Ivan Lyudnikov

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Ivan Ilyich Lyudnikov
File:Lyudnikov Ivan Iljich.jpg
Native name Иван Ильич Людников
Born 8 October 1902
Krivaya Kosa, Don Host Oblast, Russian Empire
Died 22 April 1976
Moscow, Soviet Union
Buried at Novodevichy Cemetery
Allegiance  Soviet Union
Service/branch Soviet Army
Years of service 1918-1968
Rank Colonel general
Commands held 15th Rifle Corps

39th Army
10th Guards Army
13th Army

Tauric Military District
Battles/wars Russian Civil War

World War II

Awards Hero of the Soviet Union

Order of Lenin (3)
Order of the Red Banner (5)
Order of Suvorov 1st class (3)
Order of Suvorov 2nd class
Order of Bogdan Khmelnitsky 2nd class
Legion of Honour
Legion of Merit
Croix de guerre 1939–1945 (France)

Order of Sukhbaatar

Ivan Ilyich Lyudnikov, (Russian: Иван Ильич Людников; Krivaya Kosa ( Don Host Oblast, Russian Empire), 8 October [O.S. 26 September] 1902 – Moscow 22 April 1976) was a Soviet Army Colonel General and Hero of the Soviet Union.

Early life

Ivan Lyudnikov was born on 8 October 1902 in Krivaya Kosa in the Don Host Oblast. In 1913 he began working alongside his father at Mine No. 2 in the Shcheglovskogo Coal Mine. He became a coal sorter. In 1914 Lyudnikov became a drainage pump worker. He became an apprentice turner at the mine workshop in 1915 and in 1916 became a turner.

Russian Civil War

Starting with 25 October 1917 Volunteer of the Juzov Red Guard Group.

  • 1918 April - Machine gunner at the special machine gun company of southern Abrosimov front (wounded); May-Red army man, a senior machine-gun detachment Bondarenko S.A. Southern Front; December - a Red Army 1st Cavalry Regiment, 42th Infantry Division 1st Cavalry Semyon Budyonny Southern Front.
  • 1919 - VLKSM Member, elected by members of the 1 cavalry regiment.
  • 1920 - Red Navy man at the Mariupol Navy base of the Azov fleet in the Southern front in the canonical Kolbasjev division. He took part in troops of generals Kaledin, Denikin and Wrangel during the Allied intervention in the Russian Civil War of 1918–1922.


After the war was over, he was educated at the following military educational institutions :

  • from 8 August 1922 till 1 January 1923 - 94 infantry commanding officer of the Ukrainian Military District;
  • From 1 January 1923 till 8 August 1925 - Odessa infantry division;
  • 1930 - Machine gun course at the Vistrel courses.

1925 - Commander at the 13th Dagestan infantry division, course and battalion course commander at the Vladikavkaz infantry school. In April 1935 Lyudnikov was sent to study at the Frunze Military Academy, from which he graduated on 8 September 1938.

Printed order 00128 of 29 August 1938 appointed him the special affairs officer of the Red Army 1st department. Starting with April 1939 he was leading 2 sections of the 13 branch department of the Red Army. Its main task was in preparing operations workers for army headquarters and commanding Zhitomir infantry school.

Great Patriotic war

The initial period of the war

By 22 of June 1941 colonel Lyudnikov was commanding 200th Rifle infantry division that was part of 31st Rifle Corps, in charge of military district and located south of the city of Sarny. Later, the 200th Rifle division was added to the 5th Army and took part of the Battle of Kiev. Occupying the Korosten fortified area, along with other units made numerous flank attacks on the 6th German Army aiming at Kiev. After being withdrawn from the river Dnieper, 200th division took part in defence fighting for Chernihiv. On the 12 of September the division and its staff was attacked from the air, as a result he was wounded seriously in the head, and his feet were broken. He was treated at Kharkiv hospital and then at Kazan military hospital #361. After his treatment was over, in November of 1941, Lyudnikov received 16 separate infantry brigade, organized on the basis of Grozny and some other defence schools of North Caucasian defence district. The brigade was taken on the strength of the 56th Army's North Caucasus Military District. In late November the brigade took part in liberating Rostov-on-Don. Starting with 26 of March 1942 Ivan Iljich was at disposal of various units – the 218th Rifle Division North Caucasus Military District, the 404 Rifle Division, the 390th Armenian Rifle Division and the 63th Mountain Rifle Division of the 44th Army, but due to changes the situation at the front he did not take command of them. On 29 of May 1942 he began command of the 138 Rifle division, and was in its commanded for 9 months.

