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Eastern Front 1941 Pt.4: VL Pöllö

Started by comrade harps, October 05, 2016, 04:20:01 AM

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comrade harps

Valtion lentokonetehdas (VL_ Pöllö III
a/c 6, MG-47, 1. Lentue/Lentolaivue 44 (2./LeLv.44 ),  lmavoimat, Mikkeli, 23 October 1941

As it had done with the Ar 95 floatplane, Arado offered a landplane version of the Ar 196 floatplane to export customers. Dubbed the Ar 196L, this aircraft featured a fixed undercarriage and was marketed to potential customers at the 1938 Paris Air Show as being capable of accepting a variety of foreign powerplants and weapons.

Finland purchased six Ar 196A-1s and a production licence for the Ar 196L in October, 1939. However, VL had to substantially adapt the design to meet stringent Finnish requirements on the limited use of strategic metals. This resulted in shorter-span mainplanes and new horizontal tailplanes built of wood, replacing the original all-metal long-span wings. The mainplanes were so simplified in their design that any wing-mounted guns had to be carried in pods or gondolas. To simplify production further the Pöllö exchanged the Arado designed fixed undercarriage for ones based on the Fiat CR.42 (15 of which were imported during the Winter War) and also used on the CR.42 derived VL Näätä . The March 1940 cancellation of the VL Kettu twin-Taurus II powered bomber made the 64 survivors of the imported Bristol engines available for the Pöllö; the Finns had originally intended on using locally produced Bristol Mercury engines for the Pöllö, but the higher-powered Taurus II was taken advantage of to increase the Pöllö's performance and capabilities.

Despite these changes the work of designing and testing the revised aircraft was almost trouble-free and the first Pöllö I prototype was flown in October 1940. The Pöllö I was armed with one MG 17 fixed in the starboard forward fuselage and a MG 15 for the rear gunner, plus and two 12.7mm Lkk/42 VKT machine guns mounted under the wing. It could carry up to 400kg of bombs on centreline and under-wing hardpoints.  After 2 prtototypes and 3 pre-series Pöllö Is, production switched to the Pöllö II, which featured numerous refinements and replaced the fuselage-mounted MG 17 with a fifth Lkk/42 VKT. 30 Pöllö IIs were delivered between February and July 1941, these being followed by the definitive Pöllö III which entered service with the lmavoimat in September. The underwing machine guns were replaced by imported 20mm MG 151/20 cannon on the Pöllö III and the centreline hardpoint could be fitted with a streamlined, semi-conformal twin mounting for 50kg bombs or a standard hardpoint for a single 250 kg bomb. Most of the Pöllö IIs were brought up to III standard as they went through major overhauls.

This aircraft, serial MG-47, was delivered factory-fresh to 2./LeLv.44 on 21 October, 1941, and is seen here as photographed before its first combat sortie on the 23rd armed with six SC 50 bombs. This was a common load, the alternative of one SC 250 and four SC 50s being infrequently used as there was a shortage of the bigger weapons. Assigned to a bomber unit, the LeLLv.44 Pöllös were used for close air support, armed reconnaissance, daylight low-altitude battlefield area interdiction strikes and night harassment bombing missions.

Before receiving the Pöllö, LeLv.44 had been equipped with a mix of locally built Blenheims and PZL P.37s (whose crews had fled the invasions of Poland in September 1939). As the Pöllö III entered the unit the surviving P.37s were concentrated in LeLv.41 and LeLv.44 operated a mix of Blenheims and Pöllö III until July 1943, when both types were replaced by imported He-111H-20s.

VL built 50 Pöllös by December, 1941, the type being replaced the production line by the less powerful, but mostly wooden, VL Näätä light fighter/bomber powered by imported Italian Fiat A.74 engines. On the surface this appears to be a retrograde step, but metals were in short supply and the 57 Näätäs served their purpose. Once Pöllö production was complete what little metal was available for Finland's aircraft production went to VL's two other main products; a further 41 (of 67) of the mostly all-metal Pyörremyrsky fighter that used Swedish-built, 1,200hp R-1830-S3C4-G engines and 26 (of 55) Blenheims powered by the locally manufactured Bristol Mercury. 


comrade harps

More than just Eastern Front Pt.4, this model is the first in a paired (mostly) Airfix kitbash. Let's see who can guess where the wings come from. Find the answer to that and you'll know what fuselage the other half of the kitbash is based on.


Kit's Rule 1 ) Any aircraft can be improved by fitting longer wings, and/or a longer fuselage
Kit's Rule 2) The backstory can always be changed to suit the model

...and I'm not a closeted 'Take That' fan, I'm a REAL fan! :)


comrade harps

Quote from: PR19_Kit on October 05, 2016, 04:27:16 AM
A Kingfisher?

Too easy! Got it in 1 Sir.  :thumbsup:

So next up will be an Arado 196/Vought Kingfisher-based kitbash on the Eastern Front. In a day or so.


Nice airplane, keep up with your work  :thumbsup:
My deviantart page:

PS: Not my art, not very good at drawning :P


Works for me  :thumbsup:

I have plans for an Ar 196 which is to give it's floats to a PZL Karas. All part of my Austro-Hungarian Empire scenario. (WWI doesn't happen)
Decals my @r$e!


Lovely! :wub:

Though, looking at VL Marten's background (in keeping with Finnish names, shouldn't that be VL Näätä, marten = näätä in Finnish? Luftwaffe could then have called her Marder), was VL "Kantaa" perhaps meant to be VL Karhu instead (kantaa = to bear, karhu = a bear)? ;)

comrade harps

Quote from: Snowtrooper on October 05, 2016, 07:30:49 AM
Lovely! :wub:

Though, looking at VL Marten's background (in keeping with Finnish names, shouldn't that be VL Näätä, marten = näätä in Finnish? Luftwaffe could then have called her Marder), was VL "Kantaa" perhaps meant to be VL Karhu instead (kantaa = to bear, karhu = a bear)? ;)

Google translate only takes you so far!

Thanks for the corrections.


Love this one too!  A great use for some of these elderly Airfix kits  :lol:  And the Finnish Air Force livery is just perfect for her, well done!
Best regards,