Monday, February 24, 2014

Morane-Saulnier M.S.406

Soloman's airfield 1942.02.22
@SA-photo

In Finnish Service

The M.S.406 had a parallel career in Finland. In February 1940, the first 30 French fighters were allocated to LeLv 28, commanded by Major Jusu. These aircraft received the Finnish designations MS-301 to MS-330. They were used in combat during the Winter War, against the USSR and carried out 259 operational sorties and shot down 16 Soviet aircraft. In modified form, the M.S.406 were later involved in the Continuation War. Between November 1939 and 4 September 1944, Lv28 scored 118 aerial victories flying the Morane M.S.406 (the unit flew Bf 109Gs for a time, as well). The unit lost 15 aircraft. Total Finnish kills were 121. The top Morane ace in all theatres was W/O Urho Lehtovaara, with 15 of his 44.5 total kills achieved in Moranes. The Finnish nicknames were Murjaani (blackmoor), a twist on its name, and M├Ątimaha (roe-belly) and Riippuvatsa (hanging belly) because of its bulged ventral fuselage.