Fyodor Tolbukhin

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Fyodor Ivanovich Tolbukhin
Born (1894-06-16)June 16, 1894
Androniki, Yaroslavl, Russian Empire
Died October 17, 1949(1949-10-17) (aged 55)
Moscow, Russian SFSR
Buried at Kremlin Wall Necropolis
Allegiance  Russian Empire (1914-1917)
 Soviet Union (1917-1949)
Years of service 1914 — 1949
Rank Marshal of the Soviet Union
Commands held 4th Ukrainian Front
3rd Ukrainian Front
Transcaucasian Military District
Battles/wars World War I
Russian Civil War
World War II
Awards Hero of the Soviet Union
Order of Lenin (2)
Order of the Red Banner (3)
Order of Suvorov, 1st Class (2)
Order of Kutuzov, 1st Class
Order of Victory

Fyodor Ivanovich Tolbukhin (Russian: Фёдор Ива́нович Толбу́хин; June 16, 1894 – October 17, 1949) was a Soviet military commander.


Tolbukhin was born into a peasant family in the province of Yaroslavl, north-east of Moscow. He volunteered for the Imperial Army in 1914 at the outbreak of World War I. He was steadily promoted, advancing from private to captain by 1916. He was also decorated for bravery multiple times.

In August 1918 Tolbukhin joined the Red Army, where he served as the chief of staff of the 56th infantry (Rifle?) division. After the Russian Civil War ended (1921), Tolbukhin was given a number of staff positions. He also attended the Frunze Military Academy for advanced staff training, graduating in 1931. In 1937, after a series of staff positions, Tolbukhin was given command of a division. In 1938, he was made chief of staff of the Transcaucasus Military District.

Tolbukhin remained in this position through the opening phases of Operation Barbarossa until August 1941, when he was made the chief of staff of the Crimean Front, which he held until March 1942. From May to July 1942, he was the assistant commander of the Stalingrad Military District. After that, he was the commander of the 58th Army until March 1943. The 58th was involved in the Battle of Stalingrad, where Tolbukhin's superior, Colonel-General Andrei Yeremenko, praised his command organization and military prowess. After his command of the 57th, Tolbukhin was placed in command of the Southern Front.

In October 1943 the Southern Front was renamed 4th Ukrainian Front. Tolbukhin assisted Rodion Malinovsky's 3rd Ukrainian Front in the Lower Dnieper Offensive and Dnieper–Carpathian Offensive. In May 1944, Tolbukhin was transferred to control of 3rd Ukrainian Front. During the Summer Campaign, from June to October 1944, Tolbukhin and Malinovsky launched their invasion of the Balkans and were able to conquer most of Romania. On September 12, 1944, two days after Malinovsky was promoted to Marshal of the Soviet Union, Tolbukhin was promoted to the same rank. While Malinovsky moved northwest, towards Hungary and Yugoslavia, Tolbukhin occupied Bulgaria. Starting in the Winter Campaign, Tolbukhin shifted his army to the northwest axis, thereby liberating much of Yugoslavia and invading southern Hungary.

After the war, Tolbukhin was commander-in-chief of the Southern Group of Forces, which comprised the Balkan region. In January 1947, Tolbukhin was made the commander of the Transcaucasus Military District, a post he held until his death on October 17, 1949.

Tolbukhin is generally regarded as one of the finest Soviet generals of World War II. Meticulous, careful, and not overly ambitious like some Soviet commanders, Tolbukhin was well respected by fellow commanders and also his men, especially since he had a dedication to keeping casualty rates low. Tolbukhin was the recipient of numerous awards and medals including the highest Soviet medal and rank, the Victory Order and Hero of the Soviet Union, respectively. Tolbukhin was also a hero of Yugoslavia, whose capital Belgrade he liberated. The urn containing his ashes is buried in the Kremlin necropolis wall, and there is a monument to him in his native Yaroslavl.

Honours and awards


The Bulgarian city of Dobrich was renamed Tolbukhin, a name it held until the fall of communism in 1989.

A Prospect (street) in Odessa holds his name.

One of main streets in Belgrade, the capital of Serbia was named after general Tolbukhin: Marshal Tolbukhin Street (Ulica maršala Tolbuhina in Serbian (Latin alphabet), Улица Маршала Толбухина also in Serbian (Cyrillic)). After "democratic revolution" and after the fall of communism in Yugoslavia and in Serbia, this street was renamed, and now its official name is "General McKenzie/MacKenzie Street" ("Mekenzijeva ulica" in Serbian).

Trivia is that Marshal Tolbukhin Street in Belgrade started from a "Square of Dimitrije Tucović" and continued to "Marshal Tito Street", all three now renamed to their pre-World War II names. However, even after those decisions motivated by contemporary politics[citation needed], people in Belgrade still use the "old" name of the street - Marshal Tolbukhin Street, since Marshal Tolbukhin (general at the time) was a commander in chief of the Red Army during liberation of Belgrade, the capital of old Yugoslavia and Serbia.

Budapest, the capital of Hungary also had one of its streets named after Tolbukhin, as he was one of the major Soviet commanders in the Hungarian war theatre. The previous Mészáros utca (Butchers' Street) was renamed Vámház körút (Custom House Boulevard) during the (re)construction of the area in 1875. The road was renamed after the Tsar of Bulgaria, Ferdinand in 1915, when Bulgaria joined the Central Powers in the First World War. In 1919 the road got back its old name, Vámház körút, which it bore until 1942, when it was once more renamed, this time after son of Regent of Hungary, Admiral Miklós Horthy, István Horthy. In 1945, the road was named after Marshal Tolbukhin (Tolbuhin Boulevard), and it held this name until 1990 with the fall of the Socialism.