Memories of veterans of the Great Patriotic War

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5805 0

I.Lyudnikov

At 3:40 we heard the gradually intensifying sound of aircraft from the west again. It was getting lighter. In five minutes we could define a group of 19 planes 2-3 km to the north. Now we saw that the planes were German. I looked through my field glasses and identified U-88 bombers with yellow and black crosses on them. They passed us by.


9103 0

Yurii Khukhrikov


For example, Pokryshkin flew more than 500 sorties. Participated in 84 dogfights. Shot down 59 aircraft. I also have 84 combat sorties. But if you translate our effectiveness into money, I wouldn't be short of him. Be sure of that. Of course, ground attack pilots' hands are covered in blood up to the elbows. But it was our duty, and I think we did a first class job. Did everything we could. Well, and God didn't pass us by with "crosses".


8142 0

Ivan Konovalov


There my papers were checked and in December 1943 I was serving in a separate army front-line penal company attached to the 69th Division of General Batov's 65th Army. I don't like to remember this period,,, Later on I fought in Shturmoviks, but it was far worse in the infantry. After the war I had a recurring dream: a German was pointing his sub-machine gun at me - and about to open fire at any moment. I'd wake up with a start thinking 'Thank God I'm still alive.'


9595 0

Vladimir Markov


I too immediately dived into the clouds - almost out of fuel and no longer able to continue the fight. I reported in to an observer. Ground control told me, " No Soviet losses. Execute a 555 (return to base)." There was no way of finding my wingman. About five minutes later, breaking out from the cloud I saw a Me-109 ahead flying a parallel course. I ducked back into the clouds and when I emerged a few minutes later he had disappeared. I returned to base.


5490 0

Vyacheslav Ivanov

I do not know who really shot us down, but we caught fire and began to fell. Our aircraft fell down in the region of railroad station Karachev. I and the pilot Leytenant Pavel Radenko got out of the aircraft, which was standing at its nose. We asked each other about wounds and, having made sure that we were unharmed, decided to come away from the aircraft.


37717 0

Georgii Minin


Once I saw what the “psych-attack” was. It happened in late November 1943, shortly after our arrival in the Yelets area. The Germans were drunk and attacked us in rank with their SMG rattling. All of our wagon train men momentarily skedaddled sitting in their wagons but we remained in the trenches. I shot my rifle killing at least five Germans and I didn’t feel any pity for them.


5615 0

Viktor Karaban

I’ll start with the head-to-head fighting. The Germans forced their way to our mortar emplacements. Instantly we all, setting aside the mortars, entered into a scuffle. I had luck to come through it. But it was a horror to see how the enemy pierced my friend with bayonet! We managed to hold our positions. Did I kill somebody? I think so. As he fell on me, I struck him with my rifle butt. He fell as if being knocked out, and I ran farther. Who knows, did I kill him or not? Besides, everyone fired endlessly: was it my bullet or someone else’s? Who knows?


5869 0

Fedor Bachurin


We had the right to advance, but if we wanted to retreat - sorry. We would stand to the death. The Germans counterattacked frequently. After there was an unsuccessful attempt near Narva, they struck Libava. And when they retreated, they didn't spare ammo, burned everything. By that time only eight of the twelve soldiers in my platoon remained. It was then necessary for me to get behind a machinegun. The no man's land was only sixty meters on my right flank. On the left flank it was 600-700 meters. All of a sudden, a splinter fragment that was shot by a "donkey" mortar tore between my legs. So I lay there. It went through my wadded trousers, a couple of centimeters more and it would've been the end of me. And so I could feel something warm, I looked - and there was the "visitor" lying there. The wadded trousers, the greatcoat, and the underpants were all torn.

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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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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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My tank was hit on 19 April 1945 in Austria. A Tiger put a round straight through us. The projectile passed through the entire fighting compartment and then the engine compartment.

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It is winter, our platoon is on its way to the shooting-ground keeping to the footworn track. The banks of snow are more than a yard thick. The subject of today’s exercise is “How to act under a raid by air.” Suddenly our commander shouts: “Air! Airplanes!” The platoon must to scatter momentarily, and everyone is running through the thick snow. In a minute or two we hear: “All clear!” The exercise could be repeated several times as we make our way. Finally we feel utterly exhausted. Everyone wants to fall on the snow and not to get up; he want to die and nothing more…
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