Ivan Vasilyevich
Panfilov

1893-1941


Ivan Vasilyevich Panfilov was an outstanding Soviet military commander, the Hero of the Soviet Union. He was born in the city of Petrovsk, the Saratov province. He was a son of a small clerical employee. The difficult financial situation of the family, the death of his mother did not give Ivan the opportunity to finish even elementary school. At the age of twelve, he was forced to start working part-time in a shop as a delivery boy. In 1915, Panfilov was taken into the Tsarist army, and almost immediately sent to the German front. By 1917, he became a company commander, after the February events, the soldiers elected him a member of the regiment’s committee. I.V. Panfilov made his voluntary choice to fight on the side of the Red Army during the civil confrontation in 1918. He fought with the White Guards as a part of the 25th Chapaev Division. He became a member of the Bolshevik Party in 1920. After the war, he completed a two-year course at Kiev Infantry School and was sent to Central Asia, where he fought with the Basmachi. By 1938, he became the military commissar of Kyrgyzstan, the next year he received the rank of brigade commander, a year later– Major General. At the beginning of the Great Patriotic War, Ivan Vasilyevich Panfilov was instructed to create the 316th Rifle Division in Alma-Ata. By the end of August, the division under the command of I.V. Panfilov joined the army of the North-Western Front. At the beginning of October 1941, Panfilov’s division near Moscow was entrusted with the defence of a wide strip more than forty kilometers long in the Volokolamsk direction. The fierce battles in these positions forever glorified the division, the name of the Major General himself was made a household name, and his soldiers began to be called Panfilovites. Despite the fact that the division’s fighters were not previously tested in battles, their resilience and heroism amazed everyone – both our military leaders and the Germans. Panfilov actively and skillfully used artillery in defence, and used mobile barrage detachments in battles. Ivan Vasilyevich raised the morale of soldiers, constantly being in those parts of the division that experienced the fiercest pressure of the enemy. By personal example, Panfilov managed to show in his untrained and barely trained fighters the mass heroism that made a decisive contribution to the victory of the Soviet people over Nazism. Then Ivan Vasilyevich received from his soldiers the respectful and affectionate nickname “Dad”. In response, he always told everyone before the battle: “I don’t need you to die, I need you to stay alive!” Unequal battles led to the fact that Panfilov’s division left Volokolamsk, for which the general himself was almost court-martialed. The army commander Rokossovsky, who fully trusted Ivan Vasilyevich, stood up for him. Panfilov’s division was attacked by two German tank divisions on November 16, 1941. At the same time, one division attacked the central part of the defence, and the other in the Dubosekovo area, where the 1075th Rifle regiment held the defence. It was near Dubosekovo that events unfolded, later called the “feat of 28 Panfilovites”. For several days in November, Panfilov’s division accomplished almost the impossible. Having acted against significantly superior enemy forces, the Panfilovites stopped the attacks of the enemy’s 2 tank and infantry divisions. For unparalleled heroism, the division becomes Guards and Red Banner. And on November 23, it received the honorary title of Panfilovskaya. But Ivan Vasilyevich Panfilov himself had already died by that time. It happened on November 18, 1941 near the village of Gusenevo. During the aimless shelling of the village by the Germans, the smallest fragment of a mine hit the head of an outstanding commander, who at that time, accompanied by Moscow correspondents, was inspecting the surroundings. I.V. Panfilov was buried with honors at the Novodevichy cemetery. The title of the Hero of the Soviet Union was awarded to him posthumously – in April 1942.

Address: Moscow, Losinoostrovskaya str., 22A