MIL OSI Translation. Region: Russian Federation –
The Kiev strategic defensive operation of 1941 was the first defensive operation of the Red Army and one of the most dramatic and heroic battles in the history of the Great Patriotic War. Through incredible heroism and self-sacrifice, the troops of the Red Army and ordinary residents of Kiev managed to detain the enemy who had more than two times the numerical superiority of the enemy for two months and played an important role in disrupting Hitler’s plan of “lightning war”. Here the Wehrmacht lost more than 100 thousand soldiers and officers, 17 of its divisions were shackled by the active actions of the Red Army. Only by stopping the offensive in the main direction (to Moscow) and by pulling significant forces to the south to encircle the troops of the Southwestern Front, the Nazis were able to overpower the defenders of the hero-city. The long and stubborn defense of the troops of the Southwestern Front was given to our people at a high price, as evidenced by the countless number of monuments and military graves erected in honor of the heroes of those days.
Continuing its activities to preserve historical memory, the Russian Ministry of Defense launches a new multimedia section “Kiev defensive: Immortal feat on the banks of the Dnieper”… Based on declassified documents from the funds of the Central Archives of the Ministry of Defense of Russia, it tells about the heroism and courage of Soviet soldiers who fought for the freedom of the Fatherland during the first strategic defensive operation of the Red Army in the Great Patriotic War (Kiev strategic defensive operation of 1941).
The historical section is based on numerous combat reports, which tell about the fierce nature of hostilities, the massive heroism of the soldiers and commanders of the Red Army.
So, a report dated August 13, 1941 to the head of the Main Political Directorate of the Red Army to the 1st rank army commissar Lev Mekhlis tells how a platoon of Lieutenant Breslavsky, being on the defensive, was attacked by superior enemy forces. “Having let the enemy go 800-1000 meters, Lieutenant Breslavsky opened a hurricane of fire. When the first ranks of the fascists were crushed, the brave lieutenant led the fighters into the attack. More of the enemy company was defeated. Eight soldiers and a corporal were captured. “
The same document describes the feat, which is one of the clearest examples of selfless selfless service to the Fatherland. It was made by the gunner of the anti-tank gun, corporal Georgy Nikitin: “With the first shots of his gun, he destroyed 4 tanks. When the gun was knocked out, Nikitin ran to another and helped the crew to fire. The second gun was out of order. Nikitin rushed to the gun of the 1st platoon and from it destroyed five more tanks. Disfigured and smoking 9 enemy tanks stood on the battlefield. An enemy shell interrupted the life of the hero Nikitin. “
In a report dated August 21, 1941, it is reported that junior lieutenant Vinogradov with a detachment of 14 soldiers, performing a special reconnaissance mission, “destroyed an enemy reconnaissance group of 40 people and took 4 Nazis prisoner. Trophies were captured: 8 light machine guns, 2 radio stations, a field bag with valuable documents and a map with the printed situation. ” The same document refers to Junior Lieutenant Brovarov, who with five fighters shot down a German ME-109 fighter with a volley of rifle fire.
The report of August 25, 1941 eloquently describes the military ingenuity of the officers and soldiers of the Red Army of the Southwestern Front. “Exceptional courage and resourcefulness” was shown by the commander of the reconnaissance group, junior lieutenant Melnikov (139th rifle regiment of the 41st rifle division), who, performing a mission on the front line of the German defense, managed to destroy an enemy reconnaissance group of 9 soldiers led by an officer, two machine gunners and return without loss to the part with valuable information. In another episode, the military cunning of Melnikov allowed him and 6 soldiers to get out of the encirclement in the village. The singers, which he got into after returning from the next reconnaissance mission. When the ammunition was already running out, and “the Germans became insolent and began to surround Comrade Melnikov’s group … Then Comrade Melnikov gave a command in a whisper and a powerful Red Army“ hurray ”swept through the hollow. The fascists, considering that the Red Army men were going into a bayonet attack, crawled away in confusion. Comrade Melnikov took advantage of the temporary confusion of the fascists and led his group out of the encirclement without loss. It also describes another episode from the combat life of a junior lieutenant: “The next day with four Red Army men in reconnaissance near the village. Ulyaniki, comrade Melnikov noticed that 5 fascists went to the collective farm garden. When the “lovers of collective farm pears” climbed the trees, a group of comrade. Melnikova made her way into the garden, took the submachine guns left by the Nazis on the ground, and then shook them from the trees themselves and delivered them to the unit. “
A report dated August 30, 1941 speaks of the high skill and fearlessness of Soviet soldiers: “Covering the retreat of his company to new firing lines, the party organizer of the 441st Infantry Regiment of the 116th Infantry Division, the Red Armyman Japaridze, destroyed 100 Nazi soldiers with well-aimed machine-gun fire.” In this battle, Japaridze sacrificed himself for the sake of his comrades. Also, the document notes the skillful actions in battle of Lieutenant Teltsov from the airborne battalion, which “reflecting the enemy’s attack, (…) personally destroyed up to 50 German soldiers and set one enemy tank on fire.”
