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22 enemy tanks in an hour and a half


On August 17, 1941, the 4th German Tank Group moved to Leningrad along the shortest route through Gatchina, which was then called Krasnogvardeisk. On the same day, Senior Lieutenant Zinovy Kolobanov arrived at the Kirov plant. Here he and his crew received a KV-1 tank that had just come off the assembly line. Zinovy was driving around a new car on the route Kirovsky Zavod-Srednyaya Slingshot. And he did not suspect that in a day he would set an absolute world record for tankers. On August 20, near Krasnogvardeysk, the crew of his KV-1 shot down 22 enemy tanks in an hour and a half.

On August 18, the German tank units of General Gepner, nicknamed the Bear, supported by aviation, rushed to Gatchina. In the morning, the commander of the 3rd company of the 1st Tank Battalion of the 1st Red Banner Division, Senior Lieutenant Zinovy Kolobanov, was urgently summoned to the command post located in the Pokrovsky Cathedral of this city. There, the division commander, Major-General Baranov, set him a combat task. Kolobanov's company had to close three roads leading to the city from Kingisepp, Tallinn, and Luga. All these routes intersected in one place-near the village of Voiskovitsy.

Zinovy had five KV-1 tanks in his company. Each is loaded with two sets of armor-piercing shells. Kolobanov ordered two crews-Lieutenant Sergeev and junior Lieutenant Evdokimenko-to take up defense on the Luga road. Two other crews-Lieutenant Lastochkin and junior lieutenant Degtyar-had to block the road leading to Volosovo. The tank of Kolobanov himself was ambushed near the village of Uchkhoz.

The road at the Uchkhoz led from the Tallinn highway to the suburb of Gatchina-Marienburg. Here it made a turn of almost 90 degrees, and therefore the Germans could not appear on it unexpectedly. Another feature of this road is that there are swamps on both sides of it. The isthmus was a very convenient place for a tank ambush. The KV-1 was buried on a tower that could rotate 360 degrees around the axis.

On the morning of August 19, Kolobanov's tankers heard an impending noise, then a cannonade. The tanks that were standing on the Luga highway were the first to enter the battle, the Germans also attacked from Volosovo. Commander Spiller said that soon the enemy will appear on the Marienburg road.

First, three motorcyclists came around the bend, followed by staff cars at the head of the column, then tanks. The gunner counted 22 of them.

Kolobanov ordered not to open fire, to turn off communication with Gatchina, because he was a fairly experienced commander, he did not want anyone to distract him during the battle. He waited for the motorcyclists and staff cars to pass. He opened fire when the side of the leading German T-3 was under the sight of the KV-1 gun. It caught fire and blocked the path of the entire column. Then the KV-1 transferred the fire to its tail. The German tanks were locked up. Kolobanov shot them from 300 meters away. The T-3 ammunition was torn, the tanks moved into the swamp and got stuck in it. Some returned fire, but they did not see the KV-1... In just an hour and a half, Kolobanov destroyed the column, having spent 98 shells on it-that is, not even a full ammunition supply. At the same time, 156 dents from enemy shells were counted on his car after the battle.

So a world record was set for tankers. The crew of Zinovy Kolobanov knocked out 22 tanks in an hour and a half, and his company destroyed 43 of them during the day.

Surprisingly, the tank ace never became a Hero of the Soviet Union. For that battle, Senior Lieutenant Kolobanov was awarded only the Order of the Red Banner of Battle, and his gun commander, Sergeant Usov, was awarded the Order of Lenin. When Commander Baranov reported to the front commander and political workers that his subordinate deserved the title of Hero, he was told: "You what? He just got out of prison. Kolobanov discredited our army on the Finnish front."

Indeed, Zinovy Kolobanov, a 26-year-old graduate of the Orel Armored School, participated in the Soviet-Finnish War as a battalion commander. I burned three times in the tank. The 20th Tank Brigade, in which he served, was the first to break through the Mannerheim line. Kolobanov became a Hero of the Soviet Union, and he was awarded the rank of captain out of turn. But on the night of March 13, 1940, a peace treaty was signed between the USSR and Finland. After learning about this, the soldiers of the Finnish army went to "fraternize" with the Red Army soldiers from the Kolobanov battalion. We exchanged cigarettes. And the political workers reported to the top…

After that, Kolobanov was stripped of the title of Hero, he was imprisoned himself and only released when the Great Patriotic War began. But as a senior lieutenant and without any awards.

After the battle near Voiskovitsy, the repair of the Kolobanov tank was delayed for almost a month. And on the night of September 21, on the southern outskirts of Pushkin, near the cemetery, Zinovy was seriously wounded. A German shell exploded next to his tank. Zinovy's spine was broken.

The fate of the hero

At the end of February 1942, Kolobanov was transported from the besieged Leningrad on the Road of Life to the "Mainland". He spent almost three years in hospitals, barely learned to walk again. At the end of the 44th, he returned to the active army, despite the fact that Zinovy already walked with a wand. He ended the war in Berlin. For the battles on the Magnushevsky bridgehead, he was awarded the Order of the Red Star, for the Berlin operation — the second Order of the Red Banner of Battle.
After the war, Lieutenant Colonel Kolobanov served in the Soviet troops in Germany. But counterintelligence intervened in his life again. A soldier from a tank battalion commanded by Zinovy Grigoryevich defected to the British occupation zone. Kolobanov was interrogated by Smersh. He was threatened with a military tribunal. And only thanks to the solidarity of the tankers, he got off relatively easily. Kolobanov was warned about incomplete official compliance and transferred to serve in the Belarusian military District. They gave him a loose part, which he brought to the forefront. For this, he received a hunting rifle from the commander of the district. Kolobanov was even more proud of it than of the orders. Soon he retired to the reserve due to disability. The tank hero died in Minsk in 1995.

Great story, thank's for sharing mate ! He had a pair of big balls, the KV-1 was an easy target because of it size

KV-1 was stronger then PzKpfW I but again small compared with rest. Did you notice first photo, last period used as joke that Russian president is immoral  :-smey

Yes, an excellent photo !



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