Biography 01/02/20 “Private army Popscore”: as a Russian immigrant has created British special forces SAS

while citizens of the USSR were protected from the Nazi invaders the vast country, Russian immigrants, the fate of scattered on different fronts. In North Africa in 1942-1943 terror to the Germans and Italians made the “personal army Popscore” — the unique brainchild of Colonel Vladimir Penacova.

Road in desert

Vladimir Penyakov was a Russian immigrant in the second generation. His father, engineer metallurgical industry, moved to Belgium in 1894, 3 years before the birth of her son. Vladimir Penyakov studied at St. John’s College in English Cambridge. In 1917, after a long hesitation, he volunteered in the French army and was wounded in battle with the Germans.

In the interwar decades Penakov lived in Egypt, where he worked in a sugar factory, and in his spare time made the trip across the desert in a Ford. He learned to navigate by compass and the stars, and find oases, observing the behavior of animals. Spending in the desert for weeks, Penakov destroyed his personal life and eventually divorced his wife who didn’t like the constant absence of her husband. However, this experience has proved invaluable to the beginning of the Second world war. When in 1940 in North Africa the fighting unfolded against countries Penakov was listed as a Lieutenant in the British army. In 1942, the command allowed the Russian emigrant to form an elite subversive and reconnaissance unit driving action to be dropped behind enemy lines.

“Personal army Popscore”

To simplify the radio Penakov began to call himself “major Poskim”, borrowing the name from a comic book, printed in the Daily Mirror. He headed the formation was officially called “Fighter detachment long-range No 1″, however, even in the documents was used a comic called Popski”s private army. The degree of autonomy Penacova, however, should not be exaggerated, and the “army” unit of 23 people was hard to call (total for years of war service it was more than a hundred people). The basis of the “private army” composed of ethnic Arabs, are well adapted to life in the desert and hated the Italian colonizers.

Black beret “major Popscore” traveled through the sand on the American jeep Willys MB. They were armed with revolvers, pistols, Thompson machine guns, grenades and knives. During night-time raids saboteurs fired at enemy targets from machine guns mounted in the back. Once the “private army” destroyed the airfield bars in Eastern Libya, bombing more than 30 Italian aircraft. Another time desert commandos burned a large tank farm, worsening the supply of the fascist tanks. Find the objects of enemy soldiers Penacova helped the connection with the sheikhs of the local tribes. During the Tunisian campaign in early 1943, “personal army Popscore” helped the British tanks to outflank the forces of Erwin Rommel, which eventually led to the complete defeat of the legendary desert Fox.

When the British completed the liberation of North Africa, the PPA was transferred to Italy, where it was also used for deep reconnaissance behind enemy lines. Here, as recalled Penakov, the squad joined two escaped Russian prisoners of war. To fight in areas crisscrossed with rivers and canals, where it was full of German minefields, soldiers in jeeps were suddenly more complicated than in the desert. In December 1944 during the liberation of Italian farm Vladimir Penyakov was wounded in the left arm, which the doctors had to amputate. However, the squad continued to operate effectively after the loss of a leader, when he reached Ravenna. In September of 1945 in Austria “Personal army Popscore” was finally disbanded.

Talents Penacova command appreciated — in April 1945 he was awarded the British order “For outstanding merits”. Until his death in London in 1951, the veteran managed to publish memoirs “Popski”s private army” through which the world learned of the exploits of “private army Popscore”. Experience this formation had a great influence on the British SAS special forces, many former subordinates Penacova themselves later headed units.

Timur Sagdiyev

© Russian Seven

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