This year May was hardly distinguishable from November. Prosily and busily the streets were blocked for the run-through, the schedules were changing as usual, and the rain was pouring, somehow anxiously, thinking about something dear to it. But it's getting closer. This Day. Soon the flags will wave; striking a step with an impeccable military bearing almost under the Levitan's voice, the troops will march; holding ranks, thundering, military machinery will ride, flying "Knights" will color the Moscow sky with a tricolor. And in the wriggles of the green boulevard zone, and in the turnings of the blue river, the orange-black band will appear: three stripes of sorrow and two of victory. The colors of gunpowder and fire, smoke and flame, anguished death and eternal rebirth. It will fly apart in its buttonholes, fall on the mirrors of cars, tie armloads of balloons, cling to baby carriages; and then, as the blessing of St. George, will appear by the end of the day between the mourning stripes of the night sky cut with fireworks with the orange-gold bands of victory. Yesterday there was on the Network: "If each of the 27 million victims of the Great Patriotic War is honored with a minute of silence, the world will be silent for more than 50 years." In this fifty-year silence let us also honor at least a few, completely unknown, forgotten, who wanted to live so much...
Here are just a few excerpts from the book of memoirs of Marshal of the Soviet Union I. Kh.Bagramyan:
"This battery of sixteen fighters performed its legendary feat in November 1941, defending the Berberov mound on the approach route to Rostov-on-Don. The gunners stood there to death, did not let the Nazi tanks pass; and, having destroyed 12 enemy vehicles, died as heroes.
Many years after the gunners under the command of Lieutenant Sergey Oganyan and his deputy on the political part the junior Political Instructor Sergey Vavilov (both posthumously honored with the Title of Hero of the Soviet Union) completed their immortal exploit, on the barrow near Rostov, where they stood to death, an obelisk will be set up in their honor.
Another remarkable feat was accomplished by four shooters from another unit. During the offense, our artillery knocked out several enemy tanks with direct fire. The company commander ordered the riflemen of the guard Sergeants Serykh and Kirilov, and the guard Privates Gavrilov and Galaktionov to guard the damaged vehicle. The day was getting closer to evening, the guards lay in the snow, carefully scanning the hilly terrain. Suddenly the German soldiers appeared from behind the hill, walking at full height towards the tank. When they were very close, Sergeant Serykh ordered "Fire!" and slashed at the Nazis from an assault rifle. Many soldiers were mowed down, but the rest lay down, and then rushed forward again in dashes. But the four guardsmen did not pass up and again cold-bloodedly struck down the enemies. The surviving fascists could not withstand, turned back and disappeared. Several dozens of enemy corpses remained on the hill.
The poet Lev Oshanin, who was in our army, dedicated the following lines to this deed of valour:
Four Soviet soldiers
With a sense of duty in their chest
Four simple assault rifles
And a squadron of enemies ahead.
The fight was short and fierce.
All are alive to the grief of the enemy,
And a hundred of fascists
Is sprawled around near in snow,
The corps commander praised Major General Ivan Fedorovich Fedyunkin's 11th Guards Division. Many of its soldiers distinguished themselves, especially the commander of a rifle platoon of the 9th squadron of the 27th Guards Regiment, a candidate member of the All-Union Communist Party of Bolsheviks, Lieutenant Vladimir Abramovich Ionosyan.
Near the village of Trostyanka, Ionosyan with five soldiers, under cover of artillery fire, burst into an enemy trench. In a short battle, the soldiers destroyed fifty fascists, and took eighteen prisoners. The next day, this platoon fought just as bravely and skillfully. When, in the battle for the village of Bely Verkh, the foot troops were forced to lie down under the enemy's fire, Ionosyan with seven of his fighters took in the rear of the German soldiers. The Nazis decided that they were encircled, and rushed about in panic. Taking advantage of this, the group killed seventeen soldiers and captured an easel machine gun. After that, Vladimir Ionosyan with his platoon acted in the location of the enemy troops - he caused confusion in their camp, set up ambushes on the way of their withdrawal. Having destroyed several firing points, he made it easier for our units to liberate the regional center of Ulyanovo. He died at Karachev. He was honored with the title of Hero of the Soviet Union posthumously...
