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[–]marinamaralwww.marinamaral.com[S] 268 points269 points  (24 children)

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Hans Henrik "Hasse" Wind was a Finnish fighter pilot and flying ace in World War II, with 75 confirmed air combat victories. Wind started his pilot career in 1938 by volunteering to join a pilot training course. He was a reserve officer in the Winter War (1939-1940), but did not fly due to a lack of available planes. Wind had now decided to embark on a military career, and he finished training as a lieutenant on 17 June 1941.

Transferring to LeLv24 in August 1941, he fought in the Continuation War. He flew a Brewster B239 (the export version of the Brewster Buffalo) from 1941–1943, claiming 39 of his victories in the type. On 22 September 1941, Wind was credited his first kill, a I-15. In August 1942, the squadron was transferred to Römpötti to operate over the eastern Gulf of Finland. On 14 August 1942, Wind shot down two Hurricanes, and four days later a Hurricane and two I-16s. At the end of 1942, his score stood at 14.5 claims. On 5 April 1943, Wind shot down three Il-2s. On 14 April, Wind claimed two Spitfires, and on 21 April two Yak-1s and shared one with fellow ace Sgt Kinnunen. In August 1943, the unit converted to the Messerschmitt Bf 109G.

Wind was awarded his first Mannerheim Cross on 31 July 1943 and his second on 28 June 1944.

He was promoted to captain on 19 October 1943 when he was 24 years old and was removed from front-line duty in order to instruct new fighter pilots. Wind was considered one of the most skillful aerial tacticians in the Finnish Air Force, and Wind's 'Lectures on Fighter Tactics' were written in 1943 and used in the training of new pilots for decades to come.

He returned to the front in February 1944. On 27 May 1944, he scored his first victory with the Bf 109, shooting down two La-5s. A Soviet offensive in the Karelian Isthmus started on 9 June 1944. On 13 June 1944, Capt. Wind led six 109s against a formation of Pe-2 bombers, shooting down four of them. Wind's streak continued in the days that followed; with a P-39 and an IL-2M on 15 June, two Pe-2s and a La-5 the next day, and on 19 June two P-39s (both of the 196 IAP; one flown by Hero of Soviet Union and eventual 29-kill ace Major A. V. Chirkov, who bailed out) and a La-5. On 20 June 1944, Wind added two La-5s, two Yak-9s and a Pe-2. On 22 June, he claimed two Spitfires and a La-5, with two La-5s and two DB-3Fs the next day. On 25 June, he downed three Yak-9s and two Yak-7s.

He was seriously wounded in an aerial battle against some thirty Yak-9s and P-39s on 28 July 1944. Wind shot down one Yak-9 before a 37 mm shell fired by a P-39 exploded against his seat armor. Another shell pierced the armor glass behind his left shoulder, exploding on the instrument panel. Wind was badly wounded in his left arm. He still managed to fly and land at an airfield, even though his plane had been seriously damaged during the attack.

Wind recovered from his wounds but never flew a combat mission again. He finished the war with a total of 302 combat sorties, scoring 75 kills, and is ranked second on the Finnish aces list.

He was married on 26 August 1945, then began his studies at the Helsinki School of Business, having resigned from the Air Force on 10 May 1945.

Wind died on 24 July 1995 and was survived by his wife and five children.


BLUE SWASTIKA: A blue swastika, the ancient symbol of the sun and good luck – was adopted as the insignia of the Finnish Air Force. The white circular background was created when the Finns tried to paint over the advertisement from the Thulin air academy. The swastika was officially taken into use after an order by Commander-in-Chief C. G. E. Mannerheim on 18 March 1918. The FAF changed its aircraft insignia after 1944, due to an Allied Control Commission decree prohibiting Fascist organizations and it resembling the Third Reich's swastika.


[–]KesselZero 101 points102 points  (20 children)

Forgive my absolute ignorance— due to his flying a Messerschmidt and fighting Soviets I would have thought he was flying for the Axis, but the explanation of the blue swastika makes it seem otherwise. Which side was he on?

