Martti Johannes Aho
Martti Johannes Aho was a Finnish
Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

Colonel , abbreviated Col or COL, is a military rank of a senior commissioned officer. It or a corresponding rank exists in most armies and in many air forces; the naval equivalent rank is generally "Captain". It is also used in some police forces and other paramilitary rank structures...

 and double 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...


Martti Aho participated in 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...

 in 1918 and in the Aunus expedition
Aunus expedition
The Aunus expedition was an attempt by Finnish volunteers to occupy parts of East Karelia in 1919, during the Russian Civil War. Aunus is the Finnish name for Olonets Karelia...

 1919–1920. He served in the Border Guard as a company commander before 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...

 and during the war he was first a company commander, and later the commander of Erillinen pataljoona 8 (ErP 8; Detached Battalion 8). Aho was wounded twice during the Winter War.

In the beginning of the 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...

, Major Aho commanded Infantry Regiment 50 (Jalkaväkirykmentti 50, JR 50), which belonged to the 11th Infantry Division. Due to his skilled command, during the Army of Karelia
Army of Karelia
The Karelian Army was a Finnish army during the Continuation War.Army of Karelia was formed on 29 June 1941 soon after the start of the Continuation War.- Organisation :The army was organised in two corps and one separate group....

's breakthrough and the conquest of Petrozavodsk
Petrozavodsk is the capital city of the Republic of Karelia, Russia. It stretches along the western shore of the Lake Onega for some . The city is served by Petrozavodsk Airport. Municipally, it is incorporated as Petrozavodsky Urban Okrug . Population:...

, Aho was rewarded the Mannerheim cross on March 1, 1942 as knight number 52. During the stationary phase of the war, Aho was stationed at the Svir River
Svir River
Svir is a river in the north-east of Leningrad Oblast, Russia. It flows from Lake Onega west to Lake Ladoga, thus connecting the two largest lakes of Europe. It is the largest river flowing into Lake Ladoga....

 with his regiment. He was promoted Colonel on June 23, 1944. During the great Soviet offensive
Fourth strategic offensive
The Vyborg–Petrozavodsk Offensive or Karelian offensive was a strategic operation by the Soviet Leningrad and Karelian Fronts against Finland on the Karelian Isthmus and East Karelia fronts of the Continuation War, on the Eastern Front of World War II. The Soviet forces captured East Karelia and...

 the 11th Division was transferred to 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...

, where Aho and his regiment participated in the battle of Tali-Ihantala
Battle of Tali-Ihantala
The Battle of Tali-Ihantala was part of the Continuation War , which occurred during World War II. The battle was fought between Finnish forces—using war material provided by Germany—and Soviet forces...

 from June 27. Aho was again wounded in battle on June 29.

During the 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...

, JR 50 participated successfully as part of Ryhmä Pajari, fighting the Germans north of Tornio
Tornio is a town and municipality in Lapland, Finland. The municipality covers an area of of which is water. The population density is , with a total population of . It borders to the Swedish municipality of Haparanda...

. Aho was again rewarded a Mannerheim cross on October 16, 1944.

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