Mikhail Tukhachevsky, February 16 1893 - March 8, 1955

Tukhachevsky was born near Smolensk to a noble family. In 1909 he was sent to Smolensk Military School and graduated in 1912 as a Lieutenant. He joined the 39th infantry regiment. He served with distinction against the Germans until his capture in 1917. He escaped from his prison camp in Bavaria in March 1918 and spent 6 months making his own way back to Russia. He rejoined the army in November 1918. When the Soviet Union was formed in 1919 he joined the red army. He served with distinction at the siege of Petrograd in April and in May he formed his own regiment at Smolensk. He led this regiment during the siege of Smolensk and was greatly rewarded. His regiment was expanded to an army, the 5th army. He lead this army during the 1st Soviet-Finnish war (1920 - 1921), during which he became close to a national hero, defeating the Finns in battle after battle. General Tukhachevsky remained commander of the 5th army until 1924. During this time, Leon Trotsky, Lenin's successor, was bent on expanding the army to spread world revolution, a view that many generals, including Tukhachevsky shared. In November 1926, Trotsky was overthrown by Stalin, supported by the army. Tukhachevsky was rewarded for his support by being promoted to Marshal, along with 4 others.

In 1930 Tukhachevsky was tasked with creating an efficient armoured strike force for the red army, and by 1938 the red army had two tank armies and 10,000 tanks. In 1939 he was appointed head of military planning on the general staff. However the army began to be purged in early 1940. Stalin ordered political commissars to arrest a large number of officers, at first the arrests were based on disloyal party membership but soon the arrests became more random. Tukhachevsky, Blucher, Voroshilov, Yegorov and Budyonny, five Marshals of the Soviet Union, came together and began plotting to overthrow Stalin, and replace him with Molotov.

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