Following the June 1941 German invasion of the Soviet Union, Chernyakhovsky fought with his division as a part of XVIII Tank Corps on the Leningrad Front until July 1942. After being promoted to Generalmajor (U.S. equiv. brigadier general) and then Generalleutnant (U.S. equiv. major general), he commanded Sixtieth Army and took part in the Kursk Offensive of 1943. He was promoted to Generaloberst (U.S. equiv. full general) in March 1944. Marshal Georgii Zhukov recommended him to command the Western Front, which he took over in April 1944 just before it was renamed the 3rd Belorussian Front.
In the Belorussian Offensive, Chernyakhovsky's command participated in the taking of Minsk; moved through Latvia and took Vilna; and drove into East Prussia, eventually taking Königsberg (now Kalinin). Promoted to General of the Army in June 1944 just days before his thirty-eighth birthday, Chernyakhovsky was one of the finest Soviet front commanders. Unusual for senior Soviet commanders of the war, he was a Jew and had joined the army after the civil war and never attended the Frunze Military Academy. Chernyakhovsky did not live to see the capture of Königsberg: he was mortally wounded by artillery fire at Melzak, Poland, and died on 18 February 1945.
Spencer C. Tucker
Bialer, Seweryn. Stalin and His Generals: Soviet Military Memoirs of World War II. New York: Pegasus, 1969.; Shukman, Harold, ed. Stalin's Generals. New York: Grove Press, 1993.