He is a Siberian, which means …
My father, Tarasov Lev Nikolaevich, is a participant in the Great Patriotic War. He is one of the millions. Originally from Siberia, more precisely, from the village of Verkhne-Rudovskoye, Zhigalovsky district, Irkutsk region. He is a Siberian, but not one of those who were so expected at the front in the difficult 1941 year. And not one of those who marched along Red Square on November 7 of the same 41st, then go straight to the front line.
The war began on June 22, 1941, and that year my father had just entered his 10th grade graduation. He was not yet 17 years old, and instead of school, the Irkutsk city military registration and enlistment office sent him to an infantry military school, like everything else then – accelerated. After graduating from college in March 1942, the young graduate Lev Tarasov was assigned the rank of junior lieutenant and was sent to the front. And he ended the war as a lieutenant.
At the front, he became the commander of a mortar platoon of the 954th Infantry Regiment of the 194th Infantry Division, which was part of the 49th Army of the Western Front. This division, originally a mountain rifle division, unlike many others, almost did not change its composition and affiliation to the fronts. She did not become guards, but received her Red Banner, and a special name – Rechitskaya, for the liberation of the Belarusian Rechitsa in the Gomel region.
The 194th Division withstood no less battles with the enemy than the most famous formations. After the 49th army, she was part of the 5th and 31st armies, for a month she was even in the ranks of the 2nd tank army, until it was decided to completely free such mobile units from the infantry. In April 1943, the division was transferred to the 65th Army of the legendary General Pavel Batov, and on the Central Front she led an offensive on the north-western face of the Battle of Kursk.
Finally, already as part of the 48th Army of General P. Romanenko of the Belorussian Front (later the 1st Belorussian), the division was included in the newly formed 42nd Rifle Corps. In the last campaign of the war, 1945, the division in which his father served was already in the 53rd Rifle Corps, first of the 2nd and then of the 3rd Belorussian fronts.
The 194th Rifle Division also has its own museums: one in the southeast of Moscow, and the other at the Belyaevo state farm in the Yukhnovsky District of the Kaluga Region. We will definitely tell about them on the pages of the “Military Review”.
It happened near Kursk
There is no doubt that the father himself was a very brave officer. I will give only one, rather extraordinary, example from his frontline biography. When, during the offensive, the Nazis bombed a car with food and the battalion’s field kitchen, my father took several soldiers and went to the nearest village, where the Germans were stationed, to buy food.
Through the snow, in white camouflage coats, on skis, when it was getting dark, they came to a house on the outskirts of the village, where the invaders were noisily walking. Our scouts quickly and tightly bolted the windows and doors, and they did it very quietly so that they could not, or rather, not have time to be detected.
They didn’t start shooting and didn’t try to take the tongue. The task was quite different. The soldiers entered the barn, took the cow and the bull, then climbed into the cellar, collected potatoes and various vegetables, packed everything in bags and took them to their home part. This is how they saved almost the entire regiment from hunger.
For which they were awarded the Order of Alexander Nevsky, in fact, a military leader. However, such a “front-line” operation, probably, could be the envy of many great commanders. At the front, the task of my father’s units was, first of all, reconnaissance in force. He once told me about reconnaissance in force in a soldier’s way:
“With a very small number of fighters, it was necessary to learn as much as possible about the enemy, his forces and capabilities, about the placement of firing points, fortifications and reserves. In addition, a small platoon in each such offensive had to go on the attack first, and start the battle as actively as possible.
The fascists had to be made to believe that it was here that the main blow would be inflicted. And even better, if the enemy thereby creates the impression that the attack is being conducted by at least a battalion, or even a whole regiment, and it is necessary to urgently pull up reserves or transfer reinforcements from other sectors of the front. After reconnaissance in force, our high command, having estimated the number and combat power of the enemy, could launch a full-scale offensive. “
It was during one of these “reconnaissance in force” that my father was wounded. Groping for the enemy’s forces, the platoon began its offensive, but soon killed one of the machine gunners. The platoon commander, and this was my father, crawled to the machine gun to change it, but as soon as he looked out from behind the machine gun shield, he was wounded by a sniper. Shot to the commander took out the left eye.
It happened on March 1, 1943 near Kursk, near the village of Kilkino. Then, after the spring counter-offensive near Kharkov by the SS tank divisions of Field Marshal Manstein, who was eager to avenge Stalingrad, the fronts had just arched in a famous arc.
It was there, on the Kursk Bulge, in the summer of 1943, that one of the decisive battles of the war will take place. After the battle, the seriously wounded platoon commander was taken immediately to the nearest field hospital, bypassing even the divisional medical battalion. With such a wound, we could talk about the end of a military career, but nevertheless, after being cured until the end of the war, his father served in the army headquarters.
The ordinary life of a simple veteran
Literally a few days after the Victory, my father wrote one of his first poems, which was rather rare in content for that time:
The last volleys of guns have drowned,
But hot battles are harsh days
No one will ever forget
They will be immortal in history.
Having achieved victory in a fierce battle,
We meet again family and friends.
Who survived years of need and hardship,
Who went for the freedom of their Fatherland.
Who often, neither sleep nor rest without knowing,
In the rear doing hard work,
Straining all your strength and will,
He also forged a victory over the enemy!
On account of Lev Tarasov there were not so many awards: the medal “For Military Merit” and the Order of the Patriotic War II degree, received in 1945, as well as the post-war Order of the Patriotic War of the I degree. The veteran was awarded them by the 40th anniversary of the Great Victory. It seems to me that this is because the infantry and privates, and commanders of orders and medals were given very, very sparingly by the command.
Most likely, my father could well continue his military service. But after the war, like many fellow soldiers, Lev Tarasov decided to demobilize, he entered and graduated with honors from the Irkutsk Mining Institute. For several years he worked as the head of a geological party, and after a while received another higher education, graduating from the Institute of National Economy with a degree in Industrial Economics.
But even on this, the veteran decided not to complete his studies. Lev Tarasov received his third higher education when he graduated from the journalism faculty of the State University in the same Irkutsk, which has long become his home. At one time his fables and humoresques were regularly published in the humorous magazine “Crocodile”, many still remember how popular he was. On January 31, 1990, my father passed away, but we will pass on his memory from generation to generation.