Memories of veterans of the Great Patriotic War

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10730 0

Mikhail
Borodin

At the same time I turned the tank left-right, for I could get so carried away that I could miss a hit in the side. The commander yells: “Go forward!” I shoot, shoot more. I also had a SMG. I drove over the trench, rode over the mortars, squishing them, the Germans were fleeing. I pressed on the gas, stuck out of the hatch showing half of my body and fired a whole ammo clip from my SMG.


28714 0

Natalia Peshkova


They didn't even curse around me at the front. These were normal, regular soldiers, and not some kind of intelligentsia. There weren't any affairs at the front.


6674 0

Lyubov Pakhomova

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!


7073 0

Theodor Klein

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.


10325 0

Nikolai Dupak


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. They have the ability to avoid a tragic situation. You are the one in charge sitting in the saddle, but a horse can't do any of that.


13508 0

Vladimir
Dolmatov


"Sergeant major, our unit commander is an asshole. I want to run away, but I don't want to get caught. That's why we'll make a deal -- you send me to the front, but don't note anywhere that I left, and I'll give you a bottle of "Tarhun" vodka and a block of "Kazbek" cigarettes". 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. They have the ability to avoid a tragic situation. You are the one in charge sitting in the saddle, but a horse can't do any of that.


7779 0

Semion Chumanov


I come out to the edge of the wood and ... A fascist fighter is diving straight at me! Me - I'm running back to the grove, dodging. But he didn't grudge me a bomb.


52623 0

Eugenii Monyushko


The APCR shell, fired point blank, hit the bottom of the turret. The "Tiger" didn't burst into flames, but the crew tried to bail out. A machine gun burst finished the business...

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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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In the battle of Prokhorovka our corps, in the beginning, was in the second echelon supporting the engagement of other corps and only then did we move forward. The distance between tanks was no more than one hundred meters, the only thing they could do was fidgeting, no maneuvering. It was not war, but tank slaughter. They crawled and fired. Everything was on fire. An inexpressible stench was in the air of the battlefield. Everything was so covered with smoke, dust and fire that it seemed that twilight had fallen. The air force bombed all. Tanks and vehicles were on fire. Communications did...
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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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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?"

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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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