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Army of Mass Heroism: Pavlov’s House and Pozharsky’s Artillery

Pictured: (L-R) An envelope with a description of Marshal V. I. Chuikov’s book, Army of Mass Heroism; the book’s cover art; and a matchbox cover ad for the book from 1960.

English translation of the Ukrainian envelope verbiage: The illustrated book of memoirs of Marshal of the Soviet Union V.I. Chuikov “Army of Mass Heroism” is an exciting story of the former commander about the heroic battles near Stalingrad and within the city in the unforgettable [year of] 1942. The exploits of the soldiers and officers of the 62nd Army, veterans of the Stalingrad defense, became a wall to protect the Volga fortress. The book can be purchased in the regional bookstore or consumer union, as well as through the republican store “Book by Mail.”

The longer I research the life and work of Marshal Chuikov and the Battle for Stalingrad, the deeper my admiration and respect for the 62nd Army and members of the Military Council becomes. These soldiers overcame a plethora of trials, from shortages of ammunition, supplies, and manpower as well as utter exhaustion of consistently heavy combat. Marshal Chuikov composed his memoir Army of Mass Heroism while stationed at the Kiev Military District to describe the sacrifices of the brave men and women who answered the call to defend the Motherland to the bitter end.

A prolific author, Vasily Ivanovich went on to publish several books and journal articles detailing the 62nd Army (later 8th Guards Army) actions and their push from Stalingrad in 1942 to Berlin in 1945. For example, in spite of communication challenges, soldiers from all over the Soviet Union who spoke various languages worked together to combat the Nazis. Other generals and officers shared their accounts of the successes of the Red Army in Stalingrad in their memoirs as well. The following excerpt of author Ivan Paderin’s “In Stalingrad” is from the English language publication titled Soviet Military Review from December 1982. Paderin was one of General Chuikov’s 8th Guards Army soldiers who fought with him from Stalingrad to Berlin.

“In their newspapers, the Nazis described the House of Specialists (now known as the Sergeant Pavlov House) as a fort garrisoned by at least a battalion. They were wrong. The whole of the Soviet Union was defending the Sergeant Pavlov House. It was held by Pavlov and Afanasyev, Russians; Sagbaida and Glushchenko, Ukrainians; Mosiyashvili, a Georgian; Turdylev, an Uzbek; and Ramazanov, a Tatar. They managed to hold it for 56 days.

The author has devoted many kind lines to Major-General Nikolai Mitrofanovich Pozharsky, Chief of artillery of the Army. Pozharsky skillfully commanded the artillery. He was constantly on the firing positions displaying personal courage and skill in fighting the enemy. An antiaircraft battery covering the command post of the army failed to shoot down any of the dive bombers that were constantly harassing the Mamaev Hill.

Suddenly a man with a cape on his shoulders appeared on the firing positions. He took the place of a gun layer. After the third round, the leader of a Luftwaffe dive-bomber squadron crashed to the ground. General Chuikov rang up the battery, saying: ‘Good show, boys. Recommend the gun layer for an Order.’

Chuikov asked the battery commander to give him the rank, surname, first name and patronymic of the gun layer. He was extremely surprised to hear: ‘Rank -major-general, surname – Pozharsky’… The army commander said, ‘Send the gun layer to me, otherwise he will grab all your Orders.’

Later, Marshal of the Soviet Union Vasily I. Chuikov remarked that Pozharsky was a real antiaircraft sniper and excellent organizer of his branch. Under Pozharsky the artillery worked wonders on the banks of the Volga, maneuvering with fire and displaying unexcelled accuracy. However, it was the infantry units and formations that bore the main burden of the fighting. They are the main heroes of the story” (54-55).


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