General I. F. Fedyunkin called me and reported on the feat of the machine gunner of the 40th Guards Regiment of the Guard, Private S.A. Kukunin. In the battle for the village of Staritsa Kukunin cleared the way for the soldiers with well-aimed machine-gun bursts. Together with his comrades, he repelled two enemy counterattacks, destroyed about a hundred of German soldiers. Our people had already approached the outskirts of the village when the enemy's earth-and-timber emplacement broke the silence. Machine-gun bursts pinned the soldiers to the ground. At this critical moment, Kukunin got up from the line, ran to the earth-and-timber emplacement and threw a grenade. However, the enemy machine gun continued to fire. Then Kukunin rushed to the firing port and covered it with his body. The machine gun fell silent. Having risen, the soldiers broke into the village and after a short fierce battle knocked the enemy out of it.
The audibility was excellent, and I held the receiver so that everyone who was at the command post would know what the division commander was talking about. They listened to him, bare their heads ... I ordered to honor machine gunner S. A. Kukunin the title of Hero of the Soviet Union.
... On the outskirts of Chukhlov, the soldiers found a multi-core cable, apparently leading to the headquarters. It was cut, and this further increased the panic in the enemy's camp. Taking advantage of the confusion of the fascists, the tankmen attacked the headquarters, captured two staff vehicles with documents, and took several officers as prisoners. Here Major Chubukov was wounded, but continued to manage the battle until the brigade commander ordered him to go to the medical and sanitary battalion.
Thus, within eight hours the battalion retook seven populated areas, destroyed one-and-a-half hundred enemy soldiers, eleven vehicles, two self-propelled guns, five motor vehicles with the ammunition, convoy with the military loads, destroyed large German staff, radio station, took twenty prisoners. Its own losses were two damaged tanks and two lightly wounded tankmen.
For the sound leadership of the advance detachment, personal courage and bravery upon the recommendation of the military council of the army Semen Chubukov, the native Siberian - native of Krasnoyarsk, was honored with the Title of Hero of the Soviet Union by the Presidium of the Supreme Council of the USSR.
I was informed about the young communist Nikolai Petrovich Prudkiy. The reconnaissance platoon, which he commanded, followed in the head outpost, ensuring the safety of the main forces of the brigade. Tankmen stumbled upon an ambush near the village of Krasnikovo. An unequal battle began. With well-aimed fire, Prudkiy destroyed several firing points. His car was set on fire by an enemy shell. Wounded, suffocating from the smoke, N. P. Prudkiy continued to fight. The second missile broke both of his legs, but he held on until he transmitted information about the situation over the radio. When the main forces approached, Prudkiy, burnt and bleeding, was carried out of the tank. He asked to call the brigade commander to convey information about the enemy. Prudkiy died in his arms.
For his feat, the communist Nikolai Petrovich Prudkiy posthumously honored with the title of Hero of the Soviet Union.
... On July 14, we watched with bated breath the air battle over the village of Dudorovsky, northwest of Bolkhov. 40 Junkers were approaching our positions. Disturbing exclamations of "Air!" forced the soldiers to seek shelter. And then six red-star "Yaks" rushed to meet the enemy armada, patrolling over this area.
Six against forty ... Nimble, small planes crashed into the formation of enemy bombers - and it disintegrated. The aircraft cannons rattle furiously. With a heart-rending howl fell to the ground, embroiled in flames, "Junkers" - one, second, third ... sixth ... The infantry forgot about shelters. Everyone looked into the sky and greeted with "Hurray!" every shot down Junkers. The nerves of the fascist pilots could not stand it. Having dropped bombs on their troops, they retreated in disarray. Six of our "Hawks" continued to patrol over the targeted area.
The telephones on the army's command line did not go off. The commanders of rifle and tank formations asked to reward brave pilots. This happened often. Using the right granted to me, they were all honored.
... Once in the area of the headquarters a car with two unknown persons was detained. One of them identified himself as a war correspondent Ehrenburg and demanded to be escorted to you.
He visited a number of our units. He stayed the longest in the 27th Guards Regiment. He was told how the antitank rifleman Vladimir Rodionov alone joined the battle with fifteen enemy tanks and four of them put out of action, and rest were forced to turn backwards; how Kazakh Vakhit Kolumbaev dealt with ten Nazi; how Sergey Komov captivated several German soldiers; how Junior Lieutenant Naum Plavnik with its rifle platoon mastered the strongly fastened foothold in the rearward of enemy.
