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History of creation of Urals’ voluntary tank corps|
Idea of creating of tank corps was born in Urals in the days of completion of Nazi troops annihilation near Stalingrad.
In “Urals’ Worker” newspaper of January 16, 1943 was published an article entitled “Tank corps above the plan” where it was told about the initiative of tank manufacturers’ staff to produce in the first quarter of 1943 above the plan as much of tanks and self-propelled cannons as is needed for equipping tank corms and simultaneously train voluntaries from working staff mach as drivers of combat vehicles.
A letter was sent to the Chairman of the State Defense Committee where Urals’ workers asked the permission for forming of special voluntary tank corps named after comrade Stalin. On February, 24, 1943 reply telegram arrived: “We approve and encourage your proposal of forming separate voluntary tank corps. J. Stalin”.
On February, 26, 1943 commander-in-chief of Urals’ military district one-star general F.V. Katkov signed letter order about tank corps forming.
110 thousand voluntary application was submitted, and it was 12 times more than it was necessary for making up the stuff, so only 9 660 men were selected from them. Many qualified workers, specialists, leaders of industry, active communists and komsomol members were among them. It was impossible to send them all to the front, as it could impair on front orders fulfillment. Special commissions had been selecting right candidates with the condition that the staff will replace those going to the front. Selected candidates with the age of up to 40 years had been considered and approved at workers’ meetings. Communists’ layer was 50% of total amount of all fighters and commanders of tank brigades. The selection was very strict. At “Uralmash” plant only 200 volunteers were taken from 2500 men expressed their desire to join tank corps, In Nizhny Tagil city 544 men were selected from 10500 applicants, 38 from 437 in Verkhnaya Salda city and so on.
Depending on local conditions and resources units and division of the corps were formed in following populated localities: Sverdlovsk, Molotov, Chelyabinsk, Nizhny Tagil, Alapayevsk. Degtyarsk, Troitsk, Miass, Zlatoust, Kusa and Kyshtym.
On the territory of Sverdlovsk oblast were formed: in Sverdlovsk city – corps headquarters, 197th tank brigade, 88th separate motorcycled reconnaissance battalion, 565th medical and sanitary platoon; in Nizhny Tagil city – 1621st self-propelled artillery regiment, 248th jet mortar (“katyusha”) battalion; in Alapayevsk city – 390th signal battalion. Degtyarsk settlement became the place of forming of units of 30th motorized infantry brigade: brigade control, 1st battalion, reconnaissance troop, control troop, mortar platoon and medical and sanitary platoon.
On the territory of Molotov oblast were formed: in Molotov city (now Perm city) – 299th mortar regiment, 3rd battalion of 30th motorized infantry brigade? 267th repair base; in Kungur city – 243rd tank brigade.
On the territory of Chelyabinsk oblast were formed: in Chelyabinsk city – 244th tank brigade, 266th repair base, engineering-mortar troop and auto transport troop of 30th motorized infantry brigade; in Zlatoust city – 2nd battalion of 30th motorized infantry brigade; in Kyshtym city – 36th troop of POL supply, troop of anti-tank rifles and troop of technical assistance. Troitsk city became the place of forming of 743rd sapper battalion, and Miass city – of 645h separate armored vehicles battalion.
Simultaneously all aver the Urals voluntary fundraising for corps creation was going on, and over 70 million rubles was raised. Combat technique, armament and clothing was bought from the state for these money.
Creat contribution to common case was made by komsomol youth front brigades born at “Uralmash” plant: brigades of electric welders of Alexandra Rogozhkina, Paulina Pavlova, Felixa Grzhibovskaya, Paulina Stepchenko, machine operators of Anna Lopatinskaya, capstan lathe operatyors of Michael Popov, production champions of Anatoly Chugunov, Vasily Pakhneyev, Dmitry Sidorovsky, Grigory Kovalenko, Ivan Litvinov, Timofey Oleinikov, Alexandra Podberezina.
At “Uralelectrotyazhmash” plant brigades of Maria Prusakova, Anna Lagunova, Valentina Boyarintseva, Taisia Arzamastseva. Leonid Vasiliev, Nichael Laryushkin were glorious with their labor achievements.
