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Thread: "I remember..."

  1. #1
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    Default "I remember..."

    Hello,

    As you may know I am putting out parts of my grand-father's memoirs. The process is a bit complicated as I first translate it then send it to SlimFan to correct and then I publish them here. I also have to make sure the pictures are scanned and so on.
    Not always in the evening I have energy to translate large portions of text, but I nonetheless feel like sharing something interesting with you.

    So I decided to open this thread where I will be presenting some short extracts from the RKKA soldier’s accounts which I read everyday. Some of them will be funny, some of them will be very sad... I will try to get somehow remarkable and interesting episodes that you, I hope, will find interesting.

    Most of the accounts are from the website www.iremember.ru

    Ok. Let’s start with few funny ones:

    Arsenij K. Rodkin
    Leutenant. T-34 tank commander. link.

    In 1943 our tank school was awarded the Guards status. In connection with that I recall this funny story. The schools deputy principal was colonel Naumov, a war veteran, very harsh old men. He would never pass by a student without cavilling. Imaging everything about you is in order: uniform according to the service regulations, the boots polished. But do you have required needle and thread in your service cap? No? 5 days of guard house arrest. And at the end he would always add: “You - gobbler”. Shortly after we received the Guard status, he stopped one student and started the routine:
    «Mess again, gobbler». – «No, comrade Guards-colonel, not a gobbler!». – «WHAT!?» – «Guards-Gobbler, comrade colonel!» – «You, son of a bitch, made colonel laugh. Off you go!»
    Then we arrived to town of Rzhev. Our train stopped next to a train with infantry division. Apparently a younger brother of one of our platoon commanders, Ivan Chugunov, was in that very train. What is to be done? The younger one got to be reunited. We rushed to their train leader, coocked up a reference letter and gave him 3 litters of vodka to both the train leader and the station commandant. That is how Vasilij ended together with his brother and they went through the war fighting together. The older Chugunov brother became tank company commander and when in the autumn 1944 we braking from encirclement he distinguished himself and was awarded “Hero of the Soviet Union Star”.
    Later after the war we would tease the younger Vasilij: “Do you remember how we bought you out for 3 vodka bottles?

    Yurii M. Poljanovsky
    Leutenant. T-34 tank commander. link.

    Our unit was the first one to be transferred from Austria back to USSR. At that point we had our own cattle to produce extra rations. Some of our soldiers had herding and milking duties. So during this relocation we received an order to decorate the trucks with banners. So the truck with sheep was decorated with the banner: “Motherland welcomes back her sons.” Later our commander, General Rusianov, told us that he got screwed by the High Command for that. You see, the whole thing was filmed for the news reel.
    Last edited by Egorka; 03-08-2009 at 06:15 PM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: "I remember..."

    I for one would enjoy reading these Egorka. I checked out the site you mentioned but most stories are in Russian. I clicked on "English" but it didn't transfer the stories to English. (Unless I wasn't doing it correctly.) So, this would help quite a bit. Thanks!
    "Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same." - Ronald Reagan

  3. #3
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    Default Re: "I remember..."

    Quote Originally Posted by navyson View Post
    I for one would enjoy reading these Egorka. I checked out the site you mentioned but most stories are in Russian. I clicked on "English" but it didn't transfer the stories to English. (Unless I wasn't doing it correctly.) So, this would help quite a bit. Thanks!
    Regarding the site: by far not all of the accounts are translated.
    But here is what you do to get the ones that have been translated to English.

    Firstly, there is link to the translated ones right on the middle of the front page. Look after names.

    Secondly, on hte left you will see the list of the military occupations. If you click one of them you will get the list of available accounts. Originally they are in Russian unless they have been translated. This means you should skim through and you will quickly be able to identify the translated accounts. There could be maybe one og two for a given military occupation, but all of them should have at least one account translated.
    Last edited by Egorka; 03-09-2009 at 04:17 PM.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: "I remember..."

