Jorma Sarvanto and six kills in four minutes

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a finn

Jun 2, 2004
Message was received at 11:50 - '7 bombers flying south following the northern railway!'. The pilots from 4./Sqn 24 (Lentolaivue - Fighter Squadron) climbed in their fighters, warmed up the engines and turned their radios on. Lieutenant Jorma Sarvanto listened to the radio traffic, soon he and his wingman (constituting one patrol) were ordered to take off. After take off the wingman found that he had an engine problem (snow had clogged the engine air intake during take off) and he had to return. Lt. Sarvanto continued alone at the optimum rate of climb, direction North to meet the enemy.

The second patrol took off after noticing that Lieutenant Sarvanto had to go alone, but Sarvanto had a good head start. Now the clouds had disappeared from the sky at Utti, and Sarvanto discovered the handsome formation of DB bomber bellies lit by dim sun shining through the haze. He counted seven silver coloured DB-3 bombers. To the left - a wedge of three, to the right - four abreast, all no farther than one plane length from each other. There was no fighter escort.

Sarvanto continued climbing, turning right to south. For a moment he was within the range and sector of the bomber nose gunners, but remained unnoticed due to sun glare. When he was at the same altitude of 3000 m with the bombers, he was about 500m behind them. Sarvanto pursued the enemy at full power. He decided to attack the leftmost wing bomber, although the third from left was closest to him, to avoid getting into cross-fire from the rear gunners. At a distance of 300 m his plane vibrated unpleasantly - he had flown in a bomber gunner MG salvo.

The fighter pilot kept on approaching the bombers. At a distance of 20 (twenty) meters he aimed at the fuselage of his victim, the left wing bomber, and pressed the trigger briefly. The tracers hit the target. Next, he shifted his aim at the rear gunner of the tail bomber, and shot him. Lt. Sarvanto then carefully aimed at the right engine of the first bomber and fired a brief burst. The bomber's engine caught fire. He repeated the same maneuver at the tail bomber with similar result. Two burning DB-3 bombers were leaving the formation.

Jorma Sarvanto cheered aloud and attacked the right wing of the formation while the bomber rear gunners blazed at his Fokker. He fired at each engine of the nearest bomber, making them smoke and forcing the bomber to leave the formation. Then he engaged the other bombers at a very close range. Each victim caught fire after two to three brief bursts of MG fire. Sarvanto glanced back - the smoking bomber was now in flames and diving to the ground.

Now Sarvanto decided to destroy every aircraft of the DB-3 formation. Some burning bombers made a slow half-roll before diving down, another pulled up before diving down. All the time they were flying south, the sun shone red through the haze low in southern horizon unless dimmed by smoke from a burning enemy plane.

Bomber no.6 was much more resistant to his bullets. The Fokker wing guns were out of ammo by now, but finally the DB-3 caught fire, and Finnish pilot could engage the last bomber. He had already eliminated the rear gunner, so he could fly close to the target. He aimed at one engine and pressed the trigger. Not a single shot. Sarvanto pulled the loading lever and retried shooting, but again in vain. He had spent his ammunition. There was nothing to do but leave the bomber alone and return to the base.

Columns of black smoke hung in the air and burning bomber wrecks could be seen on the ground. Sarvanto checked his instruments, there was no damage to vital parts, but his radio was dead and the Fokker's wings resembled Swiss cheese. When preparing for landing he found that the hydraulic pump for the landing flaps did not work, but he landed successfully despite that.

Lt. Sarvanto felt very satisfied as he parked his Fokker, but he did not quite get out of the cockpit before his cheering ground crew grabbed him and threw him in the air. The flight lasted 25 minutes and the actual battle around four minutes, during which he shot down 6 DB-3 bombers belonging to the 6th DBAP of the Soviet Air Force.

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