Following the attack by Nazi Germany on the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, Ossetia being part of it at the time, over 110 000 representatives of both North and South Ossetia rose for the defence of their country. Every second Ossetian who left for the front perished fighting the German invaders. According to the information given by the Defence Ministry of the USSR, the Ossetians had the largest number of those, who were conferred on the title of "Hero of the Soviet Union" (the "Gold Star" of Hero of the Soviet Union was the highest military award granted in the country) with respect to the number of population among more than 100 nations of the USSR. Some 60000 representatives of North Ossetia and about 5500 South Ossetian officers and soldiers were awarded various medals and decorations. Among those who distinguished themselves in the battle against the German Nazies were not only officers, sergeants and soldiers, such as the courageous South-Ossetian battle plane pilot Vasiliy Chochiev, tankman Vladimir Zaseev, sniper Nina Slanova, Hero of the Soviet Union Enver Akhsarov, and a great many others, but also senior officers and generals, such as, for example, the renowned Soviet military leader Issa Pliev, who was awarded two Gold Stars of Hero of the Soviet Union. Fifty representatives of the Republic of North Ossetia alone were promoted to the rank of General or Admiral.
A shining example of not only courage but also that of outstanding battle mastery was set by Hero of the Soviet Union, Guard Sergeant Kaurbek Toguzov. The artillery detachment, commanded by him and consisting of only 6 soldiers, destroyed 23 German tanks, 42 trucks, 53 field-guns and mortars, 67 heavy and regular machine guns, 14 pill-boxes and over 500 soldiers of the enemy.
A number of Ossetians demonstrated courage and heroism in action when the war reached Ossetia itself. About 75 000 soldiers on both sides took part in the battle for the city of Vladikavlaz, taken place near the Ossetian settlement of Gizel in November 1942. The names of Ossetians Vladimir Zangiev, Ibragim Dzusov, Valentin Tsomaev, Hero of the Soviet Union Alexander Kozaev and many others are on the list of those who distinguished themselves during the defence of their native land.
The Ossetian people paid a heavy toll for the common victory. The war claimed the life of every fourth Ossetian. Many Ossetian families lost all their sons in it. Among them there are two families from North Ossetia, which set a grievous record - the Gazdanovs and the Kobegkaevs. They lost their seven sons in the front.
© 2000 Soslan Tabuev