Recorded from my father’s memories
Winter 1943, Vitebsk region. Our troops are attacking. There are battles of "local" significance for the liberation of the city of Vitebsk from the Nazi invaders.
My father, Rubtsov Pyotr Yakovlevich went to the front, having finished a seven-year school. But at that time, such a number of school years was equated to a completely high level of literacy. And because it was immediately identified in the battalion scribes, and in combination and the first number of machine-gun crew. So during the battle - at the ready with the "tar" in the attack, and in rare lulls - for the "writings" in the headquarters.
My father is sitting in a half-dark dugout, bent over a piece of paper - he is preparing another report. Suddenly, outside shooting. Everyone who was in the dugout - instantly upstairs. Nothing is clear - where is the shooting from !? All at the ready, his father's "tar" is waiting for the team. And here they are - a group of enemy machine guns appeared. Rod straight to the staff dugout. And somehow a brazen rod, shouting, yes, they were yelling loudly, but not in German, as it turned out later in Romanian. The teams have not yet had a fire - let them close. And now - "Fire!". His father's "minter" slashed at the attackers - some immediately fell - either slain or lay down. Father bursts does not allow them to rise. But one large Romanian, strongly wiggling from side to side, is “rushing” straight to his father. The queue runs. Another line - runs, more ... however - runs as if spellbound. And then my father noticed that his “miner” was “spitting” with molten lead - dust fountains were visible ahead at a distance of about five meters. The father pulled his hand over the grenade - neither the barrel could be changed nor it cooled down ... they did not have time. And here, almost in front of the breastwork, the Romanians finally collapsed. But then, just above the trench some shadows flickered - after jumping over it, several German saboteurs dragged our fighter - the “language”. So this is why they attacked so loudly - they diverted attention. My father carefully looked at - trying to find out which of the fighters were being dragged, and ... was surprised - his ass glittered at the tongue naked. Apparently, they took him by surprise when he went "to the wind" for "heavy" need. Some say this before a fight happens ...
And then the battalion commander shouted right in his ear: “Scars, fire!”. Father led the barrel in the direction of the runaways and almost randomly pulled the trigger. A long line of rumbling immediately - from the saboteurs flew "tatters" in different directions. Several bodies convulsed, and the rest subsided forever. Got and bare ass failed language - a fight, he is a fight, the order is given - there is no time to choose. A few minutes later, the wounded failed language was returned to their trenches.
Until the evening they lived quietly, only rare lines from the German trenches did not allow our soldiers to relax. His father fell asleep in the dugout, sitting on a free couch, but the butcher of the tar worked as a pillow for him.
Suddenly, he woke up from something unexpected. And this unexpected was silence, from the opening of the open door the dawn broke. There was no one in the dugout, there was no ordinary staff property in it. My father carefully looked out - the trenches were empty. Suddenly someone called out to him: "Scar, where are you?". Father learned orderly battalion commander. "Hurry for me - he called - ours went on the offensive even after dark, they forgot to wake you up, the commander remembered just now and sent me after you." Half an hour later, the father and orderly caught up with their own.
The Germans have pressed more than ten kilometers. Those lay near the outskirts of a village. On the horizon could be seen the faint outlines of a city. "Vitebsk" - explained the battalion commander. It was a little snow, snowflakes, as if in a slow dance, smoothly fell to the ground. The horizon was increasingly hazy. The frost was weak - not like Kazakhstan. It was so similar to the pre-New Year weather that my father even forgot a little - the last peaceful New Year's Eve came up from his memory. And only a distant cannonade with “stubborn obstinacy” again and again brought him back to military reality.
