Pro Patria – Erkki Vilhelmi Pyöriä

Erkki Vilhelmi Pyöriä of Bicycle Battalion 7 who was killed in action during the Winter War.

Erkki Vilhelmi Pyöriä was born in the North Ostrobothnia town of Haapavesi. He was called up from the reserves in October 1939 and assembled with Bicycle Battalion 7 at the city of Oulu.

The unit was placed in an ad-hoc formation designated Osasto Räsäsen (Detachment Räsäsen ) and given the task of securing the border region north of Lake Ladoga, around Suojärvi. The 4,000 men of the task force found themselves against the 139th Rifle Division.

The overwhelming force pushed the Finns further and further back. The Bicycle Battalion found itself under constant assault. They wouldn’t receive respite until reinforcements arrived under the banner of Lieutenant Colonel Pajari. By then it had been thoroughly battered, loosing two battalion commanders within five days.

The unit would see action at the famous battle of Tolvajärvi and help push the 139th Rifle Division back towards Ägläjärvi. On the 21st, they were brought into action, holding the line at Vasikkaniemi. Later that day, as the 139th were pushed out of Ägläjärvi, the Battalion was hot on their heels. On the morning of the 22nd, they were use to keep the pressure up on the retreating Soviets, by early afternoon, the fighting had moved to the small village of Pojasvaara. At 1530, the Battalion was called to rest and a count was taken. 4 men were declared dead, among them was Corporal Erkki Pyöriä.


Logo for the 80 year anniversary of the Winter War Talvisota

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *