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Lentolaivue 24 Kari Stenman Osprey Publishing First edition

7th July 2013 History Books 12 Comments

Looking at elite fighter and bomber units in action, these books draw on profile artworks, black and white photographs, fully detailed appendices and breathtaking first hand accounts.

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.

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 (Finlands 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.

Lentolaivue 24 (Osprey Aviation Elite 4)

Brewster F2A Buffalo Aces of World War 2

“This book is a must-have for the aviation historian and military analyst to understand how this much-overlooked aircraft impacted aerial combat during World War 2. Modelers will also enjoy the history, photography and color profiles to replicate the mounts of these aces. This title is recommended!” -Michael Benolkin, Cyber Modeler / (February 2010)

“This book covers it all, starting with its use by Finland during WW2, then moving on to Malaya, Burma and its final US use at Midway. Included in this are super period photos of the men and planes as well as the expected center section of full color profiles by Chris Davey and a couple of color photographs. There is also the usual table of pilots of various nations that achieved ace or near ace status flying the aircraft. In all, it makes for a great read and a super reference book. It is one that I have no trouble highly recommending to you.” -Scott Van Aken, Modeling Madness / (February 2010)

“I found this book to be very interesting, and very comprehensive. As an example, in the Far East chapters, the authors were able to correlate Allied kills with Japanese pilots shot down. In addition, the pilot recounts of their actions were highly regarded, as we are close to having lost most those people to age related demise, so to work those into the “story” of the Brewster was greatly appreciated.” -Kevin Iutzeler, IPMS (March 2010)

“Kari Stenman and Andrew Thomas’ BREWSTER F2A BUFFALO ACES OF WORLD WAR 2 joins others in Osprey’s ‘Aircraft of the Aces’ series I offering a comprehensive survey of the pilots and missions of the F2A aircraft …Military libraries strong in equipment history will find this a welcome addition.” -The Midwest Book Review (April 2010)

Entering service with the US Navy as a carrier-borne fighter, the Brewster F2A, later named Buffalo by the British and simply the Brewster by the Finns, saw relatively little service with its own nation. Indeed, it was to see action on just one occasion in US colors: the engagement off Midway by USMC F2As saw a number of Japanese carrier aircraft shot down, including two by future ace Col Charles M Kunz.

The F2A was also ordered for the RAF in 1939, and although it soon became apparent that the type was not suitable for use against the mighty Luftwaffe over Western Europe, the Buffalo was seen as a suitable type for use in the Far East. It was sent en-masse to equip new squadrons of the RAF, RAAF and RNZAF formed for the defence of Malaya and Singapore.

Despite the many inadequacies exposed after the Japenese invasion, the Commonwealth units fought gallantly against the odds and with poor logistical backup and ultimately made many claims. Indeed no fewer than nine pilots either became aces on the type or increased their scores to achieve acedom, and a further fifteen aces flew them in action. Moreover, the leading Buffalo ace went on to become the most successful Commonwealth pilot against the Japanese of the entire war.

It was in Finland, however, where the Brewster found undying fame and proved itself a real thorn in the side of the Soviets. Operating in primitive conditions and against superior numbers, Finnish Brewster 239 pilots racked up an incredible score against the Red Air Force. Overall, some 37 Finnish pilots became aces when flying the Brewster 239. The tubby Brewster was very much the fighter of choice for the leading Finnish pilots until the advent of large numbers of Messerschmitt Bf 109s in 1943.

Brewster F2A Buffalo Aces of World War 2 (Aircraft of the Aces)

  • 12 responses to "Lentolaivue 24 Kari Stenman Osprey Publishing First edition"

  • Burned Before
    5:39 on July 7th, 2013
    Reply to comment

    This new entry in the Osprey series of military-aviation books is of special interest to fans of the infamous Brewster Buffalo, which fared so poorly in the hands of Allied pilots, but which the Finns used to tear great holes in the Russian air force. All the admirable Osprey touches: nice cover action painting, color side-views inside (of Fokkers and Messerschmitts as well as Brewsters), and hundreds of photos of men and planes at the front. The text is tough slogging on a first reading, especially for those who don’t know something about the Continuation War, as the Finns called their second bout with the Soviet Union.

  • CharlesJ
    5:51 on July 7th, 2013
    Reply to comment

    This book is a MUST if you are interested in the air war component of the Russo-Finnish War of 1939-40 and the subsequent Continuation War (known to the rest of us as WW2). Like all Osprey Books, its heavy on the pictures and adequate on the text – and at 128 pages overall in a large format, theres plenty of content. And the pictures are superb as always – approx. 136 B&W photos and 11 pages of colour plates as well as a beautiful color painting on the cover. The authors and illustrator have done a superb job with this one. Theres also a very good map of Finland with all the airbases marked – this really helped me as I could refer back to it while reading to find out where the bases were as they were mentioned/

    Lentolaivue 24 started the Winter War flying Fokker XX1s, transitioned to Brewster Buffaloes, which they put to extremely good use in the Continuation War, and subsequently flew Me109s as the war came to a crescendo. The colour plates and photos cover these aircraft in detail as well as a number of other aircraft involved in the fighting, including a number of Soviet and German types. The text is good, but focuses heavily on the squadron actions and assumes some knowledge of the War itself. The ratio of 877 kills to 29 pilots lost over the course of the war speaks for the quality, skill and training of the Finnish Pilots – I doubt theres any other fighter squadron in WW2 that could match that.