Despite the numerical superiority, attempts to encircle the defending Soviet troops were very expensive for the enemy. So in a report dated September 1, 1941, it is told how the second battalion of the 884th rifle regiment of the 196th rifle division managed to destroy more than 300 fascist soldiers and officers, and twice to get out of the encirclement. This document also describes how a reconnaissance group of the 159th Infantry Division, during a combat mission, encountered superior enemy forces and entered into battle. In this clash, 110 Nazis were destroyed by the Red Army, 10 were taken prisoner, three tankettes, three cars, and two guns were disabled.
The same document describes a combat episode testifying to the personal courage and heroism of the signalman of the 64th rifle corps Yakovlev. “The Red Army signalman Yakovlev, a member of the Komsomol, was surrounded by the Nazis, who were trying to take him prisoner, while the telephone line was being set up. But the planned insidious plan of the enemy did not come true. In the ensuing unequal battle comrade. Yakovlev killed 25 soldiers, one officer and left the encirclement. “
The report of September 7 tells about the military trick used by the junior political instructor Belyaev when 16 German soldiers tried to capture him with three soldiers: “The Nazis shouted surrender. The brave commander Belyakov decided to act with cunning: “We surrender,” he replied, continuing to move forward. When the distance was reduced, grenades flew on the heads of the Nazis. Most of the soldiers were destroyed, one was taken prisoner, and the rest fled. Having fulfilled the combat order, the group returned to the unit. “
Military pilots who fought for the Ukrainian sky showed no less selflessness. A report dated August 27, 1941, describes the heroism of Soviet falcons in repelling a raid by six enemy bombers on the Bakhmach station. Here the Nazis tried to bomb the train. Fighter pilots of the 62nd Air Division, Sergeant Babkin and Junior Lieutenant Butuzov, entered the battle with the enemy. When Sergeant Babkin’s plane received engine damage and was forced to land, the Nazis attacked Junior Lieutenant Butuzov’s fighter. Thanks to his high flying skills, Butuzov shot down one enemy aircraft, and forced the rest to retreat.
The protection of their native land has become the sacred duty of all Soviet people. The documents published in this section testify to the enormous contribution of the civilian population of Kiev, as well as local Komsomol and party organizations, to the fight against fascism. In total, over 200 thousand residents of Kiev voluntarily joined the Red Army, and over 160 thousand more worked daily on the construction of defensive lines.
In the presented extract from the memorandum of the assistant to the head of the Political Directorate of the South-Western Front Cherkasov dated September 8, 1941, it is noted that 13,130 Komsomol members and working youth of the city volunteered for the front. Among them were 2358 Komsomol girls who went to the front line as nurses and vigilantes, 3435 girls became blood donors. “79,120 young patriots worked to strengthen the approaches to Kiev,” the document says.
In the summer of 1941, partisan detachments were formed in the regions of Ukraine occupied by the Nazi hordes.
The political report of August 20, 1941 testifies: “The partisan movement is growing more and more in the areas occupied by the enemy. The partisans with their bold sudden raids on carts, separate units, reconnaissance inflict great damage on the enemy and keep him in a state of tension and fear all the time. “
Not far from the village of Sumy, a detachment of about 300 people operated, which, together with active units of the Red Army, participated in the counteroffensive against Smela. In Nemirovo, in the region of Vinnitsa, Zhmerinka, Vapnyarka, partisan detachments of up to 1000 people operated. According to published documents, partisans blew up fuel tanks, railways and bridges, and disrupted communications.
Many documents published in this section note the high military merits of Soviet patriots and their contribution to the bloody struggle of the people for the life and freedom of the Fatherland. These documents, as well as the award materials given in the section, confirm that our women fought against the Nazi invaders on an equal basis with men.
