Memories of the war

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Memories of the war

Dear Editors announced Flashmob in connection with the upcoming Victory Day, where she suggested gossips to share the memories of their warring grandfathers and great-grandfathers. But there’s nothing for me to tell: my great-grandfather died when I was very young, besides, according to the elders, I kept silent on this topic, I did not even say what I got for medals. And, according to personal observations, such a majority: when she became older and began to deal with the topic of war closely, she came to the conclusion that it is better to forget this as soon as possible. Forget – and live on.

Therefore, I want (if the moderators do not scold) to share fragments of the memoirs of a deeply respected, albeit absolutely alien to me person – Professor Nikolai Nikolaevich Nikulin. Immediately I warn: impressionable it is better to finish reading HERE.

Memories of the war

I was a useless soldier. In the infantry, I would either be shot at once for an example, or I myself would die of weakness, tumbling my head into the fire: burnt corpses in plenty remained in place of parking lots arrived from hungry Leningrad. In the regiment, I was probably despised, but tolerated. I prepared dozens of cubic meters of firewood for officers’ dugouts, did all sorts of work, got cold on the post. Occasionally on duty at the radio station. At first I was not taken to the front line, and, fortunately, there were no big battles. In a word, I did not immediately get into the meat grinder, but had the opportunity to get used to military life gradually … At the end of November our offensive began. Only now I learned what war is, although I have not yet participated in the attacks. Hundreds of wounded dead, cold, hunger, stress, weeks without sleep … In one comparatively quiet night, I was sitting in a snowy pit, unable to fall asleep from the cold. Chezal wore his sides and cried for melancholy and weakness. That night a change occurred in me. Somewhere forces appeared. In the morning I crawled out of the burrow, began to scour the empty German dugouts, found a potato that was frozen as a stone, lit a fire, welded a brew in the helmet and, filling my belly, felt self-confidence. Since then, my rebirth began. There were defensive reactions, energy appeared. There was a flair that suggested how to behave. There was a grip. I began to get grub. He cut a horse’s ankle with the ax from the thigh of a dead German bastiug – he froze from the frost. He found an abandoned potato pit. One day a mine killed a horse passing by. Twenty minutes later, only the mane and entrails were left from her, as craftsmen like me instantly cut the meat into pieces. The driver did not even have time to recover, so he remained in the sleigh with the reins in his hand. Another time we marched along the road and suddenly turned the kitchen in front of us. Buckwheat porridge poured into the snow. Instantly, without a word, everyone took out the spoons and the feast began! But traffic on the road can not be stopped! Through the porridge drove the cart with the hay, a truck, and we all ate and ate while there was something left … I collected breadcrumbs and crusts near warehouses, kitchens – in a word, mined food wherever I could …

…We arrived near Pogostye in early January 1942, early in the morning. The snow covered the marshes. Stunted trees rose from the snowdrifts. At the road here and there were fresh graves – hills with a wooden pillar at the head of the bed. In the gray twilight a frosty fog rolled. The temperature was about thirty degrees below zero. Nearby, the roar of bullets flew past us. All around there were a lot of cars, some boxes and miscellaneous equipment, somehow disguised by branches. The disparate groups of soldiers and individual bent figures slowly crawled in different directions …

…The failures under Podgost, their causes, inconsistencies, confusion, poor planning, poor intelligence, lack of interaction between units and combat arms, were mentioned in our press, in memoirs and special articles. The Pogostin battles were to some extent typical of the whole Russian-German front of 1942. Everywhere there was something like this, everywhere – in the North, and in the South, and near Rzhev, and under Staraya Russa – had their own Pogosts …

At the beginning of the war, German armies entered our territory as a red-hot knife in oil. To stop their movement there was no other means, how to pour blood on the blade of this knife. Gradually, he began to rust and grow dull and moved more slowly. And the blood was pouring and pouring. So the Leningrad militia was burned down. Two hundred thousand of the best, the color of the city. But the knife stopped. It was, however, still durable, it was almost impossible to move it back. And the whole of 1942, blood was pouring and pouring, yet little by little undermining this terrible blade. So our future victory was forged.

