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My Great-Grandfather is a Hero by Nikolay Usmansky
My great-grandfather, Mihail Petrovich Koshelev, was born in a poor peasant family in a little village of Smolensk region in 1918. In the family there were 7 other children and when his father died, my great-granddad was only 9. Since that early age he had to take care of his younger brother and sisters and help mother to deal with their household. In 1939 Mihail Petrovich was called up for military service into the Red Army and was sent to the marines detachment, which was being formed at that time. In that detachment my great-granddad met the Great Patriotic War in 1941 near Moscow, where he for the first time came face to face with German fascists.
The marines fighters, who fearlessly defended the capital, knew that they had no right to retreat because Moscow was behind them. In those battles a lot of his army friends were killed, but my great-grandfather was lucky to survive, though he was wounded and shell-shocked.
After spending some time in a military hospital, my great-granddad was sent to the 31st Guards Mortal detachment where he honorably continued his service and liberation of his Motherland from enemies. The brave Guards Mortars were called “Katyushas” by ordinary people, but the fascists gave them the name of “Stalin Organs” because of the hard loud and strong sounds they produced.
In mortal brigade my great-grandfather was a chef, though he personally shot from “Katyushas” and destroyed enemies, made reconnaissance and fulfilled other war tasks.
With that Mortal Brigade my great-grandfather liberated his native land as a member of Ukrainian, and then, Belarus fronts. He took an active part in liberation of Ukraine, Crimea, Sevastopol and the capture of Sapun-mountain. With his brigade he also came to Belorussia, Poland, Germany and made these countries free from German invasion.
When my father was a little boy, he loved to listen to his grand-fathers stories about his war days, he told my father that Germans had very good guns and that captive Germans have been very frightened and that he had crossed all Europe on foot.
My great-grandfather was awarded 4 medals “For War Service” and 2 orders of “Red Star”. He was a modest person and didn’t like telling much about his heroic deeds. Thanks to the survived documents we managed to learn about the courage of my great-grandmother on the 2nd of May 1945, the day of liberation of Germany. The Reward List stated the fact that on that day fascists actively fired at the position of their mortals and when my great-granddad saw his dying comrades, he rushed to “Katyushas”, aimed it at the enemies and shot, though he was a cook and a minute before brought dinner to the soldiers. Others followed his example and so our forces were supported. For that heroism great-granddad got a medal “For Bravery”.
After the war my great-grandfather decided to settle in Crimea where he lived up to his death in 1992. He tried himself in lots of occupations and had numerous skills but his main profession was a teacher. He was a Principal, a Vice-Principle in village schools where he worked with “difficult” pupils. He was always respected by them and by his collegues. Since war time, my great-granddad had loved cooking very much, he even was the Chef of Crimea after the war. Later he published the book “To the Young Housewives”.
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