Polikarpov fighters in Finnish Service during World War 2October 9, 2018
#Finland used a lot of captured #Soviet equipment during the Second World War; among this were a number of Soviet fighters. These fell in Finnish hands during the #WinterWar and the #ContinuationWar and was repaired and used against the former owner. Among the captured fighters were a number of #Polikarpov #I-152 and #I-153 fighters.
VH-2 (later IH-2) with a Hucks starter.
VH-11 (later VH-2 and then IH-2) stationed at Vesivehmaa during the spring of 1940.
(Left) VH-4 (later IH-4). (Right) VH-5 (later IH-5).
The first two Finnish I-152s initially carried the registration numbers VH-10 and VH-11, while the remaining three biplanes were given serials VH-3 to VH-5. During late 1940, VH-10 and VH-11 were renumbered as VH-1 and VH-2. On 4 June 1942, the confusion regarding the numbering of war booty aircraft was resolved and the aircraft were given the serials IH-1 to IH-5.
One I-16 type 18 fighter
, code VH-201, (Becoming VH-21 after the summer of 1940) was captured during the Winter War. The aircraft was flown by Luutnantti Visapaa at the Finnish State Aircraft Factory at Tampere for just 6 hours and 20 minutes before it was delivered to the German test establishment at Rechlin on 15.4.1941, where it completed air tests and simulated combat against German fighters in preparation for Operation Barbarossa later that summer.
Captured between 1941 and 1942
Five more were captured between 1941 and 1942 and were repaired and re-built at the Valtion Lentokonetehdas (VL State Aircraft Factory) at Tampere, but only one I-16 type 6 (code IR-101) was restored to flying condition and evaluated. The aircraft was assigned to 3./Le.Lv.6 (3rd Flight / Flying Squadron 6) from August 1942 and from 16.11.1942 it was allocated to 2./Le.Lv.30 for test and evaluation.
None of the captured Finnish Polikarpov I-16 Fighters saw combat with the Finnish Air Force, however tactics were developed during its evaluation phase and applied to Finnish frontline fighter units. The type was withdrawn from use in June 1943 and scrapped after the war. The Finnish nickname for the I-16 was ‘Siipiorava’ or ‘flying squirrel’.
A single two-seat I-16UTI fighter trainer, (code VH-22 until 28.11.4, when it was re-designated UT-1) which was based on the I-16 type 10 was captured in the autumn of 1941. After the spring of 1942 the aircraft was in Le.Lv.48 and from August 1942 it was assigned to T-Le.Lv.35 (Flying Detachment 35). The aircraft was placed in permanent storage in September 1942. This very rare aircraft is on display in the Suomen Ilmailumuseo, Vantaa, Helsinki (The Finnish Aviation Museum in Vantaa) close to Helsinki International Airport. It is the only surviving example in the world.
www.Jagerhobby.com are please to bring you our 1/4 scale Rc model kit of this plucky little barrel Polikarpov I-16