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36530 0

Degen Ion Lazarevich

And then I began to weep: neither pain, nor losses nor fear were the cause of those tears. I wept from my awareness of the tragedy of the retreat which I had witnessed and in which I had taken part, I wept from the terrible thought that all our sacrifices had been in vain ... I wept because I had not even a grenade to blow myself up with the Germans. I wept from the very thought that the Germans were already on the left bank of the Dnieper.


60139 0

Otroschenkov Sergei
Andreyevich

Six tanks with mounted parties passed along the cart road toward the German rear. I always remember with gratitude our tank-mounted submachine gunners. They were brave guys. They certainly never ran along with tanks on attack or rode the tanks under gun fire as shown in movies. They were common living humans. They would hide and shoot here and there. But without them at nights we were as good as blind. They guarded us at nights.


35083 0

Maslov Ivan
Vladimirovich


The battles were very   intense. Many men remained lying there for good …  The Finish snipers,   so-called “cuckoos,” (sitting in trees) caused us  a lot of trouble. Once, at   a crossing of forest roads, we were  ambushed. We had the latest model tanks,   with "antiaircraft" machine  guns installed on turrets. I brought   down three "cuckoos" from the  tree tops with a machine gun. The Finns   operated well in our rear.  They would pass on skis through the woods and set   up for us bloody  "concerts". Once a camp bath house was arranged for   soldiers in the  woods. It consisted of a big canvas tent, which was heated   inside,  where the soldiers would come to wash themselves. Three Finns with    submachine guns jumped out on skis from behind a hillock and killed a  few of our   soldiers washing themselves in such a "camp bath". The war  was intense   …


28308 0

Fadin Alexander
Mikhailovich

I commanded to the driver-mechanic Semiletov: “Vasya, at low speed move a  little forward, for a tree standing in front of us prevents me from  firing at the enemy head-on”. After two days of battles we had forged a  good friendship and the crew read my mind at half word. Having improved  our position I saw the enemy tank. Without waiting for the driver to  bring the tank to stop, I fired the first sub-caliber round at the head  tank, which was already at a distance of fifty meters from us. An  instantaneous flash at the frontal part of the enemy tank and, all of a  sudden, it burst into flames illuminating the whole column. The  driver-mechanic cried out: “Commander, damn! Why did you fire? I haven’t  closed the hatch yet! Now the gases made me blind”. I had forgotten  about everything that moment but the enemy tanks.


9912 0

Drevetnyak Viktor
Andreevich

In January 1944, during the German clean-up operation, I was wounded in  the right leg by a shell splinter and captured by the enemy. I spent  some hard time in Nazi concentration camp on the territory of Krasny  state farm located in Simferopol. Then I was transferred to German POW  camp in Sevastopol. After that Germans moved us to Romania, then  Hungary. The labour camp in Austrian population aggregate named  Strasshof an der Nordbahn had become my final destination point. In my  memory all these countries have left reminiscences about barbed wire and  some episodes. For us as prisoners hunger was a norm of life. We had  picked up crumbs of bread from earth. We had changed our civil clothes  with Romanians for food to not to die from hunger. In 1945 I was  assigned to a farming work for local landowner in Langau, Lower Austria.  Even a slave freedom of an "ostarbeiter" seemed way better than  horrible life in the labour camp.


14206 0

Sapezhnikov Alexei
Ananyevich

Main thing I remember about that war most of all was our persistent moving. Forward, only forward! We constantly wanted to sleep. We could eaten hot food only in seventh day of our offensive during a little rest after seizure of Ling Kou city. We took that city almost without striking a blow. I've remembered Ling Kou especially well. 3000 Japanese troops captured it again after our leaving. There were hospital and some other units in Ling Kou. We had formed special unit for recapturing operation. They dashed back to the city on self-propelled guns rapidly.
 


9898 0

Ivan Shelepov


The sounds of explosions drew closer, and it seemed to me that I heard the roar of engines - TANKS!!!


14301 0

Nikolai Chistiakov


We entered the battlefield as a marching column. It was my first combat, it was my baptism of fire that I can't forget and will never forget. That wasn't a war, it was a real crime. It was an ignorant and criminal play at fighting! For such guidance the command deserved death by shooting. Was it an organized offensive? Absolutely not! No usual preliminary artillery bombardment of the enemy's trenches. That combat was a genuine crime.


8564 0

Anatoli Stat'in


As the tanks approached closer, we heard: "You are encircled, give yourselves up!" Our company commander was a senior lieutenant, an ethnic Tatar. He ordered: "To open fire!" When we began firing, three tanks came from the left flank and we heard again a shout of the tank crew: "Give up, you are encircled!" As soon as one of our soldiers rose to his feet in order to run somewhere from his shallow position, their machine gun's burst shot him down in a moment. We continued to fire.


10370 0

Nikolai Safonov

In general I wasn’t superstitious but when I was healing my first wounds at home, my mom gave me some printed “Divine Letter,” on some 5-6 pages. Since our soldiers military blouses were without breastpockets, I sewed two small pockets to the inside of my blouse, one – for the Communist Party member’s card, the second – for the “Divine Letter.” I carried both up to the end of the war. When I returned home, I said: “Mom, your letter helped.”

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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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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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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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