May 13, 2015

Dmitry Lavrinenko

Dmitry Lavrinenko
Lavrinenko while he was
in the Tank Academy in 1938.
Dmitry Fyodorovich Lavrinenko was born on September 10, 1914. He was trained at Ulyanovsk Tank Academy and took part in the Polish invasion in 1939. In October 1941 Lavrinenko was commanding a T-34 platoon in the 4th Tank Brigade. At the time the German army was attempting its final drive towards Moscow. In four days Lavrinenko and his crew destroyed sixteen German tanks belonging to Guderian’s Second Panzer-Army. Guderian acknowledged the superiority of the T-34 tank in his memoirs.

In November Lavrinenko with his platoon was stationed at the village of Guseinovo, close to the divisional command post. Eight German tanks managed to penetrate the outer defences and were approaching the divisional CP. Lavrinenko counterattacked and fired on the move. Seven enemy tanks were destroyed and the eighth retreated under cover. 

During the months of October, November and December Lavrinenko was credited with the destruction of fifty two enemy tanks, 40% of the total enemy tanks destroyed by the 4th Tank Brigade. But this was the end of the road for Lt. Lavrinenko. On December 18, 1941 he was killed near the village of Goryuny, while he was out of his tank. Lavrinenko was awarded the Order of Lenin and the Gold Star Medal, thus becoming Hero of the Soviet Union. 

Lavrinenko with his crew on October 1, 1941.

Lavrinenko with his crew

Lavrinenko with his crew

Forty, George. Tank Aces – From Blitzkrieg to the Gulf War. Phoenix Mill: Sutton Publishing, 1997.

Photos attribution
1., via Wikimedia Commons
2., 3., via Wikimedia Commons