In those days seventy years ago the fate of our Fatherland was decided. An inscription on concrete slabs is still preserved in Volgograd on a steep bank: "Rodimtsev's guards fought to the death here."
Once we came to this memorable place together with Natasha Rodimtseva, the daughter of the general. Natasha told me: “After the departure of my father in the soul, such pain and emptiness. I found consolation in what began to collect the memory of him. Met with those who fought with his father. "
We were familiar for a long time. I have been to their house. It so happened that Colonel-General A.I. Rodimtsev gave me the last interview in his life.
And Natasha all her life with unusual energy tried to go where her father fought, carefully preserving every testimony of him - even if it was just an episode, one line.
From the memoirs of German Colonel Adam: “September 10, 12, General Paulus was summoned to Hitler’s headquarters in Vinnitsa. Paulus reported on the upcoming seizure of Stalingrad. After the report, Hitler casually folded the map of Stalingrad, saying: “Everything has already been done. The Red Army is defeated, and the city can not protect. "
On these very days, on the left bank of the Volga, in a grove of trees, the regiments of the 13 Guards Division, commanded by General A.I., secretly approached the river. Rodimtsev. On the night of September 15, the crossing began. In those hours, the Germans had already reached the Volga bank in the central part of the city. The enemy was bombarded from guns and mortars. The river was boiling with explosions. Rodimtsev's guardsmen had to force the Volga under enemy fire. The explosions stoked boats and barges. Hundreds of warriors died in the lead waters of the river. And those who sailed to the right bank, jumping from barges, joined the battle.
Subsequently, Rodimtsev recalled: “German planes flew over our heads. The walls of houses collapsed, iron was jarred on. Clouds of smoke and dust hurt his eyes. We had to attack in this deadly hell in order to drive the Germans away from the Volga, to occupy the coastal streets. ”
Lines from the combat reports of the first days of the fighting: “Lieutenant Shibanov with a group of fighters, having interrupted the German gun crew, seized a cannon and turned it against the opposing enemy. The Red Army soldier Malkov destroyed a tank approaching with a bunch of grenades. Senior Sergeant Dynkin made his way through the ruins to the street occupied by the Germans, went up to the attic, and from the window destroyed the calculation of the German machine gun blocking the path of the advancing company. ” Every inch of land guardsmen took to fight.
From the memories of Marshal G.K. Zhukova “13, 14, 15 September 1942 for Stalingradians were hard, too hard days.
The enemy step by step broke through the ruins of the city to the Volga. The turning point in these heavy and, as it seemed at times, last hours was created by the 13-th Guards Division A.I. Rodimtsev.
Her blow was completely unexpected for the enemy. ”
For us, these are pages. stories. For Natasha Rodimtseva documents and memories of veterans - news about the father from the distant past. She visited in his native village Sharlyk, Orenburg region. She found those who once called her father simply - Sanya. The Rodimtsev family lived on the outskirts of the village. Their street, where the poor families settled, was called Otranovka. The village remembered such a case. Once Sanya did not come to school. What happened? It turned out - sandals are worn. Teacher Vera Afinogenovna brought him new ones. As a child, he was 13 years old, Alexander already had to endure the cruelty of a civil war. In the eyes of the whole village, his father was whipped to death with Cossack-Dutovites. Sanya became the breadwinner of the family. Was an apprentice at the shoemaker. Undertook for any job. And in 22, he appeared before the draft board. Could he have thought then that he would become a twice Hero of the Soviet Union, and his bust would be installed in the center of his native village ?!
After graduating from military service, Alexander Rodimtsev submits a report: he decided to seriously study military science. He was admitted to the Kremlin Cadet School, from which many officers would later emerge, who later became generals and even marshals.
Natasha remembers how Alexander Ilyich loved poetry by Konstantin Simonov! Especially - "The Spanish record is spinning." This is the memory of Spain. In 1936, he told his wife Catherine that he was sent on a business trip "to help in harvesting in Mongolia," and actually went to Spain, where the civil war began. He becomes one of the advisers in parts of the republican army. Here he is called captain Pavlito. Subsequently, looking for materials about her father’s military biography, Natasha Rodimtseva will read the memoirs of the writer Maria Fortus, who became the prototype of the heroine of the film “Salute, Maria”. Maria Fortus was a translator and knew Alexander Ilyich personally. Just one episode from her memoirs: “Once we were with Sasha Rodimtsev at the command post of the brigade. Commander Enrique Lister suddenly saw that supporting the brigade Tanks for some reason changed direction. There was no connection with them. It was a dangerous moment of the battle. Sasha Rodimtsev rushed into the car and rushed to the tank column. Explosions were heard all over the field. We saw how he rode up to the head tank, jumped on his armor and drummed along the hatch. I gave the order to the commander of a tank platoon. When he returned, we saw holes on his leather jacket. And he - as if spoken. Brave was a man. " Marshal K.A. Meretskov, who fought in Spain, wrote about Rodimtsev:
“I often saw him in battle and was able to appreciate his qualities. More than once it happened that in the most difficult situation he knew how to turn the tide of battle and achieve victory. ”
In 1937, A.I. Rodimtsev was awarded the title Hero of the Soviet Union.
