The 193rd Rifle Division in the Battle of Stalingrad
By General Major F.N. Smekhotvorov
After arranging control center in the boiler room of Specialists’ House, we immediately copied map of Stalingrad onto the vellum paper. So, when Major Gregory Dmitriyevich Vorozheykin reported that his 895th, regiment has crossed the river, we could hand him the complete diagram of the city with the battle plan sketched on it: showing the forward edge of his regiment occupying Zhitomir street as well as the boundaries of his regimental sector. Arriving later, the commander of 883rd regiment Captain Maxim Vasilyevich Nasteko had received his orders as well. His regiment had to take up the defense to the left of the 895th regiment - from Zuyevskaya Street to the Bannaya ravine, with the forward edge along the Chernorechenskaya Street.
On September 28, 1942, at 04:00 both regiments began moving out from the bridgehead through the territory of plant "Red October" to the western outskirts of city. From the upper levels of the Specialists’ House, through the breach in the wall, I followed their progress indicated by the fire fights that flared up and then stopped here and there. After a while my eyes got accustomed to the darkness enough to distinguish the landmarks in the ruins: long single-story brick house – the Bath; gray, semicircular facade: Factory Kitchen. The Fascists had time to fortify their outposts in the Bath, Factory Kitchen, and School № 35. This made it necessary to advance two artillery battalions toward these buildings. Enemy opposition was suppressed by the direct artillery fire, and by the evening twilights the Vorozheykin’s regiment has began taking up defense positions on the western outskirts. To their left, Nasteko’s regiment had taken the assigned positions after pushing the Fascists from the Coal Street.
Not a soul slept as the night fell, neither at the control center of division nor in the units. Taking up the defense positions in an unknown city at night, without the preliminary reconnaissance is a matter of immense difficulty. In our case, it was further complicated by the loss of the tug boat and a barge with the signal battalion equipment two hours before the advance. Both vessels were sunk by the enemy bombers. The personnel were saved, but all of the gear went straight to the bottom.
We questioned the prisoners, all of whom were from advance detachments of the 14th and 100th light infantry divisions. Interrogation revealed that besides the 14th and 100th divisions, the German (Hitlerists in the orig.) command aims to strike at "Red October" and "Barricades" plants with 24th Panzer and 389th infantry divisions. The attack was planned for the next morning, its aim to achieve what Nazis failed to do in the Downtown area: to throw the Soviet troops into the Volga river. By dawn most of our division was ready for battle. The antitank strongholds were created in the surviving rock buildings, 2 to 4 anti-tank cannon each. Our combat engineers laid about 50 thousand anti-tank and anti-personnel mines during the night.
Dawn. From my observation post on the upper level of the Specialists’ House, I could see the entire frontline of our division, from the Silicate Plant to the Bannaya ravine. Beyond the outskirts the vegetable-gardens, fields, and woods could be seen. As the fog lifted, the first volley of enemy artillery barrage rumbled beyond the horizon. My watch shows eight sharp. Steady, depressing howling of aviation motors adds to the rumble of the cannonade. Nearly 100 "Junkers" bombers hover above us, the black dots of bombs streaming from their underbellies... It had began! Shower of bombs, projectiles, and mines tightly covered the settlement crashing and burning everything. The cloud of brick and sandy dust, smoke, soot, mixed together covers blocks. Explosions thunder inside the cloud ejecting pillars of sparks, erupting in fireworks of blazing splinters, burning entire streets to the ground. Nasteko reports: “...enemy tanks and infantry have assembled in square 06-11, the eastern edge of the grove; request supporting fire!”
Below copy of tracing paper of the map of Stalingrad
Vorozheykin keeps silent, communications men report that the wire is cut. I can see nearly 20 panzers crawling through the vegetable-gardens toward 895-th’s positions on Zhitomir Street. Five minutes later, somewhere beyond Volga our artillery bellows. I recognize the low sound of heavy howitzers. The wall of fire, smoke, and heaving dirt rises before the Fascist tanks. As it slowly falls off, the new wall rises. In the military language this is called a cut-off barrage. Before long three panzers are burning...