Great pic either way.

[–]marinamaralwww.marinamaral.com[S] 221 points222 points  (2 children)

Finland participated in the Second World War, twice battling the Soviet Union, and then against Nazi Germany. As relations with the Soviet Union changed during the war, Finland was placed in the unusual situation of being for, then against, then for, the overall interests of the Allied powers.

[–]KesselZero 25 points26 points  (0 children)

Huh! TIL. Thanks!

[–]JustARandomGerman 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Finland was placed in the unusual situation of being for, then against, then for, the overall interests of the Allies

Also known as the Italian turnover.

[–]Gentsus 86 points87 points  (3 children)

Finland itself declared neutrality in the beginning of WW2. One can debate on Finland's alignment, Finland wanted to see itself "in the camp of western powers". Allies and Axis usually saw it as an Axis power as it was in conflict with the USSR (due to disagreements on Finland's position with/in the USSR). Finland maintained relations with such as Nazi Germany and the USA.

The swastika has been used in Finland since at least the iron age.

Most commonly known are the Air Force Command flags among others.

[–]petsku164 19 points20 points  (2 children)

It can also be found on the Mannerheim cross

[–]SpeakerOfThings 8 points9 points  (1 child)

The Nazis really ruined it for everyone, man. Now I can't wear my Swastika pants.

[–]petsku164 6 points7 points  (0 children)

Yeah they ruined a lot for a lot of people.

[–]SeenNiggaSnowBefrore 58 points59 points  (12 children)

The finnish history in the world wars are quite unique. To understand the finnish WW2 history we have to get back to WW1.

In WW1 were Finland in a civil war, the reds versus the Whites. The reds fought for communism and were supported by the soviets and the whites were more western and wanted independence. The whites won the war and thus claimed independence from the soviet union. EDIT: read /u/Tech_Itch's comment below for correction and clarification.

In WW2 the soviets invaded Finland and tried to reclaim the land. Finland were able to fight them off more or less alone during the winter war 1939-1940. But in the continuation war 1941-1944 they had to get backup. They tried to call for help from other western countries, but partly due to their geographical position it was very hard for western countries to send help since in the west were nazy occupied territory, Norway. So Finland was between a rock and a hard place, in the West was nazi germany and in the east was the USSR, the very same enemy that Finland had fought their freedom from just two decades ago.

Finland were forced to choose sides and chose to cooperate with the germans so that they wouldn't have the same fate as the Baltic States and lose their independence. (This cooperation was not liked by the western countries and thus brittain declared war against Finland, although this declaration did not cause any further action.) Finland were more or less successful to fight off the soviets once again, some land was lost but their independence remained and that's what mattered most.

Technically Finland lost the war and agreed to sign a peace treaty on soviet demands. This treaty demanded among other things that the remaining german soldiers were to get out of Finland. However the germans still had plans to retake russian territories in the north so they did not leave voluntarily. This led to the Lapland wars 1944-1945, which ended in finnish victory.

So I guess you could say that in the beginning of the war they tried to be neutral, then wanted to join the allies but were forced to join the axis, but by the end they fought against the axis due to allied demands.

Edit: cleared up the Lapland war segment.

[–]KesselZero 7 points8 points  (0 children)

Fascinating! Thanks so much for the thorough explanation.

[–]Tech_Itch 17 points18 points  (9 children)

In WW1 were Finland in a civil war, the reds versus the Whites. The reds fought for communism and were supported by the soviets and the whites were more western and wanted independence. The whites won the war and thus claimed independence from the soviet union.

Corrections:

  • Both sides wanted an independent Finland. In fact, the future Reds were the ones to make the first major attempt to seize power from the Imperial Russian senate. The attempt failed, which they saw as partly the fault of the future White side. That would contribute to the civil war breaking out later. Just slightly over 20 years after the civil war, both the Reds and the Whites would be fighting the invading Soviets, with just as much motivation.