    Yurii O. Bem
    Paratrooper, military intelligence. link.

    The platoon leader knew that I wanted to visit my home in Moscow and told me once that they need a type writer for the regimental HQ: "We will give you money and send you to Moscow to purchase a type writer for the HQ office". That is how I visited home during the war.
    ...
    So I bought the type writer and brought it back. And I was reassigned to a position in HQ on the duty of senior intelligence officer.
    Despite the fact that I was working only in HQ I had to parachute jump with my type writer. I told them: "You know, I am so thin that might get gone with the wind".
    They tell me: "Take the type writer - problem solved."
    I also had to jump from a balloon. It is actually much scarier than jumping from a plane. From a plane one can not see the ground. Signal and you get pushed out. But on a balloon the ground is perfectly visible. It gets risen app. 400 meters up and the instructor throws everyone out.
    But I got used to that too. And it is true - jumped with a type writer.
    .....
    Last edited by Egorka; 03-10-2009 at 09:01 AM.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: "I remember..."

    Quote Originally Posted by Egorka View Post
    Our unit was the first one to be transferred from Austria back to USSR. At that point we had our own cattle to produce extra rations. Some of our soldiers had herding and milking duties. So during this relocation we received an order to decorate the trucks with banners. So the truck with sheep was decorated with the banner: “Motherland welcomes back her sons.” Later our commander, General Rusianov, told us that he got screwed by the High Command for that. You see, the whole thing was filmed for the news reel
    Ha ha ha ha
    Yes mate it's proper time to enlighten a bit our westerners colleagues by such a way.

    "I decide who is a Jew and who is an Aryan "- Hermann Goering

  6. #6
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    Default Re: "I remember..."

    Quote Originally Posted by Chevan View Post
    Ha ha ha ha
    Yes mate it's proper time to enlighten a bit our westerners colleagues by such a way.
    What?

    By daring to suggest that Russian sheep have a sense of humour?

    I hope the sheep survived the sheep gulag.

    That was actually a bloody funny story, about the sheep and the sons returning to the Motherland.

    More, please, Egorka.
    ..
    A rational army would run away.
    Montesquieu

  7. #7
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    Default Re: "I remember..."

    OK, here is more:
    Arsenij K. Rodkin
    Leutenant. T-34 tank commander. link.

    «Once, while staying in the front second line during the reinforcement, I noticed our seasoned veteran Kostin, who fought in Stalingrad battle in KV tank. I see the freshmen soldiers gathered around him and Kostin tells them about his adventures in during Stalingrad battle: "KV tank armor is THAT thick - WOW! Once Germans gave it to us. I watch the shell - red hot – squeezing further and further through the armor plate in to the tank. I grabbed hammer and smacked it with all the force I had - so it flew away." The freshmen listened to him very attentively - completely green boys. I walked away and burst in laughter.»
    Grigory S. Shishkin
    Leutenant. T-34 tank commander. link.

    «Question: Did you witness that out of fear crew jumped out of the tank while the tank kept rolling ahead?

    Answer: No. But we had a joke about it to tell our freshmen: "I am Sitting in my tank and waiting for orders. Then the order comes to give fire support to our attacking infantry. I fired the gun and - WOW - the tank started rolling ahead. The driver is not pressing the pedals, but the tank is moving! Then we figured it out. Apparently the shell stuck in the gun barrel. But the force it is pulling with is gargantuan!!! So it pulled the gun and therefore the whole tank."
    Some people genuinely believed that.»
    Last edited by Egorka; 03-10-2009 at 09:04 AM.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: "I remember..."

    I have to learn Russian , the site is very interesting. I would love to read the stories of the VVS pilots.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: "I remember..."

    Quote Originally Posted by Rising Sun* View Post
    What?

    By daring to suggest that Russian sheep have a sense of humour?

