5th SS Panzer Division Wiking
The 5th SS Panzer Division "Wiking" was a Panzer division among the thirty eight Waffen-SS divisions of Nazi Germany. It was recruited from foreign volunteers in Denmark, Sweden, Estonia, the Netherlands and Belgium under the command of German officers. During the course of World War II, the division served on the Eastern Front, it surrendered in May 1945 to the American forces in Austria. After the invasion of Poland in 1939, Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler sought to expand the Waffen-SS with foreign military volunteers for the "crusade against Bolshevism"; the enrollment began in April 1940 with the creation of two regiments: the Waffen-SS Regiment Nordland, the Waffen-SS Regiment Westland. The Nordic formation organised as the Nordische Division, was to be made up of Nordic volunteers mixed with ethnic German Waffen-SS personnel; the SS Infantry Regiment Germania of the SS-Verfügungs-Division, formed from ethnic Germans, was transferred to help form the nucleus of a new division in late 1940.
In December 1940, the new SS motorised formation was to be designated as SS-Division Germania, but after its formative period, the name was changed, to SS-Division Wiking in January 1941. The division was formed around three motorised infantry regiments: Germania and Nordland. Command of the newly formed division was given to Brigadeführer Felix Steiner, the former commander of the Verfügungstruppe SS Regiment Deutschland. After formation, the division was sent to Heuberg in Germany for training; the division was ordered east in mid-May, to take part with Army Group South's advance into the Ukraine during Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of the Soviet Union. In June 1941 the Finnish Volunteer Battalion of the Waffen-SS was formed from volunteers from that country. After training, this unit was attached to the SS Regiment Nordland of the division. About 430 Finns who fought in the Winter War served within the SS Division Wiking since the beginning of Barbarossa. In spring 1943, the Finns' 2-year contract ended, the Finnish battalion was withdrawn.
During that same timeframe, the Regiment Nordland was removed to help form the core of the new SS Division Nordland. They were replaced by the Estonian infantry battalion Narwa; the division took part in Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of the Soviet Union, advancing through Galicia, today's Ukraine. In August the division fought for the bridgehead across the Dniepr River; the division took part in the heavy fighting for Rostov-on-Don before retreating to the Mius River line in November. In the summer of 1942, the unit took part Army Group South's offensive Case Blue, aimed at capturing Stalingrad and the Baku oilfields. In late September 1942, Wiking participated in the operation aimed to capture the city of Grozny, alongside the 13th Panzer Division; the division captured Malgobek on 6 October, but the objective of seizing Grozny and opening a road to the Caspian Sea was not achieved. The division took part in the attempt to seize Ordzhonikidze; the Soviet Operation Uranus, the encirclement of the 6th Army at Stalingrad, brought any further advances in the Caucasus to a halt.
After Operation Winter Storm, the failed attempt to relieve the 6th Army, Erich von Manstein, the commander of Army Group South, proposed another attempt towards Stalingrad. To that end, Wiking entrained on 24 December; the division escaped through the Rostov gap on 4 February. In early 1943, the division fell back to Ukraine south of Kharkov abandoned by the II SS Panzer Corps commanded by Paul Hausser. In the remaining weeks of February, the Corps, including Wiking, engaged Mobile Group Popov, the major Soviet armoured force named after Markian Popov during the Third Battle of Kharkov; the losses of Popov's Group halted the Soviet offensive which followed the Battle of Stalingrad and stabilized Manstein's front. In 1943, Herbert Gille was appointed to command the division; the SS Regiment Nordland, along with its commander Fritz von Scholz, were removed from the division and used as the nucleus for the new SS Division Nordland. The Finnish Volunteer Battalion was withdrawn and they were replaced by the Estonian infantry battalion Narwa.
