Mikhail Kirponos

Mikhail Kirponos
Mikhail Petrovich Kirponos
M. P. Kirponos.jpg
Born 12 January 1892,
Vertiyivka(Verkiyivka) village, Kiev Governorate, Russian Empire
Died 20 September 1941(1941-09-20) (aged 49)
Lokhvytsia, Ukraine
Allegiance Russian Empire, Soviet Union
Service/branch Red Army
Years of service 1915-1941
Rank Colonel General
Battles/wars World War I
Russian Civil War
Winter War
World War II
Awards Hero of the Soviet Union
Order of Lenin
Order of the Patriotic War

Mikhail Petrovich Kirponos (Russian: Михаи́л Петро́вич Кирпоно́с, Ukrainian: Михайло Петрович Кирпонос, Mykhailo Petrovych Kyrponos) (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).


Early life

Kirponos was born in a poor peasant family and worked as a forester until conscripted. He joined the military 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 51 st Infantry Division, Then the head and the military commissar Kazan Military School 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.

World War II

In February 1941 he was assigned commander of the Kiev Special 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.[1] 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.


  1. ^ Dehtiarenko


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