“Rubtsov, here’s an order for you — the battalion commander handed his father a piece of paper written in clumsy handwriting — you will deliver it to the commander of the second platoon. He does not answer, apparently the wire broke. Give your "tar" to the second number - let him stay near the headquarters until you return, and take PPSh himself - he will be easier. " With the words “Yes! I’ll execute ... ”my father immediately disappeared into the nearest trench, which led to the second platoon. Having run about two hundred meters, he looked out of the trench to look around - because of a hillock a gun barrel was sticking out. Father fell silent, watching him. Suddenly, the trunk began to slowly turn in his direction. The father stuck his head up and saw a tiger rotating tower, on its board ominously flaunted a cross. Having understood everything, he immediately “handed over” some twenty meters back, fell to the bottom of the trench and fell silent. A second later, an explosion crashed in the place where he had just been. Father jumped up and, until the dust from the explosion had dissipated, made a dash forward, and right through the place where the funnel was still smoking, but then he tripped over the dead body of a German, fell and ... another explosion thundered again. If he continued to run, he would surely have come under this explosion - apparently, the German tanker very accurately "led" his father. But it was an unplanned fall that saved him. The father looked around - on the belt of the murdered German hung two grenades, though anti-personnel, but defensive - his father immediately determined this. They also taught in training - more powerful defensive ones, you can only use them on the advancing enemy and from the trench, because the fragmentation of such grenade fragments up to two hundred meters, you can hit your own. Father removed both grenades from the German belt, crawled another twenty meters and carefully peered out of the trench - the German tanker had clearly lost the enemy - his tower scoured from left to right. Father pulled out a check and threw a grenade, an explosion thundered. But it seems tank from this it was "neither cold nor hot" - the armor of the Tiger did not withstand it. The German tanker saw his father again - the gun barrel moved in his direction. But he was already far from this "illuminated" place. Having run another twenty meters, the father noticed that the trench was bending towards the German tank. He slowly advanced a little more and was very close to the tank. And as it turned out - he found himself in the rear. From the trench it was clear that the tank was knocked out - its tracks were lying nearby, apparently the tankers were engaged in their repair, and then his father upset their plans with his “visit”.
Something grated. The father saw the tower hatch slowly open. From his head seemed tanker. He was hiding, trying to see the space in front of the tank in the place where his father had recently been. Then the head disappeared, and after a few seconds a hand with binoculars appeared. My father, without thinking for a long time, pulled out the second grenade to the check and snapped it into the hatch. But did not get - she hit the manhole cover, somehow unnaturally spun and ... disappeared from sight. Father crouched in a trench. And then there was a powerful explosion. After a while he cautiously looked out - there was no longer a tower on the tank - she was lying nearby, obviously, the grenade still got inside the tower and detonated the ammunition.
Nearby was a wounded German tanker reclining, resting his back on the armor of a tiger. Father turned on his barrel machine. "Do not kill ... - in broken Russian, he asked - I have a womb ... baby ...". My father lowered the barrel and slowly began to walk away, but he still watched the German with side vision. He reached out with an unobtrusive movement to a machine gun lying next to him and tried to insert a horn with cartridges, but did not have time - his father turned around sharply and gave a turn. The German immediately drooped his head.
My father did not specify if anyone was still alive in the tank and rushed on. Soon, he had already handed the piece of paper-order to the platoon and, with a salute, went back.
He came back the same way, but not everything was as he had just watched - not far from the tank there was also a wedge - an armored personnel carrier. In the doorway of the open rear door, several “gray overcoats” were swarming. Obviously, help came to the tank crews. The father, without thinking for a long time, slashed out of the PPSh directly into the body. Almost all the bullets immediately found their goals. A pair of soldiers were killed, and the rest were injured. The father made the wounded rise to their feet and drove them, in the literal sense of the word, “like a flock of sheep” to the battalion headquarters. Those, as if stupefied by surprise and pain, obeyed without question. And where could they go, the next line of the fatherly PPSh would have slain them to death.
Upon arrival at the headquarters, the father was forced to transfer the prisoners to a group of soldiers led by an orderly - they escorted the captives to the regimental headquarters. Later, my father learned that for these prisoners the orderly received the medal "For Courage". Those who brought prisoners to headquarters were rewarded. But the battalion commander was just, albeit austere. He promised to correct the annoying mistake with the awards, and after sending another batch of prisoners to headquarters, he included my father in the list of awardees.
