Came to the end of a short may night. In the East was engaged in the dawn of the first day of the world. There was the hush. A long, heavy war left behind. It was 1945 — the year of Victory. And everywhere, on all yesterday rattled millions volleys fronts here just like me, thousands and thousands of generals, officers and soldiers stood and listened to the peaceful silence. And enjoy breathing the fresh spring air, I thought about how much has been done, and how many still have to work hard to in the world always been so quietly that people could dream about happiness, look to the future, never to sinister flames of war not heaving over the scorched earth of the Motherland.
Alerted dewy June morning, we, the soldiers of the Soviet country, went through the trial by fire is the most difficult test ever befell our people. Nurtured, educated and led by the Communist party, we are almost four years together with all the people courageously fought for the victory and got it in the severe fighting with heavy casualties. No other nation could not bear such a heavy blow, which fell upon us, especially in the first months of the struggle with Nazi Germany.
Taking the heavy defensive battles, showing mass heroism of the Soviet troops were forced in the first period of the war, to withdraw into the site. Never fade from people’s memory forever included in the history of the heroic deeds of the defenders of the Brest fortress, Leningrad and Kiev, Odessa and Sevastopol, Moscow and Stalingrad. Taking the enemy with debilitating, unequal and difficult battle, Soviet soldiers were destroying manpower and equipment of the enemy, gaining experience of modern warfare, it has won time to prepare in the rear of the fresh troops, which later soundly defeated the Nazi hordes and hoisted the flag of victory over Berlin.
It was hard to despair, especially in times of retreat. At times it seemed that the person is not able to withstand the strain, which fell to his share. But the Soviet people heroically overcame hardships, tempered in the harsh battles. Later beaten Hitler’s generals have often asked myself the question: where did this Russian resistance, they were able to resist the powerful military machine of Nazi Germany, which declined battle standards of the best European army? Answers their ridiculous and absurd. They say, intervened in the case of “General frost”, “General roads”, the “General space”. They de and has been the major destroyers of a brilliant army of the German Reich.
Well, let them amuse themselves with such illusions strategists of the imperialist West. They are not the first to fall into error when assessing the strength and capabilities of the Soviet Army. We, participants of the great Patriotic war, we know more. We’ve seen firsthand the unparalleled courage of our soldiers and workers of rear, their boundless loyalty to our great cause, of their socialist Fatherland.
Hundreds of episodes — big and small — of this heroic struggle deposited in the memory. Now I will tell only about some. They like a drop of water reflected the heroic folk epic of the great struggle against the dark forces of fascism. They are associated with the defense of the city of the revolution, Lenin’s city.
On the morning of 10 September 1941 Li-2 aircraft rose from Vnukovo airport and under the protection of fighter wing headed for Leningrad. The plane was carrying General of the army G. K. Zhukov appointed commander of the Leningrad front, General M. S. Khozin, P. I. Kokorev and I.
It was a wonderful Leningrad in the first military autumn. September was Sunny and unusually warm. Short summer didn’t want to leave, replaced by surly, gloomy and foggy in autumn.
The breath of war has already imposed on city its mark. On the usually lively streets and squares were deserted. The gilded dome of St. Isaac’s Cathedral veils grey protective paint. In orchards and gardens studded with scarlet leaves, was seen recently open slit emplacements and anti-aircraft gunners. There was a shelter waiting for their night service Silver barrage balloons, like great clumsy fish. All this gave the city a special rugged beauty. Leningrad, like a mighty warrior with head held high, prepared for a fierce battle with the enemy.
On the Leningrad strategic direction acted against us, a group of armies “North” — a powerful military fist — 32 divisions, including four armored and five motorized. Their arms were about 1,500 tanks, 1,200 aircraft and 12 thousand guns and mortars. Seven hundred thousand of the Nazis were eager to Leningrad.
The situation was complex: in the hands of the enemy were already in Krasnoye Selo, Pushkin, part of Peterhof. German troops advancing from the area of Tosno, took the station mga and schlüsselburg. The city was blockaded by land.
