Vatutin led the armies which recaptured Stalingrad, the Ukraine and Kiev. A graduate of the Frunze Academy in 1929, he rose to become one of STALIN’s advisers on the Stavka and, in 1941, head of General Staff Operations. In 1942 he was given his first important military command, the Voronezh Front. In November of that year he led his Southwest Front in the famous Stalingrad offensive in which he, in conjunction with Generals ROKOSSOVSKY and YEREMENKO cut off and trapped PAULUS’ Sixth Army. Vatutin went on to threaten the Germans’ line of retreat.
In the Kursk Campaign of July 1943, Vatutin managed to halt von MANSTEIN’S advance and then counterattacked to take Kharkov. He then led his army into the Ukraine and in a campaign launched on Christmas Eve 1943 took Kiev in January 1944. In Early March 1944, Vatutin, leading an expedition to take Rovno, was ambushed by Ukrainian anti-Soviet partisans and fatally wounded.