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Hmayak Babayan
File:Hmayak Babayan.jpg
Born 15 August 1901
Died 21 April 1945(1945-04-21) (aged 43)
Place of birth Zykhchi, Kars Oblast, Russian Empire
Place of death Malchow, Lichtenberg, Berlin, Germany
Buried at Myślibórz, Poland
Allegiance
Service/branch
Years of service 1917–1945
Rank Major general
Commands held
Battles/wars

Hmayak Grigoryevich Babayan (Russian: Амаяк Григорьевич Бабаян; Armenian language: Հմայակ Գրիգորի Բաբայան

15 August 1901 – 21 April 1945) was an Armenian Red Army major general and a Hero of the Soviet Union.

Born to an Armenian peasant family in modern-day eastern Turkey, Babayan joined the Imperial Russian Army in 1917, fighting in the Caucasus Campaign. After the collapse of the Imperial Russian Army, he became a soldier in the army of the First Republic of Armenia. After the Soviet occupation of Armenia, Babayan joined the Red Army, in which he became an officer. Stationed in Belarus before the German invasion of the Soviet Union, he was wounded twice in the first months of the war. Commanding a regiment during the Battle of Moscow in December 1941, Babayan was seriously wounded. After recovering, he took command of the 390th Rifle Division, fighting in Crimea, which was destroyed in May 1942. Babayan was seriously wounded in Crimea and evacuated. In March 1943, he was given command of a rifle brigade, which was soon converted into the 76th Rifle Division, which he led during the Battle of Smolensk in the summer and early fall of 1943. Babayan was seriously wounded a third time during the battle, and after recovering took command of the 338th Rifle Division in spring 1944. He led the 338th in Operation Bagration and the Kaunas Offensive during the summer of 1944. After graduating from courses at the Military Academy of the General Staff, Babayan took command of the a brigade in the 1st Mechanized Corps in January 1945, which he led in the Vistula–Oder Offensive, the East Pomeranian Offensive, and the Battle of Berlin. Babayan was killed in action during the Battle of Berlin and posthumously awarded the title Hero of the Soviet Union.

Plaque for Hmayak Babayan in Yerevan

Early life and military service

Babayan was born on 15 August 1901 in the village of Zykhchi in Kars Oblast (now in Turkey) to an Armenian peasant family. He graduated from junior high school in 1916. In 1917, he volunteered for the Imperial Russian Army, fighting in the Caucasus Campaign against Turkish troops. After the collapse of the Imperial Army, he joined the army of the Armenian National Council, fighting in the Battle of Sardarabad in late May 1918, during which the Ottoman invasion of Armenia was repulsed. After Sardarabad, the First Republic of Armenia was proclaimed and Babayan joined the new army of the republic. After the Soviet occupation of Armenia in December 1920, Babayan joined the Red Army, serving as a soldier in the Red Army's 4th Armenian Rifle Regiment.[1]

Interwar

In 1924, Babayan graduated from the Yerevan Combined Military School. He graduated from the Kiev Command School in 1928. Babayan served in command positions, including with the 76th Mountain Rifle Division from 1936 to 1938. From 1938, he served in the Belorussian Special Military District.[1]

World War II

Babayan fought in World War II from the beginning of the German invasion of the Soviet Union on 22 June 1941. He fought in the Battle of Białystok–Minsk and the defenses of Białystok, Baranovichi, and Volkovysk, among others, and was wounded on 25 July and 23 August. By December Babayan was commander of the 148th Rifle Division's 654th Rifle Regiment, which he led during the Battle of Moscow in operations to recapture Yelets. He personally led the regiment in the 7 December recapture of the village of Olshanets, during which the regiment was reported by Soviet sources to have killed up to 300 German soldiers. On 9 December, during the recapture of Yelets, Babayan fought with forward units of the regiment in street fighting, during which they were reported to have killed up to 500 German soldiers and captured many trophies, among which there were 15 vehicles. After the capture of the city, he led the regiment in the attack on the village of Kazaky, during which they were reported by Soviet sources to have killed up to 200 German soldiers and captured ammunition. On 11 December, during the attack on Afanasievo, Babayan was severely wounded, but refused evacuation until the village was captured. For his actions, Babayan was awarded the Order of the Red Banner on 21 February 1942.[1]

After recovering in March, Babayan was sent to the Crimea, where he took command of the 390th Rifle Division on 19 April. The division was defending positions on the Isthmus of Ak-Monay in the Kerch Peninsula. During the May German counterofffensive, Operation Bustard Hunt, the 390th was virtually destroyed and its remnants evacuated across the Kerch Strait. On 13 May, Babayan was severely wounded and evacuated.[1]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Hero of the Soviet Union medal.png  Hmayak Babayan at the "Герои страны" ("Heroes of the Country") website (Russian)

Bibliography

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