The draft board almost rejected me. I am standing in the military registration and enlistment office in my underpants, the look in front of me is not heroic, and I weighed sixty-two with a hook ...
- Where do you want to serve? - ask.
- AT tank troops, - I say - a mechanic driver ... It began. And my weight is too small, and caries on my front teeth. In general, I had to get out. He said that I was engaged in scuba diving, that I was in the Komsomol operative detachment ... They told me to push up 25 times from the floor, blow into the spirometer ... I blew properly. Have taken.
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In the sixties, conscripts passed the test for the GZR badge (Ready to defend the Motherland) - skiing, cross-country, swimming. I, of course, had the badge, and the scuba diving sports category was in the club documents, waiting for my coming of age.
The children who served urgent service were respected, the hooligans avoided them, the girls treated them seriously as adults. I wanted to serve. It so happened that since childhood I have always talked with the soldiers, and I really liked the soldiers. My father, grandfathers, I was military, and we happened to live in a military camp. The soldiers loved the boys, took them in their ranks for lunch, and on weekends - in the movies. The officers pretended not to notice. I was still ten years old. Outside the windows of our house are the parade ground and the barracks, the barracks are soldiers, and the soldiers are boys. It was sixty-first ...
The discipline was, as they say, at the level, the commanders did not swear, and the guard was going to the smoking room before the construction and the soldiers explained to us, the boys, how the carbine was arranged, and they were given to hold it in their hands. The soldiers and the town did not necessarily build around the town and village; in their free time they played volleyball with the boys, but, as I noted, there was no hazing or disciplining among the soldiers. Well, every self-respecting boy had an old gas mask.
Then there was the summer of 62, everyone was talking about the Caribbean crisis and the war. TU-16 rocket carriers flying low over houses with red projectiles under their wings — there was a military airfield nearby. Women became sad, men were silent, and boys were serious. The boys wanted to be soldiers, not traitors, and for some reason they were not afraid of war. And a week later, they forgot about the war ...
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The military train is not an express train; from Leningrad to Chernigov we traveled for five days. In the train of the train I was the first to see my Combat in the form of a tank captain. He looked at my documents and asked - how will I keep the mouthpiece of the isolating gas mask if I have caries on my front teeth? I said that I coped with scuba diving. It seemed to convince him, but I was told to cure my teeth. How could I know yesterday’s design draftsman that I would meet with this captain only six months later, and that my further fate was already determined. Being a driver-mechanic in the crew of a battalion commander, sleeping from time to time, and licking a fighting machine like my favorite horse until the end of the service, and working with topographic maps until midnight. And something else, but this “something” turned out to be quite a lot.
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Upon arrival - a haircut under the "zero", a bath and a day of training to wind footcloths, hem a tunic, to fit uniforms. Physical training began on the second day, drill too. The first three weeks of service, I do not remember - flew like a dream. Two weeks later - on foot on the landfill, and there tanks - light, medium, heavy. Motorized riflemen from a neighboring division are shooting at targets. And finally, the oath. Oath taken with a gun on his chest, kissing the banner of the division. All cadets were awarded Guards badges. It was a festive day, and we, recruits, in small groups, went to a soldier’s tea-house without a system — it’s such a restaurant with sweets and lemonade. At the tea room we talked with graduates of the “school” - with those who had not yet left for the troops. They asked if it was difficult to serve? And they answered us that it was not very hard, but very interesting.
There were guys in the company and weaker, and stronger - but everyone tried. The sergeants immediately warned us: if you study badly, violate discipline, or do not surrender the standards for the third category of the military-sports complex - eat to the troops loading the dirt for everyone to clean up, and in a day to the kitchen. Nobody wanted to become a charging person, although there was enough mud in all of the tank forces, and there was also hard work, but for no reason! At the horizontal bar of the last forces pulled up, after the cross-country at first barely dragged his feet. Cross ran around the location of the division on the highway, four kilometers instead of three - but the division can not be reduced, and run more like and nowhere - that's the standard and did not fit. It was much harder to cross 1000 m - there you want it, you do not want it, but you have to keep within the standard. However, no one became the loader of our 9 company.
