ECHOM KURSK the battle, the 70th anniversary of which is celebrated these days, can be called a “meeting” of Andrei Kirillovich with his front-line award for participating in the battles of that historical operation.
And this event happened, one might say, completely by accident. Major Andrei Kirillovich, a colleague of the department, candidate of military sciences, Major Ivan Shestakov, was looking for information about the military past of his grandfathers - F.I. Shestakov, burning in tank, and A.N. Zakharova, who did not commit a wound to the rear. The officer was also interested in the front-line merits of the Academy veterans. So major Ivan Shestakov on the website of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation and found award sheets and decrees on the awards of Andrei Kirillovich Epikhin. The historical documents made a deep impression on the officer, which he shared with Andrei Kirillovich. During the conversation, the veteran was surprised that the major spoke of his rewarding with the medal "For Courage" in 1943.
“I don’t have such a medal,” Ypihin said. - The Order of the Patriotic War, II degree is, and the medal ... There is no such medal ...
I read the veteran of the order line number 024 / n from 5 September 1943 on the monitor and did not believe my eyes: “On behalf of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Socialist Republic for the exemplary execution of command tasks on the front of the struggle against the German invaders and displayed the valor and courage to award the Medal For the courage of "Lieutenant Yepikhin Andrei Kirillovich, commander of the 1510 battery fighter anti-tank artillery regiment". The document was signed by the commander of the 3 Guards Stalingrad Mechanized Corps, Major General of the tank forces Adam Aleksandrovich Poshkus.
From the award list, Andrei Kirillovich learned that he was introduced to the Medal for Courage medal by the commander of the 1510 Fighter Anti-Tank Artillery Regiment (Ipap) Lieutenant Colonel Grigory Gedevanovich Shukakidze on September 3, because he had put the man in charge and made the person who had applied the man, who had died, made the person who had made the man, had put the man who had put the man who had put the man, had put the man who had made the man, had put the man and had put the man who had put the man who had died, had put the man and had put the man who had put the man who had put the man in his place. with ammunition, 3 observation posts and up to 2 soldiers and officers. "
MAYOR Ivan Shestakov decided to understand the situation. In January, 2013, through the military registration and enlistment office, made a request to the Central Archive of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation at FGKU. And the answer came in March. In the archive reference it was reported that the medal "For Courage" Lieutenant Epihin AK awarded, but there is no mark of delivery. A paradoxical situation has arisen: there is a reward, but there are no marks of delivery. Forgot to put it on the front in a hurry, or indeed the medal was not awarded to the veteran.
Then the professor of the department A.V. Karpovich. And, of course, the head of the Academy, Lieutenant-General Vladimir Vasilyevich Dyatlov appealed to the relevant authorities. Thus, the front award, lost in time, in the shortest possible time entered the academy. At the ceremonial building of personnel to the sounds of a military orchestra, Lieutenant-General V.V. Dyatlov presented Andrei Kirillovich with the medal “For Courage” and a certificate for it, signed by President of Russia V.V. Putin This medal was Yepikhin’s second battle award for participation in the Battle of Kursk. And the first - the Order of the Patriotic War II degree. Then they handed him over to Lieutenant Epihin on building battery personnel in the field, during a short lull between battles.
After honoring Andrei Kirillovich, I approached him, congratulated him and asked him about the feelings he had in connection with the award ceremony after 70 years.
“Of course, a feeling of joy,” the veteran answered. - I never thought that I would end up in that situation, which is said to be that "the reward found its hero." He always treated this “winged” and ordinary phrase as a joke. But in my life, it all happened that way: I still found a reward. Rather, it was found by my comrades and colleagues. Thank them for that!
OWN WAY Andrei Kirillovich Epihin became artillerymen practically still at school. He has always been distinguished by a penchant for exact sciences, a good study, a passion for sports. In 1940, in Stalinabad of the Tajik SSR, he graduated from school with excellent marks in the certificate and was awarded a certificate of merit, then the graduates were not awarded gold medals.
After graduating from school, Andrei Kirillovich 7 September 1940, was called up to the Red Army by the Central Military Commissariat of the City of Stalinabad.
At 11 30 22 minutes of June 1941, the unit Yepikhin learned about the beginning of the war from the headquarters runner, his former classmate Tolik Bukin, who had shouted “Andrew, the war!” And already 23 Jun Yepikhin and his colleagues arrived in Dnepropetrovsk. artillery school and became a cadet. But they had to learn tactics and strategies not in the audience, but on the battlefield.
