WW2 Russian Protective Corps Combat operations

A brief outline of the actions of the corps.
According to the nature of the hostilities, the history of the Corps can be divided into three periods:
1) from the fall of 41 to the spring of 44 – the period of security service, when the regiments of the Corps, occupying certain areas, provided the objects entrusted to them from partisan attacks and general order in these areas;
2) from the spring of 44 to September 44 – the period of active struggle against Tito’s partisans, when, due to the strengthening of partisans in the Balkans, large Tito gangs from Croatia and Bulgaria penetrated into Serbia, and parts of the Corps, not limited to the direct defense of their regions, took active participation in the fight against them; And
3) from September 44 until the end of the war – the period of front-line military service, when, after the sudden surrender of Romania and Bulgaria, parts of the Corps had to take the blow of the Soviet and Bulgarian divisions that invaded Serbia and in the future, without leaving the front line anymore, to fight not only with the partisans, but also with units of the Red Army, with the Bulgarians and with the regular troops of Tito.

Not being able to linger on the first and second periods, I will cite only two excerpts from the orders of the Commander-in-Chief of the South-East, interesting as the assessments given to the Corps by a foreign foreign general:
1. “I declare my special gratitude for the courage and steadfastness shown during the defense of the Ibr Valley from August 3 to 5 to the units of the S-Regiment participating in the case, as well as to the bunker teams of the 3rd ROK Regiment. With exemplary fidelity to their duty, these detachments fulfilled their purpose and resisted the strongest, outnumbered enemy, having defended the structures and
inflicting great bloody damage on the communists. The teams of some bunkers, having shot all the cartridges to the last, exploded into the air. Glory to these heroes! Felber. – gen. from infantry.”
2. “The Russian Security Corps is celebrating today the third anniversary of its existence. When three years ago its fighters took up arms, it meant for them the realization of their ideal, the struggle against Bolshevism, an ideal that became the guiding content of their lives after they left Russia. In the ranks of the Corps, people who know Soviet Russia are now fighting, young soldiers who are just as bravely fighting against the communist system of the penal servitude.
The achievements of the Russian Corps since its foundation are worthy of the traditions of those glorious regiments in which many of its ranks once served. The battles at Loznitsa, on the Drin, at Bely Kamen, Valyev and in the Ibr Valley are glorious deeds that will always be remembered when it comes to the Russian Corps … Felber – gene. from infantry.”
The sudden capitulation of Romania and Bulgaria radically changed the situation in Serbia. Within a few days, the front, which was at the Prut and Seret, turned out to be at the Iron Gates. At this time, the main forces of the German Balkan Front were far to the south in Greece, and units of the Corps, together with individual German units, had to take on the onslaught of the advancing Soviet and Bulgarian divisions. The inequality of weapons, the multiple numerical superiority of the enemy, the partisans that flooded the whole country, the betrayals and betrayals of the allied Serbian government units and detachments of Draja Mikhailovich who began to go over to the side of the enemy – all this created an extremely difficult situation for the battalions of the Corps scattered far from each other. Despite this, they not only fought back, not only took prisoners, but also delivered sensitive blows to the enemy, such as near D. Milanovets, where the Soviet 169th regiment fled from the battlefield, or near Chachko, where the Soviet battery was taken.
The battalions located near the border had a particularly hard time; 3 of them were surrounded, with a breakthrough from which four-fifths of their total composition fell. The 1st Regiment and the Battalion of the 2nd Regiment withdrew to the northern bank of the Sava River, and then received the task of holding the bridgehead at Brcko – an important point on the path of the further withdrawal of the “Greek” army, while the rest of the Corps retreated to the Kosovo Mitrovica line – Kraljevo, Chachak, who had to be kept at all costs, because she covered the last remaining opportunity for this army to withdraw from Greece through southern Serbia and Bosnia. In two months of heavy fighting, this task was completed, but the Corps paid for it with huge losses.
In recognition of the merits of the Corps, by order of the Main Apartment, the word “Guard” was deleted from its name, which remained as a relic of the tendencies of the party circles, all the inconsistency of which the Corps proved with its combat work.
