There are so many anecdotes about the legendary hero of the Civil War Vasily Ivanovich Chapaev that it is difficult to understand where is the truth and where is fiction. Here is a small selection of facts from his biography, moreover, taken not from anecdotes, but from sources that have at least some reason to be considered reliable.
Vasily Ivanovich was born in 1887 in the village of Budaika, Kazan province, into a poor peasant family. Chapaev's fellow countrymen assure that his grandfather was a loader, hence the surname. "Chapai" means "grab, grab."
In 1907, Vasily was called up for military service, but after a few months he was transferred to the reserve. Chapaev's biographers were never able to establish the true reason for the dismissal. Some say that because of illness, others - because of political unreliability.
Chapaev was mobilized for the second time in the army during the First World War. During the war years, he rose to the rank of sergeant-major and was awarded three St. George's crosses and the St. George medal.
But Chapaev received nationwide fame during the Civil War, where he already commanded a division, despite the fact that he did not have a serious military education. When Vasily Ivanovich entered the accelerated courses of the General Staff, he wrote “self-taught” in the column “education”. The conclusion of the certification commission was as follows: “Enroll as having revolutionary combat experience. Almost illiterate. "
One of the teachers reproached Chapaev for not being able to point out the Neman River on the map. In response, Vasily Ivanovich told the professor: “Do you know where the Solyanka River is? And I fought there. "
It is interesting that many famous people served in his division. For example, the Czech Jaroslav Hasek, who later became a famous writer, the author of the book "The Adventures of the Gallant Soldier Schweik".
Sidor Artemyevich Kovpak, who became the commander of a large partisan detachment during the Great Patriotic War, was the head of the trophy team in the Chapaevsk division.
General Ivan Panfilov, whose fighters bravely defended the approaches to Moscow in 1941, commanded a platoon in Chapaev's division during the Civil War.
Thanks to the film "Chapaev" the division commander is presented as a dashing horseman. The rider Vasily Ivanovich was, indeed, a good one, but even in the First World War he received a serious hip wound. Therefore, in Civic, he often preferred to use a car. Moreover, Chapaev's cars were solid - "Stever", "Packard", "Ford". The division commander personally selected the drivers.
There are no less legends about the death of Chapaev than about his life. According to the official version, the wounded divisional commander drowned in the Ural River, trying to swim to the other side under fire from the bloggers. There is also such an opinion: Chapaev swam across the Urals, but soon died of his wounds. The soldiers buried him on the bank of the river, but later the bank was washed away, and the hero's grave was under water.
In 1941, a short video called "Chapaev is with us" was released on the screens of the country. According to the plot, Chapaev was able to swim across the Urals, having climbed ashore, he called on the soldiers of the Red Army to smash the Nazis.
Vasily Ivanovich Chapaev lived such a bright life. And this despite the fact that he died very young - at thirty-two years old.