Guard Captain Vladimir Alexandrovich Bochkovsky, March 1945
Soviet tank aces. Vladimir Bochkovsky is rightfully included in the cohort of Soviet tank aces, who achieved a large number of victories on the battlefield. On the account of the officer, who continued to serve in the army after the war and rose to the rank of lieutenant general of tank troops, 36 enemy tanks were listed. Having fallen to the front in 1942, the young officer went through the war, ending it at the Zeelovsky heights, where he was seriously wounded. In total, Vladimir Bochkovsky burned five times in the tank and was wounded six times, four times seriously, but each time he returned to duty and continued to beat the enemy.
Hero biography before going to the front
Vladimir Alexandrovich Bochkovsky was born on June 28, 1923 in Tiraspol. The family of the future war hero had nothing to do with military service. The father of the future tank officer, who was destined to become a Hero of the Soviet Union during the war, worked as a pastry chef, and his mother was a simple housewife. The younger brother of Vladimir Bochkovsky during the war became an artilleryman, went through the whole war and continued his military service, having retired with the rank of colonel. Like his older brother, he was awarded military orders and medals.
In Tiraspol, Vladimir Bochkovsky studied at school No. 1, which today is a humanitarian and mathematical gymnasium. In 1937, Vladimir's family moved to the Crimea, in Alupka. Here the father of the future tanker got a job in one of the government sanatoriums. It was in Crimea that Bochkovsky graduated from secondary school No. 1 of the city of Alupka in June 1941, having received a 10-year education. In these years, the future tanker, according to his son Alexander Bochkovsky, was seriously fond of football and even played for the youth team of Crimea. The officer carried the love of football through his whole life. One of his friends was the famous Soviet football player and coach Konstantin Beskov.
On the second day after the outbreak of the war, Vladimir Bochkovsky decided to associate fate with the armed forces and went to enter the Kharkov Tank School. The tanker did not study for long in Kharkov, already in the early autumn of 1941, the school, along with cadets and the teaching staff, was evacuated to the city of Chirik in Uzbekistan. Later, on the basis of the school evacuated from Kharkov, the Tashkent Higher Tank School named after Marshal of the Armored Forces P. S. Rybalko will be created here. After graduating from the tank school in the summer of 1942, the newly made lieutenant Vladimir Bochkovsky went to the Bryansk Front as part of the famous 1st Guards Tank Brigade of Katukov, where he arrived in mid-July 1942.
First fights and first rewards
As part of the replenishment, Bochkovsky immediately got to the ball from the ship. These days, the 1st Guards Tank Brigade waged heavy battles with the advancing German units in the Voronezh region. Recruits entered the battle right at the railway station, the echelon was first bombed by German planes, and then attacked the enemy’s tanks. According to Bochkovsky, to repel an enemy attack, fire had to be opened directly from the platforms. The deployment of tanks in battle formation took place under enemy fire. The first few weeks of the war left an indelible impression on the officer. According to his recollections, these days he literally lived in his tank and even took food inside the combat vehicle.
Already on August 12, 1942, Lieutenant Vladimir Bochkovsky, commander of a tank platoon in the 1st Guards Tank Brigade, was seriously wounded in the left thigh. This happened during the battle in the vicinity of the village of Sklyaevo. The wounded officer, who was unable to leave the battle on his own and could die from blood loss, was saved by tank sergeant Viktor Fedorov, who took Bochkovsky and his crew on a T-60 light tank. Later, for the salvation of an officer in battle, Victor Fedorov was awarded the Order of the Red Banner. Already during the war, he will become an officer and will serve in the battalion, which will be led by Vladimir Bochkovsky, whom he saved.
T-34 tanks abandoned during unsuccessful unloading in June 1942
After lengthy treatment at the rear hospital in Michurinsk, Bochkovsky returned to duty, continuing his service in the 1st Guards Tank Brigade. As part of the brigade, he participated in battles on the Kalinin Front, was a member of Operation Mars, whose main goal was the elimination of the Rzhev-Vyazemsky ledge occupied by the German 9th Army. For participation in the December battles, Vladimir Bochkovsky was awarded one of the most revered combat medals - the medal "For Courage".
