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Pavlov's House

Discussion in 'War on the Eastern Front' started by Jim, Oct 17, 2010.

  1. Jim

    Jim New Member

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    Nicknamed the 'Houseowner' by his comrades, Sergeant Jacob Pavlov, Hero of the Soviet Union and pre-war accountant, held a battered four-storey brick apartment block at Solechnaya Street for 58 days. It remains today in Volgograd as a mute testimony to the savagery of the fighting.

    During the street fighting in late September Colonel Yelin, commanding the 42nd Regiment, had identified the block as a potential strong point. He despatched Sergeant Pavlov with three men, Privates Alexandrov, Glushchenko and Chronology to secure it. On the night of 29 September a messenger sent by Pavlov reported back to the Divisional HQ and then led 20 men to join the squad. They prepared the building for defence, breaking down the walls between the cellars, and reinforced by four more men began an active defence of the building, sniping at the Germans.

    Pavlov House after the war

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    By chance the group of Soviet soldiers were representative of many of the republics of the USSR and included men from Georgia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and the Ukraine. They were reinforced by Lieutenant Afanasyev's machine-gun platoon of seven men with a Maxim machine gun and six men with three anti-tank rifles under the command of Senior Sergeant Sabgaida, and three submachine gunners. They were further reinforced by four men with two 50mm (1.9in) mortars under the command of Lieutenant Chernushenko. During the lulls in the fighting the men hunted through the building for food and water and found an ancient wind-up gramophone and with it one surviving record. It was a tune unknown to them, but as a distraction it was very welcome, so much so that they played it until the steel needle wore through the fragile disc.

    The Germans continued to probe and attack the building that was now known in Soviet command posts as 'Dom Pavlov' - 'Pavlov's House'. It was a well-chosen strongpoint with wide fields of fire that dominated the approaches to the Volga only 250m (273 yards) away.

    The house after the fighting in 1942

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    In October four German tanks entered Lenin Square and blasted Pavlov's House, but the wily sergeant moved his small force to the fourth floor or the cellar where at close range the tank guns could not reach due to the restriction on their elevation. A fighting patrol with a 14.5mm (O.57in) PTRD antitank rifle slipped out and knocked out one of the tanks and the survivors withdrew. Before the fighting ended Dom Pavlov became a reference point on the Sixty-Second Army HQ maps and Pavlov received the code-name 'Lighthouse'.

    Pavlov survived Stalingrad and went on to serve in the forces that captured Berlin in 1945. He became a Hero of the Soviet Union for his stand at Stalingrad. Pavlov discovered his God somewhere in this devastation and bloodshed, as he joined the Russian Orthodox priesthood after the war. He lived out the rest of his life in peace as the Archimandrite Kyrill, a man of God determined to kill no more.

    The ruins left today of Pavlov's House.

    [​IMG]

    Symbolic meaning
    Pavlov's House became a symbol of the stubborn resistance of the Soviet Union in the Battle of Stalingrad, and in the Great Patriotic War in general. It stands out prominently because the German armies had previously conquered cities and entire countries within weeks; yet they were unable to capture a single half-ruined house, defended most of the time by just over a dozen soldiers, in spite of trying for two months. It is reported that the building at the "9th January Square" was marked as a fortress in German maps.
     
  2. History-buff1944

    History-buff1944 New Member

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    There is a great controversy with the stuff above about Pavlov's House. I had received some great material about this from a friend in Russia about 2-3 years ago. I have it posted on another site but cant access it for the time being. Anyway, Sergeant Pavlov was actually only a "minor" figure in what happened there. Pavlov was indeed the one who "got things rolling" there and certainly had no lack of bravery. His first patrol he was leading 4 men but as the fight for that "house" evolved--there were at times-as many as around 100 Russian Soldiers fighting in that "house" to as low as about 20. The surviving vets who were there-are all very peeved that Pavlov had gotten all the attention and all the glory. As far as I can recall? Pavlov was the only man who fought there who received the Hero of the Soviet Union while others who deserved it more--got a lesser bravery award including the Lieutenant who was actually in command of that small "garrison" When I can access my info on that site--ill get it here. I just do not know when that will happen? I can also give a few names involved including those of some of the survivors-when I can get access to my material.
     

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