Memories of veterans of the Great Patriotic War

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14560 0

Nikolai Obryn'ba


The loading took a long time, German and Russian swearing poured, polizeis' whips struck, prisoners moaned, fell from the beam unable to take the shoving, Germans shot those too weak without pity, and so, settling near the wall in the corner, we even felt cozy, since there was no danger of being executed anymore.


8032 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.


12534 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".


11358 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.'


12242 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.


7380 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.


41507 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.


7889 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?

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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...
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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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I asked my grandfather whether he was scared. Why did he do so, he could’ve refused? The grandfather answered he hadn’t thought about this, and after the camp it wasn’t so scary (!) at war, and delivering ammo was his task after all, so it had to be executed.

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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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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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