January 17-18, 1945

January 17th, 1945.

Got up, no breakfast, the top brass came. Went to the battalion. Went on the attack together with the infantry on the front lines. We moved forward and did not report to the rear, so our Katyusha and fiddler [morter] hit us – oh we were ground-up! The first time I experienced so much artillery fire. Experienced machine gun fire for the first time on July 19th with Solomatin on the Neman. And now? Today for me seemed like a month. Nearly vomited at all the body parts. Bandaged the wounded and moved forward. Three groups rushed a house, completed the objective, all good on the right side. But the push has changed our division, have taken the left side, but the work proved useless.


A Katyusha rocket launcher.

Easily entered the 371st rifle division. Must not go further. Fritz shelling with all kinds of weapons. 100 meters back in a ravine behind the house were the enemy self-propelled guns, fire from machine guns and shells. Fritz looked up out of the hatch and I shot from the house, and the rest of the day didn’t get a good target.

Frost, hunger. Went into a unit. The guys threw some filthy compliments at me. Filthy language everywhere. So tired. I went off on my own. Stumbled across some acquaintances, went to look for the regiment. Stumbled onto the division command post, got to spend the night. Cold, ate a little. In the house took trophies, an album with paper in which I want to rewrite everything. So heavy! I see that I get a few good benefits, as a sniper: perhaps there will be moments when I’m threatened with death. From our 2nd Battalion there are 6 left out of 78. I miss the girls, many of them have it worse.

January 18th, 1945.

For three hours now I’ve sat and cried. 12 at night. Who do I need? What good am I? Am I no help? My experience is not wanted. It looks like there are too many support troops, and I will not be called to help. I don’t know, what to do next? Often I hear dirty talk. For what do I deserve such useless torture? Everyone shouting raunchy, filthy language, nobody to talk to. Suddenly asked: “Is your name Shanina?” I didn’t answer. It turned out it was the best friend of Paval Blokhin, I knew him well. But now I didn’t recognize him. What a pleasant meeting. Head of reconnaissance for the 785th Rifle Regiment. He said: “I have been told that Shanina received the Order,” I confessed to Claudia all the bad comments I’ve heard. Yes, I really appreciated it; junior Lieutenant Nikolai was respectful of me.

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