Five Hero Battery

On this day, the guardsmen of the 6th battery destroyed 24 tanks, including 10 Tigers, and exterminated a lot of infantry. The battery of the guards of Lieutenant Rodionov became the battery of five Heroes of the Soviet Union.

Soviet soldiers bravely met the offensive of the fascist troops near Kursk in July 1943. Thanks to their heroism, steadfastness and military skill, the enemy was stopped. 167th Guards Light Artillery Regiment under the command of Colonel A. A. Budko, on the eve of the German offensive, occupied firing positions in the area of ​​​​the settlements of Muravl, Obydenki-Buzova (about 70 km northwest of Kursk).

On the morning of July 5, elements of the German infantry division, supported by tanks and aircraft, after increased aerial bombardment and artillery preparation, went on the offensive. A fierce battle ensued. At the cost of huge losses, the enemy managed to penetrate our defenses at the junction of the 280th and 132nd rifle divisions of the 70th Army. By the end of the day, the Nazis reached the line of Tureyka, Awakening, Gnilets, Bobrik. They failed to advance further - they were stopped by the stubborn resistance of the Soviet troops.

In these battles, the soldiers of the 6th battery, commanded by Lieutenant S. I. Rodionov, and the 167th Guards Artillery Regiment. They, in close cooperation with rifle subunits, steadfastly repulsed the attacks of the advancing enemy. Around noon, the Nazis surrounded the firing position of the battery, located southwest of the village of Bolotny. Soviet artillerymen quickly took up all-round defense and continued to hold their positions until the enemy ring was broken through by rifle units. At the same time, the artillerymen destroyed several tanks and up to a company of submachine gunners.

On July 6, fierce fighting continued in the sector of the rifle regiment, which was supported by the 167th Guards Artillery Regiment. The Nazis repeatedly went over to the attack, but each time, met with small arms and artillery fire, they rolled back. By the end of July 6, the 167th Guards Light Artillery Regiment received an order to regroup in the Nikolsky area, where there was a threat of breaking through the defenses of the 132nd Rifle Division. The artillery regiment, in cooperation with the rifle regiment, had to repel the onslaught of tanks and manpower of the enemy.

The 6th battery, which was armed with divisional 76-millimeter ZIS-3 guns, was put on direct fire in a tank-hazardous direction near the road, north of the village of Molotychi. Until dawn, without straightening their backs, artillery soldiers worked. They dug out gun emplacements. They built shelters for guns and personnel, cellars for shells and cartridges. Everything was carefully disguised. The soldiers understood that their invulnerability in defense and life itself depended on this. Morning came. Rodionov once again walked around the battery, checked the readiness of the crews for battle. I examined the area around: the black ruins of the village of Teploe were a good guide. From there, according to intelligence, enemy tanks should have appeared.

Lieutenant S. I. Rodionov arrived in the regiment after graduating from the 1st Sumy Artillery School. M. V. Frunze, shortly before the Battle of Kursk. The young commander already had combat experience. In August 1941, he, like other cadets of the school, took part in the battles for Putivl, the Babakovka farm, the settlements of Mikhailovka, Safonovka, Volokitino and Burven. For his courage he was awarded the medal "For Courage". Arriving in the regiment, from the very first steps he began to intensively train his soldiers in the speed of preparing data and accuracy of fire. The soldiers very soon saw in him a knowledgeable commander who knew how to understand the combat situation. These qualities were especially pronounced in the 23-year-old officer when severe trials fell to the lot of his battery.

At 6:30 a.m. the roar of engines was heard in the sky. The lieutenant ordered the guns to be taken into cover, and the people to hide in the crack. More than a dozen enemy planes flew at low altitude. It was clear to see how the bombs were separated. All around shuddered from the explosions. Smoke and flames enveloped the earth. But the night work of the gunners was not in vain. Shelters reliably protected soldiers and military equipment.

As soon as the raid ended, the first shell flew over the battery with a howl - the Nazis began artillery preparation. The shells began to fall more and more often. Soon enemy tanks appeared behind the ruins of the village. There were twelve of them. They were in the battle line. "Battery, to battle!" Rodionov ordered. The soldiers quickly rolled out guns, brought shells. The tanks rumbled closer. It was already possible to see the figures of submachine gunners clinging to the armor of the vehicles. The infantry moved behind the tanks.

