You will find an interesting interview WWII veteran Dmitri Vine. During the war, Dmitri was a tanker, but he had to fight not on domestic machines and tanks allies, about which he knows absolutely everything.
- Dmitriy Fedorovich, on which American tanks you fought?
- In Sherman, we called them Emchi - from M4. At first they stood a short gun, and then began to come with a long barrel and muzzle brake. On the front of the compartment they stood backup to fix the barrel during the march. In general, the car was good, but, with its pluses and minuses. When they say that, they say, was a bad tank - I say, I'm sorry! Bad as compared to what?
- Dmitri, have in part been the only American car?
- Sixth Panzer Army fought in the Ukraine, Romania, Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Austria, and Czechoslovakia finished. Later we were transferred to the Far East and we fought against Japan. Let me remind you that the army consisted of two buildings: 5-th Guards Tank Stalingrad Corps, he fought on our T-34, 5-and Mechanized Corps, where I served. Prior to 1943 years in this case were British tanks Matilda and Valentine. The English we have supplied Matilda, Valentine, and Churchill.
- Churchill later delivered?
- Yes, later, and after 1943, our absolutely abandoned these tanks because very serious shortcomings have come to light. In particular, per ton of weight of this tank there was somewhere 12-14 hp, and already at that time it was considered for a normal tank to have 18-20 hp. Of these three types of tanks, the best, Canadian-made, Valentine. Armor streamlined, and most importantly, that it was 57-mm long barreled gun. Since the end of 1943, we switched to American Shermans. After the Chisinau operation, our corps became the 9 Guards. I will add to the structure - each corps consisted of four brigades. In our mechanized corps there were three fur brigades and one tank brigade where I fought, and in the tank corps there were three tank brigades and one motorized rifle. So, in our team from the end of 1943 the Shermans were put.
- But the British tanks were not withdrawn, they fought to its end, then there was a period when your body has a mixed materiel - and the English and American. whether additional problems arise due to the presence of such a wide range of cars from different countries? For example, the supply and repair?
Supply problems were always, but in general, Matilda - shit tank, just incredible! I want to emphasize one drawback. Some kind of bad head in the General Staff planned the operation so that our corps was thrown under Yelnya, Smolensk and Roslavl. The area there is wooded-marshy, that is, disgusting. A Matilda, a tank with bulwarks, and was developed, mainly for action in the desert. In the desert it is good - the sand is poured out, and at us the dirt was hammered in the running between the caterpillar and the bulwark. At Matilda, the gearbox (Gearbox) was servo-controlled, for easy gear changes. In our conditions, it was weak and constantly overheating was out of order. The English already then, in 1943, there was an aggregate repair, that is, the checkpoint broke - you turned the four bolts off, the box off, the new set and drove off. And we have not always succeeded. In my battalion there was a sergeant-major Nesterov, a former collective farm tractor driver, in the position of a battalion mechanic. In general, there was a mechanic in each company, and this was for the whole battalion. We also had a representative of an English firm in the corps who produced these tanks, but forgot the name. She was recorded from me, but after I was beaten, everything in my tank was burnt, and photos, and documents, and a notebook. At the front, it was forbidden to keep records, but I drove slowly. So, the representative of the company constantly prevented us from repairing individual parts of the tank. He said, "Here is a factory seal, you can not pick!" That is, throw out the unit and put a new one. And what can we do? We have to repair the tank. Nesterov at us repaired all these gear boxes without ceremony. The representative of the company once approached Nesterov, "What university did you study at?", And Nesterov answers "In the collective farm".
Sherman was much better in terms of maintainability. You know that one of the designers of the Sherman was a Russian engineer Tymoshenko? It is a distant relative of Marshal SK Timoshenko.
The high center of gravity has been a serious drawback Sherman. The tank frequently tipped over on its side, like a matryoshka. That is because of this lack, I may have survived. We fought in Hungary, in December 1944 years. I am a battalion, and on the turn, my mechanic-driver hits a car on a pedestrian border. So much so that the tank rolled over. Of course, we are crippled, but alive. And the other four of my tanks went ahead and burnt them there.
- Dmitri, Sherman was a rubber-metal tracks. Some modern authors point to this as a disadvantage, because the battle tires could be burned, then the caterpillar was breaking up and the tank stopped. What can you say about this?
