Nobody canceled the combat readiness at the border

Nobody canceled the combat readiness at the borderIn 1956, Soviet tanks were preparing to enter Poland, but for some reason they did not enter.
The events in which the author of these memories became a participant took place in the autumn of 1956 in the German Democratic Republic, on the border with Poland.

In Poland, unrest broke out due to food supply disruptions. Perhaps there were other reasons that we, the military, chose not to talk about. We knew even less about what was happening in Hungary. Our tank unit was in the GDR and we felt that some events were taking place on the other side of the border that might require our intervention. We were informed that in order to ensure security, the leadership of the USSR had already taken all the necessary measures, including the blockade of the border with Poland.

Political information began to resemble reports from the front: in Hungary, the insurgents captured army ammunition depots. In order not to repeat such a command, the army, which included our regiment, decided to take ammunition depots in Germany under reinforced security.


I was drafted into the ranks of the Soviet army at the end of August 1953. My elder brother Ilya, who is no longer there, escorted me to the army. He took me to the military office. Near the bus stood. The brother said, "You will serve here with us." But his words were not justified. The whole group of conscripts was put on a bus, taken to the assembly conscription station in Krasnaya Presnya. There we were fed lunch. And soon a composition consisting of teaplane was filed. The locomotive made a whistle and we set off on a long journey.

Already landed in Lithuania. There was a team to build, then roll. After that, everyone was seated in trucks and in an hour and a half we were already at the location of the unit. Part was artillery. First of all we were taken to the bathhouse and instead of civilian clothes we received an army uniform. Boots were yalovye. It cost us, recruits, to appear in this form in front of soldiers who have already served for two years, as one of them, looking at our appearance, said: "Guys, you will be sent abroad." He was not mistaken.

October 18 1953, we were sworn in, and a week later we were put back in teplushki, and the train went abroad. Early in the morning we arrived at the border. We were dropped off the wagons. The border guards with dogs checked the cars, after which they were given a command to land. The composition moved on. The destination arrived again early in the morning. As expected - roll call, then - the distribution in parts. So began my service in Germany. I spent ten months in the training battalion, I got into a platoon that was trained by the commanders of medium tanks T-34. After studying, I got into the tank battalion 48 mech. regiment, all further my service was held as commander of the tank T-34.

I was enrolled in the crew of a training tank. Training shots were conducted on it, young mechanics worked out and improved their driving skills. Usually, tanks became tanks that had already developed a large number of engine hours. Their further fate - overhaul. When the car that our crew serviced (tank commander, driver, gunner, loader), worked for a period after which it was necessary to send the tank for repairs, the company commander called me and offered to work over and above the 75 hours.

In total, it turned out that the machine will work in excess of the normal 100 hours. But during this period, she worked, without having a single breakdown, and after the 100 hour run was completed, the commander again called me and said that I had a chance to go on vacation. After completing the necessary documentation, the tank was sent for overhaul. This event instilled hope in me - and on vacation, and even then, that now I will become the commander of not a training machine, but a combat one, going out only at night after an alarm.

But neither one nor the other hopes came true. I was again assigned to the training machine. This turn was unexpected for me. What to do? To consult? With whom? To challenge the decision of the company commander? It makes no sense. The situation was clearly not in my favor. There was only one way out - to take a training machine. A third tank followed the second tank, followed by a fourth one. From this crew I was transferred to the reserve.


The service abroad was more like a military one, here everything was painted literally by the minute, time flew by very quickly. Coming to the barracks in the evening, it was enough to sit on a stool, and the dream instantly enveloped you, and so I wanted to read a book, write a letter to my mother. From the staff demanded almost constant alert. The events of the last year of service have clearly confirmed this truth.

At night we were alarmed. After minutes of 30 – 40, all of our tank units were already at the point indicated by the command. In a sad coincidence, this event coincided with the start of demobilization, and I, and all my fellow draftees, were already waiting to return home. And here - obviously it was not about demobilization, on the contrary, about mobilization. Night alarm did not bode well.

Was given a command to build. The battalion was assembled in full force. The commander was recently appointed to this position. He announced that martial law was being introduced from now on. Translated into civil language, this meant that all violations of discipline, regulations will be punished according to the laws of war. An order followed - to bring weapons - that is, a gun and a machine gun - to full readiness. The gun of the T-34 tank has a length of 2 meter, so the gun of each machine was cleaned by the whole platoon.