Command "Fire!" the battalion commander filed only when no more than 400 m were left to the enemy tanks in order to hit for sure. One of the guns hit the infantry with fragmentation shells, the rest fired armor-piercing shells at the tanks. The batteries acted without fuss, clearly and confidently. Soon, the calculation of senior sergeant M. I. Abdulina set fire to the first tank. The second knocked out the calculation of senior sergeant F. G. Reznik. The third gun from the first shot hit the gas tank of the deployed tank. Above him rose a column of flame and smoke. Soon, 6 armored vehicles were on fire in front of the battery position. Enemy foot soldiers pressed to the ground. And another 10 tanks came out from behind the hillock. They walked at an angle forward, firing as they went. Shells were exploding at the battery position. Communication was interrupted several times, but it was quickly restored by the soldiers of the communications department. There were wounded among the artillerymen. When the Nazi tanks passed through the battle formation of our infantry units, the enemy infantry rushed to the attack. Rodionov ordered the first platoon to hit her with shrapnel. At the same time, the guns of the firing platoon V. K. Lovchev continued to hit the tanks.

The first attack was repulsed. But it was clear to everyone that others would follow her, that, having regrouped their forces, the enemy would again attempt to break through our defenses. The gunners were preparing to continue the battle.

After 2 hours the planes appeared again. Pieces of rails, sheets of iron, drilled barrels flew to the ground with a piercing screech and roar, thus, the pilots of the German bombers tried to exert a psychological impact on the defenders. The soldiers hid in shelters, as they already knew that real bombs would fly to the ground after ordinary iron. And exactly. In less than two minutes, a powerful explosion shook the air. A high-explosive bomb created a huge crater next to the dugout, covering it with earth. After an air raid on the positions of the unit, tanks moved. This time from Samodurovka. They were followed by more than a battalion of infantry.

A fierce battle flared up again. Rifle units of the 498th Rifle Regiment opened fire on the Nazis from machine guns, machine guns, rifles, and anti-tank rifles. Artillery fired directly at the tanks. With a well-aimed shot from a gun, junior lieutenant V. K. Lovchev destroyed the lead tank. The same fate befell several other cars. One of them was knocked out by the calculation of Fyodor Reznik, two - by Mansur Abdulin.

The Nazi tanks opened fire on the battery. The earth trembled from frequent explosions. There was an explosion at Reznik's gun - a gunner was killed by a shrapnel. The crew commander took his place and continued to fire at the enemy. Not less than a platoon of enemy submachine gunners died on the battlefield from the shots of his guns. After some time, another 10 armored vehicles appeared to the left of the battery. At the command of junior lieutenant V. K. Lovchev, the fighters rolled out their guns to open firing positions and hit them point-blank. In this battle, Lovchev's platoon destroyed 6 tanks. Until the end of the day, Rodionov's gunners, in cooperation with the infantrymen, under continuous mortar and artillery fire and aerial bombardment, repelled several more attacks. The enemy did not manage to break through the defense.

In the evening, the regiment received an order to take up firing positions on the southeastern outskirts of the village of Molotychi and, together with the 101st tank brigade of the 19th tank corps, repel the attacks of German tanks and infantry. Night has come. Having changed firing positions, the gunners set to work: repairing damage, replenishing ammunition, digging trenches, building shelters.

During July 9, the enemy attacked our units several times in the Molotychi area. But the hottest battles flared up the next day, July 10. In the morning, enemy bombers attacked the position of the 6th battery. Then the tanks showed up. They came from three directions: on the right, from the front and on the left. Having let them in at 300-400 m, the battery opened fire. Enemy combat vehicles caught fire from direct hits. Again, the crew of Mansur Abdulin fought with courage and skill. When the lead German tank appeared over the crest of the nearest hill, the gun opened fire. The first 3 rounds did not hit the target. After the fourth "Tiger" caught fire. Soon the second and third tanks caught fire. Suddenly, enemy submachine gunners appeared on the left flank. The artillerymen fired several shots with fragmentation shells. The Nazis first lay low, but then began to make their way forward in short dashes. The calculation hit them with fragmentation shells several more times. The machine gunners retreated. But soon, due to light morning clouds, four enemy aircraft dived onto the battery. Bombs howled. Break followed break. One bomb fell next to the gun trench. Only the gun commander M. I. survived from the calculation. Abdulin and gunner I. V. Ryabykin. Both were shell-shocked, but, fortunately, not much.