At Urals’ turbine plant brigades of Maria Zhlobich, Vera Ilyina worked. Ignoring time worked technician of automatic machines Fedor Kosmynin, lather operators Nikolay Petrov and Konstantin Orlov, Clara Verzilova, Lyudmila Kucherova, driller Eugenia Zemskova, assembling technician Andrew Shevtsov.
At Machine engineering plant named after Kalinin selflessly worked technicians Alexander Ushakov and Peter Ivanov, drilling turners Vladimir Tarpenko and Vasily Andryunin, milling machine operator Alexey Kuznetsov, lathe operator Boris Ryabchikov.
In workshop № 125 of “Uralvagonzavod” plant worked capstan lather operator Clara Pechenitsina, lather operator Peter Katkov. At Military plant № 50 working heroism exhibited lather operator Olga Konyaeva, grinder Emilia Chubykina, technician Sergey Nikitin. Claudia Shanenkova was making soldiers’ hats, Vera Samokhina was sewing great coats, Tamara Vasilyeva was preparing breadcrumbs for the fighters.
Ore was mined from Vysikaya mountain and Blagodat’ mountain. Metal for the tanks was casted and rolled by steelworkers and blast furnaces operators of Sverdlovsk, Nizhny Tagil, Serov, Pervouralsk, Alapayevsk, Kushva. Rare-earth Urals’ metals were making the armor unvulnerable to fire. Workers of Krasnouralsk, Kirovgrad, Revda, Kamensk-Uralsky supplied with copper and aluminum. From other Urals’ plants tank manufacturers had been receiving motors, cannons, instruments, aggregates, radio stations, combat stock. Finished tanks were freighted onto railroad platforms manufactured in Tagil, Locomotives’ combustors were loaded with coal mined by hill men from Yegorshin and Bogoslovsk/ Urals’ fellows tankmen wore clothing made of Aramil woolens and high boots manufactured at “Uralobuv” factory.
As at July, 17, 1943 armored material it the corps had:
• tanks T-34 - 202 units, T-70 – 7 units;
• armored vehicles BA-64 – 68 units;
• self-propelled 122 mm cannons – 16 units;
• 85 mm cannons – 12 units;
• Artillery mounts M-13 – 8 units;
• 76 mm cannons – 24 units;
• 45 mm cannons – 32 units;
• 37 mm cannons – 16 units;
• 120 mm mortars – 42 units;
• 82 mm mortars – 52 units.
Unique gift made to the tankmen Zlatoust weapon masters: for each volunteer at Tool-making plant of Zlatoust city was made steel hanger which got unofficial name “black knife”. For these hangers enemies named Urals’ voluntary tanks corps “Schwarzmesser Panzer-Division” (“Tank division of black knives” in German).
By the order of People’s Commissar of Defense on March, 11, 1943, the corps was awarded with the name “30th Urals’ voluntary tank corps”. Since that time March, 11 is considered as the birthday of Urals’ voluntary tank corps. On March, 18, 1943 one-star general of tank troops Georgy Semeonivioch Rodin was appointed as a commander of the corps, B. F. Yermeyev as headquarters commander, colonel S. M. Kuranov – as a chief of political department.
First secretaries of Sverdlovsk, Chelyabinsk and Molotov oblast Communist Party committees from behalf of Urals’ workers read out the admonishment to the volunteers:
«Dear sons, brothers and husbands! Saying farewell to you for the fight with vicious enemy of our Motherland we want to address you with our admonishment. Accept it as Colours and carry it with honor through the fire of severe battles as the will of the people of your native Urals… We have equipped voluntary tank corps for our own expenses. We have hammered the weapon for you with our own hands with love and care. Days and nights we had been working at it. In this weapon are our fondest and hottest dreams about bright hour of our final victory, in it there is our hard as Urals’ stone will: to crush and extirpate fascist’s beast. Carry with you our will to hot battles. Remember our admonishment. In it there is our parents’ love and strict order, matrimonial farewell and our swear… We are awaiting for you with victory!”.
Volunteers swore to fulfill the admonishment of Urals’ people.Echelons with the staff and combat technique arrived to sub-Moscow on June, 10, 1943. 359th vertical artillery regiment and other units and divisions wete included into the corps here. 30th Urals’ voluntary tank corps was included to 4th tank army under command of Vasily Mikhailovich Badanov.