Mikhail Katukov

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Mikhail Katukov
Colonel General Mikhail Katukov
Born 17 September 1900
Bolshoe Uvarovo,
(now Moscow Oblast)
Died 8 June 1976(1976-06-08) (aged 75)
Allegiance Soviet Union
Years of service 1919 - 1963
Rank Marshal of the armored troops
Unit Armoured Troops
Commands held 4th Tank Brigade/1st Guards Tank Brigade
1st Tank Corps
3rd Mechanised Corps
1st Tank Army/1st Guards Tank Army
Battles/wars Battle of Moscow
Operation Mars
Battle of Kursk
Operation Bagration
Vistula Oder Operation
Battle of Berlin
Awards Hero of the Soviet Union Hero of the Soviet Union
Other work Commander of Armored Forces of the Group of Soviet Forces in Germany
Inspector General of the Army

Marshal of Armoured Troops Mikhail Efimovich Katukov (September 17, 1900 - June 8, 1976) (Russian: Михаил Ефимович Катуков) served as a commander of armored troops in the Red Army during and following World War II. He is viewed as one of the most talented Soviet armor commanders.[citation needed]

Military career

Katukov entered the Red Army as a private in 1919. He served during the Russian Civil War, and later served as a tank formation commander before the war. In 1935 he graduated from the Stalin Military Academy and in July 1936 he was promoted to captain. In October 1938 came his first major command as acting commanding officer of the 5th light Tank Brigade of the 45th Mechanized Corps. He survived the purges.

The Great Patriotic War

His most notable command during the German-Soviet War was that of 1st Guards Tank Army which he commanded during the Battle of Kursk, Operation Bagration, the Vistula Oder Operation, and the Battle of Berlin. He also commanded 1st Guards Tank Brigade during the Battle of Moscow, and 3rd Mechanised Corps[1] during Operation Mars.

On the onset of the war he took command of the 4th Tank Brigade. In the defense of Moscow in 1941, it was Katukov's Tank Brigade, then part of the 1st Guards Rifle Corps, that checked the advance of Guderian's Panzergruppe 2 near Tula. To honor this achievement it became the 1st Guards Tank Brigade.

Later during Operation Mars in December 1942, Katukov's command managed a deep penetration into the German lines in the Rhzev salient.

In January 1943 he took command of the 1st Guards Tank Army, a post he held for the duration of the war.

In the battle of Kursk, Katukov's command was one of the two armies that were hardest-hit by the initial German advance on the southern shoulder. Through the use of well-defended and sited strong-points, dug in tanks, and judicious use of counterattacks, Katukov managed to extract a high toll from the German attackers breaking through the defensive system.

Mikhail Katukov was awarded the title of the Hero of the Soviet Union twice (September 29, 1944 and April 6, 1945).


Following the war he became commander of the mechanized forces of the Group of Soviet Forces in Germany, and later Inspector General of the Army.

In Popular Culture

In the 1970 film Patton, Katukov is portrayed drinking a toast with General Patton to celebrate their armies' mutual victory over Nazi Germany.

Honours and awards

Soviet Union
Hero of the Soviet Union medal.pngHero of the Soviet Union medal.png Hero of the Soviet Union, twice
Order of Lenin ribbon bar.png Order of Lenin, four times
Order of Red Banner ribbon bar.png Order of the Red Banner, three times
Order suvorov1 rib.png Order of Suvorov, 1st class, twice
Order kutuzov1 rib.png Order of Kutuzov, 1st and 2nd Class
Order bogdan khmelnitsky1 rib.png Order of Bogdan Khmelnitsky, 1st class
Order redstar rib.png Order of the Red Star
Order service to the homeland3 rib.png Order for Service to the Homeland in the Armed Forces of the USSR, 3rd class
MilitaryVeteranRibbon.png Medal "Veteran of the Armed Forces of the USSR"
Ribbon bar for the medal for the Defense of Moscow.png Medal "For the Defence of Moscow"
Caputureberlin rib.png Medal "For the Capture of Berlin"
OrderStGeorge4cl rib.png Medal "For the Victory over Germany in the Great Patriotic War 1941–1945"
20 years of victory rib.png Jubilee Medal "Twenty Years of Victory in the Great Patriotic War 1941-1945"
30 years of victory rib.png Jubilee Medal "Thirty Years of Victory in the Great Patriotic War 1941-1945"
20 years saf rib.png Jubilee Medal "XX Years of the Workers' and Peasants' Red Army"
30 years saf rib.png Jubilee Medal "30 Years of the Soviet Army and Navy"
40 years saf rib.png Jubilee Medal "40 Years of the Armed Forces of the USSR"
50 years saf rib.png Jubilee Medal "50 Years of the Armed Forces of the USSR"
100 lenin rib.png Jubilee Medal "In Commemoration of the 100th Anniversary since the Birth of Vladimir Il'ich Lenin", "For Military Valour"
Patriotic Order of Merit GDR ribbon bar gold.png Patriotic Order of Merit, in gold (East Germany)
POL Order Krzyża Grunwaldu 2 Klasy BAR.svg Cross of Grunwald, 2nd class (Poland)
POL Virtuti Militari Kawalerski BAR.svg Knights Cross of the Virtuti Militari (Poland)
POL Polonia Restituta Komandorski BAR.svg Commander's Cross of the Polonia Restituta, (Poland)
POL Za Warszawę 1939-1945 BAR.svg Medal "For Warsaw 1939–1945" (Poland)
POL Medal za Odrę Nysę i Bałtyk BAR.svg Medal "For Oder, Neisse and the Baltic" (Poland)
Dso-ribbon.png Distinguished Service Order (United Kingdom)
OrdenSuheBator.png Order of Sukhbaatar (Mongolia)
OrdenZnam.png Order of the Red Banner (Mongolia)
Order of combat service rib.PNG Order "For Service in Battle" (Mongolian People's Republic)

Sources and references

  1. David Glantz, Zhukov's Greatest Defeat - The Red Army's Epic Disaster in Operation Mars 1942, University Press of Kansas, 1998 P140