Then all non-party members were taken to the Komsomol. I went to school for six years and I was not admitted to the Komsomol at the eighth grade, and then they simply forgot about me. Now I also had a Komsomol badge, and it is not simple, that it is sold in every kiosk, but brass with a screw and a round nut. Presumably, my comrades had no idea - why am I so happy? They got used to their badges. And we wore the badge “guard” with pride, not all units were guards.
Cinema - twice a week, films more often military. You will watch a movie about the army, and you yourself will be called up in class to disassemble and assemble a machine gun with a blindfold. The sergeants praised for it. Automatic AKM - a great thing. When the shooting test was taken, no one seemed to have triples, but there were fives. Weaponof course serial, but reliable. This is not a PM service pistol, but we didn’t shoot with a pistol in the “school”.
We had to drive different tanks — the park was training, there were fifty-fours and even two or three thirty-fours, we are drivers — we can't shoot from them. I somehow led to the thirty-four ground, on the tower the mechanic instructor was a dashing small. All I hear is: turnovers, cadets, turnovers - turn on the fourth ... Winter, a rolling road, and in front - an overpass (rut bridge). I wanted to go round, and I was in the tanker: right, cadet, turnovers ... So on the fourth one they jumped. Mechanics from BUBT (battalion of training and combat tanks), almost all were masters, and we were taught well. The company commander, Captain Popkov, also revealingly drove the overpass in third gear, so that the cadets were not afraid to overcome it at first. In general, in my memory, no one fell off the overpass. And the glorious “thirty-four” helped me a lot. Then, in the line troops I had to transfer for two weeks to the BTR-50P during divisional firing - these were skills that were useful, the gearbox of the “floater” from the T-34, and the side friction clutches were also familiar.
Drill, in fact, never stopped building a few times a day. Very soon, we, the cadets, realized how necessary it was. In a battle, the commander will not tell you “if you please” or something like that - there is a certain command language, from which the “intellectuals” for some reason spoil their mood. We conscientiously "spoiled" military property - horseshoes and heels. A zamkomzvvoda flaunted solid steel horseshoes, but in full heels - this was done to him in the workshops by mechanics for friendship. We were jealous of him ... We had boots - what we needed, never flowed, only by the end of the term did the boots wipe on the folds. What did we not do with them to look good. The tops stroked with iron, shoe polished with snow mixed with polishing. If your bearing is so-so, then the sergeant is not happy, and his comrades laugh at you. Nonsense! There was no "drill", they themselves sought to be taut. Often a company, or even a battalion, passed through the town. Russian and Ukrainian line songs sang heartily. Around civilians, how can you hit the dirt!
There was no “demobilization” in the training unit, the cadet commanders did not eat up and refused the best pieces at the table. The sergeant could get a penalty for “salaga”, and even more for swearing. We only swore at the company, but did it in such a way that you could not understand right away - what did he say? But everyone was laughing.
I remember many years later, when I was a “citizen,” they asked me: “Did you level the snow with shovels?” And the earth is a rake? They leveled, of course, and the snow was cut to the level of the stretched rope, and the rakes were used in the summer. So we also rubbed the floors in the barracks, and - you can not even imagine - they washed the wash basin with a toilet twice a day, went to the bathhouse and, imagine, every day we shaved! Well, and if the concert is festive, then the officers' wives from the stage more and more sang military songs, did not dance twist, did not wear mini-skirts. So the Communists mocked the defenders of the Motherland! Boots forced to clean!