    I hope the sheep survived the sheep gulag.
    Everything was worse mate.
    All the Russians sheep has been executed at neares collective farm as the "Enemy of Soviet people", and were packed to an canned meat.
    Becouse thay can't explain to NKVD officers - how Russian sheep migh to surrender to German army and they turned out to be in sunny Austria, feeling good and sated.
    While the rest of Russian patriotic animals survived the famine and wither frost on mother's russia soil , alongside Red Army.

    "I decide who is a Jew and who is an Aryan "- Hermann Goering

  10. #10
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    Default Re: "I remember..."

    Quote Originally Posted by freyir_33 View Post
    I have to learn Russian , the site is very interesting. I would love to read the stories of the VVS pilots.
    I found these ones for you:
    1. http://www.iremember.ru/content/view/399/51/lang,en/
    2. http://www.iremember.ru/content/view/130/52/lang,en/
    3. http://www.iremember.ru/index2.php?o...ge=0&Itemid=55
    4. http://www.iremember.ru/content/view/133/55/lang,en/

    I have not read them yet.

    BTW have you read "SS FRIVILLIG - "Sværdborg" fortæller" (Svend Aage Jensen), 1985 by HARLY FOGED?

  11. #11
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    Default Re: "I remember..."

    OK, here is one more:
    Aleksader T. Cherepanov
    Fighter pilot. link.

    «The airplane with its extra fuel tank was not fit for dog fighting. Both manoeuvrability and the speed suffer. Therefore we would drop them off before the engagement and many pilots died because of that. The falling fuel tank is an amusing sight. It is spinning in the air. Sometimes it is still full of fuel. When it spins the fuel bursts out in a fountain - looks beautiful. And a pilot may gape at it. A pilot distracted is a shot down pilot. We warned people not to gape and many before him paid the prise. Everything comes with experience. One of us got shot that way and we started warning. A German if he shoots down a plain also looks it burns and follows it down. Interesting what is to happen. So when the attention is distracted you can take an advantage. If you score - don't hesitate and don't look - go forward. Maybe someone is already on your tail.»
    Last edited by Egorka; 03-22-2009 at 04:31 AM.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: "I remember..."

    Quote Originally Posted by Chevan View Post
    Everything was worse mate.
    All the Russians sheep has been executed at neares collective farm as the "Enemy of Soviet people", and were packed to an canned meat.
    Becouse thay can't explain to NKVD officers - how Russian sheep migh to surrender to German army and they turned out to be in sunny Austria, feeling good and sated.
    While the rest of Russian patriotic animals survived the famine and wither frost on mother's russia soil , alongside Red Army.
    ..
    A rational army would run away.
    Montesquieu

  13. #13
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    Default Re: "I remember..."

    There was thread on our forum about Russians using biological weapon in Stalingrad - Tularemia spread by rodents. Here is a couple of related quotes :
    Philip M. Zharkoy
    Tanker. link.

    «I remember our brigade suffered much from tularemia, which was spread by field mise which were very numerous in the area. To escape we even had to park the truck in the middle of river so that the wheels would be in wather.»
    Feodor F. Arhipenko
    Fighter pilot. Star Hero of Soviet Union. link.

    «Question - How was the pilot's everyday life was arranged?
    Answer - Well, we did not see anything appart from our airfield. As soon as the sun is up we went to the airfield for duty. When the sun went down we went back to the nearest village where a pile of hay covered with tarpaulin awated us. That is it! And we slept very well. Except near Stalingrad the mise did not leave us alone and did not let us sleep. So we slept in turns - one is sleeping , the other is keeping mise off with a stick. You see, the grains harvest was collected but was Not threshed which contributed to the mise population. Once we went to town of Lipetsk to pick up new YAK planes. We got the planes and I also bought 3 cats on the street marked. We put them into the cabine and flew back.

