At the beginning of 1943, the front line in the Don area was moved to the west by 200-250 kilometers. The position of the German troops trapped in the Stalingrad ring sharply deteriorated, their fate was a foregone conclusion. Retreating, the enemy desperately resisted, clinging to every skyscraper, settlement. Hastily ferried echelon after echelon with reinforcements from Millerovo to Voroshilovgrad.
On this branch line Krasnovka was located, which the Soviet command ordered to take the 44th Guards Rifle Division.
But the Nazis also needed this small station like bread.
“The troops of the Southwestern and Stalingrad fronts brilliantly fulfilled the assigned tasks and, having inflicted a swift defeat of the enemy, thwarted Manstein’s plan to unblock Paulus’s troops. In early January, NF Vatutin’s troops reached the line Novaya Kalitva – Krizskoe – Chertkovo – Voloshino – Millerovo – Morozovsk, creating a direct threat to the entire Caucasian group of Germans.
(“Memories and Reflections.” G.K. Zhukov.)[/i]
“To keep the Krasnovka at any cost!”
By order, the construction of an unusual fortification began. The Germans decided to create an impregnable ice wall. Hundreds of soldiers were thrown into urgent work. They piled up beams and logs, stones, boards. They broke up the houses of the village, brought up straw in wagons. From above, this ridge, which looked like a barricade, was sprinkled with snow, and then doused with water. The severe January frosts completed the job, creating an ice bulwark of several meters.
The Nazis did not forget about the flanks. Using the high buildings of the village, machine guns were installed. First of all, at the elevator and pump station. Artillery and mortars were located directly behind the ice wall. But even this was not enough for the fascists. A field was mined in front of the ice ridge, and barbed wire was pulled up.
On January 15, the 44th division went over to the offensive. There was no time to waste. Not only the day, every hour gave the enemy the opportunity to transfer manpower and military equipment to Millerovo. The 130th Guards Regiment of Lieutenant Colonel Tishakov was to attack.
A strong wind raised snow pellets from the ground, painfully whipping off his face. But this was not what made Lieutenant Ivan Likunov, the commander of the 2nd company, put forward at the forefront of the attack, to think. He thought about how to carry out the order. How to overcome obstacles in this open space, to capture at least a small foothold in order to enable all battalions of the regiment to attack.
The soldiers understood their commander at a glance. They didn’t need to explain how difficult it would be.
– The main thing is speed, – the lieutenant set the task.
The rampart is about five hundred meters away. You need to rush in a whirlwind to avoid losses. The artillery will cover us. Let’s start the attack in a smoke screen. In the center is Sedov’s platoon.
Enemy artillery fired at positions in front of the rampart. Our “god of war” spoke up. The checkers were lit, the sappers went ahead. Under cover of a smoke screen, they made passages through the barbed wire and the minefield. A rocket hissed into the sky. Signal to storm.
Likunov raised the company to attack. Until the smoke had completely cleared, they fled in silence. It was pointless to hide at the last hundred meters in front of the rampart. And over the field, the commander’s voice was heard, picked up by dozens of others:
– Hurray-ah! ..
Likunov quickly looked around. Sedov fled not far away with his soldiers. But many are gone. They sprawled motionless on the ground, not reaching the rampart. And he is already here, near However, you cannot run up the shaft: it is tall and steep. The ice shines like polished. Only here and there it was chipped by shells.
Bayonets and sapper shovels were used.
“Take off your greatcoats,” Sedov ordered, realizing what to do.
He grabbed several greatcoats, tied them up, threw one end up. After several attempts, I got caught on some kind of sharp ledge. In a few seconds Ivan was on the shaft. After him, the soldiers began to rise, immediately engaging in battle. The Nazis, unable to withstand the onslaught, retreated deep into the village.
There were thirteen
Likunov counted his fighters. Here it is, his company … 12 people are left of her, he is the thirteenth. But not to retreat, not for that they took the shaft by storm. A hundred meters from the railway embankment, we saw three houses on the very outskirts of the village. Judging by the lull, they are empty. Otherwise, the Germans would have opened fire from them. So we need to go there. As soon as they reached the last house, the lieutenant looked closely: who was left of the company? Two officers – himself and junior lieutenant Ivan Sedov; three junior commanders, eight privates.
A group of daredevils firmly secured the captured houses and held their position for a full day.
Behind the rampart, the continuation of the battle was heard, other companies of the regiment went on the attack, trying to break through to help the encircled detachment, but strong enemy artillery fire blocked their way.
The Germans tried to capture the soldiers and commanders alive and offered to surrender, to which the guardsmen responded with fire. The Likunovites held out for almost a day. Out of cartridges. Feeling that the fire from the houses had weakened, that the circular harrow was no longer there, the Nazis decided to set fire to the houses.
The acrid smoke eaten away my eyes, and there was nothing to breathe. But no one thought to give up. The surviving guards, all who could move, decided to break through. But no one managed to break through.
Only twenty minutes was not enough for Likunov’s company, only twenty …
Having suppressed the enemy’s firing points, Tishakov’s regiment rose to the attack and, breaking the ice wall, burst into Krasnovka.
… The outskirts of the village were illuminated. The houses that became the last line of the Guards company were still burning like three giant torches. And among the houses in the snow, mixed with the earth by shells, lay at least a hundred killed Nazis. The soldiers picked up the remains of thirteen fellow soldiers and buried them in a mass grave. On the same day, the regiment commander, Lieutenant Colonel Tishakov, signed the submissions of those who distinguished themselves for awards. All thirteen soldiers of the 2nd Guards Company were included in this list.
Decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR dated March 31, 1943.
For exemplary fulfillment of the tasks of the command on the front of the struggle against the German invaders and for the courage and heroism shown at the same time
guard lieutenant Likunov Ivan Sergeevich,
Guard Junior Lieutenant Ivan Vasilievich Sedov,
Guard Sergeant Vasiliev V.A.,
guard sergeant Sevryukov N.M.,
Guard Junior Sergeant K. Kubakaev,
Guard to the Red Army soldier Kotov E.P.,
guards to the Red Army Kurbaev A.A.,
guard to the Red Army soldier N.N. Nemirovsky,
Guards Red Army soldier Polukhin I.A.,
Guards Red Army soldier Polyakov K.I.,
guard to the Red Army soldier Sirin N.I.,
Guards Red Army soldier Tarasenko I.I.,
guard to the Red Army soldier Utyagulov Zubay
posthumously confer the title of Hero of the Soviet Union.
The regiment went forward along the difficult roads of war. And the feat of the 2nd company, the feat of thirteen guardsmen remained forever in the memory of the soldiers.
When the Information Bureau about the offensive
Narrated in the chronicle of the war,
When the units went west,
Are constrained by the assault battles,
On a January day in adamant stubbornness,
Striking the enemy, for every inch of the ground
Heavy battle in the scorched Krasnovka
Thirteen of our warriors were leading.
The second day in the icy cold
And the evil wind – devilish pressure!
The brave guards of Ivan Likunov
They took Krasnovka with an attack, point-blank.
Yes, the clouds will not hide the glory of the memorable
And the fierce war will not drag out in smoke …
Live for centuries in that mighty feat
Immortal Guards names!
(Poet of the war years Alexander Nedogonov.)
Materials used: ru.wikipedia.org, warheroes.ru, pamyat-naroda.ru, “Feat in the name of the Motherland” (Kuibyshev, 1984).