KV-1 Lieutenant Pavel Guja passes on Pushkin Square in Moscow after a military parade
Soviet tank aces. Pavel Danilovich Gudz was at the front from the first day of World War II. Together with the 4 m mechanized corps, he participated in the battle in the Lviv ledge, experienced the bitter retreat of the 1941 summer of the year. He took part in the defense of Moscow, where he conducted a productive battle on his HF, destroying ten enemy tanks in one battle. In one of the battles in 1943, he lost his hand and was seriously injured, but still returned to the front - already with a prosthesis.
Pre-war life of a hero
Pavel Danilovich Gudz was born in the village of Stufchency, Proskurovsky district of the Kamenetz-Podolsk region on 28 of September 1919 of the year (today it is the territory of the Khmelnitsky region of Ukraine) in an ordinary family of Ukrainian peasants. The childhood of the future Soviet general was unsweetened in every respect. The recently ended World War I, the collapse of the Russian Empire as a result of two revolutions and several years of bloody civil war seriously undermined the life of the peasantry. To feed his family, Pavel’s father went to work in the Far East, where he got a job as a loader in a port. When Pavel Hudz graduated from a rural school, the boy's father died at work as a result of an accident, after that only his mother was engaged in raising his son.
Despite all the difficulties of peasant life, Pavel showed interest in studying, he managed not only to complete the rural seven-year plan, but also to continue his further education, enrolling in 1933 in a cultural education school located not far from home. The choice of a future place of study was largely influenced by the cinema, with which the young man met in his native village when the movie-moving came there. After graduating from college, Pavel Gudz moved to the city of Satanov, Khmeltsnik region, here he was sent to work by distribution in the local cultural center. Already in the 1937 year, at the age of only 18 years, Pavel was appointed inspector of public education in the Satan District Executive Committee, at the same time the young man joined the CPSU (B.). At this time, he showed himself more creatively, staged performances in a local club, was fond of photography and even dreamed of entering the Kiev film school.
Lieutenant Pavel Hudz in the 1941 year
A young man loomed ahead either in a creative or party career, but unexpectedly for everyone in the 1939, Pavel Gudz submitted documents and entered the 2-e Saratov Tank School, which trained personnel for medium and heavy tanks, at first it was T multi-tower vehicles -28 and T-35, but just before the start of the war, the school began to prepare tankers for the KV tank. New heavy tanks began to arrive en masse before the war, being an unpleasant surprise for the Nazis. Hutz graduated from the school in Saratov with honors, after which he was sent to the 32th Panzer Division of the 4th Mechanized Corps for further service in Lviv with the rank of lieutenant. The newly made lieutenant arrived at his 63 Tank Regiment a week before the start of World War II.
It is worth noting that at that time, the 4th General Corps of Vlasov was one of the most equipped in the Red Army and did not experience problems with tanks, including modern designs. The hull was up to 101 of the KV tank and 313 T-34. The problems of the corps were the same as those of the entire Red Army. The troops were in the process of formation, the same 32-I Panzer Division was part of the new formation. The command and rank and file of the formation was not united, the tankers did not sufficiently study the new combat vehicles, which were massively supplied to units before the war, there was a serious shortage of middle and junior command personnel. While on 22 on June 1941, the border of the USSR was crossed by a fully mobilized army, which had accumulated serious combat experience in two years of victorious military campaigns in Europe. It was with such an opponent and in such circumstances that Pavel Danilovich Gudz should have faced immediately after graduation from the school.
Fights in the Lviv ledge and a parade on Red Square
The first military morning, on 22 of June, Pavel Gudz was met by a duty officer on duty. From the very first days of the war, the corps began to advance to the front line to counter the attacks of the German units in the Lviv ledge. During the advance to the front, the unit in which Pavel Gudz was located collided on the highway in the direction of Kristinopol (from 1951 of the year - Chervonograd) with the advance detachment of the enemy. The advanced detachment of the Soviet troops included impressive forces of five KV tanks, two T-34 and two cannon armored vehicles BA-10. Having entered the battle, Soviet tankers first destroyed the enemy’s cannon. According to the results of the first meeting with the enemy, they reported on the destruction of five German tanks, three armored personnel carriers and several vehicles.
