Missing. The fate of the fighters of 134 gap

Continuing the study of the battles for the city of Chisinau in 1941, the death of the battery of the 134th howitzer artillery regiment on the streets of the city, captured by Romanian photographers, trying to understand the reasons for leaving the city, reading bit by bit the information collected on the military Chisinau, I open unknown events and facts, with which I consider it my duty to share with the readers of “Military Review”.

Please help me find my son

A photograph of a Romanian reporter and a mother’s inquiry about her missing son are linked by an event that took place on July 16, 1941 on a street in Chisinau.

This is how he is described in Soviet memoirs:

The 9th battery was marching in a column along the city streets and suddenly came under fire from enemy tanks. The gunners did not even have time to deploy their guns to fire at the tanks and were forced to use only rifles, machine guns and grenades. The battery commander, senior lieutenant Halamendyk, hiding behind houses, organizes a perimeter defense, and the battery fights surrounded for several hours.

This is how the Romanian historians of the Second World War describe this event:

On July 16, the 1st Panzer Division launched an offensive on Chisinau at 3:30, approaching the city with. West and northeast. The first group entered the city at 8:30 am, surprising Soviet troops in Chisinau. Near the Metropolis, the company 3 Care e Lupta under the command of Captain Viktor Gabrinsky eliminated a cavalry squadron and a battery of heavy artillery.

A week before these events. To understand the situation on the Moldavian front in the first days of the war (opposition to the German-Romanian offensive plan of Operation Munich), it should be noted that units of the Red Army put up quite serious resistance, went on the offensive, as evidenced by the documents of the 95th Infantry Division, in which included 134 gap.

The same offensive was noted from the “other side of the barricade”:

The divisional commander managed to stop the retreating troops and reorganize the defense line. In addition to the large casualties (as of July 15, the division had 177 killed, 2295 missing and 309 wounded), all equipment of the 63rd artillery regiment and two batteries of the 55th heavy artillery division were lost.

The worthy results of the first weeks of the war were reflected in the gratitude of the commander of the Southern Front, General of the Army I.V.

Not one step back

No, we are not talking about the well-known order of the People’s Commissariat of Defense No. 227 of 1942, where “alarmists and cowards must be exterminated on the spot.”

This was an order from Major General Pastrevich, commander of the 95th Infantry Division. No such orders have been issued before this date.

This did not help and the retreat began. From the memoirs of a participant in the battles of Colonel Sakharov:

On July 12, the divisional commander gives the order to go over to the defensive at an advantageous line. Soon, a new order comes in: sequentially retreat from line to line to the east.

The division received from the corps headquarters a plan for organizing the withdrawal of troops across the Dniester River. I, like many others, then simply did not fit into my head that I would have to retreat further to the east.

But the retreat began, and on a very broad front.

Early in the morning of July 15, the division headquarters arrives in Chisinau and is located in the area of ​​the botanical garden. By this time, instead of General Pastrevich, who had left at the disposal of the Military Council of the 9th Army, the chief of staff, Colonel M.S.Sokolov, took over the command of the 95th division, and I began to act as chief of staff of the division.

The memoirist could not give a stamped fact why the division commander left command, but open archives would fill the gap.

It would seem that this threatened to be shot: to expose the front on their own, but Pastrevich was not shot for unauthorized retreat. After the academy, he finished the war as division commander.

To what extent this offensive was justified and thoughtful, and to what extent the front commander did not inform Headquarters about the retreat, later I.V. Stalin. will say in a conversation with S.M. Budyonny:

Komfronta Tyulenev turned out to be untenable. He does not know how to attack, but he also does not know how to withdraw troops. He lost two armies in a way that does not even lose regiments.

For unsuccessful operations Tyulenev was not repressed, but sent to the Urals District.

Mentioning the situation preceding the capture of the capital of the MSSR is necessary, since the confusion, loss of communication with units, lack of interaction and assessment of the situation among the commanders of units and formations could not but affect the Red Army and subunit commanders.

