Nikolai Ivanovich Bykov origin, that neither is the worker-peasant: father – working-railway engineer, mother – a collective farm. Was at the Bulls, except If, two boys and three girls, that is, his brothers and sisters.
At the end of seven years he began to work. First as a student then independently electrician Kanashsky car repair plant, and good at it. In the Red Army called, when I was in 10th grade evening school for working youth, April 15, 1941.
“We are, full calf recruits were sent to Kiev, then in supply trucks – in Ternopil and the city of Kalush, where there was an artillery regiment the 152 mm howitzers. I was enrolled in the regimental school to study to become a signalman-gunner. The main “weapons” Communicator was a spool of wire weighing up to 10 kilograms and a length of two kilometers, and then everything else.
Three days before the start of the war I got sick and ended up in a field hospital. About the war no one reported. We raised the alarm with the beginning of the bombing. The Germans bombed continuously. Weapons I have – no.
From the border was a hundred miles, and was delayed to Kiev. The calculations were moving with guns, and the signalmen kept cars carrying ammunition, GAS lorry.
And that is maneuvered from Peretino to the White Church, from her to Peretino. Under shelling, bombing. Over these maneuvers that our howitzers, the German turned into scrap metal.
What’s artillery regiment without guns? – It is not. That is, the regiment was defeated. Ammunition left a lot. We were ordered to take them. Handed over to a huge warehouse. Shells of various calibers were lying there in piles and pyramids. Very much.
Where they then Delhi, I don’t know. Maybe left, maybe blew up, I do not know. Said that will give us guns. We waited for this issue from July until 5 August. Nothing.
Moved to Kiev. Stopped in the suburbs and within the forest plantation. There from the remnants of various units and formed infantry battalions. My commander was armed with a pistol. But on the whole the personnel of the rifles was not enough, we’re the gunners. Gave us two grenades…
Situation: as the picture – beautiful Ukrainian landscape, small woods, followed by a green meadow, the meadow field, river blue border. The river is high. Over the river – hut, great village. We were told it is under the Germans, was ordered to attack. Peace, silence. Smells like nature, river, meadow. Any enemies. Somehow weird. If someone made a joke.
Went on the attack, With the height – all at a glance. When we came out – how he has given us! Heavy fire from mortars as cover! And how he had min – God only knows.
The guys fell dead right and left. The wounded screamed in pain and horror. Before nightfall the heads up! We withdrew with heavy losses in the night. Stood up to his full height and walked away without a single shot by the Germans.
We spent the night in the gully, hungry, dirty, exhausted, angry. Davila hopelessness. We had promised to feed. Where there. Night was arriving reinforcements – came soldiers, fresh and well equipped.
Dawn. The new day has come 6 August. The captain that was in command, it was not. I saw how he was killed. There is a new commander, ironed uniform, with cubes on the lapels. “Now,” said, ” let’s go to the village.”
Again almost the same way – from the thicket came to the meadow, the wheat field… he gave us again! Gets the range at targets. Command: “Dig In!” Dug in under fire. Normal trench not dug up sand flowing.
Mortars hit, the gun still somewhere in the height of the waters. Wheat field, Golden-whitish, black was of mines and craters. The commander was killed… When it got dark, we paclical each other – went to the beam. And it meters a hundred and fifty. And these one hundred and fifty, we went the whole day.
Not believe his eyes: in the gully – two field kitchens! With them, the battalion Commissar. What is it with them?! Borscht in Ukrainian- language swallow! Sausage, cigarettes! Approach, we – well, thirty people, to the platoon. A chef: “Where’s the battalion? Where’s the battalion?”
Consumption-something they have designed for the battalion. A battalion in the meadows Yes in the box is. There is no one. We ate, went back immediately to the trenches and there fast asleep was asleep: namayalis, overcame. In the morning from Kiev again, it’s reinforcement. Commanders dressed to the nines.
“Forward! Attack!” The same thing happened. I already had a rifle, ammunition, picked up on the field. Sand! Hot! Mortars beat! And in that moment something happened: in the eyes darkened, and he lifted me, and on the ground so slammed that I don’t understand.
Open your eyes: the face – funnel, in the depths of a mine sticking out, and sand to the mine streams pours! Not exploded…
Fourth day. Attack. And I’m a digging shovel planted. It is on the side of the strap is fixed. Grabbed, it was for her to dig and the shovel there! Where to go?! Saw a funnel and ran with it! When the fire subsided, I saw the hundred meters away, the gunner, next to a Bush. And Bush has a machine gun, our boys mow the bastards.