The next stage was the winter crossing through the wild Bossan (Bosnia) mountains, which, with its harsh environment, resurrected the first Ice Campaign in the memories of the elderly ranks of the Corps and cost the regiments participating in it more than 500 frostbitten or overstrained ranks, in addition to combat losses.
The entire Southern Group of the Corps was reduced to 2 regiments – the 4th and 5th, and instead of rest, moved to capture the city of Travnik, a large partisan center that threatened the only railway line connecting Sarajevo with the Sava River valley.
The first December offensive stopped due to a lack of artillery, upon receipt of which Travnik was taken by the second January offensive.
Taking advantage of the ensuing lull, the Corps commander left for Germany and, having come to Gen. Vlasov, put the Corps at his disposal, and, according to the latter, was the only general who obeyed him without setting any preconditions. But all attempts by Gen. Vlasov to achieve the transfer of the Corps to Germany were not successful, because. the German command, due to the complete lack of reserves, refused to withdraw the Corps from the front. And at this time, when the emerging ROA was experiencing an acute shortage of command personnel, the parts of the Corps overflowing with them continued to melt in the bloody battles near Travnik and Brcko.
Wanting to return Travnik, Tito sent there the 20,000th Dalmatian Corps, just formed in Primorye, perfectly equipped by the British and trained by Soviet instructors. Our reconnaissance discovered the impending offensive, but there was nothing to fend it off, because. our forces in this area, together with the German and Croatian units, did not exceed 7-8 thousand. During the week, the 4th and 5th regiments held their positions, several times passing from hand to hand, “but after the enemy broke through in the area of the Croats and Germans, they were forced to start a retreat, and break out of the encirclement with heavy fighting. Memorable to all ranks Corps Guchya Gora and Busovach were the most difficult and most glorious moments of this retreat and are the brightest pages in the history of the 4th and 5th regiments of the Corps.
In mid-April, when Vienna had already fallen, and in Croatia the front had crossed to the southern bank of the Drava River, threatening to cut the remaining narrow corridor, the 4th and 5th regiments began to roll back to the north, alternating with the German rearguard units and, crossing the Sava River , connected with the 1st 2nd regiments that approached from Brcko. For the first time ever, the Corps was gathered into one fist.
When passing through Zagreb, the commander of the Corps, Gen. Shteyfon, and the regiment took command. Rogozhin.
The German surrender order found the Corps in Slovenia in positions near the city of Ljubljana. Regiment. Rogozhin resolutely stated that the Russian Corps would under no circumstances hand over its weapons to the communists, but would make its way to Austria to the British.
The last stage began – the movement through Karavanki. At this time, the Corps was the only part that completely retained its combat capability. When it became known that the tunnel leading through Karavanki was occupied by the enemy, the German commander called forward the 4th and 5th regiments of the Russian Corps.
On May 12, 1945, four days after the general surrender, the Corps near Klagenfurt surrendered their weapons to the British. Here is an extract from the order of the German head of the group: “Soldiers of all units of the armed forces, allied comrades of the Russian Corps, especially the Varyag regiment, Serbian and Slovenian national formations! The large marching movement from the Ljubljana region to Klagenfurt is over. the end of the war and, most importantly, salvation from Bolshevism…
I especially thank the commander of the Russian Corps, Col. Rogozhin, who led his Corps through the pass with better discipline.
And from the order for the Corps: “For my part, I appeal to you, my comrades-in-arms! With a clear conscience and proudly we can say that we have fully fulfilled our duty as an honest Russian soldier. The British commanders respected the ranks of our Corps, because we have not handed over our weapons to those against whom we raised them – our enemy the Bolsheviks. With faith in a better future, we will wait for the moment when the Lord will help us bring the struggle for the liberation of our Motherland to victory. Colonel Rogozhin.”