  • The Red side weren't communists. They were primarily social democrat. Some of the major motivations for the Reds were terrible labor conditions, and the perception that the conservatives were trying to keep them out of the democratic process. SDP had just won a landslide victory in the last election, but conservative meddling resulted in them having only half of the seats in the resulting government.

  • The Red side's proposed constitution was majorly influenced by the US and Swiss constitutions.

The view that the Reds were communists who wanted to join Soviet Russia is a bit of White war propaganda that stuck around after their victory. It of course didn't help the international perception that Russia also had a Red side and a White side, and their Reds actually were communists.

There were many democracy-minded people on the Finnish White side, but they were majorly propped up by Imperial Germany, and many of their decision makers were earlier trying to slow down Finnish independence from Imperial Russia. So as a faction, they weren't exactly some defenders of freedom. There was significant support among them for installing a German-born king, but that idea was dropped after the German Empire fell in WW1.

Both sides ended up doing terrible shit in the war, with the Red government losing control of a large chunk of their army, who then went on to commit attrocities, and the Whites commiting their own in the good old Finnish spirit of competition.

The Whites probably take the 1st prize in shittiness though by being completely terrible winners. After they won, they went on to shoot or starve to death thousands of innocent civilians, and political repression of leftists kept going on until their goon squads made the mistake of kidnapping and threatening a former Finnish president, and the public finally had enough.

[–]SeenNiggaSnowBefrore 5 points6 points  (1 child)

Thank you for clearing it up, apparently my history knowledge is a bit rusty after all.

[–]Tech_Itch 10 points11 points  (0 children)

No problem. Your writeup was otherwise really good, so seeing some well-preserved 100 year old propaganda kind of stuck out.

One minor other thing I also noticed is that while Finland was mostly on its own in the Winter War, we received major material support from Sweden. They were officially neutral, but somehow kept losing their guns and ammo in the forests bordering Finland. Their forgetfulness got so bad that eventually a full third of the Swedish airforce's combat airplane pool was flown in Finland, in Finnish colors and by Finnish pilots.

Sadly, the Finnish public largely seemed to pay in kind by forgetting that the Swedes ever did that for us, but it's luckily gotten more attention recently.

[–]tunsku 1 point2 points  (1 child)

If the reds had won we probably would have joined the USSR eventually like Lenin had anticipated.

[–]Tech_Itch 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Lenin anticipated a lot of things that never happened.

Social democrats didn't exactly love the Bolsheviks. Bolshevik supporters were seriously outnumbered, and the Finnish red troops outnumbered the Soviet troops still stuck in the country by almost 10 to 1.

SDP supporters suddenly starting to love Russian communists seems unlikely as hell too.

So basically, in the early days of the USSR there was no political will to join, and it would become apparent later that they were keen to repress anyone with their own ideas about anything, so joining them became even less likely with each passing day.

The days of shouty communists trying to order people around with varying success happened AFTER we lost the Continuation War. They weren't that prominent before WW2.

[–]HelperBot_ 0 points1 point  (1 child)

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[–]elnato89 0 points1 point  (0 children)

good bot

[–]shoot_dig_hush 0 points1 point  (2 children)

The view that the Reds were communists who wanted to join Soviet Russia is a bit of White war propaganda that stuck around after their victory. It of course didn't help the international perception that Russia also had a Red side and a White side, and their Reds actually were communists.

Seeing as how they were so tightly intertwined with the bolsheviks, no wonder. They even had Russians leading them.

  • The Red Guard attempted a coup d'etat in a red revolution against the legal government.

  • They also fought together with the Russian troops in Finland. Some of the highest leaders in the Red Guard were, in fact, Russians loyal to the bolsheviks.

  • They named their HQ after the bolshevik HQ in St. Petersburg.

  • They executed civilian "bourgeois" in class warfare.

