As a result of the work carried out by the end of September, there were about 220 snipers in the units and formations of the army who had 3500 killed opponents of the Whole Army the names of the sniper fire masters E. Adamov, M. Bryksin, A. Bubyrya, A. Eraliev, M. Krys became known. , V. Kurki, R. Mamatova, N. Naumova, N. Samsonova, N. Yudina and many others, whose experience was promoted by the army and front-line press. * * *
... August 1941 of the year. After a bloody battle, the 2 th rifle battalion of Major Andreev was stationed in the village of Lyubomirka, Vinnitsa region. It was supposed to take up defense. When the dead were buried and the wounded were sent to the rear, it turned out that the fighter left for the 2 - 3 fighters, the whole battalion was, at best, a company, and even that was incomplete. Replenishment has not been reported. Early in the morning, 8 locals came to Major Andreev and the battalion commissar to the senior political officer Shurfinsky. They asked to be credited by the battalion fighters. At the door, the commissioner saw a slim, snub-nosed boy. "- And who are you ?" - Shurfinsky asked him. "- Vasya Kurka," the boy answered. "- How old are you?" "- And what, do not take? 13 is old to me, already considerable. And I will fight like everyone else, you will see ..."
By nightfall, the battalion ordered Lyubomirka to leave. Together with the fighters went to the east and Vasya Kurka. So began his combat soldier life. During the life of a soldier many friends appeared at Vasya, he participated in many fights. But all the same, the first fight and his first comrade were the most memorable for him.
It was in Donbas under Chistyakov. Vasya went on reconnaissance with Stepa, a young sergeant. Stepan was older, taller, he almost did not smile, spoke rarely. So Vasya and Stepan received an order to cross the front line and obtain information about the enemy. On the road to Chistyakov there is a little farm where the battalion used to stand. Stepan said: "- Here one grandma lives, let's go drink some water." But this grandma was a traitor. As soon as Stepan opened the door, her grandmother immediately recognized him. "- Bolshevik!" she cried.
There was nowhere to run. The Germans grew up out of the ground. They seized Vasya and Stepa and threw them into the cellar. "- I, Vasya, will hardly be able to get out. Grandma will tell me everything. I gave Mach, and when we stood with a reconnaissance platoon, she was friendly ... I don’t admit to them, and you say that you just stuck to me on the way And cry, ask ... "
Vasya wanted to answer, but Stepan interrupted him: “- I’m not asking you, but I am ordering. I alone will be able to die, and you will bring intelligence to the end. Find out for sure whether there is Chistyakov Tanks."
The Germans sent Stepan for interrogation to the city, and they believed Vasya that he happened to be with Stepan and released. Vasya did everything that Stepan punished him. He walked, crawled, climbed over the river, entered the city and counted every enemy tank. By the end of the day, he returned safely to the battalion, reported to the commander. An hour later, Soviet aircraft bombed a column of German tanks near Chistyakov. Vasya Kurk was awarded the first combat award - the medal "For Courage".
More than once Vasya went to reconnaissance. When the battle for Ukraine began in 1943, Vasya decided to fulfill his old dream of becoming a sniper. Then the name of Maxim Bryksin, a famous sniper who had to account for a hundred of destroyed enemies, thundered all over the front .. Vasya Kurka became a student of the famous sniper. Studying with Maxim gradually developed from Vasya such qualities that a sniper needs, such as perseverance, perseverance, cunning, and ability to quickly navigate the terrain.
One day after careful preparation, Maxim led Vasya to the area of the 1 Company and showed him the sniper post. Vasya liked the place. He carefully cleared the approaches with a wooden shovel, set up observation slits, loopholes, a place for the rifle to stop. Maxim watched the work of his young friend. “Today, your task is,” he said, “studying the enemy’s defenses and behavior. You’ll act like a sniper as an observer all day. Do not open fire, don’t find yourself, beware of German snipers — they, too, don’t slurp your soup.”
The first lesson was unsuccessful. Vasya took the layout of the enemy's head for a living one, shot at the target and declassified his post. Again stretched the days of hard study. And Vasya understood: only caution, careful disguise and iron restraint will make him a real sniper.
Finally he was allowed to enter into combat with an enemy sniper. Here he had to act independently, and his life in many respects depended only on himself. Vasya made a scarecrow, pulled on his camouflage and went to the front. Scarecrow set a few meters from the main post and began to pull him over the rope. And then a shot slammed over the trench, the effigy fell. And at that moment Vasya saw an enemy sniper, who crawled out from behind the shelter to look at his "victim". Holding his breath, in one motion Vasya led the fly under the target and smoothly pulled the trigger. From the excitement and tension he did not even hear the shot, but he clearly saw how the head of his opponent twitched and immediately disappeared into the trench.
The commander of the regiment before the formation thanked Vasya, but even after that the training did not stop. Every day his skill grew, he grew and the expense of exterminated enemies.
In the battle under Radomyshl Kurka unnoticed penetrated to the outskirts of the farm and took a comfortable position at the turn of the road. Under the onslaught of the Soviet units, the soldiers of the defending German company in groups and alone began to retreat. It was here that I met them with fire from my ambush, Vasya Kurk. He let the enemy soldiers literally a few meters away and shot them point-blank. Vasya ran out of ammo. Then he picked up the captured machine gun, changed position and opened fire again. In this battle, the brave sniper laid up to two dozen enemy soldiers.
A few days later the rifle company was fighting for a strong point. Vasya and this time proved to be a fearless sniper - a scout. He crawled to the rear of the Germans, destroyed several firing points and helped the company to take an enemy strongpoint. For this feat, Vasya was awarded the Order of the Red Star.