Spring came, and with it the spring inspection and exams. They prepared us hard - classes from morning to evening, except Sunday. Shoot our company without any problems. Here, some Central Asian boys were afraid of throwing a military grenade into a training grenade - they said, “Satan”. Nothing done. The most important thing is driving, the 6 exercise in a combat manner is not an easy thing. "Navoda" we had a little more than two hundred kilometers per brother - the rest is in the army! Everyone dreamed of a newer car. A tank is not a pram, and you have to be able to move and turn around - everything needs to be able to meet the set time, it is easier to do this on a new car. For the first time they drove cars independently, without an instructor. Machines, of course, pounded on potholes, but the main thing was not to break the suspension torsion and on the rise did not roll, and do not start the engine in the opposite direction - then goodbye classy. The exam was passed by everyone in our company, and the best are cadets-Kazakhs from former tractor drivers. Then, in the army, I had to drive a car at the shooting with a Kazakh commander and we got into trouble with the crew, and if it weren't for the commander ... but that was later.
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They said goodbye to commanders warmly. The sergeants congratulated those who were distributed under Poltava, or under Lubny - judging by the letters of the former cadets, they served there easily, and the worst was considered to be distributed in Novomoskovsk, a city in the Dnipropetrovsk region, because “demobelism” flourished there; common phenomenon in the army. The commander of the company I taught to play the guitar, mostly at night, there was no other time, and he was very sorry that I was leaving. But only, as it turned out, I was distributed, that is, I was “bought” a long time ago as a mechanic-driver for the commander of the second battalion of the Rymnik Guards Tank Regiment, of course, in Novomoskovsk. And never regretted it.
With Kombat, then still the chief of staff of the second TB, we met in Dnepropetrovsk when loading the regiment on the steamer. It was a fully equipped tank regiment, which replaced the regimental personnel who had departed to the Soviet-Chinese border after clashes with the Chinese on Damansky Island. But the tank regiment is about a hundred crews, and on the ancient three-deck riverboat steamer we were not crowded - just like in a recreation park. There were not many civilians. All four restaurants were working - “by war, and proceeds are proceeds!” We with three “Leningraders” asked the officer to lodge us together, and occupied the cabin on the upper deck, while in the hold there was a devil. The regiment was formed from different divisions of the division, there were experienced mechanics-instructors, commanders and recent cadets, but we knew each other badly, and there were few officers. Someone took advantage of the confusion and stocked up vodka and wine still at the pier. Fortunately, on the first night no one fell overboard, they did not drink everything, and order was ensured. We, with our fellow countrymen, using freedom, wandered around the steamer, even looked into the car, where huge rods of human growth rotated huge flywheels, everything glittered with metal, grease and cleanliness. The engine room is a two-story hall with staircases, passages and shiny railings - it was worth seeing at least once in a lifetime. To tell the truth, the guys and I also drank vodka and ate all the stew and bread, which we were given a dry ration. We slept as much as we wanted, but we had to decide something with lunch. We shaved, cleaned and went to a restaurant, doubting the success of our enterprise ...
The restaurant is bright, outside the Dnieper wide. We ordered for four cutlets, mineral water and a bottle of vodka. We were served. We put the vodka under a tablecloth hanging from the table, looked around, drank and began to eat. Here in the restaurant is Combat.
- Sit down! - He commanded, - Look, it's nice to look at you, not like yesterday - the defenders of the Motherland got angry! So that I did not see this again! - and sat down at the table for dinner. The four of us were bursting with pride in their behavior and quite a decent look! Looks like the service started off quite well. And we were for eighteen years.
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Arrived at the regiment before lunch. Me, the mechanic of the second battalion commander, was assigned to the 4 th company. Built in front of the barracks. Soon came the company, the captain - he was on duty in parts, with a bandage on his sleeve and a pistol, kind of cheerful.
- Attention! I am captain Andreasyan, - he introduced himself - the fourth company - the best in the division, social obligations, you understand ... I see? Free, go away! - and went to the barracks, and the crews followed him.