The cadets of the school were thrown to the defense of the western suburbs, “armed” only with the phrase of the head of the school: “Weapon we will get in battle. " And they got it. The tests of loyalty to the oath for the recent student were too severe from the very beginning. In the flames of the battle burned pre-war ideas about how victory is won. And the very first overcoming of oneself was to get off the ground on the orders of the commander and rush towards the bullets. Everything was - the first attack, the first inspiration of the battle, the first front-line "hurray", the first street battles, the first killed enemies, the first comrades who died, the first surprise after the battle - alive ... And the first injury. Just a day 20 anniversary. And the first experience: "When the mine is on approaching - no sound is heard."
After being discharged from the 10 hospital in October 1941, Andrei Kirillovich was sent to a separate anti-tank artillery division of the 18 th rifle brigade in Krasnodar. The division at the end of November arrived at the front on their own. The city of Rostov-on-Don was taken on November 29, and the battle for Taganrog began. The enemy’s mortar and machine-gun fire mowed down the formations and units of our troops, continuously attacking the fortified positions of the enemy. There was a terrible picture of the bodies of dead soldiers frozen in the frost in front of the artillery positions. All this is right before your eyes. The picture of death changed as new parts and connections arrived. The snow and protective uniforms of the dead infantry, and the bright red-blue-yellow spots of the military uniforms of the Don, Kuban and Terek Cossacks noticed the snow. After the new attack, the picture of death changed. But she remained precisely a picture of death ...
Due to the lack of tanks, artillery calculations of 45-mm guns stood in place, occasionally firing on fascists reinforced bunkers. Until now, Andrei Kirillovich remembers the feeling of hunger that tormented him and his colleagues along with the cold of the winter of 1941-1942. The calculation of the instrument Yepikhina from frost in a trench covered with a raincoat-tent, saved the presence of a stove-stove, which was heated than necessary.
1 April 1942, the 13 th Infantry Brigade, where Yepikhin served, was sent from the front to receive weapons. The unit was reformed into the 413-i separate fighter anti-tank artillery division. Having received 57-mm guns, they again went to the front under their own power through Lipetsk.
The oiptd, which is in the forefront, tested its cannons in a head-on battle against the fascists who had broken through the defenses and forced the Don River. Enemy machines were shot from 200 - 1.000 meters. And they managed to reject the Germans, entrenched at the turn. The participation of the platoon in an almost two-month ambush demanded that the commander of the gun crew not only courage, but also forces for night vigils and the preparation of a strengthened position. There was a time when for five nights in a row the gun changed positions. It was necessary to dig the earth again and again in order to establish it according to all the rules of the art of war.
And this means that in addition to the trench, it is necessary to dig a diameter from 4 to 5 meters and a depth of 40 centimeters to a circle - a platform for firing. With a “pocket” up to 4 - 5 meters - shelter for the arrival and departure of guns, where about 3 meters were overlapped by several layers of the knurling rod of logs and filled with earth. In addition, it was necessary to prepare a ditch for the calculation and ammunition. Everything was required to disguise very carefully. Forces on conscientious execution of the order were found on the sixth sleepless night. But on the optimistic response to the commissar, the commissar of the battery of Yepikhin no longer had them. And then you could seriously pay for it. The senior commander and the distribution list were rescued to send one sergeant with secondary education to a military school. Until now, Andrei Kirillovich is grateful to that major for the humanity that determined his entire fate.
ARTILLERY Wisdom Junior Sergeant Yepikhin continued to comprehend at the Kharkov Artillery School in the city of Fergana, where it was evacuated.
20 March 1943, Andrei Kirillovich was awarded his first officer military rank of lieutenant. In the certification sheet of the graduate was only one-four, for the remaining almost 20 academic disciplines - the marks are “excellent”. Young Lieutenant appreciated. Therefore, Yepikhin went to the front as a commander of the 1 th battery of the 1510 th anti-tank artillery regiment. And ahead was the Kursk Arc ...
July 6 took firing positions. And the next day the Germans broke through the defenses. Enemy tanks approached our positions closer than 2 kilometers. But support aviation and artillery from closed firing positions gave a chance for survival. Even with the obvious hit of shells, the frontal armor of the German “tigers” did not break through, but merciless joint fire and the destruction of medium tanks did their job - the enemy’s cars began to move to the side. For this battle, Epikhin received his first award at the front - the Order of the Patriotic War of the second degree, dear to his heart.
