Kuzma Grebennik

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Kuzma Yevdokimovich Grebennik
File:Kuzma Grebennik.jpg
Native name Кузьма Евдокимович Гребенник
Born 18 February 1900
Bryansk village, Slavyanoserbsk Uyezd, Ekaterinoslav Governorate, Russian Empire
Died 22 September 1974
Kiev, Soviet Union
Buried at Baikove Cemetery
Allegiance  Soviet Union
Service/branch Border Troops
Red Army
Years of service 1919–1961
Rank Lieutenant general
Commands held 15th Rifle Division

37th Guards Rifle Division
Border Troops Ukraine District Border Troops Leningrad Military District

Border Troops Southwestern District
Battles/wars Battle of Lake Khasan

World War II

Hungarian Revolution
Awards Hero of the Soviet Union

Order of Lenin (3)
Order of the Red Banner (5)
Order of Suvorov 2nd class
Order of Kutuzov 2nd class

Virtuti Militari Commander's Cross

Kuzma Yevdokimovich Grebennik (Russian: Кузьма Евдокимович Гребенник; 18 February 1900 – 22 September 1974) was a Red Army lieutenant general and Hero of the Soviet Union. Grebennik served in the Soviet Border Troops both before and after World War II.[1] During World War II, he commanded the 15th and 37th Guards Rifle Divisions.[2]

Early life

Kuzma Grebennik was born on 18 February 1900 in the village of Bryansk in Slavyanoserbsk Uyezd in the Yekaterinoslav Governorate. His father worked as a miner in the coal mines of the Donbass. Grebennik graduated from elementary school and became a sorter at the coal mine at the age of 10. In 1914, his family moved to the village of Kremen in Kharkov Governorate, where Grebennik graduated from a two year college in 1915. In 1916, he became a worker at the Donets-Rubezhnyi Factory. Grebennik returned to the Donbass and became a worker at a coal mine in 1918.[2]

In May 1919, Grebennik was drafted into the Red Army and served with the 42nd Rifle Division. He caught typhus and after recovery in January 1920 became a clerk at the Ekaterinoslav Governorate recruiting office. Grebennik joined the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in September. In October, he transferred to the Cheka and served in the Krasny Kommunistychesky Battalion of the Cheka Donetsk Division's 1st Regiment. With the regiment, Grebennik fought against the White Army commanded by Pyotr Nikolayevich Wrangel.[2]


In April 1922, Grebennik became an instructor with the 455th Rogozhsko-Simonovsky Regiment of the 51st Rifle Division. He transferred to the border troops of the OGPU in October 1922 as a commissar of the Ochakovo Border battalion. Grebennik graduated from the Graduate School of the USSR Border Troops in 1924. In September, he became a platoon commander of the Odessa School of border troops regiment. He became the head of border troops at the Polish border and the motorized group of the Moldovan border detachment. In November 1929, he became the assistant chief of the drill for the 21st Yampolsky Border Detachment. Grebennik was appointed commander of the 5th Mechanized Regiment of the Order of Lenin Separate Mechanized Division of special purpose troops in December 1931. In July 1935, he graduated from the courses at the Military Academy of Mechanization and Motorization of the Red Army. Grebennik was promoted to colonel in April 1936.[1][2]

Grebennik became the commander of the 59th Border Detachment[3] of the NKVD Border Troops in the Primorsky Krai near Posyet[4] in November 1937. In August 1938, he led the border detachment in repelling the first Japanese attacks during the Battle of Lake Khasan.[1][2] For his leadership in the battle, Grebennik was awarded the Order of the Red Banner.[5]

World War II

Grebennik continued to command the border detachment until November 1942, when he was appointed deputy commander of the Far Eastern NKVD Rifle Division in the Urals Military District. In February 1943, the division was renamed the 102nd Rifle Division and was sent to the Central Front as part of the 70th Army.[6] He served with the division during the Sevsk offensive in Operation Kutuzov. In August, Grebennik became the commander of the 15th Rifle Division. The division advanced during the Chernigov-Pripyat Offensive during August and September. During the fall, it fought in the Gomel-Rechitsa Offensive. In January 1944, the division fought in the Kalinkovichi-Mozyr Offensive. In June, Operation Bagration was launched and the division advanced through Belorussia.[1][2]