The mode of the day was nonetheless ordinary, and it was another thing to spend the night not in winter quarters, not in the barracks, but in a tank. The nights were cold. We slept on the tank, wrapped in a tarp, which was intended to close the car in the field. The day, as usual, began with charging, and then followed the construction, strict orders of the authorities about the preparation of vehicles for military operations. It was issued an additional for each tank two boxes of shells in excess of those 55, which were part of the average tank ammunition.

Perhaps the most annoying thing was that part of those who served their time had already left the barracks and were already at home. And here, because of the ambiguity of our situation, because of even greater uncertainty as to how events will develop in the future, apart from other inconveniences, there was no connection with Moscow, that is, the letters that came to the unit remained there. Our home letters were also not temporarily accepted, and there was no time left for letters.

It’s hard to imagine how parents felt about the long absence of letters, and now, after decades, I don’t remember how much time we spent in the field. The daily routine remained unchanged. Every day we checked the material part, the presence of fuel, water, oil.

In one of the days, the “End” command also unexpectedly followed. This meant that our battalion, like the entire regiment, was returning to the place of permanent deployment. Upon arrival we were ordered to replenish the fuel, and not to touch the undercarriage. Therefore, it is too early to hope that everything is over. The working day began with a charge, after breakfast - in the park, then a lunch break, after lunch - the continuation of work in the park. And so before dinner, we returned to the barracks at half past eight.

To other troubles one more was added. Instead of the former who took part in the Patriotic War, a new platoon commander came. We were familiar with him from the training battalion, then for the excellent training of the platoon he received thanks from the division commander. But personally, I was not very happy about this meeting - before the demobilization I didn’t want to do any more drill, and the situation was such that I couldn’t shirk, let some teams pass by in the conditions it was impossible. After graduation, we were glad to part with him and I did not expect such a “gift” at the end of the service.


One of the days I remember for a lifetime. In the morning everything went as usual. We finished work in the park earlier than usual and arrived at the company about two hours before dinner. The voice of the day in a loud voice announced that everyone who is to be demobilized should be gathered at the club. We took our seats. The regiment commander arrived. I cannot give the full text of his speech, since more than 50 years have passed since then.

I convey his speech in my own words: “My dear! - He turned to us. - I understand perfectly well that at home you are waiting for parents, relatives, brothers, sisters, wives, children. Replenishment has come to the part, but it does not have any everyday or military experience that you possess. The situation at the moment is very serious. I hope that you yourself have understood and felt this. I can't trust them in this setting. Addressing you, I can order you, but I ask you, as a father, to have patience and courage. You with honor passed all the tests that fell during the service. I hope and trust in you that you will now justify my trust. ”

These words made a strong impression on me, they were necessary for us as air during 2 or 3 week stays outside the unit. Looking ahead, I confess that I never met such a leader who held a high position and at the same time was able to find a way to the heart of a simple person in my life.

I already wrote about the reasons that prompted the leadership of our country to decide on the blockade of the Polish-German border. To resolve the situation and the problems that have arisen with the deterioration of the food supply, a delegation led by Nikita Khrushchev arrived in Warsaw. The solution of the Polish problem could be resolved peacefully in the event of successful completion of the negotiations. If not, then, as I now understand, another solution remained in reserve: the invasion of troops stationed in Germany. We were ready for this.

By the way, a very substantial meeting took place these days. After the regular preparation of the equipment, our crew made a fire. We indulged in the memories of a citizen, complained about the lack of letters. And they did not notice how two people approached the fire, the locals - the Germans. Probably father and son. There were no officers around. It gave us courage. The elder spoke Russian fairly well. It was possible to continue the conversation for a long time, but they probably felt our fatigue. They were very touched by our hospitality. In parting, the father said the following: “If a new war begins, I will first kill him, and then myself.” This meeting left us with the hope that a new war could be avoided.

And life went on as usual. Technique gradually led to the state in which it was before the departure of the alarm. In the middle of October, in connection with the events in Hungary, a platoon in which I served 1956, on the orders of the army commander, was sent to strengthen the security of the army ammunition depot. Two weeks later, the reinforcement was canceled and our platoon returned to the regiment. It was already November in the yard, the whole company was at the limit of physical and moral strength. About demobilization and did not stutter, as if it was not.

However, around November 20 announced that December 2 is still scheduled to be sent demobilized. My last name was on the list. Hope appeared, however I decided not to write about it, as the situation could change at any moment. Moreover, no one canceled the combat readiness and the work in the park went on a daily basis, without changes.