    Read this book in conjunction with Fighter Over Finland by Eino Luukkanen, a pilot in the squadron and Finlands 3rd ranking ace of the Wars, as well as Ospreys Finnish Aces of Word War 2. Each book complements the other. If you want a book to flesh out your knowledge of the war in general, read Trotters A Frozen Hell. A real eye-opener.

    Table of Contents
    Chapter One – Humble Beginnings
    Chapter Two – Winter War
    Chapter Three – Finnish Offensive
    Chapter Four – Stationary War
    Chapter Five – Soviet Offensive

    And an incidental note, Lentolivue 24 is still in existence within the Finnish Airforce and now flies Hornets.

  • SEO Marketer
    8:32 on July 7th, 2013
    Reply to comment

    This book relates the concise career of a plane that did not reach the heights of technological superiority of other WWII aircraft. It was no Spitfire, Zero or FW190. However, its kills to loss ratio is amazing. The question then arises of why was it so succesful? This book narrates the bravery of pilots struggling against superior numbers and technology and making a difference against tyranny. They were not part of the doctrine of heroic ‘Knights of the Air’. They achieved something far more important and as such they deserve our thanks. The book also begs the question of why were Soviet pilots so ineffectual?

    This is not just a book with pretty pictures but allows the reader to ponder about the balance between technological advanced weapons and the ability and courage of the people using them. Hey, I enjoyed this book but it was an unpleasant experience for those involved.

  • Nick Sanders
    14:52 on July 7th, 2013
    Reply to comment

    Dear fellow reader and buyer, this book delivers and is another fine job proves that Osprey is an excellent military book publisher. You will not be unhappy with this purchase.
    The book covers the development of the Brewster, it’s operational life with the RAF, Dutch, USN and the Finnish AF. It’s a pretty well known fact the Finnish did a fantastic job flying the Brewster. This book give good reasons for the fact. First, the Finns were able to beat LaGGs and Spitfires with it and that is no mean feat. It comes down to training and – simply – the pilots who received the Buffalos had already seen combat with Fokker or other mid-1930s designs. Conversely, lets take the US Marines who flew the -3 Buffalo. The problems with the Brewster in Marine service was the -3 was far too heavy. Indeed, the -2 Buffalo was nearly as good as the Japanese “Nate” fighter (both were underpowered) but the -3 was overloaded with armor and extra gear. Ergo, the Marines at Midway had a slower and less maneuverable aircraft than what the Finns flew against the Russians. Second, the US Marines at Midway were not as well trained as the Finnish Air Force pilots. Indeed, most of the Marines had been flying for hardly less than half a year and their time in the Brewster was less than one week. Still, the -3 aircraft was so underpowered that it’s doubtful a good pilots would have done well against the Zero.

    This book is necessary if a person is going to build a scale model of the Brewster Buffalo. The color plates are second to none and the author and his artist really do a good job showing the colors of the Brewster in British, Dutch, and American service. Weirdly, I didn’t see in the book where an explanation is given for the half black/half grey paint job on the bottom of some of the British Brewsters. But I will not knock off a star for that mistake.

    I liked this book. This gives a casual WWII historian a good snap shot into the workings of an aircraft that has a worse than deserved reputation for a WWII fighter.

    One British pilot summed up the whole problem with the Buffalo, “it needed more power.” If a better engine had been put on the Buffalo it would have been the equal of any of the F4F models. But by mid-1942 the usefulness of the Buffalo had long since passed and it was regulated to training in US service and none saw the end of WWII.

    The book is quite enjoyable and you’ll like it.

  • Cereal Ent
    21:10 on July 7th, 2013
    Reply to comment

    Kari Stenman and Andrew Thomas’ BREWSTER F2A BUFFALO ACES OF WORLD WAR 2 joins others in Osprey’s ‘Aircraft of the Aces’ series I offering a comprehensive survey of the pilots and missions of the F2A aircraft. The Finns flew ‘The Brewster’ against invading Russians and achieved ace status flying it – and it became the Finnish fighter of choice until it was replaced in 1943. Military libraries strong in equipment history will find this a welcome addition.

  • Simon Oldmann
    2:51 on July 8th, 2013
    Reply to comment

    This book is very interesting, and goes into great detail regarding the Brewster. It’s good to gain such comprehensive history, if it lacks for anything, and it’s not a significant lack, it’s perhaps some photos of the types the Brewster was pitted against. It seems like the publishers have decided against showing opposing types, though we constantly read about them. I for one would like at least one photo of each included, which would make it easier to clearly picture the situations being described in the text.

  • privacy
    13:32 on July 8th, 2013
    Reply to comment

    The book is nothing short of excellent.