In the summer of 1943, along with the 23rd Panzer Division, formed the reserve force for Manstein's Army Group for Operation Citadel. Following the German failure in the Battle of Kursk, the Red Army launched counter-offensives, Operation Kutuzov and Operation Rumyantsev. Wiking, together with SS Divisions Totenkopf and Das Reich, was sent to the Mius-Bogodukhov sector; the Soviets began advancing towards the Dnieper. In October the division was pulled out to a quiet sector of the line just as the Dnieper–Carpathian Offensive overtook Army Group South. In the aftermath of the fall of Kiev in late December 1943, the 1st and 2nd Ukrainian Fronts of the Red Army encircled several German divisions during the Battle of the Korsun–Cherkassy Pocket in January 1944. Over 60,000 soldiers, including the "Wiking" division, were trapped along the Dnieper River in the height of winter. In a battle marked by brutality, heavy losses, horrific weather half of German forces broke out of the encirclement, but SS Wiking in particular suffered heavy casualties and losses of nearly all its heavy equipment.
On 13 February 1945, the division was ordered west to Lake Balaton, where Oberstgruppenführer Sepp Dietrich's 6th SS Panzer Army was preparing Operation Spring Awakening, an
Battle of Stalingrad
The Battle of Stalingrad was the largest confrontation of World War II, in which Germany and its allies fought the Soviet Union for control of the city of Stalingrad in Southern Russia. Marked by fierce close quarters combat and direct assaults on civilians in air raids, it was the largest and bloodiest battle in the history of warfare. After their defeat at Stalingrad, the German High Command had to withdraw vast military forces from the Western Front to replace their losses; the German offensive to capture Stalingrad began in August 1942, using the 6th Army and elements of the 4th Panzer Army. The attack was supported by intensive Luftwaffe bombing; the fighting degenerated into house-to-house fighting. By mid-November 1942, the Germans had pushed the Soviet defenders back at great cost into narrow zones along the west bank of the Volga River. On 19 November 1942, the Red Army launched Operation Uranus, a two-pronged attack targeting the weaker Romanian and Hungarian armies protecting the German 6th Army's flanks.
The Axis forces on the flanks were overrun and the 6th Army was cut off and surrounded in the Stalingrad area. Adolf Hitler ordered that the army make no attempt to break out. Heavy fighting continued for another two months. By the beginning of February 1943, the Axis forces in Stalingrad had exhausted their ammunition and food; the remaining units of the 6th Army surrendered. The battle lasted one week and three days. By the spring of 1942, despite the failure of Operation Barbarossa to decisively defeat the Soviet Union in a single campaign, the Wehrmacht had captured vast expanses of territory, including Ukraine and the Baltic republics. Elsewhere, the war had been progressing well: the U-boat offensive in the Atlantic had been successful and Erwin Rommel had just captured Tobruk. In the east, they had stabilized their front in a line running from Leningrad in the north to Rostov in the south. There were a number of salients, but these were not threatening. Hitler was confident that he could master the Red Army after the winter of 1942, because though Army Group Centre had suffered heavy losses west of Moscow the previous winter, 65% of its infantry had not been engaged and had been rested and re-equipped.
Neither Army Group North nor Army Group South had been hard pressed over the winter. Stalin was expecting the main thrust of the German summer attacks to be directed against Moscow again. With the initial operations being successful, the Germans decided that their summer campaign in 1942 would be directed at the southern parts of the Soviet Union; the initial objectives in the region around Stalingrad were the destruction of the industrial capacity of the city and the deployment of forces to block the Volga River. The river was the Caspian Sea to central Russia, its capture would disrupt commercial river traffic. The Germans cut the pipeline from the oilfields; the capture of Stalingrad would make the delivery of Lend Lease supplies via the Persian Corridor much more difficult. On 23 July 1942, Hitler rewrote the operational objectives for the 1942 campaign expanding them to include the occupation of the city of Stalingrad. Both sides began to attach propaganda value to the city, based on it bearing the name of the leader of the Soviet Union.
