Publication Date: June 25, 2001
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Finland's premier fighter squadron during World War 2, Lentolaivue 24 (Flying Squadron 24) first saw action during the bloody Winter War of 1939-40, when the Soviet Red Army launched a surprise attack on the small Scandinavian country - the squadron enjoyed great success against numerically superior opposition. LLv 24 was once again in the thick of the action following the outbreak of the Continuation War in June 1941. Easily the air force's most successful fighter unit, LLv 24 claimed 877 kills, and its pilots won five direct and two indirect Mannerheim Crosses (Finland¹s highest military award) out of a total of 19 presented to all Finnish soldiers. Most top aces also scored the bulk of their kills flying with this unit.
Kari Stenman is undoubtedly the most knowledgeable authority on the Finnish Air Force in World War 2, having written over a dozen books on the subject since the late 1960s. The co-author of the successful Aircraft of the Aces volume on Finnish fighter pilots, he runs his own publishing company in Finland. Kalevi Keskinnen is an expert on Finnish aviation of World War 2. He works full time as an aviation author and lives in Finland.