Why do I portray the unit I do?
While in the real U.S. Army, I served in a unit that often did OPFOR (Opposing Forces) training for other U.S. Army units. We dressed in Soviet, or Warsaw Pact uniforms, carried Soviet, and Warsaw Pact weapons, and conducted our operations in a Soviet/Warsaw Pact manner.
When I retired from the U.S. Army, I worked at a local business that employs hundreds of part time workers. I was full time, while I was waiting form my "real" full time post Army job to open.
Anyway, I was a team leader on a van load of older folks, moving cars around the property of the business. One of my regular guys was an old "Russian". Turns out, he was really a Ukrainian, but most of the folks around here can't tell the difference. After a few months of working together, he became comfortable with me, and began to tell me some of his war stories. It is his unit, and the many harrowing acts he described to me that I try to commemorate with my primary impression.
While we worked together, one day I got a call on my radio, to report to the office. I dropped my people off to move a load of cars, and went in to the office. I was meet by the General Manager, the director of operations, and the director of personnel. I was taken over to the personnel office, and there outside the office were several (very obviously) eastern European men, including a couple senior Russian Army officers, in full uniform. I was introduced to the one General, and the senior diplomat from DC in civilian clothes (sorry, can't remember any names). I was then instructed to bring my whole crew in to the cafeteria at break, less than half an hour away in time, for a brief ceremony for Ivan, my Ukrainian guy.
OK, so I did, well we get to the cafeteria, there are all the big shots from our company, the big shots from Russia, and Ivan is very confused, at first. The diplomat makes a few remarks in both "perfect" English, and Russian. Then the General stands, he reads a citation in Russian, while his subordinate officer (a Colonel) translates into English. They then present a medal to Ivan, he is crying, and smiling. We all get a shot of vodka (Probably the only time alcohol has ever been permitted on the property), we toast Ivan, get a piece of cake, and are soon sent back to work.
Now, you may ask why all this hub bub for an expatriate Ukrainian 50+ years after the end of the GPW? It had finally been realized, just over a year earlier, that Ivan, this lowly Ukrainian mounted rifleman, had been the first Red Army soldier to successfully kill a German Tiger tank, and he did it by hand, so to speak.
He had been in a spider hole, and when the Germans advanced that day, he ducked down into his hole, and the Tiger rolled over him, or very close. He climbed out of his hole, lite, and tossed two gas bombs onto the rear deck of the Tiger, then attached a magnetic mine to the lower rear plate, and pulled the igniter, ran back to, and jumped back into his spider hole.
No more Tiger tank.
It took the Russian military 50 some odd years to realize that Ivan was the first Red Army soldier to kill a Tiger, and they came all the way to Pennsylvania to honor him.
I, by a pure stroke of fate, and luck, was there to witness this.
Hence, I portray Ivan's Red Army unit. The 25th Ukrainian Mounted Rifle Regiment, Bravo Troop.
Vladimir I. Boridin, Serzhant Otryada
25th Ukrainian Mounted Rifle Regiment, Bravo Troop.
08-19-2009 06:43 PM
Re: Why do I portray the unit I do?
Thanks for sharing his story here. Very interesting.
Re: Why do I portray the unit I do?
Interesting tiger tank killer,,, I always dress as the German Diplomat " FRITZ KOLBE" we called him GEORGE WOOD he gave the USA Col. over 2000 documents to get the war over as soon as he can... the book is called - INSIDE THE HEART of THE THIRD REICH,, he worked for WHRIGHT chain saw Co. after the war,, he was a HERO and fought for what he believed in