Rear admiral Johan Pitka VR I/1, KCMG (19 February 1872, Terasaugu gamekeeper’s house, Jalgsema Village, Võhmuta Parish, Järva County – autumn 1944) was an Estonian entrepreneur, sea captain, and one of the founding fathers of independent Estonia.
He was one of the organisers of the Estonian national units and the Militia of Tallinn in 1917 and one of the founders of the Defence League a year later. Pitka took part in the Estonian War of Independence on the first armoured train on the Narva front and served as the chief of the naval force and battle fleet in 1919–1920. His role as the creator of the Defence League, armoured trains, armoured cars, the border guard, and the Estonian naval force earned him the respectful monikers of ‘the father of armoured trains’ and ‘the soul of the War of Independence’.
In August 1944, Pitka as the Commander in Chief of the military forces of Otto Tief’s government formed the Löögirühm Admiral Pitka (Strike Unit Admiral Pitka) commando to mount resistance against the Soviet forces. The last reliable information about Pitka’s whereabouts are from September 1944. The circumstances of his death and his burial place remain unknown to this day.