Flag over the city.

"August. Morning. Stuffy. Our artillery struck. I barely managed to pull out the mines prepared in advance from the niches in the trench and give to my crew. The company commander, climbing onto the tree, gave one after the other commands, making corrections.
About half an hour fired on the first trench of the Germans. Our stock of mines has dried up. The company commander descended from the tree. One of the German shells that exploded nearby wounded him. A fragment of 3-4 centimeters cut the muscle above the knee.
It was not only my duty to bring ammunition, but also to assist the wounded. Even in the city of Balashovo, before being sent to the front, we, non-regular orderlies of the mouth, were taught to do dressings for the wounded. I had to ask the company commander to take off his pants (breeches). Shard entered edge. His ragged edges just protruded from the muscle above the knee. Having pressed it with two fingers, he pulled out a splinter, bandaged the wound.
And then the team: "Attack." The word "Hurray!" broke from his lips, only when he climbed the parapet of the trench. No matter how hard I try to remember what I was thinking, going on the attack, I cannot.About the party, about the motherland, about Stalin, about the girlfriend, about the house and relatives? No, there is one thing in my head: that benchmark over there, that place to which I must reach.
He shot on the move, fell, dodged, and one thought: to reach this place. And that's it! Burst into the German trench. The Germans are already gone. We examined the trenches, niches, dugouts. In short, any gap where a German soldier could hide.