Hitler proclaimed that after Stalingrad's capture, its male citizens were to be killed and all women and children were to be deported because its population was "thoroughly communistic" and "especially dangerous". It was assumed that the fall of the city would firmly secure the northern and western flanks of the German armies as they advanced on Baku, with the aim of securing these strategic petroleum resources for Germany; the expansion of objectives was a significant factor in Germany's failure at Stalingrad, caused by German overconfidence and an underestimation of Soviet reserves. The Soviets realized, they ordered that anyone strong enough to hold a rifle be sent to fight. If I do not get the oil of Maikop and Grozny I must finish this war. Army Group South was selected for a sprint forward through the southern Russian steppes into the Caucasus to capture the vital Soviet oil fields there; the planned summer offensive, code-named Fall Blau, was to include the German 6th, 17th, 4th Panzer and 1st Panzer Armies.
Army Group South had overrun the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1941. Poised in Eastern Ukraine, it was to spearhead the offensive. Hitler intervened, ordering the Army Group to split in two. Army Group South, under the command of Wilhelm List, was to continue advancing south towards the Caucasus as planned with the 17th Army and First Panzer Army. Army Group South, including Friedrich Paulus's 6th Army and Hermann Hoth's 4th Panzer Army, was to move east towards the Volga and Stalingrad. Army Group B was commanded by Field Marshal Fedor von Bock and by General Maximilian von Weichs; the start of Case Blue had been planned for late May 1942. However, a number of German and Romanian units that were to take part in Blau were besieging Sevastopol on the Crimean Peninsula. Delays in ending the siege pushed back the start date for Blau several times, the city did not fall until early July. Operation Fridericus I by the Germans against the "Isium bulge", pinched off the Soviet
Battle of the Dnieper
The Battle of the Dnieper was a military campaign that took place in 1943 on the Eastern Front of World War II. It was one of the largest operations in World War II, involving 4,000,000 troops at a time stretched on a 1,400 kilometres long front. During its four-month duration, the eastern bank of the Dnieper was recovered from German forces by five of the Red Army's fronts, which conducted several assault river crossings to establish several lodgements on the western bank. Subsequently, Kiev was liberated in the Battle of Kiev. 2,438 Red Army soldiers were awarded the Hero of the Soviet Union, more than had been awarded since the award's establishment and never again was there such a large number of laureates. Following the Battle of Kursk, the Wehrmacht's Heer and supporting Luftwaffe forces in the southern Soviet Union were on the defensive in the southern Ukraine. By mid-August, Adolf Hitler understood that the forthcoming Soviet offensive could not be contained on the open steppe and ordered construction of a series of fortifications along the line of the Dnieper river.
On the Soviet side, Joseph Stalin was determined to launch a major offensive in Ukraine. The main thrust of the offensive was in a southwesterly direction; the operation began on 26 August 1943. Divisions started to move on a 1,400-kilometer front that stretched between Smolensk and the Sea of Azov. Overall, the operation would be executed by four Tank and five Air Armies. 2,650,000 personnel were brought into the ranks for this massive operation. The operation would use 2,400 tanks and 2,850 planes; the Dnieper is the third largest river in Europe, behind the Danube. In its lower part, its width can reach three kilometres, being dammed in several places made it larger. Moreover, its western shore—the one still to be retaken—was much higher and steeper than the eastern, complicating the offensive further. In addition, the opposite shore was transformed into a vast complex of defenses and fortifications held by the Wehrmacht. Faced with such a situation, the Soviet commanders had two options; the first would be to give themselves time to regroup their forces, find a weak point or two to exploit, stage a breakthrough and encircle the German defenders far in the rear, rendering the defence line unsupplied and next to useless.
This option was supported by Marshal Zhukov and Deputy Chief of Staff A. I. Antonov, who considered the substantial losses after the fierce battle of Kursk; the second option would be to stage a massive assault without waiting, force the Dnieper on a broad front. This option left no additional time for the German defenders, but would lead to much larger casualties than would a successful deep operation breakthrough; this second option was backed by Stalin due to the concern that the German "scorched earth" policy might devastate this region if the Red Army did not advance fast enough. Stavka chose the second option. Instead of deep penetration and encirclement, the Soviet intended to make full use of partisan activities to intervene and disrupt Germany's supply route so that the Germans could not send reinforcements or take away Soviet industrial facilities in the region. Stavka paid high attention to the possible scorched earth activities of German forces with a view to preventing them by a rapid advance.
