Thoughts on the military and military activities of a diverse nature. Free-ranging and eclectic.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Standards/Banners/Colors IX. [Conclusion]

This is coolbert:

"Wrap yourself in the flag!!" In modern parlance, a snide and pejorative phrase applied to persons who exhibit excessive patriotic zeal, often of a knee-jerk, reflexive nature. Such persons are often portrayed as having the nature of a buffoon, unthinking and pre-historic.

Here is an instance of a soldier that ACTUALLY DID WRAP HIMSELF IN THE FLAG!! Saving the colors from capture by the enemy. NOT during the Zulu Wars. NOT during the American Civil War or the wars of the Napoleonic Era, but from World War Two [WW2].

[this story has been told in previous blog entries, the devoted reader will recognize. Much more germane at this moment to the current series of posts.]

A Soviet soldier attempting to save the unit [24th Samaro-Ulyanovsk Motor-Rifle Division] colors from capture by German forces [Minsk encirclement, 1941]. Read from the wiki entry:

"At the beginning of the Great Patriotic War, the division [24th] was disbanded, apparently following the loss of its Banner (divisional colours)."

"As it was made known later, that the instructor of the political department of the division, senior Commissar A. V. Barbashev had the Banner while the division [24th] was trying to break out of the German encirclement. Barbashev died on August 6, 1941 near Anyutino village Cherykaw Raion Mogilev Oblast. Local farmer D.N. Tyapin later found the stained Banner on the officers corpse. He buried the body and the Banner in the local cemetery."

"After clearing village Anyutino by the Soviet armies the Banner was taken and directed on to restoration. On February, 20th 1944 the restored Banner of former division was handed over to 24th Rifle Division (2nd formation). For his finding of the division's Banner, D.N. Tyapin has been honoured by being forever listed on the rolls of the 1st company of one of the division's regiments."

Here is the same story as retold by Suvorov, with added context essential to understanding the story: [from the book, "Inside the Soviet Army"]

"One most important element needed for the rebuilding of a new division is its old colors . . . if colors are lost - - that is the end of the division. If such a thing should happen, all its former commanders are sent to penal battalions, where they expiate their guilt with blood . . . in the war against Germany [1941] from the very beginning of hostilities and distinguished itself in the fighting near Minsk until, as part of the 13th Army, it found itself encicrcled [the Minsk encirclement]. Part of the division managed to break out but its colors were lost . . . In 1944, when the Red Army once again reached and then crossed the Soviet frontiers, a special commission began question local inhabitants . . . A peasant, D.N. Tyapin, told the commission how he had found the body of a Soviet officer, wrapped in a flag, and how he had buried the body, with the flag. The brave was immediately opened and the colors of the 24th Iron Division were found. The flag was immediately sent away for restoration and just as quickly, a new division was formed and given the old colors"

It should well be understood that the 24th Samaro-Ulyanovsk Motor-Rifle Berdychivskaya, Iron, Awards of October Revolution, three times Red Banner, Suvorov's, Bogdan Khmelnitsky division was an ELITE unit of the communist RED ARMY. During the Russian Civil War, the troops of the 24th Division, Bolshevik Red Army were considered to be among the most loyal and fervent followers of the communist cause? Again, from Suvorov:

* "one of the best in the Red Army."

* "Lenin corresponded personally with some of its soldiers."

It should also well be understood that the Red Army from the time of 1918 onwards made an active, concerted and draconian effort to purge the military of all bourgeois tendencies.

"bour·geois - - n.

A person belonging to the middle class.
A person whose attitudes and behavior are marked by conformity to the standards and conventions of the middle class.
In Marxist theory, a member of the property-owning class; a capitalist."

Red Army troops were to be purged of all Tsarist pre-Civil War "tendencies", the Red Army adopting egalitarian communist mores to include:

* Election of officers.

* Abolishing badges of rank.

* Self-criticism sessions between troops of all ranks.

* Troops strictly told to address one another [officers and enlisted both] as "comrade" ONLY.

For a period of almost several decades AFTER the end of the Russian Civil War, a display of bourgeois tendencies, NO MATTER WHAT THE SHAPE, MANNER, OR FORM, would result in a quick banishment to the GULAG, a ten year sentence being the same as a sentence of death.

Surely - - saving the colors - - from capture by the enemy - - by wrapping your body with the unit standard - - would have been thought to be a manifestation of a bourgeois tendency?? THIS WAS NOT THE CASE WITH THE COLORS OF THE 24TH DIVISION SAMARO-ULYANOVSK MOTOR-RIFLE DIVISION, THE APPELLATION OF WHICH WAS "IRON"!!

Saving the colors in this case, an action CARRIED OUT BY A RED COMMISSAR!!




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