Once a company was ordered to occupy an eastern Dovbysh settlement. The enemy sweep every meter of land. Then the commander called Vasya and said: - "We need to get into the flank of the Fritz, look out and force them to silence their machine guns." Vasya waited until an artillery volley struck, ran across the clearing, dug a trench and began work. Here I choked, the German machine gun fell silent, then the second. Three machine gunners one after another rolled down from the roof. It was freezing. You will move, the enemy will notice, and then the end. But you can not leave. Vasya did not move - he waited, peered, destroyed his enemies, fought his way through the company. This martial art lasted for several hours. And then the company rose and stormed the town. When the battle was over, the commander approached. He wanted with some very good words to evaluate the work of the young sniper. But there was no time to think for a long time, and the commander only said: “Sniper, brother, sometimes stronger than artillery. Thank you so much, Vasya. Thanks to me and the fighters, thanks. Rescued us.” For this fight, Vasya was awarded the Order of the Red Banner.
When the battalion fought on the lands of Poland and Czechoslovakia, Vasya became a thunderstorm for the officers of the enemy. He led accurate fire at the glistening binoculars and cockade on an officer's cap, and at night he could hit the enemy with a cigarette lamp. And hit the target from the first shots. It was a great skill. Vasya shot at the embrasures of bunkers - and the bunkers died down, beat German snipers and spotters. Snipers from other parts came to him to exchange experience.
And Vasya’s daily routine continued. They wanted to transfer him to the intelligence service of the front headquarters, but he begged to remain in his own regiment. In the short breaks between fights, Vasya could often be seen in a circle of rural children from local villages. He told them about his life as a soldier, recalled his native Lubomirka. But never boasted, did not boast orders and medals. And the guys were jealous of him, with admiration they looked at how well the gymnast sat lovingly sewn by a regimental tailor.
... In the autumn of 1944, intense battles take place on the Sandomierz bridgehead. Vasya Kurka acts as part of an assault group. Daredevils captured the stone structure, but were surrounded. “Vasya,” says the group commander, Senior Leskov, “can you see the new trench with the course of the message and the rifle cell?” - “I see. There, it seems, the Germans are installing a machine gun on a tripod.” - "That's right. I can clearly see it through binoculars. Point your rifle at them, destroy the machine gun - break through to your own." And, as always, Vasya shot accurately, as if he had hit the enemy. “I see the movement of a small group of people,” he reports, “they are sneaking along the bushes.” “Wait, Vasya, let them come closer.” And when the Germans approached 300 meters, Kurka opened aimed fire. Taking advantage of the confusion of the enemy, the assault group left the encirclement.
... Approaches to the town of Tsisna. In the rosy morning sky, the silhouette of an enemy aircraft called Focke-Wulf-189 (“frame” - as our fighters call it) clearly emerges. The enemy pilot lowered over the regimental headquarters. But here are single shots of a sniper rifle, and a German reconnaissance plane, enveloped in smoke, falls to the lowland. Vasya was summoned to the telephone by the division commander. - "Well done, Kurka," he said, "you are a real sniper, thank you."
... Village Shparoyvka in Czechoslovakia. Shells and mines are flying over the hills. In the sky tied air combat. As soon as the rifle company seized the first line of enemy trenches behind the village, a group of machine gunners rushed into the breakthrough. Vasya was with them. He ran through the trenches of the enemy, holding a rifle and a grenade at the ready. In the narrow aisle, he stumbled upon a German noncom - officer. It is impossible to miss, they came together closely. It is important to shoot first, and first shot Vasya. He didn’t even run 5 meters, as an enemy grenade flew out and spun around him. Kurka grabbed her by the long handle and threw her back.
Even Vasi knew the name of Vasya Kurki. The captured Wehrmacht officer at one of the interrogations showed that the German command is well aware that "among the Soviet units of General Grechko there is a super-sniper, a sniper — an ace whose body almost merged with a rifle." No wonder the enemy started talking about the famous sniper. By his accurate fire, according to incomplete calculations, he destroyed several hundred enemies, including at least 80 officers.
But here is the last battle, the last conversation with the commander: "Tomorrow we begin the battle, prepare a good observation post." - "I will get on that pipe, see how tall it is." - "The idea is correct, but it is a dangerous business. And you are unlikely to climb there." - "I've already been there and attached myself a hanging bench."
It dawned. More and more often, volleys of gunfire broke out, deafening shots rang out and machine guns nervously talked among themselves. That subsided, then rattling machine guns. Wind whistled above the brick pipe. The bottom blew and smelled of fumes. The pipe was swaying a little bit and deeply humming. Vasya calmly watched the enemy, corrected the shooting of the artillery battery and, as always, calmly conducted the aimed fire, destroying the officers and observers. There was a telephone on the pipe, and Vasya had a connection with the gunners. If gunners shot inaccurately. Kurka amended.
All morning there was shooting on both sides. Suddenly, at the very top of the pipe, where Vasya was sitting, a flame broke out, and the pipe was enveloped in smoke.
The artillery commander's heart sank. He ran to the phone. "- Kurka, Kurka, what's wrong with you?" But the handset was silent. The officer clung to the eyepieces of the binoculars. Almost in the middle of the pipe he saw a ragged hole. The enemy shell landed in Vasin observation post. When a few minutes later the men approached the pipe, they saw a bloody sheet of paper. On it, Vasya wrote the coordinates of the enemy mortar battery.
And this piece of paper is all that remains of it.