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The feat of the tank crew Stepan Horobets
Material posted: Publication date: 06-07-2015
Even the most terrible for Red Army the first months of the Great Patriotic War showed to us a considerable quantity of feats of the Soviet soldiers and officers. These feats will be for ever entered in history of our country. If to speak about tankmen the considerable share of a merit in their feats has been concluded and in their fighting vehicles. For example, known battle of the commander of a tank company of senior lieutenant Kolobanova was completed by destruction of a German tank column from 22 enemy cars not only because of a professional choice of a place for an ambush and harmonious work of all crew of the tank, but also thanks to outstanding characteristics of heavy tank KV-1 which has not brought the crew in that to battle. Everything that to it Germans could make, is to break vision devices and to jam a turret traversing mechanism.

But not all battles dared only the superiority of fire power and record booking of the Soviet tanks of those years. As the Polish writer Stanislav Ezhi Lets fairly marked: «it is frequent one boldness a little, it is necessary also impudence». In days of war this aphorism justified time and again itself. From military impudence of Russian soldiers and uniqueness of their actions and behaviour in battle conditions at soldiers and officers of Vermahta often occurred, as though have now told, «template rupture». Already after war in memoirs many officers were distressed that cannot understand, how the opponent could attack an infantry batallion on a march from an ambush forces of all five soldiers or as it is possible to attack the opponent in a city forces of all one tank. The last in October, 1941 was made by crew of tank T-34 of Stepan Gorobets which has alone rushed into Kalinin (now Tver).

Life of the Hero of Soviet Union Stepan Gorobets has appeared inseparably linked with the Tver region, here, at defence of Kalinin, the tank crew under its management has made successful single tank break through all city. Here on this earth, during offensive combats near Rzhev the given tankman has laid down the life in 1942.

Stepan Hristoforovich Gorobets was born in small village Dolinsky on February, 8th, 1913. He has grown in the Kirovograd area, on a nationality was the Ukrainian. The ordinary Soviet guy from a country family before war worked the machinist gazoduvnoj turbines on azotno-tukovom a factory. He has met war by the ordinary senior sergeant, the tankman who has just ended uchebku. Took part in battles since September, 1941. By the time of fulfilment of tank spot-check which has made his name immortal, Gorobets's all battle experience made only one month. Battle which has occurred on October, 17th, 1941, later name the sample of the present boldness, military impudence and resource.


On October, 17th, 1941 before 21st separate tank brigade the uneasy problem has been put: to carry out deep spot-check in back of the opponent on a route Big Selishche - Lebedevo, having routed forces of Germans in Krivtsevo, Nikulino, Mamulino, and also to seize the city of Kalinin, having freed it from aggressors. The brigade needed to carry out a fighting patrol, having broken through a city and having united with the units which have occupied defence on the Moscow highway. The tank batallion of a brigade under command of major Agibalova leaves on Volokolamsk highway. In avant-guard of a batallion there are two average tanks T-34: the tank of senior sergeant Gorobets and its platoon commander Kireeva. Their problem to reveal and suppress the found out weapon emplacements of Hitlerites. On highway our two tanks overtake a German column from motor vehicles with an infantry and armour. Germans, having noticed the Soviet tanks, have time to develop anti-tank instruments and fasten battle. In a course of action tank T-34 Kireeva has been lined and has slipped from highway in a side ditch, and Gorobets's tank has managed to slip forward and to crush positions of German instruments then, without reducing speed, it enters into village Efremovo where engages with a departing column. Having fired on the move at tanks of Germans, having crushed three lorries, the tank at number «03» has flown by on village and again left on highway, the way to Kalinin has been opened.
However during the same time a tank batallion Agibalova going after avant-guard from two Т-34, gets under aviablow junkersov the opponent, some tanks are lined also the commander stops column advancement. At the same time on the tank of senior sergeant Gorobets after battle in village the portable radio set has failed, communication with it is not present. Having come off the basic column of a batallion more than on 500 metres, the crew of the tank does not know that the column has already stopped. Without knowing that there was one, the senior sergeant continues task in view fulfilment, continues a fighting patrol in a direction of Kalinin. On highway to the city of T-34 makes up for a column of German motorcyclists and destroys it.


