The “George” on a Soviet Uniform.

A biographical sketch of Colonel-General K.P. Trubnikov.

By Aleksei Proshlyakov.



 [From Tseikhgauz No. 13, 1/2001. Pages 44-46.]


            At the victory parade of 24 June 1945, the composite regiment of the 2nd Belorussian Front was led by Kuz’ma Petrovich Trubnikov, a veteran of three wars. Unfortunately, very little is known about this individual, both as a person and as a commander. It is very difficult to obtain reliable information about his life and accomplishments from articles that have appeared in the press, and he did not write his memoirs.


            Kuz’ma Petrovich Trubnikov was born on 27 October 1888 in a poor peasant family in the village of Gatishche in Orel Province’s Livny District. From age 9 he worked for his family. In 1898 he finished the Gatishche parish school. In the summers of 1907 to 1909 he was a hired laborer, and in the winters he studied. Before his call-up into active military service in 1909 he passed the non-resident exams for a high-school’s sixth class.

            Kuz’ma Petrovich was called up by the army in the fall of 1909. He served as a private in the Life-Guards Semenovskii Regiment, and as a non-commissioned officer after finishing the regimental training course. He remained in the army after his first term of service. In August of 1913 he finished a school for officer candidates [shkola podpraporshchikov]. By the beginning of the First World War he had been awarded medals “In commemoration of the centennial of the 1812 Patriotic War,” “In commemoration of 300 years of rule by the House of Romanov,” and “In commemoration of the bicentennial of the Battle of Gangut.” More than once he was awarded badges “For Excellent Rifle Shooting.”

            Senior Non-commissioned Officer K.P. Trubnikov of the Life-Guards Semenovskii Regiment was in combat actions from the very start of the First World War. For his bravery he was awarded four St.-George crosses and two St.-George medals. By Order No. 109P of the 1st Guards Infantry Division dated 20 December 1914, he was promoted to officer candidate [podpraporshchik] since he had passed the school course and was deserving of promotion. On 21 January 1915, Order No. 21 of the Life-Guards Semenovskii Regiment promoted Officer Candidate Kuz’ma Trubnikov of the 15th Company to sergeant-officer candidate [fel’dfebel’-podpraporshchik] (i.e., officer candidate in the position of a company sergeant).

            On 13 January 1917, by Order No. 1188 of the commander-in-chief of the armies of the Western Front, he was promoted to ensign of army infantry for his military excellence in accordance with Army Order No. 617 from 1914, with seniority to date from the day of promotion. This promotion was confirmed by a supplement to a 4 March 1917 Army and Navy Order regarding army officers (the supplement having been confirmed on 18 February 1917).

            He was transferred to serve in the 12th Astrakhan Grenadier Regiment on 23 March 1917. On arriving at the regiment he was assigned as a junior officer in the 1st Company. During his time with the regiment his name was put forward for promotion to sublieutenant and lieutenant, but exact information has not be found regarding this.

            In Order No. 16 to the Guards Semenovskii Regiment dated 13 January 1918, it is related that Kuz’ma Trubnikov came to the regiment, was assigned to the 15th Company for the purpose of drawing allowances, and chosen to be assistant to the company commander, but in connection with being detached to the headquarters of the 1st Guards Grenadier Division he was dropped from receiving allowances on 13 January 1918.

* * *

            K.P. Trubnikov joined the Red Army on 5 May 1918 and was assigned to be military commander of Gatishche volost’ [group of villages], and later military commander of Livny District. In May of 1919 he left for the Eastern Front, where on 19 May he was assigned as a platoon commander in the 28th Rifle Regiment. Afterwards he occupied a series of command positions on different fronts. As commander of the 55th Rifle Regiment in the 7th Rifle Division he was awarded the Order of the Red Banner by Order No. 917 §1 to the forces of the XII Army, dated 21 December 1920 (this award was confirmed by RVSR Order No. 57 in1921). On 13 December 1920 he was named commander of the 19th Brigade in the 7th Rifle Division. He commanded this brigade for about two years and was in the battles on the Southwest Front against Polish forces. For his military performance during the Civil War years, Trubnikov was awarded a personalized sword and firearm.