As evidenced by an extract from a memo dated September 8, 1941, the assistant to the head of the Political Directorate of the Southwestern Front, a petition was sent from the troops to confer the title of Hero of the Soviet Union on Komsomol Yelizaveta Mukhina. After completing a combat mission in the rear of the enemy, “on the way back she got to the front line of one of the units of the Red Army and saw that it was necessary to provide medical assistance to the wounded soldiers. She embarked on this work with enthusiasm. For two days Comrade Mukhina selflessly and stubbornly worked at the front without rest, showing exceptional heroism and courage. “
Remarkable is the feat of the 16-year-old daughter of a blacksmith of the Kiev plant “Arsenal” Leonora Skvorchinskaya. She appeared in the artillery battalion and, after repeated persistent requests, was left in the unit as a nurse. A report dated August 23, 1941 testifies: “During the period of operations of the mobile group of the 26th Army, Comrade. Skvorchinskaya, neglecting the danger, during the bombing of the enemy aircraft brought the wounded into shelters and, when she herself could not convey the victim, forced the soldiers to crawl out of the cracks and provide assistance to her. Fearless patriot of the motherland Skvorchinskaya saved the lives of dozens of soldiers and commanders. ” For her exploits, the brave Kiev woman was awarded the medal “For Military Merit”.
A report dated August 29, 1941 to the Main Political Directorate of the Red Army tells about a 19-year-old nurse by the name of Biba from the 1050th Infantry Regiment of the 301st Infantry Division, who became famous among her comrades for her fearlessness: “She repeatedly went on the attack with the soldiers. Comrade Biba carried out 26 wounded soldiers and commanders from the battlefield, and helped 105 comrades on the battlefield. She teaches the personnel to provide first aid in battle, in her spare moments she learns military affairs. “
In view of the stubborn resistance of Soviet troops and the impossibility of capturing the city, the German command turned the 1st tank group to the southeast, bypassing Kiev. This group managed to capture a bridgehead on the left bank of the Dnieper in the Kremenchug area, and on September 12, 1941, it moved north, bypassing the troops of the Southwestern Front. Towards her, from the north, was moving the 2nd tank group, which the Nazis removed from the main – Moscow – direction. On September 15, in the area of the village of Lokhvitsy, the Nazi troops closed the tank pincers.
A number of documents published in the section tell about the dramatic moments of the Kiev strategic defensive operation, the most difficult conditions faced by the soldiers and commanders of the Soviet troops (37th, 26th, 5th, 21st armies) surrounded, tell about many attempts breakthrough of the Red Army to their own. In the enemy ring then there were 452.7 thousand people, from the encirclement only 20 thousand managed to break through …
Breaking out of the encirclement in battle formations, commanders of all ranks fought alongside the soldiers. This is eloquently evidenced by the documents published in the section.
So, in the published report of the Deputy Chief of Staff of the Southwestern Front, Major General Ivan Baghramyan, dated September 26, 1941, on withdrawing from the encirclement of the front forces for the period from September 17 to 25, the conditions in which the encircled units of the Red Army were forced to operate: tanks and artillery and crossing means in this situation led to the fact that none of the detachments was able to seize the crossings by force of arms and get out of the encirclement. Only those who, unnoticed by the enemy, found a remote crossing point, left the encirclement. (…) Some of the people passed through the bridges held by the Germans, but already dressed in civilian clothes disguised as local residents. “
The extremely difficult situation of the encircled is evidenced by the statistics from the report of the Chief of Staff of the Southwestern Front, Major General Alexander Pokrovsky, dated October 2, 1941. Thus, 452,720 servicemen were surrounded, while all units had only 64 tanks. The report contains the number of small arms, artillery, cars, tractors, radio stations of the encircled troops.
