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Soviet tanker's Komsomol (communist youth) book.

Article about: Hello guys I would like to share with you one of my latest finds which I find interesting- early (opened in March 1939, when the owner joined communist party youth) and used it untill Octobe

  1. #1

    Default Soviet tanker's Komsomol (communist youth) book.

    Hello guys
    I would like to share with you one of my latest finds which I find interesting- early (opened in March 1939, when the owner joined communist party youth) and used it untill October 1942, when, according to my research joined VKP(b). It's more special as this one was used during his service in RKKA where he was drafted whether in 1940 or early 1941 (which confirms the signature on the last page).

    So, let me tell you about something about this man- Sulzhenko Mikhail Mikhailovich, Ukrainian born in 1922. After joining the Red Army he was trained as a tank crewman and his first unit was, as his book says, "military unit 4801". Unit hiding under this numer is 77th tank regiment of 39th tank division. When the German agression has begun 39th tank div. was station on so called territory of Western Ukraine- attached former Polish territories after agression after 17th September 1939. Division, as a part o 16th mechanized corps was stationed at Chernovtsi. Alarmed about German invasion began march in southern direction with all it's tanks-196 T-26 and 13 flamethrower tanks based on T-26 construction. At 9.00 a.m. 22 June 1941 left it's based and headed for villages Voloka and Lukovitsa.
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture Soviet tanker's Komsomol (communist youth) book.   Soviet tanker's Komsomol (communist youth) book.  


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  3. #2

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    Situation on the Southern Front Romanian sector was much different than what happened on the west. During the first days Romanian and supporting German units did not conducted major offensive operations- each side limited it's activity to local engagement. Axis offensive has begun here in early July pushing Soviet formations west. 39th tank div. with it's T-26s manager to retreat without some serious losses. On July 12th 1941 still had 208 T-26s, and on July 22nd 196 (130 working) T-26s and 2 BT tanks.

    At the end of July chaos has begun when division reached vicinity of Uman. Unit's of 16th mechanized corps were disorderly retreating east and north-east. Finally, remaining elements of 39th tank div. were attached to 6th army and renamed to 39th consolidated tank regiment. Huge losses were probably caused not only from artillery and anti-tank fire and bombardments but also due to mechanical damages in tanks which, in chaotic retreat noone cared to repair.

    6th army was sourrounded and destroyed together with 12th army in Uman's pocket. However, Sulzhenko somehow manager to avoid captivity.


    On the last photo you can see the path of 39th tank div. from the beggining of operation "Barbarossa" untill being disbanded.
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture Soviet tanker's Komsomol (communist youth) book.   Soviet tanker's Komsomol (communist youth) book.  

    Soviet tanker's Komsomol (communist youth) book.  

  4. #3

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    Period from August 1941 till February 1942 in a blank page in his history. Next documents which mentioned him and from 201 separate tank battalion of 84th tank brigade and are dated back to August 1942.
    Forming of 84th tank brigade begun in Stalingrad armored troops centre on February 15th 1942 and unit declared combat readiness on March 5th having 20 T-34/76 straight from Stalingrad Tractor Factory.

    On April 16th 1942 brigade was based in the area on Kupyansk on Ukraine, attached to 28th Army of South-Western Front, takes in Kharkov offensive in May 1942 but quickly direct German counteroffensive strikes 28th Army and pushes it back.

    May and June of 1942 is constant retreat. Almost every day was the same: morning aerial bombardment of combat units and staff, artillery shelling, attack of masses of tanks with infantry suport. In the middle of June units of 28th army are fighting in half encirclement. 84th tank brigade all the time in threatened from three sides and need to flee to avoid disaster. Finally on June 30th brigade is released and sent to reserve of South-Western front and on 16th July is sent to Saratov to the STAVKA reserve. During brigades rest something has happened- on 25th August Sulzhenko, already a sr. sergeant is released to the Saratov transit point and from there after tree days he was sent to a NKVD special camp, at the end of a war known as "filtration camps" for former POWs and soldiers who escaped from encirclement.

    In the document written by Saratov transit point commander we can read:

    "To commander of NKVD special camp. Im directing into your hands combatants who used to be in encirclement during previous attachment.

    Except Sulzhenko 7 more soldiers from 84th tank brigade "had a pleasure" to be on that list and pass NKVD filtration.
    When they were in encirclement? I don't know. Maybe during June retreat. Other document says he was wounded two times. Maybe escaping encirclement his tank was destroyed and he remained behind enemy lines for some time before making it back to his tank battalion.
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture Soviet tanker's Komsomol (communist youth) book.   Soviet tanker's Komsomol (communist youth) book.  

    Soviet tanker's Komsomol (communist youth) book.   Soviet tanker's Komsomol (communist youth) book.  

    Soviet tanker's Komsomol (communist youth) book.  

  5. #4

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    After leaving the filtration camp he probably did not returned to his previous unit which, as a part of 62nd army will take part in the defense of Stalingrad, at least he wasn't mentioned to get Stalingrad defense medal.
    One more document I've found is dated back to November 14th 1944- much later. At that time, he was already starshina (sergeant major) coming back from combat motorcycle school through transit point in Gorky, and was sent further to "military unit 89545" which was 16th separate tank training battalion, specialized in training crews to service in Lend-Lease tanks (M4, Valentines, etc.).

    This document mentioned him being wounded two times, and serving untill 1943 on South Western front. and here is my proof that he wasn't in his unit any longer after filtration camp- After the rest in August 1942 84th tank brigade was attached to Stalingrad front, also he couldn't serve in 201 separate tank bn. in 1943 ans this unit was disbanded in 1942.


    I'll keep on searchin on order to find a anwser for one question- why was he held in NKVD filtration camp (I mean the situation in which he was left behind enemy lines), and also as by November 1944 he was starhina there's a piece of Chance that by the end of war he was a oficer and maybe, there's his service record in Russian archives.


    Let me know if you enjoyed the topic.
    Best Regards
    Jacob
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture Soviet tanker's Komsomol (communist youth) book.  

  6. #5

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    Great research. Love topics like this with so much information!

  7. #6
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    Hello Jacob,
    Great piece of research!!!

    Note: on the last paper, it says he was not a POW.
    This means, I am almost sure, that he escaped Uman pocket in a group of soldiers and was only in an NKVD camp for a quick reassignment.

    And I also think there is a high chance he became an officer and his service record should be available.
    -= Archival research Service for Soviet awards. PM if interested. =-

  8. #7

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    I have a plan to order a research in a proper time .
    About his time in NKVD camp I didn’t meant he was a POW. It’s all said in the inscription on a document directing him to the camp. It said about soldiers who were in encirclement during previous attachment, also with him 7 more soldiers from his unit, so Im not sure whether it was for Uman pocket, or something what has happened later.
    Im also not sure whether he came back to his unit after interrogation, as the payments in his book were signed by the same person untill October 1942.

  9. #8
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    BTW, he was born in Varvarovka, which is the place where some of my ancestors come drom.
    -= Archival research Service for Soviet awards. PM if interested. =-

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