Cavalry.

“According to rumors, somewhere in front of us, the Vlasov cavalry retreated. This information disturbed me a lot. During the exercises before the Belarusian operation, I saw on the training ground a rapid saber attack of two squadrons. It was an amazing sight.
I realized that if we, the anti-tankists, were to face the Vlasov cavalry, only the horns and legs would remain of us. We will have time to make only two shots before the equestrian lava racket before us and kill everyone.
I tried my best to prepare for this possible meeting, and by hook or by crook I tried to get a canister for a 45-mm cannon. But We did not have it in warehouses. And only in Byelorussia I managed to find two boxes of grapeshot at the trophy Soviet Forty-thrown abandoned by the Germans.

Cavalry. guns, fire, regiment, Germans, time, commander, when, shells, columns, only, enemy, gun, Balatsky, road, fighters, horses, calculation, forward, command, platoon

The next evening we left Smolyany, and By the morning of June 27, after heavy fighting, Oboltsy, Nekludovo, Volosovo, Obchuga were released. At the small village it was my turn platoon to join the battle with the Germans.
Two squadrons of the regiment flew straight from the march against a German barrier, dismounted, started a battle and started pushing the Germans into the open field behind the village.Supporting the riders with fire and wheels, the sergeant Palanevych’s guard of the guard took up a firing position on the edge of the village and, with quick fire with fragmentation shells, began to whip the retreating Germans.
To our left, the Germans were still holding out and opened fire on our gun from machine guns. The bullets nastily clicked on the shield and the frame of the gun, but did not touch anyone. It was the first battle for the young crew from the Poltava recruiting, and all the fighters behaved differently in the first battle.
The commander of the gun, the gunner and loader calmly sent a projectile after the projectile at the retreating German infantry. Yashchny Chikhin I.G. suddenly, for no reason at all, he decided that it was time to dig in. Without an order, in just a few minutes he dug himself such a trench that he hid himself in it and sat in a trench like a hare, until I ordered the same young fighter, Cherkashchenko, Ivan, to pull him out of the trench to work at the gun.
At the teachings Chikhin never showed such agility. He especially didn’t like to dig trenches - now the ground is like a stone, then a spade, the stomach hurts, then what kind of attack. And here in the battle he broke all records for digging a trench for a single soldier, even without my team.
Cavalry. guns, fire, regiment, Germans, time, commander, when, shells, columns, only, enemy, gun, Balatsky, road, fighters, horses, calculation, forward, command, platoon

Cherkashchenko and Balatsky, also young fighters, behaved exemplary, acted like veterans.Yes, it was the very ordinary Balatsky, because of which I had so much trouble during the night march, when he fell behind the column and lost his horse.
Cherkashchenko, as soon as the gun was brought to the “to the battle” position under the bullets, ran to the fighting carriages and, sweating profusely, brought a box with shells.
Balatsky was a horse breeder in the calculation, and his task in combat with other horse breeders and sledders was to take the horses to the shelter and stay there until the command “Kay K gun!”.
Balatsky, however, did not lose his head, tied the shelter in the shelter and opened fire on the German machine gunners, who were to the left of us. I did not expect from him, such a timid and intimidated, still experiencing his guilt a fighter so decisive action in battle. Well done, Balatsky!
Cavalry. guns, fire, regiment, Germans, time, commander, when, shells, columns, only, enemy, gun, Balatsky, road, fighters, horses, calculation, forward, command, platoon

To our right, cautiously, at low speed, the T-34 heading tank tank escorted out of the forest. Crawled out and stopped. A tank commander leaned out of the hatch of the tower to the waist and began to inspect the battlefield. I am calling to him: - Push ahead, the Germans are running!
He did not react to my remark, slammed the hatch and did not even bother to open fire on the Germans. He began to wait for his.And only when the whole column approached, the tanks moved forward, firing guns on the move. This finally demoralized the Germans, they flinch and ran.
And at the same time, along with the tanks, the lava of the third and fourth squadrons of the regiment broke out from the forest at a large trot. I ordered a retreat. We hitched a gun to the front end, the horsemen gave horses, and we trotted over to the advancing squadrons.
Left on the road, picking up clouds of dust, drowning out all the other sounds of battle, were our tanks. Because of the roar of the engines, the tracks, the shooting, it was impossible to command in a voice, and to control the artillery harness I snatched the sword from the scabbard and showed the direction of movement to the commander and rifle guns with a bare sword.
And to the right of the road, scattering across the field, the Germans fled without thinking about them, our squadrons rushing along with their bombs. For the first time I had a chance to see a horse attack in a combat situation, not at training exercises - it was an impressive and unforgettable sight. Horsemen chopped running Germans right and left.
Some did it professionally, with a powerful blow, cutting the fascist reptile in two. other young and inexperienced horsemenplanted on short “Mongolian” people, it turned out worse and not so beautiful, but still convincingly - from their attacks less and less remained on the field of Germans running.
The horse attack was successfully supported by the fire of our tanks and field guns. During this furious race, some kind of stupid Fritz darted right under my horse's legs, trying to cross the road. From surprise, the horse recoiled to the side, and I swung the German with a sword with a swing. After the battle of the sled's front drift, the artillery team said to me: - Well, you chopped him up. He fell into a ditch and did not appear from there anymore.
Cavalry. guns, fire, regiment, Germans, time, commander, when, shells, columns, only, enemy, gun, Balatsky, road, fighters, horses, calculation, forward, command, platoon

