In many partisan brigades there were special “Stalingrad accounts”. Developing combat operations in the forests, the commanders addressed to everyone: “What did you do for the fighting Stalingrad?” And the train flew down the slope, loaded with military equipment, guerrilla radio operators reported intelligence information on the movement of enemy troops to the Bolshoi Land.
Once a journalistic fate brought me to a small Bavarian town. And on the eve I had a chance to see a German military newsreel here: in the same town with drums and banners, teenagers in the attack were going to the mountains. Future pilots, tankmen, and infantrymen went to sports training camps, who would later break into our cities and villages with punishers. Residents of the entire town, like a toy, then poured into the streets, raising their hands in a Nazi salute. Now in the center of the town I saw a monument to those dead German soldiers. I remembered our street burned in Stalingrad, and a vengeful feeling took hold of me: I began to count how many names of the dead were inscribed on the obelisk, and then I walked along the short streets that looked like a beautiful garden and counted the number of mansions decorated with flowers. Why did I do this? I wanted to know if every house got a funeral here. I managed that in each. It seemed to me that it was this picturesque slope that I saw in the pictures that we collected as a child near a black German tank near my broken school. And then I thought: whom did they come to rob from these seemingly fabulous towns ?! I can’t forget anything.
... From the windows of our destroyed Stalingrad school, a wounded German tank was visible. We walked around him, picking up scattered photos. We were surprised at the picturesque slopes and the mansions buried in flowers. We have never seen such buildings before.
Our houses were built of clay blocks, which were kneaded with cow dung for strength. How many meters did a German tank not reach our school? According to our calculations - no more than 70.
We also saw other downed German tanks on our wide street, which descended from the steppe to the Volga. But they also knew another thing: how quickly and accurately, in just a few hours, the Germans dragged the padded armored vehicles to our Cherry girder - the former playground of ours. In the beam was now arranged German repair base. But they abandoned this tank in front of our school. Something broke in the streamlined German mechanism. We asked our teacher-front-line soldier about this: “German tanks passed all of Europe, and stopped in front of our school ...” The teacher's answer sunk into my memory. He said: "The partisans blew up the bridges - that’s why the Germans couldn’t beat a few meters."
I remember the feeling I felt then. Everything was mixed up at once: a blown up tank, which had not reached our school, unknown partisans and German photos that we picked up. From our school to the Volga, we reached in 20 minutes. But the German tank did not break through to the shore. These events that occurred on our street, then seemed to me mysterious. When I became a journalist, I went to Belarus and met with one of the former partisans, everything fell into place.
... Anatoly Pavlovich Shimanovich in 1941 graduated from high school and dreamed of going to study in Moscow aviation institute. With their parents, they lived in the small village of Plyussa near Minsk. In the house on the walls hung his gliders and sheets of whatman paper, on which he depicted the outlines of airplanes. The Germans took those places on the 7th day of the war. The first entries appear in Anatoly Shimanovich’s military diary: “The Germans posted an announcement on the building of the former village council:“ If the delivery of grain is delayed, the village will be burned. ”
In the fall of 1941, there were rumors in the village that partisans were active in the forest. No one knew who they were and where they were. To him, then the secretary of the Komsomol organization of the school, it was dangerous to remain in the village. The headman already went around the houses of the village and demanded that the young people come for registration, draw up lists - who will be sent to work in Germany.
“I told my parents that I would go to the forest to look for partisans, I would fight. Mother sewed me a bag with shoulder straps, put bread, lard, matches, warm clothes. So I can hold out in the forest for a while. I went to the forest, hoping for good luck. A few days later they called me. “Who is this?” They brought me to the detachment commander. They questioned with disbelief. I repeated the same thing several times. It hurt me. I left my parents, left to fight, but they do not trust me. Why? Subsequently, while in the detachment, I realized that such precautions in the partisan forest were vital. ”
Soon he was in the famous brigade "Uncle Kolya". At first there were just 50 people. He saw his classmates and teachers in the brigade.
It will be two years and the squad "Uncle Kolya" will be one of the largest brigades of Belarus. In its composition will fight a half thousand people. The brigade commander Peter G. Lopatin will be awarded the title Hero of the Soviet Union.
