Eino Ilmari "Illu" Juutilainen

Ilmari Juutilainen  

Finland's Ace of Aces

Possibly the highest scoring non-Luftwaffe
fighter pilot of WW2

Ilmavoimat Flight Master (WO)

Mannerheim Cross 2nd Class (x2), Cross of Liberty 3rd Class w/ Oak Leaves & Swords, Cross of Liberty 4th Class w/ Oak Leaves & Swords (x2), Medal of Liberty 2nd Class, Iron Cross 1st Class, Iron Cross 2nd Class

Born February 21, 1914 in Lieksa, Finland
Grew up in Sortavala near an Ilmavoimat base
Mechanic, 1st Separate Maritime Squadron 1932
Learned to fly on his own - then
Joined the Ilmavoimat (Finnish Air Force) in 1933
Fighter Pilot school at Utti
Assigned to Lentolaivue 24 (Squadron) in March '39
October '39 - L 24 is deployed to Immola
They were equipped with Dutch Fokker D-21's
The Winter War starts at the end of November '39
He flies as Eino Luukkanen's wingman
December 19 - First air victory, a  DB-3  bomber
December 31 - First dogfight & 2nd kill, an I-16
March 13, 1940 - The Winter War ends

June 25, 1941 - the Continuation War begins
L 24 is now equipped with Brewster Buffalos and deployed at Rantasalmi Air Base
July 9 - Illu's 1st combat of WW2 - He downs two I-153s
August 18 - Downs three I-16s
September 20 - Downs one Spitfire & one MiG-1
April 26, 1942 - He is awarded the Mannerheim Cross
February 1943 - A new BF-109 Squadron is formed & Illu is a founding member of Lentolaivue 34
He, along with other pilots, go to Germany to familiarize themselves & they return with their new 109G-2s
August 31, 1943 - Downs first La-5
June 28, 1944 - Awarded 2nd Mannerheim Cross. One of only 4 people to have achieved this honor. Hans Wind being the only other pilot to do so
He celebrated 2 days later by pulling off an "Ace in a Day" June 30, 1944 - Best day with 6 kills. Two P-39 Airacobras; two Yak-9s; one La-5 7 and one IL2 Sturmovic
September 3, 1944 - 94th and last victory, a Lisunov Li-2
September 4, 1944 - the Continuation War ends

In 437 missions he scored 4 with the Fokker D-XXI; 36 with the Brewster Buffalo & 54 with the 109G-2 for a total of 94 official kills

During the war he had turned down officer school claiming he didn't want to get rusty while away studying
"Illu" Juutilainen retired from the Ilmavoimat in May 1947 and became a commercial pilot. He lived to see the fall of the Soviet Union and died in Tuusula on February 21st, 1999

Officially, Juutilainen scored 94.17 confirmed kills. He claimed the actual total to be closer to 120. He was never hit by enemy fire



Ilmari Juutilainen


Juutilainen sportin his new Mannerheim Cross- April 26th 1942
Juutilainen sportin' his Mannerheim Cross - April 26th 1942


Victories Include :

Unfortunately, a breakdown of kills is unavailable at this time




Back to

--- Finnish Aces ---

Related Sites :

"Illu" Juutilainen - the Top Ace

Illu's opinion of the Buffalo


On these pages I use Hugh Halliday's extensive research which includes info from numerous sources; newspaper articles via the Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation (CMCC); the Google News Archives; the London Gazette Archives and other sources both published and private.

Some content on this site is probably the property of acesofww2.com unless otherwise noted.     Mail