Vladimir (Vulf) Konovalov was born in 1911 in the village of Nadiozhnoie, in eastern Ukraine.
Shortly after his birth, Konovalov's family moved to Iuzovka (today Donetsk). After Vladimir completed seven years of school, he began studying at a rabfak (a high school for workers) and also worked as a metal worker at a factory. Then Konovalov moved to Leningrad to study at the Frunze Naval Academy. After his graduation in 1936, he served on submarines of the Black Sea Fleet. In November 1940, after graduating higher command courses, Konovalov was appointed second in command of an L-3 submarine. In March 1943, he became a submarine commander.
From the beginning of the Soviet-German war until the end of 1942, Vladimir Konovalov's L-3 crew took part in several campaigns. During this time, they sank more than ten enemy ships. In March 22, 1943, Baltic Fleet Commander Admiral Vladimir Tributs presented to Konovalov the Guards' naval flag that his submarine had been awarded.
From March 1943 to October 1944, Konovalov was on temporary duty with the Soviet Pacific Fleet, where he trained on other types of Soviet submarines. After he returned to his L-3, in October 1944 Commander Konovalov's ship proceeded to the southern part of the Baltic Sea, where it took part in three campaigns in 1944 and 1945. On April 16, 1945, in the Danzig Bay, Konovalov's submarine caught up with the German transport ship Goya, which was carrying thousands of refugees, wounded people, and German soldiers. After two torpedoes fired by Konovalov's L-3 hit the Goya, the transport ship sank within seven minutes. Less than 200 of the 7,000 passengers survived. (This loss amounted to the largest number of victims in the history of navigation). The ships that had been escorting the Goya then chased the L-3 for two and a half hours. Although the five depth charges they set off exploded near the L-3, the submarine was not harmed. For his destruction of the transport ship Goya, Vladimir Konovalov was awarded the tittle of Hero of the Soviet Union on July 8, 1945.
The overall result of the military operation was impressive: according to official Soviet information, the crew of the L-3 sank or damaged 21 transport ships and 7 enemy warships.
After the war, Konovalov continued serving as a submarine officer. In 1950, he graduated from the Voroshilov Staff College and, from 1958, he commanded the submarine brigade of the Baltic Fleet. On May 7, 1966, Vladimir Konovalov was awarded the rank of Rear Admiral.
During the course of Konovalov's career, he was awarded the Order of Lenin (three times), the Order of Ushakov 2nd Class, the Order of the Patriotic War 1st Class (twice), the Order of the Red Star (twice), and a number of medals.
Vladimir Konovalov died in Leningrad in 1967. A street in St. Petersburg is named after him.