In the barracks in beds - who where - lay about seven or eight soldiers and sergeants, smoked and laughed at us. On the order of the company to stand up, the answer was clearly not of a statutory nature. Well, the hot blood of the Armenian began to boil.
- What about your mother said? - he shouted, - You said about my mother?
The stool flew in one direction, the captain's cap in the other, and the captain's fists pounded in the face of the glorious defender of the Motherland. We looked at this case, mouth open.
- Who said - demob? - A quiet voice was heard and the battalion commander, Major Halperin, a little yellow Jew, appeared on the scene. “I'll pull out my tongue,” he hissed, “Captain, give me a gun!” Duty! Two machine gunners with fast money here! You'll eat home in ten days, and it's good if in ten! Well, remove the belts, assholes! Come out to build! Do not take overcoats! - he added, waving a pistol, - your service is just beginning! And yours too, - he turned to us, the newcomers, - I am the commander of the second battalion, do you have any questions? There were no questions.
The demobilization order was issued a long time ago, and the guard team of the old servicemen, who remained in the regiment, practically did not obey anyone. Almost all the officers left for recruiting. Somehow the guys went to guard, the rest of the time they drank cucumber lotion and were cut into cards. Soon they went home, but finally they taught the new elders all the tricks of the service in the tank forces - a bad business is not tricky! And we, then still young soldiers, soon had to deal with these "new orders" with the help of stools and soldier belts, but first we had to get used to a little in a new place, for example, about half a year.
I remember well my first driving with a battalion commander. Major Halperin sat on my armor on my right and gave me a headstrike - go ahead! Let's go on the low forest, on loose sand. The major shouts that I would drive faster, but I could not drive the car over the sand, although I drove, it seems, not bad.
“Okay, learn,” said the major, “in battle, what is the main thing?” Speed! Well, run to the river for water!
Yes, I’ve never had to be dragged along in steps.
My Combat, the battalion chief of staff, Captain Fadeev, was sent to the regiment from friendly Czechoslovakia, where the troops of the Warsaw Pact countries slightly converted the Prague Spring to Moscow in the autumn. He did not like to talk about Czechoslovakia, or did not know how. He said only that they were fed only sausage with them, it happened for weeks at a time, so the daily ones did not have time to dig in that sausage - she was so tired of it all! Man, he was huge - as soon as the tank was placed! - stern, but honest and fair when it was necessary - ordered the soldier to rest. He taught me to put the "situation" on the map and in general - topography, orientation on the terrain, tactics ... He prepared for himself the future chief of staff - he knew that not long for him to go under the battalion commander, but there were not enough officers, platoon and vice technote companies - most often from engineers , staffing was not much. The troops trained their personnel - first urgent, then courses of platoon commanders, if you are tank commander or senior driver, then platoon, tank school in absentia, company, chief of staff, combat. Those who fought a little bit knew what war was and how best to prepare cadres. After the courses, they could have been put on the company, and after the school only on a platoon. Over the years, this no longer seems strange to me. But I did not justify the hopes of my commander, I was demobilized, all damned love ...
Soon I had a chance to see what tactics really are. We went to the battalion exercises. I do not remember where the commander was sent, but the battalion was commanded by the chief of staff, my Combat. I turned out to be out of work, my tank in the park, I with tablets and maps on BTER with Kombat. Even then, it was not rare that I had to drive a car with different companies - the battalion commander had a chief of staff, and he had me. Sometimes I also drove the BTR.
Took our battalion tract, that is, guy. It is - like a small forest, but not solid, but scattered by islands on the sand. Our BTR is on a high-rise, and the Kombat is commanding on the radio so that all the vehicles are driven backwards into the undergrowth, the guns are loaded and - silent! Ten minutes later we see a tank column - this is a neighboring regiment looking for us according to the disposition, but we cannot be seen! The battalion commander on the radio "storm", the car moved half a length of body and hit three times single, but right into the board! That's the whole fight. "Destroyed" the regiment went further to the crossing, and our battalion is being built in a column and on the march. But something, I think, I understood, and Kombat began to respect him seriously, and not only I, but all the officers of the battalion understood what their commander was.
