Memories of veterans of the Great Patriotic War

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7441 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


25344 0

Degen Ion Lazarevich

And then I began to weep: neither pain, nor losses nor fear were the cause of those tears. I wept from my awareness of the tragedy of the retreat which I had witnessed and in which I had taken part, I wept from the terrible thought that all our sacrifices had been in vain ... I wept because I had not even a grenade to blow myself up with the Germans. I wept from the very thought that the Germans were already on the left bank of the Dnieper.


50558 0

Otroschenkov Sergei
Andreyevich

Six tanks with mounted parties passed along the cart road toward the German rear. I always remember with gratitude our tank-mounted submachine gunners. They were brave guys. They certainly never ran along with tanks on attack or rode the tanks under gun fire as shown in movies. They were common living humans. They would hide and shoot here and there. But without them at nights we were as good as blind. They guarded us at nights.


21640 0

Maslov Ivan
Vladimirovich


The battles were very   intense. Many men remained lying there for good …  The Finish snipers,   so-called “cuckoos,” (sitting in trees) caused us  a lot of trouble. Once, at   a crossing of forest roads, we were  ambushed. We had the latest model tanks,   with "antiaircraft" machine  guns installed on turrets. I brought   down three "cuckoos" from the  tree tops with a machine gun. The Finns   operated well in our rear.  They would pass on skis through the woods and set   up for us bloody  "concerts". Once a camp bath house was arranged for   soldiers in the  woods. It consisted of a big canvas tent, which was heated   inside,  where the soldiers would come to wash themselves. Three Finns with    submachine guns jumped out on skis from behind a hillock and killed a  few of our   soldiers washing themselves in such a "camp bath". The war  was intense   …


20299 0

Fadin Alexander
Mikhailovich

I commanded to the driver-mechanic Semiletov: “Vasya, at low speed move a  little forward, for a tree standing in front of us prevents me from  firing at the enemy head-on”. After two days of battles we had forged a  good friendship and the crew read my mind at half word. Having improved  our position I saw the enemy tank. Without waiting for the driver to  bring the tank to stop, I fired the first sub-caliber round at the head  tank, which was already at a distance of fifty meters from us. An  instantaneous flash at the frontal part of the enemy tank and, all of a  sudden, it burst into flames illuminating the whole column. The  driver-mechanic cried out: “Commander, damn! Why did you fire? I haven’t  closed the hatch yet! Now the gases made me blind”. I had forgotten  about everything that moment but the enemy tanks.


6706 0

Drevetnyak Viktor
Andreevich

In January 1944, during the German clean-up operation, I was wounded in  the right leg by a shell splinter and captured by the enemy. I spent  some hard time in Nazi concentration camp on the territory of Krasny  state farm located in Simferopol. Then I was transferred to German POW  camp in Sevastopol. After that Germans moved us to Romania, then  Hungary. The labour camp in Austrian population aggregate named  Strasshof an der Nordbahn had become my final destination point. In my  memory all these countries have left reminiscences about barbed wire and  some episodes. For us as prisoners hunger was a norm of life. We had  picked up crumbs of bread from earth. We had changed our civil clothes  with Romanians for food to not to die from hunger. In 1945 I was  assigned to a farming work for local landowner in Langau, Lower Austria.  Even a slave freedom of an "ostarbeiter" seemed way better than  horrible life in the labour camp.


11178 0

Sapezhnikov Alexei
Ananyevich


Main thing I remember about that war most of all was our persistent moving. Forward, only forward! We constantly wanted to sleep. We could eaten hot food only in seventh day of our offensive during a little rest after seizure of Ling Kou city. We took that city almost without striking a blow. I've remembered Ling Kou especially well. 3000 Japanese troops captured it again after our leaving. There were hospital and some other units in Ling Kou. We had formed special unit for recapturing operation. They dashed back to the city on self-propelled guns rapidly.
 


7015 0

Ivan Shelepov


The sounds of explosions drew closer, and it seemed to me that I heard the roar of engines - TANKS!!!

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On 16 April 1945 at the Seelow Heights I had an occasion to kill a Hitlerite Tiger Panzer. The two tanks faced head-on at the road intersection. I was a gunner, and first to fire an armor-piercing round and hit the “Tiger” under its turret. The heaviest armored “hood” bounced off like a light ball.
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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...
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Ours started the attack, but it got “choked”. Then four T-34 tanks were sent to support the infantry. Everyone was joyous. And all out of a sudden – there were four great torches: the fascists hit all our tanks!

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