Saturday 26 July 2014

Heroes of the 16th Tank Brigade

From L.V. Gorchakov collection.

As a part of the application for Guards status, the commander of the 16th Tank Brigade includes a summary of particularly courageous individuals within the Brigade. Here it is. People described in the previous article have been omitted, as there is no additional information here.

"A Short Summary of Particularly Outstanding Tankers, Motorized Infantrymen, AA Gunners and Mortar Crews of the 16th Tank Brigade
  1. Senior Lieutenant Antonyuk: Participated in 43 attacks. His vehicle destroyed 27 AT guns, 25 mortars, 48 machineguns, 5 tanks, one ammunition warehouse, 2 infantry cannons, 34 dugouts, 1 kitchen, and up to 1000 soldiers and officers. Comrade Antonyuk has already been awarded the Order of the Red Star and has been nominated for a Hero of the Soviet Union.
  2. Lieutenant Martynov: In one day, he destroyed 5 German tanks and captured 3 tanks in an uneven battle with a whole tank company. He was nominated for the highest government award, Hero of the Soviet Union.
  3. Junior Lieutenant Vasilyev: On April 20th, 1942, he received the order to penetrate the enemy's front line of defense to cut off the Myagry-Dubovik road. He slowly progressed through the thick forest and swamps. Due to a small amount of assigned infantry, he was cut off from his unit. In this scenario, Vasilyev made the decision to destroy the enemy positions at any cost. His reconnaissance squads reported that there were German fortifications in the area, with their gun ports turned towards the road. Comrade Vasilyev had a portion of his infantry climb up on his tank with a mounted machinegun, and with a skilful maneuver, emerged in the rear of those fortifications, destroying 10 dugouts and the fascists inside them. In order to break out of encirclement, where the tank has been for three days, it was necessary to destroy the enemy AT gun battery. In order to distract it, comrade Vasilyev retains a portion of his infantry to open fire at the battery, places a mounted machinegun on his engine deck to muffle the engine noise, and approached within 50-80 meters of the Germans' rear. Suddenly opening fire, he destroyed three guns. The remaining gun was crushed underneath the tank's tracks, providing an exit for his tank and infantry escort.
    Over three days of constant fighting, Jr. Lieutenant Vasilyev destroyed 5 AT guns, 14 dugouts, 8 mortars with crews, and killed 500 soldiers and officers. His trophies included 50000 rounds of ammunition, 8 submachineguns (6 German), 9 hand and 9 mounted machineguns, valuable documents, and one prisoner. In total, Vasilyev's record includes 9 attacks, in which he destroyed 6 AT guns, 28 dugouts, 4 AT rifles, 8 mortars, and exterminated up to 800 soldiers and officers. Comrade Vasilyev was nominated for the highest government award, Hero of the Soviet Union.
  4. Senior Lieutenant Danilov: Participated in 32 attacks, destroyed 2 tanks, 2 armoured cars, one motorcycle, 23 machineguns, 24 AT guns, 28 mortars, 6 infantry cannons, 27 earth fortifications, and up to 900 occupants. Comrade Danilov has been twice nominated for a government award, one of which, an Order of the Red Banner, he has already received.
  5. Senior Sergeant Makarov: Drove a tank into an attack 36 times, and always emerged victorious. Over the last 4 attacks, his crew destroyed: 7 AT guns, 2 mortar batteries, 2 field guns, 2 mounted machineguns, 2 dugouts, 1 earth fortification. In one of these attacks, his tank sustained damage to the turret and suspension. A skilful maneuver took the tank out of enemy territory.
    In total, comrade Makarov destroyed 1 tank, 1 armoured car, 8 machineguns, 12 AT guns, 14 mortars, 12 earth fortifications, and up to 400 occupants.
    Comrade Makarov has been nominated for awards thrice, having received two already: an Order of the Red Banner and a For Courage medal.