    On the way back we landed in town of Kalach near Voronezh. An attack plane regiment had that airfield as their base. So we landed - the weather was terrible and we could not continue. We placed guards at the planes, left the cats in the plane cabines and left to the mess for lunch. When we came back the cats were gone! The guard soldier said that the ground attack pilots clumbed into our planes and snatched them. Our whole mob went to visit them. We baraly managed to get them back, it almost ended in fisticufs! They painted them over with ink and claimed those were their own cats!
    The delivered cats were cheered everyone up - the mise problem was solved for good.»
    Last edited by Egorka; 10-12-2009 at 11:09 AM.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: "I remember..."

    More quotes:
    Vitaly I. Klimenko
    Fighter pilot. link.

    « On Saturday June 21, 1941 we were in town of Šiauliai (Lithuania) - went out with some girls. So young we were - 20 years! I was acquainted with a beautiful girl, barber, Lithuanian, Ms.Valerie Bunita. We agreed that on Sunday I will take leave, and we will go for a walk near Rikevoz lake. At this time we were in the summer camp and lived in tents near the airfield – there were war game going on. I woke up at five in the morning and thought to leave early for breakfast and then to pick up Valerie and to go together to the lake. Suddenly I hear aircraft buzzing approaching. They were some I-15 from the third squadron on duty standing on the airfield.
    The first thought was that it is a air strike arranged by our opponents in the war game and our on duty wing missed them.

    I opened the tents and saw the “crosses” over my head in the sky and the machine gun fire trace going over our tent line. I shouted: «Guys, war!» – «Oh, get lost, what are you talking about!» - «Look yourself – air strike!». Every one jumped out. We already had dead and wounded. I pulled my pilot’s overall and run to the hangar and commanded to my technician: «Roll out the plane». In the mean while all our on duty fighters were already burning on the airfield. I took off. I went around the airfield I did not know what to do, where to fly! Suddenly one our fighter comes close to me and rocked the wings – “Attention! Follow me!” I recognized Alexander Bukach, another wing commander. We flew towards the German border. The defenses at the border were pierced and the German columns were advancing, fires around. Alexander opened fire and started ground strike. I followed him. The advancing German columns were so dense that it was even possible to miss. For some reason there wasn’t any anti-aircraft fire. I was afraid to loose my wing leader – was afraid to get lost! We made two attacks and went home, landed and rolled into the hangar.

    A car come from the HQ: «Did you just fly?» - «Yes, us». – «Report immediately to the HQ». Ok, went to HQ. The regiment commander: «You are under arrest and to be placed in the guard house. Pilot’s license revoked. Who gave you permission to open fire? Do you know what is happening? Well, I don’t know either. Maybe it is some kind of provocation? Do you know whose columns those were? Maybe those were our forces?». I am thinking: «WTF! Loosing officer rank just like that! I just have been home! Lieutenant! All the girls were mine! And now how can I show up as private!?»

    When Molotov delivered his speech broadcast at 12:00 we suddenly were turned from criminals into heroes. We were worried big time! Our losses were big – many planes were burned on the ground, the hangers burned too. Out of the whole regiment, we ere the only ones who gave any resistance before any orders arrived.»

  15. #15
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    Default Re: "I remember..."

    one more...
    Nikolai E. Bespalov
    Fighter pilot. link.

    «The way we introduced new pilots into the action was a as follows: let’s say there is 6 planes are in air, this means 5 experienced ones and one newbie. In our squadron we had 5 experienced pilots, 5 Heroes of Soviet Union: Timoshenko, Saveliev, Voloshin, Michail Zabirin and Himushin.

    When Eugene [Savelyev] got Hero of SU he went to Moscow to receive the Star. We met him on his way back in the town of Borisoglebsk. There was a beer factory which produced handsome, delicious beer, but it was not sold in the shops to the public. So what we did is we hanged all our medals on the Eugene’s [Savelyev] uniform and sent him to the factory director. When he saw Eugen, the only thing the director said was: “How much do you need?” – “A keg.” And it was immidiately rolled out for him.»
    Last edited by Egorka; 03-31-2009 at 02:32 PM.

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