Konev, Marshal Ivan, 1897-1973

Konev attended the Frunze Military Academy and graduated in 1926. An exceptionally competent Commander, Konev served in the Smolensk sector in August 1941 and from October 1941 throughout 1942 he was Commander of the Kalinin Front which stayed the German advance on Moscow. In July 1943 he checked the German attack at Kursk and swept on to take Orel, Belgorod and Poltava. From 1943-44 he led the Steppe Front (which eventually became the 2nd Ukrainian Front) which liberated Kirovograd in January 1944. Konev was responsible for one of the most famous of Soviet victories: he encircled ten German Divisions at Korsun-Shevchenko. Although this was a masterful stroke, the Germans managed to break out but only with terrible losses—20,000 men. Konev then led the 1st Ukrainian Front and captured Lvov. In February 1944 he was appointed Marshal. Accompanied by ZHUKOV and his Army, Konev’s Front advanced from the Vistula to the Oder and eventually reached Berlin. He continued to the Elbe where he joined US forces at Torgau. He then swept south and entered Prague in May 1945. In 1946 he was appointed Deputy Minister of War and was Commander in Chief of the Warsaw Pact Armies between 1955 and 1960.

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