- On the one hand, such a caterpillar is a big plus. Firstly, such a track has a service life that is twice as long as an ordinary, steel track. I'm afraid to make a mistake, but, in my opinion, the service life of T-34 trains was 2500 kilometers. The service life of the tracks at Sherman was over 5000 kilometers. Secondly, Sherman on the highway goes like a car, and our T-34 rumbles so loudly that he knows how many kilometers it is. And what was negative? In my book "Commanding the Red Army's Sherman Tanks" there is an essay called "Barefoots". There I described the incident that happened to us in August 1944 in Romania, during the Iasi-Chisinau operation. The heat was terrible, somewhere + 30 degrees. In a day then we passed to 100 kilometers along the highway. Rubber tires on the rollers heated up so that the rubber, melting, flew off a meter scrap. And not far from Bucharest our corps rose: the tires flew around, the skating rinks began to wedge, a terrible screech followed and eventually we stopped. This was immediately reported to Moscow: was it a joke? Such a state of emergency, the whole corps rose! But the new rollers were brought to us very quickly and we changed them for three days. I do not know where they could find so many skating rinks in such a short time.
Another disadvantage of the rubber caterpillar: even with a small icy crust, the tank became like a cow on ice. Then we had to tie the caterpillars with wire, chains, hammer bolts there, so that at least somehow you could drive. But this happened only with the first batch of tanks. Seeing this, the American representative reported this to the firm, and the next batch of tanks came with an additional set of trains with grousers and spikes. Gruntozatepov was, in my opinion, seven pieces per caterpillar, that is, only 14 pieces per tank. They lay in a box of spare parts. In general, the Americans had a job clearly, every noticed shortcoming was eliminated very quickly.
Another disadvantage of the Sherman - design the driver's hatch. At the Shermans first batches of the hatch located in the roof of the body, just lean back up- side. The driver opened part of it, sticking out his head to see better. So we have been cases where when you turn the turret, gun touched the door and he fell, folded neck driver. One or two such cases have been. Then it is removed and the door lifted and just shifted to the side, like on modern tanks.
Sherman was the driving wheel in front, that is, the driveshaft went through the tank from the engine to the checkpoint. At thirty-four all stood nearby. Another big plus of the Sherman was to recharge the battery. On our thirty-four for charging the battery needed to drive the engine at full power, all 500 horses. At Sherman in the fighting compartment was charging gasoline tillers, small as a motorcycle. She led him - and he'll charge the battery. For us it was a great thing!
After the war, I have long been searching for the answer to one question. If you light up T-34, we tried to run off away from him, though it was forbidden. Ammunition exploded. For some time, a month and a half, I have fought on the T-34, near Smolensk. We shot down the commander of one of the companies of our battalion. The crew jumped out of the tank and the Germans squeezed them with machine gun fire. They lay there in the buckwheat, and at this time the tank exploded. In the evening, when the battle died down, we come to them. Watch commander is, as a piece of armor smashed his head. But when Sherman burned, the shells did not explode. Why is that?
Once in Ukraine there was such a case. I was temporarily placed in charge of the battalion's artillery. We drove our tank down. We jumped out of it, and the Germans clamped us tight mortar fire. We climbed under the tank, and it caught fire. Here we lie and nowhere to go. And where to? In field? There, the Germans on the high-altitude all shoot through machine guns and mortars. We lay. Already in the back the heat is baking. The tank is on fire. We think-all, now babahnet and there will be a mass grave. We hear, in the tower boom-boom-boom! Aha, this armor-piercing knocked out of the cartridges: they were unitary. Now the fire will get to the fragments and how to gasp! But nothing happened. Why is that? Why do our shrapnel break, and the US do not? In short, it turned out that the Americans had a cleaner BB, and we had a component that increased the force of the explosion by one and a half times, but at the same time increasing the risk of an explosion of the ammunition.
- dignity is believed that Sherman was inside very well painted. Is it so?
- Well - is not the word! Perfectly! For us, then it was something. As they say - complete renovation! It was some kind of euro-apartment! Firstly, well painted. Secondly, the seats are comfortable, upholstered been some remarkable special leather. If your tank is damaged, it cost just a few minutes to leave the tank unattended, as all leather cut infantry. And all because of it sewed great boots! Just lovely sight!
- Dmitri, how you feel about the Germans? Like the Nazis, and the invaders or not?
