The Soldier who fought in 3 Armies | Summary and Q&A

March 8, 2019
Simple History
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The Soldier who fought in 3 Armies


Captain Larry Thorne, a highly decorated soldier, served in the Finnish Army, the German Waffen-SS, and the US Military before tragically dying in a helicopter crash during the Vietnam War.

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Key Insights

  • 🫱 Lauri Törni, later known as Captain Larry Thorne, had a remarkable military career, serving in multiple armies and fighting in significant wars.
  • 😜 Thorne's experience and leadership skills made him quickly rise through the ranks in the US Army.
  • 😀 Despite facing challenging circumstances and personal turmoil, Thorne's dedication and bravery were consistently recognized and celebrated.
  • 🐕‍🦺 Thorne's tragic death highlighted the sacrifices made by soldiers during the Vietnam War and the lasting impact of their service.
  • 🌥️ His story exemplifies the complexities and personal journeys of individuals who find themselves caught up in larger geopolitical conflicts.
  • 🛟 Thorne's reputation and accomplishments in the Finnish Army and German Waffen-SS followed him throughout his life, presenting challenges and opportunities.
  • 🥺 Thorne's ability to adapt and lead in different military environments showcased his exceptional skills and resilience.


It was October 18th, 1965... the outdated South Vietnam Air Force H-34 helicopter... hugged tightly to the mountainous terrain of the Phước Sơn District of Vietnam. As the French and Americans had found this reliable... but old workhorse was not well suited for frontline combat duty... due to its low speed and large silhouette. But maybe most sign... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: What were Captain Larry Thorne's major accomplishments during the Continuation War?

During the Continuation War, Thorne led successful hit-and-run skirmishes behind Soviet lines, gathered intelligence, and used enemy weapons effectively, earning the respect of his superiors and a formidable reputation among the Soviets.

Q: How did Thorne end up joining the US Army?

After immigrating to the United States and changing his name to Larry Thorne, he joined the US Army in 1954 and utilized his extensive military experience to teach specialized skills and tactics to others.

Q: What happened during the firefight at Tịnh Biên in Vietnam?

Thorne's base was attacked by Việt Cộng forces, and the outer perimeter was breached. It was only due to Thorne's determination and leadership that the base was not overrun, resulting in his commendation for bravery.

Q: How did Captain Larry Thorne's life come to a tragic end?

While commanding a Special Forces Unit in Vietnam, Thorne's helicopter crashed in the mountains, and his remains were not discovered for over 30 years. He was posthumously promoted to Major and honored on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Captain Larry Thorne, originally named Lauri Törni, was a highly decorated soldier who served in multiple armies and fought in the Winter War and Continuation War.

  • He gained a reputation for bravery and leadership, receiving the Mannerheim Cross for his outstanding performance during the Continuation War.

  • After the war, Thorne joined the German Army and later joined the US Military, where he served in West Germany and Vietnam.

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