Ruben Ernst Lagus, born 12-10-1896, in Koski Hl, developed the Finnish Arms Weapons and successfully led the War of the Continuation War. At the beginning of World War II, 22-07-1942, Colonel Lagus was named the first Knight of the Mannerheim Cross. In his motivation for the award, Commander-in-Chief emphasized Lagu’s personal courage and successful operations.
Ruben Lagus followed his older brother Olof to the voluntary hunter training in Germany in 1915. During the War of Independence, the young lieutenant served as battalion commander and regiment deputy. His life was overshadowed by Brother Olof’s fate. He had been promoted to major but died in unclear circumstances in April 1918, possibly in a jealousy drama. Lagus served as a maintenance officer in the 1930s and in the winter war. His near-legendary qualities as a warrior, however, did not come into existence until the war of the day. After the winter war, he had been ordered to lead the then-founded 1st Hunter Brigade, Finland’s first armored federation. This unit, trained in the spirit of attack, had the task of bringing about a promotion of the Finnish armor, whose fighting ability had been pitiful due to the lack of equipment during the winter war.Lagus kept the discipline tight and even encouraged excessive military risk. With his armored troops, composed of conscripted men and vehicles taken as a booty during the winter war, Lagus – also known as the Rommel of Finland – achieved a breakthrough at the beginning of the continuing war with his attack on the Tulois (Tuulos) river. As the first units, Lagus’s men crossed the old national border at Olonets as early as July 1941. The powerful, armored brigade advanced in the lead to Svir in early September and was also involved in taking Petrozavodsk, Karhumäki and Poventsa. Through these successful operations, the importance of armor weapons was also widely recognized for Finnish conditions. In 1942, Lagus Brigade was expanded to an armored division, the crew of which was trained in the conquered Äänislinna (in Swedish Onegaborg, in Russian Petrozavodsk). The division fought on the western Svirfronten, was a reserve during the fortification work on the Karelian nose and took part in the fights at Tali-Ihantala and Vuosalmi. The more dignified division’s performance in the wars was not of the same caliber as the easy-moving brigade at the beginning of the war. In the war in Lapland, Lagus participated in the fall of 1944 as head of Group Lagus, which operated along the Arctic Road north from Rovaniemi.
Death and burial ground of Lagus, Ruben Ernst.
After serving as division chief a couple of years after the war, Lagus asked for his resignation in 1947. He settled in Lojo to lead a company for social housing production and for hobby growing flowers. Ruben Ernst Lagus died age 62, on 15-07-1959, in Lohja and is buried at Hietaniemi Cemetery, Helsinki, Helsinki Municipality, Uusimaa, Finland, Section 6, Line 2. My friend Radek Hroch sent me the gravephoto’s with thanks.