  6. Battalion Commissar Pochepayev: Participated in 9 attacks. His tank destroyed 2 AT guns, 18 mortars, 8 machineguns, 2 infantry cannons, 19 dugouts, and over 120 soldiers and officers.
    Comrade Pochepayev has been awarded an Order of the Red Star.
  7. Comrade Matyuhin: Tank commander, participated in 13 attacks, destroying 4 infantry cannons, 1 tank, 28 machineguns, 12 mortars, and up to 800 soldiers and officers. Comrade Matyuhin has been awarded an Order of the Red Banner.
  8. Junior Political Instructor Chistyakov: Artilleryman-sniper. In one battle, he knocked out 3 tanks with 3 shells. In total, acting as a part of Lieutenant Martynov's crew at Gontovaya Lipka, Tortolovo, [illegible] and [illegible], he destroyed 8 tanks, 12 AT guns, 1 machinegun, and exterminated up to 460 occupants.
    Comrade Chistyakov has been awarded an order twice.
  9. Political Instructor Gorchakov: His crew was in battle for two days straight. The faces of driver Totsenko, gunner order-bearer Sankevich and radio operator Korobkov were covered in soot. The frost caused snow to form on the inside walls of the tank. These men did not think of rest or food, they only aimed to catch up to the enemy fleeing in fear. In this battle, this brave crew destroyed 12 dugouts with infantry, 3 mortar batteries, 3 earth fortifications, 3 mounted machineguns, 2 AT guns, and destroyed one and captured one field gun. Up to 300 soldiers and officers were crushed or shot by the crew. Comrade Gorchakov was nominated for an award.
  10. Sergeant Pomogalov: Tank commander. In an attack on Pogostye, he enabled infantry to progress 2 kilometers into enemy territory. A group of German submachinegunners up to a company in size attempted to flank the infantry, but comrade Pomogalov predicted their maneuver. His cannon and machinegun fire killed 40 fascist submachinegunners, and forced the rest to flee.
    Comrade Pomogalov participated in numerous attacks, destroying a medium tank, 3 AT guns, 3 machineguns, 1 mortar, 4 dugouts, and up to 100 soldiers and officers.
    Comrade Pomogalov is nominated for an Order of Lenin.
  11. Major Kudryavtsev: Commander of the 1st Independent Tank Battalion. In January of 1942, on a mission from the brigade commander, he spent 13 days behind enemy lines with soldiers and commanders, blocking their supplies and exterminating fascist scum.
    On March 12th, while on a mission from the brigade commander to penetrate the Leningrad blockade, comrade Kudryavtsev, with his tank battalion, penetrated enemy fortifications and moved forward. However, as they approached the Shal fortification region, the infantry was pinned down. Comrade Kudryavtsev displayed necessary initiative and gathered infantry from various units, placing it on his tanks. He attacked the region with sudden strikes from all sides, succeeding in taking this heavily fortified area. The enemy left up to 300 soldiers and officers, 3 AT guns, 10 machineguns, 8 earth fortifications, and 10 dugouts.
    Comrade Kudryavtsev has been nominated for a government award: the Order of the Red Banner.
This is just a partial list of outstanding tankers, There are many of them, fearless Red warriors prepared to give their life for a righteous cause. 

Outstanding motorized infantrymen, mortar gunners, and AA gunners include:
  1. Political Instructor Kazachinskiy: Exterminated 70 fascists.
  2. Red Armyman Nalivayko: 50 fascists.
  3. Lieutenant Shalygin, Adjutant, exterminated 47 fascists, awarded an Order of the Red Star.
  4. Senior Lieutenant Ryabikov: Deputy commander of the motorized infantry battalion, exterminated 28 fascists. Awarded an Order of the Red Star.
  5. Red Armyman, machinegunner Verzelov: exterminated 28 fascists.
  6. Junior Lieutenant Pozdeev: commander of a machinegun platoon, exterminated 28 fascists.
  7. ..."
The rest of the list is just straightforward kill counts, which aren't very interesting. Certainly no captivating stories like with the tankers.

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