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Among numerous events connected with the history of the Chebarkul metallurgical plant one of them which unfortunately was lost in imperfect human memory but did not loose its importance must be highlighted.
The matter is that more than two months before its official start-up the event that forever became the history of the Great Patriotic War occurred.
During the pre-war period and in the years of the war various military units and formations were formed in Chebarkul camps, and the 166th rifle division was one of those formations.
The division passed the difficult heroic way. Its first formation took place in the autumn of 1939 in Tomsk. After sanguinary Smolensk battle the division lost significant part of its personnel, but even after that starting from October 8, 1941 it continued to battle against invaders by small groups.
The word about firmness of the division flew about entire Western front. Many times journalists and writers A. Fadeyev, E. Petrov, M. Sholokhov visited the division to tell about the warriors of the 166th. The author of "Quiet Flows the Don" wrote then: "With pride and joy I testify that units of the 166th division heroically battled against fascist hordes in 1941 on approaches to Moscow, bearing mighty attacks of the enemy. In the summer and autumn of 1941 166th division as other military units of the Western front in many respects promoted winter debellation of Germans near Moscow".
As General I.S. Konev said then, the division didn't drop back but fought to the last breath. On November 22, 1941 in Chebarkul the second formation of the 166th rifle division began on the basis of the 437th rifle division. The personnel were completed from residents of Chelyabinsk and Sverdlovsk oblasts, Bashkiria and Kazakhstan.
So on January 5, 1942 the director of the Chebarkul metallurgical works being under construction Pyotr Efremovich Karpenko handed a banner to one of division regiments – to the 423rd rifle regiment.
The personnel of a regiment swore to carry with honor this banner through its tour of duty and to crush fascist hordes. The subsequent history of a regiment and division demonstrated that soldiers fulfilled their swear given to the Chebarkul metallurgists.
In March of 1942 the 423rd rifle regiment took up defensive positions on the Northwestern front, near Sebezha. Then there was a break-through near Demyansk.
In the summer of 1943 the regiment took part in the Kursk battle. Near Akhtyrkaya it had to constrain the attack of the enemy. The banner of a regiment runs into danger. The banner-bearer was killed. Then automatic rifleman, junior sergeant Drushlyakov at the risk of his life carried out regiment banner from the battlefield.
Having liberated Akhtyrka, the 423rd regiment went out to those places near Poltava, where Peter the Great smashed the Swedes. After the occupation of Belotserkovka, the regiment was transferred to the Kalinin Front. After breaking enemy's defense near Vitebsk, the regiment moved through Belarus, and then through Lithuania and Latvia. In December 1943, the division was rewarded with the Order of the Red Banner. After completion of the battles in the Vitebsk region, the division liberated the territories of Latvia and Lithuania. It met Victory Day near Liepaja. In the end of May 1945, the 166th rifle division as the entire 6th guard’s army began guarding the coast of the Baltic Sea at the Courland Peninsula. In June 1946 near Lithuanian city of Alytus, the 166th rifle division holding the Order of the Red Banner was disbanded.