Double Victory: Minorities and Women During World War II
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Govorov, Leonid Aleksandrovich (1897–1955)

Marshal of the Soviet Union. Born in the village of Butyrki, Kirov Oblast, on 22 February 1897, Leonid Govorov was drafted into the Russian army in 1916 during World War I. Commissioned from the Konstanin Artillery School in 1917, Govorov was then drafted into anti-Bolshevik forces commanded by Admiral Aleksandr Kolchak, but he deserted and joined the Red Army in 1920. During the Russian Civil War, Govorov commanded an artillery battalion, but because he had served in Kolchak's forces, he was denied membership in the Communist Party until 1942.

Govorov attended staff schools, the Frunze Military Academy, and the General Staff Academy. He commanded an artillery corps in 1936 and, during the 1939–1940 Finnish-Soviet War, he served as chief of Seventh Army artillery. Here he initiated the technique of using heavy guns for direct fire against fortifications. Govorov then commanded the Dzerzhinsky Artillery Academy. Following the June 1941 German invasion of the Soviet Union, he commanded the Fifth Army in October 1941 in the defense of Moscow and was promoted to lieutenant general of artillery in November. He played an important role in the counterattack around Moscow of December 1941. Govorov then commanded the Leningrad Front from June 1942 to July 1945.

Promoted to general of the army in November 1943 and to marshal of the Soviet Union in June 1944, Govorov broke the German siege of Leningrad, pursuing the Germans through the Baltic states. In February 1945, he took command of the 2nd Baltic Front. After the war, he headed the Leningrad Military District, and he was chief inspector of the Soviet army from 1946 to 1947. Govorov later commanded the Air Defense Forces and became deputy minister of defense in 1954. He died in Moscow on 19 March 1955.

Spencer C. Tucker


Further Reading
Bialer, Seweryn, ed. Stalin and His Generals: Soviet Military Memoirs of World War II. New York: Pegasus, 1969.; Seaton, Albert, and Joan Seaton. The Soviet Army: 1918 to the Present. New York: New American Library, 1987.
 

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