“The extraordinary development of the Russian armored forces deserves the closest attention of those who study the experience of war ... It’s not just the skillful leadership of individual gifted individuals; people, for the most part apathetic and ignorant, without any preparation, without any abilities, acted intelligently and showed surprising self-control. Tankers of the Red Army tempered in the crucible of war, their skill has grown immeasurably. Such a transformation should have required exceptionally high organization and unusually skillful planning and leadership ... The Russian soldier values his life no more than the lives of his comrades. Neither bombs explosions nor shells explosions affect him ... We find an indication of this also in Kolenkur in his description of the 1812 battle of Borodino ... Kolenkur gives the following remark by Napoleon: "These Russians do not surrender alive. We cannot do anything."
The tank crew of the Wehrmacht’s 12 Panzer Division, Hans Becker, recalls them: “On the Eastern Front I met people who can be called a special race. Already the first attack turned into a battle for life and death. ” His compatriots, anti-tank gunners, already remembered the first hours of the war because “during the attack we came across a light Russian T-26 tank, we immediately clicked it directly from the 37-graph paper. When we began to approach, a Russian leaned out from the hatch of the tower to the waist and opened fire on us with a pistol. It soon became clear that he was legless, they were torn off when the tank was hit. And in spite of this, he fired at us from a pistol! ”
Becker’s fellow countrymen will also remember Ivan Xeruda, a 91 tank regiment, who in August 1941, under Dvina, captured a German tank with an ax - crept up to him, climbing onto his armor, closing the machine gun with a piece of tarpaulin and disabling the machine gun, and lieutenant tankman Agzam Tayupov, who got out to put out his wounded T-34, the rest of whose crew died in battle near the village of Polunino, north-west of Rzhev. Wounded and contused, the lieutenant was shot from the Germans rushed from all sides to the last bullet. Then, dropping the machine, grabbed a tank scrap and began hammering the Germans with them, taken aback by such impudence and decided to take the hero alive. Tayupov managed to hold out until his approach and, jumping on the T-34 that came to his rescue, set off for a new tank ...
At the end of June, the 1941 of the Wehrmacht 6 Panzer Division fought for two days with a single KV tank. Four Soviet tankers against the Raus battle group, which included the II tank regiment, the I / 4 th motorized regiment, the II / 76 th artillery regiment, the 57 th tank sapper battalion company, the 41 th battalion of tank destroyers, battery II / 411-th anti-aircraft regiment, 6-th motorcycle battalion! This episode was described in detail in his memoirs by the commander of the campus, Colonel-General Erhard Raus, who conquered the entire war on the Eastern Front, passing Moscow, Stalingrad and Kursk, and ending it as commander of the 3 Panzer Army. Of the 427 pages of 12 memoirs, Raus dedicated a two-day battle with a single Russian tank that destroyed a convoy of trucks, marching towards the Germans from the captured city of Raiseniai, an artillery battery, dozens of Germans and several of the 50 (fifty) tanks that attacked him from three sides. The Nazis managed to destroy the Soviet heroes only with the help of cunning, from the rear, from 88-mm anti-aircraft guns, after which, according to Erhard Raus, “... deeply shocked by this heroism, we buried them with all military honors. They fought until the last breath ... ".
Tank KV-1, shot from anti-aircraft guns
3 July 1941, an impressive raid on the streets of Minsk, was made by the legendary avenger tank T-28, which alone fought the city’s Hitler garrison. The crew - a senior sergeant-super-conscript, a hero of battles in Spain, Finnish and Khalkhin-Gola Dmitry Malko, a major tankman Vasechkin, cadets Nikolay Pedan, Alexander Rachitsky, Fyodor Naumov and Sergey (the name remained unknown) - managed to pass almost half the city, destroying 14 trucks , about a dozen tanks and armored vehicles, 3 artillery batteries and over 350 fascists. The “fiery tank”, already burning, shot at point-blank anti-tank guns, continued to move and destroy the Nazis, reaching the area of the present Komarovka and J. Kolas Square. Here the crew took the last battle, firing to the last cartridge from the personal weapons. Some of the heroes died, N.Pedan was captured, F.Naumov was sheltered and then transferred to the partisans by Minskers, D.Malko was wounded by a fragment in the head D.Malko managed to cross the front line and subsequently led into battle T-34, freeing Belarus and Poland.