Simply imagine a situation: defensive actions for Kalinin by that moment are already finished, Germans could occupy a city and were consolidated in it. They have pushed aside the Soviet troops and have occupied defence round a city. The problem put before the Soviet tank brigade - fighting patrol carrying out is actually tank spot-check in German back from Volokolamsk to the Moscow highway. To break in back, to do there to noise, to try to beat off at the opponent Kalinin and to incorporate to other Soviet units on other sector of the front. However instead of a tank column to a city there is a unique tank - "three" of senior sergeant Stepan Gorobets.

Having left village Lebedevo, on the right side from highway the tank crew has revealed German airdrome on which planes and petrol refuellers took place. Gorobets's tank has entered here battle, having destroyed fire two planes Ju-87 and having undermined the fuel tank. After a while Germans have come round, they have started to develop anti-aircraft guns to open fire on the tank over open sights. During the same time the senior sergeant, understanding that its attack is not supported by other tanks of its batallion which already should catch up the with come off avant-guard and simply to sweep the found out airdrome, accepts non-standard, courageous and in some measure the impudent decision.


The radio station on the tank is silent, Gorobets knows nothing about fate of a column of a batallion, how does not know also on what distance has come off the basic forces. In these conditions when Germans already beat on the tank from antiaircraft guns, the commander of the car decides to disengage and break to Kalinin already alone. Having left from under firing of German anti-aircraft guns, our tank on a way to Kalinin again meets a column of German troops. Tridtsatchetverka rams three German cars and shoots a running up infantry. Without reducing speed, the average tank rushes into the city occupied with the opponent. In Kalinin in the street the tank turns Lermontov on the left and is carried by with shooting along the street Tractor, and then on 1st street Zalinejnoj. Around park of Textile workers Т-34 makes turn to the right under a viaduct and calls in in a court yard of "Proletarki": shops of a factory №510 burn and cotton industrial complex, here defence was held by local workers. At this moment Gorobets notices that the German anti-tank instrument is directed at its fighting vehicle, but has not time to react. Germans shoot the first, in the tank the fire begins.

Despite a flame the mechanic-driver of tank T-34 Feodor Litovchenko drives the car on taran and presses the anti-tank instrument crawler bands, at this time other three crewmen struggle with a fire, applying fire extinguishers, quilted jackets, holdalls and other make-shifts. Thanking their harmonious actions a fire it was possible to extinguish, and the gun position of the opponent has been destroyed. However from a direct hit in a tank turret has jammed the instrument, from the weapon in the terrible car there are only machine guns.

Further Gorobets's tank follows along the street Bolsheviks, then passes on the right river bank Tmaki by the female monastery arranged here. Tankmen to a descent force small river on the shabby bridge, risking to bring down the 30-ton car in the river, but all has managed also they left on the left river bank. The tank with number three on the reservation enters into shaft Golovinsky's alignment, whence tries to go out of doors Sofia Perovsky, but meets an unexpected obstacle. Here rails deeply dug into the earth, greetings from workers defending a city are established. Risking to be found out by the opponent, tankmen should use the fighting vehicle as the tractor, loosening the established rails. As a result of them it was possible to move aside, having freed journey. After that the tank leaves on the tram ways going on wide street.

The tank continues the way on the city occupied with the opponent, but now it black, smoked from a recent fire. On it already practically it is not visible neither stars, nor tank numbers. Germans do not react at all to the tank, accepting it for the. During this moment on the left side of street the tank crew sees a column of trophy trucks, GAZ CARS and ZISov with an infantry, cars are recoloured, in them Germans sit. Remembering that shooting from the instrument is impossible, Stepan Gorobets commands to the mechanic-driver to press a column. Having made sharp turn, the tank runs into lorries, and marksman-radio operator Ivan Pastushin waters Germans from a machine gun. Then Germans start to radio hastily about the Soviet tanks which have rushed into a city, without knowing that into a city has entered unique tridtsatchetverka.