Here I would like to say a special word of thanks to our warhorses. They, like the fighters, subtly understood what was required of them both in the march, and in the battle, in the hours of the shaft. They did not need additional commands and humiliating blows of a whip or whip.
They even without a team, by the very situation, felt that it was necessary to gallop madly towards the enemy, not paying attention to the explosions of shells, machine-gun and machine-gun bursts. Each horseman respected his shot four-legged friend, who helped both in battle and in long exhausting crossings.
And how can you compare a war horse with even the most thoroughbred horse who did not know the battle! Shelled war horses, who had already known the smell of gunpowder and blood, never shied away from each shot or break, but clearly carried out their difficult and dangerous work in any combat situation.
For all my stay at the front, I saw only a few attacks in the equestrian system. Usually the cavalrymen, faced with the resistance of the enemy, dismounted and fought like ordinary infantry. The grooms, of which there were several in each squadron, collected horses at this time and took them to a safe place.
Attacks in the equestrian system were arranged, as a rule, on the retreating, running, demoralized infantry of the enemy. And the effect of these attacks was terrifying, the Germans were cut down mercilessly. "
Cavalry. guns, fire, regiment, Germans, time, commander, when, shells, columns, only, enemy, gun, Balatsky, road, fighters, horses, calculation, forward, command, platoon

On one of the halts, during lunch, when calculating the third gun with appetite, dealt with the simple cooking of our cook, a young German soldier without a weapon approached us and began to ask for something to eat.
The guys sat him on a box with shells, gave him a pot of porridge, bread, a spoon. Fritz, as he was called in the calculation, with the words "Danke, dunk, gut, gut.Hitler kaput! ”Became greedily absorb the contents of the pot. After the pot was empty, the guys offered him supplements, and he coped with the addition. Having treated him and tobacco, the gun commander suggested that the Fritz remain with the gun. If he is healthy, it means that he will work well!
- I, I! Their bin gut. Good, Hitler kaput! muttered fritz.
When I approached the gun, Fritz sat in a circle of fighters. Taking the gun commander aside, I asked him what it all meant. I have not yet decided what to do with it, but the commander of the gun and the calculation asked the German not to chase him, but to leave him with the gun.
- He is not a fascist, he is good, he will help us.
Fritz looked at me with fright the whole time and repeated:
- Hitler kaput! Their gut good! Darf them helfen! (I am good, let me help!) - and repeated his agreement.
Cavalry.guns, fire, regiment, Germans, time, commander, when, shells, columns, only, enemy, gun, Balatsky, road, fighters, horses, calculation, forward, command, platoon

Without asking his real name, everyone began to call him Fritz. He responded to this name and willingly carried out the orders of any of the calculation men. At the front, all happened ...
Arriving soldiers not for the first time received a temporary shelter in our gun crews. But it was ours, the Soviet soldiers, infantrymen or horsemen who fell behind their units,but it was the first time to shelter a German soldier! I did not know how much this contradicted the international convention on the use of soldiers by enemy armies, but since Fritz’s stay in the calculation consisted of an axis by mutual consent, without any coercion on our part, I did not interfere with such a temporary community.
So temporarily, Fritz became a freelance member (namely a member, not a fighter) of the calculation, diligently helping each of the calculation. Probably this fellow was from a peasant family, because he knew how to handle horses.
Patronage over him took one of the riders on the cart, to which he settled during the march. Looking ahead, I will note that this Fritz took me out of the fire from the battlefield to the shelter, to the gable when I was wounded. "
Cavalry. guns, fire, regiment, Germans, time, commander, when, shells, columns, only, enemy, gun, Balatsky, road, fighters, horses, calculation, forward, command, platoon

