Now and Then - Naro-Fominsk factory

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naro-fominsk moscow battle of moscow ww2 1941
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Naro-Fominsk Weaving-Textile Factory, Naro-Fominsk. End of December of 1941 / Construction grounds of the future "Nara-City" shopping mall. July 2021

Red Army soldiers posing for a photo on the grounds of the textile factory in the freshly liberated Naro-Fominsk.

From the historical essay "Ateptsevo village and its surroundings" by V.F. Eliseev:

"The fighting for Eliseevo was one of the bloodiest in this sector of the front. Multiple frontal assaults yielded no result. The attempt to outflank Elagino by the battle-worn 110th Division on December 18, 1941 didn't succeed either. The task of liberating Elagino and the 75th rail junction was set for the 201st Latvian Rifle Division.The first trains carrying this division only arrived just before December 19th to Aprelevka train station and thrown straight into the fray the next morning.

This is how that offensive was described by the former Young Communist League organiser of the mortar battalion of the 191st Rifle Regiment, 201st Rifle Division A. Stiller: "The fighting broke out in the morning... Being a mortarman myself, I could clearly see the general picture. Infantry platoons scattered themselves throughout the valley of the river Nara to the left of the bridge on the Moscow-Kiev highway in a spread out formation. In spite of heavy machine gun and mortar fire of the Fascists and deep snow, our soldiers managed to reach the river and lay down on its steep opposite bank. This dash was paid for dearly as we had more than a thousand casualties.There was no time to prepare for the battle and conduct reconnaissance. There was no true preliminary artillery barrage either as the guns fired indirectly at grid squares and not designated targets. Enemy trenches were located on a hilltop while the Latvians attacked from below. Some old soldier, a Civil War veteran, urged the attackers "not to bow to the bullets". Soldiers of the 91st and 92nd Rifle Regiments attacked across deep snow in full height, without bending down under a hurricane of enemy fire. Who needed this "psychological attack"? It could only please enemy machine gunners. They didn't manage to even get close to the village. The Latvians had to lie down in the snow and spend more than a full day in the frost. In the night of December 22 they managed to break into Elagino, but the Germans fought off this attack and the offensive fizzled out. The fate of Elagino was decided by the breakthrough of the enemy defense in Sliznevo-Pokrovka sector and the advance of our troops around Ateptsevo and Elagino from the south. The enemy had to retreat to the line Rozhdestvo-Batovo-Koshkino-Stchekutino. The steep slope of the hill Elagino is located on was peppered with the dead bodies of the 201st Latvian Rifles. Especially many dark hillocks could be seen from the highway when the snow melted in spring. In the area of Elagino the kill ratio of our soldiers vs Hitlerites was thirty to one, or even higher.

The offensive of our troops towards Yeryukhino, Ateptsevo and Yelagino took place simultaneously with the battles for the liberation of Naro-Fominsk. According to N.P. Baloyan, the 175th Motorised Rifle Regiment flanked Naro-Fominsk from the south and reached its western outskirts near the 75th Kilometer railway junction, but it was attacked by the enemy from inside of the city. The 222nd Rifle Regiment of the 201st Rifle Division was sent to its aid, and many soldiers of this division died in this heavy fighting. The enemy was completely driven out of Naro-Fominsk on December 26th, 1941. On the same day the Latvian division, which suffered heavy casualties, was withdrawn to the army reserve".

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