“I had a grandfather-artilleryman for one month with this guy (with I. Kuznetsov) for three months. He told me: a brilliant gunner, worked wonders, felt a gun and a projectile, breathed it, ”one of the great-grandchildren later recalled at a military forum.
Battle Biography I.F. Kuznetsova - a unique page in stories World War II: at sixteen he became a full gentleman of the Order of Glory. The youngest in the country among those whose military feat is appreciated by this award of the Motherland.
Ivan Filippovich Kuznetsov was born in 1928 in the village of Migulinskaya in the peasant family of Filipp Andreevich and Anastasia Kuznetsovs. His relatives live in Migulinskaya (there are many Kuznetsovs in the village).
This Cossack village found quite easily. If you drive in the direction of Moscow along the M-4 Don route and, before reaching the city of Voronezh, turn off according to the sign "Kazan village", then you will find yourself in the territory of Verkhnedonsky district.
Here, in Migulinskaya, Vanya took the first steps on the ground. Approximately seven years after the birth of Vanya, in 1935, the Kuznetsov family decided to move to another area. It was a complicated procedure, given that they did not give out passports to the collective farmers, and all transfers could be done only with the permission of the local collective farm chairman. Apparently, all this was overcome and the family moved to live on the farm Bozhkovka Kamensky district.
Here they found war and occupation, which ended in February 1943 of the year.
Of course, Vanya's mother did not allow anywhere, but he volunteered to help find the district paths and paths to Likhaya station, voluntarily escort several stations to the Likhaya station, which were part of the 185 Guards Regiment (82 Guards Rifle Division, 8 Guards Army, 1 of the Belorussian Front). In the regiment he was adopted. It was Ivan Kuznetsov at that time 14 years and 2 of the month. They assigned him the rank of private, and he became a podnoschik projectiles to the artillery gun.
The first medal "For Courage" he was awarded at the age of 14 years, the Order of the Red Star - in 15 years.
By awarding the third Order of Glory to the highest first degree I. Kuznetsov was presented at the end of April 1945 for the skillful conduct of battle in one of the suburbs of Berlin. He even signed on the wall of the Reichstag. At that moment he was only sixteen years old! This order was awarded only one year after the end of the war in May 1946.
Order of Glory - a special award. Its establishment during the war years is the continuation of the military traditions of pre-revolutionary Russia, the Soviet version of the Cross of St. George. He had three degrees, only soldiers were awarded them, only for direct participation in hostilities, only for personal feat.
Order of Glory awarded infrequently. For example, in 1941-45. The heroes of the Soviet Union were 12776 people, holders of the Order of Glory - 2674 people. The youngest full gentlemen (last recruitment 1926 year) was about fifty.
And then - only the facts of combat life from official documents. As indicated on the site “Feat of the people”, “September 3, 1943 as part of the gun crew took part in the destruction of heavy German tank "Tiger" and the suppression of the enemy machine-gun point in the area of the village of Dolgen'ky, Izyumsky district, Kharkov region. In October, he was awarded the medal “For Courage” (Ivan was 14 years old and 9 months old).
February 26 1944 gunner Ivan Kuznetsov in the composition of the gun crew beat off the enemy's 4 counterattack, destroyed to 100 man enemy manpower, 6 bunkers and a tank. It was in the farm Otradny Kherson region. 26 March 1944, Ivan Kuznetsov was awarded the Order of the Red Star. It was him at this time 15 years and 1 month.
15 January 1945, the corporal Kuznetsov, during the defense near the city of Zabadrova (Poland), put down two machine gun points and destroyed two bunkers. During this battle, he was wounded and contused, but remained in the ranks. February 7 Ivan was awarded the Order of Glory 3 degree ". Less than a month ago, he turned 16 years.
After 2 of the month, in March of 1945, when storming the fortress of Kustrin (Poland), the commander of the artillery gun, Ivan Kuznetsov, together with the calculation, destroyed three machine-gun points, ensuring the attack of the infantry. For this battle episode, he was awarded the Order of Glory 2 degree. At this time he was 16 years and 2,5 of the month.
The award list for the Order of Glory 2 degree still passed on instances (handed 15 May 1945 of the year), and Ivan again distinguished himself. 25 April 1945 of the year in the suburbs of Berlin, his calculation of direct fire destroyed anti-aircraft and anti-tank guns, three machine-gun points and the building where the fascist machine guns strengthened.
The command team has been pondering for a long time what reward it is to celebrate this combat episode in the life of the 16-year-old gun commander. There were proposals to award him with the Order of the Great Patriotic War, but the front commander himself signed an order awarding Ivan the Order of Glory 1 degree. Order this I.F. Kuznetsov received a year after the end of the war.
For two years and three months of participation in the war, Ivan Kuznetsov went from being a carrier of shells to a gun commander, from private to sergeant, received three wounds and contusions, was awarded four orders, medals "For Courage", "For the Capture of Berlin".
After the war, the life of I.F. Kuznetsova evolved like an ordinary person: he graduated from 1949 year, a military school of armored troops, served in the army until 1969 year, went to the reserve captain. He was married twice.
The last 20 years of his life, Ivan Filippovich lived in the small Belarusian town of Borisov (perhaps this was the last place of his army service). It is known that he worked in the Borisov military enlistment office, then at one of the local factories. It was hard for several years, he died in the year 1989. It is now difficult to find out why he was not buried in the central city cemetery on the Alley of Heroes, but found the last comfort in the suburban. The military enlistment office established a standard metal obelisk, on which time gradually erased the surname, name, patronymic of the deceased. There was no mention of the heroic biography of Ivan Filippovich at the grave.
The grave stood unclean for many years, in Borisov it was not remembered at the celebrations, although in books about the war and on the Internet Kuznetsov and his combat path are mentioned repeatedly.
