Hjalmar Siilasvuo
Hjalmar Fridolf Siilasvuo (birthname: Hjalmar Fridolf Strömberg, 18 March 1892, Helsinki
Helsinki is the capital and largest city in Finland. It is in the region of Uusimaa, located in southern Finland, on the shore of the Gulf of Finland, an arm of the Baltic Sea. The population of the city of Helsinki is , making it by far the most populous municipality in Finland. Helsinki is...

 – 11 January 1947) was a Finnish general
A general officer is an officer of high military rank, usually in the army, and in some nations, the air force. The term is widely used by many nations of the world, and when a country uses a different term, there is an equivalent title given....

 who led troops in the Winter War
Winter War
The Winter War was a military conflict between the Soviet Union and Finland. It began with a Soviet offensive on 30 November 1939 – three months after the start of World War II and the Soviet invasion of Poland – and ended on 13 March 1940 with the Moscow Peace Treaty...

, Continuation War
Continuation War
The Continuation War was the second of two wars fought between Finland and the Soviet Union during World War II.At the time of the war, the Finnish side used the name to make clear its perceived relationship to the preceding Winter War...

 and Lapland War
Lapland War
The Lapland War were the hostilities between Finland and Nazi Germany between September 1944 and April 1945, fought in Finland's northernmost Lapland Province. While the Finns saw this as a separate conflict much like the Continuation War, German forces considered their actions to be part of the...

. He also saw action as a part of the Finnish volunteer "jägerbattalion 27" fighting on the German side in World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...


The son of a newspaper editor, Siilasvuo had studied law, and been involved with politics in the Ministry of Education. He was an officer in the Jäger Battalion in Germany during World War I, and later became a battalion commander during the Finnish Civil War
Finnish Civil War
The Finnish Civil War was a part of the national, political and social turmoil caused by World War I in Europe. The Civil War concerned control and leadership of The Grand Duchy of Finland as it achieved independence from Russia after the October Revolution in Petrograd...

. He was opinionated, but a cunning military commander.

Siilasvuo was a colonel that Mannerheim
Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim
Baron Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim was the military leader of the Whites in the Finnish Civil War, Commander-in-Chief of Finland's Defence Forces during World War II, Marshal of Finland, and a Finnish statesman. He was Regent of Finland and the sixth President of Finland...

 assigned to lead JR-27, Finnish troops sent to oppose two Red Army
Red Army
The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army started out as the Soviet Union's revolutionary communist combat groups during the Russian Civil War of 1918-1922. It grew into the national army of the Soviet Union. By the 1930s the Red Army was among the largest armies in history.The "Red Army" name refers to...

 divisions, the 163rd and 44th, at Suomussalmi during the Winter War. Siilasvuo fought the 163rd division, fully aware that if the 163rd and 44th ever met up, it would be all over for the defenders of Suomussalmi. While fighting the 163rd division, Siilasvuo sent troops to take advantage of the terrain the slow moving 44th was using to pin the division, so they could go no further. The 44th were a crack division, but their expertise was fast moving mechanised warfare, and the terrain meant they had to leave their heavier equipment behind, go slowly with what they had. The unit had plenty of skis but few in the division could ski. After dealing with the 163rd mottis, the Finns looted weapons and equipment and used them to attack the pinned 44th. Even though they were tired from destroying the 163rd, the division's spoils immediately raised morale amongst the troops, convincing them they could finish the 44th from two directions - north and south.

From the 163rd and 44th divisions, the Finnish soldiers captured 85 tanks, 437 trucks, 1,620 horses, 52 cannons, 40 field artillery, 78 anti-tank guns, 20 tractors, 13 AA guns, over 6,000 rifles and an enormous amount of ammunition. The Soviet High Command executed a number of generals for this loss. Afterwards, Siilasvuo was sent to the Kuhmo sector, to deal with the Red Army's 54th division. Upon arrival with all the new weaponry, Siilasvuo ordered an artillery barrage of 3,200 rounds, something unheard of in the Finnish forces during the Winter War. Siilasvuo's men pinned the 54th, but it survived until the peace, although according to Siilasvuo the Finns would have won, had the fight gone on for just a couple of days longer. With his record in the Winter War, Siilasvuo was promoted to general.

During the Continuation War he led the III Corps
Finnish III Corps (Continuation War)
The III Corps was a unit of the Finnish Army during the Continuation War.The III Corps was responsible for the area stretching from the German XXXVI Corps in Lapland to the 14th Division near Rukajärvi....

 in northern Finland in 1941 and on the Karelian Isthmus
Karelian Isthmus
The Karelian Isthmus is the approximately 45–110 km wide stretch of land, situated between the Gulf of Finland and Lake Ladoga in northwestern Russia, to the north of the River Neva . Its northwestern boundary is the relatively narrow area between the Bay of Vyborg and Lake Ladoga...

 in 1944. After the armistice with the Soviets
Moscow Armistice
The Moscow Armistice was signed between Finland on one side and the Soviet Union and United Kingdom on the other side on September 19, 1944, ending the Continuation War...

, he was given the command of the Finnish forces fighting the Germans
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 in Lapland.

He was awarded the Mannerheim Cross
Mannerheim Cross
The Mannerheim Cross of Liberty is the highest Finnish military decoration. The medal was introduced after the Winter War and named after Field Marshal Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim...

 on 21 December 1944.

His son Ensio Siilasvuo
Ensio Siilasvuo
Pehr Hjalmar Ensio Siilasvuo, was a Finnish general. His father was general Hjalmar Siilasvuo of Winter War fame....

 was also a general in the Finnish army.

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