I carefully took aim – BAM! Missed. Gunner took alarm and disappeared. I looked, and he nearby cellar, and this cellar dives. If used with a telescopic sight rifle.
Suddenly, the machine gunner ran out of bullets and he ran away, disappeared behind a hut. I’m waiting for, keep this place on the fly. Appeared, but there were tricky: to shovel shops to the machine gun, not leaning.
Think: “still go, where go!” And he went, jumped, and, describing an arc in the air, disappeared into the cellar. I hit, but where there!.. After the battle, the commander said, drew machine-gun nest.
In General, seven times in all that time we went on the attack. And in the evening returned to the beam. We waited for two meals. And every time there was nobody: the new battalion remained to lie under the top.
Somewhere after the second attack I tried to get next to their commander not to look for trouble and try night after night, they say, they don’t shoot us! He told me that there was an order, and do not discuss it…
Some curiosities from the hustle and bustle, and the inconsistency was not! Engineers silent on the grass stretched subtle obstacles, wire, twisted large rings. And we, when left overnight, it has become entangled. It is the same, the more you struggle the tighter you tighten and hold.
For beam dug a huge trench. On 1 September we were given a vodka. As would be said today, for psychological relief. I was already a gunner. Dragged the heavy machine gun with the disc. Kombat amassing groups, sent them to investigate. They went and did not return. In one of the groups left my second room. Forever.
15 Sep broke the news: “we Leave Kiev!” Went to town, walked along Khreshchatyk. And the German was already on the edge and pressed on almost all sides. Ukhalov explosions – sappers blew up the bridges. Our forces held the corridor out of the city the remnants of the army, including us.
Go with a group, we are pushing the car, we’re on it! German car barrage how to embed! Burnt her. The officers, who were all killed. We walked, aimlessly, and then when under fire and bombing. Kept forest. It was full of carts with junk, but people were not.
Went to the swamp, a group of senior officers, the remnants of broken units. They are amassing a squad. We joined them. One of the colonels took the squad to the East. The Germans really were ahead. Occasionally at night we were fed in the villages.
The Germans behaved cleverly in relation to the local population, and showed a suspicious loyalty to have a more or less quiet rear. For example, they released “the world” caught here, if the men came to his wife and mother, and asked to give. No documentary evidence was not required, so that women rescued and others…
A month later came to the station Solntsevo, not far from Stary Oskol, where he formed 40th army. Solntsevo, surprisingly, the trouble is avoided. On one of the builds gave the command: “communicators are the gunners a step forward!”
I thought, as a gunner it used to, and still stepped. Before the army I had worked as an electrician at Kanashsky car-repair plant, had the sixth grade and loved his profession. So, apparently, she called.
I started my “nomadic” life at the headquarters and the chiefs, the signalman’s not alone, he was usually the commander. Here throughout the war and carried me around to different divisions, units, compounds, however, within the types of troops – artillery and infantry.
Near Staryy Oskol put me in the division’s 122-mm guns on horse-drawn carriages. Moving in a given direction, periodically, we gave a volley at the locations of possible accumulation of the enemy.
Once in the crosswalk stopped in the village to rest. Not a soul. Frosty, quiet. There is a hunting. Caught a chicken. Stabbed. Cook the soup. I went out, and somehow the corner of my eye noticed on a field of black crosses! Three hundred meters from the village! Scratch four gray tank with crosses on the sides. I flies into the house, shouting: “Crosses! All out!”
We were lucky rolled artillery crew, the second chosen position between the houses and prepared the gun to fire. Struck again! – the other! One tank broke! The tower lit up. And on the armor sat Tommy, they jumped. Opened fire.
We are without infantry cover no one. Everything depended on the calculation of a cannon. He slammed again and again… Only a quarter tank gone. Our horses bore us drifts away.
In the battle at the station Rusty German put in a swamp platoon of our scouts. None survived. Mine plaque mixed people with ice and mud. With the onset of heat decomposition has set in.
It seems, even as it agreed with the Germans not to shoot, to remove and bury the corpses. In the same places, in battle, when we shot the Germans from the guns, I beat the sniper: bullet almost struck on the helmet. I vzdrognu or bend to the forward end.
Somehow in March, I combat says : “You are called to the front courses of radio operators”. I tried to say: and so in fact, needed. But the commander convinced: “You call: your name in the order specified”.
