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, a little later, and after our 1943 years completely abandoned these tanks because of very serious shortcomings were revealed. In particular, the per ton weight of this tank had somewhere 12-14 hp and already at that time was considered to be normal tanks 18-20 hp Of these three types-best tanks, manufactured in Canada, Valentine. Armor streamlined, and the main thing that stood 57-mm long-barreled gun on him. Since the end of 1943 years we switched to American Shermans. After the Kishinev Operation our corps became 9-Guards. I have supplemented about the structure - each corps consisted of four teams. In our mechanized corps had three mechanized brigade and one armored brigade, where I fought, and in the tank corps had three tank brigades and one mechanized infantry. So, in our team since the end of the year 1943 put Shermans.
- But the British tanks were not withdrawn, they fought to its end, then there was a period when your body has a mixed materiel - and the English and American.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 have always been, and in fact, Matilda - shitty tank, just incredible! I want to emphasize one drawback. What a bad head the General Staff planned an operation so that our body thrown under Yelnya, Smolensk and Roslavl. The terrain there marshy, that is to say, disgusting. A Matilda tank with bulwarks and was developed primarily for action in the wilderness. In the desert, well - the sand is poured, and we have dirt particles into the chassis between the caterpillar and the bulwarks. Matilda gearboxes (KPP) has servo, for ease of shifting. In our situation, it was weak and constantly overheating failure. The English already in 1943-m, was aggregate repair, that is, broken PPC - you turned away four bolts, box off, a new set and go. And we do not always work. I was a sergeant in the battalion Nesterov, a former farmer-tractor in the position of battalion mechanic. In general, every company was a mechanic, and this was for the entire battalion. Even in our case was a representative of the British company that produced these tanks, so the name has forgotten. It was I recorded, but after I was hit, all I have in the tank burned, and photos and documents, and a notebook. At the front it was forbidden to take notes, but I drove slowly. So, the company's representative constantly interfered with us to repair some tank units. He said, "There is the factory seal, can not pick!" Ie dispose of the machine and put a new one. And what shall we do? We need to repair the tank. Nesterov we repaired all these transmission easily. A representative of the company just came up to Nesterov, "You went in what university?", And answers Nesterov "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 - a big plus. Firstly, in a caterpillar life twice normal, steel tracks. I'm afraid to make a mistake, but, in my opinion, the life of shoe T-34 2500 was kilometers. Shoe lifespan Sherman was over 5000 kilometers. Secondly, Sherman goes on the highway the car, and our T-34 rumbles so that it for God knows how many kilometers can hear. What was negative? In my book "Commanding the Red Army's Sherman Tanks" there is an essay called "Barefoot". There I described an incident that occurred with us in August 1944 years in Romania, during the Jassy-Kishinev operation. The heat was terrible, somewhere + 30 degrees. At night when we went to 100 kilometers on the highway. Rubber bands on rollers warmed up so that the rubber is melted, flew away meter scraps. And not far from Bucharest, our body stood up: rubber flown, rollers become jammed, was a terrible grinding and eventually we stopped. This was immediately reported to Moscow: no joke? Such a state of emergency, the whole body stood up! But the new rollers brought us very quickly and we change them for three days. I do not know where they could find as many rollers in such a short time?