During the East Prussian Offensive in early 1945, the division fought as part of 65th Army's 18th Rifle Corps. Around this time, Grebennik's son Vladimir joined the division as a lieutenant in the medical battalion.[7] On 30 March, Grebennik took over command of the 37th Guards Rifle Division from acting commander Colonel Nikolay Onoprienko after Major General Sobir Rakhimov was killed during the assault on Danzig. Grebennik led the division through the rest of the East Pomeranian Offensive. He organized the division's crossing of the Oder on 20 April and established a bridgehead over the river during the Berlin Offensive.[8] The division captured Kołbaskowo, southwest of Szczecin. By 2 May, the division had advance 150 kilometers and was on the Baltic Sea northeast of Rostock. Grebennik was awarded the title Hero of the Soviet Union and the Order of Lenin on 29 May for his actions during the Berlin Offensive.[1][2]


On 1 December, the division became the 27th Mechanized Division. It was reduced to regimental strength a year later.[9] In 1946, he served as a witness at the Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal.[7] Grebennik continued to command the division throughout these changes but returned to the Border Troops in August 1947. He was appointed deputy head of the Border Troops in the Transcarpathian Border District. Grebennik was appointed head of the Border Troops of the Ukrainian Border District in December. While in that position, he participated in the fighting against the Ukrainian Insurgent Army. Between 1950 and 1954, he was a deputy of the Supreme Soviet. In November 1951, Grebennik was appointed head of the border troops of the Leningrad District. He became a senior advisor to the Albanian Ministry of Interior Affairs in October 1953. Grebennik became the head of the 1st Department of the Main Directorate of Border and Internal Troops of the USSR in October 1956. During the crushing of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 in Operation Whirlwind, Grebennik commanded the Soviet forces in the Budapest region and was wounded.[7][10] From April 1957, he was the chief of staff and first deputy chief of the KGB Border Troops. In July, he was promoted to lieutenant general and became the head of the KGB Border Troops in the Southwestern Frontier District. From January 1960, Grebennik was the head of the operational group of the KGB Border Troops in the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic.[1][2]

In December 1961, Grebennik was discharged. He lived in Kiev and was a member of the Ukrainian People's Control Committee.[5] He died on 22 September 1974. Grebennik is buried in the Baikove Cemetery.[1][2] In 1978, his writings were posthumously published as "Хасанский дневник", or Khasan Diary in English.[11]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 "Гребенник Кузьма Евдокимович : Министерство обороны Российской Федерации" [Grebennik Kuzma Yevdokimovich: Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation]. encyclopedia.mil.ru (in Russian). Retrieved 2015-12-23.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 "Гребенник Кузьма Евдокимович" [Grebennik Kuzma Evdokimovich]. www.warheroes.ru (in Russian). Retrieved 2015-12-23.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Biography of Lieutenant-General Kuzma Evdokimovich Grebennik – (Кузьма Евдокимович Гребенник) (1900–1974), Soviet Union". www.generals.dk. Retrieved 2015-12-26.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Coox, Alvin D. (1990-01-01). Nomonhan: Japan Against Russia, 1939. Stanford University Press. ISBN 9780804718356.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. 5.0 5.1 Andreyev, Andrey Matveyevich (1984). От первого мгновения — до последнего [From the first moment – until recently] (in Russian). Moscow: Voenizdat. p. 101.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Andreyev 1984, p. 100
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 ""Мой отец герой Советского Союза Кузьма Гребенник в 1938–м воевал вместе с маршалом..." [My father was a hero of the Soviet Union Kuzma Grebennik in 1938, fought with Marshal Blucher on the Lake Hasan, and after the war played in Tokyo witness at the trial of the major war criminals and became the prototype of one of the characters in the film]. fakty.ua (in Russian). Retrieved 2015-12-28.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Batov, Pavel Ivanovich (1974). В походах и боях [In the Campaigns and Battles] (in Russian). Moscow: Voenizdat.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. Drogovoz, Igor (2001). Танковый меч страны советов [Soviet tank sword]. Moscow: ACT. pp. 81–83. ISBN 9851311332.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. Schmidl, Erwin A.; Ritter, László (2006-01-01). The Hungarian Revolution 1956. Osprey Publishing. p. 24. ISBN 9781846030796.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. Grebennik, Kuzma Evdokimovich; Muras, S.; Е, Khornzhy (1978-01-01). Хасанский дневник [Khasan Diary] (in русский). Dalenovost.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>