Later that day, the HF, under the control of Lieutenant Guja, dealt a glancing blow into the steering wheel of an enemy tank, knocking down a caterpillar and pushing a combat vehicle into a ditch. It is worth noting that the experienced fighter Galkin, who was previously a test pilot of KV tanks at the Kirov plant in Leningrad, was the driver in the crew of the newly made lieutenant. It is believed that this was one of the first tank rams of the Great Patriotic War. In the book of Mikhail Baryatinsky “Soviet Tank Aces” it is indicated that for the very first battle Pavel Gudz was presented to the Order of the Red Banner. However, he did not succeed in receiving a reward at that time, the situation in the region of the Lviv ledge was not in favor of the Soviet troops, who had to rush to the east, these days there was no time for rewards.
By August 10 of 1941, all that remained of the 32th Panzer Division was concentrated in the area of the city of Priluki, and here the unit was finally disbanded. The surviving material part was transferred to the 8-th tank division, and the personnel went to Vladimir region, where the process of forming the 91-th separate tank battalion and the 8-th tank brigade began. Lieutenant Hudz was added to another new unit, the 89 Separate Tank Battalion, which was composed of the most distinguished commanders and Red Army soldiers of the 63 Tank Regiment. By the end of August, Lieutenant Pavel Hudz was already the chief of staff of the new unit.
The new part was equipped with tanks only by the beginning of November 1941, when the tankers received a somewhat unusual task. Late in the evening before the parade, he was summoned by the commander of the battalion, K. Khorin, who told the lieutenant that in order to participate in the traditional military parade on Red Square on November 7, it was necessary to send a company of heavy KV tanks, only five vehicles. At that time, Hutz learned that the parade would take place at 8 in the morning, that is, two hours earlier than usual. The command transferred all other vehicles to the disposal of the 16 Army, which waged heavy battles with the enemy in the area of Skirmanovo - Kozlovo. Thus, the heavy tank of the KV Lieutenant Guja turned out to be captured in the photo and video while driving past the monument to Pushkin.
The battle of one KV against eighteen German tanks
All November 1941 of the year in the midst of fierce battles near Moscow, tanks from the 89-th separate tank battalion were used by the command to parry German attacks. Heavy fighting vehicles were assigned to infantry units, first in a few pieces, and by the end of November, as the material part was eliminated in battles and one tank at a time. On December 3, the Germans made their last desperate attempt to break through to the capital of the USSR. Units of the German 40 motorized corps struck in the direction of the villages of Nefedyevo and Kozino to the left of the Volokolamsk highway. The Germans managed to capture these settlements, having squeezed out the positions of the soldiers of the 258th Infantry Regiment of the 78th Infantry Division. The battles with the 10-th German tank division continued in this direction for two days, until the Germans were forced to stop.
On December 5, Soviet troops prepared a counterattack on the enemy, to strengthen the 258 rifle regiment, the only heavy tank of the 89 separate tank battalion remaining at that time was transferred to the ranks. In this battle, Pavel Danilovich Guju was to command a tank. The advancing Soviet troops were supposed to drive the Germans out of Nefediev. At night, Hudz and the crew, using a guide, brought the tank to a firing position closer to the village. At the same time, they complied with maximum camouflage, using only sidelights, the engine was also muffled. According to one version, in order to hide the advancement of the tank to the position, Hutz agreed with the gunners to get under their volleys to the village of Nefedyevo as close as possible, about 300-400 meters.
Destroyed near Moscow Pz IV
In the morning, tankers were able to count German tanks in the village and the vicinity of 18, the silhouettes of which began to emerge in the cold frosty dawn. At the same time, the Guja crew achieved complete tactical surprise. The Germans did not expect a counterattack and did not think, and it was difficult to assume that they would be attacked by a single tank. Tanks stood between the huts without crews who rested calmly in the village. KV began to shoot the enemy and by the time the crews rushed towards them, the 4 tank was already burning. At the same time, the crew fired machine guns at the German tankers running up to the vehicles, not all of them managed to get inside, remaining on the streets of the captured village, literally 35 kilometers from Moscow, which remained an unattainable goal for them.