In the notebook of Anatoly Pavlovich Shimanovich, the partisan exits to the railway were carefully recorded, where they hunted down enemy trains with military cargoes, reconnaissance operations, battles with punishers who were sent to massacre the villagers who helped the partisans. In the memory of Anatoly Pavlovich there are dates and many details of those operations. But I tried to ask him about the trench guerrilla truth. I wanted to know how it was possible to exist and fight while being in the swamps. A.P. Shimanovich fought among them for three years. Anatoly Pavlovich said: “From the coast to the island we laid logs. They called them clutches. You walk on slippery logs, they spin, slide off. You fall. Friends rush to help, pull out of the swamp. And behind the shoulders is always a heavy bag of groceries or military equipment. Masonry stretched 2-3 kilometers and were the only roads to the marsh islands, where the headquarters of the detachments, our dugouts and the wounded. Day and night masonry was carefully guarded, they were even specially put in the swamp, so that the Germans or the policemen could not make their way to us or blow up the road to the camp. Over time, we got the knack, jumped on the logs like circus performers. It was especially difficult to carry the wounded across the masonry. With an open wound of a partisan, it happened that they dropped into swamp slush. Every war veteran knows that in the face of death a young organism manifests unprecedented forces. When they went for an operation, they had to lie in the snow for hours, and no one had a cold.
Anatoly Pavlovich showed me on the map a section of the railway between Smolevichi and Zhodino stations. Here was his partisan front.
“The guerrillas opened the Second Front back in 1941 year. The underground workers who worked at the stations passed on to us when trains with tanks or with fuel would go, ”said Anatoly Pavlovich. - We had to walk a lot in the forest swamplands. 50-60 kilometers one way. We were ready for any tests, just to cause damage to German punishers. Fearing partisans, the Germans cut down the forest along the railways on 100-150 meters. We put the tower with machine guns. Illuminated at night the railway spotlights. And yet we managed to get to the "piece of iron."
Anatoly Pavlovich Shimanovich went to the railway fifty times. Each time the group went to certain death. There were no two identical operations. Each exit to the "piece of iron" is special.
Once went on a mission in October 1943. “It rained, which we cursed all the way. We did not think that these heavy rains would save our lives and help us accomplish the task. Two days crawled in the mud near the mound, but could not climb it. The rain is such that even the German towers are not visible. And we decided: “If we don’t see them, then they don’t see us either.” We got to the "piece of iron", without going into the village, never made a fire. Dangerously! We chose a hollow that led to the railway. I crawled alone. The guys left - cover me. The dirt was such that the boots were torn off their feet, clinging to the floor of their coats, and stuffing themselves in their sleeves. Hands slid on the earth blurred by rain. Still, I grabbed onto the steel rail. I heard a train noise in the distance. From the underground workers they knew - there is a squad with tanks. I still managed to put mine and crawl to the forest edge, where the guys were waiting for me.
We had to walk incessantly. There were not enough shoes. Once Kolya Dudnikov went on a mission in raw leather sandals. From these bastard was unbearable stench. Belts decomposed by water and heat. At night, I fell asleep under the tree. Kolya Dudnikov is pushing me: “What should I do? We were surrounded by wolves. ” They were attracted by the foul smell. We couldn’t open fire - we will find ourselves, break the operation. We sat around the Christmas tree and waited. In our pockets we had a pinch of gunpowder. We scattered them around. And the wolves are gone. Our group rose and began to make its way to the railway. ”
On the marsh islands built huts, dug dugouts. In the middle - a barrel, the pipe of which went out to the ceiling. The attendant kept the fire in the barrel all night — that was how they warmed up. There were dugouts hospitals. Towels were boiled in the swamp water at the stake, pieces of cloth — these were bandages. “During one of the operations, my friend Alexey Anishchenko was seriously injured in the leg,” said Anatoly Pavlovich. - Our surgeon Olga Tikhonovna Bakun said: "We'll have to amputate the leg." Alexey Anischenko asked me to hold him by the shoulders during the operation. Wounded laid on the table. And the surgeon with an ordinary hacksaw began to saw off Aleksey's bone. Of course, we didn’t have any anesthesia or surgical instruments. Alex screamed terribly, his body arched from the pain, I tried to press him to the table so that he would not hurt his injured leg even more. For me, the smell of moss is forever connected with the smell of blood. ”
Anatoly Pavlovich showed me the file of the newspaper “Red Partisan”, which was published in the brigade “Uncle Kolya”. I was surprised to see that among the reports of the Soviet Information Bureau and the reports of guerrilla operations, which radio operators received, many poems were printed.
Sometimes - the whole strip. “I had a friend, Yasha Ksendzov. After returning from a combat mission, the guys would lay down side by side in a dugout, and my friend Yasha the Priest would sit under a birch tree and, a junk pencil, would write something on a piece of wrapping paper. He was the one who composed the poems, ”said Anatoly Pavlovich.
