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Nikolay Voronov

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Title: Nikolay Voronov  
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Nikolay Voronov

Nikolay Nikolayevich Voronov
Native name Никола́й Никола́евич Во́ронов
Nickname(s) Artillery
Born (1899-05-05)5 May 1899
St. Petersburg
Died 28 February 1968(1968-02-28) (aged 68)
Allegiance Soviet Union
Service/branch Artillery
Years of service 1918–1968
Rank Chief marshal of the artillery

Russian Civil War
Polish-Soviet War
Spanish Civil War
Battle of Khalkin Gol
Winter War
World War II


Order of the October Revolution
Order of the Red Banner (4)
Order of Suvorov 1st class (3)

Order of the Red Star
Nikolay Nikolayevich Voronov (Russian: Никола́й Никола́евич Во́ронов; born 5 May [O.S. 23 April] 1899 in Saint Petersburg, Russian Empire; died February 28, 1968, in Moscow, Soviet Union) was a Soviet military leader, chief marshal of the artillery (1944),[1] and Hero of the Soviet Union (7 May 1965). He was commander of artillery forces of the Red Army from 1941 until 1950.[2]

Early life

Nikolay Voronov was born on 5 May 1899 in Saint Petersburg[3] to Nikolai Terentyvich Voronov, a clerk,[4][5] and Valentina Voronov. After the Revolution of 1905, Voronov's father became unemployed due to his Russian Social Democratic Labour Party sympathies.[6] In November 1908, his mother committed suicide as a result of their poverty.[6] Voronov dropped out of a private school in 1914 due to financial problems and in 1915 got a job working as a secretary for an attorney.[7] In the fall of 1916, his father was drafted. In 1917, Voronov passed an external degree examination.[6]

Military service

Russian Civil War and Polish-Soviet War

In March 1918, Voronov joined the Red Army. In the same year, he completed the 2nd Petrograd Artillery courses,[8] after which he was a platoon commander in a howitzer battalion in the Petrograd 2nd Battery. As part of the 15th Army, he fought in battles with Nikolai Yudenich's forces near Pskov.[8] He reportedly showed personal courage during these actions.[6] In 1919, Voronov joined the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.[8]

From April 1920, Voronov fought in the Polish–Soviet War with the 83rd Regiment of the 10th Rifle Division.[6] His battery was armed with 76 mm divisional gun M1902 instead of 122 mm howitzer M1910. On 17 August, Voronov received a severe concussion during a battle in the village of Józefów nad Wisłą. When he regained consciousness, he founded that Polish troops had captured the village. Voronov attempted to escape on a horse, but was captured because of his injuries. During his eight months of captivity, Voronov suffered from typhus and twice came close to leg amputation. He was repatriated at the end of the war in April 1921.[3][6]

Interwar period

In summer 1922, Voronov was appointed commander of the howitzer battery of the 27th Rifle Division. In fall 1923 he attended the school of higher artillery commanders and after graduation continued to serve with the 27th Rifle Division.[9] During summer 1926 maneuvers, Voronov distinguished himself in command of the artillery of the Belorussian Military District. As a reward, he was granted permission to take the entrance examination for the Frunze Military Academy.[10]

Voronov in 1932

In 1930, Voronov graduated from the academy. He became the commander of the artillery regiment of the 1st Moscow Rifle Division.[3] In August 1932, Voronov was sent to Italy as part of the Soviet mission there. [11]In April 1934, Voronov was appointed chief military Commissar of the 1st Artillery School.[5] In 1936, he was awarded the Order of the Red Star for his management of the school.[3] In 1935, he served on the Soviet military mission to Italy for the second time, and was promoted to Kombrig on 11 November. In 1937, he was sent to Spain as an advisor under the name "Voltaire",[2][12] where he worked on the training of artillery units on the Madrid Front.[13][14][15][16] During his tour in Spain, Voronov was awarded the Order of Lenin and the Order of the Red Banner.[17] In June 1937, Voronov returned to Moscow.[10]

Voronov, Nikishov and Zhukov during the Battle of Khalkin Gol

He was promoted to [10] Voronov started work on the modernization of the Red Army artillery, and in November 1937 submitted a memorandum to Kliment Voroshilov on the modernization of the artillery.[2] At the end of July 1938 Voronov went as part of a special commission of the People's Commissariat of Defence to test the combat training of the Far Eastern Military District during the Battle of Lake Khasan. In June 1939, he was sent to Khalkhyn Gol to lead the 1st Army Group's artillery during the Battles of Khalkhin Gol. For his actions during the battle, Voronov was awarded a second Order of the Red Banner.[8]

In September 1939, Voronov commanded the Belorussian Military District's artillery during the Soviet invasion of Poland. He was severely injured in a car accident.[6][18] In November, Voronov inspected[19] the troops of the Leningrad Military District, in readiness for the Winter War.[20] During the war, he led artillery units, mainly those of the 7th Army, and fought in the offensive against the Mannerheim Line.[1][2] For his actions during the war, Voronov was awarded a second Order of Lenin and was promoted to Komandarm 2nd rank. On 4 June 1940, he was given the rank of Colonel general[21] of the artillery after the introduction of Red Army general officers ranks.[8] Voronov led the Kiev Special Military District's artillery during the Soviet occupation of Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina.[9]

