We entered the battlefield as a marching column. It was my first combat, it was my baptism of fire that I can't forget and will never forget. That wasn't a war, it was a real crime. It was an ignorant and criminal play at fighting! For such guidance the command deserved death by shooting. Was it an organized offensive? Absolutely not! No usual preliminary artillery bombardment of the enemy's trenches. That combat was a genuine crime.
As the tanks approached closer, we heard: "You are encircled, give yourselves up!" Our company commander was a senior lieutenant, an ethnic Tatar. He ordered: "To open fire!" When we began firing, three tanks came from the left flank and we heard again a shout of the tank crew: "Give up, you are encircled!" As soon as one of our soldiers rose to his feet in order to run somewhere from his shallow position, their machine gun's burst shot him down in a moment. We continued to fire.
In general I wasn’t superstitious but when I was healing my first wounds at home, my mom gave me some printed “Divine Letter,” on some 5-6 pages. Since our soldiers military blouses were without breastpockets, I sewed two small pockets to the inside of my blouse, one – for the Communist Party member’s card, the second – for the “Divine Letter.” I carried both up to the end of the war. When I returned home, I said: “Mom, your letter helped.”
At 8 a. m. Red Army soldiers began their attack: "For the Motherland! For Stalin! Hurrah!" Many of them were mowed down on the spot by the German machine guns. The detachment lay down and everything became silent. In some two hours we heard again: "For the Motherland! For Stalin!" but that attempt failed again. There were two more unsuccessful efforts to attack the enemy. I thought to myself: "What is that for? They definitely see that there are a couple of machine guns. Why then not to organize an artillery or air bombardment before the attack? They didn't do things that way - an entire field is covered with corpses:" I can't be a judge but it seems to me that they didn't spare people at all...
Finns make very good fighters and the Great Patriotic War they fought better than the Germans. I see several reasons for that. First, they knew their land and were prepared for this climate. This resulted in minute differences in camouflage, tactics, reconnaissance, all of which eventually bore fruit. Firearms training - excellent. In combat , they are also solid.
My tankette had been hit. It was a direct hit from the Yurka's side and a shell fragment ripped open his belly and his bowels tumbled on the engine. Another fragment brushed my head just on the rebound and flowing blood covered my eyes. At first I thought that I was killed but in a moment everything had been changed. I rubbed my eyes and saw Yurka dying. To get out of the tankette I began raising myself a little and suddenly a male voice sounded in Russian: "Rus, surrender!"
I thought, "It is over, they will smash us." But Malyshev didn't lose his nerve. While she was showing us her side, he pointed the PTR from under the track and hurled 5 bullets into her side, one after another. That was an explosion! Our Ferdinand blew to pieces--its turret, everything!