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General Aleksei I. Antonov was a Soviet general who rose to be Head of Operations and Deputy Chief of Staff of the Red Army from 1942 to 1945. The son of a Tsarist artillery officer, Antonov joined the Red Army after the revolution, attending the Frunze Military Academy in 1921. In 1941-42 he served as the Chief of Staff for the South and North Caucasus Front and then the Transcaucasus Front, before being appointed as General Vasilevsky's representative in Moscow. His first stint in Moscow was not a success, for Stalin was said to dislike him, and so he was posted to the Voronezh Front.
Antonov performed so well there that he was recalled to Moscow as Chief of Operations in December 1942, under Vasilevsky, who was now Chief of Staff. In April 1943 Antonov was also appointed First Deputy Chief of Staff, although as Vasilevsky spent nearly two thirds of his time at the fronts, Antonov often acted as Chief of Staff himself, although he did not officially receive that post until February 1945, when Vasilevsky was posted to command the Third Belorussian Front.
Antonov's main duty as deputy Chief of Staff was to liaise between Stalin and the Front commanders. He was also responsible for planning Operation Bagration, and to some extent the Berlin campaign of 1945. He proved to be a very able staff officer, capable of producing detailed accurate plans, and also of coping with Stalin. From 1944 he also acted as the chief Soviet spokesman, performing that role at the Moscow Conference and at Potsdam. He served as Chief of Staff from February 1945 until March 1946.
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