Mannerheim Cross Knight no:81, Captain Paavo Olavi Koli (21.05.1921 - 25.03.1969)
When the Continuation War started Koli was secondary school canditate and 2nd Lieutenant of Engineer troops, Infantry Regiment 53.
Koli was leader of Detachment that was formed from two squads. Its mission was to recon Soviet positions, destroy connection lines and explode railways. In the beginning of September 1941 Koli's Detachment stopped enemy attack of 1000 men at Lebedevon-Elojärvi isthmus when Finnish Detachment that had lost its leaders was escaping.
But Koli was nominated not until summer '42.
Shortly about his nomination:" Lieutenant Koli is sturdy and skilful Engineer Officer. When overpowered enemy started to pressurise our positions aiming for encirle, Koli spontaneously started counter-attack. After 10 hours of fighting enemy Battalion was forced to retrieve. There was 200 fallen enemies in the battlefield, Lieutenant Koli's Platoon had zero casualties". Koli resigned from army 1945. He continued his studies and later became Doctor of Political Science and Principal of Tampere University.
In the picture Marshall Mannerheim is talking with Cross receiver Cadet Koli at Mikkeli, Army's HQ, 15.09.1942. sa-kuva.fi
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