On September 20, 1941, in a battle near the village of Lokhvitsy, while trying to break out of the ring, the administration of the South-Western Front, including the commander of the front waxes, Colonel-General Mikhail Kirponos, was killed almost entirely. Some information about his last days of life is presented in the published report of the officer for special assignments, Colonel Vasily Sergeev, dated October 10, 1941. “One wounded captain who came to us said that he had seen Comrades in the Budanka area. Kirponos, Burmistenko and other big commanders ”- the document says. The next day “at 13 o’clock we received a call from Rashevka to Gadyach that K., B. and M. (ie, conditionally Kirponos, Burmistenko and Mikheev) were near Rashevka and asked to send a car.” However, the front commander was not rescued: “When we approached Rashevka, the Germans entered the village (…). We managed to forcefully withdraw up to 50 command personnel from there, including the head of the 5th Army Air Force, Colonel Skrebko. “
In his report on the withdrawal from the encirclement, the commander of the 31st Rifle Corps, Major General Nikolai Kalinin, said that in the battles during the breakthrough, “parts of the corps had completely lost all technical controls. In the future, the leadership of the battle was carried out by my direct departure to the unit. ” In addition, the position of the encircled was significantly complicated by the lack of guns: “The absence of anti-tank artillery in corps units gave success to any enemy tank attack.” In the end, the ammunition and strength of the Soviet troops dried up so much that “further withdrawal from the encirclement took place in small groups, single soldiers, under the continuous influence of enemy tanks and artillery.” The battles in the cauldron continued until September 26, and groups of fighters and commanders continued to leave the encirclement until October 2.
The defenders of Kiev made a huge sacrifice. But it made it possible to thwart Hitler’s plans for a “lightning war” and to divert significant forces from the Moscow direction, which gave time to prepare for the defense of the capital. Even among the German command, the opinion was expressed that the “tactical success” of the Wehrmacht near Kiev was the reason for the further “strategic failure” near Moscow in December 1941.
The heavy losses suffered by the Red Army and the inhabitants of the Ukrainian SSR during the battle of Kiev in 1941 are evidenced not only by archival front-line documents, but also by a huge number of monuments, memorials and military graves installed in the battlefield.
At present, according to Russian data, there are 7,378 military graves of the Great Patriotic War, in which more than 275 thousand fallen Soviet soldiers and prisoners of war are buried, on the territory of the Kiev, Chernigov, Cherkassy, Sumy, Zhitomir, Vinnitsa, Poltava, Dnepropetrovsk regions. Of these, more than 1.3 thousand memorials date from the events of the tragic 1941 year. The section presents the registration cards of some of them.
Thus, according to the registration card of a mass grave in the town of Smela, Cherkasy region, on Furmanov Street, about 30,000 Soviet servicemen and civilians who died in a German concentration camp were buried. Of all those buried here, it was possible to establish the names of only 9 people. Near the burial in 1950, a sculpture of a soldier-liberator was erected, who took off his headdress and held a submachine gun on his chest.
As follows from another document, about 27,000 Soviet prisoners of war are buried in a mass grave in the city of Konotop, Sumy region. In 1957, a majestic monument was erected next to the burial – a 4-meter pedestal on which the figures of a mother and son were frozen.
In two burials in the city of Khorol, Poltava region, whose cards are published in the section, a total of more than 39,000 Soviet prisoners of war are buried. Documents show that some of those buried here died during the August 1941 defensive battles on the outskirts of Kiev, others were already in captivity in 1942. The registration card of one of the graves indicates that “the number of burials has been rounded up to a thousand, since it was not possible to establish the exact amount ”. Massive sculptures depicting Soviet soldiers were installed on two graves in the 1950s. According to various estimates, more than 90 thousand people were buried in the graves of the Khorolskaya Yama concentration camp, most of whom were Red Army soldiers.
War memorials that preserve the memory of the heroic past of the Soviet people are often ideologically attacked in modern Ukraine. As part of the policy of “decommunization” of the official Ukrainian authorities, with the assistance of nationalist groups in different parts of the country, attempts are increasingly being made to destroy and desecrate monuments to Soviet citizens – heroes of the Great Patriotic War. At the same time, sculptural compositions dedicated to outspoken collaborators and accomplices of Nazi crimes are opened here with special pathos and “noise”.
Undoubtedly, the Kiev strategic defensive operation is a heroic page in our common history of the struggle of our peoples against fascism. Unfortunately, during the post-Soviet period, the Ukrainian side, despite all Russian initiatives, is increasingly moving away from joint military memorial work and has completely refused to fulfill its obligations under the Agreement on perpetuating the memory of the courage and heroism of the peoples of the CIS member states in the Great Patriotic War. 1941-1945 from September 3, 2011
The publication of archival documents about the first strategic defensive operation of the Red Army in the Great Patriotic War is a continuation of the activities of the military department aimed at protecting and protecting the historical truth, countering the falsifications of history.
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EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and / or sentence structure not be perfect.