Many millions of children suffered during the Great Patriotic War (1941-1945), with many millions more being orphaned due to the military actions and atrocities carried-out by the brutal invading troops of Nazi Germany. Many of these children died alone in terrible conditions, whilst others were tortured and maimed by the Hitlerites who were trying to eradicate the Slavic peoples. On the other hand, the tales of bravery and resistance to the Nazi German atrocities is not very well-known in modern Russia today, where the shallow ‘cult of celebrity’ has replaced the veneration of true bravery. This is the story of the youngest Soviet Red Army soldier of the Great Patriotic War (1941-1945). Prior to the Nazi German invasion of the Soviet Union, Sergei Aleshkov lived peacefully with his family in the village of Gryn. Sergei Aleshkov was only 6 years old in 1942, when the invading Nazi Germans executed his mother and elder brother for supporting the Partisans. This is how Sergei Aleshkov became orphaned. They lived in the Kaluga region of western Russia. The boy was saved by the quick-thinking of a neighbour – this selfless woman threw the him out of a hut window – and shouted for him to run … Sergei managed to hide in the woods. Today, it is difficult to say for how much time the wounded and hungry child wandered through the autumn forest, but he eventually met-up with the Partisans. The next summer, as the Partisans manoeuvred around (and through) the Nazi German lines, Sergei Aleshkov fell and injured his leg. but he was lucky – as he was accidentally found by Scouts of the Red Army 142th Infantry Regiment, (commanded by Major Vorobyov). He was starving, covered in mud, and dressed in tattered clothing. The Red Army soldiers took care of his wounds, washed and fed him, and made a specially small Red Army uniform for him.
from that point on, he was protected from direct contact with the brutal and ruthless Nazi German soldiers, but he worked tirelessly in support of the Red Army troops as they fought ongoing battles. Between battles, Sergei Aleshkov raised morale by singing poems and songs, and during battles he carried ammunition to the front-line troops (keeping them supplied), as well as passed-on messages and delivered mail. The soldiers of the Red Army treated Sergei Aleshkov as if he were their own son. However, the commanding officer of the Regiment – Major Vorobyov – eventually adopted Sergei Aleshkov, and even accredited Sergei with helping him meet his beloved wife – Nina – a nurse. This was after a bomb had hit the dug-out Major Vorobyov was operating from during the Battle for Stalingrad, blocking the entrance and sealing him in. As there was little air, Sergei Aleshkov tried to pull the debris away from the entrance himself, but was not strong enough. Instead, despite the Nazi Germans heavily bombing the area, Sergei Aleshkov ran through the falling bombs and into the surrounding trenches (that were receiving enemy fire), where he told other Red Army soldiers what had happened to Major Vorobyov. In the process, Sergei Aleshkov was shot down (along with many other Red Army soldiers), and was wounded in the legs yet again. After this, a rescue party was immediately sent to rescue Major Vorobyov. After the battle, he was well looked after and cared for by all concerned – as news of his bravery spread throughout the Red Army. For his bravery, Serezha Aleshkov was awarded the Medal for Military Bravery.
On another occasion (whilst stationed on the Dnieper), Sergei Aleshkov spotted two men hiding in straw near-by. After reporting this sighting, it was revealed that these were Nazi German Scouts who were spotting for the fascist artillery and bringing fire down upon the civilian areas. After his military service, and on the orders of the High Command, he was enlisted in the Suvorov School situated in the city of Tula. Although as a youth and young man, he suffered disabilities from his leg injuries, Sergei Aleshkov trained in law, and became a very effective lawyer – always representing the rights and interests of the ordinary people. He eventually worked as a prosecutor and remained a man of honour, constantly fighting for justice. The science of war forever teaches us to value honour, conscience and brotherhood
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