            After the Civil War he carried out the duties of: commander of the 19th Rifle Regiment in the 7th Rifle Division, deputy commander of the 15th Sivash Division, inspector of aviation units of the Red Army’s Air Force (VVS RKKA), and sector chief in the Red Army’s Air Force Directorate. He completed a Comintern tactical infantry courses for Red Army commanders in 1925 and a higher course at the Frunze Military Academy in 1927. From February 1934 he was deputy commander of the 25th Chapaev Red Banner Rifle Division, and on 20 June 1935 he assumed command himself. He was promoted to kombrig [“brigade commander”] by Order N. 2484 of the USSR People’s Defense Committee dated 26 November 1935. On 15 November 1936 he was formally assigned as division commander. He took part in large-scale experimental maneuvers as part of the forces of Kharkov Military District. For the good performance of his division’s units he was given a gold watch inscribed “To Kombrig Trubnikov K.P. for military readiness, from the People’s Defense Committee 19.IX.36.” He became a member of the Communist Party (Bolshevik) in February 1938. Also in 1938 he was awarded the Order of the Red Star for his good work in training his division’s units.

            From 22 June 1938 to 15 February 1940 K.P. Trubnikov was held under investigation by the NKVD, but the torture chambers did not break the 50-year old kombrig. He refused to confirm a single one of the accusations leveled against him. On 31 March 1940, People’s Defense Committee Order No. 01279 re-established him in the Red Army and he was placed at the disposal of the chief of personnel. Before the outbreak of he Great Patriotic War Trubnikov held positions as a senior instructor of tactics, chief of the regimental commanders’ course that was part of the Red Army’s “Vystrel” higher tactical infantry instruction aimed at improving the army’s command personnel.

            With the start of the Great Patriotic War Kombrig Trubnikov was named commander of the 258th Rifle Division that was forming in Orel. In the first half of July 1941, having completed the division’s formation, he took it to the front. The division came under the Western Front’s 50th Army and conducted defensive battles west of Bryansk on a 72-kilometer wide front, and made a fighting withdrawal toward Tula. From November 1941 to May 1942 Trubnikov was commander of the 217th Rifle Division in the Western Front’s 50th Army, defending Tula. For the defense of Tula he was promoted to the rank of major general and awarded the Order of the Red Banner. From May to October 1942 Trubnikov was deputy to the commander of the 16th Army on the Western Front, and from October 1942 to September 1943 deputy commander of the Don Front forces at Stalingrad. He was promoted to lieutenant general and awarded the Order of the Red Banner. From February to April 1943 he was deputy commander of the forces on the Central Front. From April to September 1943 he commanded the 10th Guards Army, which in June of 1943 broke through the enemy front and captured Yel’no. Trubnikov was awarded the Order of Kutuzov 2nd class. From October to December 1943 he was at the disposal of the Main Personnel Directorate of the People’s Defense Commissariat [GUK NKO SSSR]. From December 1943 to September 1944 he was deputy to the commander of forces of the Belorussian Front. During the Bobruisk-Minsk operation he directly controlled the front’s military actions on the right wing. He was awarded the Order of Suvorov 2nd class. From September to November 1944—deputy commander of the forces of the 1st Belorussian Front; from November 1944 to July 1945—deputy commander of forces of the 2nd Belorussian Front. He took part in the battles in East Prussia and Pomerania and was awarded the Order of Kutuzov 1st class. He helped execute the Oder operation and the pursuit of retreating enemy units until meeting up with British forces. Awarded the Order of Lenin and a gold watch. K.P. Trubnikov received the ranks of colonel-general on 17 February 1945.

            Kuz’ma Petrovich was deputy to Marshal K.K. Rokossovskii for almost the entire war and later their dual service continued. Rokossovskii headed the Northern Group of Forces [Severnyi Gruppa voisk – SGV] deployed in Poland. From July 1945 to January 1947 Trubnikov was deputy to the commander-in-chief of the SGV, and from January 1947 deputy for operations to the SGV commander-in-chief. From 1949 to 1950 he was himself commander-in-chief of the SGV. He retired on 16 January 1951.

