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Plelv44_Mangrov
10-06-2004, 01:11 PM
http://www.netherhall47.freeserve.co.uk/graphics/352nd%20Photos/Wilbert%20Juntilla.jpg

Wilbert Henry "Weep" Junttila, 79, of Calumet died on May 6, 1999. He was born on February 16, 1920, in Calumet, a son of Kustav and Lempi Junttila. He graduated from Michigan Tech in 1941, with a bachelor of science degree in Mechanical Engineering and he played hockey at MTU. He married Virginia Peterson in 1945.

Junttila archived his first air victory flying 353rd Fighter Group at 14. October 1943. Wakeford Blue flight, led by 1st Lt Juntilla, was flying escorting bombers at 32000ft and saw 4 Me109's coming in on Wakeford Yellow flight from 4 o'clock. In the combat he claimed an Me 109 destroyed and one damaged:

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>I turned into them and fired, heading into the leader, breaking up the attack. On this pass I did not hit anything. Then I noticed 8 more 109's and 4 white 190's turning in sharper on Yellow flight from 3 o'clock. I got on the tail of one Me109 and fired, noticing strikes on the wings. All but two of the 109's broke down and back, including the one I had fired at.

I then went after the remaining two ships and emptied my guns at one of them, closing from 300 to 200 yards. I noticed strikes or flashes all along his left wing. He pulled up at about 15000ft and went into a spin. I pulled up and circled watching him. I saw him disappear into the overcast which I estimated to be at about 1500ft. He was still spinning when he went into the overcast. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

His next victory was Bf-110. The mission was handed over to 1st Lt Wilbert Juntilla when Major Bailey's aircraft experienced radio trouble. Ten twin engined enemy aircraft came in from the east over the target to attack the rear end of the second box of bombers. In the battle that followed 5 enemy were quickly dispatched boosting morale for the Squadron who had so far failed to achieve a big score. Juntilla was leading White flight and claimed an Bf-110:

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>As the first bombers turned away from the target after dropping their bombs, 10 Me110's and 210's went in at them from 4 o'clock at about 24000ft. Wakeford Squadron attacked out of the Sun and evidently were not seen by the enemy. I got on the tail of one Me110 and shot two bursts at close range. He suddenly turned downward and I pulled up over him. A piece of the 110 put a dent in the wing of my wing man (2nd Lt Russell E Moriarty). I then turned to make another attack on the rest of the formation but there were none left. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

In August 1945 Capt. Junttila taked over command of 352nd Fighter Group. In October 1945 Junttila was promoted to Major and 352nd changed P-47s to P-51s.

Scanned from Finnish Pienoismalli-magazine (Pienoismalli = Scale model):

http://koti.mbnet.fi/mkuja/Ilmailu/The%20Flying%20Finn.pdf

Maple_Tiger
10-06-2004, 01:19 PM
Very cool.
Thank you for sharing Mangrov.

tttiger
10-06-2004, 01:56 PM
A small error.

The 352nd Fighter Group (Blue Nosed Basterds of Bodney) were flying P-51s in early 1944.

Your first reference was to 353rd FG. I assume that's correct.

ttt

horseback
10-06-2004, 02:47 PM
Capt Juntilla probably took over command of the 352nd Squadron, assuming it was part of the 353rd Group. No doubt someone will whip out his copy of Osprey's Aces of the Eighth and clear this up shortly.

Group command was at least a Lt. Colonel's billet. Given the difficulties of translation from English to Finnish and back again to English, the misunderstanding is quite forgiveable.

cheers

horseback