Born on the 21 February 1914 at Lieksa, Finland, Eino "Illu" Juutilainen read the book by Manfred von Richthofen, "The Red Fighter Pilot" which made him dream about becoming a pilot. Juutilainen did his military service in Signal Corpsduring 1932-1933 and was trained as a telegraphist. After having fulfilled his compulsory service Juutilainen acquired a private pilote's licence from the Karhumaki Brothers' Flying School. Then, in 1935, he became an enlisted NCO in the Armed Forces. Finally, in 1936 he applied for an Air Force NCO pilot course. He was accepted and due to his pilot's licence and telegraphist's skill he was made the elder of the course. Juutilainen did very well, but he spent a lot of time in custody - 27 days in a four-month course. The reason was that as the elder he was responsible for the misdeeds of his course - mostly excessive drinking. Personally he earned only one week for flying too low. After the course was completed, "Illu" had to sit in the "jug" for another week to serve the custody ordered to him. Juutilainen started his career as a NCO pilot in a Reconnaisance Squadron in Suur-Merijoki in May 1937. He was considered a good and reliable pilot, much liked by the officer-observers. He was married in the same year with Miss Anni Nurmi, and their first son was born in 1938. Sgt. Juutilainen was transferred to Sqn.24 to fly the Fokker D XXI's in March 1939. In a few weeks he became a good fighter pilot: his shooting skill was excellent. No wonder, hunting with dog and shotgun was his favourite hobby when the season was in. Juutilainen was fit as a professional athlete, he was also a teetotaller and non-smoker, staying like that during the whole of the war and also afterwards. In the Winter War he flew as the wingman of the 3rd flight commander, Lt. Eino Luukkanen. He scored two proven victories. However, he fired his first angry shots with a pole-mounted Lewis gun from the ground against SB-2 bombers attacking the Immola Air Base on the 1st of December 1939. The 3rd Flight was commanded to defend the area NE of the lake Ladoga. There, at the front section Kollaa, was fighting Illu's brother, Lt. Aarne Juutilainen - a distinguished infantry company commander( a.k.a the "Terror of Morocco" because he had served in the French Foreign Legion in N. Africa). The Fokker squadron carried out ground strafing raids on the ice covering the Bay of Viipuri against the Red Army columns the 1. to 12. March 1940. Those missions were hard for the Finnish fighter pilots because they really saw the lethal effect of their bullets. The enemy columns were initially without white camouflage clothing, and always marching in tight file formations. Shooting at aircraft was in a sense symbolic, a fighter pilot mostly did not see what happens to the crew of the victim aircraft. Illu did not feel good to see in his sighting scope how defenseless Red Army infantrymen flopped in the snow upon impact of his bullets. But he had to do his duty, the pilots knew that every enemy soldier left on the ice as casualty would relieve the pressure of the Finnish infantrymen defending the coastline. He flew eleven ground attack sorties. In the Winter War Juutilainen scored two confirmed victories. When the war against Soviet Union started again on 25 June 1941, Juutilainen was flying a Brewster in the 3st flight of LeLv 24(Sqn.24). The 3rd Flight became later known as the "Knight Flight" because of the three holders of the Mannerheim Cross serving in it.

johnbr, Dec 14, 2012
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