            For his years of service in the Soviet Army he was decorated with the Order of Lenin and two Orders of the Red Banner. A ukase of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR on 28 October 1967 awarded him the Order of the Red Star. For his services on behalf of the Polish People’s Republic, in 1946 he was awarded the Order of the Grunwald Cross 2nd Class, the Gold Cross of the Order of Virtuti Militari, and medals. In 1968 he received the Commodore’s Cross to the Order of Virtuti Militari.

            Colonel-General Kuz’ma Petrovich Trubnikov wore not only his St.-George crosses, but all his First World War awards. His entire life was a model of carrying out a soldier’s duty. He died in 1974 and is buried in a Moscow cemetery.




Page 44: Sergeant-Officer Candidate K.P. Trubnikov with his mother, younger brother Stepan (also serving in the Life-Guards Semenovskii Regiment), and sister-in-law. Livny, 1916. (From the Trubnikov family archive.) 

Page 45: By Life-Guards Semenovskii Regimental Order No. 27 of 2 February 1915 (appendix to §2), Senior Non-commissioned Officer Kuz’ma Petrovich Trubnikov of the 15th Company was decorated with the St.-George Cross 4th class, No. 47725. The citation read: “On 14 October at the Gradobitse suburb, he encouraged his comrades by his example of personal courage and led them forward” (p.4 §65 St.).

            Regimental Order No.35 of 27 February 1915 (app. to §3) awarded the St.-George Medal 4th class, No. 59325, “For bravery and courage shown in the fighting of 2 September near Krzeszow.”

            Regimental Order No. 108 of 12 May 1915 (app. to §4) awarded the St.-George Cross 3rd class, No. 1441 citing “On 4 November 1914, at the village of Rzeplin, after having a serious wound bandaged, in the trenches, he rejoined the battle” (p. 28 §67 St.).

By Regimental Order No. 126 of 29 May 1915 (app. to §11), Sergeant-Officer Candidate K.P. Trubnikov was awarded the St.-George Cross 2nd class, No. 4034, citing “On 19 February at the village of Budy-Zeliazny, during an attack on enemy trenches he encouraged his men by his example of personal courage and led them forward, which enabled the company to be successful” (p. 4 §67 St.). Trubnikov turned in this gold cross as a donation for wounded soldiers of his regiment. In their turn the soldiers presented him with a bronze cross that is clearly visible in photographs.

By Regimental Order No. 267 of 22 December 1915 (app. to §4), Officer Candidate K.P. Trubnikov was decorated with the St.-George Cross 1st class, No. 6417 (this number in the documentation is in error and is actually No. 9417), citing: “On 24 March in the village of Ol’ki, consequent to the regiment receiving an order to find out what enemy units were in front of it, he volunteered for a reconnaissance patrol with five lower ranks under extremely dangerous conditions. He attacked an enemy post and after destroying it delivered to his commander enemy uniforms and accouterments, thanks to which it was determined exactly what enemy units were in front of the regiment” (p. 15 §67 Georg. St.).

Regimental Order No. 50 of 13 March 1917 (app. to §9) gave a list of soldiers awarded St.-George medals by the commander of the 3rd Army for distinction in the fighting around Kholm from 3 to 25 July 1915. In it, Sergeant-Officer Candidate K.P. Trubnikov is named as decorated with St.-George Medal 3rd class No. 226,194 “for distinction in the battles around the town of Kholm from 3 through 6 July 1915.”

In addition to all these, K.P. Trubnikov was awarded a medal “For work during the excellently carried-out general mobilization of 1914” and put forward for an award of the gold medal “For zeal” worn around the neck. He also had the Belgian Military Cross and French Military Medal. 

RGVIA, F. 2584, Op. 1, D. 2869, L. 93ob, 128ob, 319ob, 379; D. 2883, L. 38.


Page 46: Colonel-General K.P. Trubnikov, deputy commander of the Northern Group of Forces, 1946. (From the Trubnikov family archive.)


Translated by Mark Conrad, 2001.