We do not know whether Jacob the Priest possessed a genuine poetic gift. But what did the poetic lines written on a swamp island mean then! Not enough ammo, weapons, bread, heat in dugouts. The guerrillas went through hardship, pain, cruelty, betrayal. But they won not only by force of arms, but also by force of spirit - special resistance to the enemy. Yakov Ksendzov did not live to see Victory. He died in one of the partisan operations.
“The worst thing was to see a village burning somewhere outside the forest. Unfamiliar, but dear, - recalled Anatoly Pavlovich. - Once our sabotage group - 5 man - walked to the railway. Together with us - a group of bombers Ivan Lizunova. A frightened man jumped out at us near a village: “Guys! Help! The Germans surrounded the village. They are threatening to burn with people! ”And although we did not have the right to turn off our road, we decided to rush to the aid of the village. While we were running through the forest, we met another group of partisans from the neighboring brigade, “Death to Fascism!” We did not know each other, but the guys were fighting - we agreed quickly. Together they rushed to the village. Among us the most accurate marksman was Nikolai Alekseev. We put him on the roof of the house so that he took down the gunner’s guns. The house was wooden. Germans partisans noticed. Opened fire. Nikolay shouted to me: “Tolya! I'm injured! ”I dragged him to the potato tops. The wound was hard. Alexey was disabled. We see - from the barn, where the Germans drove the villagers, people began to scatter. Partisans grenades and gunfire dispersed punitive. We had a lot of operations, but I especially remember this - how we saved the village. ”
In the life of each partisan brigade included a terrible concept of "blockade". Punishers were surrounded by forest thickets and swamps, where the partisans were. Airplanes and guns brought down their fire blows on them.
Under the protection of partisans, residents fled. “We ran out of ammunition, food. Remains of flour diluted with swamp water. Ate roots of marsh grasses. - With daggers they removed birch bark, ate woody gruel, - said Anatoly Pavlovich. - Picked up and gnawed horse skin. It was impossible to kindle fires. German planes circled above us. Every day the partisans, hungry and exhausted, were fighting. There were so many injured that there were not enough bandages, no stretchers, no people to carry them out. The wounded were hidden in the swamp under the twisted snags. ” So hid and Anatoly Shimanovich, when he was wounded in the leg.
“It was June 21 1944 of the year. Putting the pistol to a combat platoon, I lay down between two bumps and hid my legs under fallen alder. The nurse has covered me from above with moss. Cladding with mud, I was breathing through a reed. Shots and German teams were heard nearby: “Halt!” The thought beating in my head: “I live in the last minutes”. I was in the cold water until late at night. I was shaking from a chill. It was impossible to move. The Germans fired upon hearing any sound.
It became quiet at night. I climbed to the island. I took out of the shelter clothes, food remnants, boots, in which I hid my leather-bound notebook. ”
Most of all I was struck by the last entry in the notebook of Anatoly Shimanovich. Getting out from under the snag, a wounded, hungry Anatoly Shimanovich writes down the information that the guerrilla radio operators transmitted: “There are battles in Paris. Hopefully Paris will be freed soon. ”
The guerrillas, conducting military operations in the marshes, believed that they were associated with the general course of the war. So it really was.
In December, 1942, the offensive of Manstein’s tank armads near Stalingrad was postponed due to guerrilla sabotage on railways. In the days of the Battle of Kursk, thousands of partisans fought a rail war. And these guerrilla operations behind enemy lines helped to accomplish the main strategic task of the summer of 1943. The enemy was defeated at the Kursk Bulge. At that time, more than a million partisans and underground fighters fought in the enemy's rear.
In those days, when Anatoly Shimanovich, wounded, was hiding in a swamp, which was blocked by German punishers, gunfire was heard from far away. Our troops broke through the front. From Orsha to Borisov, near which there was a brigade of "Uncle Kolya" and other partisan units, Soviet tanks were going along wooden gatiyas laid out in the marshes, artillerymen were pulling guns, and rifle regiments were making their way. Began the liberation of Belarus.
... At the Nuremberg Trials, the leaders of the fascist Reich were presented with documents on the massacre of partisans and civilians of the Minsk region during the blockade, which Anatoly Shimanovich also survived. Here is a German report on the punitive operation near Lake Palik, where the Uncle Kolya brigade fought: "With the number of 4500 enemies killed, the entire 492 rifle was picked up on the battlefield." The terrible picture of the massacre of the "family camps", hospitals and peasants who have gone to the partisan zone. Lake Palik itself has become a special symbol of cruelty punitive in the Belarusian land.