Thus was completed the combat path of the Corps. During the 4 years of his service, he honorably fulfilled all the tasks assigned to him in the fight against the enemy, which, starting from 1944, outnumbered him and weapons, and, despite the constant work and huge losses, he retained combat discipline and the will to fight to the end. red enemy In June 1944, it had about 12,000 people, and in May 1945 – 4,500, 70 percent of the losses were the sacrifice that the Corps made in the name of fulfilling its duty to Russia. (by W. Granitow)

Our first military campaign

In obedience to the call to embark on the path of resuming the armed struggle against our enemy – the Bolsheviks, on September 19, 1941, I signed up as a volunteer in the Russian Corps and was instructed to appear for a medical examination on October 1st. Having liquidated his affairs during this period of time, on a clear sunny morning of this day, with a close friend, Lieutenant Colonel of the 9th Lancers Bug Regiment S.D. Drinevich, I approached the gates of the Topchider barracks.
It is understandable our excitement before the boundary, which in a few moments was to be crossed. After a twenty-year break, it was necessary to put on a military uniform again and, as was believed, in the near future, send to Russia to fight the red enemy. Both of us left our faithful companions on the path of life, our wives, who blessed us for service.
An armed orderly standing at the gate in the uniform of a Russian cadet showed us the way to the building where the medical examination was carried out. Having successfully passed a very superficial examination, we were sent to the commission, which distributed the arriving volunteers into companies. I, as a staff captain of the railway troops, was appointed to an ordinary position in the 4th technical company of the II battalion (later the 7th), and Drinevich – in the 6th (squadron) of the same battalion.
The officer commanding staff of the 4th company was: the commander – the engineering troops, Colonel Lukin, who commanded the Technical Regiment in Gallipoli; the commander of the 1st platoon – engineer troops, lieutenant colonel Popov, the 2nd platoon – railway troops, colonel Krapivnikov, the 3rd – engineer troops, colonel Dobrovolsky and the 4th – aviation colonel Antonov. Non-commissioned officer positions were occupied by officers of special troops. The rank and file consisted of both officers and people who had not yet served in the military – technical specialists from all sectors. Some had engineering degrees. The 4th platoon consisted almost exclusively of former Russian pilot officers and was colloquially referred to as the “aviation” platoon. The intelligent composition of the company also determined the appropriate relations both from the side of the command staff to the subordinates, and from the rank and file among themselves. Rudeness was completely absent and “soldier’s customs” were not noticeable.
The same can be said about the 6th company (squadron), which had a predominant number of cavalry officers in the rank and file. The squadron commander was Colonel Tikhonravov, who was later replaced by Major General Petrovsky, later commander of the battalion of the 3rd regiment and missing in October 1944, being surrounded by Soviet troops under the Avala height, near Belgrade. The 3rd “rifle” company was commanded by Colonel Endrzheevsky (later Colonel Myshlaevsky).
So, after a twenty-year break, I again became a military man, and although I wore officer epaulettes on my shoulders, I served as an ordinary soldier. It was necessary to get used to the barracks life calculated by the hour and again imbued with military discipline with its unquestioning execution of the orders of the authorities and respect for rank. We were issued with rifles accepted in the Yugoslav army and Zbroevka light machine guns. Intensified drill exercises and combat training began according to the old Russian charters. The Germans did not take part in the classes, and the training was led exclusively by the Russian command staff. The Germans interfered little in the internal life of the barracks.
Despite the considerable age of many volunteers and the intensity of the classes, we did not overwork, and only in the evening we felt healthy fatigue. The day ended at 8 o’clock with a formation for verification and prayer. After a month of training, the companies were shot down and acquired a fairly slender appearance. At the end of October, our company was renamed the 5th, and the 3rd – the 4th.
With the beginning of November, the preparation of the regiment for the review began. The entire regiment lined up on the barracks parade ground and in a column of companies, with rifles with attached bayonets on their shoulders, with a trumpeter choir, marched through the streets of the suburbs to Banitsa field. A long ribbon of slender columns, with bayonets sparkling in the sun, in the sounds of a brilliant copper orchestra, interspersed with a dashing Russian song, presented an impressive spectacle, causing joy among friends and an evil feeling among enemies. After several rehearsals, on November 19, the final review of the regiment was made. The regiment, under the command of its commander, General Zborovsky, marched in front of General Shteifon, who was hosting the parade, in the presence of the local German authorities. No oath was taken by the regiment, but only a prayer service was served.