The writer also spoke with the commander of the forward division of the 27th Guards Regiment, Major N. V. Kharchenko. The handsome mustached southerner liked him very much. Before the war Nikolai Vasilyevich Kharchenko worked as zootechnician in the state farm, and at the front line he became an outstanding combat commander, comprehended wise Suvorov science to conquer a strong enemy hardly shedding any blood.
I give the floor to the commander of the artillery regiment of the 11th Guards Division V. P. Semenko:
- We opened a hurricane of direct fire. It could be seen how the shells were hitting the "Tigers'" armor. After such a hit, the tank stopped, but then again crawled towards us, spewing fire and death. The gunners lying in ambush - Bektasov and Bibikov - shoot down eight tanks, gunner Senior Sergeant Alekseenko put out of action tank and self-propelled gun, spotter Serganov destroyed three tanks from his vehicle, and antitank riflemen Gromov and Naydenov burnt three "Ferdinand".
... At the approaches to Daugavpils, junior Lieutenant Nikolai Cherkasov, platoon commander of the 21st artillery division, died a hero. Moving forward in the battle formations of rifle units, he adjusted the fire of his battery. A mine fragment hit Cherkasov in the stomach, and he lost consciousness for a moment. Having regained consciousness, the officer pulled off a through wound with his tunic and, overcoming the hellish pain, continued to adjust the fire until his last breath. Reporting this feat, General I. M. Chistyakov asked me to honor an artilleryman the title of Hero of the Soviet Union posthumously. He was 21 years old.
We won in the ancient Oryol, Kursk, Belgorod and Kharkov great spaces because together with the army, the entire Soviet people rose up to defend the Motherland.
We conquered because on the Kursk Salient shoulder to shoulder battled the representatives of all peoples of our multinational native land, who knew how to deliver to the enemy crushing and decisive attacks from which it could no longer recover.
Deeply in memory sticks the protest at which the soldiers of the arrived reinforcement to the 6th guard army were present. The soldiers said:
- The fascists burned my parents - father and mother - alive at the fire, abused and then shot my sister. The blood of those tortured calls to the vengeance. Until my last breath, I will take revenge on the monsters. I will do everything so that the Nazi bandits would feel the force of my hatred.
- I saw an old Jew who became speechless when in Vinitsa, in front of his eyes, a German officer killed a 4-month-old baby hitting his head on a cast-iron stove.
Communications man Pechonkin on the observation post near Gzhatsk, after consuming all cartridges and grenades, communicated on the wire: "Guys, there is no way to work. Germans are stepping up the pressure on all sides. I go hand-to-hand. I will not surrender alive"...
Simple feelings, simple words. No slogans, no high-flown phrases. They swore an oath to life and died. Their feat is without appeals and posters, and heroism is ordinary, like a smoked cigarette before a fight. Without big words and theatrical gestures, rigidly and silently they fought for the right to be and to breathe; for the old woman the mother who waits a postman and who has all sons at the front; for the wife who embraces the son at night in the rumble of antiaircraft guns; for the inclined head of Pushkin and drawbridges; for wreathy flower crown on the head of granddaughter who ran away in the field; for the quiet of lecture halls; for the hidden in the perforated field shirts notebooks with the letters and the verses, the formulas and the figures with the baked blood, which no one will ever see. They fought for their most sacred, which you cannot tell even a friend, you simply cannot, and you don't need to. And for this eternal cobblestone square, with a temple and chimes, on which every year at exactly the appointed time their Immortal Regiment comes out again. And the country falls silent. They go near each other, together, sorrowful, silently, immaterial and eternally living, young laughing, who left the mourning frameworks, sworn lives and been killed for it, they go through the time, through us in the silence, and falls silent metronome, time slowly stops… be worthy of the Memory of the Fallen! A Minute passes, our life, presented by them, moves on, and they leave, they leave, passing through us, up there, into the evening sky over Moscow. And for a long time the chimes of churches can be heard in the air. Mournful, light memorial.
Be Worthy of the Memory of the Fallen...