As the Germans crushed tanks.

“At the end of April I graduated from the courses and in the rank of“ junior lieutenant ”I left with a group of commanders to get tanks in the city of Gorky. We were stuck there.
In Gorky, these guns were not released, but 45-mm anti-tank guns were manufactured. For the plan they asked strictly from Moscow, and on some T-34s they put these 45-mm cannons. Of course, less powerful than the required three-inch. In addition to them nebylo sights. Many guys refused such tanks, although we were convinced that the guns were good, and we would get sights “on the spot”. At what place is unclear. It was June forty-two, on the fronts what the hell was going on.
The Germans were advancing. There was no time to sit back and wait for sights or tanks with 76-mm guns. In addition, I was labeled as a member of the family "enemy of the people." I am surprised how I got on the Leningrad courses! Sit further, accused of cowardice. In general, we received 15 tanks, a part with "forty-fives", a part with the three-inch laid-up staff and to the front ...

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On July 17, the Stalingrad Front was formed, and on the same day we accepted the first battle.It turned out unexpectedly. Moving on a lowland and suddenly saw three German armored personnel carriers. A long hood, amphibious compartment, wheels and behind the tracks.
We hit with armor-piercing shells, hit or not, it is not clear, and the armored personnel carriers tried to turn round. To join us in battle meant for them certain death. - Drive on! - I shouted to the driver-mechanic Melnikov.
Flew at once. At "thirty-four" weight of thirty tons, and the armored carrier, six or eight. The blow, under the tracks, the iron grated. Thin troop body and hood immediately kneaded. "Thirty-four" crumpled the German car with everyone who was there and spun tearing and pushing it to the ground.
I do not know if someone shouted or the crews immediately covered themselves. I leaned out of the hatch, two other tanks also stopped. Came to the ground armored personnel carriers. Most of us killed the enemy for the first time. In my crew, besides the cannon and the machine gun, no one even had a personal weapon.
We looked at the flattened rags on blood. Maybe the trophies had to look. But no one wanted to fumble, even the weapons, machine guns and pistols, did not begin to look. It’s not so easy to kill people, even fascists.I ordered to start cars and move on ...
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On the nineteenth of July, we were raised early and were told that the Germans had broken through to the Upper Buzinovka. To the place of the breakthrough urgently threw all the tanks that could collect. We also received paratroopers from the Ordzhonikidze military school.
We walked at speed along dusty steppe roads with charged tank guns. We had a task to hit the flank. Passing a small hill, we saw 5-6 German T-3s. By that time, the Germans had already improved part of these tanks a bit, reinforced their armor.
We were 9 tanks, half of them with 45-mm cannons without sights. Using the numerical advantage, we went straight to the attack. My loader barely had time to load armor-piercing. Most of us did not have the experience of oncoming tank combat. And about shooting from short stops forgot. But anger was enough. This is you bastards not bombing from a height, when we could only hide!
Our landing force jumped off at the very first shots and was left somewhere behind. I fired through the panorama of the PTK-1. The tank in which I threshed remained unscathed. Then I ordered to stop. The distance was small, and after three shells the German began to smoke.However, I will not attribute this victory only to my crew. There was a quick fire and other cars.
This close, bitter battle ended in our favor. Three German tanks smoked, the rest retreated. Someone's projectile (not otherwise "three-inch") hit one of the German cars with such force that the torn side hatch flew away. The car spun, and having received another projectile - caught fire. German infantry retreated before tanks. We also fired at the Germans, mowing the Germans, but we ran out of food and we did not dare to pursue the Germans.
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Four German tanks were not exactly burning, but smoldering like rubber. I do not know why, but the ammunition in them did not detonate. Ignoring the smoke, I reached into one of the tanks to look for a sight. I found the sight, but, as it turned out later, I tried in vain, it was not suitable for our guns.
Around the cars lay the bodies of German tankers. Almost none of the crews had time to leave. Part burned in cars, the rest of the Slavs killed by machine guns. The battle was going on at close range and it was difficult to escape in the open field. We also counted a dozen three dead infantrymen.
I went to one of them. A young guy, 18-20 years old, the same as we are. Inspected the German tanks.We were pleased to see that not only the "three-inch", but also our "forty-fives" pierced their armor. However, its thickness was not large, 20-30 mm. We thrashed the Fritz well, there were several holes on each tank.
Our tanks were stronger. Two cars are out of order, but not critical. They were quickly repaired. Two tankers died from the fragments. The armor on these T-34s was fragile, and with a direct hit inside the tank, small fragments flew apart. Several people were injured and contusions ... "- from the recollections of the squad platoon 166th tank brigade ml. Lt. Zhuravlev AF

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