Soviet tank aces. Nikolai Rodionovich Andreev is one of the representatives of Soviet tank aces during the Great Patriotic War. Nikolai Andreev was at the front from the first day of the war. With his service and skills demonstrated in a combat situation, he paved his way to the first officer rank, becoming a junior lieutenant in March 1942. He distinguished himself particularly during the Battle of Stalingrad in the battle in the Abganerovo region, for which he was presented to the title of Hero of the Soviet Union.
The pre-war life of Nikolai Andreev
Nikolai Rodionovich Andreev was born on 7 on August 1921 in the small village of Kuropleshevo. Today it is part of the village of Kologrivo, located on the territory of the Slantsy district of the Leningrad region. The future Soviet tanker ace was born in a simple peasant family, so he joined the rural work early. Some sources claim that from childhood he loved horses, and also often went to night. This is what they used to call herding horses in the dark, when there were no more flies, horseflies and midges in the air that prevented pets from grazing safely.
Like many peers, Nikolai Andreev graduated only from a seven-year school in his native village, but the young man was drawn to knowledge, had talent, an inquiring mind and wanted to continue his studies. In 1935, at the age of 14, he entered the Leningrad Road and Bridge College. The resulting engineering education will be useful to him in the army in the future, especially in the tank troops. The knowledge gained by Andreev before the war distinguished him from the rest of the recruits, since not even all the commanders of those years could boast of such training. In 1939, after completing his studies, he went on a Komsomol ticket to the Far East. Here, the future tanker worked as a technician in a road-road detachment as part of the 39-th road and road station, located in the city of Kuibyshevka-Vostochnaya (today the city of Belogorsk) of the Amur Region.
Nikolai Rodionovich Andreev
In the Far East, Nikolai Andreev did not work long, already in 1940, he was drafted into the army for active military service in the ranks of the Red Army. It is worth noting that on 1 of September 1939 of the year the USSR issued a law on universal military duty. The country's leadership increased the composition and strength of the armed forces, anticipating future conflicts, the situation in Europe and the world was already very turbulent, so the country returned to the mandatory draft for military service. Initially, Nikolai Andreev was part of the training company of the 375-th separate tank battalion from the 38-th rifle division. Its part was deployed in the city of Bikin in the Khabarovsk Territory. The definition of a conscript in tankers was directly related to the education Andrey gained and his work experience.
Having finished the training process in the training company, just before the war in April 1941, Nikolai Andreev arrived for further service on the other side of the country - in the Kiev Special Military District. With such a level of training, Andreev could not remain ordinary for a long time, while he could enter a military school, but at that time he simply did not think about a military career. The war found Nikolai Andreev as part of the 64-th tank regiment of the 32-th tank division of the 4-th mechanized corps, commanded by the notorious general Andrei Vlasov.
4-th mechanized corps was one of the most staffed in the entire Red Army. At the time of the outbreak of the war, it included 979 tanks (95 percent of the state), including 414 modern T-34 and KV tanks. The problems of the corps were that it was provided with vehicles at 55 percent of the staff, and personnel at 78 percent. For example, a serious lack of personnel was just in the 32-th Panzer Division (primarily mid-level commanders and junior commanders). A serious problem was the fact that the overwhelming majority of the division’s personnel had poor training, most of the division’s military personnel graduated from the 3-6 school classes. This was not enough for such a technically complex kind of troops. In addition, modern tanks, the same T-34, which Nikolai Andreev was to master, arrived in parts unevenly, by the beginning of the war the new vehicles did not have time to adequately study and master, which also led to further notorious consequences. Given the level of education, Andreev’s authority in the company was already quite high. During the exercises, the company consulted with him to determine whether the tanks would pass over a particular bridge. Andreev’s knowledge in the field of construction of bridges and roads turned out to be useful in both peaceful and military life.
Two Orders of the Red Star of Nikolai Andreev
Nikolai Andreev found the beginning of the war with Nazi Germany on the western borders of the USSR. The corps in which he served began to participate in hostilities in the early days of the battle, operating in the areas of the settlements of Nemirov, Magerov, Yavorov, Radzekhov. The main enemy of the Soviet tankers in this direction were the German infantry divisions, including the 1 I Mountain Jaeger Division. In battles with enemy infantry, Soviet tankers achieved some tactical successes by crushing and destroying a number of enemy batteries on the march, as well as crushing them in battle, but could not achieve serious success for many reasons, including the lack of infantry that could consolidate success and help tankers; insufficient interaction with artillery; the general weakness of training and education of units, poor knowledge of the new materiel entering the troops.
A battle in the street in Nemirov, in the background destroyed heavy infantry 150-mm guns s.IG.33 and a wrecked tank BT-7 4 MK
In the border battle, parts of the Red Army suffered serious losses, especially the mechanized corps, which were actively involved in counterattacks on the enemy and became a steel shield on the way of the Nazi troops, allowing infantry and artillery to retreat. At the beginning of July of the 1941 of the year, the 32-I tank division, in which Andreyev served, managed to take part in the defense of Berdichev, and at the end of the month was surrounded near Uman, not everyone managed to break through to their own, while the material part was finally lost. Already on August 10, the division was disbanded, and due to existing fighters and commanders, the 1 and 8 tanks were formed. Nikolai Andreev was the tank commander in the 1-th tank brigade, which operated as part of the South-Western Front.
