During the Great Patriotic War, the Penza Region developed as a powerful rear logistics base providing the Soviet Army with ammunition, equipment, food, military units, and medical services.
On the territory of the Penza Region, the following units were formed: the 13th reserve fighter aviation regiment, on the basis of which 38 aviation regiments, 8 squadrons, 742 separate crews were established for the front; the 354th, 338th rifle divisions, the 10th Army, the 119th and the 120th separate rifle brigades, the 106th engineer combat brigade, the 115th and 116th armoured brigades, the 163rd separate Penza rifle brigade and other military units. More than 300 thousand people from the Penza Region joined the military, and more than 190 thousand of them were killed.
The Penza Region workers of the rear decisively contributed to the defeat of the German-fascist invaders. In 1941 – 1942 about 50 industrial enterprises were evacuated to the region, including 13 machine-building plants. The Penza Region sent artillery rocket launchers, ammunition, military cloth, felt boots and skis to the front. 25% of all landmines, aerial bombs, and artillery shells produced during the war years were manufactured at Penza plants. The labour feat of personnel at Penza bicycle factory during the war years was recognised by the Order of Lenin, at Nikolsky plant “Krasny gigant” (“Red Giant”) – by the Order of the Red Banner of Labour, at Penza watch factory – by the Order of the Patriotic War, 1st class. As a result of the great contribution to the Victory, Penza was awarded the Order of the Red Banner of Labour in 1985.
The Penza region agricultural workers also made a significant contribution in assisting the front. During the war, the collective and state farms of the region produced about 60 million poods (about 960 million kilograms) of grain and many other agricultural products for the Motherland.
The Penza Region residents tendered 129 million roubles, 4.5 kilograms of gold, and 38.8 kilograms of silver in the defence fund. A submarine, two torpedo boats – “Penza Komsomolets” and “Penza Pioneer”, a tank column “Penza Komsomolets”, and 39 aviation squadrons were constructed with funds raised in the Penza Region.
At the beginning of the Motherland liberation from the invaders, the Penza region rendered great assistance to the areas affected by the war. 749 tractors, 103 harvesters, 7 thousand head of cattle, 13 thousand sheep, several trains with industrial and construction equipment were sent to the Donbass, the Orel, Smolensk and Stalingrad Regions, Ukraine and Belorussia. Hundreds of economic and party leaders and thousands of workers were sent to the liberated areas.
In different years our region was glorified with feat of arms performed by the hero of the Patriotic War of 1812 Alexander Tuchkov, the hero of the Russo-Japanese War Nikolai Markin, the outstanding military leader Mikhail Tukhachevsky, the Marshal Nikolay Krylov, the heroes and frontier guards Alexei Makhalin and Andrei Kizhevatov.
During the Great Patriotic War, about 250 Heroes of the Soviet Union and Full Cavaliers of the Order of Glory came from our region.