A similar feat in the autumn of 1941 of the year will be accomplished by another T-34 “fire tank”, commanded by senior sergeant Stepan Khristoforovich Gorobets (pictured), on October 17 breaking through the entire fascists occupied Tver, from west to east. Despite the damage from a German projectile hit, a PzKpfw III tank was destroyed during a raid by a ram, several motorcycles, anti-tank rifles, around 20 vehicles and dozens of Nazis (by machine-gun fire and tracks).
ZG Kolobanov and his crew KV-1, August 1941
The most productive tanker Dmitry Lavrinenko managed to conquer the entire 2,5 of the month in 1941, but during this time he managed to destroy the enemy's 52 tank - a result that no one in the Red Army could surpass until the end of the war. The second in performance was the hero of the Finnish War, Senior Lieutenant Zinovy Grigorievich Kolobanov. 19 August 1941 in the area of the State farm "Troops" Leningrad region 5 (instead of 11) tanks understaffed 3-th company under the command of Kolobanov destroyed 43 enemy tank, losing only 1 (one) of their own. The tank of Zinoviy Grigorievich himself, having received 135 hits of German shells, did not come out of the battle and set an absolute record, destroying a German tank 3 in an hour of 22! From the memoirs of Z.G. Kolobanova:
“... The crew of the tank is more than family. After all, a tank is a machine that submits to the collective. Here full coordination and mutual understanding are necessary. Otherwise, you can not fight. ... Wonderful, beautiful people. I understood and felt everyone: the most experienced mechanic-driver, Kolya Nikiforov, the gun commander, the real master of his craft, Andrei Usov, the very brave radio operator Pasha Kiselkov, the loader, the good man Kolya Rodenkov ... I was often asked: was it scary? Awkward answer, may be mistaken for a bouncer. But I did not feel any fear. I will explain why. I am a military man. After retirement, I worked in 23 for the year in the national economy. But all the same all my life I felt like a military man. Then the division commander gave me the order to "stand to death." This is not some kind of emotional wording, but an exact order. I accepted it for execution. He was ready, if necessary, to die. And I didn’t have any fears and could not arise ... What does the tankman remember about the fight? Crosshair sight. Here the tension is such that time is compressed, there is not a second for extraneous thoughts. I remember how my guys shouted: “Hurray!”, “Burning! ..” And I cannot recover any details of this fight. ”
The tank crew of Lieutenant Dmitry Lavrinenko
The wounded crew of the wounded tank commander Sergeant Ivan Lyubushkin in one battle destroyed the enemy's 9 tanks. From the memories of Marshal of Armored Forces M.Ye. Katukov, who commanded the 4 Tank Brigade in the battles for Moscow: “An excellent tank commander, Lyubushkin was also an excellent tank gunner ... On October 6 he personally destroyed the Battle of the First Warrior village 9 tanks and up to a company of infantry of the enemy. Shy by nature, Lyubushkin loved to dance, and, I must say, he did it skillfully and beautifully. Here, as in the shooting, he had no equal. " I.Lyubushkin himself recalled this fight like this:
“I then, under the First Warrior, received an order to go to the left flank and take a place for a tank duel. Only reached the designated point - one shell hit my car, but did not pierce the armor. I myself sat by the cannon, I commanded the crew: “Give us the pigs! Let's see whose steel is stronger. " And he began to beat. The shells kept knocking on our armor all the time, but I kept on firing. One German tank was fired, immediately a second one, followed by a third one. Shells were served to me by all the crew members. He hit the fourth tank - it does not burn, but, I see, tankers jump out of it. Sent fragmentation projectile - finished off. Then he hit the tank.
At this time, nevertheless, some Hitlerite contrived, hit my car in the side. This shell pierced the armor and exploded inside the tank. The crew was blinded. Chad. The radio operator Duvanov and the driver Fedorov groaned ... I continue to fire, but then I hear Duvanov say: "My leg is torn off." I was shouting to Fedorov - at that time he was already breathing a little bit: “Start the engine!”
... The engine started, but the speed, except the rear, did not turn on. Somehow they crawled backwards, hiding behind our heavy KV tank. There they tied up a radio operator's leg, removed the shot shells. It would be necessary to get out of the battlefield and make repairs, but then I saw sheltered German tanks in the bushes that were firing. Wow, they were very visible to me, it was a pity to leave them.
My main sight is broken, but there is an auxiliary one left. I say to the guys: “Give us the shells! Once more we knock. " And he began to beat the reptiles.
The fascists see that our tank is still shooting, they are again starting to beat us. One projectile hit the turret, did not pierce, but inside a piece of armor flew from the impact and hit me on the right leg, which was on the trigger device. The leg became senseless. I thought it was no longer there; now everything, shot out forever, like Duvanov. But I felt it - there is no blood, it is whole. He put her hands to the side, began to shoot his left foot. Inconvenient. Then he began to bend and press the trigger with his right hand ...