Another shortcoming of rubber tracks: even with a small tank became icy, like a cow on ice. Then we had to fasten the tracks wire, chains, bolts to score, that somehow could go. But that was only the first batch of tanks. Seeing this, the US official said this at the company, and already the next batch of tanks come with extra shoe with cleats and spikes. Lug was, I think, seven pieces on a caterpillar, that is only 14 pieces on the tank. They were in a box of spare parts. In general, Americans work was set clearly seen every shortcoming is 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 the Ukraine was such a case. I temporarily put on Chief of artsnabzheniya battalion. Knocked out our tank. We jumped out of it, and the Germans have clamped tight mortar fire. We crawled under the tank, and it burst into flames. Here we are lying and have nowhere to go. And where to? In field? There were Germans on the hill all shoot through machine guns and mortars. Lie. Already back in the heat of baking. Lit tank. We think -All now came shooting out, and there will be a mass grave. We hear the tower boom-boom-boom! Yeah, it knocks the armor of the sleeves: they were the same unitary. Right now the fire gets to the fragmentation and how gasp! But nothing happened. Why is that? Why our exploding shrapnel, and the American is not? Briefly, it appeared that the Americans have a net explosive, and we had some component that increases the force of the explosion and a half times, but at the same time increasing the risk of explosion of 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 arms in hand, the German and the question is who will win, the ratio was only one -vrag. As soon as he threw the weapon or captured him, the attitude is quite another. I was not in Germany, and Hungary was such a case. We had a trophy German briefing. We broke through the column at the rear of the Germans at night. We go on the road, and our briefing behind. And there is attached to us exactly the same briefing with the Germans. Column after a stop. I go check column in the usual way: "Everything all right?" - everything is fine. I went to the last car, I ask, "Sasha, all right?", And then "Was?" What? Germans! I immediately jumped to the side and yell "Germans!" We surrounded them. There's a driver and two others. We disarmed them, and here and our briefing rolls. I say, "Sasha, where were you?", He replies, "And we're lost," Well, I tell you even one such briefing!
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 years 2-Second Ukrainian Front reached the border with Romania, we stopped, and from March to August, the front was stable. Under martial law all civilians from the front line in 100 kilometers should be evicted. And people are already planted gardens. And then they announced on the radio about the eviction, the next morning served transport. Moldovans tearfully clutching his head - how can that be? Quit farming! And when they return what is left then? But we evacuated them. So that the contact with the local population was not any. And then I was still chief artsnabzheniya battalion. my brigade commander calls and says, "Vine, you're a farmer?" I say yes, a farmer. "Well, if so, then you appoint a foreman! To all the gardens were weeded, all grown, and so on. And God forbid, that even one cucumber frustrated! So do not touch anything. If you need to, then Plant for themselves. " Organized teams, in my brigade was 25 people. All summer we took care of the gardens, and in the autumn, when the troops were gone, then we were told to invite a kolkhoz chairman, representatives, and we give them all these fields and gardens passed to the act. When the hostess returned to the house where I lived, I immediately ran to the garden and ... stunned. And there - and a huge pumpkin, and tomatoes and watermelons ... She ran back and fell at my feet and kissed my boots "Sonny! So we thought, Well, that everything is empty, broken. And it turned out that we all have, it remains only to collect! " Here is an example of how we treat their populations.
In the war medicine it worked well, but there was a case for which physicians should just hang up! Guys, Romania was a venereal cesspool in all of Europe! There went the saying, "If there 100 lei, the bear even kings!" When we are captured Germans, they have each been in the pocket of a few condoms, pieces of five to ten. Our political workers agitated, "You see! That they have to rape our women! " But the Germans were smarter and we understood what venereal disease. And our doctors even if warned about the disease! We went through Romania quickly, but the outbreak of sexually transmitted diseases have been terrible. Surgical and DLR (for easily wounded): Generally, two hospitals were in the army. So doctors have been forced to open a venereal department, although the staff was not provided.
