Finnish FN P35s (Finnish contract HiPowers)


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hso
February 16, 2005, 12:21 AM
I have heard that prior to the Nazi occupation of Belgium the Finnish government purchased a lot of P35s from FN and that they were marked with the boxed SA of the Finnish Army. They may have been issued to the pilots of Finland's small air force. Has anyone seen one of these or are they just a legend?

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ACP230
February 16, 2005, 01:02 PM
A late friend of our family, an American of Finnish extraction, fought for Finland in the Winter War.
They made him a machinegunner and his primary weapon was a Lahti-Saloranta.
He described his pistol and it sounded like it was a BHP.
He didn't bring it home, so I never saw it.

SARCO has sold some HP holsters that were said to be Finnish Army issue.

Jim K
February 17, 2005, 02:11 AM
According to The Browning High Power by Blake Stevens, Finland ordered 1500 BHP pistols from FN in early 1940, but apparently none were delivered before the Nazi occupation of Belgium. By that time, of course, the Winter War was over. Germany may have provided BHP's from occupied Belgium to its Finnish ally, but they also would have been far too late for the Winter War.

The Finnish Lahti was called the L-35 and it would have been available in the Winter War, although it does not look (or function) like a BHP. It slightly resembles the Luger (which the Finns also used) but is larger and its operation is different.

Jim

hso
February 17, 2005, 06:12 PM
I wonder if the Nazi's allowed the delivery of the Finnish order from FN since the Finns were co-combatants with the Germans against the Russians at the time? Also, since the Continuation War followed the Winter War there may have been an opportunity for the FN P35 to have been shipped as well?

hso
February 17, 2005, 06:46 PM
Ran across this at http://www.ankkurinvarsi.com/jaeger/PISTOLS3.htm

9 mm Pistol M/35 FN "GP":

(Modele 1935 pistole automatique, Grand Puissance)

Calibre:

9 mm x 19 Parabellum/Luger


Length:

197 mm


Barrel length:

118 mm


Weight:

900 g


Magazine:

13, removable


Official abbreviations:

"9,00 pist/FN"




"900 PIST FN"


Country of origin:

Belgium


Prototype:

First in 1923. Later (Saive designed) in 1928.



Finnish use: Used by Finnish frontline troops during last weeks of Winter War and whole Continuation War. Also issued in large numbers to Finnish pilots during Continuation War.

Better known in English speaking word as High-Power this pistols design was started by John Moses Browning and after his death (1926) finished by D.J. Saive. Grand puissance (= high power) came from magazine capacity, which was larger then other pistols of 1930's. In this magazine cartridges were in interlocking array, which made magazine quite short but allowed it to carry large amount of cartridges at the same time. The pistol was immediate success, during the few years before WW2 some 70,000 (or 56,500 depending sources) were made and sold to Armed Forces of Belgium, Estonia, Lithuania, China and Peru. During WW2 this pistol was used by both sides and manufactured both in occupied Belgium for the Germans and in Canada for the Allies and China. During WW2 some 319,000 were made in Belgium and some 150,000 in Canada. The Germans knew the pistol was "Pistole 640(b)" and Allies mostly knew is "Browning High Power". After WW2 high-power pistols were purchased by dozens of countries (among them Belgium, Denmark, Great Britain, Netherlands, Austria and West Germany) for their Armed Forces and/or Police. Copies have also been manufactured with or without license in several countries like Argentina (FM), Hungary (FEG), Indonesia (Pindad), Canada, Venezuela, United States and Israel (Kareen). Later versions of this pistol are still used by authorities in many countries even today. FN GP was also one of the participants in Finnish pistol tests of 1939 (which were won by domestic L-35 pistol).

During WW2 Finland bought some 2,400 M/35 pistols from Belgium, 900 of them arrived in February of 1940 and 1,500 in March of 1940. Large amount of these pistols were issued to Finnish pilots during Continuation War (with their stock-holster they were considered almost as good as SMG). The ones used in ground troops were issued mostly to frontline-troops. Pistol proved to be not only very reliable and accurate, but also very structurally strong (known as only pistol type that could used Suomi SMG ammunition without breaking).

Hard use was visible in survivability rate of this pistol in Finnish use. Year 1951 only 1,378 remained. These pistols remained in use until 1985 - 1986, at which time they were decommissioned and sold away. Early 1980's Finnish Defence Forces selected a further development of High-power pistol called FN HP DA (better knows as "Pistol 80" in Finland) as its new service pistol.

PICTURE: FN High-Power M/35 pistol with holster-stock. This was the standard holster type with FN M/35 pistol in Finnish use. (Photo taken in Sotamuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (49 KB).

ACP230
February 18, 2005, 01:43 PM
Our friend was in combat for a month at the end of the Winter War. He was in the front lines, and so fits the above description of Finnish troops who used the BHP in that war.

He wasn't involved in the Continuation War.

hso
February 18, 2005, 05:02 PM
Amazing little known bit of history. I think Marshal Molotov said they took just enough of Finland to bury their dead.

Jim K
February 20, 2005, 12:17 AM
Seems pretty definitive to me and many thanks for the information, hso.

So the BHP's came from a (still) free Belgium, not by way of Germany.

I am printing that informtion out to be put in the Stevens book.

Jim

Wildalaska
February 20, 2005, 01:58 AM
Let me interject here and note that any Finnish marked HiPower in the US does suffer from dangerous frame cracking unless treated with a special compound I devised, so send em to me for repair, I have a 10 year backlog.

WildwhohasonespeakupcomeonAlaska

hso
February 25, 2005, 04:13 PM
Yeah... sure I'll send that right out. :neener:

Wildalaska
February 25, 2005, 04:27 PM
Did you know there are Finnish Lahtis on GunBroker

WildjustryintohelpAlaska

carebear
February 26, 2005, 04:57 AM
"Russia won the Great Patriotic War, but spunky little Suomi came in a close second."

Here's to Finland, who may have had to dance with the devil, but never let him lead.

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