The festive mood of the people, elated by a successful review and parade, was overshadowed by unfulfilled hopes. It finally became clear that there could be no question of any campaign in Russia at the present time, that the regiment was intended to carry out security service and fight against partisans so far only on the territory of Serbia, and only in the distant future could it be transferred to Russia. The march of our 2nd Battalion was scheduled for the morning of November 21st. The fever of the final preparations for the performance began, the fitting of knapsacks, the issuance of ammunition, march allowances, and so on. The commander of the battalion, Colonel Shatilov, made an inspection of the men in marching gear and checked their fit. On the 20th, all the people of the departing battalion were released for the whole day to say goodbye to their families.
At 4 o’clock in the morning on November 21, we were raised by the sounds of the “Old Jaeger March”, so familiar to all who served in the Russian army. The regimental trumpeters played under the windows of our barracks. At 7 o’clock. On a clear autumn morning of that day, the battalion in a marching column, with a choir of trumpeters in front, set out from the Topchider barracks to the Belgrade freight railway station for loading. We walked through “Topcider Brdo”, along Sarajevo and Karađorđev streets. We already knew that we were going to cleanse the Podrinsky region from the communists. After loading, the train was transferred to the passenger station, where a large crowd of relatives and friends gathered to see us off. Last kisses, handshakes, wishes, tears, the departure signal and the train started. It was about 10 am.
In the Podrinsky region of Serbia, which bears its name from the Drina river, there are mines of antimonium metal, which is very important for the military industry. The most important of them – Zayach and Capital, are located near the cities of Loznitsa and Krupan. In the latter – a factory that processes ore into metal. In peacetime, the French company “Montana” had a concession for operation. With the outbreak of hostilities, both cities and the adjacent mining area were occupied by German troops. In the summer of 1941, the communist partisans, in alliance with the royal Chetniks, having destroyed the military garrisons, drove the Germans out of the region and became the absolute masters of the entire region. (The break between the Partisans and the Chetniks occurred in early autumn, after which, until the end of the war, they remained implacable enemies.) Even the rather large city of Shabac, which had a significant colony of Russian white emigrants, was besieged.
The partisans did not hide their hatred for the White Russians and threatened to destroy them if Shabets was captured. In the face of this formidable danger, the Kuban captain Ikonnikov, who had a manufacturing trade in the city, turned to the Germans with a request to issue weapons to the White emigrants and allow them to organize a detachment from them to take part in the defense of the city. Weapons were received and the Russian detachment, numbering about a hundred people, contributed a lot to the success of the defense. Later, the detachment arrived in Belgrade and joined the Corps.
The German punitive expedition, passing by the edge, burned a number of villages, but the situation did not change and the entire region continued to remain in the hands of the communist partisans. The task of clearing the region, its final consolidation and creation of conditions under which it would be possible to more or less calm operation of the mines was assigned to the newly formed 1st Regiment of the Russian Corps.
All day on November 21, the echelon of our battalion was on the way and by 6 pm arrived at its destination, at the Klenak station, located on the opposite bank of the Sava River from the city of Shabets. The railway bridge across the river was blown up and only pedestrian traffic was possible on it and horse carts could hardly cross.
The rainy November night has finally descended to the ground. From the direction of Shabets, rare explosions of mortar shells and machine-gun bursts were heard. It was the Germans who occasionally fired in the darkness of the night at, perhaps, an enemy lurking somewhere, announcing their wakefulness. Sometimes the darkness was cut through by the beams of German searchlights. All this immediately brought us into an alarming atmosphere of war and danger.
Having unloaded, the battalion crossed the bridge and, bogged down in the mud, moved towards Shabezz. Before the city, the battalion was met by the commander of the regiment, Gen. Zborowski and trumpeters’ choir. The battalion pulled itself up and to the sounds of the march entered the city. Along the sidewalks, groups of curious townsfolk silently greeted the “Russian army.” The darkness did not allow to see – their faces expressed sympathy or hatred.