The assault was staged on a 300-kilometer front simultaneously. All available means of transport were to be used to transport the attackers to the opposite shore, including small fishing boats and improvised rafts of barrels and trees; the preparation of the crossing equipment was further complicated by the German scorched earth strategy with the total destruction of all boats and raft building material in the area. The crucial issue would be heavy equipment. Without it, the bridgeheads would not stand for long. Central Front, commanded by Konstantin Rokossovsky and accounted for 579,600 soldiers 2nd Tank Army, led by Aleksei Rodin / Semyon Bogdanov 9th Tank Corps, led by Hryhoriy Rudchenko, Boris Bakharov 60th Army, led by Ivan Chernyakhovsky 13th Army, led by Nikolay Pukhov 65th Army, led by Pavel Batov 61st Army, led by Pavel Belov 48th Army, led by Prokofy Romanenko 70th Army, led by Ivan Galanin / Vladimir Sharapov / Aleksei Grechkin 16th Air Army, led by Sergei Rudenko Voronezh Front, commanded by Nikolai Vatutin and accounted for 665,500 soldiers 3rd Guards Tank Army, led by Pavel Rybalko 1st Tank Army, led by Mikhail Katukov 4th Guards Tank Corps, led by Pavel Poluboyarov 1st Guard Cavalry Corps, led by Viktor Baranov 5th Guards Army, led by Aleksei Zhadov 4th Guards Army, led by Grigory Kulik / Aleksei Zygin / Ivan Galanin 6th Guards Army, led by Ivan Chistyakov 38th Army, led by Nikandr Chibisov / Kirill Moskalenko 47th Army, led by Pavel Korzun / Filipp Zhmachenko / Vitaliy Polenov 27th Army, led by Sergei Trofimenko 52nd Army, led by Konstantin Koroteev 2nd Air Army, led by Stepan Krasovsky Steppe Front, commanded by Ivan Konev Southwestern Front, commanded by Rodion Malinovsky Southern Front, commanded by Fyodor To
Konstantin Konstantinovich Rokossovsky was a Soviet and Polish officer who became Marshal of the Soviet Union, Marshal of Poland, served as Poland's Defence Minister from 1949 until his removal in 1956 during the Polish October. He was among the most prominent Red Army commanders of World War II renowned for his planning and executing of Operation Bagration, one of the most decisive Red Army successes of the war. Rokossovsky was born in Warsaw part of Congress Poland under Russian rule, his family had moved to Warsaw following the appointment of his father as the inspector of the Warsaw Railways. The Rokossovsky family were members of the Polish nobility, over generations had produced many cavalry officers. However, Konstantin's father, Ksawery Wojciech Rokossowski, was a railway official in the Russian Empire and his Belarusian mother Antonina Ovsyannikova was a teacher. Orphaned at 14, Rokossovsky earned a living by working in a stocking factory. In 1911, he became an apprentice stonemason.
Much in his life, the government of People's Republic of Poland used this fact for propaganda, claiming that Rokossovsky had helped to build Warsaw's Poniatowski Bridge. Rokossovsky's patronymic Ksaverovich was Russified on his enlistment into the Russian Army at the start of the First World War to Konstantinovich, which would be easier to pronounce in the 5th Kargopol Dragoon Regiment where he volunteered to serve. On joining the Kargopolsky 5th Dragoon Regiment, Rokossovsky soon showed himself a talented soldier and leader, he was awarded the Cross of St George. In 1917, he joined the Bolshevik Party and soon thereafter, entered the ranks of the Red Army. During the Russian Civil War he commanded a cavalry squadron of the Kargopolsky Red Guards Cavalry Detachment in the campaigns against the White Guard armies of Aleksandr Kolchak in the Urals where, in November 1919, he was wounded in the shoulder by an opposing officer whom he killed when his cavalry overran an enemy headquarters. Rokossovsky received Soviet Russia's highest military decoration at the time, the Order of the Red Banner.