The first of May 1945. Dense morning fog hides the battle column of our regiment built before dawn. A cool breeze climbs under the gate and causes a slight chill. They send the command along the column: - Guard Lieutenant Yakushin, with a platoon, to the head of the column!
Spurring the horse, I, With two 57-mm anti-tank guns and buckwheels with shells, overtook the column, stopped at the regimental headquarters.They were waiting for me there: regiment commander Tkalenko, chief of staff Todchuk, deputy political officer Novikov and commander of the 2nd Squadron of the Guard captain Oleynikov. The regimental commander, set the task:
- The second squadron with a platoon of PTE to advance to the area of ​​the road to Wittenberg, ride it and stop the advancement of the enemy’s military equipment to the west! From himself Tkalenko added: - Go, Lieutenant. Gold Star is waiting for you there! Assuring the command that the combat mission will be completed, we went to the rear of the enemy. Going to the rear of the Germans, the squadron dismounted and occupied the battle formations.
Ahead - Beninvalde. From the komeska, we assess the situation: in front, to our left, 300 meters, the German battery is firing at our rear. They do not see us, we silently went to them from the rear. The fog cleared, and even without binoculars it was visible, as in front, along the road, at a distance of one kilometer from us, a large column of tanks, self-propelled guns and tractors with guns moved west.
I decide to knock down one of the combat vehicles and create a traffic jam. Jumping on the trees of the forest plantation, the guns are pushed to the firing positions, to direct fire, since the distance allows. The command: “Guns to battle!” Calculations quickly and smoothly, unhooking the guns from the front, set them in the right direction.Having thrown a part of the boxes with shells, the riders trot away the horses to the forest, to the shelter. Those fighters are serious. There will be a difficult battle, but the war will soon end ... I give the command:
- According to the tank in the middle of the column! Subcaliber! Sight, anticipation ...
Cavalry. guns, fire, regiment, Germans, time, commander, when, shells, columns, only, enemy, gun, Balatsky, road, fighters, horses, calculation, forward, command, platoon

Calculations repeat my command. The gates of the guns open, with a characteristic flick absorbing projectiles.
- The first gun! The fire!
Shot. The sleeve is ringing out. The flight of the tracer is clearly visible. Passed a little higher. I make the amendment and shoot a platoon. Shells accurately cover the target. The tank turns 180 degrees and freezes, creating a cork.
The movement of the column is stopped. Some cars began to drive off the road, others try to turn around on a crowded highway. I was very afraid that the German battery, which is next to us, would deploy the guns and open fire at our firing positions.
But the unexpected happened. The German gunners at our first shots, fearing a stab in the back, abandoned their guns and fled. So the need to change the firing positions have disappeared.
But here the military guard of the enemy’s road (SS soldiers) recovered and opened indiscriminate fire on the advancing squadron.Seeing that the horsemen suffer losses and the situation becomes more complicated, I decide to continue the fire with a platoon direct fire on the firing points and the manpower of the enemy already with fragmentation shells.
As a result of our hurricane runaway fire, we managed to destroy two firing points, three mortars and five vehicles with ammunition. The squadron went on the offensive. But the SS, obviously, determined that we were attacking with small forces, and again with tanks and self-propelled guns resumed a counterattack, already firing from automatic weapons. Again, I am firing under the calf, knocking out a tank and two armored personnel carriers and turning again to fragmentation ones.
Suppress machine guns and manpower. The stranded counter-attack enabled the squadron to launch a decisive offensive and completely overthrow the SS men. However, the German self-propelled gun spotted where we hit, and covered our gun with the second shot - we did not have time to change position. The gun is broken, the calculation is out of order, I am also wounded.
Under cover of the squadron fire, I was taken to a safe place with other wounded men, where the sled riders arrived in time tied up the wound on the leg with an individual package. Fritz assisted in the evacuation of the wounded.
Cavalry. guns, fire, regiment, Germans, time, commander, when, shells, columns, only, enemy, gun, Balatsky, road, fighters, horses, calculation, forward, command, platoon

Leaning on the sled, I went to the field road. A regiment headed by the commander and headquarters was moving towards us towards it. Behind their backs were uncovered regimental banners, one with the Order of the Red Banner, handed back as early as the Civil War in the Kotovsky brigade, another Guards, handed over to the regiment for the Yelets operation in December 1941.
For the first time in the whole war, it was possible to see the picture when, in broad daylight, the regimental commander with headquarters and flags moved to the battlefield! Of course, the enemy was no longer the same as in the forty-first, but he could really snap.
Standing on one leg and relying on my gunner, I briefly reported to the regimental commander the combat situation. After listening to me, he brought the main forces into battle. Overtaking the squadrons, with their swords naked, cavalry reconnaissance escaped forward. In the battle several soldiers were killed and wounded.
They put the wounded assistant platoon commander of the intelligence service in my wagon. It was impossible to move to the rear of the medical squadron, there were still quite large German forces. I had to move behind the regiment with its rears. Behind us there was a road with broken military equipment and living, or rather, dead force of the SS forces.
This was my last battle and last wound, and the regiment continued its victorious raid on the Elbe. It was our corps that met the Americans on the Elbe. "
- From the memoirs of the platoon leader ZIS-2 of the 24th cavalry regiment of the 5th cavalry division I.A. Yakushin

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