In the center of the city, the battalion was divided – the sixth squadron was sent to the apartments assigned to it in the gymnasium, and our 5th technical and 4th rifle squadrons were sent to the agricultural school, located outside the city, behind the line of the German outposts. I had to immediately set up my own guards to protect against a possible Red raid.
On November 22, all three battalions of the 1st regiment, the regimental headquarters and headquarters teams were concentrated in Shabets. On the morning of the 24th, further movement was scheduled for the city of Loznica, and the day of the 23rd passed in preparation for the campaign. I and ours, II battalions were ordered to move in marching order, and the III Cossack, to our envy, was transferred by a narrow-gauge railway.
Before dawn on the 24th we set out. The distance between Šabets and Loznica, about 70 km, was calculated in two crossings. There was no supply for the soldiers’ backpacks, and people were forced to walk with full gear, i.e. carry 120 pieces of cartridges, a rifle, a satchel with personal belongings and a blanket. By this time, I was assigned as a machine gunner, instead of a rifle, I carried a machine gun “Zbroevka”, which had a rather impressive weight. This campaign was the first serious test of our endurance and mobility. The previous rains spoiled the way. The march was facilitated by the absence of ascents to Loznica itself. Taking into account that people were not involved in the march, and for many it was the first serious transition in life, people endured the campaign quite well and few people took advantage of the cart that followed us for the sick and knocked out. General Zborovsky walked the entire transition at the head of the 1st Junker Battalion, setting an example.
On the first day, we covered half the way, reaching the village of Novo-Selo, where, having settled in the peasant households and posted guards, we spent the night. The next day we safely made the second half of the journey and entered Loznitsa, which had been abandoned by the Red partisans shortly before our arrival, before dark. All of our 2nd Battalion was quartered for the night in the building of the gymnasium. Our people immediately entered into communication with the inhabitants of the town, who did not shy away from contact with us, but were helpful and friendly – they recalled with horror the dominion of the Reds in the city and their atrocities. It was felt that our arrival did not cause bitterness, but, on the contrary, even gave satisfaction to some extent, giving hope that we would soften the cruel German occupation. We were people of their faith, speaking their language, knowing their customs and not wishing them harm. It was possible to “talk heart to heart” with us and in many cases find protection and intercession before the occupier. And it must be admitted that civilians were very rarely offended by us for no reason and the officials responsible for this were severely punished.
On November 26, our 2nd Battalion moved to “Bana Kovilach” – a medical resort 5 km from Loznitsa, and settled in the buildings of resort hotels. By this time, relations between the Red partisans and the royal Chetniks had become completely hostile, and hostilities began between them with a clear preponderance in the direction of the Reds, who forced the Chetniks out of the populated areas into the forests. This split greatly facilitated the fulfillment of the tasks assigned to the regiment and contributed to its success. As soon as the regiment arrived in Loznica, the head of the Chetniks of this region, Rajko Markovich, immediately entered into negotiations with our command about joint actions against the Reds. Negotiations led to an agreement, and we acquired a very valuable ally who knows the enemy well, local conditions and the population of the region.
On November 27, the operation of further pushing back the Reds began. The ultimate goal of the operation is the occupation of the town of Krupan, near which there was a factory for processing ore and which was the tactical key to the area. Two battalions participated in the operation: I Junker, under the command of G.Sh. Colonel Zhukov and our II Colonel Shatilov. The battalions were advancing on Krupan from two opposite sides in order to pinch the group of Red comrade Martinovich concentrated there, numbering about 2000 people, and destroy it.
