Did The Soviets Have Comic Book Heroes? : R/Askhistorians

We look at five extraordinary Soviet fighters in World War II whose feats were beyond anything humanly possible: stopping a tank with an axe, using shamanistic methods in sniper combat, và turning a German tank battalion into a shooting range of sitting ducks. Meet the Soviet superheroes!

When World War II began, Zinoviy Kolobanov already had serious military experience. For example, he fought in the Finnish War of 1939-1940, during which he escaped from a burning tank three times.

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In 1941, Kolobanov commanded a tank unit during the German advance toward Leningrad (now St. Petersburg). Near the village of Voskovitsy, Kolobanov’s unit got the order khổng lồ defend the road leading khổng lồ the town of Krasnogvardeysk (now Gatchina, 26 miles outside Leningrad). With only 5 heavy KV-1 tanks at his disposal, Kolobanov moved his unit lớn an important crossroads where he ordered two tanks to block the two roads lớn Krasnogvardeysk. Meanwhile, he strategically parked his tank 300 meters away in a hull-down position, such that it was barely visible.

As the German tanks approached their troops were overly confident, some even sitting on the hulls with hatches open. Clearly, they didn’t spot Kolobanov’s tank in a hull-down. Andrey Usov, Kolobanov’s ace gunner, destroyed the first and the last of the 22 tanks in the enemy column, effectively blocking them on a narrow road surrounded by swamp. The rest of the tanks were all lined up before Kolobanov’s tank just like in a shooting range.

Amid the turmoil, some of the enemy tanks’ ammunition exploded, while others slid into the swamp, rendering them motionless, yet they fired fiercely. Fortunately, KV-1 tanks proved almost invincible to lớn German guns. After the battle, there were over 100 hit marks on the hull of Kolobanov’s tank, but none had pierced the armor. Kolobanov destroyed 22 enemy tanks, & his entire unit destroyed 48 in total, stopping the German forces.

Shortly after his most famous battle, Zinoviy Kolobanov was seriously wounded và recovered only in 1945. He lived in Minsk until his death in 1994. Kolobanov’s win was considered so incredible và audacious that many didn’t believe it. When in the 1970s Belarusian TV wanted khổng lồ make a story about Kolobanov’s feat, it was disapproved by superiors as preposterous.

2. Semen Nomokonov: the shaman sniper


Semen Nomokonov was an indigenous Siberian, a member of the Evenk people. He had been a hunter since childhood, & because of his extraordinary eyesight he was nicknamed “Vulture eye.” He started his service in the army as a medic, and once when carrying a wounded soldier from the field he noticed a German xạ thủ aiming at him. So, he grabbed a nearby gun and shot him dead almost without aiming. That’s how Nomokonov’s xạ thủ career began.

In total, Nomokonov was wounded eight times. He killed 368 enemy soldiers, including one major general. His exploits were legendary, và the Germans purportedly nicknamed him “the Taiga shaman.” Often while on a mission, he utilized mirrors khổng lồ distract the enemy with flashes, and used empty helmets on sticks to lớn create “prosthetic” soldiers around him. Nobody could disguise himself better than Nomokonov.

He kept track of his kills by making notches on his smoking pipe, và he often used a simple rifle without a telescopic sight. “One could think that the hunter is using some type of impure force,” a journalist once wrote of Nomokonov.

3. Ivan Sereda: don’t mess with the cook


Ivan Sereda was just 22 in June 1941. Like many Ukrainians, he loved to eat & cooked very well, graduating from culinary college before the war began. Sereda was eager khổng lồ get into battle, but there were few cooks who could provide healthy nutrition for the troops, so he was left behind lớn work in the field kitchen.

One day, when his regiment was on the front lines near Daugavpils in Latvia, two enemy tanks appeared in the rear of Soviet positions, near Sereda’s field kitchen. He acted quickly và hid with the regiment’s horses in the forest. The only weapons he had were an axe & an old rifle. One of the tanks advanced forward, while another one stopped beside the kitchen.

