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Knights of the Mannerheim Cross

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Olavi Alakulppi (1915 – 1990) was a #Finnish cross country skier and a Knight of the Mannerheim Cross.  Alakulppi served in all three of Finland's WWII conflicts: The Winter War (1939-40),  The Continuation War (1941-44), and The Lapland War (1944-45).  He advanced from sergeant to captain during the war. He received two Mannerheim Crosses (2nd Class) and two Crosses of Liberty. He also received the Iron Cross (2nd Class) of the German army during the war. After WWII Alakulppi moved to…

Olavi Alakulppi (1915 – 1990) was a #Finnish cross country skier and a Knight of the Mannerheim Cross. Alakulppi served in all three of Finland's WWII conflicts: The Winter War (1939-40), The Continuation War (1941-44), and The Lapland War (1944-45). He advanced from sergeant to captain during the war. He received two Mannerheim Crosses (2nd Class) and two Crosses of Liberty. He also received the Iron Cross (2nd Class) of the German army during the war. After WWII Alakulppi moved to…

Captain Eero Kivelä (1908-1992), Knight of the Mannerheim Cross No.9. He was awarded the Mannerheim Cross (2nd class) on September 8, 1941, for showing great personal courage under fire, and for repelling enemy attack with counter-attack, during which he destroyed nine tanks with his men. During the wars he received Cross of Liberty 3rd class twice (second with Oak Leaves), and Cross of Liberty 4th class.

Captain Eero Kivelä (1908-1992), Knight of the Mannerheim Cross No.9. He was awarded the Mannerheim Cross (2nd class) on September 8, 1941, for showing great personal courage under fire, and for repelling enemy attack with counter-attack, during which he destroyed nine tanks with his men. During the wars he received Cross of Liberty 3rd class twice (second with Oak Leaves), and Cross of Liberty 4th class.

Osmo Tapio Laakso(1916–2004) Knight of the Mannerheim Cross #61. He fought in Winter War(1939-‘40) and Continuation War(1941-‘44) serving as artillery battery commander, but was a forward observer so he was part of the front line battles most of the war. He was awarded the mannerheim cross on May 19, 1942, for his heroic actions and great leadership. During the war he was also awarded the German Iron Cross 2nd class, and was promoted to Captain. The war ended for his part on ...

Osmo Tapio Laakso(1916–2004) Knight of the Mannerheim Cross #61. He fought in Winter War(1939-‘40) and Continuation War(1941-‘44) serving as artillery battery commander, but was a forward observer so he was part of the front line battles most of the war. He was awarded the mannerheim cross on May 19, 1942, for his heroic actions and great leadership. During the war he was also awarded the German Iron Cross 2nd class, and was promoted to Captain. The war ended for his part on ...

Paavo Suoranta (1917-2002) Knight of the Mannerheim Cross #88. Continuation War

Paavo Suoranta (1917-2002) Knight of the Mannerheim Cross #88. Continuation War

Aaro Pajari (17 July 1897 – 14 October 1949) The first Mannerheim Cross (2nd class) was awarded to him on September 14, 1941, for his decisive role in breakthrough battle at Karelian Isthmus, and the second one on October 16, 1944, mainly for operations at Tornio.

Aaro Pajari (17 July 1897 – 14 October 1949) The first Mannerheim Cross (2nd class) was awarded to him on September 14, 1941, for his decisive role in breakthrough battle at Karelian Isthmus, and the second one on October 16, 1944, mainly for operations at Tornio.

Toivo Ilomäki (1917–1965) Knight of the Mannerheim Cross #155. During the Continuation War he was Anti-Tank Gunner in 24th Gun Company of 5th Division (24.TykK/5.Div) and fought from Ladoga Karelia to Svir river. Citation for his Mannerheim Cross (2nd class) mentions that he destroyed his first tank on June 22, 1944, and two days later 16 tanks (14x T-34 & 2x KV-1) in Battle of Sammatus (PSS line),. Later he destroyed 4 more tanks from close range at Tihveri

Toivo Ilomäki (1917–1965) Knight of the Mannerheim Cross #155. During the Continuation War he was Anti-Tank Gunner in 24th Gun Company of 5th Division (24.TykK/5.Div) and fought from Ladoga Karelia to Svir river. Citation for his Mannerheim Cross (2nd class) mentions that he destroyed his first tank on June 22, 1944, and two days later 16 tanks (14x T-34 & 2x KV-1) in Battle of Sammatus (PSS line),. Later he destroyed 4 more tanks from close range at Tihveri

Viljo Suokas (1920–1943), Knight of the Mannerheim Cross No.44. His skills in guerilla warfare was noticed and after Winter War he received special training for long range patrol missions. In Continuation War Suokas served as patrol leader in Detachment Kuismanen (OsKu). He was credited for many successful missions, withe the longest time spent behind enemy lines being46 days. Viljo Suokas died on October 4, 1943 while clearing a storage building at Segezha, a town by the Murmansk railway.

Viljo Suokas (1920–1943), Knight of the Mannerheim Cross No.44. His skills in guerilla warfare was noticed and after Winter War he received special training for long range patrol missions. In Continuation War Suokas served as patrol leader in Detachment Kuismanen (OsKu). He was credited for many successful missions, withe the longest time spent behind enemy lines being46 days. Viljo Suokas died on October 4, 1943 while clearing a storage building at Segezha, a town by the Murmansk railway.

