Dmitry Lavrinenko

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Dmitry Lavrinenko
Dmitry Lavrinenko.jpg
Born 10 September 1914
stanitsa Besstrashnaya, Kuban Oblast, Russian Empire
Died 18 December 1941(1941-12-18) (aged 27)
Allegiance Red Army flag.svg Red Army
Years of service 1938 - 1941
Rank Senior Lieutenant
Unit 1st Guards Tank Brigade,
15th Armored Division
Awards Hero of the Soviet Union Order of Lenin
Other work Teacher, statistician, cashier

Dmitry Fyodorovich Lavrinenko (Russian: Дмитрий Федорович Лавриненко, September 10, 1914—December 18, 1941) was a Soviet tank commander and Hero of the Soviet Union. He was the highest scoring tank ace of the Allies during World War II.

Biography[edit]

A descendant of Kuban Cossacks, Lavrinenko finished his training at Ulyanovsk Tank Academy in May 1938. He took part in Soviet campaigns in Poland in 1939 and Bessarabia in 1940.

In 1941, he commanded the new T-34/76 tank. With 58 tanks and self-propelled guns eliminated in 1941 during Operation Barbarossa on the Eastern Front of World War II, he is considered to be one of the top Soviet tank aces of the war, despite his early death in 1941. He achieved such impressive results by taking advantage of the abilities of the T-34. The tank's armor and great mobility were clearly taken into consideration by Lavrinenko. He performed very well against otherwise superior German tactics and combined arms.

On May 5, 1990 Lavrinenko was posthumously awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union.

The total number of tanks, damaged and destroyed Lavrinenko is small, compared, for example, with aces like Michael Wittmann (138 tanks and 132 anti-tank guns), Otto Carius (150) and others. However, almost all German tank aces of the war fought from start to finish, so their overall results were more significant. Lavrinenko destroyed 52 tanks in just 2.5 months of fierce fighting in 1941. This was an outstanding result in the Soviet Army, and no single allied tank officer surpassed him during the whole war. Russian military historian Smirnov notes that his confirmed kills would have been be significantly greater if he had not been killed so early into the war.

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