An indifferent person wrote about Kuznetsov's almost abandoned grave on the Internet at the end of 2013. And a miracle happened. Petersburg entrepreneur and philanthropist G.M. Pogosyan allocated funds to perpetuate the memory of the hero. Colonel of the Russian army, a native of the city of Borisov, V. Volynets sought out his relatives, the creator of the All-Russian project “Alley of Russian Glory” M. Serdyukov donated to the city a bust of the hero.
In April, 2015, in Belarus, in the city of Borisov, there were celebrations commemorating the full bearer of the Order of Glory, Don Cossack Ivan Filippovich Kuznetsov: a new tombstone was consecrated on his grave; a memorial plate was installed on the house where he lived, and the bust of the hero was transferred to Borisov gymnasium No. XXUMX - his museum is being created there and his grandchildren Ivan and Daria are studying.
At the celebrations in Belarus gathered relatives of Ivan Filippovich, people who were familiar with him.
By the bits of their memories, the details of his life and character traits were clarified. In peacetime co-worker A. Yushko told how at the beginning of the 50-s the platoon commander Kuznetsov was appointed adjutant to the deputy army commander. The position was not the nature of Ivan Filippovich, and very soon he returned to the usual officer service.
Larisa, daughter I.F. Kuznetsova, remembered (she was 11 years old when he died) that her father never spoke about the war, in his opinion, nobody needs to know this; that he attached his military orders only on Victory Day, and only on a civilian beige suit (although, as a reserve officer, he had the right to wear military uniform); that he loved the song, which has the words: “The Cossack watered a horse from the Don” (an old song “From the Fallen Strongholds of Port Arthur”).
Her cousin Nadezhda, who came from Arkhangelsk, said that Ivan was a handsome and modest person. And her son Yuri shared his childhood memories: a very old grandmother Nussia (Anna Nikanorovna) told him, as a child, how she raised Vanya, which he was independent and fair in childhood. And I always cried: it was a pity for Vanya, the kid who went to war.
And then it turned out that in Kuznetsov’s homeland, in the village of Migulinskaya, there is no mention of the memory of the great countryman.
When this information became public, the head of the project “Alley of Russian Glory”, under the care of the Russian Military Historical Society, Mikhail Leonidovich Serdyukov, who lives in the Krasnodar Territory, took up the idea of perpetuating the image of the order-bearer Ivan Kuznetsov in his small homeland.
Honored artist of Russia, sculptor Alexander Apollo made Kuznetsov’s bust. He was cast from bronze in a special workshop of the city of Kropotkin. From there, the monument was taken to the village of Migulinskaya.
The Rostov Regional Public Organization “Suvorov-Nakhimov Cadet Union”, the Committee for Youth Policy of the Rostov Region, the command of the Southern Military District showed their assistance in this noble cause.
Opening ceremony of the bust I.F. Kuznetsova was held in a solemn atmosphere with military honors, according to the Charter of the garrison and guard service. For this purpose, a guard of honor and a military band, which had lined up at the stanitsa memorial next to the monument being opened, came to Migulinskaya specially. Opposite the monument in front of the House of Culture gathered residents of Migulinskaya, war and labor veterans, and schoolchildren. Head of the regional military commissariat in the Chertkovsky and Verkhnedonsky districts Lieutenant Colonel V.N. Gomonov reported to the head of the administration of the Verkhnedonsky district A.G. Boldyrev about the readiness for the opening ceremony. The honor to open the monument was provided by A.G. Boldyrev, head of administration of Migulinsky rural settlement E.D. Skilkovoy and a number of honored guests. Among them were the Minister of Culture of the Rostov Region A.A. Rezvanov, Chairman of the Committee on Youth Policy of the Rostov Region V.N. Babin, head of the Rostov regional public organization "Suvorov-Nakhimov Cadet Union" G. G. Titarchuk, Head of the Department of the Russian Military Historical Society V.N. Raldygin, colonel of the Russian army, the author of the idea of perpetuating the memory of I.F. Kuznetsova in the Belarusian city of Borisov V.G. Volynets, retired colonel, military pensioner and local historian Yu.I. Galkin.
About Galkin - a separate word. Information about Ivan Kuznetsov was found by a military pensioner, a retired colonel, a local historian Yu.I. Galkin, as a freelance correspondent for a military newspaper. It is Yu.I. Galkin found out that Ivan Kuznetsov is the soldier who received the Order of Glory of three degrees at a very young age.
It was Galkin, and not one of the other officials listed above, who was able to carry out a truly colossal research work. It was he who began to talk about it at meetings with journalists. All of this got on the Internet and became public.
It was thanks to Galkin to the sounds of the military orchestra that the Russian-colored tricolor color cover was removed from the bust, and a soldier Ivan Kuznetsov cast in bronze appeared to the eyes of the rally participants.
Giving military honors, at the end of the rally, in front of an open monument, a company of a guard of honor and a military orchestra marched. The festive event continued in the hall of the House of Culture of the village of Migulinskaya. The concert was presented to the attendees and a documentary film “Take heart, soldier!” Dedicated to I.F. Kuznetsova. It sounded memories of the hero's sister and daughter. It is gratifying that now the memory of Ivan Kuznetsov has finally returned to where he was born. It is gratifying that there are today not indifferent people who know how to convey to the descendants the feats of the past years.
There, in the village of Migulinskaya, there is a modest obelisk, installed in honor of the deceased partisan Katya Miroshnikova (I wrote about it on our website in the article "Her right hand was twisted and twisted behind her back, her stomach was open, the dress was torn off ...").
Perhaps, the officials and all the people involved in this case will be able to unite together and worthily commemorate the dead girl, extracting valuable intelligence for the advancing Soviet troops, carrying all of us one victory over the enemy.