The ‘Frankenstein’ Finnish Fighter – Mörkö-Morane

The ‘Frankenstein’ Finnish Fighter – Mörkö-Morane | Frontline Videos

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The sheer number of Soviet aircraft shot down over Finland meant that they had a lot of salvageable engines and parts to work with but not enough aircraft to mount them in. 

As such, Finnish aircraft designer Aarne Lakomaa was put in charge of a program to see if any French fighters in their possession were viable for any upgrades.

Engine and Airframe Upgrades

Lakomaa was given a single airframe to work with (an obsolete M.S.406 French fighter) and decided to replace its engine. He picked the Klimov M-105P engine, which once powered Soviet aircraft that crashed in Finnish territory.

Not only was it an upgrade from the French Hispano-Suiza engines, but it also retained its ability to mount a cannon that shoots through the cylinder banks and propeller shaft. After upgrading the engine, the aircraft now had a whopping 25% increase in performance.

Its cowling was also refined, along with structural improvements to accommodate the added weight. They also found that the engine produced too much heat, so they added an Fw 109’s oil radiator by bolting it at the bottom of the aircraft and rigging up the piping to solve the issue. 

Firepower Options

The original armament of two wing-mounted light machine guns and a single drum-fed 20mm cannon was considered great in the 1930s but simply didn’t cut it by 1942. The MG 151 cannons used by the Germans were far superior, however.

It was belt-fed, meaning it had a higher ammo capacity while firing the infamous “mine shell” – a cannon shell with thinner wall casings and a far more explosive filler.

Both the MG 151 and the Soviet 12.7mm Berezin machine gun could be fitted into its airframe, depending on their availability.

Combat History

The first modified M.S.406 would not fly until January 1943, after significant production delays plagued its development. Still, when the aircraft was up and running, the 406 maintained good handling characteristics and supercharged performance. But by 1944, only 3 of these had been completed and delivered to the 28th Fighter Regiment. 

Lars Hattinen, the youngest Finnish ace of the war, would see combat while piloting the Frankenstein Fighter they dubbed “Mörkö-Morane.”

In the final weeks of the war, Hattinen was able to shoot down two P-39s and a Yak – with each 406 scoring one kill.

By the end of it all, Finland was able to transform an already-obsolete design into a first-rate fighter with good speed, maneuverability, and weaponry.

The program would convert 41 406s until its cancelation in March 1945, with most of it serving as trainers well into the ‘40s. Unfortunately, all of these flying examples would be sent to the scrapyard in 1952.


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