Aircraft (type) history in Finnish Air ForceDuring Finnish independence / civil war Swedish count Erich von Rosen donated first aircraft of the Finnish white army. His son Carl Gustaf von Rosen followed his example during Winter War and bought a aircraft from his former employer KLM and donated it to Finnish Air Force (FAF) and joined the service as a pilot for this same aircraft.
There are lots of good resources for the aircraft type history in English so I'm only going to talk about it in Finnish Air Force.
The Winter War started on November 30th 1939 and von Rosen arrived to Finnish Air Defense headquarter in Helsinki on January 1940 and as an experienced twin engine pilot he was ordered to report in squadron 44 equipped with Bristol Blenheim bombers. He received commission as a reserve lieutenant but as he had no experienced with Blenheim he wasn't able to fly. With casualties mounting he traveled to Sweden to collect money for buying bombers for FAF. His family connections provided the funds, but nobody was selling as preparing their own defense. He then turned to KLM in order to buy DC-3 in order to modify it as a bomber. They also refused this, but offered a DC-2 instead and as a bonus two old Koolhoven F.K. 52 aircraft from Netherlands Air Force.
ModificationsThe aircraft were flown to Trollhättan in Sweden for modifications by SAAB. The modifications included bomb racks for two 250 kg bomb and four 100kg bomb, two bomb cassette for total of 48 12,5kg bombs replacing the toilet, forward firing 7.7mm Browning machine gun and open mount in the roof for 7,62mm L-33/36 machine gun. The engineers of SAAB said that this would be impossible, but by pure coincidence there was an engineer from Douglas present (F.G. Blumenthal) and he said that they are doable. The modifications took two weeks and Carl Gustav himself flew the test flights. He also flew the aircraft into Finland on February 14th 1940. According to the first mechanic of the aircraft it was named as "Hanssin-Jukka" in Trollhättan and the name is still in use. While in Trollhättan the aircraft also received registration DC-1 which was later changed to DO-1.
In Finland the modifications continued with additional bomb aiming equipment and two extra extra fuel tanks. Now DC-2 was ready for military operations and von Rosen asked permission for attack against Moscow as a retaliation against Soviet bombing of Finnish cities. The response was that only military targets are allowed.
First missionThe first and only bombing mission was flown on March 1st. It was a long distance raid against Soviet airfield with limited bomb load due to the range. As some of the bombs stuck on release they were forced to do a second bombing run and while doing it one of the motors seized. While returning on low level the crew noticed a line of parked Soviet fighters on a lake and strafed them. This was the only bombing mission flown with the aircraft as the peace was signed before repairs were done.
Interim PeaceAll of the armament were removed during spring 1940 leaving only the mount for L-33/36 in the roof. The aircraft was modified for mapping and multiple cameras were installed and also oxygen equipment for high altitude missions were installed for the crew. The aircraft also received standing crew and the same pilot flew the aircraft until end of the 1944 when he retired from the air force (nevertheless he flew his final flight on February 1945.)
During this period the aircraft was also used as a long distance liaison missions and as a para drop training aircraft.
Continuation WarFirst the aircraft was to be used as a radio relay aircraft but after successful trials this plan was scrapped as other need for transport aircraft was more pressing. During the advance phase of the war the aircraft was used to supply Finnish advance in Karelia and to fly back wounded.
During this time aircraft was armed with the defensive machine gun.
As the front stabilized the aircraft was yet again used for radio experiments and for liaison missions while part of Squadron 48. In early 1942 the registration was changed and aircraft was moved directly under Air Force HQ. Now the aircraft was used mainly for liaison missions to Central Europe and fast transport of critical materials.
The extreme age of engines in the aircraft was creating problems and thus replacement engines were needed in summer 1942. The choice was Soviet Shvetsov M-62, which were in plentiful supply as a war booty and they were near copy of the original Cyclone. They were slightly heavier but also more powerful.
Lapland WarCease fire with Soviet Union started on September 4th 1944 and this included a clause for removing Germans from Finland. This removal caused Lapland War as Germany had a sizable force there. Now the aircraft was yet again put on the front line missions for supply purposes. One of the missions was a para drop a long distance patrol unit but the weather kept aircraft grounded.
Peacetime useThe aircraft continued in use of FAF HQ until 1955 in various missions and the FAF even bought two other DC-2 aircraft from Aero Oy (Finnish Airlines) in March 1949. These received registrations (and names) DO-2 (Isoo-Antti) and DO-3 (Pikku-Lassi). DO-2 was last to be removed from use as FAF received two Percival Pembroke Mk 53 aircraft on April 1956.
RetirementThe aircraft was bought by a youth department of a shooting club in Hämeenlinna to be used as a cafe to raise funds. This cafe was opened on summer 1959 and it was regularly open until mid 1970's and time to time until end of 70's. The aircraft was bought by Karelian Wing Flight Regiment 3 Guild registered society in order to restore it. The aircraft moved into better storage on late 1981 and in indoor storage until 1985. The lack of funds postponed restoration until summer 2010. The restored aircraft was presented on September 2011 and on summer 2015 it was moved from storage facility to public presentation in Hämeenlinna.
Admiralty TrilogyFor pilot quality I'd use experienced as all of the crew had lot's of experience with the aircraft.
|Man Rtng: 1.0/0.5||Damage Value: 21|
|Size/Signature: Medium||Bombsight: Manual|
|Throttle Setting||(Speed in knots)|
|Ceiling: 7750 meters||Engine Type: RP|
|Cruise Range: 800 nm||Int Fuel:|
|Ordnance Loadouts:||Payload: 2500kg|
Def Guns: 1 7.62mm L-33/36 (0.1)
• max 2 250kg bomb + 4 100kg bomb + 48 12.5kg bomb
Remarks: In Finnish Service: 1940-56
Used as a camera aircraft
DO-1 in service 1940-55, DO-2, and -3 in service 49-56. DO-2, and -3 unarmed. DO-1 full armament during 40, only L-33/36 for rest of the war.