Our commander was Major Mamchur, a young thirty-year-old man. He was put on the regiment, probably for a loud voice. It was heard from the checkpoint to the rear gate. Soon he left for the courses at the academy, and the commander became a regiment on the doomsday, there is such a position, the old lieutenant colonel Stromko, the former commander of our second TB. He often visited his battalion and among the soldiers and officers there were legends about him ...
... The Stromko battalion commander is sitting in the battalion headquarters, at the door of the officer with a suitcase, reports: he arrived for the further passage ... the lieutenant ...
- Sit down, lieutenant! - says Stromko and opens the magazine. - From what school? Not married? Good! - writes.
- Do you drink vodka?
- No, no!
- I believe, - he writes down: “he does not drink vodka” ... - Here you, lieutenant, three rubles, run for vodka - this is an order!
The lieutenant brings vodka. Stromko gets a mug and a dried sandwich from the nightstand. Pours
- Drink, Lieutenant, the commander orders you!
The lieutenant drinks vodka, the battalion commander hides a sandwich in the nightstand and makes an entry in the journal: “drinks vodka”.
- Comrade Lieutenant Colonel ...
- Go to sleep, comrade lieutenant, you are drunk!
This is the lieutenant colonel called "test for ingenuity." After two or three such checks, the lieutenants learned how to think what they should do and what they should not. A commander, Lieutenant Colonel Stromko was a good, better screamer Mamchur.
The battalion commander taught me not only topography, but also to fire a pistol, disassemble a machine gun, use radio stations (there are two of them on the command vehicle), navigation devices ... I explained the duties of the crew commander or platoon in battle. The commander of the 6 Company drove me into a tank shooting range - it was not a tricky business, the shooting gallery was right behind the tank park, there I fired a machine gun, and every thrifty sergeant had ammunition. With the cartridges it was strictly - God forbid to lose the cartridge or cartridge case! However, machine-gun cartridges didn’t especially count ...
Sometimes in the summer on Sundays, we went with the crew, a battery technician, a radio telephone player and loaders, to Kombat’s home, and we sawed firewood. His wife fed us to the “second satiety” and gave out “stuff” of large Ukrainian apples — they also grew cherries. Milk, too, was enough, the terms of Ukrainian villages.
Major Halperin, the battalion commander proper, did not teach me military affairs. He taught me to report on his guys from the 4 Company ("just in case") and steal shovels from a zip-lock in a nearby regiment. I did not report it, but I refused to steal shovels, citing my “cowardice” - who wants to crawl under the sentry’s bullet? But the biggest crime was that I didn’t sew the collar to the tunic to the commander at the exercises, and didn’t order the charging officer to do this. So, my days in the crew of the battalion commander were numbered, and service on the training machine, which was counted as an official of the 5 company, waited for me. Only there was no platoon at all, and sergeant Nurov, a round-faced Kazakh and an excellent tank commander, commanded the platoon, which I soon became convinced of.
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The guys from 5-th company were familiar to me, even though the company was located in the neighboring barracks. In the battalion, everyone knew each other. Now I went to the shooting with the crews, but the battalion commander did not have to. I was practically relieved of driving a tank — I had a combat training vehicle, and I had to drive a lot of it. The book, of course, is rarely when you read, exercise - also, as it happens, after night driving you sleep before breakfast. So after all the winter has come, and the PHYSO is good, that's just chilly in winter. Physical education and so lacked. Go to the playground in any free time, and where else? It is possible to the obstacle course, if neither legs nor hands are not sorry, but better on the sports ground - in the summer we played compote volleyball on weekends. Or raised the barbell - also on compote. The rod was welded from two wheels from a trolley and black and shiny steel scrap, rubbed by soldiers' hands. Weighed, as if, 85 kilo, but they raised it all, except, perhaps, gunners guns - these guys are often undersized. In the second year of service you can not push the bar? What kind of tanker are you? My gunner, Leshka Tsvetkov, was at all small, like a jockey, and then he lifted the barbell on his chest, and he shot well. Our crew was put on the shooting range on the central track. The flowers will lay their targets, and let's fire right and left for the rest! They didn’t blame for it, rather, on the contrary - in a real battle it may come in handy. And you never know what soldier "nainitsiativit"? In winter, in the field, on a still hot radiator of the tank, they slept, there was enough heat for half an hour - and also, it seems, not according to the rules.