- When in front of you, with weapons in hand, the German and the question is who is whom, the ratio was only one-the enemy. As soon as he threw the weapon or took him prisoner, the attitude is completely different. I was not in Germany, but in Hungary there was such a case. We had a German captured trophy. We broke through the column in the rear to the Germans, at night. We are driving along the highway, but our flying is behind. And then exactly the same kind of flying with Germans is attached to us. The column stopped after some time. I go, I check the column in the usual way: "Is everything all right?" - everything is fine. I go up to the last car, I ask "Sasha, is everything all right?", And from there "Was?" What? Germans! I immediately jumped aside and shouted "Germans!" We surrounded them. There's a driver and two more. Disarmed them, and then our flying rolls up. I say, "Sasha, where have you been?", He replies "And we are lost" Well, I say, you have another such fly!
So, as long as the German weapon - he my enemy, and unarmed, he is the same person.
- That is, there was no such hatred?
- Of course not. We understand that they are people, and many are the same servile.
- What are your relations with the civilian population?
- When in March 1944 the 2-th Ukrainian Front reached the border with Romania, we stopped, and from March to August the front was stable. According to the laws of wartime, all civilians from the front line in 100 kilometers must be evicted. And people have already planted vegetable gardens. And then they announced on the radio about eviction, in the morning they submitted transport. Moldovans with tears clutch at the head - how is it? Quit farming! And when will come back what's left? But they were evacuated. So there was no contact with the local population. And then I was still the head of the artillery battalion. The brigade commander calls me and says, "Vine, are you a peasant?" I say yes, the peasant. "Well, if that's the case, then I'll appoint you as foreman, so that all the vegetable gardens will be weeded, everything grows, and so on, and God forbid that at least one cucumber is torn off, that nothing is touched." If you need, then plant for yourself. " Brigades were organized, in my brigade there were 25 people. All summer we took care of the vegetable gardens, and in the autumn, when the troops left, they told us to invite the chairman of the kolkhoz, representatives, and we handed over all these fields and vegetable gardens under the act. When the mistress of the house where I lived returned, she immediately ran to the garden and ... dumbfounded. And there - and pumpkins are huge, and tomatoes and watermelons ... She ran back, fell at my feet and began to kiss my boots, "Son, so we thought that everything here is empty, broken." But it turned out that we have everything, it remains only to collect! " Here is an example of how we treated our people.
In the war, medicine worked well, but there was a case for which doctors should simply hang! Guys, Romania was just a venereal cesspool in the whole of Europe! There was a proverb "If there is 100 lei, then have at least kings!" When we were captured by the Germans, they each had in their pocket several condoms, five to ten pieces each. Our political workers agitated "See, they have it to rape our women!" And the Germans were smarter than us and understood what a venereal disease is. And our doctors even warned about these diseases! We went through Romania quickly, but we had a terrible outbreak of venereal diseases. In general, there were two hospitals in the army: surgical and DLR (for the slightly injured). So the doctors were forced to open the venereal department, although this was not provided for the staff.
How do we relate to the Hungarian population? When we went in October 1944 years in Hungary, we saw virtually empty settlements. Sometimes, you come into the house, stove burns on her something cooked, and not a single person in the house no. I remember in any city, on the wall hung a huge banner, which is painted Russian soldier, biting the child. TO- is, they were so badly frightened that where they could run away - run away! Throwing all his farm. And then, they have come to understand over time that all this is nonsense and propaganda, began to return.
I remember we were in northern Hungary, on the border with Czechoslovakia. Then I was already the chief of staff of the battalion. In the morning I was told that one Magyar was going to the shed at night. And we had counterintelligence in the army. Smershevtsy. Moreover, in the tank troops, the Smershevets were in every tank battalion, and in the infantry only from the regiment and above. I'm talking to my tornado, come on, let's go! They joked in the barn. Found a young girl, years 18-19. They dragged her out of there, and she was already all in scabs, she had a cold. This Madyarka in tears, I thought, now we will rape this girl. "A fool, no one will touch her with a finger! On the contrary, we will cure her." They took the girl to the battalion first-aid post. Have cured. So she then always went to us, spent more time with us than at home. When I was in Hungary twenty years after the war, I met her. Such a beautiful girl! She was already married, the children went.
- So, you did not have the excesses of the local population?
- No, it was not. Now, once I had to drive somewhere in Hungary. Magyar conductor took one, not to get lost - a country of some stranger. He did his job, we gave him the money, given canned and released.