And again - study. Rodimtsev admitted to the Military Academy named after M.V. Frunze. Books, maps, schemes. The former country boy understood how much he had to learn. In Stalingrad, General Rodimtsev was 37 years old. He fought in Ukraine, defended Kiev, escaped from the encirclement, retaining people and weapon. In 1942, his division was given the rank of Guards for the liberation of the Kursk city of Tim.
... Bank of the Volga, dug dugouts and dugouts. In one of them - Rodimtsev headquarters. To the leading edge of the entire 200 meters. The oath of the guards: "Over the Volga there is no land for us!"
Years will pass, and the theme of the defense of Stalingrad will be controversial. A lot of speculation will appear about who fought then on the Volga, showing resilience that struck the world. There are writers who will give a simple answer. The whole thing, they say, is that penal battalions fought on the Volga shore. And this bike will go around the world. But only in Stalingrad was a completely different story.
The airborne corps were sent to the Volga - the elite troops of the Red Army. Warriors were selected into each company, as now in special forces. Division A.I. Rodimtseva - the former 3 airborne corps, the first to arrive in Stalingrad. Soon, several more airborne corps will be transferred to the Volga, which will take up defense in the city. Many thousands then laid down their heads in battles on the streets of Stalingrad.
In an interview with A.I. Rodimtsev told me: “After the war, I was often asked - how could we stay on the last line, when 200-300 meters remained before the Volga? Marines received special training. They were psychologically prepared to fight in the rear of the enemy, to fight in full surroundings. The men owned not only all types of small arms, but also knew how to conduct reconnaissance and knew the demining business. ”
Now it is even difficult to imagine how excited people were waiting for each message about the battle at Stalingrad. To win on the Volga, the factories opened "superplanned accounts" of the brigade, which produced military equipment. The name of Stalingrad called partisan detachments. Residents raised funds for the purchase of tanks and airplanes; they handed over their savings and valuables to the “common pot”. In many countries of the world, people with hope and alarm awaited reports from the Volga stronghold. I was told in Paris by Princess Z.A. Shakhovskaya, an immigrant who became a member of the Resistance, listened to the news about the battles in Stalingrad by night, wrote handouts in support of our soldiers and, risking their lives, put them on the houses of Parisians.
The Chilean poet Pablo Neruda wrote about Stalingrad: "A sailor in the middle of an angry sea is looking for one star in the sky - the star of a burning city."
The name of General A.I. Rodimtsev often sounded in the reports of the Soviet Information Bureau. Journalists who visited the fighting Stalingrad, called him: General-courage.
... I remember how, together with Natasha Rodimtseva, we stood for a long time at the legendary House of Pavlov, now known throughout the world. Now guided tours to him. Guardsmen of General Rodimtsev fought in this house. Here is what Alexander Ilyich told me about this: “Sometime at the end of September 1942, we had a long time watching the four-story building that covered the square from us. From it the Germans fired. But how many of them are in the house, we did not know. I ordered to send a group of intelligence officers to the house, led by Sergeant Yakov Pavlov. Having made my way into the entrance of the house at night, the scouts heard German speech, the clank of metal. The night fight in the building is the hardest fight. Intuition, resourcefulness, courage decide its outcome. In the morning, Pavlov received a report that they had driven out the Germans. We sent reinforcements to the house — armor-raisers, machine-gunners, snipers, mortar-gunners. At night, the men dug a moat to the Volga, through which they delivered ammunition and food. Of course, we did not specifically select the garrison according to the national composition. But here, shoulder to shoulder, the Russians, Ukrainians, Tatars, Belorussians, Georgians, Jews, Uzbeks, Kazakhs fought ... No one considered how many attacks the defenders of this house withstood, but the Germans could not take it to the very end of the Stalingrad battles. ”
The feat of this garrison made history. 58 days fought Pavlov's House. This is more than the defenses of some European states.
However, Pavlov’s House became famous not because it was the only one. It was a typical defensive pillar in those conditions. The same fortresses in Stalingrad were the buildings of the mill, open-hearth shop, elevator.