In 1921 he commanded the 35th Independent Cavalry Regiment stationed in Irkutsk and played an important role in bringing Damdin Sükhbaatar, the founder of the Mongolian People's Republic to power. Famed "White Russian" general and mystic Roman von Ungern-Sternberg, who believed he was the reincarnation of Genghis Khan, had driven the Chinese occupying forces out of Mongolia in 1920 and set himself up as dictator in Outer Mongolia; the next summer, when Ungern-Sternberg moved to capture the border town of Troitskosavsk threatening to move north and cut off the Soviet far east from the rest of the Soviet Union, Rokossovsky moved south from Irkutsk and met with the Sükhbaatar Mongol forces, defeating Urgern-Sternberg's army, which retreated in disarray after a two-day engagement. Rokossovsky was again wounded, this time in the leg; the combined Mongol and Soviet forces soon thereafter captured Ulaanbaatar. It was in Mongolia that he met his wife Julia Barminan, a high school teacher, fluent in four languages and who had studied Greek mythology, whom he married in 1923.
Their daughter Ariadna was born in 1925. In 1924 and 1925 he attended the Leningrad Higher Cavalry School, he returned to Mongolia. Soon after, while serving in the Special Red Banner Eastern Army under Vasily Blücher, he took part in the Russo-Chinese Eastern Railroad War of 1929–1930 when the Soviet Union intervened to return the Chinese Eastern Railway to joint Chinese and Soviet administration, after Chinese warlord Zhang Xueliang of the Republic of China attempted to seize complete control of the railway, it was in the early 1930s that Rokossovsky's military career first became intertwined with Semyon Timoshenko and Georgy Zhukov, when Rokossovsky was the commander of the 7th Samara Cavalry Division, Zhukov as a brigade commander under him and Timoshenko his superior Corps commander. Both became principal actors in his life during World War II, where he served directly under both at different times. A sense of the nature of the beginning of Rokossovsky's famous World War II rivalry with Zhukov can be gathered from reading Rokossovsky's comments in an official report on Zhukov's character: Has a strong will.
Decisive and firm. Demonstrates initiative and skillfully applies it. Disciplined. Demanding and persistent in his demands. A somewhat ungracious and not sufficiently sympathetic person. Rather stubborn. Painfully proud. In professional terms well trained. Broadly experienced as a military leader... Cannot be used in staff or teaching jobs because constitutionally he hates them. Rokossovsky was among the first to realize the potential of armoured assault, he was an early supporter of the creation of a strong armoured corps for the Red Army, as championed by Marshal Mikhail Tukhachevsky in his theory of "deep operations". Rokossovsky held senior commands until August 1937 when he became caught up in Joseph Stalin's Great Purge and accused of being a spy, his association with the cutting edge methods of Marshal Tukhachevsky may have been the cause of his conflict with more traditional officers such as Semyon Budenny, who still favoured cavalry tactics over Tukhachevsky's mass armour theories, but few historians believe that the purge of the Red Army was a dispute over policy, most attribute the purges to political and military rivalries as well.
Some officers were mer
Baranavichy is a city in the Brest Region of western Belarus with a population of 173,000. It is a significant railway home to Baranavichy State University, it was the center of the Baranavichy Voblast between 1939-1941 and again between 1944-1954. In the second half of the 17th century the Jesuit mission housed in Baranavichy. In the second half of the 18th century Baranavichy was the property of Mosalskih and Neveselovskih, in the 19th century belonged to the Countess E. A. Rozwadowski, it was part of Novogrodek okrug, successively part of Slonim Governorate, Lithuania one, Grodno one and Minsk one. The city's history began on 17 in November 1871, when began a movement at the newly built section of the railway Smolensk - Brest. Name of the station that arose during construction, gave the nearby village - Baranavichy, the first mention of, found in the testament of A. E. Sinyavskaya in 1627. In 1871, not far from the station has been built the locomotive depot. 1874 - the appearance of the railway junction.
