Thursday, May 30, 2013

Aarne Juutilainen "The Terror of Morocco"

Aarne Edward Juutilainen (18 October 1904 – 28 October 1976), nicknamed "The Terror of Morocco", was a Finnish army captain who served in the French Foreign Legion in Morocco between 1930 and 1935. After returning to Finland, he served in the Finnish army and became a national hero in the Battle of Kollaa during the Winter War with Russia. He was wounded three times during World War II.

Juutilainen was born in Sortavala, and died in Helsinki. His brother was flying ace Ilmari Juutilainen.

French Foreign Legion

On 20 June 1930, Juutilainen travelled to France and joined the French Foreign Legion. He was transferred to Fort St. Nicolas in Southern France, near Marseille, and from there to Oran in Algeria. He spent time in a Foreign Legion training camp in the town of Sidi Bel Abbès. From there he was transferred to Fez and fought in several battles against the Arab rebels in the Atlas Mountains. Because of his service in Morocco, he was called the "The Terror of Morocco" by Finnish troops.
The war in the Atlas Mountains was long, and in 1931 the Arab offensive surrendered.[clarification needed] Juutilainen returned to Finland on 20 June 1935, by which time the whole of Morocco was under French control.
The Winter War

In November 1939, the Soviet Union attacked Finland, starting the Winter War. Juutilainen served in the Finnish army during this war, notably during the Battle of Kollaa.

Major General Woldemar Hägglund's question "Will Kollaa hold?" ("Kestääkö Kollaa?") was famously answered by Lieutenant Juutilainen: "Kollaa will hold, unless the orders are to run."
During his command at Kollaa in December 1939, Juutilainen negotiated with Hägglund about the strategy for the Kollaa Front. The Battle of Kollaa was strategically important. "Unless we are told to run" meant exactly that; a week earlier, he had received a regimental order to withdraw, which he disregarded.

Afterwards, lieutenant-colonel and regiment commander Wilhelm Teittinen, who commanded the JR/34 at the Kollaa Front, honored Juutilainen: "He created the Kollaa Spirit".

By 1940, Juutilainen was a captain commanding the "Moroccan company", a unit of "good shots and good skiers" who had all been decorated for bravery. A contemporary news report described the unit as having achieved "startling victories in this sector" during the war. Juutilainen's men called him "papa". He used the guerilla warfare skills he learned with the French Foreign Legion to train his men. By this time, Juutilainen had lost one finger of his right hand as a result of Russian shrapnel.