  • The named the red part of the country the Finnish Socialist Workers' Republic. The Red Guard leadership (and the Helsinki Guard) was much, much more radicalized than the SDP majority.

  • In their constitution, private property rights were excluded and given to state and local administration.

Remember also that there's a big gap between what they said and what they did. Social democracy and civil rights sound all fine and dandy, but what we got was class warfare, militant political terror, and mass murder.

That would contribute to the civil war breaking out later.

What a strange way to put it. The civil war didn't "break out" - the Red Guards executed civilians and started a revolution to seize power from the elected government of independent Finland.

[–]Tech_Itch 1 point2 points  (1 child)

Seeing as how they were so tightly intertwined with the bolsheviks, no wonder. They even had Russians leading them.

There were only around 4000 Russians in the Red Guard that was almost a hundred thousand people strong. The most high profile Russian was a military advisor. The chief of staff was an American, on the other hand.

Besides, individual Russians being involved is not an indictment of any kind. The Russian Whites had Russians leading them, after all...

  • The Red Guard attempted a coup d'etat in a red revolution against the legal government.

The Red side had just won a democratic election, but they were prevented from using the power the citizenry wanted them to have. Personally, I'm not convinced that armed insurrection was the only and best course of action, but I can understand why they did it.

  • They named their HQ after the bolshevik HQ in St. Petersburg.

It was a tongue-in-cheek name that stuck. The building's still called Smolna.

  • They executed civilian "bourgeois" in class warfare.

Yes. Those were the attrocities I was talking about earlier. There were varying levels of "kill the rich"-mentality among the Red side.

  • The named the red part of the country the Finnish Socialist Workers' Republic.

It's not like they had marketing specialists on call... Seriously speaking though, back then, those words didn't have the bitter tinge they have now. Worker's revolutions were a relatively new thing.

The Red Guard leadership (and the Helsinki Guard) was much, much more radicalized than the SDP majority.

Yep. The Helsinki Guard were specifically the ones who renamed Smolna.

  • In their constitution, private property rights were excluded and given to state and local administration.

Socialism makes a distinction between private property and private possessions. Property is things like business assets and means of production. Possessions are your clothes, furniture, books and other everyday items you might need. Nobody was going to take away the latter.

Remember also that there's a big gap between what they said and what they did. Social democracy and civil rights sound all fine and dandy, but what we got was class warfare, militant political terror, and mass murder.

Controlling masses of people is horrifically difficult, and the Finnish People's Delegation lost control of large chunks of the Red Guards pretty quickly. That's always a risk with armed uprisings, which makes them generally a questionable idea. It really didn't help either that the Whites decided to respond with more of the same, but twice as hard for good measure.

That would contribute to the civil war breaking out later.

What a strange way to put it.

The neutral way to put it. You just might be one of those people who think that trying to keep some distance when looking at things you yourself weren't part of, and don't necessarily undestand the full motivations of, is "strange".

The civil war didn't "break out"

Of the fucking course it broke out. That's how civil wars start: some party picks up weapons and does what they think the other side deserves. Rightly or wrongly.

[–]shoot_dig_hush 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Besides, individual Russians being involved is not an indictment of any kind. The Russian Whites had Russians leading them, after all...

Of course Russians had Russians leading them, but this is Finland. Russia is the country that occupied Finland and still had troops all around the country so working with the enemy is a crystal clear indictment. Nowadays we have a fuller picture than we had now - but back then the Reds were fighting with the Reds of the country that had put Finland through 100 years of hell.

The Red side had just won a democratic election, but they were prevented from using the power the citizenry wanted them to have.

The Social Democrats lost their majority from the previous election, but is regardless not the same as the Red Guard. The Red Guard were militant fanatics and coup makers, many of whom were SDP members, but SDP isn't at fault for those crimes.

Besides, how did so many social democratic laws come to pass without SDP in power?

Seriously speaking though, back then, those words didn't have the bitter tinge they have now. Worker's revolutions were a relatively new thing.

