Budenny, Marshal Semyon, 1883-1973

During World War II Budenny was Commander in Chief of the Russian Armies in the Ukraine and Bessarabia. He survived the Purges of 1937-38 thanks to his association with STALIN and VOROSHILOV, dating back to the Civil War. He had been a Tsarist cavalry officer but had held a series of staff appointments and had little experience of command in the field. As the Germans invaded in June 1941 the Soviet High Command fused the Southern and Southwestern groups and put Budenny in command. The Russian troops faced Field Marshal von RUNDSTEDT’s Army Group South and although they had numerical superiority the Germans held the advantage in that they had the mobile Panzer Divisions of Generals GUDERIAN and KLEIST and succeeded in driving a wedge between the two Soviet Armies. They cut off the two major troop concentrations at Kiev and Uman. Budenny could not respond to the speed of the German attacks and set into motion a series of piecemeal measures which could not alter the situation. He was removed from his command on 13 September in disgrace and was transferred to the Reserve Front. He never returned to active command but remained as Commander in Chief of the various Caucasian Fronts until January 1943 when he was made Commander of the Cavalry of the Soviet Army.

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