Battle of Stalingrad

138th Rifle infantry division was fighting the enemy in Stalingrad heroically in October - November 1942. 100 days and nighs the division conducted fighting at the Barrikady works in the area of Lower settlement. This territory of 700m. along the front and 400m in depth was encircled on three sides, the forth was Volga river. It was shot through by artillery, shot at by mines and shells. Division under Lyudnikov's command was fighting steadfastly till he proceeded to the final section of the report in December of 1942. On the 25 of January 1943 division's units changed north to destroy the north group of the fascist units in the area of works and settlements. For courageous and brave operation shown by personnel in fighting for Stalingrad, the division was reorganized into the 70th guard infantry division on the 6 of February 1943.

Battle of Kursk and Battle of the Dnieper

On the 1 of June 1943 Lyudnikov was appointed commander of the 15th guard infantry division carried out his orders on defence and then changed to counter offensive attack. On the 22 of September forward units approached Dnieper north of the city of Chernobyl and began forcing it without a pause. After seizing the bridge-head on the right bank they repulsed counterattacks and started battle for widening the bridge-head. He was taken note of successful management in forcing Dnieper and shown audacity and courage. He was afforded with the title of the Hero of the Soviet Union, presented with the order of Lenin and the Gold Star (N1892 of 16 of October 1943).

Operation Bagration

The Red Army performed attack operation "Bagration", called after the Russian commander in the Patriotic war of 1812. At the time Lydnikov was in command of 39 Army at the 3rd Belorussian Front. Together with 43 Army of the 1st Baltic Front In command of Army general Beloborodov made an attack operation against German forces. This operation is also known as Vitebsk–Orsha Offensive, or Vitebsk Orsha pocket. This operation resulted in liberation of 447 settlements in 4 days, including Vitebsk and Orsha.

Baltic Offensive

On decision of General Headquarters the authority of 39 Army was temporarily delegated to 1st Baltic front to take part in Baltic Offensive. The army was given the combat mission of seizing the line Daugavpils-Pabradė and further developing on offensive on Kaunas and Šiauliai. Daugavpils was liberated on the 27 of July, and then Panevėžys and Šiauliai. Kaunas was liberated on the 1-st of august and the army came to the line Raseiniai-Suwałki, where suitable to defence on positions north of Neman at the borders of East Prussia. Further, Lyudnikov's forces received the tactical task of capturing the well equipped town of Tauragė, which allowed to block the main enemy's path from Tilsit across Neman. Army troops seized Tauragė and on the 9 of October crossed the border of German reich, getting down in history, entering Augstogallen. The army passed 150 km in 6 days of attack.

East Prussian Offensive

Ivan Chernyakhovsky, commander of the 3rd Belorussian Front set the tactical task to 39 Army that will put it into operation on the second day attack Kudirkos Naumiestis direction, Pilkallen, Hensnishkenen. The 39 army started the advance on October 17, encountered opposition and carried only 21 km in a week. 39th army carried on fighting. There was a foggy day on the 13 of January, when the art attack was appointed which made fire observation impossible. This made impossible the first day attack. 39 army could not achieve the planned results. The advance began to fade. I.Lyudnikov decided to carry all tanks and self-propelled guns south of Pilkallen, the direction that was considered secondary. The tanks were given the task of breaking through the defence line and carrying out the advance. Infantry has to apply all effort not to break from the tactical enemy and carrying out developing the success.If the breakthrough was successful, then developing it to north-west for Tilsit which will make the whole Insterburg group of German's see the threat of full surrounding. The weather (sleet snow) prevented starting the attack in the morning the snow was over by 16 hrs. The tanks made advance and by 22 hrs were 12–16 km in depth. A breach of the dam was formed ready for advance. On the 17th of January 1945 the 5 Guard and 94th Infantry courps broke through the Gumbinnen defence line and entered cities of Pilkallen and Hensnishkenen. The army forces seised Tilsit on the 19th of January. Further, 39 Army reached Dejma river. It took several days for the advanced divisions to cross the river by ferry. Army forces moved forward by 18 km. I.Lyudnikov received the task of creating the fortified defence line, made a roundabout way from the north, then from the west and reached the Baltic sea separating it from the German forces. Army forces seized it from railway station Metgethen separating communication from Königsberg to Pillau. On 16 April 1945 the Army forces seized the city of Fischhausen and this ended the fighting in East Prussia. Lyudnikov was promoted to Lieutenant general.

