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Me 109 G-2 "Illu" is a Finnish Air unit in Steel Division II.

Background

Main article: Me 109 G-2 Dogfighter


Ilmari Juutilainen, nicknamed Illu, was a veteran of the Ilmavoimat (Finnish Air Force) notable for being the top scoring non-German fighter pilot of all time. Born in 1914, while Finland was stilly a duchy of the Russian Empire, Illu started his military career in 1932, at 18. A pilot from 1935 onwards, Illu participated in both the Winter War, piloting a Fokker D.XXI, achieving two victories, and the Continuation War, flying a Brewster B-239 Buffalo. Despite its ungainly appearance, the American export proved to be a match for early Soviet fighters, especially in Illu's hands: He achieved 34 victories behind its controls, with 28 of them in support of the invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941.

By 1943, Illu was transferred to the LeLv 34 equipped with Messerschmitt Bf 109 G-2s, flying against Soviet fighters in the increasingly more desperate fight of the Axis against the Soviet Union. By the end of the war, he racked up another 58 victories as a Me 109 pilot, for a total of 94. Discharged with honors in 1947, with a bucket of medals (including two Mannerheim Crosses, the highest Finnish military decoration), he continued his career as a professional pilot until 1956, though his last flight was in 1997, as passenger in an F-18 Hornet of the Ilmavoimat.

He passed away in peace on his 85th birthday in 1999.

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