Our first cooperation with the Chetniks took the form of the latter sending us two people as guides, one of whom had an officer’s rank. They moved light at dawn, without any convoy, leaving even satchels in Ban Koviljaca and having only the maximum number of cartridges. The route was: B. Koviljacha – Machkov Kamen (historical height of the battles of the First World War of the Serbs with the Austrians) – the village of Planina – with. Krzhava – Krupan. The weather favored us. There were marvelous sunny days of late autumn with slight morning frosts. The snow hasn’t fallen yet. But the path was extraordinarily difficult. The guides often turned off the road and led us along mountain paths, bypassing places that were dangerous, in their opinion. We walked slowly with all security measures. The battalion commander, Colonel Shatilov, with the battalion adjutant, the captain of the Yugoslav service, Nagorov, were at the head of the column all the time. On the first day we walked no more than 12-15 km and spent the night in the scattered houses of some village. Here, local peasants reported that 3 km away was a field gun left by the partisans, for which the Reds intended to come that night. A platoon of Colonel Antonov sent there found a gun, but without a lock and, having brought it completely out of order, left it in place.
The next day of the journey was even harder, because. They walked exclusively along forest mountain paths, overcoming unusually difficult climbs. Passing through the height of Machkov-Kamen, they saw a chapel-monument, erected on the site of a mass grave of Serbian soldiers who fell defending the height in 1914. The walls of the chapel were covered with blasphemous inscriptions, the icons were disfigured, half of the chapel bore traces of human impurities, and crypt under the chapel, scattered.
Before reaching a few kilometers to the city of Krupan, the battalion spent the night in the village of Planina. Settled in a rural school and adjacent houses. Here, two agents, betrayed by local peasants, left by the Reds, and a female courier red-handed were captured: during the search, a note was found from the agent about us.
November 29, before sunrise, the battalion moved through the mountain village of Krzhava to Krupan. At 0.5 km from Krzhava, the head company with machine-gun and rifle fire drove off the Red reconnaissance that had appeared and the battalion, speeding up the movement, approached the village. The village of Krzhava is located on the pass and from it begins the descent to the goal of the operation – the city of Krupan. The outpost of the Reds, located in the outermost houses of the village, on which we opened fire, fled, not trying to detain us and leaving two paired carts. One of the carts contained cauldrons of food, while the other was filled with Communist newspapers and propaganda literature.
The honor of capturing the first trophies belonged to our 5th company, located at the head of the battalion. The horses turned out to be excellent and one pair was transferred to the battalion headquarters, and the other was left in the company to reinforce our weak company convoy. This first minor success had a favorable effect on the morale of tired people and served for a long time as a topic of discussion and conversation.
According to the plan of the operation, at the same time, on the other hand, the 1st battalion was supposed to approach Krupen, having previously occupied the “Capital” mine along the way. And, indeed, after a short time we saw signal flares of the junkers, informing us of their approach to Krupen. Our battalion moved and the last stage of the operation began. The 4th rifle company and the 6th squadron were sent directly to attack Krupan, and our 5th company, through the village. Toman, on p. Banjovac, in order to cut off the retreat route of the Reds, because. A road passed through this village. Shlivovo and further into the mountains. Having passed from Toman, the company turned around and launched an offensive on the village. Banjevac. From the side of Krupnya, only rare bursts of machine-gun fire and single rifle shots could be heard. It was clear that neither the cadets nor two companies of our battalion met the resistance of the Reds.
Having overcome a steep climb, our company, without a single shot, went out onto the road and approached the outer houses of the village. According to the peasants, half an hour before our arrival, the column of Reds passed through the village along the road from Krupen to the village. Shlivovo. The commander of the Reds himself, Comrade Martinovich, for a long time watched our movements through binoculars from a height of c. Banyevets, from where we were visible to him, in full view, and left literally 15 minutes before our exit to the road.
Junkers and two companies of our battalion entered Krupan around 3 pm on November 30th. The main goal of the operation was achieved, although it was not possible to destroy the enemy’s manpower. The main reasons that led to such a favorable outcome for the Reds were the slowness of our movement and the lack of an element of surprise. Martinovich, of course, was promptly warned by his agents about our movements. Probably, the rapidly spreading rumors, which incredibly exaggerated our strength, also played a role.