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 head of the battalion headquarters. Morning reported to me: here one Magyar walks into the barn at night. And we have been in the Army counterintelligence. Smershevtsy. And in armor smershevets he was in each tank battalion and infantry regiment only from above. I tell my smershevtsu, Come on, let's go! They shed poshurovali. We found a young girl, years 18-19. I pulled her out, and she was covered in sores, cold. This Magyar in tears, thinking, now we are going to rape the girl. "Fool, but no one her finger will not touch! On the contrary, we will cure it. " Woman taken to the battalion aid station. Cured. Since then she kept coming to us, we have more time spent than at home. When I was twenty years after the war was in Hungary, then I met her. Such a beautiful maiden! She had 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 party tanks come with machine guns, and the other - no. This gun we used against aircraft against ground targets. Airplanes used infrequently because the Germans, too, are not fools were bombed either from a height or a steep dive. The machine gun was good to 400-600 meters. The Germans bombed probably meters 800 and higher. He threw a bomb and quickly left. Try it, dog, Shoot down! So we used, but ineffective. We even used the gun against airplanes: you put the tank on the slope of the hill and shoot. But the overall impression - a good gun. These guns helped us a lot in the war with Japan - against suicide. We shot so much that guns are heated and started spitting. I still sits splinter from antiaircraft machine gun in the head.
- In your book you write about the battle for Tynovku parts 5-Mechanized Corps. You write that the fight was in January 26 1944 years. Here comrade unearthed the German card, according to which, in January 26 1944 years Tynovka was in Soviet hands. In addition, the companion dug German razveddonesenie based on the interrogation of a Soviet lieutenant from the anti-tank battalion 359-th CD, which showed that in Tynovke are Soviet T-34 and American medium tanks, as well as several KV, camouflaged with straw. Friend asked, could there be a mistake with the date, he said 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 are surrounded by the Germans closed the boiler and we immediately threw to the external environment front. The weather was terrible, impassable mud afternoon: jumped from the tank into the mud, it was easier to get you out of boots than your boots out of the mud. At night, I hit the frost and freezing mud. Here on this dirt we were thrown to the outer edge. Tanks have remained very small. To create the appearance of a large force, at night we lit the lamps on the tanks, vehicles, and moved forward, and his whole body rose up in defense. The Germans decided that the defense zarylos many troops, but in fact, the case has been equipped with tanks to thirty percent by the time. The fighting was so heavy that the weapon is heated and, at times, and the bullets are melted. You shoot, and they flop in the mud, a few hundred meters from you. The Germans exploded like mad, in that no matter what, 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?
- April 19 1945 years in Austria I was hit. Tiger flashed through us, the projectile went through all the fighting compartment and through the motor. The tank had three officers: I was the battalion commander, company commander Sasha Ionov, he has knocked out a tank, and a tank commander. Three officers and a driver and radio operator. When Tiger we ask that killed a driver, I broke the whole left leg, on my right, Sasha Ionov, his right leg blown off, the tank commander was wounded, beneath my feet sat the gun commander Lesha Romashkin, both his legs blown off. By the way, just shortly before this fight, we kind of sat, ate, and Alex told me, "If my legs blown off, I shoot myself. Whom should I need it? " He's children's home, one family was not. And indeed, the fate decreed. Sasha pulled, dragged him out, and began to help out others. And at this 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 forming in Gorky, we went to the market with my friend Koley Averkievym. Nice guy, but died literally in the first battle! Come, see, a huckster sells bread. Keep one loaf in his hands, and in a case a couple of loaves. Kohl asked, "How much for the loaf?", He replies, "Three skew". Kohl did not know what it means to "slash", pulls out three rubles and hands. He said, "Are you gone crazy?" Nick was taken aback, "Like what? You asked three oblique, and I'll give three rubles! " Huckster says "Three oblique - a hundred rubles!" Stabbing him, "Oh, an infection! You are here spekuliruesh, and we are for you at the front of the blood shed! " And we, as officers had their personal weapons. Kohl pulled out his gun. Huckster grabbed three rubles, and immediately withdrew.
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.
Our team had a lot of tank-Muscovites, because our team was formed in Naro-Fominsk, and replenishment of us came from the Moscow military. So when after the war, I went to study at the military academy, I tried as much as possible to meet with the families of the victims. Of course, the conversation was sad, but it was so necessary for them, because I'm the kind of person who knows how dead their son, father or brother. And often I tell them, and so call date. And they remember, and we are in the day was not myself. So we got the money then. Sometimes we were able to send no money, but parcels containing trophies.