The company we had was a cheerful and well-behaved Starley - a uniform with a “needle”, a cap like that of a Guards lieutenant, boots — oh! a dream, not boots! Sorry, they transferred him to the neighboring regiment with the headquarters of the TB. And so he almost every week with a bruise under his eye went, was a single man, he loved to drink and fight. Well, because of the waitress in the officers' cafeteria, or the signaler ... So, he, the senior lieutenant, had not yet left Komsomol. He was handsome, even in the summer in kid gloves went - Pechorin! And our platoon on the company set. I was left without a crew commander - well, not war! - Lieutenant Yakovlev served not the first day and the company was not bad.
The regimental commander, Major Mamchur from the academy, rolled it up for a week just under the new year - everything, of course, was turned upside down, and it was only audible in the regiment: What about? Shut up! Attention! - vociferous was a man!
Roth on firing, our platoon second. We carry them in combat, the hatches are blocked, a warning lamp on the tower - you will not open the hatch, do not “shut it in,” you can see everything from the tower! Shot as usual, Tsvetkov "destroyed" his goals, and at the same time the neighboring ones. And everything would be fine, but we failed with the crew in the funnel - the ice under the tank was broken, held, kept - and you! There was no water in the funnel, but my surveillance devices were flooded with chunks of ice - and the hatch would not open! Sergeant Nurov, also from our “school”, a Kazakh, was in charge of the commander, but he spoke Russian and commanded regularly. I drove the car back blindly, at his command. We, of course, lagged behind, and we didn’t stop at the original one. And Major Mamchur is right there ...
- Build! Shut up! Who is a mechanic? Ahhh, also a senior mechanic? No more senior! Sergeant? Private! Three outfits to the kitchen! - and went to the tower to drink tea.
- At ease! - said company. Zampotekh had already inspected my car and told something to the company’s mouth. - Ok, says company, women give birth to fools, and Motherland - heroes! Tomorrow he will forget about everything, the gorlop, probably, has already smashed his glass ... With a sergeant — we'll see this later, with a senior mechanic — all the more, but we'll have to go to the kitchen today, sergeant — suddenly he'll check, a bore!
Shoot, as they say. And in the morning the foreman took me from the kitchen — there was enough in the company of his affairs ...
It was the second year of my service. We did not immediately deal with the old-timers, but we got along with the help of the refueling key and the untranslatable play on words. Yes, everyone understood that my “exile” from the crew of the battalion commander would be short-lived, Major Halperin collects the suitcase, and the chief of staff, our Combat, loves jokes, but not so much ...
On New Year's Eve, they put a Christmas tree on the parade ground, TVs were brought to the companies. Demob on this occasion got drunk moonshine. Kombat came at night, he was on duty in part, New Year's Eve - a responsible matter. I looked at the dirt in the barracks and told a drunken foreman that if he noticed in the morning, even a speck of dust, he would be a foreman before the demob from the regimental pigsty writing letters to his Maruse. Nothing, our “old men” heroically cleaned up everything, because the army is not a tavern, and not a farmyard, but a school of courage!
Radio and television broadcasts were in Russian and Ukrainian. In Ukrainian, everyone understood, Ukrainian Tatars and Uzbeks sang Ukrainian songs. Charging I had a Greek by the name of Zakharov, a native of Abkhazia. He spoke Russian poorly, but after demobilizing the letter he wrote to me, invited me to his house, to the tangerine garden. And by that time my love was formed in full, and even with sighs, so it didn’t work out for tangerines.