- In your book "Commanding Red Army Sherman Tanks" it is written that from January 1944 233 year-Panzer brigade M4A2 Shermans were armed not short 75-mm long-barreled and 76-mm guns. For January 1944 year is too early, such tanks appeared later. Once again clarify what the guns were armed Shermans in 233-th MAF?
- I do not know, we have a short-Shermans with cannons was not enough. Very little. Basically - a long-barreled guns. Not only our team fought on Shermans maybe other teams have? Somewhere in the building, I saw such tanks, but we had the tanks with a long gun.
- Dmitri, every Sherman, come in the Soviet Union was a personal weapon crew: Thompson machine. I have read that these weapons plundered the rear part and almost came to tankers. What kind of weapon did you have: the American or Soviet?
- Each Sherman delivered two automatic Thompson. Caliber 11,43 mm - healthy such chuck! But the machine was worthless. We have had several cases. Guys, on the dispute, is worn on a pair of padded jacket departed, they were shot. And this bullet stuck quilted jackets! That was such a shitty machine. Here German submachine gun with folding stock (meaning the MP-40 submachine gun company Erma - V_P) we loved for compactness. A Thompson healthy - with him in the tank is not razverneshsya.
On Shermans were anti-aircraft guns. They are often used?
- I do not know why, but one batch of tanks came with machine guns, and the other - without. We used this machine gun both against aircraft and against ground targets. Against the aircraft used infrequently because the Germans were not fools either: they bombed either from a height or from a steep peak. The machine gun was good at 400-600 meters. And the Germans bombed, probably, meters from 800 and above. He threw the bomb and quickly left. Try it, dog, shoot it down! So used, but inefficient. We even used a cannon against the aircraft: you put the tank on the slope of the hillock and shoot. But the general impression is that the machine gun is good. These machine guns helped us a lot in the war against Japan - against suicide bombers. We shot so much that the machine guns were heated and spitting. I still have a splinter in my head from an anti-aircraft machine gun.
- In your book you write about the battle for Tynovka parts 5 th Mechanized Corps. You write that the battle was 26 January 1944. Here the comrade has unearthed the German maps, judging by which, 26 January 1944 Tynovka was in Soviet hands. In addition, the comrade has unearthed a German intelligence report based on the interrogation of a Soviet lieutenant from the 359-X anti-tank division, which showed that in Tynovka there are Soviet T-34 and American medium tanks, as well as several KVs camouflaged with straw. The comrade asks if there could be an error with the date, he says that a week earlier Tynovka really was in German hands?
- It can be. Guys, there was such a mess! The situation has changed by leaps and bounds. We surrounded the Korsun-Shevchenko group of Germans. They began to break, and on the outer ring of the Germans, too, for us to beat to help her escape from the ring. Fights were so heavy that Tynovka several times passed from hand to hand for one day.
- You write that on January 29 5-Mechanized Corps was moving to the west to support units 1-First Ukrainian Front, to restrain the German counteroffensive. A few days later mechanized corps was in the Vinohrady district. Consequently, 1 February, he got in the way of the main blow of the German-rd and 16 17-Panzer Divisions 3-Panzer Corps. This attack was from the area Rusakovka - New Boating on the north and north-east. In just a few days, the Germans captured Vinograd, Tynovkoy, crossed the river and reached Rotten Tikich Antonovka. Could you describe the role of mechanized corps in the ongoing battle?
"We surrounded the Germans, closed the cauldron and immediately threw us to the outer front of the encirclement." The weather was terrible, in the daytime impassable mud: jumped off the tank in the mud, so it was easier to pull you out of the boots than your boots from the mud. And at night the frost hit and the dirt froze. That's because of such dirt we were thrown on the outer front. We had very few tanks left. To create the appearance of great power, at night we lighted the headlights on tanks, cars and moved forward and the whole body stood on the defensive. The Germans decided that many troops were buried in the defense, but in fact, the corps was manned by tanks of thirty percent by the time. The fighting was so heavy that the weapons were heated, and, at times, the bullets fused. You shoot, and they flop in the dirt, a hundred meters from you. The Germans were bursting, like crazy, by all means, they had nothing to lose. In small groups, they still managed to break through.
- Do you lock hatches during the fighting in the city?
- We're locked hatches required. I am of such an order did not hear anything. Now I have, when I rushed to Vienna, threw grenades into the tank from the upper floors of buildings. I ordered to drive all the tanks in the arch of houses and bridges. But my tank was forced to withdraw from time to time in the open space to spread Dowelled antenna and contacted by radio with the command. Radio operator and driver-mechanic were working inside the tank and left the hatch open. And on top of someone threw a grenade into the hatch. It exploded on the back of the radio operator, and both were killed. So in we necessarily hatches closed.
