Double Victory: Minorities and Women During World War II
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Fedorenko, Yakov Nikolayevich (1896–1947)

Soviet army marshal who created the first Soviet tank armies. Born in the village of Tsareborisovo, Kharkov Oblast, on 22 October 1896, Yakov Fedorenko was drafted into the navy in 1915 during World War I. He took part in the October 1917 revolt at Odessa and joined both the Red Guard and the Communist Party that year.

During the Civil War, Fedorenko had charge of Red armored trains. He then graduated from the Kharkov Higher Artillery School and the Frunze Military Academy and commanded a tank regiment in 1934. He next commanded the 15th Mechanized Brigade. Fedorenko had charge of armor formations in the Kiev Military District from 1937 to 1940 before becoming chief of the Main Armored Directorate in Moscow in June 1940. During that period, production increased of the new T-34 medium tank and the KV-1 heavy tank.

Following the June 1941 German invasion of the Soviet Union, Fedorenko took charge of Soviet armored and mechanized troops and was deputy commissar of defense. He showed great understanding of armored warfare, in 1942 creating the first Soviet tank armies for deep-penetration operations. In August 1944, he and Pavel Rotmistrov became the only Soviet marshals of armored troops. Fedorenko held his posts until his death in Moscow on 26 March 1947.

Spencer C. Tucker


Further Reading
Glantz, David M., and Jonathan M. House. When Titans Clashed: How the Red Army Stopped Hitler. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1995.; Seaton, Albert, and Joan Seaton. The Soviet Army: 1918 to the Present. New York: New American Library, 1987.
 

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