Grant Oganyants. Wanted to be a teacher, but became a hero in the war

Release date: 11.05.2022

As part of the All-Russian campaign «Scientific Regiment» of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation, the press service of the Kabardino-Balkarian State University named after H.M. Berbekova continues a series of publications about the fate of students and teachers of KBSU who participated in the Great Patriotic War.

This time we want to talk about a man who dreamed of becoming a teacher, but by the will of fate became a brilliant military man — Hero of the Soviet Union Grant Arakelovich Oganyants. He was born in 1918 in the settlement of Nalchik. He graduated from 7 classes of secondary school, entered the working faculty in Pyatigorsk, and then, in 1935, at the Kabardino-Balkarian Pedagogical Institute at the Faculty of Natural Knowledge and Chemistry (now Kabardino-Balkarian State University named after H.M. Berbekov). During his studies, Grant was seriously involved in sports. In 1937, in a group of nine kayakers, he made the transition along the route Baksan — Terek — the Caspian Sea — up the Volga — the Moscow River. Athletes finished their trip at the embankment of the Gorky Park of Culture, where a rally of many thousands took place, and the country heard the name and surname of our hero for the first time. In 1940, 22-year-old Oganyants was drafted into the army and enrolled as a cadet at the Smolensk Military-Political School, from which he graduated during the war and was sent to retrain courses for armored forces. In December 1942, Grant Arakelovich was appointed platoon commander of the 71st Tank Regiment of the 5th Guards Cavalry Corps of the Transcaucasian Front.

Oganyants took his first battle near the village of Achikulak, Neftekumsky District, Stavropol Territory, defeating a supply base behind enemy lines. Then he fought on the Transcaucasian, North Caucasian, Southern, 4th and 2nd Ukrainian fronts. Participated in a number of the most difficult military operations: in a military raid with the defeat of the enemy garrison in the village of Achikulak, Stavropol Territory — in 1942; in the battles for the liberation of the North Caucasus, Donbass and Northern Tavria, including the cities of Gorodovikovsk, Rostov — in 1943; in the Korsun-Shevchenkovsky, Uman-Botoshansky and Iasi-Kishinev offensive operations — in 1944. For the excellent performance of command assignments, Oganyants was awarded the rank of captain and he was awarded the Order of the Patriotic War, 2nd degree. At the end of August, a company of the 71st Tank Regiment under the command of Captain Oganyants was on the outskirts of the Siret River.

On August 24, 1944, under enemy fire, Grant got off the tank and personally reconnoitered the ford, overcame the water barrier together with the company and captured the bridgehead near the village of Ajuden (10 km north of the city of Roman in Romania). In a few days, tankers and cavalrymen fought about 80 kilometers and joined the troops of the 1st Ukrainian Front. The company of Oganyants destroyed: four tanks, 31 guns, 15 mortars, 90 machine guns, 41 cars, 16 motorcycles, 203 wagons, 14 pillboxes, 70 bunkers, 105 dugouts, 926 Wehrmacht servicemen. At the same time, 2 tanks, 24 vehicles, 62 guns, 15 mortars, 1492 prisoners were captured. On August 26, 1944, in the difficult conditions of a mountainous and wooded area in the Carpathians, in the area of ​​​​the village of Uzveld, the company of Oganyants continued to crush the enemy defenses just as successfully. The commander was well versed in the situation, skillfully identified the most dangerous targets, calmly and clearly set tasks for his subordinates. Attacking the enemy, the captain noticed anti-tank gouges in the depths of his defense.

The company commander quickly made a decision, and the entire unit opened fire on the gouges and scattered them, but it turned out that there was a minefield right in the direction. Realizing that the Russian tanks were trapped, the Germans stepped up their artillery fire on the tanks. And again Oganyants got out of the tank and found a passage. At the same time, he was mortally wounded by an enemy fragment … «Thirty-four» broke through the enemy’s defenses and inflicted heavy damage on him. Grant Arakelovich was buried near the place of death, near the town of Targu-Okna. After the war, the ashes of the hero were transferred to the Russian cemetery in Chernivtsi (Ukraine). By a decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR dated March 24, 1945, Captain Oganyants Grant Arakelovich was awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union (posthumously) for the exemplary performance of combat missions of the command on the front of the fight against the Nazi invaders and the courage and heroism shown at the same time. He was also awarded the Order of Lenin (posthumously).

By order of the Minister of Defense of the USSR, Grant Oganyants was forever included in the lists of the military unit, on the territory of which a monument was erected in his honor. In Nalchik, a street was named after Grant Arakelovich, and a memorial plaque was erected. And in the Kabardino-Balkarian State University, which arose in 1957 on the basis of the Pedagogical Institute — Oganyants’ alma mater, they sacredly honor his name and carefully preserve the memory of his exploits.