    Kari Stenman has done a number of superb books in the series and his knowledge of the Finnish Air Force pilots, aircraft, records is unmatched. His collection on the Finnish Air Force is a model for historians of other countries.

    This book covers the development and early deployment of the Brewster Buffalo, from concept to winning a competition against what became its replacement, the USN/USMC F4F Wildcat. Of interest to the curious was the proposal that the Buffalo equip the RAF Eagle Squadrons and the flight results and then the recommendations that led to the assignment of the equipment the Far East with some strays assigned to the FAA.

    After explaining the development and sales of the Buffalo overseas, the authors smoothly transition to the performance of Buffaloes in Finnish Service. Their record there, flying mostly with LeLv 24 (an earlier book in the Aces Series) was remarkable, amassing a victory ratio with that squadron of 459 aircraft shot down, for 15 combat losses. Outnumbered, and flying against increasing superior quality aircraft (Russian and Lend-lease) the Finns showed what could be done with the aircraft and superb tactics and training. They kept the most of the 44 aircraft they received operational under constant combat conditions for three years while cut of from parts and replacements, a feat in itself.

    The authors then cover RAAF/RAF/Dutch use of the Buffalo in the Far East, and the fighting retreat they had against the Japanese. Many good anecdotes are included that are not commonly found in histories of the kind. Backgrounds on the aces (and pilots who were or would become aces) are integrated into the book (some other books have profiles at the end).

    Having covered the retreats from Malaya, Java, and Burma, the authors return to Buffalos ending up in the hands of VMF-221 on Midway Island, attacking Japanese planes attempting to survey the island, and later and famously attacking the large carrier based strike launched by the Japanese as part of the Battle of MIdway. The very high losses sustained and the comments of one of the pilots, “It is my belief that any commander who orders pilots out for combat in a F2A-3 (Buffalo) should consider the pilot lost before leaving the ground”. This was widely quoted and is one of the reason the Buffalo is often on various Worst Fighters Lists.

    The book then returns to the end of the Buffalo, as a USN trainer, and its finale, shooting down German aircraft in the brief Finnish-German conflict in 1944 after the Finns had signed a peace treaty with the USSR. It scored the final Finnish (or any Buffalo) victory of the war.

    The book also includes a number of excellent plates listing of aces and famous pilots who flew the Buffalo.

    The book is balanced, not claiming the Buffalo was terrible or great, but pointing out some good qualities, and shortcomings. Given its small numbers and isolation from parts and supplies, and age (fighting against much newer, modern aircraft) its Finnish record is remarkable.

    Referenced, and not to be forgotten, the Finnish Buffalo was much, much lighter than the USMC/RAAF/RAF/Dutch Buffalos and having flown fighters heavily laden and light in the same version, this plus the veteran quality of the Finns may account for its spotty record across different nations.

  • Satish
    20:11 on July 8th, 2013
    Reply to comment

    On thing that bothers me about the Ospery series is that they do not have specifications and performance figures for the aircraft the aces flew. The Buffalo was a much maligned fighter flown by several nations with the Finns having much success with it. The reasons for why the Finns were so successful while the British and Dutch were not is possibly because of the opposition they encountered. Were the Russians less skillful than the Japanese and did the Japanese have superior aircraft? But the Finns used it throughout much of the war with great success and had an outstanding kill ratio. The book is well documented with considerable attention given to the individuals who flew the Buffalo. It is a typical Ospery book. Well written and researched. It is interesting to wonder what success the Buffalo would have had with a more powerful engine.

  • Nita Barbour
    2:34 on July 9th, 2013
    Reply to comment

    Being a VVS fan and having nearly all books on the subject that Osprey publishes, I have branched out to other books which may touch on Soviet encounters during the Great Patriotic War. This book is a perfect addition to my library and longer than the “Aces” series at 128 pages. I like the authors histories which provide a brief and concise picture of the Finnish political and military situation during this period. Not enough to write a dissertation but enough to not get glassy eyed! Of particular surprise for me was the lack of airplanes the Finns had at the beginning of the war and the extraodinary airmanship which saw only 29 pilots killed over the course of the war after claiming 877 victories (according to the authors)! I particularly liked the pilot stories and Soviet pictures and comments, some facts being new to this reader of VVS. The book has a lot of coverage on the D.XXI and B-239 (and other older types such as the Gloster Gamecock and Moth!) and starting on page 93(after 40 color plates and 4 emblem depictions of aircraft and squadrons)the book details the Soviet Offensive and primarily Bf109 ops. Also provided is a most welcome map of the region that shows bases so you can actually see where they are talking about in the text, bravo! A MUST have for Buffalo modelling fans as there are several interesting camouflages and actual top 3/4 view photos perfect for accurate modelling of the Finn planes; who knew they flew the Buff in silver dope until 1941 before finally camouflaging them!.. The Finns actually coated their planes in winter whitewash made of chalk and glue! Excellent book, so interesting and most pictures are sharp and clear and depict varied scenes of interest. Highly recommended even for VVS fans-some pics I’ve never seen! Buy it and read it. You will be amazed by the Finns tenacity!

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