41st year graduate
My father, Vladimir Evgenievich Tikhmenev, born in 1923, turned out to be one of the few among his peers who were lucky enough to go through the entire war and stay alive. Like other happy guys and girls, on June 21, 1941, he had a graduation party at school after the end of the decade.
Thousands of graduates walked that night through the streets and parks not only in the capital, all over the country. They believed in the future, shared their plans, dreamed, and on June 22, the war began … My father, who was born in Lipetsk, finished school in Moscow, and at the legendary Moscow stadium “Dynamo” he immediately signed up as a volunteer.
He was fluent in radio business, and already knew German and Polish, it was at Dynamo that he boxed alongside the famous champions Nikolai Korolev and Sergei Shcherbakov. Is it any wonder that after short-term military courses, my father was enrolled in a separate motorized rifle brigade for special purposes (OMSBON), which was formed precisely at Dynamo. By the way, Korolev and Shcherbakov also fought in OMSBON.
The bulk of the Brigade’s personnel consisted of servicemen and employees of the border and internal troops of the NKVD, volunteer athletes, internationalist emigrants who fought in Spain with the Francoist regime. It was in this brigade that the Soviet intelligence officer Nikolai Ivanovich Kuznetsov, a legendary man, fought.
A lot has been written about this brigade, including on the pages of the Military Review: “The victorious fathers. Heroes of the old days. ” The special brigade was a real forge of heroes, many internationalist soldiers fought in it. In this brigade, my father during the war rose to the rank of captain.
Young Vladimir Tikhmenev became a participant in the legendary parade on November 7, 1941 on Red Square as part of the OMSBON combined detachment, from where the columns almost immediately went to the front to defend Moscow.
All four years of the war, my father fought in OMSBON, was wounded, but lightly. He was repeatedly deployed behind the front line, participated in the sabotage operations of the Brigade together with the partisans. Dozens of his comrades fought behind enemy lines, inflicting terrible damage on him. There are few units in the history of war that would give such an effect in their combat work.
Don’t you forget, kamarade?
As a result of the actions of the legendary OMSBON, together with partisan detachments behind enemy lines, German aircraft were destroyed, railway and highway bridges were mined and blown up, military communications echelons were derailed, several factories in the occupied territory that were carrying out military orders of the Nazis were put out of action.
On the brigade’s account were not only destroyed military echelons and entire factories, aircraft and tanks, bridges, but also hundreds of enemy soldiers, officers and generals. Throughout the war, the brigade conducted intensive reconnaissance and counterintelligence, identifying traitors to the Motherland, several dozen of whom overtook just retribution.
Father in the rank of lieutenant, then senior lieutenant commanded a radio platoon, which took part in providing radio communications between the Brigade and partisan detachments. He ended the war in Berlin as a captain. Among them were the Spaniards under his command; it was by communicating with them that my father quickly learned Spanish, the way he spoke with a grin, spoken Spanish.
It so happened that my father had to work more than others with the 2nd battalion OMSBON, which since the summer of 1941 entirely consisted of the envoys of the Comintern, emigrants-anti-fascists. The backbone of the battalion, which was part of the 1st regiment of the brigade, consisted of the fighters and commanders of the international brigades who fought in Spain against the rebels of General Franco. The Spaniards in the 2nd battalion were the most – 125.
In his famous book It Was Near Rivne, Hero of the Soviet Union Dmitry Medvedev wrote about the Spanish volunteers:
“There were many Spanish comrades in Moscow at that time, who at one time fought for a free Spain and then were forced to emigrate. When the war with the Nazis began, the Spaniards began to ask the Soviet government to send them to the front. Many, having learned that partisan detachments were being formed, insisted that they be included in these detachments. Eighteen Spaniards volunteered for my unit. At the very first meeting, they declared that by participating in the war of the Soviet Union against Nazi Germany, they thereby helped liberate all countries captured by the Nazis. “
The commander of the Spanish internationalists was Captain Peregrin Perez Galarsa, and the commissar was Sefarico Alvarez. One of the three Spanish platoons was commanded by Serna Roque, the author of the famous memoirs about the OMSBON internationalists. Among the 125 Spaniards, there were six women.
It is interesting that even the nobles were internationalists, and two Spanish counts turned out to be in OMSBON at once. José Viesca, the son of the owner of several mines, a count who became a communist in his youth, took part in the 1934 Asturias uprising. He was sentenced to death, replaced by thirty years in prison, but the republican government gave the count freedom, and he fought with the Francoists as a battalion commissar, and then a brigade commander.
Spanish veterans of OMSBON. Left – Alexandra, wife of Jose Viesca
Among the Spanish associates of his father was another count – the famous “Catalan” Jose Maria Fina Call. The children’s surgeon, who, according to the recollections of his comrades, more than once carried a doctor’s bag on one shoulder, and a rifle on the other. His father sometimes recalled him, and, perhaps, it was the “Catalan” who prompted him to decide to take Spanish seriously.
After the war, my father decided to finish his Spanish studies at the VIIYAK, the famous Institute of Foreign Languages of the Red Army, which later turned out to be the base for the Military Institute of the Ministry of Defense. My father even became the author of the first Spanish textbook on military translation. He, in my opinion, was fluent in Catalan too.
Fifteen years after the war, my father wrote the book “Cuba – yes!”, Which became extremely popular. It told not only and not so much about the revolutionary events in Cuba, about the deeds and promoted Fidel and Che, but about the whole history of the national liberation movement on the Island of Freedom and in Latin America.
For participation in military operations, my father was awarded the Order of the Red Star, the Order of the Patriotic War of the II degree and military medals, among which two must be singled out. The first, a medal “For Military Merit,” my father received only in 1951, almost ten years after he was presented to her.
And the second medal is very special, and very rare – “Partisan of the Patriotic War” II degree. They were awarded only to those who not only “went” behind enemy lines, but also participated there in specific military operations. It is a pity that my father never told exactly what operations in the German rear he took part in.
Meeting of OMSBON veterans