Mikhail Ilyich Koshkin (Russian: Михаил Ильич Кошкин, December 3, 1898, Brynchagi, Yaroslavl Oblast – September 26, 1940) was a Soviet tank designer, chief designer of the famous T-34 medium tank. The T-34 was the most effective and most produced tank of World War II. He started out in life as a candy maker, but then studied engineering.
He died after contracting pneumonia while driving prototypes of T-34 tank - А-20 and А-32 on a grueling 2,000-kilometre (1,250 mi) drive from Kharkiv to Moscow for a demonstration for the Kremlin leaders, to the Mannerheim Line in Finland, and back to Kharkiv via Minsk and Kiev.
Mikhail Koshkin was posthumously awarded the State Stalin Prize in 1942 and the Order of the Red Star. In 1990, shortly before the final collapse of the USSR, he was posthumously decorated with the highest civilian honour, Hero of Socialist Labour.
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