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The Battle of the Century

Pictured: Marshal V. I. Chuikov signing his book Battle of the Century (Srazheniye Vyeka); Autographed copy of Battle of the Century addressed to Colonel Doroshenko V. A., signed by the author V. Chuikov, 26 March 1976; Book recipient Colonel Vladimir Akimovich Doroshenko, who served in Chuikov’s 62nd (8th Guards) Army in the 39th Guards Rifle Division under the leadership of Colonel E. T. Marchenko (who took command in 1944).

Marshal Chuikov enjoyed spending time with his former soldiers after the end of the Great Patriotic War, serving as the chairman for the Council of Veterans for the 62nd (8th Guards) Army. Having written several volumes regarding his experiences from Stalingrad through the capitulation of Berlin, Chuikov would often present his personally autographed books as gifts. One of the veterans of the 39th Guards Rifle Division, Colonel Doroshenko, was the recipient of a personalized book in 1976. Vladimir Akimovich is featured on the website focusing on veterans of the Great Patriotic War:

Doroshenko fought in the Battle of Stalingrad, the Korsun-Shevchenko operation, the battles for the liberation of the city and fortress of Poznan, the crossing of the Dnieper, the Bug, the Vistula, and all other battles in which the 62nd (8th Guards) Army of Chuikov took part.”

Marshal Chuikov wrote about the role of 39th Guards Rifle Division in the defeat of the Nazis in his book titled The Battle for Stalingrad:

“The 39th Guards Division distinguished itself in fighting elsewhere than on the Volga too. It played an active part right through to the end of the war in the defeat of the Germans, and ended its military road in Berlin. There are five military honours on its guards’ banner. […] The 39th Guards Division defended the Krasny Oktyabr (Red October) factory for many long days. His men did not know the meaning of the word retreat. Guriev himself did not leave his command post even when the grenades of German tommy-gunners were bursting at the entrance. This happened on more than one occasion. Following the example of the Divisional Commander, the Regimental Commanders fought equally stubbornly and courageously. […]

On 24 December 1942 units of [the] 39th Guards Division, operating in the grounds of the Krasny Oktyabr factory, began to storm the workshops where the Germans were ensconced. At nightfall storm groups had cleared the Germans out of the calibration, central sorting, and machine shops, then reached the western outskirts of the factory, thereby surrounding the Germans left in the factory. The enemy put up exceptional resistance, not wishing to retreat eastward from the factory to the destroyed houses and into the open. […] During the night of the 24th, after a short breathing-space, the Guardsmen continued to storm the factory. Hand-to-hand fighting and close fighting with hand grenades continued till morning. In close fighting the Germans could not stand up against the quick-acting resourcefulness and pressure of our storm groups, and by morning the factory was completely cleared.”


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