The cadre army perished at the border. The new formations of weapons were short, ammunition and even less. Experienced commanders – all the way. Unskilled recruits went into battle …

– Attack! – The owner is calling from the Kremlin.

– Attack! – the general is telephoned from the warm office.

– Attack! The colonel orders from a solid dugout.

And a hundred Ivanov gets up, and wanders through the deep snow under the crossroads of German machine guns. And the Germans in warm bunkers, well fed and drunk, arrogant, all foreseen, all calculated, all shot and hit, beat like in a dash. However, it was not so easy for the enemy soldiers. Recently, a German veteran told me that among the machine gunners of their regiment there were cases of insanity: it’s not so easy to kill people row by row – and they all go and go and there is no end to them.

Colonel knows that the attack is useless, that there will only be new corpses. Already in some divisions there were only staffs and three or four dozen people. There were cases when the division, starting the battle, had 6-7 thousand bayonets, and at the end of the operation its losses amounted to 10-12 thousand – due to constant replenishment! And people were always missing! Operational map of Pogost is strewn with numbers of parts, and there are no soldiers in them. But the colonel carries out the order and drives the people on the attack. If his soul hurts and has a conscience, he himself participates in the battle and perishes. There is a kind of natural selection. Faint-hearted and sensitive do not survive. Remain cruel, strong personality, able to fight in the current conditions. They know only one way of war – to crush a mass of bodies. Someone yes, kill the German. And slowly, but surely the personnel German divisions are melting. Well, if the colonel tries to think through and prepare an attack, check whether everything is done. And often he is simply mediocre, lazy, drunk. Often he does not want to leave a warm shelter and climb under bullets … Often an artillery officer has identified goals insufficiently, and, in order not to risk, shoots from afar across the squares, well, if not his own, although this happened often … Sometimes the storekeeper drinks and has fun with the women in the nearest village, and the shells and food are not brought … Or the major lost his way and compassed his battalion to the wrong place … The confusion, the confusion, the shortcomings, the fraud, the failure of duty, so characteristic of us in a peaceful life, on the war is brighter, than anywhere else. And for all one fee – blood. Ivans go on the attack and die, but the one sitting in the shelter drives everything and drives them. The psychology of the person going to the assault is surprisingly different, and the one who watches the attack – when one does not need to die, everything seems simple: forward and forward!

One night I replaced the telephone operator at the device. The connection then was primitive and conversations on all lines were heard at all points, I learned how our commander II Fedyuninsky talks to the commanders of the divisions: “Your mother! Forward!!! Do not advance – I’ll shoot! Yo Mama! Attack! Your mother! “… Two years ago, an elderly Ivan Ivanovich, a kind grandfather, told on television October about the war in completely different tones …

Speaking in the language of the parable, the following happened: the house was covered with bed bugs and the owner ordered the residents to burn the house and burn themselves along with the bedbugs. Someone will stay and rebuild everything … Otherwise, we could not and could not. I read somewhere that British intelligence is preparing its agents for decades. They are taught in the best colleges, create athletes, intellectuals capable of all the experts in their field. Then such agents are leading global affairs. In Asian countries, the task is given to a thousand or ten thousand somehow, hastily trained people in the expectation that even if almost everything fails and is destroyed, at least one will fulfill its mission. There is no time, no money for training, no experienced teachers here. Everything is done in a hurry – they did not have time to do it before, did not think about it, or even did a lot, but not so. Everything is done by gravity, by intuition, by mass, by number. That’s the second way we fought. In 1942, there was no alternative. The wise Master in the Kremlin understood everything perfectly, he knew and, suppressing everyone with an iron will, commanded one thing: “Attack!” And we attacked, attacked, attacked … And the mountains of corpses at Pogosty, Nevsky Piglet, nameless heights grew, grew, grew. So the future victory was prepared …

…Finally, some soldier or lieutenant, platoon commander, or captain, company commander (which is less common), seeing this outrageous outrage, exclaims: “You can not ruin people!