In the award documents, it was noted that on December 21, 1942, the lieutenant Bochkovsky, the guard (already in January 1943, was already the commander of the T-34 tank company of the 2nd tank battalion of the brigade), in the conditions of loss of radio communication with the tanks in front, walked to the combat vehicles in the village of Vereista territory, shot by the enemy, found out the situation on the spot and reported to the CP battalion. The next day, December 22, urgently delivered ammunition and food to the tanks of the brigade, operating in the area of the settlements of Bolshoye and Maloye Boryatino. The officer delivered everything he needed on a T-70 light tank and personally, under enemy fire, unloaded ammunition, distributing ammunition to tank crews. For the energy and courage shown during the performance of combat missions in December 1942, the command presented the guard of Lieutenant Vladimir Bochkovsky to the medal “For Courage”.
Fights on the Kursk Bulge and the first battle orders
In July 1943, Senior Lieutenant Vladimir Bochkovsky took an active part in the Battle of Kursk, especially distinguishing himself in battle in the area of the village of Yakovlevo on July 6, 1943. This settlement was located in the very center of the offensive, in the direction of the main attack, which was inflicted by the 2nd SS Panzer Corps. The battle near this settlement was very fierce, dozens of tanks took part in the battles on both sides at the same time.
T-34 tanks in the winter of 1943 on the Zhytomyr highway near Kiev
In this direction, the 1st Guards Tank Brigade, which was part of the 3rd Mechanized Corps of the 1st Tank Army of Katukov, opposed the tankers of the 1st SS Panzer Division "Leibstandart Adolf Hitler." On the afternoon of July 6, the Germans launched an attack in the area of the village of Yakovlevo, Belgorod Region, from 80 to 100 tanks, which covered dozens of aircraft from the air. The company of the guard of senior lieutenant Vladimir Bochkovsky also participated in this battle. For the battle near Yakovlevo on July 6, 1943, the tankman was awarded the Order of the Red Banner.
The award documents for the battle said that the company under the command of Vladimir Bochkovsky, restraining the advance of the Germans under strong enemy artillery fire and air attacks, destroyed 16 enemy tanks, including three heavy Tiger tanks. At the same time, Bochkovsky personally, along with his crew, destroyed three enemy tanks. For these battles, the 2nd Tank Battalion of the 1st Guards Tank Brigade also paid a terrible price, many famous guardsmen died, including commanders of tank crews of the Bochkovsky company.
A war correspondent, Yuri Zhukov, wrote that he had met three damaged tanks of the Bochkovsky company on the front road, and the tankers left the battle in the Yakovlevo area, taking out the bodies of nine dead guardsmen in their vehicles. Many of the dead were not just fellow soldiers, but Vladimir’s friends at the tank school. The face of the young 20-year-old guard, Senior Lieutenant Bochkovsky, covered in soot and dust, was boyish. Yuri Zhukov remembered then the slender neck and sharpened facial features. But at the same time, these tankers who left the battle were already real laborers of the great war, whose overalls smelled of gunpowder, then the blood of battles.
Vladimir Alexandrovich Bochkovsky in the 1980s
Fights of 1944 and presentation to the title of Hero of the Soviet Union
At the end of December 1943, Bochkovsky was once again seriously injured and returned to the front by the spring of 1944. In the area of the village of Lipki, Chernihiv Region, on December 25, 1943, Bochkovsky’s tankers captured a large enemy convoy, and the next day they successfully repelled numerous enemy attacks. Being wounded, Bochkovsky did not leave the battlefield and continued to command his unit, for which he was later awarded the Order of the Red Star.
In the spring of 1944 he took part in the Proskurov-Chernivtsi strategic operation. From April 1944 he was deputy commander of a tank battalion, and from June 1944 until the end of the war he was commander of a tank battalion in the 1st Guards Tank Brigade. He took part in numerous tank raids behind enemy lines, especially distinguishing himself in the spring of 1944. The tankers of Captain Bochkovsky’s guard managed to capture and hold the city of Chertkov until the main forces arrived, inflicting serious losses on manpower and equipment, as well as taking a large number of trophies and prisoners. For a number of very successful battles at the end of March 1944, Vladimir Bochkovsky was introduced to the title of Hero of the Soviet Union with the award of the Golden Star medal and the Order of Lenin.
