Memories of veterans of the Great Patriotic War

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10251 0

Nikolai Chistiakov


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.


5750 0

Anatoli Stat'in


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.


6861 0

Nikolai Safonov

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.”


5318 0

Mikhail Kuznetsov


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...


11124 0

Dmitrii Krutskikh


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.


5193 0

Anatoly Kendzersky

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!"


8748 0

Daniil Zlatkin


The senior sergeant said: "Before you is the Degtiarev machine gun. In order to shoot you need to push this, depress here, put this on, insert this and shoot".


9903 0

Vladimir Zimakov


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!

See also

In 1943 I was sure in my defense. And I was sure of my commanders, too. Even the weakest lieutenant in '43 knew much more than a lieutenant before the war.

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Some time later I saw our battalion’s refueller, Kostin go by. Kostin was an old stager, had been at Stalingrad, with a KV regiment. In an assemble area that Kostin got together youngsters never seen the battle and was telling them his Stalingrad experiences:
“You know, KV armor’s great! Once the Germans shot us with a blank, I see it red crawling in through the armor. I got a sledge-hammer and hit it big time, it went off!”
Young blokes listened carefully, did not know much about front. I went aside, laughed. Then I said:
“Kostin, knock it off, fuel...
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I was a good student in the classroom, but in the vehicle itself I had to stand on my tiptoes just to try and reach the gunsight. The shoots were early in the morning, too, I didn’t really see the target at all – sent all my three practice shells into the empty sky. The assault gun commander was a veteran tanker, fought in T-70s, came to us straight from the hospital. When I finished, he nearly cried, and told me: “son, what am I going to do with you once we get to the front? The assault gun exists to fire at tanks over open sights – if we can’t shoot, we’ll just be a...
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