Dmitry Fyodorovich Lavrinenko (Russian: Дмитрий Фёдорович Лавриненко, September 10, 1914 – December 18, 1941) was a Soviet tank commander and Hero of the Soviet Union. He was the highest scoring tank ace of the Allies during World War II.
|Born||10 September 1914
stanitsa Besstrashnaya, Kuban Oblast, Russian Empire
|Died||18 December 1941(aged 27)|
|Years of service||1938–1941|
|Unit||1st Guards Tank Brigade,
15th Armored Division
|Other work||Teacher, statistician, cashier|
In 1941, he commanded the new T-34/76 tank. With 58 tanks and self-propelled guns eliminated in 1941 during Operation Barbarossa on the Eastern Front of World War II, he is considered to be one of the top Soviet tank aces of the war, despite his early death in 1941. He achieved such impressive results by taking advantage of the abilities of the T-34. The tank's armor and great mobility were clearly taken into consideration by Lavrinenko.
On December 18, 1941 Lavrinenko was killed just after freeing the village of Goryuny and knocking out his 52nd tank. Immediately after the action the Germans began shelling the village intensively. Lavrinenko got out of his T-34 near the village and tried to reach the commander of the 17th Armoured Brigade, Lt Col N. Chernoyarov, in order to report his victory but he was killed by a German mortar shell fragment.
On May 5, 1990 Lavrinenko was posthumously awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union.
The total number of tanks damaged and destroyed by Lavrinenko is comparatively small next to aces like Michael Wittmann (138 tanks and 132 anti-tank guns), Otto Carius (150 tanks), Kurt Knispel (168 tanks), and several others. However, almost all the German tank aces of the war fought from start to finish, so their overall results were more significant. Lavrinenko destroyed 52 tanks in just 2.5 months of fierce fighting in 1941. This was an outstanding result in the Soviet Army, and no single Allied tank officer surpassed him during the whole war.