Thus, September 29, 1942, marks the beginning of the 193 Rifle Division’s Stalingrad Stand – sixty long days under severe fire and unrelenting pressure of enemy attacks.
NOTE: F.N. Smekhotvorov was the Colonel, Commanding the 193rd. Rifle Division
A brief history of the 193rd during the Great Patriotic War.
The 193rd Rifle Division of the Workers and Peasants Red Army was formed in December 1941 at Sorochinsk in the South Urals Military District. It was comprised of the 604th, 883rd, 895th Rifle Regiments, 384th Artillery Regiment, 50th Anti-Tank Battalion, 4th Sapper (Engineer) Battalion, and the 320th Reconnaissance Company.
The 193rd remained in the South Urals District until May 1942, when it was assigned to the 1st Reserve Army, STAVKA reserves. In June it was reassigned to the 3rd Reserve Army, Voronezh Front reserves. On September 17th, under the command of Colonel F.N. Smekhotvorov, the 193rd was sent to Stalingrad. On the night of September 27-28, the 193rd was ferried across the Volga River to positions in the Barrikady Ordnance Factory at the North end of Stalingrad. Under the command of the 62nd Army (V.I. Chuikov, Commanding), the 193rd fought at the Barrikady and Red October Factories, defending every inch of ground. Comrade Stalin’s Order #227, “Not one step back!” was strictly enforced by members of the "ZAGRADOTRYADs" (Blocking Detachments). Cowards, Malingerers, Deserters, Defeatists, and Wreckers were stopped by the Blocking Detachments and either arrested, executed, sent to Penal Battalions, or returned to their units. In November 1942, the 193rd held it’s position at the Northern end of the city and continued to defend the factory area through the start of the Soviet Counter offensive, OPERATION URANUS, on November 19. On December 27, the shattered remnants of the 193rd were ferried back across the Volga River to rest and be rebuilt. In February 1943, the 193rd was assigned to the 65th Army in the Central Front. On October 15th, the Division made an assault crossing of the Dnepr River with heavy divisional artillery support, over 1000 shells a minute! On October 20th, the 65th Army became part of the Byelorussian Front. In February 1944, the 193rd received 1700 replacements. In spite of the "fresh fish", the division remained under strength. Each Regiment consisted of 4 under-strength Rifle Companies of 50-60 men. Mortar and Heavy Machine Companies provided regimental fire support. On 8 July 1944, during OPERATION BAGRATION, the193rd liberated the city of Baranovichi. In 1945, the 193rd took part in the East Prussian and Pomeranian Operations. April 1945 saw the 193rd at the Fascist Beast's Lair, the City of Berlin. Our namesake unit took part in some of the worst fighting and greatest battles of the Great Patriotic War.
Sailor Mikhail Panikahe volunteered to go to Stalingrad from the Pacific Fleet and enlisted in the 883rd Rifle Regiment, 193rd Rifle Division as an antitank Rifleman. As did many of the Red Fleet sailors who transferred into the Infantry, he proudly retained his sailor's uniform. On September 28, 1942 the 193rd Rifle Division’s positions were attacked 60 German tanks. Panikahe took two bottles filled with combustible liquid (Molotov Cocktail) and targeted the lead German tank. The tank opened fire and a bullet struck one of the bottles. The liquid ignited and instantly spread over his body. Panikahe, having lit the second Molotov Cocktail, rushed onto the grill of the tank's engine hatch and broke it, thus destroying the tank. The German attack was stopped, but Panikahe gave his life for his Motherland. For this act of Heroism, Mikhail Panikahe was awarded, posthumously, the "Order of The Great Patriotic War" 1st Class. On the 45th Anniversary of Victory, he was elevated to the status of "Hero of the Soviet Union".