This is a Summary in English from the large (700+ pages) book by Kliment Amassya Harutyunyan, printed in Russian in Yerevan in 2018.
The total number of the Armenians who participated in the World War II was 600.000; half of them were from Armenia, the others from different Soviet Republics and from Diaspora. More than 200.000 of them were killed at the battlefields. A considerable number of Armenians fought in the ranks of six Armenian National Divisions. The 89th Rifle Division (commander Major–General Nver Safaryan) fought its way from the Caucasian foothills through Cuban, Taman, Kerch, the Crimea to Poland, Germany, actively participated in the capture of Berlin, was awarded the Red Star, the Red Banner and the Order of Kutuzov 2nd Class. The Division was awarded the honorary title of “Tamanskaya” and the 390th and 400th Rifle Regiments were titled “Sevastopolskaya”. The fighting way of 409th Rifle Division expanded from Mozdok (the Northern Caucasus) to Cuban, the Ukraine and over Moldova to Romania, Hungary, Austria and Czechoslovakia. Honorably titled “Kirovogradskaya” (in the Ukraine) and “Bratislavskaya” (in Slovakia), the Division was awarded the Order of Bogdan Khmelnitski 2nd Class. In September–November of 1942 near Novorossiysk–Tuapse the 408th Armenian Rifle Division suffered many losses after a bloody battle but anyway cut off the way of Germans to the Transcaucasia. At the end of 1942, on the basis of the Division, the 7th Separate Rifle Brigade was raised and later, at the end of April 1943, it was reformed into the 23rd Rifle Division. The 390th Armenian Rifle Division was raised in February of 1942 in the Kerch peninsula commanded by the Colonel Simon Zakiyan. Up to the 20th of March, the Division participated in the severe defensive battles for the peninsula. The Colonel Zakiyan was killed at the battle and was posthumously awarded the Order of Lenin. On the 20th of May the Division was moved to the Taman peninsula where it was disbanded (June 14), though it kept all its fighting banners. During the years of the war the 261st Rifle Division was the only one of the raised Armenian detachments, which didn’t take part in the military operations. However, the Division played an important role for the Soviet Armenia, as far as it defended the borders adjoined to Turkey and trained the Land Battalions for the Divisions, fighting on the front. More than 10.000 Armenian rank and files were trained and later send to fight in Field Forces and actively took part in the smashing of the German invaders. And the 76th Mountain Rifle Division was the last, the sixth Armenian Division. The Division was raised in 1921–1924 in Armenia, as a result of disbanded Army of the Armenian Republic then Armenian Red Army. Although in 1938 the Division name wasn’t called a national one, it has rehabilitated its statute at the beginning of the war, being enrolled by the Armenians (14.000 of 16.000 combatants). In August – September 1941, in common with other Soviet forces, the Division was quartered in Iran, later on it left for the front and participated in the fights in the Ukraine. It was titled the 51st Guards division for its active participation in Stalingrad battle, was awarded the Order of Lenin and took part in the battles in Kursk and in the fights for the liberation of Byelorussia, was titled “Vitebskaya” (the Regiments were titled “Polostskaya”) and finished its fighting way in Baltic countries.
Apart from the national Divisions, a number of the Rifle Divisions were raised or enrolled in Armenia, they are the 31st, 61st, 136th, 151st, 320th and 406th. At the beginning of the war the majority of their fighters were Armenians.
Participation of 600.000 Armenians in the Great Patriotic War was not the only contribution of the Armenians. People displayed heroism serving in the ranks of different detachments, participating in all important battles, defensive and offensive actions, raising junior, medium and senior commanders.