Soviet–Japanese War

From 12 May, the 39th Army began transfer to the Far East in preparation for the Soviet invasion of Manchuria. The 39th Army fought in the invasion of Manchuria. At the end of the war the army reached the Liaodong Peninsula, which it would garrison until the withdrawal of Soviet troops from China. For his leadership, Lyudnikov received the Order of Suvorov 1st class. He was also awarded the Medal "For the Victory over Japan", given to Soviet military personnel who participated in the campaign.

Commander of military forces


Lyudnikov was commandant of Port Arthur and commander of Soviet troops on the Liaodong Peninsula until 1947. On 29 November 1947, he became commander of the 10th Guards Army in the Leningrad Military District. On 20 April 1948, he became commander of the 13th Army in the Carpathian Military District. On 13 December 1949, Lyudnikov became deputy commander of the Group of Soviet Forces in Germany. In November 1951, he was sent to the Military Academy of the General Staff to take Higher Academic Courses, from which he graduated on 1 November 1952. On 28 November, he became deputy commander of the Odessa Military District. Lyudnikov transferred to command the Tauric Military District on 6 September 1954. On 10 June 1956, he became Warsaw Pact Supreme Command representative to the Ministry of National Defence of Bulgaria. Lyudnikov became commander of the Vystel Higher Officer Training Courses on 26 March 1959. On 28 November 1963, he became faculty head at the Military Academy of the General Staff. In late 1968, Lyudnikov retired. He died on 22 April 1976 in Moscow and was buried at the Novodevichy Cemetery.[1]

Honors and Awards

File:Ордена и медали И.И.Людникова.jpg
Lyudnikov's decorations in the Stalingrad Museum
File:Legion of Merit by I.I.Lyudnikov.jpg
Lyudnikov's Legion of Merit citation
File:Legion of Honour by I.I.Lyudnikov.jpg
Lyudnikov's Legion of Honour citation

Soviet Orders and Medals

Foreign awards

File:Stamp of Armenia m62.jpg
1995 Armenian stamp depicting Zakian, Lyudnikov and Babadzhanian


In 1995, Armenia issued a postage stamp depicting 390th Rifle Division commanders Simon Zakian, Hamazasp Babadzhanian and Lyudnikov.

  • The former 1 Sadovy st. in Vitebsk was called Lyudnikov Avenue in 1976. It is situated in one of the most picturesque regions of the city.

Informational memorial board was placed at the beginning of the Avenue, and the end - bas-relief of Ivan Lyudnikov, Hero of the Soviet Union.

  • Memorial ensemble "Ostrov Lyudnikova" In Volgograd is situated at the territory of Lower Barrikady settlement.
  • Great autonomos trawler-freezer, constructed on the 7 of October 1982 and was received by the ocean fishbreeding base of the Sovetskaya Gavan in 1983.
  • A memorial board was placed in October 2015 on the house of crossing Dmitry Ulyanov street and Leninsky Avenue where I.Lyudnikov was living from 1950 till 1976.

Film The Battle of Stalingrad (film). The role of Lyudnikov was played by Mikhail Nazvanov.

On 12 October 2012, a meeting was held at Sjedove, commerating Lyudnikov's 110th birthday, at which the book Полководец с Кривой Косы (English: Commander from Krivaya Kosa), a biography of Lyudnikov was presented. The book was written by Alexei Andreyevich Popov and Viktor Nikolayevich Beschastny, two Donetsk Oblast historians.


  1. Hero of the Soviet Union medal.png  Ivan Lyudnikov at the "Герои страны" ("Heroes of the Country") website (Russian)