During the Great Patriotic War, the commander of the 69th Guards Tank Regiment, Ivan Nikiforovich Boyko, was twice awarded the highest Soviet award. The military leader received the first star of the Hero of the Soviet Union in January 1944 on the Ukrainian front. The commander received the second award in April of the same year, when the unit entrusted to him reached the border with Romania.
Childhood and youth
Ivan Boyko hails from the village of Zhornishche, Vinnitsa region, where he was born in 1910. The peasant family had many children, so the boy looked for a job every summer, and in the winter he learned to read and write. In 1927, in his native village, the young man graduated from the seven-year school and entered the medical school in Vinnitsa. After that he worked as a state farm time-clerk.
In 1930 Boyko volunteered for the Red Army. At first, he headed a branch of an artillery regiment of a cavalry division, and when he decided to connect his life with the service, he was enlisted in the 1st tank regiment, commanded a T-26 vehicle. From that moment on, the military biography of the famous tanker began. Ivan received his military education at an armored school, and then on courses. In 1937, the senior lieutenant went to his duty station in Transbaikalia, fought on Khalkin-Gol.
During the war
Boyko came to the front in the first days of the war, commanded a battalion on the Central, and then on the Western Front. In a battle near Tula in 1942, he was wounded, and after improving his health, he returned from the hospital to the unit to the post of commander of a tank regiment. He fought near Rzhev, where there were daily exhausting battles.
In the spring of 1943, the unit was near Kursk. The commander used every minute of respite to train the fighters. When the Kursk operation began, Boyko immediately felt its scope. It was later called historical, and in the summer of 1943 the regiment suffered heavy losses, but did not stop fighting. In those days, Ivan Nikiforovich personally destroyed 60 enemy vehicles and, despite being wounded, continued to remain in combat positions. Together with the army, he found himself in his native land, and then continued on the victorious path.
The Zhitomir-Berdichev operation became a glorious milestone in the military leader's career. At the very end of 1943, the unit under the leadership of Boyko occupied the large railway junction Kazatin. During the liberation of the city, the commander showed courage and ingenuity. A column of tankers, having made a 35-kilometer dash, unexpectedly for the enemy entered the city right along the railway tracks - military history had never known such a thing. For this operation, the Guards Lieutenant Colonel Boyko was awarded the Gold Star of the Hero.
Since February 1944, Ivan Nikiforovich headed the 64th tank brigade on the Ukrainian front. The unit liberated Chernivtsi, the fighters crossed the Dnieper and Prut, and attacked fortified enemy positions on the other side. With a powerful leap, the brigade reached the borders of the USSR, and then reached Berlin. For his contribution to the Proskurov-Chernivtsi operation, the famous commander was awarded the highest award of the USSR for the second time.
In time of peace
After the end of the war, Ivan Nikiforovich continued to remain in the service. The famous commander resigned only in 1956. Wounds and combat alarms affected his health. In his personal collection of awards: two Gold Stars, six orders and many medals. Boyko continued to actively participate in the public life of Kiev, where he spent his last years, shared his military memories with young people.
Ivan Nikiforovich died in May 1975. The hero was buried in the capital of Ukraine, and a bust was installed in the homeland of a talented officer, in the village of Zhornishche. History does not forget such people.