On August 14, 1941, the vanguard of the German 8th Panzer Division approached Krasnogvardeysk (Gatchina) near Leningrad (now known again as Saint Petersburg), and the only Soviet force available at the time to attempt to stop the German advance consisted of five well-hidden KV-1 tanks, dug in within a grove at the edge of a swamp. KV-1 tank No. 864 was commanded by the leader of this small force, Lieutenant Zinoviy Kolobanov.
German forces attacked Krasnogvardeysk from three directions. Near Noviy Uchkhoz settlement the geography favoured the Soviet defenders as the only road in the region passed the swamp, and the defenders commanded this choke point from their hidden position. Lieutenant Kolobanov had carefully studied the situation and readied his detachment the day before. Each KV-1 tank carried twice the normal amount of ammunition, two-thirds of which were armour-piercing rounds. Kolobanov ordered his other commanders to hold their fire and await orders. He did not want to reveal the total force, so only one tank would expose itself at a time and engage the enemy.
On August 14, the German 8th Panzer Division's vanguard ventured directly into the well-prepared Soviet ambush. Kolobanov's tank knocked out the lead German tank with its first shot. The Germans falsely assumed that their lead tank had hit an anti-tank mine, and failed to realize that they had been ambushed. The German column stopped, giving Kolobanov the opportunity to destroy the second tank. Only then did the Germans realize they were under attack, but they failed to find the source of the shots. While the German tanks were firing blindly, Kolobanov knocked out the trailing German tank, thus boxing in the entire column.
Although the Germans correctly guessed the direction of fire, they could only spot Lieutenant Kolobanov's tank, and now attempted to engage an unseenenemy. German tanks moving off the road bogged down in the surrounding soft ground, becoming easy targets. Twenty-two German tanks and 2 towed artillery pieces fell victim to Kolobanov's tank before it ran out of ammunition. Kolobanov ordered in another KV-1, and 21 more German tanks were destroyed before the half-hour
battle ended. A total of 43 German tanks were destroyed by just five Soviet KV-1s (two more remained in reserve).
After the battle, the crew of No. 865 counted a total of 135 hits on their tank, none of which had penetrated the armour. Lieutenant Kolobanov was awarded the Order of Lenin, while his driver Usov was awarded the Order of the Red Banner."