- The main striking force of cumulative ammunition, which include bazookas, is a high-pressure tank that affects the crew. If the hatches to keep ajar, then a chance of surviving.
- This is true, but the hatches, we still kept closed. Maybe other parts were different. Yet faustnikov beaten in the first place on the engine. The tank caught fire, like it or not jump out of the tank. And then they were shot from a machine gun crew.
- What is the chance of survival if the tank is inciting?
- 19 April 1945 year in Austria I was beaten. The tiger stitched us through, the shell went through the entire fighting compartment and through the engine. There were three officers in the tank: I was like a battalion commander, company commander Sasha Ionov, his tank was already killed, and the tank commander. Three officers and a mechanic-driver and radio operator. When the Tiger ushered in, the driver-driver died, the entire left leg broke to my right, Sasha Ionov, to my right, tore off his right leg, the wounded commander was wounded, while the commander of the gun Lesha Romashkin was sitting under my feet, he was torn off both his legs. By the way, just before this fight, we somehow sat and ate, and Lesha told me "If I tear off my legs, I'll shoot myself." Who will I need? " He was an orphanage, no one was native. And really, fate ordered. They dragged Sasha out, pulled him out, and began to help get out the rest. And at that moment Lesha shot himself.
And in general, always one or two people, or hurt, or kill. Watching where the projectile hit.
- whether the soldiers were prepared and junior command staff on hand any money? Salary, allowance?
- Compared with regular, not the Guard, the Guard units in parts of the rank and file up to and including elders received double pay, and officers - one and a half. For example, my company commander received 800 rubles. When I became a battalion commander, you get not 1200 rubles, not 1500 rubles. I do not remember exactly. In any case, in the hands of all the money we have not received. All our money is kept in a field savings bank, on your personal account. Money could send home. That is money in their pockets, we were not, this state makes it reasonable. Why do you want to fight money?
- And what you could buy with that money?
- For example, when we were at the formation in Gorky, we went to the market with my friend Kolya Averkiev. A good guy, but he died literally in the first battles! We come, we look, one huckster sells bread. He keeps one loaf in his hand, and in the suitcase there are a couple of loaves. Kolya asks "How much for a loaf?", He answers "Three Skewers". Kolya did not know what "slanting" means, gets three rubles and holds out. He says, "Are you crazy?" Kolya was dumbfounded, "How's that? You asked for three skew, I give you three rubles!" Baryga says: "Three skewers are three hundred rubles!" Kolya said to him: "Oh, you're an infection, you're speculating here, and we're shedding blood for you!" And we, as officers, had personal weapons. Kolya took out his pistol. Baryga grabbed three rubles and immediately retreated.
In addition to money, the officers once a month gave doppaek. It included 200 grams of butter, biscuits packet of a packet of biscuits, and, in my opinion, cheese. By the way, a couple of days after the event on the market we were given doppaek. We cut a loaf of bread along, smeared with butter and cheese on top put. Oh, how cool it!
- What is the fee payable for the destruction of tanks, cannons and so on.? Who defined it or existed strict rules promoting and rewarding? With the destruction of enemy tanks, awarded the entire crew or just some of its members?
- The money given to the crew and divided equally among the crew members.
In Hungary, in the middle of 1944, the year we decided on one of the meetings, all the money we are owed for the lined equipment, we will gather in a common pot, and then send to the bereaved families of our comrades. And now, after the war, working in the archive, I stumbled upon a statement signed by me to transfer the money to the families of our friends: three thousand, five thousand, and so on.
The Balaton area we broke the rear of the Germans, and it so happened that we shot a German armored column was hit tanks 19, 11 of them heavy. Many vehicles. In total, we counted 29 destroyed combat units. We received for each destroyed tank 1000 rubles.
In our team there were a lot of Muscovite tankers, since our brigade was formed in Naro-Fominsk, and the replenishment to us came from the Moscow military registration and enlistment offices. Therefore, when, after the war, I went to study in the military academy, I tried, as far as possible, to meet with the families of the victims. Of course, the conversation was sad, but he was so necessary to them, for I am the person who knows how their son, father or brother died. And often I tell them, so and so, I call the date. And they remember, and that day we were uneasy. So we received the money then. And sometimes we managed to send not money, but parcels with trophies.