In December 1941, Nikolai Andreev was introduced to the first battle order. December 7 1941 year of the brave tanker was awarded the Order of the Red Star. The award sheet indicated that the tankman had repeatedly shown courage and courage in a combat situation. Together with the crew, he participated in 12 attacks of enemy troops, destroying three 105-mm guns, up to two anti-tank artillery batteries, a mortar battery, up to 25 various enemy vehicles, as well as one enemy heavy tank and up to two enemy infantry platoons.
In the battle of 20 on October 1941 of the year near Belgorod, Andreev served as tank commander. The tanker entered the battle with three heavy tanks of the enemy (so in the award documents, most likely, this is PzKpfw IV). Despite the enemy’s fire, Nikolai Andreev, with well-aimed shots, destroyed one tank, and forced the other two to retreat. During the battle, Andreev’s tank was hit by a German shell, which damaged the radio-machine gun ballistic installation, the radio operator and Andreyev himself, injured in the arm, were wounded by fragments. Despite the wound, Andreev continued the battle and led the tank entrusted to him, until the enemy was driven back, and our infantry was fixed on the defensive line.
The second Order of the Red Star, Andreev, already a senior sergeant, received in February 1942 of the year. The award sheet indicated that Nikolai Andreev, along with his tank, participated in battles in the area of the settlements of Panskoye, Pokrovskoye, Petrishchevo, Morozovo on the territory of the Kursk region. For four days of fighting, the Andreev’s tank destroyed an enemy’s medium tank and one armored car, destroyed two cars, suppressed 6 artillery pieces, destroyed infantry to a company, and captured up to 4 thousand artillery shells.
By February of the 1942 of the year, the 1-th tank brigade for success in battles with the enemy was transformed into the 6-th guards tank brigade. And already on 17 of March 1942, Nikolai Andreev was awarded the first officer rank, he became a junior lieutenant. In the description of the newly-minted commander, it was indicated that in the battles near the village of Rubezhnoye in the Kharkiv region, Nikolai Andreev managed to destroy 5 enemy tanks during a tank counterattack, and the Hitlerites were forced to throw two more tanks on the battlefield. In many respects, it was the merit of the courage of the Soviet tanker. Also in the village of Dvurechnoye, Andreev’s crew burned two enemy tanks and destroyed them before a platoon of machine gunners. In the same battles, Andreev received a second wound, was wounded in the lower back.
Battle at the 74 kilometer junction
The summer of the 1942 of the year, which again, like the summer of the 1941 of the year, turned out to be full of defeat and disappointment for the Red Army, the commander of the tank platoon of the guard, Lieutenant Andreev already met on the Stalingrad Front, the South-Western Front was disbanded on 12 in July of that same year. It was near Stalingrad that Nikolai Rodionovich took part in the battle, for which in November 1942 of the year he was introduced to the title of Hero of the Soviet Union. By that time, the young officer was already in good standing with the command, which marked him as a master of sniper tank shooting, a well-trained commander, a brave officer who could inspire his subordinates by his example.
The award documents indicated that on 6 of August 1942 of the year, Germans with forces up to 70 of tanks, an infantry regiment and several divisions of self-propelled and conventional artillery wedged into the location of Soviet troops, capturing the 74 kilometer junction of the Stalingrad Region (today Abganerovo station). The task of attacking the German troops and knocking them out of the captured lines was set, including the 1 th tank battalion of the 6 th guards tank brigade. During the attack, Andreev’s tank was the first to break into the junction area with his platoon, where he collided with a column of enemy tanks - 20 pieces. Not bewildered or embarrassed, Nikolai Andreev joined the battle with the enemy. Accelerating to maximum speed, the T-34 proceeded along the column of enemy tanks, shooting the enemy at point-blank range from the 76-mm guns. In this battle, Andreev’s tank burned down five enemy tanks and knocked out two more, crushing two enemy guns as well.
Destroyed in the Stalingrad steppes PzKpfw III and T-34 in the background
In the battle, the thirty-four received minor damage, which they managed to eliminate by the crew after the battle ended. It was separately indicated that the tank was still in service and under the command of Lieutenant Andreev inflicting serious losses on the enemy. The award sheet also indicated that Lieutenant Andreev’s guards, up to 27, had destroyed enemy tanks, several dozen guns, and a significant amount of enemy infantry.
In August 1942, Nikolai Rodionovich was promoted to senior lieutenant, leading a tank company as part of the 6 Guards Tank Brigade. And already at the end of 1942, the officer was recalled from the front. At this point, Andreev was twice wounded, received shell shock, four times his tank was burning. In total, Andreev’s account, as indicated in the award documents for the title of Hero of the Soviet Union, had up to 27 enemy tanks destroyed. In the rear, the tanker ace became a student of the Military Academy of Armored and Mechanized Forces, which he graduated in March 1945 of the year. After completing the training, he served as a senior assistant in tactical training for the chief of the 1 part of the headquarters of the 8 training tank brigade in the territory of the Urals Military District. He met the end of the war as a captain. The experience that Andreyev gained from fighting with Hitler’s troops during the most difficult time for the country and the army during the 1941-1942 years, had to be transferred to future tankers.
Nikolay Andreev on his tank, photo: vpravda.ru
The entire subsequent career of the Soviet ace tanker was associated with military service. Nikolai Rodionovich made a successful military career. For more than 20 years he served in the Urals military district in various positions, after which in 1968 he was recalled to the Main Directorate of Personnel of the USSR Ministry of Defense. He resigned in 1988 in the rank of lieutenant general. Nikolai Andreev lived a long life, which ended on April 5 2000 years (78 years). The brave tanker was buried in Moscow at the Troekurovsky cemetery.