Do you remember, sapper? Do you remember, sister?

Everyone who could and had time fought

The Great Patriotic War left an indelible mark on our family. My father, my wife’s grandfather and my aunt, my father’s sister, fought with us. Mom, then Valentina Vasilievna Polevova, as a 14-year-old teenager worked 12 hours at a military plant, she made boxes for shells. My father, Vladimir Dmitrievich Lepilin, was born in Moscow in 1925.

His parents were Dmitry Matveyevich Lepilin and Stepanida Andreevna Kondratyeva, who came from the peasants of the Ryazan province. Vladimir was the youngest child in the family. He had two sisters – Anna and Antonina.

The family settled in Moscow even before the birth of their son. My father went to fight at the age of 17 – he attributed a year to his age, which was done then by many. Was drafted in Izmailovo, in the then Stalin district military enlistment office. From January to May 1943, he was trained in a separate reserve sapper battalion and from May 1943 to August 1945 he fought as a sapper.

Vladimir Dmitrievich served in a special unit (178th separate motorized engineering battalion. – Author) of the 4th Guards Rifle Corps, which was part of the Central, and then in the 1st Belorussian and 2nd Belorussian fronts. His father ended the war in the 2nd Shock Army already as part of the 41st Red Banner Motorcycle Engineer Order of Suvorov, the Reserve Brigade of the High Command, which was sent to East Prussia.

He told us a lot about how, risking his life, he crawled along the no-man’s land, set and removed minefields. He also recalled his combat adventures as a messenger, when he practically collided head-on with the Nazis. About how he loved to sing with colleagues between battles.

And he sometimes recalled how the soldiers, anticipating danger, thought that they might die. This, alas, is what happened to many of his comrades in arms. But my father was probably lucky, and during the whole war he received only one light wound. His mother, Stepanida Andreevna, during the war received several letters of thanks from the commanders of the unit in which his father served. Here is just one of them.

They reached Königsberg

Vladimir Dmitrievich – holder of the Order of Glory III degree. In his award list, it is written quite enough to once again understand: such awards were not given to anyone just like that. It is no coincidence that the soldiers immediately equated “Glory” with the Cross of St. George.

“Red Army soldier Lepilin V.D. especially distinguished himself during the execution of a combat mission to mine the front edge of our defense on the left bank of the river. Vistula. In a difficult combat situation, under enemy fire in the neutral zone, in two nights, he installed 25 anti-tank mines.

During the offensive of our units under heavy machine gun and mortar fire of the enemy comrade. Lepilin V.D. transferred and installed 100 pcs. anti-tank mines, and he also made two passes in minefields. These passages ensured the exit of tanks and artillery to the village during the offensive. Dombrowki. The village of Dombruvki was taken by our troops.

I am applying for rewarding the Red Army soldier V.D. Lepilin. Order of Glory III degree.

Battalion Commander Major Belous, Chief of Staff of Art. Lieutenant Metelkov “.

Also, my father was awarded the medal “For Courage”, which enjoyed special respect among the soldier-sergeant staff, since junior commanders who fought side by side with them could also represent it. We found an award list on the “People’s feat” website, which also cannot be cited here:

“Lance corporal Lepilin distinguished himself especially when escorting self-propelled artillery on the approaches to the city of Gdynia. Our self-propelled units were blocked by an anti-tank barrier, the approaches to which were fired upon by the enemy’s machine-gun fire. barrier, which contributed to the successful promotion of SPGs in Gdynia. “

In January 1945, my father liberated Warsaw, for which he also received a combat medal.

Minesweeper Vladimir Lepilin reached Koenigsberg, where he ended the war with the rank of junior sergeant. For exemplary military service, courage and heroism shown in battles with the Nazis, he was sent to Moscow to participate in the 1945 Victory Parade. In the footage of the historical chronicle, you can also see my father marching on Red Square on June 24, 1945.

His older sister, Lepilina Antonina Dmitrievna, also fought, served as a technician in the famous women’s bomber regiment under the command of Marina Raskova. At first it was just numbered – 587, and later, when the regiment commander tragically died along with the crew, he bore her name and became the 125th Guards dive-bomber regiment.

The regiment was part of the 4th Borisov Bomber Division, Guards and Red Banner, which bombed the Nazi rear and positions from Smolensk to Konigsberg. Somewhere there, they probably could meet with their brother, but unfortunately, no information or memories of this have remained in the family.

They were lucky to stay alive

Vladimir Dmitrievich finished his service in 1947, from the sappers he was transferred to the artillery. He served, however, only to the deputy commander of the gun of the artillery brigade. He was the gunner for 85mm cannons and 152mm howitzers. After the war, my father worked as a modeller at the Salyut military aircraft factory.

Unlike her younger brother, Antonina Lepilina went through almost the entire war. At the airfields, which the regiment had to change almost constantly, she repaired the aircraft of our famous pilots and attached heavy bombs to them.

Do you remember, sapper?  Do you remember, sister?

Antonina Dmitrievna finished the war with the rank of guard sergeant of the technical service. She was awarded the Order of the Red Banner, medals “For Military Merit” and “For the Defense of the Caucasus”. For the 40th anniversary of the victory, she also received the Order of the Patriotic War, II degree.

Vladimir Dmitrievich and Antonina Dmitrievna Lepilin, 1963, Narofominsk

My sons and I will always remember the military exploits of my father, his sister, participants in the Great Patriotic War, the labor exploits of my mother, a member of the labor front, and be proud of their contribution to our Great Victory.

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