Finishing this fight in the bushes, I still lit another tank. Our other cars rushed forward, and I only have reverse gear. I went out of battle. I handed over the wounded to the orderlies, and my leg came to life, and the car was repaired in two hours. And I once again went to war this day. ”
For that fight, Ivan Timofeevich Lyubushkin (in the photo) received the title of Hero of the Soviet Union, and the radio operator Duvanov received the Order of the Red Banner.
Tank KV, commanded by the first tank ramor Lieutenant Pavel Danilovich Gudz, who was already famous on the first day of the war, in December 1941, on the outskirts of Volokolamsk, seized 18 with enemy tanks, destroying 10 of them, as well as 4 anti-tank guns and several dozen Hitler’s ...
Lieutenant P.D. Hutz sets off on his HF from the 7 parade of November 1941 of the year on Red Square to the front.
Finally, as a kind of application, two letters from 1941.
A letter of tankman A. Golikov to his wife
I do not know, will you ever read these lines? But I firmly know that this is my last letter.
Now the battle is hot, deadly. Our tank shot down. Around us are fascists. All day we repel the attack. Ostrovsky Street is littered with corpses in green uniforms, they look like large immovable lizards.
Today is the sixth day of the war. We stayed together - Pavel Abramov and me. You know him, I wrote to you about him. We do not think about saving our life. We are warriors and are not afraid to die for the Motherland. We think how much more expensive the Germans would pay for us, for our lives ...
I am sitting in a riddled and mutilated tank. The heat is unbearable, thirsty. There is not a drop of water. Your portrait is on my lap. I look at him, at your blue eyes, and it becomes easier for me - you are with me. I want to talk to you, many, many, frankly, as before, there, in Ivanovo ...
22 June, when war was declared, I thought of you, thought, when will I return now, when will I see you and press your sweet head to my chest? Maybe never. After all, the war ... When our tank first met the enemy, I beat him with a gun, mowed down with machine gun fire in order to destroy the fascists more and bring the end of the war closer in order to see you, my dear. But my dreams did not come true ...
The tank shakes from enemy strikes, but we are still alive. No shells, cartridges are running out. Paul hits the enemy with aimed fire, and I “rest,” I talk to you. I know this is the last time. And I want to talk for a long, long, but no time.
Do you remember how we said goodbye when I was escorted to the station? You then doubted my words that I would love you forever. She offered to sign me to belong to you all my life. I willingly fulfilled your request. You have your passport, and I have a stamp on my receipt that we are husband and wife. It's good. It is good to die when you know that there is a person close to you there, he remembers me, thinks, loves. "Well loved to be ..."
Through the holes of the tank, I see the street, green trees, the flowers in the garden are bright and bright. You, the survivors, after the war, life will be as bright, colorful as these flowers, and happy ... It's not scary to die for it ... You do not cry. You probably will not come to my grave, and will it be a grave?
28th of June 1941
A letter of the tanker Ivan Kolosov to the bride Vara Zhuravleva
25th of October 1941
Hello, my cooking!
No, we will not meet with you.
Yesterday, at noon, we smashed another Hitler column. The fascist shell struck the side armor and exploded inside. While I was driving the car to the forest, Vasily died. My wound is cruel.
I buried Vasily Orlov in a birch grove. It was light. Vasily died, without having managed to say a single word to me, did not convey anything to his beautiful Zoya and white-haired Masha, who looked like a dandelion in the fluff.
This is how one of the three tankers remained.
In the sunshine I rode into the forest. The night passed in agony, a lot of blood was lost. Now, for some reason, the pain that burns through the whole chest has subsided and is quiet on the soul.
It's a shame that we have not done everything. But we did everything we could. Our comrades will chase the enemy, who should not walk in our fields and forests.
I would never have lived this life if it were not for you, Varya. You have always helped me: at Khalkhin Gol and here. Probably, after all, who loves is kinder to people. Thank you, dear! A person is aging, and the sky is always young, like your eyes, which you can only look at and admire. They will never age, do not fade.
It will take time, people will heal wounds, people will build new cities, grow new gardens. Another life will come, other songs will be sung. But never forget the song about us, about the three tankers.
You will grow beautiful children, you will still love.
And I am happy to leave you with great love for you.
Your Ivan Kolosov
The letter was handed to Varvara Petrovna Zhuravleva in 1971 year ...