The wooden building of the station, station buildings, a few houses in which lived the railway - such were Baranavichy. The new railway will link Moscow with the western outskirts of the country; the impetus for more intensive settlement of the areas adjacent to the station from the south, was the event in May 1884 - Minsk provincial board has made a decision about building a town on the landlords' lands Rozwadowski, known Rozvadovo. Building of the town was carried out according to plan, approved by the Governor of Minsk May 27, 1884. In the village were 120 houses and lived a half thousand people. According to the plans, approved by Emperor Alexander III, was assumed that there will still be one railway - Vilnius - Luninets - Pinsk - Rovno. Therefore, at the same time, two and a half kilometers from the station, the Moscow-Brest railway line crossed the track Vilnius-Rovno from Polesie railways. At the crossroads of the railway there is another station Baranavichy, which became the second center of the city.
As in the first case, in the area of station settle workers and traders. There is a new settlement, which unlike Rozvadovo, which became informally named the Old Baranavichy, was named New Baranavichy, it was developed on the land owned by peasants of villages located near the new station. More convenient than the landlords' land, lease terms, proximity to administrative agencies contributed to the rapid growth of this settlement. At the beginning of World War I, Baranavichy was the headquarters of the Russian General Staff. But, after Great Retreat of Russians from Congress Poland, it became a frontline city, it was taken by the German Empire in the Baranovichi Offensive of 25 July 1916 and was under German occupation for 2 years. Germans gave the town to Belarusian People's Republic. During the Polish-Soviet war, it was occupied by Poland on 18 March 1919. Soviets retook it on 17 July 1920 but the Polish retook it on 30 September 1920. On 1 August 1919 it became a poviat centre in Nowogródek Voivodship.
In 1921 Baranowicze had over 11,000 inhabitants. Soon the city became an important centre of trade and commerce for the area; the city's Orthodox cathedral was built in the Neoclassical style in 1924-31. The city was an important military garrison, with one KOP Cavalry Brigade, 20th Infantry Division and the Nowogródzka Cavalry Brigade stationed there; because of the fast growth of local industry, in 1938 a local branch of the Polish Radio was opened. In 1939 Baranavichy had 30,000 inhabitants and was the biggest and the most important city in the Nowogródek Voivodship. After the beginning of World War II the control of the city was gained by the Soviet Union on 17 September 1939; the local Jewish population of 9,000 was joined by 3,000 Jewish refugees from the Polish areas occupied by Germany. After the start of Operation Barbarossa the city was seized by the Wehrmacht on June 25, 1941, it was part of Generalbezirk Weißruthenien in Reichskommissariat Ostland during German occupation. In August of the same year a ghetto was created in the city, with more than 12,000 Jews kept in terrible conditions in six buildings at the outskirts.
Between March 4 and December 14, 1942, the entire Jewish population of the ghetto was sent to various German concentration camps and killed in gas chambers. Only about 250 survived the war; the city was seized by the Red Army on July 6, 1944. Significant part of the Polish population of the city had been expelled to Kazakhstan. Most of remaining Poles were expelled to Poland. After World War II the city became part of the Soviet Union and the Byelorussian SSR and started to be referred to under its Russian name of Baranovichi. In this time an intensive industrialization took place. In 1991 it became part of independent Belarus; the city is located on the main east-west highway in Belarus, the M1, which forms a part of European route E30. The first rail line through the city opened around 1870. With additional lines built subsequently, the city developed into an important rail junction. A large military airfield used by the Belarusian Air Force is located just south of the city. Elchonon Wasserman, Rosh Yeshiva Baranavichy is twinned with: FC Baranovichi Polish Radio Baranowicze Bar
Pavel Ivanovich Batov was a senior Red Army general during the Second World War and afterwards, twice Hero of the Soviet Union. Batov fought in World War I. After being wounded in 1917, he joined the Bolsheviks, he fought in the Russian Civil War and became an adviser with the XII International Brigade during the Spanish Civil War. During World War II, Batov commanded the 51st Army in the Crimea. In 1942, he became the commander of the 3rd Army and the 4th Tank Army, renamed the 65th Army. Postwar, Batov commanded the Carpathian Military District.. Batov is considered to be one of the most brilliant generals in Soviet army and some of his methods are still learnt today in military academies. Born at Filisovo in 1897, Batov began his military career during World War I. In 1915, he enlisted in a student command and served as a scout in the 3rd Infantry Regiment of the Life Guards. During this service, he displayed considerable bravery and was awarded with two Crosses of St. George and two lesser medals.
