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.
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 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, twice|
|Order of Lenin, four times|
|Order of the Red Banner, three times|
|Order of Suvorov, 1st class, twice|
|Order of Kutuzov, 1st and 2nd Class|
|Order of Bogdan Khmelnitsky, 1st class|
|Order of the Red Star|
|Order for Service to the Homeland in the Armed Forces of the USSR, 3rd class|
|Medal "Veteran of the Armed Forces of the USSR"|
|Medal "For the Defence of Moscow"|
|Medal "For the Capture of Berlin"|
|Medal "For the Victory over Germany in the Great Patriotic War 1941–1945"|
|Jubilee Medal "Twenty Years of Victory in the Great Patriotic War 1941-1945"|
|Jubilee Medal "Thirty Years of Victory in the Great Patriotic War 1941-1945"|
|Jubilee Medal "XX Years of the Workers' and Peasants' Red Army"|
|Jubilee Medal "30 Years of the Soviet Army and Navy"|
|Jubilee Medal "40 Years of the Armed Forces of the USSR"|
|Jubilee Medal "50 Years of the Armed Forces of the USSR"|
|Jubilee Medal "In Commemoration of the 100th Anniversary since the Birth of Vladimir Il'ich Lenin", "For Military Valour"|
|Patriotic Order of Merit, in gold (East Germany)|
|Cross of Grunwald, 2nd class (Poland)|
|Knights Cross of the Virtuti Militari (Poland)|
|Commander's Cross of the Polonia Restituta, (Poland)|
|Medal "For Warsaw 1939–1945" (Poland)|
|Medal "For Oder, Neisse and the Baltic" (Poland)|
|Distinguished Service Order (United Kingdom)|
|Order of Sukhbaatar (Mongolia)|
|Order of the Red Banner (Mongolia)|
|Order "For Service in Battle" (Mongolian People's Republic)|