Forcing the Neman. Brave seven

The grove under the mountain was burning,

And the sunset blazed with her.
There were only three of us left
Out of eighteen guys …

The Nazis were already driven from the Belarusian land. The soldiers of the 433rd Infantry Regiment did not sleep for a day, pursuing the enemy. And only when they were exhausted and exhausted, they stopped for a halt. And if you like it or not, you will stop: there is a river ahead, you will not jump over. But as soon as the soldiers pulled up to the shore, the order came: to proceed to the crossing of the Neman.

The night of July 13, 1944 was unusually warm and dark. But the darkness and silence in war is deceiving. The platoon leader Lieutenant Sukhin was careful: he decided to send reconnaissance first. Having received the order, Sergeant Kalinin selected four fighters, explained the task. We decided to swim across the river. It was already getting light. Mist rose from the water. They kept close, so as not to lose sight of each other. Although the Neman is not wide in this place, only 70-80 meters, the current is strong, and the scouts were carried far away from the place of the proposed landing. The enemy was not found. They returned to their shore. They reported this to the commander. The order is to start the crossing.

About a third of the way was left behind when the silence was broken by gunfire. It became clear that the Germans did not find themselves precisely because they noticed the intelligence. There is only one way out – faster under the protection of the coast, into the dead space. Loaded with clothes, a machine gun, disks and grenades, and even under bullets, Stepan swam very slowly.

Seven made it to the steep bank. The Neman is not wide, but exhausted, as if they had sailed a good mile. The soldiers held on to the hanging bushes, barely catching their breath. And right there nearby, about a hundred meters away, one after another explosions were heard. It was the Germans who were destroying the paratroopers with heavy fire, who made it to the gentle bank.

Stepan and the remaining soldiers got out of the bushes, set up positions, and hid. There was no doubt that the Germans had seen them. After all, the distance from the forest to the coast is some one hundred – one hundred and fifty meters. And the trenches of the Nazis just run along the edge of the forest. Apparently, they did not attach much importance to a handful of soldiers. Soon the paratroopers noticed a revival in the enemy camp. A company of enemy soldiers launched a counterattack on seven daredevils.

From a group of fascists, met with artillery fire from beyond the Neman and automatic fire of the seven brave, no more than one third survived. Before the second attack, German mortars fired at the patch occupied by the Russians for a long time and methodically. Kalinin judged that the ammunition might not be enough, and sent three people to the place of death of his comrades, to a gentle section of the coast. Maybe, besides, who is alive. And if not, there are discs and grenades …

There were no survivors. And they brought a lot of cartridges and grenades. This additional ammunition was very useful for the brave seven.

“Thank you guys for your help,” the sergeant mentally turned to those killed.

Eight Day Attacks! Yes, four nights. And they recaptured everything. By dawn the next day, it suddenly became quiet. Kalinin had already learned not to believe the silence. This means that the enemy is again preparing some kind of trick. But which one? And suddenly, at some point, the sergeant felt: there was nothing ahead, no one. And he was not the only one who felt it.

They shouted, even gave a burst of automatic weapons – quietly. They listened, puzzled, and soon realized – after all, it was not for nothing that they thought it half an hour ago, or really heard the Russian “hurray” muffled by the distance. It was now clear. Somewhere there was the main battle. And as a result of it – an imperceptible, under cover of night, the retreat of the Nazis, who occupied a position in the forest.

Now that everything was cleared up, mortal fatigue fell on the soldiers. Two sleepless days and the enormous strain of physical strength and nerves in which we were all this time affected. Boats with reinforcements sailed from their native shore. Some hour later, washed, fed, with a sense of accomplishment, all seven slept in a heroic dream. Only the next day did they catch up with their battalion and set foot on the move. But Stepan was not lucky: he was then seriously wounded.

Much later, already in the hospital, Stepan Nikitovich learned the details of the operation in which he participated. Their landing performed a distraction, creating the appearance of a massive breakthrough, while the actual crossing was in another place. Distracting the enemy and taking fire upon himself, Kalinin and his comrades helped the command to mislead the enemy and disorganize his defense. This feat was marked with the highest government award. All participants in that battle I.G. Sheremet, I.I. Osinny, A.P. Nichepurenko, M.S. Maidan, T.I. Solopenko, Z.S. Sukhin and S.N. Kalinin were nominated for the titles of Heroes of the Soviet Union.

Forcing the Neman.  Brave seven

Kalinin Stepan Nikitovich

The future hero was born on November 25, 1923 in the village of Pokrovka, Abdulinsky District, Orenburg Region. After finishing seven years of school, he worked on a collective farm. In November 1941, Kalinin was called up to serve in the Workers ‘and Peasants’ Red Army. Since January 1942 – on the fronts of the Great Patriotic War. In the summer of 1944, Sergeant Stepan Kalinin commanded a squad of the 433rd Infantry Regiment of the 64th Infantry Division of the 50th Army of the 2nd Belorussian Front.

Stepan returned to his native village only in 1947. Though three wounds, but alive! On the chest – four orders, three combat medals and the Gold Star of the Hero. This meeting was joyful, however, and not without tears. Five brothers fought with the Nazis, two of them died, one returned disabled. The survivors had to revive the exhausted, wounded land …

Obelisk to 7 soldiers, who crossed the Neman River on July 14, 1944, captured a bridgehead on the western bank of the river and repulsed 12 Nazi counterattacks during the day

Used materials:,, “Feat in the name of the Motherland” (Kuibyshev, 1984).

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