Irrecoverable losses

Personnel decisions and the severity of the orders did not help much, and by July 15, Chisinau was the immediate task of the Romanian-German divisions, and at this time the batteries of 132 gap and infantry units were retreating through the city, carrying out the order to occupy new lines of defense beyond the Dniester, in the Tiraspol SD.

Romanian reports on the execution of Operation Munich:

At 11:30 the offensive of the second group was stopped by Soviet troops on the Riscanu hill, which were later driven out of their positions by the 2nd battalion with the support of all available heavy artillery. The road of retreat of the Red Army troops to Tighina (Bender) was blocked.

Here, Romanian historians are not entirely right, because the units broke through with battle and left the city until evening:

We reached Chisinau, and there the battalion commander, Major Vrutsky, led the regiment in the center, sitting on a white horse. Although we set up outposts, the soldiers, realizing that the Germans were around, were afraid to retreat, pressed against the main column.

The Germans let us into the center, and then opened heavy fire from houses, from all sides. The major instantly flew off his horse and threw him. Leaving the wounded and killed, they began (as best they could) to leave the city. Leaving Chisinau, they again gathered in a column – about fifty people, the rest died in its streets. The major also appeared.

We were able to break away from the pursuit (German tanks followed us) only because someone guessed to send tanks towards us, which drove them away. We went to the old border along the Dniester, completely surrendering Bessarabia. It was believed that there, in the old fortifications, we would stop them. But the Germans again broke through the defenses on the right and went into our rear, and we began to withdraw again. “

(From the memoirs of Lieutenant of the 90th Regiment of the 95th Rifle Division A. Pulyaev.)

Episodes of sudden clashes on July 16, 1941 are described in the memoirs of the chief of staff of the 95th division of the Sakharov regiment:

Artillerymen and infantrymen head east together. The 7th battery is also fighting bravely. Having deployed directly on the street, it opens fire with direct fire at enemy tanks and infantry. In the most difficult moment, the 2nd battery of the 134th howitzer regiment comes to the aid of the 7th battery. The commander of the fire platoon, senior sergeant I.B. Ermoshin, deploying his guns, fires direct fire at the enemy motorcade. By evening, a battery of three guns arrived in the city. Colonel Serebrov places them at the crossroads for shooting in three directions. Somewhere close by, German tanks rumble. Indeed, a few minutes later, one tank appears from around the corner and immediately opens machine-gun fire. Serebrov commands the guns: “Fire at the tanks!”

The reflection of the memoirs is confirmed in the photographs of Romanian officers taken in the center of Chisinau the next day:

The details of the photos show how fierce one of the battles was.

According to the lists of irrecoverable losses, 6 Red Army soldiers died that day, they were not buried – “left on the battlefield.”

18 disappeared in the city and on its outskirts, 1 was shot. (order of the division commander “Not a step back”).

Missing

With the heroically dead soldiers, everything is formally determined, families received funerals, and the statistics of the huge human losses of the Great Patriotic War were supplemented by new figures.

But what happened to the missing? The war lasted less than a month, everything changed, the situation, values, life. Everything changed to “before” and “after”. Yesterday’s peaceful people hardly realized the seriousness of the situation and understood what was happening. Many commanders, regular military at this stage could not always give an account of their actions and orders, stepping over the line of exercises in peacetime and real hostilities. This is not a topic for speculative conclusions and issuing a “verdict” to the fighters of that time from today. This is a given that must be understood when studying those events.

What happened to the fighters? Have they deserted, taken prisoner, lagged behind their own during the retreat, died unknown or abandoned, shot when taken prisoner?

Everything could have happened.

In Chisinau, on the morning of July 17, a raid was organized, accompanied by document checks, general searches, beatings of residents and robbery. According to the Romanian authorities, the raid turned into a pogrom that lasted 8-10 days. In retaliation for the losses incurred in the night battle, 160 men captured in the central quarters of the city, soldiers of the 72nd Wehrmacht Infantry Division were shot in the courtyard of the Italian consulate.

