Mikhail Kirponos : biography
Mikhail Petrovich Kirponos ( ) (January 12, 1892 — September 20, 1941) was a Soviet Ukrainian general of the Red Army. Being accorded the highest military decoration, the Hero of the Soviet Union title, for the skill and courage in commanding a division in the 1939-1940 Finnish campaign, Kirponos is mostly remembered for his crucial role in organizing and leading the defense of Soviet Ukraine during the Battle of Brody, the Battle of Uman and Kiev in the first months of the 1941 invasion of the Soviet Union by the Axis forces (led by Nazi Germany). He was killed in action in the defense of Kiev.
World War II
In February 1941 he was assigned commander of the Kiev Military District, which was transformed into the Southwestern Front at the beginning of the German-Soviet War.
He was in command of the Southwestern Front in the Battle of Uman which ended in a severe defeat for the Soviet forces. Afterwards, his forces fought in the Battle of Kiev. He was killed in action during the defense of Kiev, in which the Soviets ended up losing badly due to the overwhelming advantage by the Germans, which was exacerbated by the grave errors of Joseph Stalin and the high-ranking military leaders.Dehtiarenko Nevertheless, more than sixty years later and after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Kirponos remains highly regarded both in Ukraine and Russia for his exemplary military leadership, courage and valour.
Kirponos was born in a poor peasant family and worked as a forester. He was conscripted in 1915 and took part in World War I. In 1917 he joined the Red Army, fought in the Russian Civil War, and joined the Bolshevik party in 1918.
In 1927 he graduated from the Frunze Military Academy. After graduation he was chief of staff of the 44th Rifle Division, then commandant of the Kazan Military School from 1934 to 1939 on behalf of the Supreme Soviet of the Tatar Autonomous Republic.
On March 21, 1940, he was awarded the title of the Hero of the Soviet Union for his actions during the Soviet-Finnish War. He became commander of the Leningrad Military District the same year.
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