Semyon Timoshenko

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It is possible that the Germans will attack, and it is necessary that the fleet be in readiness.

Semyon Konstantinovich Timoshenko (February 18 O.S. February 6 1895March 31, 1970) was a Soviet military commander and senior professional officer of the Red Army at the beginning of the German invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941. Timoshenko was twice a Hero of the Soviet Union, in March 1940 and 1965. Amongst his other orders were the highest Order of Victory (1945), five times Order of Lenin, Order of the October Revolution, five times Order of the Red Banner and three times Order of Suvorov. In 1960, he was appointed Inspector-General of the Defence Ministry, a largely honorary post. From 1961 he chaired the State Committee for War Veterans. He died in Moscow in 1970.


  • It is possible that the Germans will attack, and it is necessary that the fleet be in readiness.
    • Quoted in "The 900 Days: The Siege of Leningrad" - Page 33 - by Harrison Evans Salisbury - 1972
  • No actions are to be taken against the Germans without our consent.
    • Quoted in "Stalin's Folly: The Tragic First Ten Days of World War II on the Eastern Front" - Page 107 - by Constantine Pleshakov - 2005
  • We have fine troops, they are inured.
    • Quoted in "Timoshenko: Marshal of the Red Army" - Page 89 - by Walter Mehring - 1942
  • We'll spin them out like a bobbin thread.
    • To Ralph Parker, about the Nazis. Quoted in "Timoshenko: Marshal of the Red Army" - Page 91 - by Walter Mehring - 1942
  • We intend to check up on the fitness of our small units...If each such particle attains real efficiency and brings genuine military skill to our large units, our troops, should they be called upon to fight, will carry out their operations without sustaining heavy losses.
    • Quoted in "Timoshenko: Marshal of the Red Army" - Page 130 - by Walter Mehring - 1942
  • It is necessary to keep in mind the possibility of simultaneously conducting two, if not three, offensive operations of various fronts on a theater of war with the intention of strategically shaking the enemy's entire combat capability as extensively as possible.
    • Quoted in "The Evolution of Soviet Operational Art" - Page 89 - by David M. Glantz, Harold Steven Orenstein - 1995
File:Semyon Konstantinovich Timoshenko (1895-1970), Soviet military commander.jpg
The Red Army must keep its powder dry and be in constant mobilization and preparedness.
  • We are harassing them and will go on harassing them until they are totally exhausted. This is not merely tactics of a definite kind—it is a strategy with a broad perspective, directed at definitive and total victory. The Russian defence always had preparation for the counter-offensive as its aim. The Russian war plan here follows the commandmant of Clausewitz, "Swift and powerful transition to the attack—the lightning sword of retribution — that is the most brilliant part of the defense.
    • Autumn, 1941. Quoted in "The Great Offensive: The Strategy of Coalition Warfare" - Page 116 - by Max Werner, Alexander Schriffin, Heinz Norden, Ruth Norden - 1943
  • The Russians have learned much in this hard war in which the Finns fought with heroism.
    • Quoted in "The Winter War: The Soviet Attack on Finland" - Page 146 - by Eloise Engle, Eloise Paananen, Lauri Paananen - History - 1992
  • Peoples of all the warring countries are trying to put an end to the war, to establish peace. And we believe that they will get peace. And the sooner they get peace the better.
    • Quoted in "The American review on the Soviet Union" - Page 10 - by American Russian Institute - 1938
  • The Red Army must keep its powder dry and be in constant mobilization and preparedness.
    • Quoted in "Soviet Politics at Home and Abroad" - Page 414 - by Frederick Lewis Schuman - History - 1946

Quotes about Timoshenko

  • The engagements in which Zhukov won his reputation were so massive that, inevitably, many outstanding Soviet military men were involved- either under Zhukov's command or in coordinated and associated movements. There was then, and there continued for years to be, a raging competition for military glory in these engagements. Deep lines of political cleavage and quarrels also underlay the military disputes. Not only military glory was involved; political intrigue, intra-Party quarrels, high-level Kremlin politics were at issue. The principal military rivals of Zhukov were his fellow marshals, Ivan S. Konev, Rodion Malinovsky, V. I. Chuikov, A. I. Yeremenko, Semyon Timonshenko, and to a lesser extent men like K. K. Rokossovsky, V. D. Sokolovsky, and the staff chiefs, A. M. Vasilevsky, Boris Shaposhnikov and, later on, S. M. Shtemenko. Rivals of a different category were Stalin's cronies, men like Voroshilov and Budenny, and police generals such as L. Z. Mekhlis and G. I. Kulik.
    • Harrison E. Salisbury (editor), Introduction to Marshal Zhukov's Greatest Battles (New York: Harper & Row, 1969) by Georgy Zhukov, translated from Russian by Theodore Shabad, p. 14-15
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