According to the data from the Central Archives (Moscow region, c. Podolsk) provided by the main personnel department of the Ministry of Defense of Russian Federation, a number of Armenians were commanders of the following troops: Commander of the Front I. Baghramyan – the 1st Baltic, and the 3rd Byelorussian Fronts in 1944–45; three Commanders of the Army: I. Baghramyan the 16th (the 11th) Guards Forces, S. Khudiakov–Khanperyants – the 1st and the 12th Air Forces, M. Parseghov – the 40th Troop; five Commanders of Corps: S. Martirosyan – the 50th then the 73rd, H. Martirosyan – the 90th, B. Arushanyan – the 14th then the 11th Guards Rifle, V. Tamruchin – the 22nd Machinery and H. Babadjanyan – the 11th Guards Tank Corps; 22 were Commanders of Divisions; 25 – Commanders of Brigades; more than a hundred – Commanders of Regiments. Admiral H. Isakov was the Commander of the Fleet and S. Khoudiakov, Marshal of the Air Forces – Commander–in–Chief of the General Headquarters of the Air Forces, three Armenians were the members of the Military Council of the Front, two were the Heads of Municipal Administration of the Front, etc. During the war years, 64 Armenians were awarded the title of the General, 83 were awarded the rank after the war. One of the Armenians, H. Isakov was ranked the Admiral of the Fleet, and after the war the rank of the Admiral of the Fleet of the USSR. During the post–war years 3 of naval officers were ranked the title of the Vice–Admiral and 4 of them – Rear Admiral.
It’s interesting to note that the reference book “The Soviet People in the Patriotic War” (issued by the Red Army and the Navy Political body during its years) contained the information, that among the Generals, mentioned in the book, the majority were the Russians, Ukrainians, Byelorussians, then the Armenians. Among the Air Force officers the Armenians also held the forth place in number, it consists 1.079 men, the Tatars had 1.041, the Georgians – 800, the Chuvashes – 400. The majority of supreme and senior Commanders of the Artillery were the Russians, then the Ukrainians, Byelorussians, Armenians, Tatars, Georgians, Mordovians, Moldavians, Kazakhs, Bashkirs and others. Most of the students who graduated from the Military Academy named after Frunze and who represented 42 nations were the Russians then the Ukrainians, Byelorussians, Armenians, Georgians and others.
The reference book issued on November 1, 1947, by the Award Body of the Personnel Central Department, which functioned under the aegis of the Ministry of Defense of the USSR, contained more complete and valuable data about those who were awarded the Orders and Medals during the war. According to this book the majority of the awarded servicemen were the Russians, then the Ukrainians, Byelorussians, Tatars, Jews, Kazakhs, Uzbeks, Armenians – 66.802, Georgians – 49.106, Azerbaijanis – 36.180.
Armenia raised a great number of the heroes of the Soviet Union. Following the Russians, Ukrainians, Byelorussians, Tatars and the Jews, the Armenians had 99 heroes, the Kazakhs – 96, the Georgians – 89, the Uzbeks – 69, the Mordovians – 61, the Chuvashes – 44, the Azerbaijanis – 43 and others (most of the heroes from Azerbaijan were Kurds, Ezidies, Talishes, Mountainous Jews and others). The Hero of the Soviet Union title was awarded to 106 Armenians; 4 of them were awarded in 1939–1940 during the Soviet–Fin war, 99 – during the Great Patriotic War and 3 in post–war years for the feat during the piece years. Besides the above–mentioned heroes, ten representatives of other nationalities who were born or worked in Armenia were awarded the title of the Hero of the Soviet Union. The first Armenian, who was awarded the Hero of the Soviet Union during the World War II, was the member of the Tank Crew, Karapet Simonyan (January 15, 1940) and the first Armenian Hero of the Patriotic War was the pilot, Lazar Chapchakhov (July 12, 1942). Marshal of the USSR I. Baghramyan and the attack plane pilot Nelson Stephanyan were the twice Heroes of the Soviet Union. The Georgians and the Azerbaijanis didn’t have any twice heroes.
27 Armenians were awarded the Orders of Glory 1st, 2nd and 3rd Class for their heroism in the Patriotic War and became the Compete Holders of the Order. It should be noticed, that when, on the 8th of November 1943, the USSR Supreme Soviet has announced the Order of Glory, the first Red Army soldier awarded with the Order of Glory 3rd Class was an Armenian sergeant, Zhora (Gevorg) Israelyan (November 17, 1943).