Where to go? I went to Stary Oskol, found school. Personnel students – 22 girls and 50 boys. Classes began. Morse code had to know not on the “dot-dash”, and melody. The training period of six months. But we are not finished. Five months later, the Germans went to Stalingrad and Voronezh.
We began to throw in Voronezh. Foot. Came to the don. Ferry Packed with troops. She commanded the Colonel, no one admits. Ferry – raft: the group sits down and pulls a rope thrown across the river. The edge of the shore we got to the crossing.
Not allowed in any! Our boss went to the Colonel, fight, yell: “We are a special school, you for our delayed answer!” and so on… the Colonel gave way, and we crossed. It was July.
At night, the German hung on parachute flares. And in the morning the crossing crushed by German tanks, at low level swept planes, destroying crowds of people and equipment. So many people died! We had to leave for a few miles.
The 40th army was on the defense of Voronezh. We got to the Voronezh bridgehead and held it. The city the Germans take couldn’t tank attacks him with no success. Strikes well “took” about airfields with dummy aircraft, which aerial reconnaissance had spotted as real.
We saved Katyusha. German presses, presses, and the regimental commander shouts over the radio to the division commander: “Give RS! Let RS!” How will a volley of Katyusha rockets through our heads – a sea of fire! You can see how the shells fly, sometimes in the distillation. Volley – there is none: the path is clear. 45 days have kept a foothold. Defended Voronezh.
Just we were not overwhelmed… the Commander ordered the headquarters transferred to the basement of a five storey school of communication. Most of it was already settled in the field hospital. The school was built almost at the river. Relocated. And went to fire on us with artillery. Nonstop beats and beats like the Germans who did that.
Maybe he got the Intel. The planes come and go. Bombed almost continuously. First light bombs. Then the heavy, deeply piercing the ground. As a result, the building did not survive, collapsed! The headquarters with us, and the field hospital staff and wounded had stopped.
Remained alive only those who were under the ceiling, which is catty – corner at one end wall and the other on the floor. The equipment worked – got in touch with the “outside world”, reported the situation. We promised to help, but asked for patience.
We endured, and the field hospital was moaning and screaming: I saw the wounded, sunken into the floor along with the bed, both ends broken in the middle of the beam. The fate of many others was not easy. The living and the dead were saved by the bomb squad. The day they was made and the holes made in the piles of brick and concrete, we have learned in the light.
On 15 October, according to the order, the regiment was removed from the place of deployment and the March went South. To Stalingrad. But this we learned later. And the farther we went South the more he met troops. Don Cossacks, we were not welcomed. In the bins they have there was something – bread, and vegetables; cattle, poultry. But no crumbs the soldiers were not given.
October. Along with Suvorov, the second Communicator at the division headquarters, knead the mud on the road, flying at us, “Rama”, a German reconnaissance plane. And they sometimes aboard a small bomb took. And there, overhead, and dropped bombs. As pulled! A piece of me on the soft spot as prigolubit!
I first, of course, did not understand that I or on this world. But, when I got up, felt myself, like everything is intact, only the side it aches and pants are torn. And Suvorov lies and half his skull cut off.
19 Nov went to Chopra, who was already covered with ice. When a huge army of Paulus clamped in a vise, and give him support the German left tanks. But they do not try. After the German defeat at Stalingrad, our unit deployed on the Kursk direction.
Before the battle of Kursk, I was at the disposal of the battalion headquarters 187 guards regiment, in the forest, at the Northern Donets. For the crossing of the Northern Donets, I was awarded a medal “For courage”.
After artillery preparation, the company passed the village, from which just knocked the Germans. Silence. Anyone. On the outskirts – stable. All in the mind, openly. The company commander said to me: “Look!” I – in the stable, I have a shotgun. Looked around in the room. Finishing a sweep, turned the corner, and there at me – the big Sergeant! With the gun! Faced it, nose to nose! Both from the surprise dumbfounded! “Stop!” – I yelled at him. He threw the gun. I took the gun and handed the Sergeant the commander.
Immediately, you see, far in the German what is the spirit of running! The company commander says, “Catch me!” I sat on the bike, the carbine on his knees and go for the German. Caught up. It turns out, our soldiers would get, and they followed him, far behind. Surrendered to the commander and second. Like for the prisoners gave money. But to me “premium” was not discharged.
After the Northern Donets went to Nikopol. Participated in the battles at the Slavonic. The division fought heroically. And for this it was named Slavinskas.