There, at the height, a concrete pillbox! And we only have a 76-millimeter cannon! She will not break it! “… Immediately the political instructor, SMERSH [4] and the tribunal are connected. One of the informers, who is full of each division, testifies: “Yes, in the presence of the soldiers, I doubted our victory.” Immediately fill in the ready-made form, where you just need to write down the surname, and you are ready: “Shoot before the formation!” Or “Send to the penalty company!”, Which is the same. Thus the most honest people who felt their responsibility before the society perished, people …

…Entering the neutral zone, they did not shout “For Motherland! For Stalin! “, As they write in novels. Above the front there was a hoarse howl and thick swearing of fury, until bullets and splinters could stop the screaming throats. It was to Stalin when death was near. Where now, in the sixties, again arose the myth that they won only thanks to Stalin, under the banner of Stalin? I have no doubt about this. Those who won, either fell on the battlefield, or drank, overwhelmed by post-war hardships. After all, not only the war, but also the restoration of the country passed at their expense. The same of them who are still alive, are silent, broken. The others remained in power and retained their strength – those who drove people into the camps, those who drove into meaningless bloody attacks in the war. They acted in the name of Stalin, they are still shouting about it. Was not on the front line: “For Stalin!”. The commissars tried to drive it into our heads, but the commissars did not attack them. All this is scum …

…In order not to go into battle, the Dodgers sought to settle into lush little places: in the kitchen, in the rear clerk, in the storekeeper, in the orderly’s orderman, etc., etc. Many succeeded. But when there were units left in the company, the rear was combed with an iron comb, tearing off the suckers and directing them into battle. Remained on the ground most nosy. And here there was also a natural selection. An honest manager of a food warehouse, for example, was always sent to the front, leaving the thief. The honest person will give everything to the soldiers, not concealing anything for himself or for his superiors. But the authorities like to devour the fattest. Voryuga, however, without forgetting himself, will always please the superior. How can you lose such a valuable frame? Whom to send to the front line? Of course, honest! There was a kind of mutual guarantee – he supported his own, and if some idiot tried to achieve justice, he was stoked all together. In other words, what was happening in peacetime and less noticeably was happening clearly and openly …

…The army headquarters was about fifteen kilometers behind. The people who lived there were humming … They were deprived of the illusions of the Komsomol members who voluntarily came to the front “to fight fascist monsters”, drank cognac, and ate deliciously … In the Red Army, soldiers had one ration, officers received additional oil, canned food, biscuits. In the army headquarters generals brought delicacies: wines, balyks, sausages, etc. …

…Not women’s business is war. No doubt, there were many heroines, which can be set as an example for men. But it is too cruel to force women to suffer the torment of the front. And if only that! It was hard for them to be surrounded by peasants. The hungry soldiers, it is true, were not up to the women, but the authorities sought it by any means, from brutal pressure to the most refined courtship. Among the multitude of cavaliers there were daredevils for every taste: singing and dancing, and talking red, and for the educated – to read Blok or Lermontov … And the girls went home with the addition of a family. It seems that it was called in the language of the military chancellery “to leave by order 009”. In our part of the fifty arrived in 1942 by the end of the war there were only two soldiers of the fair sex. But “to leave on the orders of 009” is the best way out. Happened worse. I was told how a certain Colonel Volkov was building a woman’s replenishment, and, passing along the line, he selected the beauties that attracted him. Such became his PUZH, and if resisted – on the lip, in a cold dugout, on bread and water! Then the baby was walking along the arms, getting different swings and zamam …

…In infantry divisions, in 1941-1942, the backbone of supplyers, doctors, counterintelligence officers, staff officers, and the like formed a mechanism for receiving reinforcements and sending them into battle, to death. A peculiar mill of death. This skeleton basically remained, got used to the terrible functions, and people were selected corresponding, those who could cope with such business. The bosses also picked up the unreasoning, or the stupid, or scum, capable only of cruelty. “Forward!” – that’s all. My commander of an infantry regiment in the “native” 311st division was said to have moved to his post from the commander of the bath and laundry squad. He was very capable of driving his regiment forward without reasoning. He thundered him many times, and in the intervals he drank vodka and danced a gypsy girl …