The offensive of our troops near Vitebsk continued. Though slowly, our fighters gradually conquered their land meter by meter from the enemy. They went, as they wrote in the military press, local battles. The battalion in which the father fought was already on the outskirts of the outskirts of Vitebsk. It was visible not only through binoculars, but also with the naked eye, although often haze and precipitation hid the city from the eyes. The battalion was advancing. But one of the mouths lay down - she was advancing near a small village and came under heavy heavy fire. The soldiers lay down right on the snow - there were no trenches in this place. His father was not far from the battalion commander in a small hollow. Fifty meters away, they started a German machine-gun crew. They had a very good position - on a small knoll, and even took refuge behind the telegraph pole lying there. The bullets whistled right above the heads of our fighters, not giving up.
The battalion commander tried many times to raise his fighters to attack and all without success. Already a few dead, stretched out in the hands, lay in the snow. But the commander again and again gave the order: "Fighter Ivanov - raise the company to the attack!". The fighter jumped up and shouted “Hurray! Follow me! ”Rushed at the enemy, but, not having managed to take three steps, he immediately buried his face in the snow, struck down by a machine-gun burst. “Semyonov, raise your platoon!” - the team sounded again. And another fighter fell prostrate. "Petrenko, forward ... to the attack!" - but the distraught fighter threw a rifle and with eyes rounded with fear rushed from the battlefield. However, he did not have time to escape far away - he immediately got rid of the line of the command vehicle.
Minutes went by. Our attack could not resume. The queues of the German settlement, as if, sewn the fighters back to the ground. And then a new command of the battalion commander sounded: “Fighter of the Rubtsov, raise the company to the attack!”. This command was like thunder from a clear sky - formidable, categorical, inevitable and unambiguous, like a hyphen between death and life. The father, having heard this order, jumped out of surprise as if scalded. Having risen to his full height and shouting something inarticulate, but remotely still similar to “hurray”, he headlong rushed straight to the German machine-gun crew, not forgetting to change direction with zigzags. The short queues of his father's “tar” gave him at least some confidence in the success of the attack. The second number of the father picked up the boxes of ammunition and also rushed after him. My father saw with his side vision how the rest of the soldiers began to rise. “Hooray!” - the frosty air filled with a draft cry.
The attack gained momentum, until the German machine-gunners father had some ten meters left. He was the closest to the calculation, so the German machine gunner turned the barrel towards him, as far as he could lift it up, and made a turn. But the upcoming was already very close - the turn fell on his legs. Severe pain slashed over my right thigh. Three bullets crushed the bone. The blow was as strong as a sledgehammer banged on the leg, so much so that my father spun sharply, he could not keep the tar-gunner - the machine gun flew far to the side and buried in the snow. The hot barrel hissed wildly - the snow began to melt. And the company continued to advance. He jumped the second number of his father, picked up the "miner", finished off the already wounded German settlement and continued the attack. My father saw how the snow around him began to turn red, almost at the same instant he felt weak and began to lose consciousness. The battalion commander ran: "Hold on, Scars, hold on - the orderlies on the back!". And with a shout of "Hurray!" Rushed to the attack. Consciousness faded - red circles floated in front of my eyes, and my ears started to rustle, the pain subsided a bit, and then everything seemed to fall into the abyss.
After a while, the father came to his senses. Ours are already far ahead. Rare tears barely came from somewhere far away. The orderlies were not visible. Nearby someone moaned heavily. My father turned his head and saw a soldier-submachine gun lying nearby. The one wounded in the stomach then shouted wildly - then moaned to exhaustion, then he calmed down for a while. Guts, like ropes, lay around his belly. According to the Russian mat, the father realized that he was his own. Nearby lay and his machine. The father examined himself, although with great difficulty - did not give weakness from blood loss. The pain subsided somewhat, a crust of ice formed on the right thigh, obviously, this stopped the blood. The father tried to move, but this again led to loss of consciousness. Again, he came to himself from a strong roar - an automatic burst of burst silence. My father thought that it was the Germans who finished off the wounded, but then he remembered that we were advancing, and this gave a chance for survival. As it turned out, the machine gunner, wounded in the stomach, still reached out to his PCA and launched a queue at himself ... the last thing the soldiers could not endure the painful suffering.
