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Leonid Govorov : biography

22 February 1897 - 19 March 1955

Leonid Aleksandrovich Govorov () (10 February (22 February) 1897 – 19 March 1955) was a Soviet military commander. An artillery officer, he joined the Red Army in 1920. He graduated from several Soviet military academies, including the Military Academy of Red Army General Staff. He participated in the Winter War as a senior artillery officer.; on warheroes.ru

In World War II, Govorov rose to command an army in November 1941 during the Battle of Moscow. He commanded the Leningrad Front from April 1942 to the end of the war. He reached the rank of Marshal of the Soviet Union in 1944, was awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union and many other awards.Glantz p. 214

Winter War

In 1939 the Soviet-Finnish War broke out, and Govorov was appointed chief of artillery of the 7th Army, as his research while at Dzerzhinsky Artillery Academy was about assaulting and penetrating fortified enemy positions. He commanded the massive artillery assault that allowed the Soviet breakthrough along the Mannerheim Line in 1940. For this he was awarded the Order of the Red Star and promoted to the rank of division commander. He was then appointed Deputy Inspector-General of Artillery of the Red Army.

Early years and Russian Revolution

Leonid Aleksandrovich Govorov was born into a peasant family in the village of Butyrki in central Russia (now in Kirov Oblast). He attended a technical high school in Yelabuga and enrolled in the shipbuilding department of Petrograd Polytechnical Institute. In December 1916, however, he was mobilized and was sent to the Konstantinovskye Artillery School, from which he graduated in 1917. He became an artillery officer with the rank of podporuchik.

When the Russian Revolution broke out and the Russian Army disintegrated, Govorov returned home, but was later conscripted into the White Guard army of Aleksandr Kolchak. He deserted in late 1919 and joined the Red Army in early 1920. In the Russian Civil War he served in the 51st Rifle Division, commanding an artillery battery. He was awarded the Order of the Red Banner in 1921.

Interwar years

Govorov obtained further military education, graduating from the Artillery course in 1926, the Higher Academy course in 1930, and the Frunze Military Academy in 1933. In 1936, Govorov was among the first officers who attended the newly founded Military Academy of Red Army General Staff, from which he graduated in 1938.Glantz, p 214

From 1936, he was head of artillery in the Kiev Military District. In 1938 he was appointed as lecturer in tactics at the Dzerzhinsky Artillery Academy. In 1939, he finished his first research publication.Kiselev p. 115 This was the period of Joseph Stalin's Great Purge. Govorov was close to being arrested, but in the end survived thanks to the intervention of Mikhail KalininJohn Erickson, The Road to Stalingrad: Stalin`s War with Germany, Vol. 1 (Yale University Press, 1999: ISBN 0-300-07812-9), p. 6. and continued to rise in rank.

Citations and notes

World War II

1941 and early 1942

After Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941, Govorov commanded the Artillery on the Western Front in Belarus from August to October 1941. During the Battle of Moscow, he was appointed Chief of Artillery of the 5th Army, under the command of Major General Dmitri Danilovich Lelyushenko. After Lelyushenko was wounded on 18 October Govorov assumed command of the army. During the Soviet counter-offensives in the winter of 1941–42, his army liberated Mozhaisk. As a result he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant-general of artillery.Glantz, p. 214

Defense of Leningrad

In April 1942 Govorov was appointed commander of the Leningrad Group of Forces of the Leningrad Front, which combined the former Leningrad and Volkhov Fronts.Glantz (2002), p. 182 In July, the Volkhov Front was re-established, and Govorov became the head of the entire Leningrad Front, replacing Lieutenant General M.S. Khosin. Leningrad had been cut off from the rest of the country since September 1941, and the Soviet forces were trying to lift the siege of Leningrad, which was causing colossal damage to the city and suffering to the civilian population. The Road of Life, which was the only means of supply to the city, was frequently cut by regular German and Finnish air strikes. Soviet forces launched several offensives in the region in 1942, but these failed to lift the siege. The Lyuban Offensive Operation resulted in the encirclement and destruction of most of the Soviet 2nd Shock Army.Isayev p. 134 In this situation, Govorov's background as an artilleryman was considered most valuable, since the city was under constant shelling, and one of Govorov's tasks was to launch an artillery counter-offensive against the German guns.

Living octopus

Living octopus

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