Our next task was to guard the mines, coupled with the destruction of the Red detachments that had gone into the forest and mountains, or, at least, pushing them out of the area to a distance that did not allow their sudden attack (by A. Polyansky)

The first battle of the Russian Corps

On September 20, 1941, on the day of the appearance of the Cossacks for enrollment in the Russian Corps, the Commander of the Division of His Majesty’s Own Convoy, or, as it is commonly called, the Guards Division, Colonel Rogozhin, was one of the first to appear in the Topchider barracks, ready to become an ordinary soldier without applying for any command positions.
At the same time, several officers of the Division appeared, who, due to the circumstances of the war, were in Belgrade at that time.
Having entered the Corps, Colonel Rogozhin immediately began to negotiate the transfer to Belgrade and the entire Division, which was at work in the town of Belische, near the city of Osek. Due to the fact that the town of Belische was in Croatia, which was in unfriendly relations with Serbia, the transfer of the Division was fraught with great difficulties, which took more than a month to overcome, and only on October 29 did the Division arrive in Belgrade under the command of Colonel Galushkin.
A fabulous picture from the dear past was presented by the Division, lined up in the courtyard of the Topchider barracks. Brand new guards Cossack uniforms – blue trousers with a guards braid, protective tunics with scarlet shoulder straps, hats, crimson hoods, checkers behind them. On the right flank – three standards of the banner and a choir of trumpeters. The Commander of the Corps, General Shteyfon, approaches the ranks.
– Checkers out! Listen on-kra-ul (on guard)! – there was a command.
Blades flashed, a counter march broke out.
Enchanted, stood volunteers in paramilitary uniforms who had just entered the Corps, filling the entire yard with themselves and looking out of the windows of the barracks. Before their eyes stood a vivid picture of the former greatness of Russia.
General Shteifon congratulated the Division on their arrival in the Corps and said a few words of welcome.
Again the command was heard: “Under the standards, listen to the kra-ul (to the guard)!”, And to the invigorating sounds of the song “Guards Campaign”, the banner officers slowly carried the standards to the barracks. Guards eagles of gray standards soared proudly – faithful companions of their unit during its centuries-old service to Russia and the Emperors and witnesses of its military glory on the fields of the Kuban, Terek, Don and Northern Tavria, where the Kuban and Terek Guards Divisions in countless battles with the Reds glorified the name of the Guards Cossack and with their blood they proved their devotion to the Motherland.
But the standards, one by one, disappeared into the entrance of the barracks, turning a new page in the history of their unit.
The words of the order of the Kuban Marching Ataman General Tkachev sounded heartfelt:
“The arrived Guards division accomplished an unprecedented feat in the history of peoples, preserving itself for 20 years of emigrant time.
A heightened sense of duty, devotion and loyalty to their standards, as a symbol of the lost Motherland, have written an immortal page in the history of the Russian army and the Cossacks.
And now, having waited for the desired hour, at the first call of the signal trumpet, the Division, as one person, appeared where the center of the struggle for the Motherland was reborn, fully justifying the words of its motto: “Faith and Loyalty” and remembering that “the shadow of heroes, who forged centuries-old glory, is following us on our heels!
The arrival of the Division provided great moral support in the formation of the Corps, and for many who hesitated in the rightness of this matter, the example of the Division put an end to their doubts.
The German command, paying tribute of recognition and respect, allowed the Division to keep its uniform, due to which the 1st platoon of the Guards Hundred, until the transition of the Corps to the Wehrmacht, carried out guard duty at the Headquarters of the 1st Regiment in Loznitsa in his Cossack uniform.
The division was enrolled in the 1st regiment of the 7th Guards Hundred under the command of Hauptmann Galushkin, being part of the III battalion, whose commander was Major Rogozhin. The trumpet choir became the regimental band of the 1st Regiment.
The next day, intensive and painstaking work began – the breakdown of people into platoons according to new states, obtaining uniforms, equipment and weapons. This work was often interrupted by hundreds lining up on various occasions: once a hundred, still in their Cossack uniform, took part in the parade on Banitsa and made a brilliant impression on all those present.
On November 4, quite unexpectedly, a hundred were ordered to immediately go by truck to Pančevo. Thus, less than one week after arrival, a hundred had already been sent on a business trip. Of course, such haste could only be applied to the Guards Hundred, which did not need training. True, thanks to this, only a few months later, already in the spring of 1942, a hundred were able to start classes according to the new charters adopted in the Corps.
