On June 2
, 1942 having broken through the defense of Bryansk and South-Western fronts in the band up to 300 kilometers and during the offensive operation "Blau", for a week having advanced into the depths of Soviet territory by 150-170 kilometers, the troops of the German group "Weichs" on July 6 left to Don river near Voronezh. And July 7, 1942, Colonel-General Baron Maximilian von Weichs by addressing the soldiers and officers of your own army the group stated that "the battle of Voronezh was victorious finished" and thus operation Blau is complete.

Commander of "Weichs" group - Maximilian von Weichs (center)

And on the same day, July 7, attaching great importance to Voronezh direction the rate of the Supreme court, the commander-in-chief makes a decision on the creation a new military unit Voronezh front, whose main tasks were defined in order # 0027 of July 18, 1942: "Enemy exerts a frenzied effort to break through Don in the heartland of our country. Struggle for the don is now ours task. Don must become inaccessible to the enemy. At his place we have to break his Stanovoy backbone force him to go to the coast. Enemy will be extirpated with blood."

N. Vatutin and F. Golikov F.

Back at the end of June 1942 on a hill located to West of the villages Perezzie and Shchuchye started construction of defensive positions which were occupied on July 7 regiments and battalions of the 309th rifle division. Formed on the territory of the Khakass Autonomous Republic in Siberia it had in it is composition mainly Siberians with their characteristic temperament and endurance which in itself was already strengthening combat capability of the division. Having an order to prevent the enemy on the right Bank of Don soldiers-Siberians we occupied the defensive zone along the Eastern (right) Bank Don between the villages of Pokrovka and Nikolaevka. At this stage July 8
, 309 th infantry division met the advancing enemy and then another 5 days was fierce fighting for the Don bend very nature intended for placing a beachhead here.

Fights for "Shchuchensky" PLAZDARM

Literally translated from French, it means "square for the gathering of troops" a PLAZDARM in army usage is a place of concentration of forces for a decisive attack on the defense enemy as well as tactically or even strategically an important area that allows you to further implement the with it the breakthrough of the battle lines of enemy troops.

Fights for the PLAZDARM

However to keep a PLAZDARM in Shchuche was unsucessful. Those who have received orders to avoid unnecessary bloodshed leave the positions of the 309th rifle division in the night from 13 to 14 July and retreated to the East Bank of Don where they moved to the active defense of the Don boundary's.

"Donskoy Rubezh" place (summer of 1942)

Hitlerites also went on the defensive. Captured the bend in the river in the area of the village of Shchuchye they immediately began to create fortifications in compliance with OKB Directive 4 dated April 5 1942 which was developed personally Hitler as a General plan of offensive action German troops during the summer campaign of 1942 and it was prescribed after the first operational successes were achieved "immediately begin equipping positions on the Don river." In the same Directive stated that " in order to take positions on this front stretched along Don river which will be constantly increase as operations are deployed connections will be highlighted first allies.

Construction of the German defense line (August 1942 years)

Because after three days of the Wehrmacht continued your way South along the right Bank of the Don and their position in villages Perezzie and Shchuchye took goody of composition 2nd Hungarian army. With them and the soldiers had to fight 309th rifle division before which in August 1942 during year the task was set to force the Don river on site Nizhniy Ikorets — moved and mastering Western Bank to keep it as a springboard for an upcoming winter offensive.

Crossing of the don river by red army soldiers (summer of 1942 years)

On night of August 9 1942 three battalions of the 309th the rifle division crossed the don river in a bend in front of village. Village of Shchuchye and at dawn went on the offensive. Suddenly attacking the enemy the Siberian warriors broke into the city his trenches and started hand-to-hand combat, as a result which destroyed up to 2 enemy battalions and other demoralized enemy units they began to withdraw. Thus villages became Soviet again Shchuchye and Perezzie and 309 th infantry division took the base named village called Schuchensky. The front edge of its defense was a vast plateau towering over the surrounding area of the village and marked on the map military maps as a height of 160.7.

Memorial complex "Shchuchensky" PLAZDARM on height 160,7

It was here, in August 1942 that the most serious conflicts broke out. Fierce battles for possession of the dominating heights gives you the opportunity to fight the advantage of any of the belligerents allowing restrain the enemy break their attacks and slow them down advance of troops.

Line defense of the 309th rifle division: traces of trenches, trenches and dugouts at a height of 160.7

Entered the battle for height 160.7 Hitlerites counterattacked units of the 309th rifle division and at the cost of heavy losses they managed to regain the captured positions by the evening of August 10.

Fights for the beachhead

And for another four days battle raged furiously resulting in which battalion under the command of captain Vovk again and already irrevocably took the height of 160.7 and Shchuchensky the PLAZDARM was extended to 8 kilometers along the front and from 2 up to 8 kilometers in depth.

"Shchuchensky" PLAZDARM

Having lost by this point about a regiment of infantry the large number of weapons and military equipment Hungarian units refused to make any further attempts to liquidate them formed a PLAZDARM and moved to the defense.

Hungarian units in defense (autumn 1942)

Siberians who had been on the defensive for a long time were also on the defensive. over the next five months we continued to steadily strengthen our occupied line on the
"Shchuchensky" PLAZDARM building dugouts and dugouts laying communication passages equipping machine-gun platforms and mining approaches to their positions.