..And I managed to get acquainted with the commander of the 311st. (Apparently, we are talking about Biyakov Sergey Timofeevich. True, he became a general later – S.A.) One day, in the days of the heavy winter battles of 1942 near Podgost, our major was sent to 311th to coordinate plans for the artillery support of the infantry, to listen to the considerations and wishes of the commander about the organization of the battle. I accompanied the major with a rifle behind my shoulders. On the forest clearing we found a guarded dugout, covered with many-tier slopes. The missile will not knock this out! When the major ducked inside, clouds of steam burst from the dug-out (there was a severe frost) and a basophilic foul language was heard. I looked into the crack through the slightly opened frozen cloak-tent, which replaced the door, and saw by the light of the smoking-rod a drunk general, steamed, in an unbuttoned tunic. There was a bottle of vodka on the table, every kind of food lay: fat, sausages, canned food, bread. Nearby were a bunch of gingerbread, lamb, honey cans – gifts from Tataria “valiant and heroic Soviet soldiers fighting at the front”, received the day before. At the table sat a half-naked and also a drunk woman …

ABOUT "VETERANS"(?)

..Memoirs, memoirs … I heard the best memoirs in the winter of 1944 in a hospital near Warsaw. From the operating room brought to the ward of the wounded Vitka Vasilyev, a famous rowdy, a drunkard, a debauchee, who fought near his superiors and mainly engaged in robbery or dubious frauds with civilians. For his art Vitka Vasilyev finally fell into the penalty company, participated in a real battle, “redeemed the guilt of blood.” Here is a transcript of his memoirs: “They drove us to the front line, I stuck my head out of the trench, then me and e. Ulo” …

..Here, in the rear, is another world. Here there are the heads, here staffs, there are heavy tools, warehouses, medical posts are located. Occasionally, the shells will come here or the bomb will drop the bomb. Killed and wounded here a rarity. Not a war, but a resort! Those who are on the front line are not tenants. They are doomed. Salvation is only a wound. Those who are in the rear, will remain alive if they are not moved forward, when the ranks of the attackers are exhausted. They will remain alive, return home and eventually form the basis of organizations of veterans. They will grow their bellies, acquire bald heads, decorate their breasts with commemorative medals, decorations and will tell how they fought heroically, how they defeated Hitler. And they will believe it themselves! They will also bury the blessed memory of those who died and who really fought! They will present a war, of which they themselves know little, in a romantic halo. How good it all was, how wonderful! What heroes we are! And the fact that war – horror, death, hunger, meanness, meanness and meanness, will go to the background. The real front-line soldiers, who left one and a half people, and those nuts, spoiled, will be silent in a rag. And the bosses, who also largely stay alive, will be mired in squabbles: who fought well, who is bad, but if they listened to me!

..In the rear and excel easier. They are fighting and dying somewhere on the front line, and the reports are being written here. Where, for example, did our staff clerk Pifonov or Filonov (I do not remember correctly the name) receive the Order of the Patriotic War? He did not get out of the dugout either during the fighting … True, later the German bomb covered him at the crossing, so God is his judge … And the head of the brigade food warehouse, I do not know his surname, for what deeds he has two Orders of the Red Star? After all the war he sat among bread, fat and canned food. Now he is probably the main veteran! And Vitka Vasilyev – a failed actor, expelled after the war from the theater for alcoholism and became director of a green store (he had to drink something!), Received two orders for two pairs of gold German watches presented to them by the brigade commander. Now he talks about his exploits in every corner …

..then the former editor of the divisional newspaper wanted to say a speech – a certain retired colonel. He came to the meeting in a chic suit, with many orders, with his wife – a dyed blonde about twenty years younger than her husband. His speech was frank self-congratulation: a long front-line biography. It turned out that thanks to him the war was won! But after all, this man was never on the front line, he did not hear the whistles of bullets and shells. He lived in warmth, satiety, coziness, about fifty kilometers from the front, wrote articles that could not be read and which were used at best for roll-ons. Then he told me that he had recently had a heart surgery, was treated in the best clinic by the best doctors, but he swears to be true 311 with. etc.! His square face expressed absolute mediocrity and unshakable, stupid stubbornness, a belief in his own exclusiveness …

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