The situation was desperate, not just for Panikakha but for the whole Red Army. A strong German attack was threatening to split the Soviet defense in two and push them out of the city. On October 1, the Germans assaulted Panikakha's position, but despite being armed with little more than the physical manifestation of consummate hatred, the Soviets managed to defeat the first wave. The second wave soon followed, with Germans driving their tanks over the Soviet trenches to collapse the sides and bury their occupants, one of which was Panikakha.
Bad idea, tank.
Out of antitank grenades and about to be buried alive under a piece of German armor, Panikakha grabbed a pair of Molotov cocktails and leaped out of the trench. As he went to light the first Molotov a bullet struck the bottle, causing the flaming liquid to burst all over him. Despite being engulfed in a column of fire, Panikakha picked up the other Molotov and climbed on top of the tank, smashing the bottle on the engine compartment. The tank, along with Panikakha, exploded almost immediately. The Germans, realizing that Russians soaked in alcohol are both incredibly common and incredibly combustible, retreated.
The original draft of this statue involved a lot more fire and exploding Nazis.
Read more from Tony Pilgram at Bad Metaphors.com.
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