In the autumn of the 44th came to Tiraspol. The weather was warm, bathed in the Dniester. We took the beachhead and stood there until spring. Then we went Bessarabia, went to Romania… Move once on the road, the dark for!
Catching up with motorcycles, illuminate from the rear, can not see anything! He went around the column. Three motorcyclists. But the battalion commander take Shine their flashlight – the Germans! Queue them in the trail – two stacked. And the third managed to escape, the darkness. A little off and not visible. In General Romania were calm, she is already over on our side, king Mihai broke the agreement with Germany.
Then went to Bulgaria. I captured a motorcycle. Dust – nothing to be seen. As the Studebaker gave my vehicle! – frontal collision – I kick, ten minutes were passed out. Then the headaches started.
The border with Bulgaria passed without a shot. Was the order: the products never touch! And I threw guys in the cradle two bags of flour. Me neither to them nor to anything. The battalion commander, as luck would have it, right there!
“Ah!.. Under the Tribunal wanted?!” “Yes, I – I say – sick, not seen don’t know!”… He is his own. Then he looked at me, and my face probably was evident that I was not myself. Waved his hand was gone! Treated me pancakes from this flour, they were good pancakes…
Came when the border with Turkey, began to dig. Turkey pulled a million-strong army. But there was no collision. As the Germans swept westward, all their allies to fight effectively ceased. Nowhere was happy to see us, as in Yugoslavia, when we went to Belgrade. Heart feeling: brothers Slavs.
Long standing in Hungary, at lake Balaton. There was a strong and protracted battles. Especially in the area of székesfehérvár. Enemy artillery, zagorevsky us into the ground, calmed our bombers, who carried out a sortie from Karelia.
If not long-range aircraft, the Germans we could easily overturn in a lake. The destruction of the liberators of Europe, i.e. us, bullets, shells, bombs carefully complement the Magyars, the so-called civilians. They finished off our wounded than no hitting, tortured them, mutilated their kitchen knives, forks – creepy corpses were seen.
The shore of the lake we moved to the Austrian border but not crossed it, he stopped. Resort area, houses like toys. The nature of our great landscapes with vineyards and scattered trees among them here and there. The owners produced wine and was a wine merchant. Treated – we tried.
The farm winegrowers interesting, with many different intricate devices. Thing is, there are, for example, like a bulb with two tubes. Is designed to draw wine from a larger container. In one tube the air pull through the other vessel is filled. The Magyars lived hard: good houses, cattle filled the yard, on the attic – sausages, smoked meat, in bins – bread, vegetables…
But the war has not been canceled. Grief in Hungary we took a lot. Out one battalion from the headquarters… In the binoculars looked, Bah! the Magyars headquarters in girth take! And the company forward is gone! Alert! We picked up the headquarters property, which could not take and that was the first time and thrust down the slope, only sparkling heels to the railroad.
It was held molochkom, and through it, the only thing that could leave to a safe place. Run two hundred meters. The commander in front, “entourage” is catching up to him. And Communicator “light”, with the radio on the back because the steps for fifteen to twenty back.
We already beat, and to me, that is, on the heels of the main running group turn in to bed, dig the ground, only the clumps of mud fly! The picture is from may and fun, but it was not fun.
I mean, for the death of his pursuit and fled. And, thank you, very noticed in the belfry of one of our Church crew, who managed to get in there. The machine gunner opened fire on the Magyars, pinned them to the ground and cut off pursuit for a few minutes. We had to be able to break away, “went on the tracks”.
In the evening at a new location, staff calls the regimental commander, the battalion commander requires. “Report in.” I’m in the headphones, hear everything. The battalion commander reports: “no Mouth, communication with companies there.” And he – no. “Find! – shouted the Colonel with a multi-storey arrangement of the order. – You will not find – will shoot!”.
The commander rushes. Not for himself – for companies experiencing. Clock. Divisions are not, not communicate… Late at night hear what sounds?! Sloop-a sloop, a sloop-sloop… in a Measured and infinitely long.
While spotted in the dark Yes I understand, what’s the matter!… Lord, company came! All three, without a single loss! The battalion commander reported. The regimental commander said, “in the Morning – on the offensive!”
At lake Balaton I was wounded. The war was – the God of mercy. And then – the wound in the Shin through. And so it gave me a light is a “light wound”” that God forbid anyone. First aid I had in a timely manner, and in a medical battalion I got well. But festered wound – leg like a log! Treated in Hungary, in Sambor, in Romania, in Focsani, and cleaned it, and cut from both sides. Finally recovered only at the hospital in Kazan.”