Andrei Kirillovich recalls that in the harsh days of the Battle of Kursk the faith in the victory, which Stalingrad gave to all fighters and commanders at the end of the winter of 1943, helped win the victory. The Red Army fought with a completely different mood, confidence appeared. In the breakthrough of the enemy’s defense, a unit commanded by Yepikhin marched at the head of a regiment column in the corps. The command was tasked - without getting involved in battles, to go deep into the rear of the enemy through a breakthrough in his defense in order to capture the most significant objects. But the war made its own adjustments. Almost constantly had to deploy a column for the fight. The enemy had a fierce resistance.
In one of the August battles in the calculation of the gun, next to which was the command point of Epihin, only one loader was left alive. And the Nazi tanks continued to attack, approaching a dangerous distance. One of them was approaching a cannon. He was already almost at 200 meters. Then Andrei Kirillovich stood up himself behind the panorama instead of the dead gunner. The sounds of gun shots and tank guns merged into one. Filled with earth, unconscious, with a bloody mash instead of the right leg, Yepikhin dug up the orderlies and sent them to a hospital. This wound, according to Andrei Kirillovich, was the main reason that the medal “For Courage” was awarded to him not during the war years, but in the anniversary year of the defeat of the fascists on Kursk soil.
WOUND it was very hard. The young officer was threatened with amputation of his leg. But thanks to the skillfully imposed plaster by the hospital doctor, everything worked out. For this, Andrei Kirillovich and many years later he is grateful to that military doctor. He does not know his name, only remembers that the surgeon was in the rank of major. His high professionalism subsequently surprised many doctors who after examining Yepikhin’s leg. The major of the medical service would know that it was not his health that saved the wounded soldier, but much more — life itself. Andrei Kirillovich, imagining how a disabled person would come to his mother, raising three children without a father, experienced despair. However, waking up after the operation, he immediately wanted to look at his foot. Seeing her peeking out from under the hospital blanket, the officer realized that his leg was not cut off. And life went on. Only to the front after the semi-annual treatment, Andrei Kirillovich has not reached. He was sent to serve after the hospital in the deep rear - in the Central Asian Military District.
In 1953, the bright colors of sunny landscapes, which became familiar to Major Yepikhin over many years of service in Central Asia, changed the noble pastel colors of the sights of the city of Leningrad. Andrei Kirillovich entered the newly created educational institution - the Military Artillery Command Academy, the chief of which was appointed by the Chief Marshal of Artillery N.N. Ravens In 1957, Andrei Kirillovich graduated with a gold medal.
In May, 1957 of the year, Epihin again received a “hot” appointment, as Andrei Kirillovich jokes. After graduating from the Academy, he arrived in Tashkent at the disposal of the commander of the Turkestan Military District. Officer's dream to be closer to the guns and away from the desk came true completely. He was appointed officer of the combat training of the district artillery commander.
In 1960, Andrei Kirillovich returns to Leningrad again. Now, as an adjunct of the Military Artillery Academy named after M.I. Kalinin. Upon completion of the adjunct, he defends his dissertation in 1963 in the new quality of himself - a rocketman and becomes a candidate of technical sciences.
Appointed as a teacher at one of the departments of the Academy in 1963, Andrei Kirillovich still continues to work on it. Now in the position of assistant professor. And he retired to stock in 1985.
FOR LONG years of service and work Andrei Kirillovich became a legendary person for the personnel of the department and the academy. From his pupils could form several artillery brigades.
The Academy became a second home for Andrei Kirillovich. For many years, Yepikhin has steadily led a course team of teachers, was a methodologist for preparing 140 adjuncts of the academy. He became one of the pioneers in the preparation of documents for the attack of operational-tactical missiles. Beginning with 1967, all the “Rules of shooting and fire control” were developed with his direct participation. Andrei Kirillovich lectures, transferring his professional knowledge and the most valuable combat experience, writes scientific articles and textbooks. He also travels to classes and exercises with live firing. And, seeing him in the training center in Luga with the previous military bearing, in field uniform, the students understand that the demand will be strict.
Homeland celebrated the merits of the veteran with numerous awards. Now among them the frontal medal “For Courage” finally took its place of honor.