Kovtiukh, Epifan Iovich
Born May 9 (21), 1890; died July 28, 1938. Soviet military commander; corps commander (1935). Member of the CPSU from 1918. Born in the village of Baturino, Kherson Province; son of a poor peasant.
Kovtiukh fought in World War I (1914–18) and graduated from a school for ensigns (1916); his last rank in the old army was staff captain. Kovtiukh was elected to a regiment committee after the February Revolution of 1917. In 1918 he was commander of a company and deputy commander of a Red Guard detachment in the Kuban’; he participated in fighting against the White Guards in the North Caucasus. During the heroic campaign of the Taman’ Army (August-September 1918), Kovtiukh was in command of the first column, which marched in the vanguard. (These events are described in A. S. Serafimovich’s novel The Iron Flood, where Kovtiukh is the main hero under the name of Kozhukh.)
Between 1918 and 1920, Kovtiukh commanded the Taman’ Army, the 3rd Taman’ Rifle Division, and the 50th Division and participated in fighting near Tsaristyn, Tikhoretskaia, Tuapse, and Sochi. While commanding an expeditionary detachment, in August 1920 Kovtiukh led a landing operation against General S. G. Ulagai’s troops, which had landed in the Kuban’. He graduated from the Military Academy of the Workers’ and Peasants’ Red Army (1922) and the Advanced Training School for the Command Staff (1928). From 1936, Kovtiukh was an army inspector and deputy commander of the Byelorussian Military District.