The Germans started khổng lồ exit their tank lớn take stock of the captured kitchen và hopefully a warm meal. Suddenly, however, Ivan came running out of his hiding place waving an axe, forcing the Germans lớn retreat back into their vehicle. The machine gun started firing, but Ivan was already on vị trí cao nhất of the tank, bending the gun’s barrel with his axe. Then, he started commanding his fellow troops (who weren’t there, but the Germans didn’t know that) to lớn hit the tank with grenades. All the while, he banged away on the tank’s armor with his axe.

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When the terrified enemies tried to lớn escape their tank, Ivan held them at gunpoint until his troops returned. Later, Sereda received the country’s most prestigious medals, nhân vật of the Soviet Union, and Order of Lenin, for his fighting prowess. Certainly, it wasn’t for his cooking skills.

4. Dmitry Ovcharenko: how does a Nazi thất bại his head


A peasant from Lugansk Region, Dmitry Ovcharenko wasn’t a very good student, having only completed five grades. He boasted considerable physical strength, however, & so he was drafted in the early days of the war. When Ovcharenko was wounded he was given a commission in a logistics regiment, charged with supplying troops with food and ammo.

On July 13, 1941, while transporting goods, Ovcharenko was caught unaware by a German squad of 50 soldiers và three officers. At gunpoint, they took away his rifle, & interrogated him near his carriage with hay, food and ammo. In the blink of an eye, however, Ovcharenko grabbed an axe hidden under the hay & beheaded the interrogating officer. In the next few seconds, while the terror-stricken Germans stood by, he threw three grenades, killing over đôi mươi people, while the rest fled. Ovcharenko managed to lớn kill yet another officer, beheading him with the same axe. Khổng lồ avoid any doubt of his amazing feat, he gathered proof, taking the German troops’ documents.

Soon after, Dmitry was awarded the medal of nhân vật of the Soviet Union, và sent to lớn fight in a machine gun squad. Sadly, he didn’t see the final victory over the Nazis, and was killed in Hungary in early 1945.

5. Lyudmila Pavlichenko: the sniper who inspired Woody Guthrie


Lyudmila Pavlichenko is considered one of the most successful snipers in history, & the đứng top female sniper ever. Nicknamed “Lady Death” by American journalists, in the Soviet Union her name was associated not with death, but with righteous vengeance.

In her youth, Pavlichenko studied khổng lồ become a historian. When the war started, she had already finished her thesis work, but volunteered for the army. During her college years, she had taken xạ thủ training courses. In the first years of the war, she met a sniper, Leonid, and they decided lớn marry. But Leonid was soon mortally wounded. Pavlichenko had to lớn carry her groom’s dead body toàn thân from the battlefield.

By June 1942, Pavlichenko already had 309 kills. One of her longest sniper duels was against a German who had already taken down two of her fellow Russian snipers. For the entire day, the silent duel continued, with both Pavlichenko and her German opponent lying low, waiting for either to lớn show themselves.

After 24 hours, both exhausted, the opponents found each other. Pavlichenko was faster, however. In the German sniper’s notebook, she found records of the kills of over 400 Soviet & Allied soldiers.

In June 1942, Pavlichenko was wounded. After recovering, she was sent to the U.S. For propaganda purposes, where she met President Roosevelt và went for a short tour across the country & Canada.

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“I’m only 25, gentlemen, & I’ve already killed 309 fascist oppressors. Don’t you think, gentlemen, that you’ve been hiding behind my back for too long?” she said in her famous Chicago speech. Pavlichenko impressed the Americans so much that even the folk legend Woody Guthrie wrote a tuy nhiên about the famous “Miss Pavlichenko” with the haunting refrain, “Three hundred Nazis fell by your gun.”

These are just a few of Soviet WWII heroes – but every man or woman who fought the Nazis can be called one. You can read about 12 women who helped defeat the Reich, or learn 5 facts about the most feared Soviet weapon. Maybe you’d lượt thích to know about foreign units in the Soviet army or how U.K. And U.S. Helped boost Russian firepower? Or, if you’re tired of battles and weapons, try taking a look at the Russian peacetime hero.

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