For their distinctive deeds during the Great Patriotic War eight Armenians were awarded the title of the Hero of the Socialist Labor, those were: Bagrad Harutyunyan, the Deputy Chief of the People’s Commissar of communication means of the USSR; Anastas Mikoyan, the member of the State Defense Committee of the USSR; Nickolay Narinyan, the leading engineer of #3 repairing train; Boris Salambekov, the chief of the October Railway; Ivan Tevosyan, the Minister of Black Metallurgy; Hamo Yolyan, the director of #92 Artillery factory; Andranik Khachatryan, the train driver at the Transcaucasian railway (all were awarded in 1943) and Levon Orbeli, the Academician and the President of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (awarded in 1945). Three famous Armenian scientists, the participants in the war, were twice awarded the title of the Hero of the Socialistic Labor. They are the Chief Designer of the “MIG” fighter plane Artem Mikoyan, the Chief Constructor of the nuclear–missile shield, D of Tech. Sc., Prof. Samvel Kocharyants, and the Academician of the USSR Academy of Sciences, the President of the Academy of Sciences of Armenia Victor Hambartsoumyan. Another Academician of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR Kiril Sholkin (Kirakos Metaksyan) was awarded that title three times.
In 1955, (post–war years) one of the Armenian participants in the Great Patriotic War, I. Baghramyan, who was the General of the Army, was awarded the title of Marshal of the Soviet Union. This same year Hovhannes Isakov was awarded the title of the Admiral of the Fleet of the USSR. In 1975 H. Babadjanyan was awarded the title of the Chief Marshal of Armored Forces and in 1980 Sergey Aganov was awarded the title of the Marshal of Engineering Corps.
For valiant deeds on the fronts of the Patriotic War the names of six Armenians were officially included in the lists of their fighting Regiments. For the courageous participation, Hounan Avetisyan, Sergey Ohanov, Hrant Ohanyan and Garegin Balayan were awarded the title of the Hero of the Soviet Union, Mesrop Ghazaryan was awarded the Order of Lenin and Vahan Akopov – the Order of Red Banner (all of them posthumously).
The scouts acting at the Invisible Front played a great role in achievement of the victory against the fascism. Among them were: the Lieutenant–General Haik Hovakimyan, the Major–General Ivan Aghayants, Michael Alaverdyan, Vyacheslav Kevorkov, the Colonels Ashot Hakobyan and Gerasim Balasanyan, the Hero of the Soviet Union the Colonel Gevorg Vardanyan, his wife and colleague Gohar Vardanyan and many others, whose valiant deeds haven’t yet been elucidated in the history of Armenia.
Another valuable contribution to the victory in the Great Patriotic War was made by the partisans (many of them Armenians) who fought in the rear of the enemy. Only in the Ukraine and Byelorussia there were more than 2.000 Armenian partisans, in the Crimea and in the Northern Caucasus – 500, in Leningrad and Kalinin regions – 200, in France – 1.200, in Greece – more than 1.000, in Holland – about 800. Two partisan detachments, “Victory” and the other one, named after A. Mikoyan, battled in the Ukraine and were mostly staffed with the Armenians. They had 400 fighter in total. The Armenian Partisan Regiment in France was basically enroll with prisoners of war and counted 1.200 ranks. The detachment called “Freedom” had battled in Greece, having 1.000 men.
The Armenian Diaspora was another contributor to the victory against the fascism. During the war the majority of the Diaspora focused attention on its Motherland and consolidated with the organizations, which supported the national front, rendering financial and moral assistance to those Armenians, who participated in the war. Ňhe amount donated by Diaspora was dedicated to the establishment of two tank columns for the Red Army: “Sasuntsy Davit” (under the patronage of Armenian Apostolic Church) and “General Baghramian”. More than 50.000 Armenians from Diaspora fought at the battlefields against the nazi, honourably paying their civic duty to those countries that sheltered them and their families, survived after the genocide of 1915, organized by the Turkish Government in Western Armenia. Some about 20.000 Armenians fought in the ranks of the US Army, about 30.000 – in the Armies of the Great Britain and France.
Only a part of Diaspora, some of the leaders of the Dashnak Revolutionary Party, didn’t join the national forces at the Allied Front. They moved to Berlin and established the “Armenian National Council”, coordinated by the Body of the Nazi Germany, responsible for Eastern regions of the USSR. The main object, pursued of the Body, was to establish a German rule on the territory of the Caucasus. Thus an Armenian, Georgian, Azerbaijani, and the Caucasian Moslem Legions were formed, all of them acted within the German Army. G. Nzhdeh and Dro (Kanayan), members of the “Armenian National Council”, tried to participate in the activity of the Council with the purpose of saving many prisoners of war from the concentration camps, and thus from starvation and inevitable death. The total of 8–9 thousand prisoners were enrolled, and 10 Battalions of the Armenian Legion were formed. However, the majority of the Armenian ranks acted against the nazi and didn’t want to fight for them. That’s why the Battalions, sent against the Red Army, either passed the line of fire, or joined the Ukrainian and Byelorussian partisans. Those legionaries who moved to France, Holland, Italy and Greece, joined the Resistance movement.