In the meantime, it was already dark. The snowfall stopped, the sky cleared, the stars spilled on it. And then the father heard someone speak. What language was spoken, it was difficult to understand, and it shook him from the cold - there is no time for listening. The talk grew louder — two men in white coats were approaching. “Maybe”, finally, the orderlies? ”- the father thought. But, just in case, I decided not to give a vote yet. Began to observe their actions. Bah, yes, these are miners - finally, the father discovered the mine detector in the hands of one of the soldiers. The miners came very close to the wounded man. One foot threw the PCA away from the already dead machine gunner, and the second approached the father, kicked it with a foot, took out the pouch and sat down right on the father ... to smoke. Father groaned. “Oh, he is alive!” Exclaimed the miner. “So the orderlies were already here - remembered the second one - how did they not notice him? Was he unconscious or something? ” “Lie down a bit more, fighter, be patient - now we see the mines next to you and help” - the miner promised. And exactly, three meters from my father, they discovered an anti-personnel mine. “And how did you attack here !?” - the miner was horrified - Mina is mine! ” “They don’t think about it in an attack ...” the father answered quietly.
After demining, the fighters raised their father and carried to the Bolshak (an automobile dirt highway), which was visible not far away. It is already light. A column of military equipment appeared on the horizon. “The second echelon is catching up” - one of the miners explained the situation. “Will you be put into a ditch ... until the convoy comes up?” Asked a youthful miner. "Do not ..." corrected the second one, that he was older - let's put him in the funnel, which is not far from the road, otherwise the highway is covered with ice, and another gun that will move into a ditch and crush it. " They did just that - they put their father on the edge of the crater so that he could be clearly seen from the road, while they themselves went back to the minefield to finish their work.
The second echelon column almost reached the level of its father, as the German long-range artillery began to strike. The shells whistled through the air, although the fire was not very intense, but the roar of the explosions strongly deafened the wounded man. And now the father hears a whistle ... a bad whistle like that. But, they say, if you hear the whistle of a projectile, then it is not yours, it’s with a hop, and they also say that a shell doesn’t get into one funnel twice. Just in case, the father slid lower into the funnel and covered his head with his left hand. The cap went higher. There was a deafening explosion, ringing in the ears and the father lost consciousness again. When I came to, I saw something red right in my eyes. Consciousness slowly returned. The father moved his left hand - alas, she was numb. Then he felt his head with his right hand, she was whole, although all covered in blood. Nearby lay the cap, all riddled with splinters. My father examined his left hand - two lacerated wounds gaped on his forearm right through the coat of his overcoat. Immediately, soldiers from the approached train ran up to their father. “Lucky for you, fighter - one of them said - the projectile fell five meters down, which means that the main part of the fragments went ahead ... you only got two ... the rest of your hat”. A nurse ran up, tried to make a dressing right on her overcoat. Father was laid on a stretcher and taken. Shaking was painful. I wanted to rest, but it is necessary to deliver the early to the hospital as soon as possible.
And so the car stopped. The hospital is a huge army tent in the open air. Around right in the snow there are many stretchers with wounded. A low moan is heard. Father was brought to the waiting room and put a stretcher in a dark corner. Time passed, an hour, another, a third, but none of the medical staff approached the father. Gradually, new wounded people were brought in, the newly-operated patients were taken away. And then my father saw a familiar face - a fighter with a camera appeared from behind the canopy of the tent. "Petro" - quietly called his father. It was his countryman, friend, war correspondent Peter Kazachenko. “Belly ... Rubtsov ... Petr, are you? - he said in surprise - I right now, just a minute! ”. And he was out of sight, as if he had disappeared.
A few minutes later my father was already on the operating table.