Line defense of the Soviet troops

At the same time defense of the 309th rifle division was active character artillery and mortar attacks volleys of infantry fire by a whole battalion sniping hunting supplemented by the actions of small intelligence units groups that held the defending enemy in check constant tension and fear. During this period especially well worked reconnaissance divisions and foot platoons parts. According to their actions intelligence of the 309th rifle division the division was considered the best in the 6th Army. For the period from July by December 1942 384 reconnaissance groups had been captured control prisoners. Snipers of individual units of the division 2,070 soldiers and officers were killed.

Graves Hungarian soldiers (autumn 1942)

November 23 1942 the day encirclement of 6th army was completed army of F. Paulus at Stalingrad the Supreme Command originated the idea of the front Ostrogorzhsk-Rossoshanskij offensive and then Schuchensky the PLAZDARM was approved by one of the three initial areas of onset. And since December 27 1942 year in area of the Shchuchensk PLAZDARM began regrouping of Soviet units and preparing them for penetration of the enemy's fortified defense zone depth which in some areas reached up to 18 kilometers. In this regard becoming a part of the 18th separate rifle corps 309th rifle division focused on line Shchuchye — Puretree.

Soviet tanks in March

On 5 January 1943 at "Schuchensky" PLAZDARM visited representatives of the Supreme command of G. K. Zhukov and A. M. Vasilevsky and heard reports commanders about the readiness for upcoming operations and personally ascertained the willingness of the troops to the implementation offensives. And the next day I was in the VGK Headquarters a telegram signed by General of the army G. K. was sent. Zhukova and the chief of the General staff of the red Army Colonel-General A. M. Vasilevsky Now we are working on the interaction of fronts and armies at the junctions personally with comrade. Kharitonov, Rybalko, Fedorov (Vatutin) and Filippov (Golikov).

G. Zhukov on the front line of defense of the Soviet troops

Ostrogozhsk-Rossosh offensive operation it began on January 12 1943 with a reconnaissance mission by combat, which soldiers of the 25th guards division took the initiative moving forward in the breakthrough from the Storozhevsky PLAZDARM and unexpectedly for command successfully intervened in the enemy's defense on the a depth of three and a half kilometers. After which commander of the Voronezh front immediately ordered to develop this success and therefore the main forces of the Soviet troops moved into the offensive a day earlier the planned deadline is the morning of January 13.

Offensive Soviet troops (January 1943)

And the next day at 8:30 on January 14 began the artillery preparation preceding the attack in the district Suchankova of the base. After two hours of processing enemy positions volleys of artillery and "Katyusha" fire was carried deep into the enemy's defenses. And immediately however tank attack brigades rushed to the attack paving the way for breakthrough units.

Offensive Soviet troops (January 1943)

On that memorable day at Pukhovo railway junction the commander of a heavy tank company took his last battle separate guards tank regiment breakthrough guards senior Lieutenant Pyotr Alekseyevich Kozlov. Making a tank attack in the vanguard of the advancing troops the crew of the KV tank under his command destroyed 3 tanks enemy bunkers and dugouts 8 anti-tank and 2 assault guns 2 machine guns and up to 180 Hitlerites and then being in a damaged tank repelled attacks for 2 hours the enemy until reinforcements arrived.

Memorial on the place of the last P.Kozlov's battle (a hero of the Soviet Union)

Seriously wounded and died in the hospital from wounds guards senior Lieutenant  P.A.Kozlov was posthumously executed awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union. And in place of it after the last battle a memorial stone appeared first and in the middle of the In 2007 the self-propelled artillery unit entered the podium ISU-152 installation based on a heavy tank "KV" with a gun pointing the way of the victorious offensive Soviet soldiers to the West

"Samogodka" ISU-152

On January 16, 1943 Soviet information Bureau the voice of Levitan notified the entire country "In the last hour. Other day our troops stationed South of Voronezh have moved to the offensive against the German-fascist troops. Offensive began in three directions from areas Slavnoe and Shchuchye to the South-West from the Kantemirovka area on Northwest and West. By breaking through the heavily fortified defenses the enemy is located in the Selyavnoye area with a length of 45 kilometers in the area of Shchuchye with a length of 50 kilometers and in the area of Cantemirovka with a length of 60 kilometers our troops in 3 days of intense fighting overcoming resistance we have advanced 50-90 kilometers ahead of the enemy.

Memorial complex "the springboard Schuchensky»

Launched on January 12 by the reconnaissance battle on Storozhevsky island the PLAZDARM and then continued by the Soviet strike with the Suchankova springboard the Ostrogozhsk-Rossosh operation it lasted two weeks and ended on January 27, 1943 year. As a result of the Soviet offensive on the Ostrogozhsky and Rossoshansky directions Soviet troops, having advanced 140 kilometers to the West defeated the main forces of the 2nd Hungarian army and the 8th Italian army as well as the 24th tank corps and main forces of the German special purpose corps. Losses of Hungarians and Italians amounted to 71,000 people captured and 52,000 people killed which allowed the military historians call Ostrogozhsko-Rossoshanskaya offensive operation "Stalingrad on Middle Don".

Brotherly grave of soldiers in the village of Shchuchye who fell during the defense "Schuchensky" springboard

TKS to RL5D (MU2K) for the ENG translation!