Battle of Rostov in 1943 through the eyes of participants in the war – Rossiyskaya Gazeta

On February 14, 1943, at 22:40, Colonel-General Rodion Malinovsky and the Chief of Staff of the Southern Front, Lieutenant-General Ivan Varennikov, sent Stalin the long-awaited combat report No. 0047 / OP about the capture of Rostov-on-Don. The attack on the “Gates of the Caucasus”, which lasted about a month, was successfully completed, but the victory came at a high price. This is evidenced by the memories of the liberators of the Don capital.

“Simonov in Stavropol. There, on the wall of one of the Gestapo cells, he saw inscriptions squeezing his heart. First:” There were 19 of us, no one older than 18. Now they are taking us to kill, avenge us. “And the second:” If you are in Rostov, go to Budennovskaya Street and tell my father that I … “Whoever wrote these words could not finish. Simonov swore on behalf of our soldiers to unknown young men: “We have read these inscriptions. We will avenge you, comrades, and for you, an unknown comrade who has not completed his will. We tell you and your ashes: we will be in Rostov, we will definitely be in Rostov. We will tell your father, if he is alive, that we will avenge you and will continue to take revenge until the last of those whom we take revenge on either raises his hands or is killed “, – writes in the autobiographical book “Forty-third”, the editor of the newspaper “Krasnaya Zvezda” David Ortenberg.

“I closely watch the coast. Fascists walk there alone and in groups. They are more than 400 meters away. A fascist appears on an open section of the street. Who is he: an officer or a soldier? You can’t tell from a distance. Holding my breath, aim, pull the trigger.” The fascist leans back, as if he is stepping on something sharp, and falls, as if reluctantly, to the ground.

Nobody crawls to the killed one. It turns out that he was a private. But the private raises his hand, tries to get up and cannot. Wounded, then. The orderlies with stretchers run out from behind the house. Hastily put the wounded on the stretcher. Jogging back.

Shoot or not shoot? I know that the Nazis are bombing our hospitals, ambulance trains, exterminating the wounded, they killed my brother. I follow the first orderly with the crosshair. I feel that I will fight him, how to give him a drink, and after him, and the second. But … This is how it happens at the front: a person is at gunpoint and leaves alive. I lower my rifle and don’t regret not firing. “, – remembers sniper of the 159th separate rifle brigade Pyotr Belyakov. In the battles for Rostov-on-Don, he destroyed 16 German soldiers and officers.

“I stayed in Kagalnitskaya for several days. I stopped in a house whose owner, a gray-haired old man, greeted me with some special dignity. In addition to him and his wife, their daughters, daughters-in-law and grandchildren still lived in the house. When I first entered the room, then Immediately I was struck by the photographic portrait hanging on the wall, so riddled with bullets that it was impossible to see the features of the face. But below, on the chest, were the St. George’s crosses, medals arranged in two rows. To the questions about whose portrait it was and what happened to it happened, the old man replied: “And it was the SS who shot me”, – writes in his book “Behind the Line of the Front Letter”, the intelligence officer of the Southern Front, Academician of Sciences of the USSR Yevgeny Sergeev.

“The troops of the front on February 14 after long and stubborn battles captured Rostov / n / D and over 20 other settlements, including Alekseevka, Kuteinikovo, Budyonny, Kamenny Brod, Grushevskaya, Aksayskaya …

The 28th Army broke into Rostov at night and, overcoming obstacles, mining areas and the resistance of the enemy covering detachments, took it. In the battles for Rostov distinguished themselves 248th Infantry Division under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Kovalev, 156th Infantry Brigade under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Sivankov, 34th Guards Infantry Division under the command of Colonel Dryakhlov, 159th Infantry Brigade under the command of Major Dubrovin, – from telegram No. 0047 / OP to the Supreme Commander-in-Chief.

“Rostov. Gloomy, scorched, uncrowded. More or less survived only the outskirts of the city, Nakhichevan, with small one-storey houses. All the central streets are ruined, icy, cold, black. An elderly, emaciated man is walking along the street, pulling a sled by a rope. a coffin knocked down from two plywood boxes with the familiar words “Dukat Cigarettes” written on the boxes. Rostov-on-Don. ”I don’t know how it will be, but now it seems to me that, remembering later about these desperate days of the war, desperate not from the point of view of martial law, we are already advancing almost everywhere, but from the point of view of the state of there is a country and people, I will always remember this icy Rostov street, this person and this coffin from two cigarette boxes “, – wrote in his diary, the writer Konstantin Simonov.

“Somehow Malinovsky and I jokingly agreed to bring Gerasimenko a bottle of cognac, but to make a condition that he can drink this cognac only when he takes Rostov. Let the cognac loom in front of his nose. So the gypsy tied a clump of hay in front of the horse’s face so that it So we used the “gypsy method”, we decided to tie up brandy so that its smell would push the army commander to speed up the capture of Rostov …

Malinovsky and I arrived in Rostov. Gerasimenko met us and immediately pulled out a bottle of cognac. We joked that perhaps we should drink cognac not with you, but with the general who commanded the troops north of Rostov? Gerasimenko understood this too, but he was resourceful and immediately joked “, – will write in the memoir “Time. People. Power” former General Secretary of the CPSU Nikita Khrushchev.

“In 1946, the Ogonyok magazine wrote to my father asking him to tell us about his most memorable and happy day of the Great Patriotic War. I consider the draft of his answer to be one of the most valuable documents in the entire archive. He replied:“ I would very much like to call this day 9 May 1945. Or April 10, 1944, when my native Odessa was liberated. But the most memorable day of the whole war for me was that bitter day when we left Rostov. I thought about this city every hour, every minute. And I can say with confidence that the first truly happy day of the war for me was February 14, 1943, when we recaptured Rostov from the enemy“- said the daughter of the Soviet Marshal Natalya Malinovskaya.

Source: Российская Газета by

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