The two-week stay of a hundred in Pancevo was marked by the reception and care of a large batch of horses destined for the Corps. On November 18, these horses were sent to Belgrade, and the next day a hundred returned to Belgrade, settling in “Topov probes”.
At dawn on November 22, a hundred marched to the station for loading. The purpose and route of the upcoming campaign were kept secret. Guesses were made, dreams of the Eastern Front, of a merciless struggle for the liberation of the Motherland, surfaced. Alas, they disappeared like smoke when it became known that the Klenac station was the final destination of the route. Relatives and acquaintances gathered at the place of loading, and the gene also arrived there. Shteyfon and, finally, at about 11 o’clock the entire III battalion of the 1st regiment left Belgrade. In the evening, the echelon arrived in Klenak, and on the morning of November 23, a hundred unloaded from the cars and marched to Shabac.
The next day, November 24, a hundred loaded into narrow-gauge cars and, in the same echelon with the 9th hundred, set off for Loznitsa. In the afternoon we arrived at the broken Leshnitsa station, from where we continued our journey in marching order and arrived in Loznitsa already in the dark. Soon, the commander and officers of the hundred were called to the German Oberst Lieutenant Bezzenberger to receive the first combat mission – to capture the Hare, occupied by communist partisans.
On the morning of November 25, a detachment consisting of the III battalion of the 1st regiment and the III battalion of the 697th German infantry regiment with two tanks marched on the Hare in three columns: the left – 2 German companies – walked through the mountains around the Hare from the north, the right – our 9th one hundred and one German company – in girth from the south, the middle one – the 7th Guards and the 8th hundred, the heavy company of the German battalion and tanks – moved along the main road to Zayach. At halfway, the Guards Hundred were ordered to take up heights on the side of the road in order to cut off a possible path of retreat for the partisans. After several hours of waiting, a hundred were ordered to join the column and continue moving towards Zayach.
Here are the first buildings of the Hare, located in a large basin. The column began to be drawn into the village, when suddenly a machine gun rattled and bullets whistled over the heads of the column. This was fired by partisans who occupied the opposite outskirts of the village and opened fire on the advancing column from several machine guns. Hundreds quickly scattered in chains and opened fire with rifles. These were the first shots of the Russian Corps. These were the first shots of white fighters after a 20-year break. And if they were not destined to sound there, on their native land, but here, in Serbia, then nevertheless they were directed against the communists, who tried here, at the behest of Moscow, to seize power into their own hands and used every opportunity to destroy the Russian emigration.
The Germans began shelling the enemy with bombers and heavy machine guns; a battle ensued, the Cossacks were rapidly moving forward, trying to get to the enemy, but the partisans could not stand it and fled. The fight is quiet. The task was completed: the Hare was taken.
The head of the detachment, the commander of the German battalion, Oberst Lieutenant Bezzenberger suggested that Major Rogozhin return to Loznitsa. Evidently, every German operation ended with such an epilogue in order to repeat it again after a certain time. In response to this proposal, Major Rogozhin, considering such exhaustion of people unnecessary, expressed to the head of the detachment his readiness to remain in Zayacha. The German was pleasantly surprised by such a proposal and willingly agreed to it, and for Major Rogozhin this turned out to be the first link that did not escape the attention of the German command, his career, which eventually led him to the post of commander of the Corps.
The Germans left, and the Cossacks remained in Zayach, already in the dark setting up guards around the Zayach. Uncomfortable was this first night in a combat situation after so many years of peaceful life. The November dampness and slush and fatigue after two days of the campaign exacerbated the impression. Nevertheless, from that moment on, the Cossacks became a firm foot in Zayacha and the garrison, changing many times in its composition, left there only in 1944 due to the general situation.
The formation of the Russian Corps began. I, as a former officer of the 4th Moscow school of ensigns and a teacher of topography to the cadets of the school, was assigned to the 2nd cadet company (by D. Vertepov)