Thursday, October 15, 2015

Finnish Bofors AA-Gun in Position

A Lance-Corporal from Finnish 43rd light anti-aircraft divison reloading 40mm Bofors AA-gun already in position near the township of Nokia/Finland, 25 April 1944, during Continuation War. Finland bought license for manufacturing 40-Bofors guns in 1937. In fact the Finns intended 40-mm Bofors as one of the main products of newly established VTT (= Valtion Tykkitehdas = State Artillery Factory) already before World War 2 broke out. Even the first order was sent to VTT already year 1938. However, as VTT's production failed to start as fast as had been earlier planned and as the international situation developed more serious the Finns decided to order guns from Sweden (Bofors) and Hungary (MAVAG) already before Winter War. First delivery of 9 guns came from Sweden and arrived in spring of 1939. From Hungary 42 guns were ordered, 24 of them arrived via Sweden during December of 1939, just barely getting past Germany before the Germans stopped weapon transports through their territory to Finland. The next shipment of 12 guns from Hungary was not so lucky - the Germans stopped it. After secret negotiations, the Germans released the 12-gun shipment and it arrived to Finland in January of 1940. The last 6 guns ordered from MAVAG never arrived. All in all the Finns managed to get 53 guns before starting of Winter War. During Winter War Sweden was the largest supplier of these guns and most of the guns it delivered were in fact loaned from Swedish Army. By 13th of March 1940 (the day Winter War ended) the amount of 40-mm Bofors guns in Finnish use had reached 100. Next large purchase happened when during Interim Peace Finland managed to buy 92 guns from Germany, these probably originated from Poland, Netherlands and Austria, they arrived in November of 1940. From these 92 guns coming from Germany 56 arrived with S/S Lutjehörn 9th of November 1940 and 36 with the same ship 20th of November 1940. Finnish license production did not produce its first guns until year 1941 and whole license production was only 77 guns. As usual Lokomo manufactured barrel blanks for these guns while Crichton-Vulcan manufactured much of the parts needed for their gun carriages. Finnish license manufacturer VTT (Valtion Tykkitehdas = State Artillery Factory) manufactured rest of the parts and built the guns. VTT delivered 12 guns in 1941, 45 guns in 1942, 14 guns in 1944 and 6 guns in 1945. The total number of 40-mm Bofors guns in Finnish use during World War 2 reached around 300 or so.

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