There are frosts in Ukraine and Moscow, and the winter in 69 was snowy, with blizzards and winds. The regimental teachings on the nose, and we still did not withdraw the entire company in the column — it was very purple, the sky could not be seen. Our landfill site is old, the whole tank is dug, and the pits under the ice and snow are not visible. We go in a column, the ice track, the machine beats. I hear in the tankhole: take the right! A bad example is contagious. Next car took me even more to the right. Everything! Machine in the water, mechanic barely crawling on armor! All to them! They pulled out, dressed in dry clothes - who gave the jacket, who gave the wadded pants. The driver in my car for the levers and the regiment. And there - running to the medical unit. I put the car on the platform. Mood - nowhere worse. I went to the company.
The foreman emergency team assembled. I went to him after dinner.
- I will go, - I say, - tell the company that you sent me to the landfill.
- This is good, - he answers, - I will go too, we will take a bag of bread and lard - it seems that the blizzard has charged for two days, when will the car still come to us? And two tractors have already left. Find them in the dark?
- We won’t lose the road - we’ll find the headlights around the world, where it wouldn’t fall ...
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For two days we drew a drowned tank - first one truck sat down, then another. Cables burst, and the tank in the ice froze - and in any. Cut the ice, and he grabs again. Day, night - all one in a blizzard. There is no tree. We burn rags with diesel fuel, we warm bread on a wire. The snow is clean, we will not die without water, and what is water? It will freeze anyway.
With us there are two lieutenants - one immediately after the institute, but it is keeping up normally. We sleep in turns, standing by the fire. The wind is on the one hand, then on the other, if not completely spinning - it is not necessary to yawn, it will burn. Tank, we still pulled out. The caterpillars froze - so dragged and dragged him across the ice. Then nothing, unwound. The morning has come, the sun has risen, and soon two covered “volunteers” arrived, the stoves crack, steam from thermoses is falling. And we laughed apart, you do not understand - why are we laughing? The foreman said it was a psychosis, let us sleep off - and everything will pass.
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Slept before dinner. It was a Saturday evening movie. We had one tank commander, senior sergeant Chervonich. He was kicked out of the tank school and sent to us for service. His boots, of course, are yalovye, his ambition is like that of an assistant cook or a bread cutter. He comes up to me and says: - Well, tell me, Pavlovsky, how you drowned someone else's tank!
I got it, idiot, ear to ear from the foreman - it didn’t look very pedagogical with the subordinates, but in a timely manner. Ran, fool, complain - he was sent to the landfill team. And, in general - correctly, a tank with an idiot is not as well compatible as shit with a shovel. And nobody said a bad word to me - I worked my way. Our “drowned man”, the driver Valerka Shkurenko, was himself to blame - he would follow me on a rut! He was a cool mechanic, then more experienced than me. He taught me all sorts of tricks - to start the heater in the cold, to turn at speed. A tank is nearly forty tons, you need to be able to turn it smoothly, otherwise it may turn out if you walk along the icy road. So we learned from each other.
Demobilization - where can you get from it? But the crew is the crew, we are not a funeral team, but a Guards tank regiment. They fought rarely, fought more often - whoever won was right. My gunner is the best in the battalion, a pity small, "meter with a cap." The old men laughed at him, I had to stand up for him. My Tsvetkov was also an older serviceman and did not take offense at me, even though I was "young." Order in the tank forces!
We had a batman, the deputy engineer of the battalion, a red middle-aged major, and he had a German motorcycle with a sidecar, which I was busy with - anyway, I was in the tank park all day. It used to be that the major drove around the town, or to the landfill. The traffic police for one hundred versts in the district will not be met, and the military inspectorate did not touch us with the major. The major once served in Hungary, more precisely - he fought, he loved to drink, and he didn’t get behind the wheel as a drink. But we, mechanics of educational machines, told us something about the war. It turns out that they shot at them, burned them, and went around the dead tanks. We, the young, did not see this, but we have to - we will see ...