Uh, not exactly bitter - people were scared as hell. This was spreading like fire through Europe. People were more informed than one would initially think. Newspapers and letters spread the news of bloodbaths and the western governments were ready to act. On the Swedish side, for example, they wanted to intervene and help the legal government, but were afraid this would spark a red revolution in their own country. There's a certain political tension in the air even today that was probably many times stronger back then.

In their constitution, private property rights were excluded and given to state and local administration.

Socialism makes a distinction between private property and private possessions. Property is things like business assets and means of production. Possessions are your clothes, furniture, books and other everyday items you might need. Nobody was going to take away the latter.

And the problem was that they were taking the business assets and means of production and giving it to e.g. the state i.e. the party. This is communism, which was the point.

It really didn't help either that the Whites decided to respond with more of the same, but twice as hard for good measure.

Initial White executions were of those active in implementing the Red Terror. Most White executions during the entire war were done after the war due to trials where coup makers were sentenced to death for treason (~5,700 killed in action vs. ~10,000 executed). Had Mannerheim had it his way, the Reds would have been released much earlier from prison camps so fewer would have died from disease and malnourishment also and the mental scars of the Finnish people could have started healing earlier.

The neutral way to put it.

Or a deliberately attempt to conceal unpleasant or incriminating facts.

[–]thekingestkong 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Very cool. I had a clue about the winter war but didn't know about the bigger picture.

[–]CheekiBreeki221 8 points9 points  (0 children)

The Finnish air force's logo is actually still the swastika :) Just not on planes, but officially it is.

[–]Dressedw1ngs 0 points1 point  (0 children)

How did the Finns corroborate kill claims?

[–]rocketman0739 0 points1 point  (0 children)

He shot down Spitfires in a Buffalo? How humiliating for them!

[–]marinamaralwww.marinamaral.com[S] 66 points67 points  (2 children)

My book in collaboration with historian Dan Jones will be out in just a few weeks, so please consider pre-ordering it if you can. That's the best way to support my work. Thank you!

[–]Karlaws 7 points8 points  (1 child)

Is it good? And is it going to be available in ebook and audio formats?

[–]marinamaralwww.marinamaral.com[S] 13 points14 points  (0 children)

It’s a fantastic book. :)

[–]FakeOyen 53 points54 points  (46 children)

Is that the normal finnish airforce uniform? Must be the most casual looking wartime garb ive ever laid eyes on.

[–]Roope_Rankka 21 points22 points  (1 child)

r/finlandconspiracy Isnt funny anymore, go home

[–]ogville 6 points7 points  (0 children)

No vittu asiaa saatana

[–]BOUNCINGcharlie 43 points44 points  (0 children)

This is probably the best sub Reddit I joined. Thank you

[–]SquonkHerder[🍰] 10 points11 points  (1 child)

Fly, Hans...fly like the Wind. Or, just a Wind.

[–]lookrightlookleft 17 points18 points  (13 children)

Also impressive he had 39 victories in a Brewster Buffalo.

[–]PilotlessOwl 9 points10 points  (4 children)

Even more impressive that he shot down Spitfires with a Brewster Buffalo.

[–][deleted] 12 points13 points  (3 children)

Well, in fairness the export Buffalo was better than what the US Navy had. Even though it had a weaker engine the lack of naval gear (arresting hook, lifeboat etc) made it considerably lighter. Plus the Finnish climate was far kinder to it than the Pacific.

[–]lookrightlookleft 4 points5 points  (2 children)

Marginally better sure - but Brewster was out of their league as a designer and builder before the war even began (their only other adopted design, the Buccaneer was also terrible).

I think it’s a testament to the Finns making what little they had work - not any virtue of their aircraft.

[–][deleted] 6 points7 points  (1 child)

My apologies if the post came across as dismissive of the Finns. Certainly a large part of their success was due to their skill, after all they developed tactics that the Soviets were unable to counter. I was only saying that the aircraft was better than what the Americans recieved; it was more of a match for the Lavochkins and Yaks than it's performance in the Pacific would suggest.

