Vasily Chuikov (1900 - 1982) was born in 1900 in Tula Province, near Moscow. In September 1942, he took command of the Soviet 62nd Army which was defending the city of Stalingrad against Nazi German forces. Chuikov forbade his soldiers to retreat and ordered them to hold the city at all costs. They did this despite enormous losses. In November 1942, other Soviet forces succeeded in surrounding the Germans and forced them to surrender in February, 1943.
The 62nd Army was renamed 8th Guards Army after Stalingrad and took part in many battles. In January 1945, it took part in the Vistula-Oder Operation, advancing over 300 miles in just two weeks against heavy opposition. In April 1945, 8th Guards Army advanced into Berlin. For two weeks it fought in savage battles against elite German SS troops, who were aided by the remnants of the Wehrmacht and by boys of the Hitler Youth. Chuikov remarked that "every stone, the brick rubble, the asphalt pavements of the squares and streets were stained with the blood of my men". On May 2, 1945, he accepted the surrender of the German Berlin garrison. Chuikov died in March, 1982.