Memories of veterans of the Great Patriotic War

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478 0

Pavel Pavlovich
Kuleshov

Then there was some lack of clarity. I knew that there would be enemy panzers that I had to knock out, to move forward and do everything to win. I remember how I knocked out an enemy self-propelled gun: I hit it at short range... We liberated the towns of Volokhov, Karachev and Bryansk. When Bryansk was liberated, we were withdrawn for reformation to the Bryansk forests where we stayed a very long time.


2738 0

Bryukhov Vasily
Pavlovich

In the battle of Prokhorovka our corps, in the beginning, was in the second echelon supporting the engagement of other corps and only then did we move forward. The distance between tanks was no more than one hundred meters, the only thing they could do was fidgeting, no maneuvering. It was not war, but tank slaughter. They crawled and fired. Everything was on fire. An inexpressible stench was in the air of the battlefield. Everything was so covered with smoke, dust and fire that it seemed that twilight had fallen. The air force bombed all. Tanks and vehicles were on fire. Communications did not work.


1637 0

Orlov Nikolai
Vasilievich

I went out scouting so many times and every time under my own name. I had always been taught: “Whenever asked give your own name and tell where you lived, don’t fib, otherwise, you’ll get confused and will be caught!” For our deep-cover agents really sophisticated cover stories were invented, but this was not my case. I told them about myself. They started taking me to people’s apartments where residents still lived. The people would answer: “Yes, we know him, saw him around!” The “grandpa” “recognized” me right away: “Yes, he’s mine; I’ve sent him to fetch some kindling… what kept you so long?” This is exactly what he said.


5159 0

Kalinenok Marat
Alexandrovich

I remember when we rushed towards Konigsberg; our battalion travelled in a marching column on a highway. There was a slope on one side and a swampy depression on the other, and suddenly we ran into an ambush. German artillery pieces knocked out the lead and last vehicles from the mound, but we began to disperse and fire back. I rolled to the right, and then my tank was pierced through, but because of the short range all the crew members survived.... Then out of ten vehicles, I think, we lost four. When we seized the German positions we found that the gunners were chained to their guns...


4276 0

Yampolsky Joseph
Mironovich

In the afternoon my platoon, consisting of five T-26 tanks, entered the  village, and we split up. I went with three tanks along the main street,  while my deputy platoon commander Tereshchenko went with two tanks  along a parallel street. And then it began. They fired at us from  everywhere. One of our vehicles was burned, and the other was only  knocked down, but the crew was killed. Somehow I managed to make it on  foot to the tank of Tereshchenko and pick up from his dead, bloodstained  hands a map case with the map where the coordinates of the German guns  were plotted... God protected us; three tanks left the village and went  back to our lines.


2550 0

Sherstnev Alexander
Ivanovitch

At dawn we finally got to the intended region, mined the main road and  laid an ambush. The frost got severer, our hands were almost frozen.  Suddenly we heard the roar of approaching enemy cars and opened fire. We  killed four Fascist, took the staff papers out of a passenger car and  retreated. Soon motorcycles hurried to the assault place and opened a  random fire at the forest. When we were ready to fall back our comrade  Vanya Ochotnikov came and shouted that Germans were on the opening.


5896 0

Fedorovich Stepan
Georgievich


We lost about 90 of our guys. All in all, it was so BAD! There was real carnage! We clashed tightly in a mortal combat. We fought hand to hand in the trenches using entrenchment tools, rifle butts, finger nails, etc. I mixed it up with one… burly German. He smashed me under my rib with his rifle butt. The impact was so strong that crunch was heard and my eyes nearly fell out of my head and I stopped breathing. Oh, my goodness, I had my rib fractured then…


3485 0

Kolyadin Victor
Ivanovich


Well, what can I tell you about war? I had neither seen anything particularly heroic there nor did any such thing myself. We were just doing our various, dangerous, permanent jobs. In the beginning we retreated, and then slowly began to advance. We did not allow ourselves to think: "I wish the war was over soon!" We just worked. Before the final victory we flew very little. Everyone knew and felt that the end of the war was near. The men were happy to realize that the end of the war meant the end of suffering. When the war was finally over, everybody thought: “Now what?” We learned how to fly, how to fight. We learned how to squeeze everything we could out of the airplanes. “What’s next?” For about a month and a half we just hung around. Then we began to organize the flights

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The hardest thing was when we had to march 100 kilometers in one night. Trot - gallop, trot - gallop. Endless commands: "Don't spare the horses! Don't spare the horses!" Because by morning we had to be in another place. In a non-combat situation you could've been court-martialed for a horse ridden to death, but in this case you had to push the horse to the utmost of its ability. Time! Time! People fell asleep and dropped from horses. And horses collapsed with a ruptured heart. I must mention, I pity the horses more than people. People can lie down, hide themselves....
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A pilot, unfamiliar to me, a captain, was sitting in the doorway and cried bitter tears. I asked him, "What is the reason?" - "My arm is injured but the wound isn't the reason. I'm crying because of what takes place at the front: losses, losses, losses! No rescue. As a new regiment arrived - it exists just for two hours of fighting. Terrible losses." I asked some injured soldiers who passed us if Karmanovo was already seized. "What is Karmanovo?" - was the answer. They didn't know anything but blood and death. Burned villages, burning villages....
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