After being wounded in action in 1917, he was assigned to an NCO school in Petrograd where political agitator A. Savkov brought him into the Bolshevik movement. Batov served for four years in the Red Army during the civil war as a machine gunner, as assistant military chief of the Rybinsk Military Committee, his first staff work, he was given command of a company in 1926, was chosen to attend the Vystrel Officer's School the same year, where he met many future senior officers of the wartime Red Army. He joined the Communist Party in 1929. In 1927, Batov was promoted to command a battalion of the prestigious 1st Moscow Proletarian Rifle Division, he would serve in this unit for the next nine years. His divisional commander in 1936 wrote: Comrade Batov has commanded a regiment for more than three years. In the course of that time, the regiment has occupied first place in the division in all categories of combat and political training. In tactical training, the regiment stands out as superb. Batov soon received the "Sign of Honour" medal, completed the Frunze Academy by correspondence course.
Batov was selected to "volunteer" for service in the Spanish Civil War, under the nom de guerre Fritz Pablo. He first served as military adviser to the Hungarian communist Máté Zalka, who commanded the XII International Brigade defending the approaches to Madrid, he fought on the Teruel Front and was wounded twice and won his first Orders of Lenin and of the Red Banner as a result. After recovering, he fought at Jarama, alongside A. I Rodimtsev, on the Aragon front, where he was wounded again. Returning to the Soviet Union in December 1937, Batov successively commanded the 10th Rifle Corps and 3rd Rifle Corps, the latter of which he led in the Soviet occupation of eastern Poland in September 1939; the corps transferred to the Finnish front, fought in the second phase of the Russian-Finnish War in the Karelian sector under 13th Army. For his services in Finland, Batov was awarded a second Order of Lenin, promoted to divisional commander and, in June, to lieutenant general, he was appointed deputy commander of the Transcaucasus Military District.
The outbreak of war with Germany would find him deep in the south of the USSR. In June 1941, Batov was in command of the 9th Separate Rifle Corps, which comprised the 106th and 156th Rifle Divisions and the 32nd Cavalry Division, with a total strength of about 35,000 men; this corps was the only major Red Army formation in the Crimea at the outbreak of Operation Barbarossa, Batov had arrived at its headquarters in Simferopol just two days earlier. In 1941, he was made deputy commander of the 51st Army, following the evacuation of that army from the Kerch Peninsula he rose again to full command. Although the Crimea had been lost, Batov was exonerated by Stalin. In January 1942, he joined the Bryansk Front as commander of the 3rd Army, as deputy commander for training of the Front, under Lt. Gen. K. K. Rokossovski. Rokossovski noted that Batov preferred active command to "sit in the headquarters", that his current role was "a burden" to him. Batov and Rokossovski formed a professional and personal bond that would last beyond the latter's death in 1968, Batov would continue to serve under Rokossovski's command until the end of the war.
On October 22, 1942, Batov was moved to command of the 4th Tank Army on the approaches to Stalingrad, replacing Mjr. Gen. V. D. Kryuchenkin; this army, soon renamed the 65th Army, formed part of Rokossovski's Don Front. Batov remained in command of 65th Army for the duration, he helped to plan the Soviet counteroffensive, Operation Uranus, providing key intelligence to Gen. Zhukov regarding the boundaries between German and Romanian forces, his army formed a key strike force in this offensive, the subsequent Operation Ring, which reduced and defeated the encircled Axis forces. Rokossovski wrote: displayed fine initiative with an improvised mobile task force... By striking at the enemy's flank and rear, the task force ensured the swift advance of the other units. Following this victory 65th Army was moved to the northwest, rejoining Rokossovski as part of his new Central Front. Exploiting success, the Front was pushing hard against the weak German Second Army west of Kursk, when it was brought to a halt by the spring rasputitsa and German successes around Kharkov, to the south.
