Vasily Filippovich


Vasily Filippovich Margelov was commander of the 49th Guards Rifle Division of the 28th Army of the 3rd Ukrainian Front, colonel of the Guards. He was born on December 14 (27), 1908 in the city of Yekaterinoslav, Yekaterinoslav province (now Dnipro, Ukraine). He was the son of an iron foundry worker. In 1913 the family returned from Donbass to their father’s homeland in the town of Kostyukovichi, Klimovichi district, Mogilev province (now it is a city in the Mogilev region of Belarus). He graduated from elementary school in 1921. Since 1921 he worked as an apprentice and assistant master in a leather workshop, since 1923 – a laborer of the Khleboprodukt trust in Kostyukovichi. Since 1924, after the Komsomol mobilization, he worked at the Kalinin mine in Yekaterinoslav – a laborer, a conogon. In 1926, he returned to Kostyukovichi, worked at a local forestry enterprise – forester, chairman of the labor committee, chairman of the tax commission. In the Red Army since August 1928, according to the Komsomol permit. He graduated from the United Belarusian Military School named after the CEC of the Belarusian SSR (Minsk) in 1931. Since 1931 he had been commander of the machine gun platoon of the 99th Rifle Regiment of the 33rd Rifle Division of the Belarusian Military District. Since December 1932, he was a cadet of the 3rd Orenburg School of pilots and observer pilots, but in January 1933 he was expelled from it for «politically illiterate statements». Since January 1933 he had been platoon commander, since February 1934 – assistant company commander, since May 1936 – commander of a machine gun company of the United Belarusian Military School named after the Central Executive Committee of the Belarusian SSR. Within the walls of this military educational institution, Margelov conducted classes on fire, physical training and tactics. He proved himself as an excellent shooter of various types of weapons. Since October 1938 – battalion commander of the 25th Infantry Regiment of the 8th Infantry Division named after F.E. Dzerzhinsky of the Belarusian Military District, head of intelligence division. He participated in the Liberation campaign of the Red Army in Western Belarus in September 1939. At a meeting with German troops in Poland, he completed an audacious task of capturing samples of the latest German weapons, and was seriously wounded. Since December 1939 he had been commander of a separate ski reconnaissance and sabotage battalion of the 596th Rifle Regiment of the 122nd Rifle Division. He participated in the Soviet-Finnish War of 1939-1940, where, at the head of the battalion, he made several raids on the enemy’s rear. A reconnaissance group under his command captured groups of Swedish officers who volunteered to go to the front as part of the Finnish army. He was wounded a second time in this war. Since April 1940 he had been Assistant commander of the 596th Infantry regiment in the combat unit, since October 1940 – Commander of the 15th Separate Disciplinary Battalion (Leningrad Military District), Major V.F. Margelov has been on the fronts of the Great Patriotic War since July 1941, since July 1941 – Commander of the 3rd Rifle Regiment in the 1st Leningrad Division of the People’s Militia (since September 1941 – 1st Motorized Division), since November 1941 – Commander of the 1st Special Ski Regiment of the Baltic Fleet Marines on the Leningrad Front. During a ski raid behind enemy lines on Lake Ladoga on November 21, 1941, he was seriously wounded. After recovery, from February 1942 he was commander of the 218th Rifle Regiment of the 80th Rifle Division of the 54th Army of the Leningrad and Volkhov fronts. He was a participant in the heroic defense of Leningrad, he again proved himself a master of raids behind enemy lines. Since July 1942 he had been Commander of the 13th Guards Rifle Regiment of the 3rd Guards Rifle Division. After completing the reformation in the Tambov region, in October 1942, the division left for the Southern Front, where it became part of the 2nd Guards Army. It entered the battle in December 1942 during the Kotelnikovskaya defensive operation, reflecting an attempt to break through the German army group “Don” by E. von Manstein to the rescue of the 6th army surrounded in Stalingrad by F. Paulus. Regiment V.F. Margelova stood to death for three days, repelling enemy tank attacks and not only survived, but also successfully pursued the enemy during the beginning of the Soviet counteroffensive. During the period of defensive battles from December 20 to 23 and during the period of offensive battles from December 24 to 31, the Guards regiment destroyed up to 900 enemy soldiers, knocked out 36 tanks and armored vehicles, captured 2 tanks, 12 field and 2 anti-aircraft guns. From January 1943 he had been Deputy commander of the 3rd Guards Rifle Division of the 2nd Guards Army of the Southern Front, participated in the Rostov offensive operation (January-February 1943). From April 1943 he had been Deputy commander of this division, successfully operated in the Donbass (August-September 1943) and Melitopol (September-November 1943) offensive operations on the Southern and 4th Ukrainian fronts. Since December 1943 he had been acting, and in June 1944 he was confirmed as commander of the 49th Guards Rifle Division, which he commanded until the end of the war. Commander of the 49th Guards Rifle Division of the 28th Army of the 3rd Ukrainian Front Guard Colonel V.F. Margelov showed outstanding qualities of a military commander, as well as personal courage and heroism during the Bereznovato-Snigirev offensive operation (March 1944). On the night of March 12 units of the division crossed the Dnieper near the Cossack village and rapidly developed an offensive together with the 2nd mechanized corps into the flank of the German fascist group in Kherson. On the night of March 13 the division crossed the Ingulets River on the move, broke into Kherson a few hours later and on March 13, 1944 together with other parts of the army, liberated the city from the invaders. By the decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR dated March 19, 1944, Colonel Vasily Filippovich Margelov was awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union with the award of the Order of Lenin and the Gold Star medal for exemplary performance of combat missions of the command at the front of the fight against the German invaders and the courage and heroism of the Guard. In the future, the 49th Guards Division V.F. Margelova, as part of the troops of the 3rd and 2nd Ukrainian Fronts, participated in the Iasi-Chisinau, Belgrade, Budapest, Vienna and Prague operations, liberating Romania, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Austria. For new feats in battles, the division was awarded the Orders of the Red Banner and Suvorov 2nd degree, and its commander was awarded 12 commendations of the Supreme Commander. On June 24, 1945, at the Victory Parade, the commander of the 49th Guards Rifle Kherson Red Banner Order of Suvorov Division of the Guards, Major General Margelov, commanded the consolidated battalion of the 2nd Ukrainian Front. After the war, he continued his service in the Soviet Army, commanded the same division, and left for study in January 1946. In 1948 he graduated from the Voroshilov Higher Military Academy. Since April 1948 he had been Commander of the 76th Guards Chernihiv Airborne Division (Pskov). Since April 1950 he had been Commander of the 37th Svir Airborne Corps of the 1st Red Banner Army (Primorsky Krai).

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