- Rider(s):Budyonny, Semyon
(1883 –1973), was a Soviet cavalryman, military commander, and a close ally of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin. He suffered a heavy defeat in one of the biggest cavalry battles in history, the Battle of Warsaw in 1922.
Budyonny was considered a courageous and colorful cavalry officer, but displayed disdain for innovation and a profound ignorance of modern warfare, particularly the impact of tanks, which he saw as “incapable of ever replacing cavalry”. During Marshal Tukhachevsky‘s Great Purge trial in 1937 he stated that Tukhachevsky’s efforts to create an independent tank corps was so inferior to horse cavalry and so illogical that it amounted to deliberate “wrecking“. Tukhachevsky was subsequently sentenced to death and executed. As Commander-in-Chief, Budyonny faced in 1941 the German invasion of Ukraine. Operating under strict orders from Stalin to not retreat under any circumstances, Budyonny’s forces were eventually surrounded. The disasters, which followed the encirclement, cost the Soviet Union 1.5 million men killed or taken prisoner. Despite being blamed by Stalin for some of the Soviet Union’s most catastrophic World War II defeats Budyonny continued to enjoy Stalin’s patronage and suffered no real punishment. After the war he was allowed to retire as a Hero of the Soviet Union
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