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The battalion commander Leiser Markovich Halperin was serving the academy for the “Shot” courses with a large canvas bag and an indispensable promise that after returning he would “still get” to me. I accepted my car with dirty PMP * and rusty sides - my “non-debt proxy” foreman of the emergency service Grisha Bershadsky was born in Odessa, while I was sacking blood in 5 tank company in winter exercises. Yes, only the crew now I commanded, the battalion - Major Fadeev, and this is not the cocktail that is served slightly chilled. Grisha secretly dreamed of a clothing warehouse, but neither Daddy Lesi nor Odessa-mom were around, and the former midshipman of the Baltic Fleet, Chest, sat in a warehouse with unquestionable power. Because Grisha from the battalion was slowly removed, so that he did not accidentally reach the rank and file of a private. The chest I picked up in the warehouse is old, but a decent outfit and appointed me into duty as a duty officer on the headquarters of the regiment - it was painful for me to have a haberdashery.
I stand at the entrance to the headquarters, read a book - in general, nothing is needed. Commander with a commander, I report ...
- What kind of book? - says the political officer, - "Running through the waves?" Well, well, read ...
“Whose are you, sergeant?” - asks the regiment commander.
- Mechanic-driver commander of the second ...
- You want my car?
- No, no!
- Look, do not regret after ... running through the waves!
I did not have to regret. I was freed from the drill and political exercises, but I drove the car with all the battalion's mouths - spring check soon, but it is, like a warm-up, if it were not for the sand march to the training ground in the sand and with full display, and summer in Ukraine is hot. According to the military strategy, two of the weakest soldiers in the company were put into the medical unit, the tactics were also there - all the rest were given new footcloths. AKS machines in the regiment are still the first issues, heavy and shiny like silver after twenty years of cleaning. A brand new pistols - beauty! The only pity is that it is impossible to shoot from them, and we fired our officers with pistols - these are even those who were shot at. The PM pistol is good for hand-to-hand combat - we, the tank crew, need nothing. The officers were joking, they say, if Dantes had a soldier's PM, no one would have remembered Dantes. But the guns were great and we were not very worried about our Vietnamese friends. The war was somewhere far away, but we knew that our tanks were stronger than the American ones. Then, as totalitarianism flourished throughout the whole territory of free Ukraine, cherries and apple trees flourished. We passed the test with the songs, and we were waited for a holiday dinner with cutlets and a double portion of compote.
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Divisional exercises begin with raising the alarm, although everyone knows how they should begin and stock up on sugar and tobacco in advance. Life in the regiment seems to freeze, everyone is waiting for a signal. Siren after the end - it means there will be a night march, if in the morning there will be loading and unloading of shells. The machine is running, the mechanism is gaining momentum, thundering with steel and blowing off with exhaust gas streams from the exhaust manifolds.
The tanks were fastened to railway platforms with thick steel wire bundles, which we twisted, leaning two by two on steel scrap. They were sent to the Odessa training ground, they were given out new overalls and were fed in such a way that they did not dare to shame our Red Banner Kiev Military District.
A calf carriage freely accommodates a tank company. The floor is scraped, the hay is fresh, the tarp is clean - the railway workers have a lot of useful things in stock. Iron lanterns with candles made, probably, even before historical materialism, you can’t think of something easier, but it’s also more convenient, perhaps, too.
At stops, women brought us, soldiers, early apples and village pies - their sons also served in different parts of the Soviet Union, which we had to and wanted to protect.
At night, in the light of the “prehistoric” lantern, I read the book “Two Captains” under the sound of wheels on the military road of a vast and peaceful country.
* PMP - planetary rotation mechanism.