The first dawn for you, border guard, the first bullet is yours
on the Day of the border guard on May 28, 2021.
At exactly four o’clock
Captain Vitaly Trofimovich Sapronov served in the 105th Kretinga border detachment of the NKVD of the Byelorussian SSR. Today Kretinga is in Lithuania, it is located not far from the resort Palanga and from the port of Klaipeda, then still German Memel. And the border there is still very close, but no longer with the Third Reich.
We have not yet been able to find any details about his youth, but it is unlikely that it was very different from the fate of other young commanders. By the beginning of the war, Captain Sapronov, who in the only photo - on his buttonholes clearly shows the letters SHK, which means the NKVD school, was the head of the 2nd section (combat training) of the headquarters of the border detachment.
The story about him is based on dry lines of combat reports, as well as very scarce, unfortunately, memories of his brother.
June 22, 1941 at 4:00 fascist aviation undertook a massive bombing of Kretinga, on the outskirts of which the headquarters and management of the border detachment, as well as the third outpost, were stationed.
Communication with the first and fourth commandant's offices was instantly interrupted, and after half an hour it was impossible to get through to the other divisions. Using messengers on horseback, the head of the detachment, Lieutenant Colonel Pyotr Nikiforovich Bocharov, gave the order:
At the same time, at 4:00 am, artillery and mortar shelling of outposts and commandant's offices began. And already at 5:00 the Nazis launched an offensive along the entire section of the border. By 6 o'clock in the morning the Fritzes captured the 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th and 13th outposts. As of 7:20 am, some of the border units were still fighting in encirclement.
Few border guards from outposts and commandant's offices then managed to get through to the headquarters of the detachment. Together with the units of the Red Army, they defended Kretinga. Then, by order of the command, they began to withdraw and took up defensive positions with the forces of their combined detachment on the southern outskirts of Salantai (it is easy to find it on the pre-war map).
By order of Colonel Bocharov, the soldiers of the 3rd outpost, under the command of the junior political instructor Nikolai Nazarovich Leontyev, ambushed the Kretinga-Salantai highway. The border guards knocked out a fascist armored personnel carrier, destroyed a car, three motorcycles and several enemy soldiers, and managed to capture six of them.
During June 23, as part of the consolidated detachment, Captain Vitaly Sapronov, together with the survivors, successfully repulsed several attacks, but were forced to retreat.
On the eve of the war
A few days before the start of World War II, Vitaly Trofimovich's brother came to visit him and on June 22 was in the border detachment. He remembers that
As the veteran border guard Vladimir Fedorovich Korolev recalls, in the Central Frontier Museum, with which cooperation was established back in 1995, search engines were given three volumes of the Book of Memory. These tomes contain data on 70 thousand dead, dead from wounds and missing border guards during the war.
Looking through one of the volumes, Korolyov found sixteen border guards, natives of the city of Shchigry and the Shchigrovsky region, who died on the fronts of the Great Patriotic War.
From many there are only numbers left
Among them is Captain Vitaly Trofimovich Sapronov. A native of the Prigorodnyaya settlement of the Shchigrovsky district, Kursk region. He went missing on June 23, 1941 (volume 3, page 27).
In the course of further research, it turned out that the border guard officer was actually captured by the Lithuanian Siauliai on June 28, 1941. His further fate, alas, is unknown.
But Vladimir Fedorovich Korolev, like his fellow countrymen, firmly know that Captain Vitaly Trofimovich Sapronov fought with dignity in the first hours and days of the war. He, like many other border fighters who went through all the trials, died like a real hero, although it is far from always possible to find out the circumstances of the death.
Here are the dry statistics of that tragic time, which, in my opinion, does not need any comments.
In the first battles, the loss of border guards is 90% of the missing. From the first hours and days of the war, the soldiers and officers of the Wehrmacht clearly understood that the war on Soviet soil, where they dared to invade, would be different from the blitzkriegs in which they had participated earlier.
For example, 24 outposts lasted until 250 hours, 20 strong points of border guards withstood Nazi attacks for more than 16 hours. They defended for two days - 20, three - 43, and up to five days - 67 outposts. From one to two weeks, 51 border subunits held back the enemy, and for more than two weeks - 50. Remaining behind enemy lines, they fought back for two months - almost XNUMX outposts.
Unfortunately, even after 80 years, no one can indicate the burial place of the brave border guard captain Vitaly Sapronov. But his name is not forgotten, his feat is immortal. He is always with us!
We honor his memory, like other border fighters who died in the first battles at the borders, with the piercing lines of the Leningrad poet Viktor Ganshin "June 22, 1941". This is one of the best stories about that tragic day.
A slow river flows at dawn
Sleep creeps, trying to close the eyelids,
The fog washed away the nearby haystacks ...
Stop this moment forever!
Seconds fly slowly into eternity
While the shore is bloody, the light of a rocket.
Another moment will pass - and the shell
Pour the war the sixth of the planet.
The outpost was raised by an explosion at the gate.
Fraction of heels along the washed steps.
Trail of dew. Coastal cliff.
Alien oars scum our water.
Will send a cartridge obedient hand,
Three-line fury will strike in the shoulder.
... He took the fight, and for him the river
So forever remained the border.
On victorious May, the path from here lay
Crowned with unfading salute,
And the first to jerk into this distance
A border fighter who fought for three minutes!
- Valentin Malyutin
- from the author's archive
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