Vilho Rättö (1913-2002) Knight of the Mannerheim Cross #4. Continuation War

Vilho Rättö (1913-2002) Knight of the Mannerheim Cross #4. Continuation War

Aarre Voutilainen (1919-2000) Knight of the Mannerheim Cross #36. Served in JP 2 (Jaeger battalion) 1941-1944, first as squad leader then as platoon second-in-command and finally as platoon leader. Citation for his 2nd class Mannerheim Cross mentions that he voluntarily led several patrols within 3 days bringing valuable information about the enemy, and later in battle of Enemajoki river he was first who rushed across a bridge under heavy fire, led his squad to good positions

Aarre Voutilainen (1919-2000) Knight of the Mannerheim Cross #36. Served in JP 2 (Jaeger battalion) 1941-1944, first as squad leader then as platoon second-in-command and finally as platoon leader. Citation for his 2nd class Mannerheim Cross mentions that he voluntarily led several patrols within 3 days bringing valuable information about the enemy, and later in battle of Enemajoki river he was first who rushed across a bridge under heavy fire, led his squad to good positions

Knight of the Mannerheim Cross, Lieutenant Kullervo Leskinen. Uhtua,12.8.43.

Knight of the Mannerheim Cross, Lieutenant Kullervo Leskinen. Uhtua,12.8.43.

Mikko Pöllä (1916–1994) long range patrolman and Knight of the Mannerheim Cross, pin by Paolo Marzioli

Mikko Pöllä (1916–1994) long range patrolman and Knight of the Mannerheim Cross, pin by Paolo Marzioli

Paavo Korpi (1919-1941) Knight of the Mannerheim Cross No.34, awarded to him on Nov 13, 1941 for his actions July-Sept 1941. On July 14, he captured a quadruple AA machine gun that greatly hindered the attack. 5 days later he killed dozens of enemies with his submachine gun. On September 6, he killed 20 enemy soldiers single-handed, and took 40 prisoners, clearing the way to the platoon's objective. The following day he captured an armored car and used it to clear the way to the Svir river.

Paavo Korpi (1919-1941) Knight of the Mannerheim Cross No.34, awarded to him on Nov 13, 1941 for his actions July-Sept 1941. On July 14, he captured a quadruple AA machine gun that greatly hindered the attack. 5 days later he killed dozens of enemies with his submachine gun. On September 6, he killed 20 enemy soldiers single-handed, and took 40 prisoners, clearing the way to the platoon's objective. The following day he captured an armored car and used it to clear the way to the Svir river.

Veikko Saarelainen (1919-1968) Knight of the Mannerheim Cross No.37, awarded to him for his action at Salmi on 27.7.1941: Saarelainen was riding on a truck along a road when they came to crossroads and ran into enemy trucks. He was first to react, quickly jumped off the truck, set up his machine gun in the middle of the open road and destroyed six trucks. A column of fourteen enemy trucks full of soldiers approached. Most of the enemy fell to his machine gun and the trucks were destroyed.

Veikko Saarelainen (1919-1968) Knight of the Mannerheim Cross No.37, awarded to him for his action at Salmi on 27.7.1941: Saarelainen was riding on a truck along a road when they came to crossroads and ran into enemy trucks. He was first to react, quickly jumped off the truck, set up his machine gun in the middle of the open road and destroyed six trucks. A column of fourteen enemy trucks full of soldiers approached. Most of the enemy fell to his machine gun and the trucks were destroyed.

Luutnantti Hans Wind, Mannerheimristin ritari, kuuluisa hävittäjälentäjämme, joka on ampunut alas 33 1/2 viholliskonetta. Suulajärvi 1943.08.26 (SA-kuva-arkisto)

Luutnantti Hans Wind, Mannerheimristin ritari, kuuluisa hävittäjälentäjämme, joka on ampunut alas 33 1/2 viholliskonetta. Suulajärvi 1943.08.26 (SA-kuva-arkisto)

Toivo Manninen (1916-1943), Knight of the Mannerheim Cross No.100. A persistent and brave leader, he led some twenty successful patrols to enemy positions and to the rear of the enemy. On August 5, 1941, during attack on so-called "Hill of Death", he took command of the platoon after the leader fell, and continued teven after his foot was torn apart by landmine. He led his men to the objective and to victory on one foot, checking that the defense would hold, before being evacuated.

Toivo Manninen (1916-1943), Knight of the Mannerheim Cross No.100. A persistent and brave leader, he led some twenty successful patrols to enemy positions and to the rear of the enemy. On August 5, 1941, during attack on so-called "Hill of Death", he took command of the platoon after the leader fell, and continued teven after his foot was torn apart by landmine. He led his men to the objective and to victory on one foot, checking that the defense would hold, before being evacuated.

Kapteeni Karhunen, Mannerheimristin ritari, joka on ampunut alas 31 viholliskonetta. Suulajärvi 1943.08.26 (SA-kuva-arkisto)

Kapteeni Karhunen, Mannerheimristin ritari, joka on ampunut alas 31 viholliskonetta. Suulajärvi 1943.08.26 (SA-kuva-arkisto)