People serving in the rear were of great help during the war. Despite the hardships and privations of the war years, with its “black papers” (notices of death) received from the front, all republican enterprises were preserved and functionable, owing to the workers of Armenia. Some 30 new units were built, among them the aviation, tire, compressor, clock, and motor factories. Industry of the State had produced 300 new items and 10 new types of weapons. Thanks to the enormous efforts of the rural workers, arable land and gross agricultural output increased considerably. Even more, in conjunction with traditional cultivated plants, new industrially cultivated ones were produced, among them tobacco, beet and the “second bread” potatoes. Tillage under the grain crops had considerably increased, so that the country was self–supporting with its own bread and decreasing its import. Most of the cattle–breeders were awarded the highest governmental awards for the successful fulfillment of their job.
Specialists in all fields of culture, such as science, education, art and literature, had significantly contributed to the Great Victory. Despite all the harshness of the war, the Academy of Sciences of the Armenian SSR was founded on November 29, 1943, with its first nominative President Academician Hovsep Orbeli. Victor Hambartsoumyan and Vardan Goulkanyan became the Vice–Presidents. An establishment of the Academy of Sciences was a great event for Armenia, where all residents were surmounting very hard lot. All the scholars, writers, musicians, actors, painters, teachers, medical staff and other intellectuals of the republic gave their skill and knowledge to the Great Victory.
Owing to the savings of the Armenian workers during the years of the war, the Red Army was supported by 10 tank columns, 4 air squadrons, an armored train and etc.
Many political officials, scientists, constructors and others from the fields of political administration, military industry and national economy of the USSR had significantly contributed to the Great Victory against the nazism. As an illustration it is sufficient to mention only several names and their posts. Anastas Mikoyan was the member of the State Defense Committee of the USSR during the war; the whole power of the USSR was concentrated in the hands of this highest Body, which included 7 members, holding all the emergency powers. Ivan Tevosyan was the people’s commissar and later the Minister of Black Metallurgy оf the USSR in 1940–1943. Artem Mikoyan was the Chief designer of “MIG” fighter plane design office in 1940–1954. Hamo Yolyan was the director of #92 artillery factory. Stephan Akopov was the People’s Commissar and later the Minister of Light Machinery Industry of the USSR in 1941–1946. Souren Aghadjanov was the director of #21 Aviation factory in 1941–1945. Haroutiun Ter–Margaryan was the chief engineer of the aircraft–designing factory in Novosibirsk in 1941–1945. Parouyr Matevosyan was the director of the metallurgic plant “Krasniy Oktyabr” in Stalingrad in 1941–1971. Bagrat Haroutiunyan was the Vice Minister of Communication Means of the USSR in 1939–1946. Academician Levon Orbely was the Vice–President of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (1942–1946) and the chief of the Military Medical Academy in Leningrad (1943–1950). His brother Academician Hovsep Orbely was the director of the Hermitage Museum in Leningrad (1934–1951) and President of the Academy of Sciences of Armenia (1943–1947).
Thus, together with the other peoples of the USSR, led by the Russia, the Armenians did their best and contributed to the victory against the mortal enemy of fascism. Gallant sons of the Armenian people fought every battle from the Arctic through Leningrad, Baltic countries, the Ukraine and Russia, to the Crimea and the Caucasus. They had actively participated in the liberation of Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Hungary, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Germany from the brown menace, and in the capture of Berlin. Armenian soldiers have clashed in the ranks of all armed forces, they distinguished themselves as partisans and Resistance–men, their deeds and courage were the honour to their country. The people in the rear and the Diaspora made their vital contribution to the Victory. They ensured the defeat of the Nazi Germany and had saved our people from a new genocide, which was planned at the beginning of the war by Turkey, the collaborator of Germany.