Pavel Hudz organized the battle as competently as possible. No matter how strong the combat vehicle at his disposal, in an open battle with 18 enemy tanks, he would never have defeated. Therefore, he made the most of his surprise factor. But even in such an environment, there were not many chances that the HF would not be damaged or destroyed by the enemy. Tanks outside the village opened strong fire along the HF. One of the shells soon hit the turret, although it didn’t penetrate the armor, the crew’s sensations weren’t one of the most pleasant, many were shocked, the gunner Sablin lost consciousness, and Pavel Hudz took his place. Having shot 20 shells, the crew destroyed another 4 of the enemy’s tank. After that, Hutz decided to attack. Firing from stops, the KV destroyed two more enemy tanks, after which the Germans faltered and began to retreat, hiding from the battlefield. The crew of the KV tank in this battle used up almost full ammunition, and on the armor of their tank the tankers counted 29 hits of enemy shells.
For this battle at Nefedyevo, the crew of the KV tank was awarded; Pavel Guja was presented to the Order of Lenin. It is believed that there was a misunderstanding between Rokossovsky, Stalin and Zhukov about this incident, Stalin proposed to award the tankman the title of Hero of the Soviet Union, but the day before Zhukov had already signed documents for awarding the Order of Lenin, which was already the highest state award of the USSR. In any case, Hudz himself was never upset about this, and he did not consider himself a hero as such, he simply performed his task on the basis of the life path that he had chosen in the 1939 year, enrolling in a tank school.
In the future, Guja’s career in the army went only up. In May 1942, he was a senior lieutenant, in July he was already captain and commander of the tank battalion of the 212 tank brigade. In November, Pavel Danilovich received the rank of major and became deputy commander of the 8-th Guards Tank Regiment of the breakthrough. In the battles near Stalingrad, the officer was seriously wounded, all in all, on the tanker's body they counted 8 wounds: six fragmentation and two bullet. According to the relatives of the hero, Paul was considered dead, his condition was so bad. However, friends of fellow soldiers did not believe in the death of the officer, they searched for the body of the major, who was already with the dead and literally dragged him from the next world, passing to the doctors. Despite serious injuries, in May 1943, after treatment at the Saratov Military Hospital, Hudz returned to the front. By the fall of the same year, he was promoted to lieutenant colonel of the 5 Separate Guards Tank Regiment breakthrough.
Hutz spent his last battle during the liberation of his native Ukraine in October 1943. In Zaporozhye, in the Dnieper region, a KV officer was beaten. Three crew members were killed, the mechanic driver was left alive, and Pavel, who received serious injuries to his hand, his left collarbone was damaged, and the fragmented hand hung only on skin patches. When Paul came to his senses, he saw two Tigers at the periscope, which were circled by an immobilized shot tank, which no longer showed any signs of life. The decision came instantly, cutting off with the knife the remnants of the brush interfering with him, Hudz from the already damaged KV opened fire on the enemy, setting up the side, and knocked out two tanks. Already during the battle, another shell hit the Soviet tank. The commander of a combat vehicle woke up only in the evening in a funnel near the HF, where he was pulled out by a driver.
Ahead again were the hospital, this time it was a real disability. The tanker lost his arm, but did not lose his courage and desire to fight the enemy. Once again, after being wounded in April 1944, Hudz returned to the front - already with a prosthesis, again taking command of the 5-m separate guards tank regiment breakthrough. True, now he stayed at the front only until May 1944. He was met in the regiment by Marshal of the Armored Forces Fedorenko, who conducted inspection trips in parts equipped with the new IS-1 tank, also known as the IS-85. It was on his initiative that Hudz, on whose account 18 officially destroyed German tanks, was nevertheless recalled from the front and enlisted as a student of the command faculty of the Military Academy of Armored Forces, which he graduated with honors in 1947.
Pavel Danilovich Hudz
His entire subsequent career was directly connected with the army, tactics and the use of tank troops, including in a nuclear explosion, teaching, testing new military equipment, including BMP-3. The famous tanker resigned only in 1989 in the rank of colonel general. Despite severe front-line injuries, Pavel Danilovich lived a long life. He died at the age of 88 years in Moscow in May 2008 years.