[–]lookrightlookleft 4 points5 points  (0 children)

No apologies needed! Sorry if my response came across as combative.

[–]badbits 9 points10 points  (7 children)

The fins were competent pilots and the russians were conscripts with just basic flight training.

[–]Unicorn_Ranger 28 points29 points  (6 children)

What’s up with the blue swastika?

[–]nygrd 83 points84 points  (4 children)

From /u/marinamaral's comment:

BLUE SWASTIKA: A blue swastika, the ancient symbol of the sun and good luck – was adopted as the insignia of the Finnish Air Force. The white circular background was created when the Finns tried to paint over the advertisement from the Thulin air academy. The swastika was officially taken into use after an order by Commander-in-Chief C. G. E. Mannerheim on 18 March 1918. The FAF changed its aircraft insignia after 1944, due to an Allied Control Commission decree prohibiting Fascist organizations and it resembling the Third Reich's swastika.


One of he Finnish Air Force's first airplanes was gifted by the Swedish count Eric von Rosén, whose personal lucky charm, the swastika, was painted on the aircraft, hence the decision by Mannerheim.

[–]ohitsasnaake 49 points50 points  (3 children)

Also notable is that the Finnish Air Force's use of the symbol predated not just Nazi Germany using it, but the existence of Nazi Germany and even the Nazi party, as Hitler didn't found it immediately in 1918 after WWI...

[–]Hussor 29 points30 points  (2 children)

The symbol was used all over europe for centuries, real shame that it's now assosciated with nazism because it's a p nice shape.

[–]Tech_Itch 7 points8 points  (0 children)

To expand on /u/nygrd's and /u/marinamaral's comments, the blue swastika was originally the family crest of the guy who donated the first airplane for the Finnish airforce. That was long before the Nazis were a major thing, and swastika were everywhere as symbols of good luck, so the airforce saw nothing strange in adopting it as their symbol.

Ironically, the guy who donated the plane apparently DID become a Nazi later in his life, but nobody could have known at that point.

[–]SeasofCheeseburgers 7 points8 points  (0 children)

Oleg Maddox the flight simulator guru made a great sim called "il-2" which has an expansion where you fly a buffalo - which is just a stripped down obsolete model of the us pacific war carrier aircraft.

The Sim is super detailed - you control pitch and fuel mix and even keep positive g bc it lacks fuel injection.

Buffalo is a fun little plane

[–]bfbabine 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Color on the B-239 is perfect. Excellent job.

[–]imcream 3 points4 points  (0 children)

the secret is knowing when to retire

[–]adeluca72 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I've always wanted to fly like the Wind.

[–]cbigloud 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Man. The Buffalo was NOT the most nimble fighter either Old school design against the newer ones that came out of war

Props to a brother

[–]lNeverFalterl 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Great photo!

[–]nurks7890 1 point2 points  (0 children)

His name fits him perfectly.

[–]cosmic_vagabonde 4 points5 points  (0 children)

The Nazis stole his eyebrows.

[–]cjones97 0 points1 point  (2 children)

What’s the insignia on the front of the plane? I’ve seen it on so many different Finnish aircraft.

[–]WhatImKnownAs 1 point2 points  (0 children)

That's a black lynx, the emblem of his unit, Lentolaivue 24 (LeLv24).

[–]GingerWookie95 0 points1 point  (1 child)

Did the brits gift aircraft to the USSR? I don’t recall us ever being hostile with them.

[–]tunsku 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Britain sent airplanes to the USSR via the lend lease program. Britain also declared war on Finland in the continuation war.

[–]2PercentSkimMilk 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Can you colour a picture of Franz Stigler next? He had a book written about him called A Higher Call.

[–]nosoup4yew 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Brianne of Tarth?

[–]Teddylina -1 points0 points  (0 children)

Hans wind? *giggles in danish"