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Georgi Zhukov in 1940

Georgi Zhukov in 1940

Georgi Zhukov (1896-1974) was a Soviet general during World War II. He died at the age of 74. He is most famous for being given the credit for winning the Battle of Berlin and was then known as the "man who never lost a battle".[1]


Early life and career

Zhukov was born on December 1st 1896, in the villiage of Strelkovka in the Kaluga Province about eighty miles southwest of Moscow. Born into a peasant family, which would normally take initial education of two years. Zhukov was an exception in that he took a full three-year education course at the local school within the villiage. His general three-year course started in 1903.

Zhukov after his schooling went onto an apprenticeship in his Uncle's business situated in Moscow, in which after that he worked as a trained furrier.

At the outbreak of World War One him and his friends offered to volunteer to fight into the Tsarist Army. But it was decided between him and another Furrier in his villiage that he would wait until his age cohort was called up.When he was called up Zhukov became a conscripted soldier within the Cavalry. Operating with the 10th Cavalry Division in the Kharkov region of Ukraine he also received further training as a Non-Commissioned-Officer, afterwards his division was deployed to the Dnestr River, where early on he received the St. George Cross for capturing a German Officer. After the battle in another engagement at around October 1916 he was blown of his horse because of a mine. He was left shell-shocked, and with a few of his companions dead was hospitalised in Ukraine.

Throughout the remainder of Russia's participation of the war, Zhukov was assigned to the 5th Reserve Cavaly Regiment. Where he served as a junior NCO. During the Russian Civil war Zhukov served once again with a Cavalry unit, and he was assigned to the 3rd Reserve Cavalry Division. During this time his military career took a new turn as he was put on the Red Army Commanders Cavalry Course in 1920. Throughout the course his abilities were recognised and received good or excelllent marks in most of his subjects.Now sent to the 2nd Moscow Rifle Brigade he experienced few engagements in the Caucasus region.Where he experienced some of the most fiercest fighting in the Russian Civil war. He was afterwards again transferred to the 1st Cavalry Regiment where for the first time he was placed in charge of a platoon, and eventually by the end of 1920 got to the rank of Squadron Leader. After much bloody fighting throughout the war Zhukov proved to be a dedicated soldier and leader.

During the later 1920s and early 1930s. Zhukov eventually began to steadily rise throughout the ranks of the Red Army. In June 1922 he was appointed Squadron Commander in the 38th Cavalry Regiment, then in March 1923 was promoted to assistant commander of the 40th Cavalry Regiment, then later in July was fully promoted to permanent commander of the 39th Buzuluk Cavalry Regiment within the 7th Samara Cavalry Division. He remained regimental commander for the next 7 years. During this time he was renown throughout the Red Army for fixing the regiment, enforcing and improving discipline and combat readiness throughout the regiment.

In 1930 he attended the Frunze Military Academy in Moscow, where afterwards he was once more promoted to command the 2nd Cavalry Brigade of the 7th Samara Division, he then again was promoted only this time he was appointed assistant inspector of the Cavalry. Now he was made responsible for combat training. It is also during this time that Zhukov really began to theorise the use of mobile/mechanised warfare. During this time he also was tasked with organising wargames, field exercises and drafting Soviet regulations for Red Army Cavalry, this included incorporating Cavalry with tanks and other armoured units.[2]

World War II

Service as a General

by August 1939, Zhukov was commander of the Soviet Far Eastern Army.

On 20 August Zhukov launched a five day offensive against positions of the Japanese Kwantung Army along the Khalka river in Outer Mongolia, as part of the Russo-Japanese conflict. Zhukov dispatched 690 armoured vehicles, together with nine infantry and cavalry divisions, supported by15 artillery battalions and 300 aircraft -a total of 150,000 combatants. By the end of the offensive on 25 August, the Japanese had lost 18,000 troops and over 100 aircraft, their worst military setback in modern history.[3]

On 21 October 1941, General Zhukov was assigned to command all Russian forces engaged in the defence of Moscow. This led to stiffer resistance stalling the German advance on the 25th, followed by a Russian counterattack on the 27th. The Germans responded to this on the 30th by launching an assault from the North-west.[4]


  2. Roberts, Geoffrey. Stalin's General: The Life of Georgy Zhukov. N.p.: Icon Publishing, 2012. Print.
  3. Goralski, Robert. World War II Almanac 1931-1945. Hamish Hamilton Ltd. 1981. ISBN 0 241 10573 0 Page 87
  4. Goralski, Robert Page 179

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