The commander of the group “North” General field Marshal von Leeb was preparing to celebrate. He no longer doubted that the Soviet troops have suffered in the defensive battles heavy losses, will not stand before the new onslaught of the fascist divisions. But Hitler’s field Marshal did not consider that the defence of Leningrad runs great Communist party, which for its huge organizational work formed a close and unbreakable unity of the army with the soldiers of the labor front, with the Leningrad workers, employees, intellectuals, rose up to fight against the hated enemy.
At the call of the party in the defense of his native city stood hundreds of thousands of Leningraders. At the beginning of July was formed the army of the people’s militia — more than 100 thousand people. Created the second army reserve. The people of Leningrad did everything to turn his city into an impregnable fortress. Despite the fact that the enemy was already at the gate, despite the bombing and fire long-range guns, the citizens revolution and worked hard for the war effort, creating military equipment, ammunition, equipment.
“Do not give up Leningrad” — this was the General mood of the defenders of the city.
I remember reading in one of the reports the words of ordinary infantry soldier Pronicheva who said to the companions:
— Our principle is: you drop this I’ll kill you, I will depart without an order — you kill me, but Leningrad did not surrender!
Compounds of the 42nd army were defending close to the Kirov factory. So all of us especially excited published on 20 September a letter the old workers of the Kirovsky factory to the defenders of Leningrad. It was these words:
— Remember that there is no such power in the world that would make us, the Putilov-Kirov workers, ranging. We melt steel, and we solid as steel.
In my memory, imprinted meeting with an old artilleryman of the workers of Putilov.
— It is difficult now to soldiers? — I asked the fighter.
— Very difficult, — admitted he.
But we will suffer, we’ll cope. Because of the Leningrad fighting, but he all the cities of the city. Here was born our worker-peasant power. So what is the best way. And the enemy we’ll shoot. Today failed tomorrow will succeed. As the party said, so be it.
These thoughts and feelings motivated on the everyday heroism of every soldier and commander. The warriors went into battle with a deep consciousness of their duty to the Motherland and the people. Immortal glory covered themselves defenders of the little Peninsula of Hanko, lock the enemy approaches to Leningrad from the sea. There were days when Hanko had fallen to 70 thousand shells and mines. enemy aircraft day and night bombarded the fortifications and positions of our soldiers. But cut off from their homeland, the small garrison of five and a half months fearlessly reflected the furious attacks of the Nazis.
For all those who defended Leningrad, and was impressed by the response blocked by the enemy garrison to Baron Mannerheim, who proposed to the defenders of the Hanko to surrender. Written in the style of the famous Epistle of Cossacks to the Turkish Sultan, this letter reveals the greatness of spirit of the Soviet soldier and his indomitable faith in the victory:
“…Finds itself with sea answer sea lead! Turn up from earth — will soar into the air! Turn up air will drive into the ground!”
Heroism. He was typical of the battles on any of the fronts of the great Patriotic war.
I want to tell you about the heroism of the gun crew, commanded by Sergeant T. I. Morozov. Not so much desperate bravery, as the high discipline and devotion to duty helped Morozov and his comrades in an unequal battle with the enemy. And it was so. We were advancing. During the fighting one of our regiment, crushing the progressive strengthening of the enemy, deeply moved forward, thereby exposing the left flank. The enemy was not slow to take advantage of this. A large force of infantry supported by four tanks reached the line to counterattack. And it turned out that the army was only one weapon Morozov.
And calculation tools held back the Nazis until until rescue got there. Sergeant Morozov was awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union.
Much has been written about the famous “Road of life” — ice road across lake Ladoga, which supplied the besieged Leningrad. It was also a battlefield, a place of mass heroism. The enemy made frequent raids on the “Road of life” on which continuous chains stretched cars with food and ammunition. Along the route and then across the broken machine and covered with a thin ice craters — evidence of the fallen bombs.
But few people know that on the ice took place in Leningrad even the heavy KV tanks. Towers with them removed, to reduce the severity of multi-ton combat vehicles. But still under the treads of tanks the ice crackled ominously. Drivers required great courage. The driver, who first had his tank on the ice of the lake, was awarded the order of red banner.
So, not sparing the life, Soviet soldiers were preparing the victory, as in the writings of martial and fire, forged a General offensive to break the blockade of Leningrad.
Army General I. I. FEDYUNINSKY, hero of the Soviet Union