Supporting Cast

Lauri Törni/Larry Thorne

by Hans-Christian Vortisch

He served under three flags during his lifetime: a Finnish war hero of the Winter and Continuation Wars, a SS guerrilla leader in Nazi Germany, and one of the most famous U.S. Army Special Forces operators in Vietnam. A number of legends have sprung up around him. Yet although Lauri Törni (a.k.a. Larry Thorne) may seem to possess the qualities of a fictional character, he was a real person. Three different GURPS versions are given to account for the development during his life; they are especially useful for campaigns using WWII or Special Ops, but could also be employed in Atomic Horror.

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Born on May 28, 1919 as Lauri Allan Törni in Viipuri/Vyberg in Finland (present-day Russia), Törni spent a rowdy youth in a well-off family. His nickname was Lasse. He joined the paramilitary Suojeluskunta (Finnish Civil Guard) in his late teens and entered Business School at age 17, but he really found his trade when he was drafted into the Finnish army in 1938, serving in a light infantry unit. After his 12-month compulsory service, he re-enlisted and was sent to various NCO academies. There he was trained as a veterinary sergeant. When the Winter War broke out on November 30, 1939 (p. W13), Lasse Törni held the rank of Alikersantti (undersergeant) and served with distinction in the Jääkäripataljoona 4 (JP4 -- 4th ranger battalion), and two separate infantry battalions, the ErP8 and ErP18. The Finnish rangers traced back their heritage . . .

This article originally appeared in the second volume of Pyramid. See the current Pyramid website for more information.

Article publication date: January 31, 2003

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