Memories of veterans of the Great Patriotic War

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8759 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.

11951 0

Vladimir Spindler

Any night, any day didn’t pass without a fight. If the commanders accomplished a combat reconnaissance (almost an actual offensive), our platoon took part in it. In a lull period, our recons formed the combat guard. Our place was ahead of the riflemen’s trenches – the no-man’s-land. Our main goal was to prevent German recons from getting secretly into our positions. At the same time we had an unofficial instruction from our counterespionage officers: to prevent our soldiers from deserting to the Germans.

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Ivan Kobets

I remember their leader, an unshaven, sweaty redhead with a submachine gun on his shoulder. Having carefully taken aim, I shot at him at a range of 15-20 meters. Immediately, the entire ambush squalled with automatic fire.

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Nikolai Shishkin

The ground was like steel—we could not even dig out a shelter. So you’d lie behind a dead body, piercing a tin can with a knife to open it. What vodka?! The whole of three months we were in the snow. We made a rampart of it, lying down in the center layer and covering ourselves with snow. If we stopped for 2-3 nights, then we made tents out of pine branches. In the day we’d light a campfire, but in the night—it was not allowed—we were afraid of planes seeing us.

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Arsenij Zonov

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 practice target for them.”

22587 0

Vladimir Vostrov

They sent in 5 T-34 tanks with mine-clearing attachments ahead of us. The mine-clearing tanks are pretty slow, and the Germans immediately destroyed three of them…seeing this, we all rushed forward, hoping to get lucky…the minefield was made up of massive anti-tank mines, each with 100-200 kilograms of explosives. Any crew that drove over one of these went straight to heaven, their assault guns just disintegrated. A third of our assault guns blew up then and there…After fifteen minutes we reached the now-empty German village. Aside from those who died in the minefields, we had no losses. Most of the crews dismounted and began scavenging for “trophies”, but my guys stayed in the assault gun. I always thought it was a bad omen to take something that doesn’t belong to you. All of a sudden I saw a friend of mine named Topkasov carrying a new pair of leather boots, and instantly got the feeling that something bad was about to happen…

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Josef Finkelshteyn

'These bastards learned enough! I'll teach them a lesson!' said the captain climbed into a nearby friendly bunker and began firing a large caliber machine gun into the German positions. The Germens answered immediately. After short period of time the fire expanded up and down the front. The Germans shot flares on parachutes over our ravine. It grew as bright as noontime.

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Yurii Koriakin

I directly said that despite it being the second year of the war, I cannot answer the question: "What have you done for the destruction of German occupiers?"

See also

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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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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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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