An order of the People's Commissariat of Defence on 13 July abolished the position of chief of the artillery and introduced the position of first deputy chief of GRAU. Voronov was appointed to this position, subordinate to Grigory Kulik.[9]

World War II

On 19 June 1941, Voronov was transferred to the post of Chief of the Main Directorate of Air Defence, who was now personally accountable to the [24] Through the efforts of Voronov, the GRAU became subordinate to the Chief of the Artillery. Voronov also set up an artillery headquarters, led by Ivan Susloparov.[25]

After his return in mid-September to Moscow, Voronov at the request of the Road of Life until his return to Moscow on 5 December.[28]

Voronov worked on the supply, acquisition and coordination of artillery units in the areas of the Winter Campaign of 1941–42. In his report to Stalin of 28 February, Voronov raised the question of military air defence, which since November 1941 had remained without leadership. On 2 June, by order of the People's Commissariat for Defence, all air defence units were subordinated to the front artillery commanders and the chief of the artillery. In early June, Voronov took part in the planning and conducting of operations on the left flank of the Western Front. In July, he went to Stalingrad to assist the retreating 62nd Army and 64th Army.[29] During the Moscow Conference, Shaposhnikov, Voroshilov and Voronov represented the Soviet Union during talks with the British military delegation.[29] In September, Voronov accompanied Aleksandr Vasilevsky on a tour of the Southwestern Front, Stalingrad Front and Don Front. Voronov began to plan the artillery barrage in Operation Uranus.[29] [30][31]After the approval of the plan for Operation Uranus, Voronov worked with the chiefs of artillery of the fronts and supervised the training of units to conduct the offensive.[32][33] During the beginning of the operation, Voronov was in the command post of the 21st Army. On 31 October, Voronov issued a decree on the establishment of artillery divisions in Stavka reserve. In late November, Voronov, Vasilevsky and Alexander Novikov visited the area of Operation Little Saturn.[29]

From 16 to 19 December, Voronov coordinated the artillery of the Southwestern and Voronezh Fronts. On 19 December, he was sent to the Don Front to aid in the planning and implementation of operations for the elimination of the surrounded German troops in Stalingrad.[29][32]

The interrogation of Friedrich Paulus at Don Front HQ, 1943. Left to right: Rokossovsky, Voronov, translator Nikolay Dyatlenko and Field Marshal Paulus.
On 10 January 1943, after an artillery barrage, Operation Koltso was launched. For the operation, Voronov was awarded the Order of Suvorov 1st class. On 18 January, he was promoted to Marshal of the Artillery.[3][32] On 31 January, Friedrich Paulus surrendered to Soviet troops and Voronov personally interrogated him.[34][35][30][36] In early February, Voronov was sent to the Northwestern Front to assist with the planning and operation of the Demyansk Offensive. In April, the Katyusha rocket launcher units were handed over to the chief of the artillery, but self-propelled artillery units were placed under command of tank units, despite Voronov's protests. From May to June, Voronov oversaw the formation of the artillery shells break, and on 5 July served as the representative for the commander of the Bryansk Front, as well as checking the preparation of the artillery bombardment in the Battle of Kursk.[37][38] On 3 August, he was sent to the Western Front to monitor the planning and conduct of the Battle of Smolensk.

On 30 August, Voronov was sent to the Kalinin Front. On 20 October, he coordinated the actions of the 1st Baltic Front, 2nd Baltic Front and Western Front. In early 1944, he had to resign from the representative rates and return to Moscow for treatment of health issues. Voronov then helped redeploy ammunition and artillery to the Far Eastern Front.[10] On 21 February, he was promoted to chief marshal of the artillery.[10] On 20 March 1944, Voronov was featured on the cover of Time magazine.[39]


In May 1946, Voronov began the establishment of the Academy of Artillery Sciences. He was also elected a deputy of the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union.[9] In 1950, he was released from his position and became the president of the Academy of Artillery Sciences, responsible for developing strategic nuclear weapons.[5][9] In 1953, he was appointed chief of the Military Artillery Command Academy in Leningrad.[3] From October 1958, Voronov was a member of the Group of Inspectors General of the Ministry of Defence, where he was until his death.[9] In 1963, Voronov published his memoirs, titled 'На службе военной', or On Military Service.[29] On 7 May 1965, he was awarded the title Hero of the Soviet Union on the 20th anniversary of the end of World War II.[2][6] On 23 February 1968, a tumor was discovered and Voronov was operated on. On 28 February he died without regaining consciousness.[3]

Personal life

Voronov was an avid football fan and was a supporter of CSKA Moscow.[40] He married Nina[41] and had a son, Vladimir.[42]

Honours and awards

Foreign awards:

Nikolay Voronov is interred in the Kremlin Wall Necropolis at the Red Square.

Dates of rank


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External links

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