Jorma Sarvanto

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Jorma Sarvanto
Sarvanto.jpg
Nickname(s) Zamba
Born 22 February 1912
Turku
Died 16 October 1963
Inkeroinen
Service/branch Air Force
Years of service 1937-1960
Rank Lt.Col.

Jorma Kalevi Sarvanto (22 August 1912 – 16 October 1963) was a Finnish Air Force pilot and the foremost Finnish fighter ace of the Winter War.

Early life[edit]

Sarvanto was born and raised in Turku, Finland. He attended high school in Turku and graduated in 1933.[1] He was first admitted to the Pori Infantry Regiment, but decided to apply when the Finnish Air Force sent out a notice that they would select officer trainees. He was admitted and sent to the Reserve Officer Pilot Course number 4 at the Kauhava Air Base. He knew he had come to the right place. He completed his reserve officer training in 1934 and was unemployed for a while due to the Great Depression. He decided to apply to the Cadet School, Air Warfare Section where he wanted to become a cadre (professional) officer, and he was admitted in autumn 1934. In May 1937 his training was completed.

Sarvanto was at first sent to Lentoasema 1 (Air Base One) at Utti and later to Lentorykmentti 4 (Flight Regiment 4), which was a bomber squadron. He had wished to fly fighters and requested a transfer to Fighter Squadron 24, which was granted. He started to fly Fokker D.XXIs there in 1937. He excelled in the firing tests, with a hit average of 92%.[2]

War service[edit]

Fokker D XXI planes in the Finnish Air Force during World War II.
An Ilyushin DB-3M in Finnish markings
Sarvanto holding a piece of a rudder from one of the downed aircraft.

On 30 November 1939 the Winter War erupted and Finland was at war with the Soviet Union. He saw his first battle on 19 December and his first two victories came on 23 December 1939.

On 6 January 1940 Sarvanto took part in an airfight with a group of 8 Soviet Ilyushin DB-3s. One of the Soviet bombers was shot down by another Finnish pilot, lieutenant Per-Erik Sovelius, who had first encountered them while on patrol and who then radioed their position to the Utti Air Force Base, from where Sarvanto and others started to join the fight. In the ensuing encounter, Sarvanto managed to shoot down six of the enemy aircraft in quick sequence.[3]

This incident drew a lot of attention worldwide, and the press considered it a world record. Most of the major Western newspapers published a photo of lieutenant Sarvanto holding a large sheet of aluminum with a big "5" on it, a trophy from one of the victims.[4]

Sarvanto was to become the top scoring Finnish ace of the Winter War with 13 victories. During the Continuation War he downed four more aircraft with Brewster Buffaloes, bringing his total score to 17. He flew a total of 255 combat missions during World War II.[5]

In 1941 he was appointed captain and he was given different staff positions, e.g. as a liaison officer with the German Luftflotte 1, as the commander of LeLv 24's 2nd division and later as the commander of TLeLv 35.[6]

After the war[edit]

Sarvanto would continue his military career, which led him to become the commander of the Flight School in Kauhava. In 1954 he became Finnish military attaché in London, a position he held for 3½ years before returning to his position at the Flight School. Sarvanto resigned from the air force in 1960, with the rank of lieutenant colonel.

Sarvanto had married before the war and had four children. He would work as the CEO of a bank until his death on 16 October 1963.

Sarvanto's grandsons include American champion bagpipe player Jori Chisholm and American political consultant Kari Chisholm.

Aerial victories[edit]

A Tupolev SB
Number Date Place Own aircraft Enemy aircraft Enemy regiment
1 Dec 23, 1939 Noskuanselkä FR-97 SB 44.SBAP
2 Dec 23, 1939 Noisniemi FR-97 SB 44.SBAP
3 Jan 6, 1940 Utti-Tavastila FR-97 DB-3 6.DBAP
4 Jan 6, 1940 Utti-Tavastila FR-97 DB-3 6.DBAP
5 Jan 6, 1940 Utti-Tavastila FR-97 DB-3 6.DBAP
6 Jan 6, 1940 Utti-Tavastila FR-97 DB-3 6.DBAP
7 Jan 6, 1940 Utti-Tavastila FR-97 DB-3 6.DBAP
8 Jan 6, 1940 Utti-Tavastila FR-97 DB-3 6.DBAP
9 Jan 17, 1940 Heinjoki FR-99 SB 54.SBAP
10 Feb 3, 1940 Nuijamaa FR-80 DB-3 42.DBAP
11 Feb 15, 1940 Vyborg FR-80 DB-3 42.DBAP
12 Feb 18, 1940 Simola FR-100 DB-3 1.AP KPF
13 Feb 19, 1940 Vyborg FR-100 DB-3 21.DBAP
14 Jun 25, 1941 Utti BW-357 SB 201.SBAP
15 Jun 29, 1941 Utti BW-357 Pe-2 58.SBAP
16 Apr 21, 1943 Gulf of Finland BW-373 La-5 4.GIAP KBF
17 May 9, 1943 Gulf of Finland BW-357 Yak-7 ?

[7]

Honors[edit]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Sarvanto, Jorma: Havittajalentajana Karjalan Taivaalla, 2nd Edition, 1989, front cover flap
  2. ^ Sarvanto, Jorma: Stridsflygare under Karelens himmel, pp. 157-159
  3. ^ Keskinen, Kalevi & Stenman, Kari: Ilmavoitot Osa 2/Aerial Victories Part 2, p. 48 - 49, 54.
  4. ^ Appel, Erik: Finland i krig, p. 201
  5. ^ Stenman, Kari: Hävittäjä-Ässät
  6. ^ Sarvanto, Jorma: Stridsflygare under Karelens himmel, pp. 160-162
  7. ^ Sarvanto, Jorma: Stridsflygare under Karelens himmel, p. 202

  • Appel, Erik et al. (2001). Finland i krig 1939-1940 - första delen (in Swedish). Espoo, Finland: Schildts förlag Ab. p. 261. ISBN 951-50-1182-5. 
  • Sarvanto, Jorma (2005). Stridsflygare under Karelens himmel (in Swedish). Luleå, Sweden: Luleå Grafiska. p. 213. ISBN 91-975315-4-5. 
  • Stenman, Kari and Keskinen, Kalevi (1998). Aircraft of the Aces 23 - Finnish Aces of World War 2. Osprey Publishing. ISBN 1-85532-783-X. 
  • Stenman, Kari, Keskinen, Kalevi and Niska, Klaus (1994). Hävittäjä-Ässät - Suomen Ilmavoimien Historia 11 (in Finnish/English). Apali. ISBN 952-5026-00-0. 
  • Keskinen, Kalevi and Stenman, Kari (2006). Ilmavoitot Osa 2/Aerial Victories Part 2 - Suomen Ilmavoimien Historia 27 (in Finnish/English). Kari Stenman. ISBN 952-99432-9-6.