Tanks appeared again, and Abdulin opened fire with armor-piercing ones. With well-aimed shots, he knocked out 3 more armored vehicles. They continued to hit the enemy until a direct hit by a projectile put their guns out of action, and the soldiers themselves were seriously injured. 8 fascist tanks and a lot of infantry were destroyed in this battle by the calculation of Mansur Idiatovich Abdulin.

Despite losses, enemy tanks and infantry continue to rush forward. Wounded fighters remain in their positions. Nurse Asya Kekejan is here to help them. The ranks of the battery defenders are thinning. The situation on the battery became more and more difficult. Only two guns could fire. Less than half of the personnel remained in the ranks. But the gunners continued to fight.

Junior Lieutenant Lovchev commanded the only serviceable gun remaining in the platoon. He was also wounded, but continued to fight. Artillerymen shoot tanks with guns, and infantry with rifles and machine guns. But the officer was badly wounded. It turned out to be fatal. Commander Viktor Konstantinovich Lovchev, who was an ordinary Moscow turner before the war, fulfilled his military duty to the end.

Gunner Private I. T. Pimenov took command of the gun. A considerable military path was behind this 19-year-old soldier. Cavalier of the Order of the Patriotic War II degree, a participant in the great battle on the Volga, he bravely fought here too. Two tanks and dozens of infantrymen have already destroyed his gun. But he was left alone in the firing position.

Covered with sweat and blood, Pimenov manages to bring shells, and load, and shoot. During the battle, Pimenov noticed that several enemy tanks began to break through to the bush: the Nazis wanted to disguise themselves in it and hit our firing points from there. Pimenov set fire to the lead tank. The second car went to the burning one. The enemy tried to hide behind him in order to fire from there. But the Germans failed to maneuver. It took Pimenov two shots to destroy this tank as well.

Regardless of the losses, the Nazis continue to advance. It seemed that nothing could stop the steel avalanche. But then our heavy guns hit from the depths of the defense, a group of “silts” that appeared above the battlefield unleashed a flurry of fire on the enemy, tankers of the 101st tank brigade attacked from the right flank of the Nazis. The remaining guns of the 6th battery hit the German tanks point-blank. Those of them who managed to break through to our positions were destroyed by fire from anti-tank rifles and Molotov cocktails by the infantrymen of the 498th Infantry Regiment. Soon, about twenty armored vehicles were on fire on the outskirts of the village of Molotychi.

The enemy could not stand it and retreated. But several dozen submachine gunners managed to seep into the height 244.9 adjacent to the position. Having mastered it, the Nazis had the opportunity to view and fire on a significant area of ​​the position of our units, including the 6th battery. Lieutenant Rodionov decided to support the infantrymen's counterattack to capture the height. The battery opened rapid fire with fragmentation shells. Unable to withstand artillery fire and a decisive infantry counterattack, the enemy submachine gunners retreated.

Bloody stubborn battles in the area of ​​Molotychi continued until dark. On this day, the guardsmen of the 6th battery destroyed 24 tanks, including 10 Tigers, and destroyed a lot of infantry. The battery of the guards of Lieutenant Rodionov became the battery of five Heroes of the Soviet Union. This high rank was awarded to Guards Junior Lieutenant Viktor Konstantinovich Lovchev (posthumously), Guards Senior Sergeant Fedor Grigorievich Reznik (who died on July 19, 1943 near the village of Novye Turii), Guards Private Ivan Timofeevich Pimenov (whose life was cut short in the battle for the village of Troena on July 22 1943), Guard Senior Sergeant Mansur Idiatovich Abdulin and Guard Lieutenant Sergei Ivanovich Rodionov.