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Soviet tank aces

Article about: The names of German top tank aces are well known. Less known, if at all, are the names of the Soviet tankers, which bravely fought and mostly died in heavy but unknown battles of the war. In

  1. #1

    Default Soviet tank aces

    The names of German top tank aces are well known. Less known, if at all, are the names of the Soviet tankers, which bravely fought and mostly died in heavy but unknown battles of the war. In most of the cases all what remained of them were smoking ruins of German and their own tanks. Their fate remained unknown.
    Some tankers became known. Perhaps most known is Lieutenant Dmitriy Lavrinenko, who scored 52 victories in 28 engagements before he was killed defending Moscow in 1941 while serving in the division under command of General Panfilov.
    Dmitriy Lavrinenko > was born in 1914 in a small village near Krasnodar. Probably, the name of the village, Besstrashnaya/Fearless, reflected in Dmitriy. Totaling 52 kills, Lavrinenko started his count under Orel and Mzensk. 3 tanks were killed under him in process. In October of 1941 his T-34 destroyed 16 German tanks in a single combat.
    Lavrinenko was honored the Hero of the Soviet Union in 1985 (!).

    52 tanks at 2,5 months

    Dmitry Lavrinenko - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


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  3. #2

    Default Re: Soviet tank aces

    Zinoviy G. Kolobanov (Зиновий Г. Колобанов) (died 1995) was a tank commander and veteran of the Great Patriotic War. He commanded a KV-1 tank and is frequently considered the second top scoring tanker ace of the Soviet Union.

    At the Battle of Krasnogvardeysk on 19 August 1941 (part of the Battle of Leningrad), Kolobanov's unit ambushed a column of German armour. The vanguard of the German 8th Panzer Division was approaching Krasnogvardeysk (Gatchina) near Leningrad (St Petersburg), and the only Soviet force available to stop it consisted of five well-hidden KV-1 tanks, dug in within a grove at the edge of a swamp. KV-1 tank no. 864 was commanded by the leader of this small force, Lieutenant Kolobanov.

    German forces attacked Krasnogvardeysk from three directions. Near Noviy Uchkhoz settlement, the geography favoured the Soviet defenders as the only road in the region passed the swamp, and the defenders commanded this choke point from their hidden position. Lieutenant Kolobanov had carefully studied the situation and readied his detachment the day before. Each KV-1 tank carried twice the normal amount of ammunition, two-thirds being armour-piercing rounds. Kolobanov ordered his other commanders to hold their fire and await orders. He did not want to reveal the size of his force, so only one tank at a time engaged the enemy.

    The 8th Panzer Division's vanguard ventured directly into the well-prepared Soviet ambush, with Kolobanov's tank knocking out the lead German tank with its first shot. The Germans assumed that the tank had hit an anti-tank mine, and failed to realize that they had been ambushed. The German column stopped, giving Kolobanov the opportunity to destroy the second tank. Only then did the Germans realize they were under attack, but they were unable to locate the source of the shots. While the German tanks fired blindly, Kolobanov knocked out the trailing German tank, boxing in the entire column.
    German tank vanguard attack plan and positions of three Soviet KV-1 tanks

    Although the Germans finally guessed the direction of fire, they could only spot Lieutenant Kolobanov's tank, and now attempted to engage an unseen enemy. German tanks bogged down when they moved off the road onto the surrounding soft ground, becoming easy targets. 22 German tanks and two towed artillery pieces fell victim to Kolobanov's No. 864 before it ran out of ammunition.[1] Kolobanov ordered in another KV-1, and 21 more German tanks were destroyed before the half-hour battle ended. A total of 43 German tanks were destroyed by just five Soviet KV-1s (two more remained in reserve). Lieutenant Kolobanov was awarded the Order of the Red Banner, while his driver, Usov, was awarded the Order of Lenin.

    The Soviet victory was the result of a well-planned ambush on advantageous ground and with technological superiority. Most of the German tanks in this battle were Panzer IIs armed with 20 mm guns, with a few Panzer IIIs armed with 37 mm KwK 36 L/46.5 guns. The German tank guns had neither the range nor the power of the 76 mm main gun of a KV-1, and the narrower track width of the German tanks caused them to become trapped in the swampy ground. After the battle, the crew of No. 864 counted a total of 135 hits on their tank, none of which had penetrated the armour.

    Later on, former Captain Zinoviy Kolobanov was again decorated by Soviet authorities, despite having been convicted and downgraded after the Winter War for "fraternizing with the enemy." After the end of World War II, Lieutenant Kolobanov served in the Soviet occupation zone in East Germany, where he was convicted again when a subordinate escaped to the British occupation zone, and was transferred to the reserves.

    He remained in the army for some years, based in Belarus, and retired as a Lieutenant-Colonel. He then went on to work for the Minsk Auto Works.

    Zinoviy Kolobanov - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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  4. #3

    Default Re: Soviet tank aces

    Thanks Dim! I suspect most people have sadly not heard of these brave men.

    Cheers, Ade.
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