(NA RM. F. 680, Op. 1 LL.10,11 Unirea.1941 23 July.)

The list of those missing in battles for the city included three fighters, residents of Chisinau, and there was an assumption that they could get out with their comrades after the battle, “leave the courtyards”, hide from the raid and avoid capture. In war, miracles happen that run counter to the dry statistics of combat reports.

In order to establish more fully the results of the events of that battle, to try to clarify the fate of the missing fighters, possible DBs were used (including the Immortal Barrack, well, you never know, maybe they were repressed as traitors, but no).

The search was crowned with success.

Unfortunately, to the request of the mother of Lieutenant Mikhail Mikhailovich Okoryachenko, published at the beginning of the article, it was not possible to find any other answer than the official one.

Of the missing fighters of the destroyed battery of 134 gap, we managed to find these people:

Tkachev Alexander Vasilievich. 05.24.1915 Place of birth – Moldavian SSR, Chisinau. Date of capture 07/17/1941. Place of captivity – Chisinau, camp 2 Homorod.
Bushkov Ivan Ivanovich. 07/03/1921. Place of birth – Kirov region. Place of capture – Chisinau, Camp Stalag X B. Camp number 139565.
Loshkan Porfiry Lavrentyevich. 1912. Place of birth – Moldavian SSR, Rybnitsa district. Captured two days later on 18.07.41. Camp: 7 Balti.
Petrovsky Leon Ivanovich. B. 1909 Kirovograd region. Remained in the occupied territory, drafted in 1944, died in battle in 1944.

Met the Victory:

Yuzenko Ivan Prokofievich. 1920. Place of birth – Ukrainian SSR, Vinnitsa region, was captured and released in 1944. Last place of service: 235 arm. app. cn.
Tsaran Philip Nikiforovich. B.1912 Place of birth – Moldavian SSR, Rybnitsa district. Remained in the occupied territory, was called up again in 44, was awarded the medal “For Courage” for the battles in Austria.
Reshetnyuk Ivan Siliverstovich. B. 1920 Place of birth – Ukrainian SSR, Vinnytsia region. Scout. Captured three weeks later on 06/08/1941, camp Bolgrad. Released 11/22/1944. He fought. 05/28/1945 – Order of the Red Star.
Savenko Iosif Semenovich. 1909. Place of birth – Ukrainian SSR, Kirovograd region, there is no information about capture, in 1942 he was in active units, wounded. In 1944 he was awarded the Medal For Courage.

That’s all.

I am not letting go of the thought that a lot of material has been written with seemingly superfluous details and third-party descriptions, and everything in order to lay out the discovered names and surnames of the soldiers who took the battle in Chisinau, who were listed as missing in reports.

Probably, it is correct, arguing before the reader, to share with him the opportunity to understand the causes and consequences of just one small episode and attempts to find out the fate of the missing people.

Just one episode for two dozen soldiers of one regiment on a vast territory from the Black to the White Sea, just one day of war. How many such forgotten or unknown episodes were there in the war, where people were killed, destroying fate and consigning memory to oblivion? Hundreds and hundreds of thousands …

One unknown event has become less, and the list of the names of fighters lost in history is being read 70 years later. It was worth looking for.

Epilogue

The path of the artillerymen of the 134th regiment was difficult, air raids, deserters, retreats under fire, direct aiming of 152-mm howitzers at enemy infantry, the defeat of two batteries near Chisinau. The list of casualties traces all the way through Moldova, and then the defense of Odessa, the evacuation and the heroic defense of Sevastopol.

At the 16th kilometer of the Simferopol highway, there is a howitzer on the monument – a personal monument to the soldiers of the 134th howitzer artillery regiment.

Ahead is Victory, woven from thousands of episodes and paid for by millions of lives.

The materials of the forum oldchisinau.com and the search databases were used: https://pamyat-naroda.ru https://obd-memorial.ru http://podvignaroda.ru.

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