The award documents say that on March 21 the detachment, which was headed by Bochkovsky, successfully crossed the Terebna River and continued to pursue the retreating units of the Nazis. In battles with the Germans in the area of the village of Grabovets, Ternopil region, a group of Bochkovsky tanks destroyed 4 assault guns, 16 enemy guns and more than 200 trucks with various cargoes. The next day, continuing to pursue the retreating enemy, in the area of the city of Trembovl, the tankers broke the enemy’s fire resistance and captured the village. In battles in this area, tankers from the Bochkovsky detachment destroyed three enemy tanks, 5 mortars, up to 50 different vehicles and more than 50 enemy soldiers. At the same time in good condition managed to capture 4 guns. On the same day, the tankers managed to intercept a large enemy convoy in the area of the settlements of Sukhostav and Yablonev. As a result of the unexpected appearance of Soviet tanks, the enemy fled and was scattered, leaving 100 cars. About 30 Nazis were killed on the battlefield, 22 soldiers were captured.
Tankers of the 1st Guards Tank Brigade in Germany
March 23, 1944 a group of tanks Bochkovsky successfully completed the mission, capturing the city of Chertkov. At the same time, the swift onslaught of Soviet soldiers made it possible to capture an intact bridge over the Seret River, which the Germans did not manage to blow up. The battle in the area of the city and in Chertkov itself continued for four hours, after which the enemy began to randomly retreat, unable to withstand the onslaught of the guards. During the battle, Bochkovsky’s detachment destroyed up to 150 enemy soldiers and officers, 7 tanks, 9 guns, two armored personnel carriers, and about 50 different vehicles. At the same time, in the city itself, the Germans left three warehouses with fuels and lubricants and two warehouses with food, which became the trophies of the Soviet troops.
The last volleys of World War II
Subsequently, the famous Soviet tanker made many more successful raids on the enemy rear, inflicting great damage to the enemy in manpower and equipment. For the fighting in July 1944 near the San River and when seizing bridgeheads on the Vistula near Sandomierz, he was awarded the Order of the Patriotic War of the 1945st degree. In January 200, he particularly distinguished himself during the Vistula-Oder offensive operation. Together with his tankers, he traveled 15 kilometers to the rear of German troops, on January 1945, 15, cutting off the Warsaw-Radom highway, which was actively used by the Nazi forces to retreat. Personally distinguished himself during the battle near the village of Adaminov January 1945, 19. In this area, Soviet tankmen met with units of the 15th German Panzer Division. In the battle on January 36, Bochkovsky’s crew destroyed two “Tigers” and two enemy self-propelled guns. In total, by the end of the war, Bochkovsky’s official account had XNUMX wrecked and destroyed tanks and self-propelled guns of the enemy.
The brave tanker spent his last battle on April 16, 1945. Vladimir Bochkovsky was seriously wounded in the stomach in the battle for the Zeelovsky heights when breaking through the enemy’s defense. Later, for this battle, he will be awarded the Order of Bogdan Khmelnitsky, III degree. In total, during the war years, Vladimir Bochkovsky burned five times in a tank, was wounded six times, four of them were seriously injured, he underwent 17 different operations. The last wound was very serious, the war hero spent several months in hospitals, having been discharged only in the autumn of 1945.
Doctors tried several times to commit the hero, but he refused and always returned to duty. So, one of the injuries in the thigh led to the fact that the tanker had one foot four centimeters shorter than the other and stopped bending at the knee. At the same time, attempts to commission an officer were made after the war. After the last wound, Bochkovsky was declared unfit for military service in all respects, but he still remained in the army. According to the memoirs of the hero’s son, in order to remain in the service, the officer “lost” his medical books three times. Subsequently, the captain who graduated from the Guard War made an excellent military career, the highest point of which was the assignment of the rank of lieutenant general of tank troops on October 27, 1977.
In 1980, General Vladimir Aleksandrovich Bochkovsky retired and finally returned home - to his native Tiraspol, where he lived his whole remaining life. The celebrated veteran passed away in May 1999 at the age of 75 and was buried in the Walk of Fame of one of the local city cemeteries.