In July 1943, Batov's army formed part of Rokossovski's Front during the giant Battle of Kursk, on a secondary sector, in the exploitation operat
Order of Lenin
The Order of Lenin, named after the leader of the Russian October Revolution, was established by the Central Executive Committee on April 6, 1930. The order was the highest civilian decoration bestowed by the Soviet Union; the order was awarded to: Civilians for outstanding services rendered to the State Members of the armed forces for exemplary service Those who promoted friendship and cooperation between peoples and in strengthening peace Those with meritorious services to the Soviet state and societyFrom 1944 to 1957, before the institution of specific length of service medals, the Order of Lenin was used to reward 25 years of conspicuous military service. Those who were awarded the titles "Hero of the Soviet Union" and "Hero of Socialist Labour" were given the order as part of the award, it was bestowed on cities, factories, military units and ships. Corporate entities, various educational institutions and military units who received the said Order applied the full name of the order into their official titles.
The first design of the Order of Lenin was sculpted by Pyotr Tayozhny and Ivan Shadr based on sketches by Ivan Dubasov. It was made by Goznak of silver with some gold-plated features, it was a round badge with a central disc featuring Vladimir Lenin's profile surrounded by smokestacks, a tractor and a building a power plant. A thin red-enamelled border and a circle of wheat panicles surrounded the disc. At the top was a gold-plated "hammer and sickle" emblem, at the bottom were the Russian initials for "USSR" in red enamel. Only about 800 of this design were minted, it was awarded between 1930–1932. The second design was awarded from 1934 until 1936; this was a solid gold badge. The disc is surrounded by two golden panicles of wheat, a red flag with "LENIN" in Cyrillic script. A red star is placed on the left and the "hammer and sickle" emblem at the bottom, both in red enamel; the third design was awarded from 1936 until 1943. Design was same as previous, but the central disc was gray enamelled and Lenin's portrait was separate piece made of platinum fixed by rivets.
The fourth design was awarded from 1943 until 1991. Design was worn as a medal suspended from a ribbon; the badge was worn by screwback on the left chest without ribbon. It was worn as a medal suspended from a red ribbon with pairs of yellow stripes at the edges; the ribbon bar is of the same design. The portrait of Lenin was a riveted silver piece. For a time it was incorporated into a one-piece gold badge, but returned as a separate platinum piece until the dissolution of the USSR in 1991; the first Order of Lenin was awarded to the newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda on 23 May 1930. Among the first ten recipients were five industrial companies, three pilots, the Secretary to the Central Executive Committee Avel Enukidze; the first person to be awarded a second Order of Lenin was the pilot Valery Chkalov in 1936. Another pilot, Vladimir Kokkinaki, became the first to receive a third Order in 1939; the first five foreign recipients, a German and four Americans, received the award for helping in the reconstruction of Soviet industry and agriculture in 1931–1934.431,418 orders were awarded in total, with the last on 21 December 1991.
11 times: Nikolay Patolichev, longtime Minister for Foreign Trade of the USSR Dmitriy Ustinov, Defence Minister in 1976–1984 10 times: Efim Slavsky, Head of Sredmash, the ministry responsible for nuclear industry, in 1957–1986 Alexander Sergeyevich Yakovlev, aircraft designer 9 times: Petr Dementiev, Minister of Aviation Industry in 1953–1977 Vasily Ryabikov, defence industry official, co-head of the first Sputnik project Nikolay Semyonov, winner of 1956 Nobel Prize in chemistry Anatoly Petrovich Alexandrov. Ramón Mercader Sergey Afanasyev Aziz Aliyev Clyde G. Armistead and William Latimer Lavery George Avakian American record producer who promoted international musical exchange between Russian and American musicians. Valeriy Borzov Emilian Bukov Bill Booth Fidel Castro Konstantin Chelpan Luis Corvalán Álvaro Cunhal Sripat Amrit Dange Joseph Davies (American diplomat