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Gradually calmed down, the heart, which had been so implacable with incredible strength, also calmed down. The first trench is taken. About the second and third - no thoughts. Take a breath, catch your breath - that's the whole soldier's short. The next day, only towards evening, they captured the second line of defense of the Germans, which was 3-5 kilometers from the first.
Well remembered abandoned German motorcycle with a stroller near the dugout. How it starts, did not know. Two or three times, dragging him onto a dugout mound, rolled ten meters down on it.
On the way to Dmitrovsk-Orlovsky, we had to overcome the third enemy trench with all its firing points. Perhaps the most fierce resistance was the Germans on our third line of defense on the approaches to the city.
And for that they had reasons.In the city itself, they did not have prepared in advance strongholds. They did not intend to rent the city. Apparently, it was believed that the three lines of defense ahead 12 kilometers from the city would be enough.
The place is marshy, you dig a soldier’s shovel - water. So there could be no talk about digging a trench. Behind the river was a steep ascent into the city. On the left is the church. There is a machine gun. To go into the open on machine guns, located not only on the church, but also on the whole high bank of the river, to put everyone.
Of course, not a single commander decided on this. And it saved many and many lives of our regiment fighters. And it was necessary for such a thing to happen: our planes attacked attack aircraft. Taking us for the Germans, began to swoop down on us.
We tried to give them signals — they waved their caps, machine guns, hands. Having made the first set, they went to the second, pouring us with machine-gun rain. We screamed and waved, screamed and waved. But it is more from despair, from annoyance.
We approached Dmitrovsk earlier than the command expected, and suffered losses from our own. The fighting, which lasted on the approaches to the city on August 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11, ended.
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After returning from the meeting, the company commander gave me a task: "You will go as part of an assault group. Your only task is to hoist our flag over the city. You will be covered by such and such a soldier."
On the evening of August 11, the company commander, together with the contact, went to the nursery located a little to the left and above to conduct reconnaissance of firing points in the city. The Germans occasionally fired at our positions with small-arms, mortar and artillery weapons. The fire is not aimed, and so, for the island.
The messenger came running and told us the sad news: the stray projectile of the Germans hit the nursery not far from them, the company commander was killed. He, the commander, had two orders of the Red Star. A shell fragment shattered one of the orders and struck the commander completely.
Our mortars were piled up under the trees where the reservoir is now located. Some of the platoon commanders, taking command, ordered to collect one mortar and give a farewell volley of the remaining few mines. So did.
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It got dark. I and the soldier covering me went to the gathering place of the assault group. We gathered 20-25 people, no more. The group was led by some senior lieutenant. The task was the same - to get into the city undetected and cause panic.
I must say that we were armed to the eyeballs. One disk to the PPSH in the machine, two spare ones on the belt (there are 72 cartridges in each disk), half a dozen grenades and lemongrass and another supply of cartridges in the duffel bag. This is a great fire force.
The overcoats of overcoats were ordered to be left in the companies to crawl as quietly as possible, not to let oneself be discovered. When it became completely dark - crawled. As soon as the German lighting rocket shot up, we froze and lay without moving. Crawled to the river. The wooden bridge over it, the Germans blew up after his departure to the city.
The piles left after the explosion detained several logs. One of them began to cross the river. As soon as the German rocket exploded, the soldier died down, either clinging to the pile or to the log. Thus, one by one, it was possible to cross everything, the Germans did not find us. Layed in the bushes.
The time when it starts to get light is the most difficult for a person. Eyes close by themselves. This is what we should use. At about 4 o'clock at the beginning of the 5th, we moved silently uphill.
Having risen by half, not yet approaching the first houses, at the command of the commander they shouted “Hurray!”, Opened fierce fire at random and began to throw their grenades in different directions.
This the Germans did not expect. Russian in the city! It so stunned them that they could not understand where to shoot! Our "noise" design was intended not only to cause a panic, but also was a signal to start the attack of all forces that approached the city.
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Firing indiscriminately, the Germans began to abandon their positions.I ran to the same house - from the gate I was met by an old man with a huge white beard. We almost collided. To my question, where is there, besides the church, there is a tall building, pointed out almost opposite to it a two-story school.
I and my partner rushed there. They saw the Germans jumped out from behind the fence of the church. Retreated, leaving their firing points on and around the church. Shooting after them, they ran to a two-story building. On the wall I noticed a fire escape. I wanted to climb it, but I saw Germans running along the fence from the school. Has stopped.
I almost did not do anything stupid - they would have "removed" me right away from this staircase. I opened the school door, and we rushed up the stairs to the second floor. Towards from the room frightened woman came to death. She could not say the words, did not understand what was happening. Only when I asked where the move to the roof.
I climbed the stairs, the trunk of the machine gun threw back the hatch. Put the cap on the barrel of the machine and carefully raised it up. Silence. With one hand, without protruding, he gave a turn to the attic in a circle. There was no return fire. He went up to the attic. He fixed a panel at the dormer window.
In pursuit of the Germans, our group found itself on the opposite side of the city, on the outskirts, in the region of some kind of burning factory. We stopped. Before us is a river and a swamp.There is nowhere to dig and dig down.
Apparently, the Germans had a good connection - a German spotter appeared over us. German long-range artillery fired from the swamp. Shrapnel shells exploded in the air at a certain height, hitting the lying infantry.
The commander of our group ordered us to step back to take shelter at the nearest house. Soon they received an order: everyone should return to their units that had already entered the forced march to the left of this swamp. Freaking out, I caught up with my company.
I did not report anything to anyone, and there was no one to report. As I wrote above, the company commander was killed on the eve of the assault. During the five days of fighting for the city of Dmitrovsk-Orlovsky - from August 7 to 11, 1943 - our division suffered huge losses: 512 people were killed and 1996 people were injured. More than a hundred people a day!
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In the cinema they love to show rallies, oaths at the funerals of fallen comrades. Here and in a day you will not open so many graves. At least I do not know a single case of the burial of his fellow soldiers. No one has ever been buried, not even his company commander.
In the infantry battalion this is simply impossible to do. You will not leave your position and you will not go away to the rear to engage in burial. This was done by the funeral teams that followed us. I did not know who took command of the company.
When I joined my company, a platoon commander (new) asked: "Who is this? Where is it from?" The guys answered for me: "This is ours, such and such, was in the assault group."
Yes, I did not have the strength to tell how and what: from the 10th to the 11th we took the last, third trench; The day of August 11 and the night of the 12th I did not close my eyes, and even a day I didn’t have a crumb in my mouth, and then again the march after a sleepless night and a fight.
The next day I received an order to go to another battalion. This time - in the training battalion of the same division. In the political communication, parts of the division said that the head of the political department of the division instructed the deputy commanders for political affairs to select the best people from the rank and file in the training battalion for training them by the squad leaders.
To meet a soldier is just the same as a bare belt. Fortunately, this battalion is next to my 3rd battalion, in the mortar company of which I was a carrier of ammunition. They also identified the mortar company, laid back a plate weighing about 20 kilograms.
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The battalion commander was Major Kholopov. I remembered him well, but the deputy political leader did not remember me anything - neither good nor bad.I remember and the chief of staff ubbata Major Egorov. What do you remember? First of all, his appearance - he was always clean and neatly dressed, shaved, pulled up.
And further. Already in Belarus, after the next battle, passing through the trench of our company, he saw me and extended his hand: "I congratulate you on your reward." Now I don’t remember what kind of reward - the medal "For Courage" or "For Military Merit." I just remember exactly that he congratulated me with a medal. True, I did not get a medal.
Much later, already in 1944, I received the Order of the “Patriotic War of the 2nd degree” for the battle in Rakovichi in December 1943. And then, in August, September and October, during the battles I was made the commander of the mortar squad.
I crawled and ran with a stove, a carriage, and then a barrel of an 82-mm mortar. If it was more or less convenient to move with the stove and the gun carriage, then with the mortar barrel, which was more than a meter in length, one maja.
Imagine: on your shoulder or behind your shoulder you have a heavy iron pipe with a thickened end and a hinge for connecting to a ball bearing plate. And this is in addition to the constant companions of the soldier in battle - a duffel with a pot, a mug and a spoon, a supply of ammunition for the PPSh automatic rifle and a coat of overcoat.
Plus, there is a gas mask over the shoulder, a small shovel on a tunic belt, a spare disc with 72 cartridges and a pair of "lemon". - from the memoirs of the fighter of the 114th GSP of the 37th Guards Rifle Division, AM Dorohova.

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