A day later, the famous Sovinformburo announcer Yuri Levitan reported to the whole country: “In the Oryol-Kursk direction, our troops repulsed enemy attacks. The village, occupied by the enemy, was captured by a tank of German personnel and led to their unit.
Thanks to the war correspondents of the newspapers “Pravda”, “Red Star” and the magazine “Front Illustration”, the feat of Soviet soldiers entered the annals of the Red Army. It turned out that there were not seven Hero Scouts, but twelve.
In search of German prisoners under the command of the deputy of the 24 separate reconnaissance battalion, Captain Dmitry Zakrevsky, were: military assistant Bystritsky, Red Army soldier Dobroedov, Corporal Ivannikov, senior sergeant Kalinin, junior lieutenant Kosik, senior sergeant Minin, Army Red Private Novikov, Senior Sergeant Pleshkevich, Sergeant Podolyaev, Sergeant Semenov and Senior Sergeant Seminets.
The events of that night unfolded north of the Ponyri train station. The weather was not summer at all: it was drizzling, it was cool and cloudy. The neutral zone, along the modern “gray zone”, the scouts passed without firing. After a few kilometers, the fighters saw a strip of dim green light.
Photo: “Feat of the people”
“The guys carefully climbed into the tank armor and through the open hatch we saw that there was no one inside the car either. But what was our surprise when, going down the hatch, we found a portable table in the tank .with portable maps of the fascist command placed on it, various secret papers, documents.A working radio station was also located here.Then we came up with a bold idea – to deliver the tank by our own means to the location of our units. , “Ilya Bystritsky, a military aide, later recalled.
Initially, the Panther appeared in Soviet documents, as there were stories about new German tanks at the front, but few people saw them live, but the German Pz.Kpfw tank, well known to the Red Army, became the prey of the explorers. III with additional armor and a short barrel. Due to small arms, these tanks were called “Kurz” in the Wehrmacht.
The armored personnel carrier platoon commander, Junior Lieutenant Pyotr Kosik, sat at the controls. Senior sergeant Nikolai Pleshkevich helped manage, and Bystritsky took the place of a gunner. Part of the reconnaissance group was placed in the tank armor, and part remained to cover the hijacking of the tank.
The Germans tried to recover the car. A firefight began in which, as military correspondents noted, distinguished themselves Senior Sergeant Minin, Private Dobroedov, Senior Sergeant Kalinin, Sergeant Seminets, Private Novikov, and Sergeant Podolyaev killed a German who was aiming at Captain Zakrevsky with his a rifle shot.
With a fight, the Red Army men slipped through the German defense line, but the tank’s engine stalled in the neutral zone, 400 meters from the front line. The scouts called for reinforcements: instead of a tractor to tow the trophy, a T-34 tank arrived. However, the Germans did not want to accept the loss of the car and opened artillery fire on the grove where the captured tank was located. And although the shooting was corrected from a German reconnaissance aircraft, destroying the Pz.Kpfw. I failed.
Photo: “Feat of the people”
Note that Captain Zakrevsky’s scouting party not only captured the German headquarters tank, but also returned from the mission in full force. Only junior lieutenant Peter Kosik suffered a tragic fate, two hours after the successful operation, he died at an observation post during the shelling.
All participants in the night raid received orders and medals. In addition, Captain Zakrevsky received two orders at once: “Red Banner” and “Patriotic War of the 2nd degree.” For the second prize, the officer was presented for another feat: on July 6, two kilometers southwest of the Ponyri station, during an enemy air raid, Captain Zakrevsky shot down a German Ju-88 plane with a machine gun from a distance of 600 meters
And the German 18th Panzer Division was completely defeated and disbanded in September 1943.