Leaving on street Soviet, Т-34 meets the German tank. Having used effect of suddenness, Gorobets bypasses the enemy and rams the German in an edge, dumping it from street on sidewalk. After blow tridtsachetverka has decayed. Germans, having put out from hatches of the car, shout «rus, surrender», and the crew of the Soviet tank tries to get the engine. It Was possible not from the first, but during this moment there was also very good news: the charging Grigory Kolomiets could recover the instrument. Having left the rammed tank of the opponent of, Т-34 jumps out on Lenin's area. Here to a look of tankmen the semicircular building on which huge fascist flags are established opens, and at an input sentries have taken place. The building does not remain without attention, the tank has fired its demolition shells, in a building the fire has begun. Having carried out of the next problem, the tank moves further and meets the improvised barricade. In the street Germans have turned a tram because of which pomegranates fly to the tank. Tridtsatchetverka has managed to bypass this obstacle on a heap of stones (an abatis from the fallen apartment house), having pushed away a tram with the Germans who have sat down behind it, and continues movement further along the street Vagzhanova to the Moscow highway.

Here Stepan Gorobets has found out the disguised art battery of the Germans which instruments have been developed towards Moscow. The tank rushes on a position with back, taranom destroys instruments and blindages, irons entrenchments and leaves on the Moscow highway, having escaped from a city. Through some kilometres near burning elevatora at the tank start to fire strongly almost from different directions. Here there were positions of one of regiments of 5th rifle division. Gorobets's car at first have accepted for Germans, but in time have understood with an accessory and have ceased fire on the tank, meeting tankmen shouts «Ura!»

Later crew Т-34 there was personally major general Homenko commanding by 30th army. Without waiting nagradnyh documents, it has removed from the kitelja an award of the Red Banner and has handed over to its senior sergeant Stepan Gorobets. Already then Gorobets could serve to a rank of the second lieutenant, has been awarded the order Lenin. That is characteristic, the award of the Red Banner in nagradnyh documents officially did not figure, as passed for general Homenko. Later, on May, 5th, 1942, for the courage shown in battles and heroism to second lieutenant Stepan Hristoforovichu Gorobets the rank of the Hero of Soviet Union, but already posthumously has been appropriated.

During approach on February, 8th, 1942 in battle at village Petelino in the Rzhev region Kalininsky (already Tver) areas, operating in battle usages of a coming infantry, crew of tank T-34 of second lieutenant Stepan Gorobets has managed to destroy 3 instruments of the opponent to suppress more than 20 machine-gun points and 12 mortars of the enemy, to destroy to 70 soldiers and officers of the opponent. In it to battle in day of the 29 anniversary Stepan Gorobets has been killed. Him have buried in village Bratkovo of Staritsky region of the Tver region, in a communal grave near to church in 10 metres from highway Staritsa-Bernovo, on the Pushkin ring. In total for all time of battles for the account of crew of the tank of Stepan Gorobets was 7 padded and destroyed German tanks.


Some days before Gorobets's  destruction bashnyor sergeant Grigory Kolomiets has been wounded, its further fate is unknown. And the mechanic-driver of the tank the senior sergeant Feodor Litovchenko and the marksman-radio operator Red Army man Ivan Pastushin have passed all war and have lived to a victory. Subsequently they met with each other on places of former battles, including in the city of Kalinin memorable for them.

Already then it became known that last days wars near Berlin the archive of the German Joint Staff of ground forces has been found in Potsdam. In this archive among other documents the order of the commander by 9th German army of colonel general Strauss from November, 2nd, 1941 has been found out. On behalf of the Fuhrer under the given order the colonel a background of Kestner - the commandant of occupied Kalinin was awarded by an iron cross of the first degree. The award has been handed over «for valour, courage and a vigorous management of garrison at liquidation of tank group of Councils which, having used a snowfall, could break in a city». For the sake of justice it is necessary to notice that to Kalinin 8 tanks of 21st brigade which have slipped to a city under constant bombardments could break. However, having reached southern suburbs of the city, the escaped cars have moved on Pokrovsk on Tourist's Ginovsky highway, the tank of senior sergeant Gorobets was the only thing which has passed with battle through all city.

After war Gorobets's memory and its tankmen has been perpetuated. One of streets of Tver bears now a name of the commander legendary tridtsatchetverki with board number "03". On the house №54 along the street Soviet in Tver the memorial board in memory of legendary tank crew has been established. And later 70 years after described events, in November, 2011 in a city the monument in memory of a feat of crew of average tank T-34 from structure of 1st separate tank batallion of 21st tank brigade of 30th army of Kalininsky front has been opened. Here at a monument to heroes-tankmen in 100-year-old anniversary of Stepan Gorobets memorial meeting has been organised. Also the name of the hero-tankman had been named one of streets in its native village.

On materials from open sources

Juferev Sergey

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