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Tuvan tankist became one of the first foreigners to receive the title of Hero of the Soviet Union

Today marks 65 years since the day when the legendary tank driver, Khomushku Namgaevich Churgui-ool received the title of Hero of the Soviet Union. At the time of victory, he was near Prague, after the war he worked in Tes-Khem kozhuun, in the village of Bert-Dag. He was selected as a delegate to the Supreme Soviet of USSR, and has done much for the village which had become his home. He died in 1978. In the border village Bert-Dag, a monument was raised to the Hero. Today, his compatriots will put a wreath there.

The native of Barun-Khemchik kozhuun, Khomushku Churgui-ool, went to the front as one of the first group of volunteers of TNR. These citizens of Tuva wento pay the international debt: Baikara Biche-ool, Kyrgys Idam, Kongar Tyulyush, Oyun Bartyi-ool, Ondar Dyrtyk, Tyulyush Nursat, Tyulyush Kyzyl-Tac, Tyulyush Shaidun, Tyulyush Uinuk-ool, Khomushku Churgui-ool, and Khovalyg Saiyn-ool.

The volunteers did not go to the front right away. At first they trained in battle techniques in Gorkiy, trained in driving the tanks, and learned the science of defeating the enemy. In February 1944 they were added to the 25th separate tank division. On February 25, 1944, the division was transferred to the village Dubrovka in Kiev region, and was added to the 52nd Army of the Second Ukraine Front. Their battle route went through the Ukraine, Moldavia, Romania, Hungary and Czechoslovakia. In March 1944 the division took part in the strong Bug-Dniester offensive operation. Its dimensions are evidenced by the fact that just in the second Ukraine front three tank armies were deployed.

Only a few people know the story how Churgui-ool drove the tank under water of the South Bug river, and unexpectedly surfaced on the west bank, surprising and pulverizing the enemy, their unmanned weapons and artillery. Fighting in the Ukraine at Uman as part of the 25th tank division, the brave Tuvan’s “34” went to a frontal attack, and with 7 others, accounted for 24 airplanes, 80 vehicles, and 800 captive soldiers and officers. He acted impetuously, in unusual ways, bravely. The daring, creative and risky solutions of the Tuvan were highly appreciated by the Soviet command. Out of the five members of the tank team, only Khomushku Churgui-ool received the title of Hero. He got it, regardless of the fact that this title was awarded to foreigners only rarely and unwillingly.

In 1943, the very first foreigner to receive the title of Hero of the Soviet Union was Lieutenant Otakar Jarosh, who fought in the 1st Czechoslovak infantry battalion, and fell in the battle at Sokolovo near Kharkov in March 1943.

The citizen of TNR, Khomushku Churgui-ool was recommended for the title of Hero of the Soviet Union in March 1944.

From the award letter for Junior lieutenant, mechanic-driver of tank T-34, Churgui-ool Khomushku Namgaevich:”...on March 13 1944, while forcing the South Bug river, Jr.Lt. Khomushku Churgui-ool quickly drove his tank under water to the west bank of South Bug, and immediately joined the battle to deflect the enemy’s counter-attack, chased the infantry of the enemy for the distance of 6 km, destroying 25 enemy soldiers, 2 hand-held machine-guns, and one mine thrower with the caterpillars of his tank. The tank of Jr.Lt. Khomushku Churgui-ool was in battle without interruption from March 5, ‘44 to March 18, ‘44, without a single instance of forced stops….”

After the war, he, brave and willing to risk, had difficulties adjusting to peace-time activities. He worked as the head of the cadre department in a Sovkhoz. He remembered that the most unpleasant activity for a tank driver was to have to clean the caterpillars after a battle, finding embedded remains of the enemy soldiers.

One of the streets of the Tuvan capital carries his name. The bust of the Hero stands on the square by the obelisk monument to the fallen soldiers, by the entrance to the city park.

In the Hero’s native village Khondelen in Barun-Khemchik kozhuun, a monument to our compatriot will be raised. In the village Bert-Dag, where he spent his post-war years, a school museum dedicated to the Hero of Soviet Union, Khomushku Namgaevich Churgui-ool, will be re-established. The Office of the Chairman of the Government, as part of the special project “My Victory”, will renovate the memorial to the legendary tank soldier.

Dina Oyun, translated by Heda Jindrak
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Event announces

1) 15.08.2019: Tuvan Republic Day (Tuva)

2) 16.08.2019 - 18.08.2019: 3d International Festival 'Khoomei in the center of Asia' (Kyzyl, Tuva, Russia)

3) 01.09.2019: Day of historic Memory and Dignity of Tuvan volunteers who perished in the 2nd World war (Tuva, Russia)

4) 07.09.2019: The Day of Kyzyl city (Kyzyl, Tuva, Russia)

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