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Russian Empire 22nd October 1721 - 7th November 1917

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Old 09-15-2013, 03:34 PM   #1
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Vasilij Nikolaevich Kochetkov.

Here's the story of Vasilij Nikolaevich Kochetkov, a real "life" serviceman.
Kochetkov was born in 1785 and enlisted in the Imperial Army on 7th March 1811 as part of the Grenadier Lifeguard Regiment. This was during Napoleon's domination over Europe and before long was thrown into combat against Napoleonic forces in June 1812 and fought at the Battle Of Borodino in September 1812. He participated in chasing French forces out of Russia and to the Battle Of Leipzig (October 1813) and then on to Paris (March 1814).
By 1820 he was a Sergeant in the Pavlov Lifeguard Regiment and then went on to fight against the Ottomans in 1828-9 and then on to storm Warsaw during the suppression of the Polish November Uprising in 1831. He then requested to be transferred to serve in the Caucasian War. After numerous battles in the Caucasus Kochetkov was heavily wounded near Dargo, Chechnia in 1845. The Chechens took him prisoner - but after a year he escaped his captors in the highlands and managed to return to his unit. He received the George Cross IV for the deed. He later saw service in the suppression of the Hungarian Revolution in 1849 and then after 40 years service in 1851 was put into "reserve". He was called up to fight again in the Crimean War and served in the Kazan Cavalry Regiment. He took part in the defence of Sevastopol and also lead raids on enemy positions. After the war and on the personal request of Emperor Alexander II he was transferred to the Lifeguard Regiment Of Dragoons and then in 1862 to the Honourable Company Of Household Grenadiers where he enjoyed an easy old age in service. That wasn't enough and in 1869 he petitioned the Emperor to be transferred to the Central Asian Theatre where Russia was pushing ever towards British India. He participated in the conquests of Turkmenistan and Samarkand as a first class gunner in a heavy gun battery. He participated in the capture of Khiva in 1873 only to be recalled by the Emperor in 1874, only to serve as a guard of the Imperial Train until 1876, In 1876 he was sent to join the Serbian Army to fight in the Serbian-Ottoman War and then stayed in the Balkans rejoining the Russian Army during the Russian-Ottoman War. He fought until 12th October 1877 (Siege Of Pleven) when his left lower leg was wounded and lost. It was only at the age of 88 was he wounded out of service. He served for 66 1/2 years in the Infantry, Cavalry and Artillery, 10 Military campaigns and was wounded six time. He had the monograms of three Emperors and 8 distinctions for long service and excellence on his uniform and a unique set of 23 Crosses and Medals that barely fit on his chest and round his neck.

He received a pension of 562 Rubles per annum and died on 20th May 1892 at age 107! He had 6 sons and 4 daughters of which 3 sons and a daughter followed his military career (although probably retired before he did!).
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