Memories of veterans of the Great Patriotic War

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Nikolai Nadol'ko

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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Alexandra Medvedeva-Nazarkina

I remember how I killed my first fascist. Together with my partner Zina Vershinina we occupied our sniping positions. While observing enemy positions, I spotted a machinegunner. I aimed and shot. It was unclear whether I hit him or not. But when I returned to the detachment, everyone already knew I’d killed an enemy. An artillery observer reported this. He saw it in his periscope, how the enemy machine gunner was killed. Everyone was joyous, they hurries to congratulate me. And I wept, for I had to kill a man…

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Antonina Kotliarova

I knew he was a fascist, that they had attacked our country, they killed, burned, hanged our people, but he was still a human being. It was such a condition... When I killed the second one, I was in a horrible state again. Why? Because I saw him through my optical sight: a young officer. He seemed to look at me and suddenly I killed him. But he was a human being! Basically, a horrible state. But afterwards I grew somehow desensitized. I killed - it was supposed to be that way.

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Klavdia Kalugina

Marusia said: "Let me take the watch now." She got up, it was a sunny day, and she apparently moved the lens. As soon as she got up, there was a shot, and she fell. Oh, how I cried! The German was 200 meters away from us. I screamed so loud it could be heard all over the trenches, soldiers ran out: "Quiet, quiet, or they'll open mortar fire!" But how could I be quiet?

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Aleksej Shilin

Meanwhile, command decided to mount a new attack using so-called “infantry tanks” specially manufactured for this purpose. You know what they called an “infantry tank”? Each “tank” was a plate of 12 millimeter armor with a firing slit for the rifle (the Red Army did not have SMGs then), which doubled as the vision slit for the soldier behind the plate. The entire contraption was mounted on skis and weighed over 80 kilograms.

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Anatolij Shvebig

My duties as a technical specialist included examining German tanks. During the Kursk battles, we held our first seminar with all our tank crews on the vulnerabilities of German tanks, including the Tiger and Panther models. These seminars were one of the technical unit’s responsibilities. By this time we had fairly decent data on these tanks. Basically, you had to hit them in the flank or in the tracks, since the front was pretty well-armored. You could also get them from the rear, but that was a difficult shot to make, you basically had to wait until the target tank turned around.

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Arseni Rod'kin

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 me”.

101969 0

Dmitriy Loza

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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