December is finally here. 2 th demobilized issued overcoats, personal belongings, suitcases. The regiment was built in full force, we were separately built in the center. It was rendered the banner of the regiment. He played the regimental orchestra. The regiment commander went around the line, greeted each unit separately. Having completed the rounds, he approached us. He stopped, took off his hat and said: “Thank you for your service. You have justified my trust! ”

Then our group marched in a solemn march. The regiment said goodbye to us, we said goodbye to the regiment. Taking things, we went to the railway station, where the train was already waiting for us. The carriages were long, covered with burgundy paint on the outside, and from the inside, like the earth and the sky, were different from ours. First of all, it was amazing how all the love was done. Boards on the floor were laid so that there was not even a small gap. Bunk beds, and here again the boards were carefully fitted to one another, and everything was smooth. It was felt that everything was done so that people would not experience inconvenience.

To top it off, there was a stove in the middle of the car. And next to it is a box in which peat-coal briquettes lay. And all this was done for us, the Soviet military. It would be very useful, we thought, our bosses to look at these cars. In such cars we had to drive to the border station. The path lay through Poland, on the border with which our troops were stationed.

The train stopped at one of the many small Polish stations. Apparently, they changed the locomotive. Local residents immediately took advantage of this opportunity and ran from the carriage to the carriage with bags, collecting black loaves, which we were given out before leaving. The composition was long. Our car was waiting for the turn to reach us. Finally, several Poles ran up to us. We have already prepared the bread. Loaves of bread were in the bags of the locals.

One of those traveling in our car asked one of the locals: “How do you live, sir?” The answer came right there. "Poor, sir, poor, - four cows, five geldings, 10 pigs, sheep 50 pieces, and chickens, geese, ducks, I never considered, the garden - apple 40 pieces, cherries 50, black and red currants, she- God did not count. " I, of course, cite figures, but the order was so. Here you have the concept of poverty in Poland. I thought to myself: “We would have such poverty in Russia”. Locomotive gave a whistle, and the composition set off on a long journey.

Arrived at the border station in the afternoon. During the journey we were so accustomed to the German carriages and now we sadly parted with them. We were waiting for "calf houses", in which we now had to make our way to Moscow. We were given money to travel to the place of residence. Unfortunately, part of this money was immediately spent on vodka. The soldiers, as they say, have seized upon freedom. Shops for a short period of time lost all stocks of vodka, which were rich. The commandant (of course, the military) took all necessary measures to ensure that the “valiant defenders of the motherland” left the border town as soon as possible. We were given a green street.

The train arrived at the siding of the Belorussky railway station of 4 – 5 number of December 1956. It was already winter in Moscow. Snow. It was about four in the morning. It remains to be seen how Moscow taxi drivers learned about the arrival time of the train from Germany. The station square in a few minutes was filled with taxis. My journey back home was completed. The rest had a long way to go.

Finally I was lucky. The taxi driver agreed for 25 rubles to take me home. I sat down and we went. All the way from the station to the house took minutes 15. The car stopped near the three-story house on the October field. This one, like the likes of it, was built by German prisoners of war. Now they are gone, almost all torn down. It's a pity.

We got out of the car. And then the taxi driver turned to me: “Listen, sergeant, on the occasion of your return to your homeland, throw on 5”. And put his hand on the trunk. Apparently, each of us put a different meaning and representation into the concept of “homeland”. There was another obstacle in front of me that had to be overcome in order to see my relatives. He looked at me, I at him. There was an invisible duel. I handed him a top five. Silently taking the money, he opened the trunk. I took my suitcase. The taxi driver got into the car and drove away.

I stood in the middle of our yard. Around - not a soul. I wanted to hug, kiss the first comer. With such pleasure, I breathed in the frosty air of Moscow, that I felt joy and pride in myself. Taking a suitcase, entered the entrance. Mom lived on the third floor. Approached the apartment number 8. On the door hung a sign with the names of the tenants and an indication of the number of calls to them. The sign read: “Zaslavskaya M.G. - 2 star.

I didn't want to wake anyone up. But patience was soon over. I clicked twice. It was not long to wait. There was a noise behind the doors, the door opened. On the threshold stood mom. She seemed to be waiting for my return. When she saw me, she said two words: “Are you alive?” - “Alive, mother, alive”. She seemed not to believe her eyes, because she repeated several times: "You are alive, you are alive." We entered the apartment.
Ctrl Enter

Noticed a mistake Highlight text and press. Ctrl + Enter

Dear reader, to leave comments on the publication, you must to register.

I have an account? Sign in