Then he was transported to a real in-patient hospital in the rear. We performed nine surgeries - they could not make a bone on the leg. Finally, the bone has grown together, but the right leg has become shorter by 18 centimeters. First crutches, then a wand, and then, finally, my father made a block of sleepers for himself. The boot was very heavy when walking. But what to do - at least something! Somehow, but this adaptation allowed me to walk on my own.
Time passed (this was before my eyes). Somehow, a fellow soldier-general of his father came to visit us. He brought with him a few white bricks. It was a wonder at the time. This “miracle” was called foam. Strong and light to the "improbability", besides the white - like a light cloud. All Anar came running to look at this miracle - ultralight material. Her father made a new shoe out of her. It became much easier for him to walk.
And my father “knocked” the anniversary - 60 years. And my dad started to go on a long journey, the Siberian town of Kurgan. What for? Yes, there was talk about the miracle of Dr. Ilizarov who lives there and stretches his limbs to normal.
Father came to Kurgan, with great difficulty came to the reception and ... was refused. The queue for surgery needs to wait ... 15 years. But his father did not give up - he began a conversation with Ilizarov himself, told him how hard his bone was spliced, recalled that after fifteen years he probably would no longer need to stretch his leg to the norm - why these procedures at the cemetery !? Ilizarov paused, paused for a bit, and then inquired about the name of the doctor who had managed to knit his father a bone on his leg. Father called - Ilizarov already jumped. It was his longtime "rival" by profession. "Well, grandfather, he said - to wipe this nose ... (he swore) I will personally perform an operation on you."
When the code was prepared for the operation, they began to clarify what my father was ill earlier. And he told about himself in this respect everything ... or rather, almost everything - he hid only what he had suffered already two heart attacks, because he knew that after these “ills” they were not allowed to do such an operation ... strictly forbidden.
Have had an operation. Put the Ilizarov apparatus on the leg. The whole "trick" of this operation was that the bone was first broken down, as it were, diagonally its length, then the device was installed, the bones were given some time of rest and when it began to grow together, the screws were gradually tightened, extending the design of the device, while pulling out the resulting bone cartilage. So gradually, day after day, the bone was pulled out along with the bone marrow, followed by muscle tissue, and nerves also grew (do not believe the assertions that the nerves do not grow and do not recover - they grow, but very slowly!). So every day a millimeter or so and the leg of his father was extended. But it was also accompanied by incessant pain every day. So nine months passed. At that time I myself visited my father in the hospital. I was surprised that there were a lot of foreigners among the patients. Doctors constantly carried with them various dictionaries. Even a couple of times I had to help them communicate with their patients in German, English ...
Exactly nine months spent his father in Kurgan. And only at discharge, he finally told Ilizarov that he suffered two heart attacks before the operation. Oh, and he was angry at first. But then he relented and even rejoiced. Now — he says — I will know that such patients can be treated by my method! ”
And here is the father at home. But the whole leg is bluish, he almost does not feel it, the toe fell and does not move ... again the crutches, but the leg is of absolutely normal length. And although it had to be pulled out one centimeter more than the norm, because in time it will shrink, but still it is a real victory. And although the wounds began to tear, the skin stretched like a drum, and although the foot should sit down by a centimeter, but this is a mere trifle compared to what it was before - the foot was eighteen centimeters shorter. Gradually, everything returned to normal. The leg has acquired its natural color, sensitivity has recovered, the foot began to move and, finally, its toe rose - it took its proper position. Father left first crutches, then a wand. And so he was going to ... a shoe store. I went myself ... I bought several pairs of shoes at once (I counted about a dozen), chose the most beautiful from this pile, put it on and went to the club in the evening ... for dancing. In shoes ... and this after most of his life was spent in kersey boots on a block of sleepers. And still the limp was slightly guessed in his gait - obviously, the perennial habit affected.
So, in the sixty-second year, he danced the tango for the first time ... The youth watched and clapped their hands with delight.
Like this! Here it is such a life, different, each has its own ... live it - this is not a field for you to go! So let us bow deeply to our fathers, grandfathers - to all those who, in fierce battles, upheld our freedom with you, our present well-being, our future! Glory to the victorious soldiers!
In the photo the father is on the right above.