

4

1

7

7

3

1

1

3

Luukkanen's sorties log book:

Air battles

Ground strafing

Escorting

Reconnaissance

Interception

Total

102

35

98

66

140

441

For more details of his biography please check in another story: "Eikka" Luukkanen - A Few Pilot Adventures.

Luukkanen's FR-104 (23394 bytes)

Fokker D.XXI of 24 Squadron (3./LLv 24), flown by Lt. Luukkanen in Winter War, December of 1940.


Originally published at: WW II ACE STORIES

 

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