Ivan Vasilyevich Panfilov was an outstanding Soviet military commander, Hero of the Soviet Union (12.04.1942, posthumously). He was born December 20 1892 (January 1, 1893) in Petrovsk, Saratov province. He was a son of a small clerical employee. In October 1915, Panfilov was drafted into the Russian Imperial Army. He began his military service in the training team of the 168th Reserve Battalion. Since March 1917, as part of the 638th Infantry Regiment of the Oltinsky 160th Infantry Division of the 16th Army Corps of the 9th Army, he fought on the Southwestern Front of the First World War with the rank of sergeant major. 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. His first position was platoon commander in the 1st Saratov Infantry Regiment of the 25th Infantry Division. As part of the regiment, he participated in the suppression of the uprising of the Czechoslovak Corps. From March 1919 he served in the 20th Penza Rifle Division. He took part in the Ufa operation. Since August, he fought at Tsaritsyn. In March 1920, he fell ill with typhus. After his illness, from April he participated in the Soviet-Polish war, where he fought as a platoon commander in the 100th Rifle Regiment (according to other sources, he was the commander of a reconnaissance squadron). In 1920 he joined the VKP (b). For heroism in the Soviet-Polish War in 1921 he was awarded the Order of the Red Banner. He became a member of the Bolshevik Party in 1920. After the war, he completed a two-year course at the Kiev Infantry School and was sent to Central Asia, where he fought with the Basmachi. In October 1938, Ivan Vasilyevich was appointed to the city of Frunze as a military сommissioner of the Kyrgyz SSR. The next year he receives the rank of brigade commander, a year later (04.06.1940) – 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 defense of a wide strip more than forty kilometers long in the Volokolamsk direction. The brutal 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 – our military leaders and the Germans both. I.V. Panfilov actively and skillfully used artillery in defense, 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 most fierce 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 said to 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 defense, and the other in the Dubosekovo area, where the 1075th Rifle regiment held the defense. It was near Dubosekovo that the events later called “the feat of 28 Panfilovites” unfolded. 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, he receives the honorary title of Panfilovskaya. But Ivan Vasilyevich Panfilov 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 in Moscow. The title of Hero of the Soviet Union was awarded to him on April 12, 1942 posthumously.
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