General Rodimtsev was often in this house. From here it was most convenient to observe the front edge. He described this soldier's fortress as follows: “The windows were turned into embrasures, bricked up with heating batteries. Below them are ammunition, grenades, machine-gun belts. The garrison occupied all-round defense. In the corner of one of the rooms I saw a samovar. Boiled water diluted concentrates.
- Many events in Stalingrad have remained in his soul an unhealing wound, - Alexander Ilyich told me. Such was for him the memory of the defenders of the city station, which became the Brest fortress for his division. One of the best battalions commanded by senior lieutenant F.G. Fedoseev. They were surrounded. At the station square out German tanks. The forces were not equal. Lieutenant Kolebanov wrote a note: “Let the whole country know - we did not retreat. While we are alive, the Germans will not pass. " This price was carried out in Stalingrad order: "Not one step back!". “I remember how a wounded, exhausted fighter crept out onto the Volga bank. He said that all the defenders of the station died ”, - with pain, many years later, Rodimtsev told me.
German General Derr wrote: “For every house, workshop, water tower, railway embankment there was a fierce struggle that had no equal. The Russians outnumbered the Germans in using the terrain, were more experienced in the battles for individual houses, they occupied a solid defense. ”
... And again I can not say about the daughter of the general. About what kind of spiritual generosity she gives to the surviving veterans. Machine gunner Ilya Voronov fought in Pavlov’s house. When the fighters went on the offensive, he was showered with shrapnel — more than twenty wounds. Killed legs and left arm. And this crippled man found the strength to throw a grenade, pulling the check with his teeth ... Natasha sought out a veteran. He lived in the village of Glinka, Oryol region. And here is one of their meetings. “Ilya Vasilyevich wrote that he was coming from the south through Moscow. I run into the building of the Kursk railway station. How to find him here? Please announce by radio. No one is coming. I am looking for a train that goes to the Eagle, I do not know the number of the car. I decided to comb all the cars, starting with the tail. I ask the conductors. “Do you have a veteran on crutches?” Finally I see - here he is, Ilya Voronov. He is glad, and I am even more. He respectfully presents me to the neighbor: “The daughter of my commander Rodimtsev,” and adds joyfully. “I knew she would come.”
One of the streets in Volgograd is named after Ilya Voronov.
But the moments of victory in Stalingrad, as described by General A.I. Rodimtsev. Months of street battles are left behind: “In the morning of January 26, 1943, the field telephone rang. The regiment commander Panikhin, who was on the slopes of the Mamayev Kurgan, reported: "Strong artillery firing is heard from the west." We understood what it means. By that time, the German group Paulus was completely surrounded. Every day the ring was compressed around the enemy. We were approached from the west, from the Volga steppes by the troops of the Don Front. For us, defending on the last patches of land over the Volga, this message was a holiday. And it was necessary for such a thing to happen that the army of P.I. Batova, with whom I became friends in Spain! I ordered to immediately proceed to join up with the advancing troops. At about nine o'clock in the morning we saw in the snowy haze silhouettes of T-34 tanks. What started here! People ran towards each other knee-deep in the snow. Victory! We experienced so much in Stalingrad that it seemed to me that the happiest day of my life had come. At the meeting place of the two fronts on the same day, we decided to permanently place a tank, on the armor of which it was written: “Chelyabinsk collective farmer”. It was the first monument erected in Stalingrad. ”
After Stalingrad, General Rodimtsev became the commander of the 32 Guards Rifle Corps, fought on the Kursk Bulge, participated in the liberation of Ukraine, Poland, crossed the Oder, took Dresden, finished the war in Prague. In 1945, he became the twice Hero of the Soviet Union.
During the life of A.I. Rodimtsev in the Moscow school number 26 opened a museum dedicated to the heroic 13-th Guards Rifle Division.
A total of two thousand people - veterans, teachers, schoolchildren and their parents took part in its creation. The windows show valuable historical materials: photographs, front-line letters, handwritten memoirs, and books. On the walls - portraits of heroes. There are courage lessons, guided tours for other schools. Natasha Rodimtseva became deputy chairman of the veterans' council of the division, director of the school museum.
For many years she collected memoirs, documents, and the book “My Father, General Rodimtsev” matured by itself, the entire circulation was immediately distributed to museums, veterans, and friends. However, each time we meet with Natasha, she ecstatically talks about what new materials she found about her father and his fellow soldiers and repeats: “There’s still so much work!”
Again, she, who did not see the war, mentally crosses the fiery line beyond which the roar of explosions and the whistle of bullets. The farther, the boundless it seems to her this road ...