Heroes of the Panfilov Division
History and Modernity
Great Patriotic War
In November 1941, German forces closely approached Moscow, and Red Army troops were struggling to defend the capital from the enemy exceeding them in number.
The 316th Rifle Division led by General Ivan Panfilov was defending Moscow in the Volokolamsk direction northwest of the capital where the enemy was expected to deliver its main offensive. The Nazi armor, including 350 tanks, began advancing on November 16, 1941. Near the village of Dubosekovo, 28 of Panfilov’s soldiers of the 4th company of the 2nd battalion of the 1,075th regiment, led by Vasily Klochkov, withstood the offensive of Nazi tanks and infantry for four hours. They repelled a few assaults and destroyed 18 tanks.
Only two of Panfilov’s soldiers survived the offensive that night. The battle near Dubosekovo went down in history as the exploit of 28 Panfilov soldiers who were nicknamed Panfilovtsy and proclaimed Heroes of the Soviet Union in 1942, most of them posthumously.
The 316th Rifle Division later distinguished itself on other fronts, too. On November 17, 1941, it received the Red Banner Order and was renamed into the 8th Guards Rifle Division, with hundreds of its guards richly awarded and decorated.
On November 19, the leader of the division, Ivan Panfilov, was killed in action.
After their offensive northwest of Moscow, the Nazis turned to the north to attack the capital from the Solnechnogorsk area but were repelled by a broad offensive that the Red Army launched on December 1, 1941.