Vlasov’s Fate – Part II

Dear Readers:

Continuing with our story about the capture of General Andrei Vlasov.  Recall that, after various NKVD Special Ops had failed to acquire the target, the job was handed over to SMERSH, the counter-intelligence organ of the Soviet Red Army.  This organ’s job, in general, was to protect the Soviet armed forces from spies and traitors.  And I am pretty sure there was a prominent “Wanted Dead Or Alive” mugshot of Vlasov hanging on the walls of SMERSH HQ!

General Vlasov shows off his shiny machine gun.

Military historian Alexander Zdanovich continues recounting how SMERSH got its first break-through in 1944, after the Soviet army had entered Czechoslovakia.  Recon reported seeing, in the Czech city of Plzeň a 600-man infantry division of the Wehrmacht led by still another Russian  traitor named Sergei Bunyachenko.  One of Vlasov’s henchmen.

Bunyachenko was desperately trying to evade Soviet troops and join up with the American army, hoping they would offer him a deal.

Zdanovich:  “As an insurance policy, to keep the Americans from handing him over to the Soviet side, the commanders of the Vlasovite First Division decided to take part in the Prague Uprising, as if (якобы) on the side of the rebels.  And indeed the Division took part in military scuffles — I wouldn’t call them actual battles, they were just that, limited military scuffles off to the side.”

In the course of these engagements in Prague, roughly 300 men from these Vlasovite forces were killed, according to this expert.  “Which in no way compares with the number of our soldiers and officers who perished in the battle to liberate Prague.”

Sneaky Pete: “If it’s the Jack of Spades, then Vlasov liberated Prague…”

[yalensis:  Which, in no way, stops the History Re-writers from deciding, by a sleight-of-hand card trick worthy of Sneaky Pete, that Vlasov and not Konev, liberated Prague!]

One of the Soviet units rushing to the location of the Vlasovite Division, was the 162nd Tank Brigade of the 25th Tank Corpus, of the First Ukrainian Front.  The Fighting 162nd had, within its ranks a SMERSH unit, led by Major Pakhom Trofimovich Vinogradov.  But Vinogradov did not possess enough forces for a side mission to seek out the Vlasovites.  Therefore the Commander of the 162nd, Colonel Ivan Petrovich Mishchenko, loaned him a group of soldiers from the motorcycle battalion belonging to his brigade.  This battalion was commanded by Captain Mikhail Ivanovich Yakushov.

Bunyachenko hoped to surrender to American troops.

Zdanovich:  “Yakushov received Mishchenko’s order to search out the Vlasovites.  He also received instructions from Vinogradov, and also from the SMERSH Senior Lieutenant Ilya Petrovich Ignashkin.  And on 12 May 1945 this group took off in several automobiles, in the direction of the American troops, to the place where they believed Bunyachenko’s forces were located.”

Along the road the Soviet soldiers encountered several Vlasovite officers, including Captain Petr Kuchinsky, who commanded one of Bunyachenko’s battalions.  Kuchinsky told the Soviets that he wished to return to Soviet territory.  He claimed that he had not participated in any military actions against the Red Army, therefore he was hoping for some mercy.

“Yakushov delivered Kuchinsky to the HQ of the 162nd, where Vinogradov worked with him.  Vinograd was able to turn Kuchinsky, and wanted to send him back to the Vlasovites, now working as a counter-intelligence agent for SMERSH.  Kuchinsky’s job was to find Vlasov and Bunyachenko.  Lieutenant Ignashkin was assigned to be Kuchinsky’s handler.

Soviet Red Army Motorcycle soldiers

“Kuchinsky, it goes without saying, knew the entire command staff of the First Division, he knew Vlasov and his adjutants, his aides, and so on.  And hence the group commanded by Yakushov, but this time with Kuchinsky included, set off for the second time to this area, which was under the control of the Americans.”

At a certain moment Yakushov’s group saw, on the road, a convoy of automobiles heading in the direction of the American forces.  Yakushov and Kuchinsky were in the same car together driven by a driver whose last name was Dovgas.  They overtook the column and cut if off, by parking in the middle of the road.  Then Yakushov and Kuchinsky began to search the column of automobiles.

“Immediately they found Bunyachenko and some other Vlasovite commanders.  And in one of the cars they found Vlasov himself.  The latter put up some resistance, but they were able to restrain him, with some assistance even from Vlasov’s own chauffeur, a man named Komzolov.  The Americans didn’t seem to care.”

Vlasov and Bunyachenko were promptly dispatched to Moscow, to the Lubyanka Prison.

[to be continued]

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