October 25-28, 1944

October 25th, 1944.

Always nice to have a girlfriend. Sasha [Alexandra Ekimova], I am with you, and sadness is sometimes fun. I share with you all that is in my soul. I brought Colonel Novozhilov my letter, in which I asked to be sent to the front and criticized our officers.

39914-ed

Roza and Sasha

October 28, 1944.

Battle of Pillkallen [now Dobrovolsk, Kaliningrad, Russia]. The city has taken many of ours, all of them killed. From the shtrafbat company1 one man returned alive, unharmed; the rest were killed.

I myself fought for a place under Pillkallen. Many times we took it and were expelled. Very successfully fought back a counterattack. 15 kills for sure, as I was at close range and shot a lot. We watched four artillerymen through ten-fold and six-fold binoculars. When Fritz started to crawl we could still see their helmets, shot at them. Bullets were ricocheting off their helmets, which we could see well because they were tracer cartridges. First at a distance of 200 meters, then they stood up to full height 100 meters out. When they got within 20 meters we fled. We were behind an embankment in the woods and escaped easily. Sent to the house, but the “Slavs” had all fled. We were left alone. Beside me Captain Aseyev2, our artillery division commander, artillerist, Hero of the Soviet Union, was killed. And we finally retreated.

Order: reestablish the position. We crawled back and took the house, expelled Fritz. Then I went to the Regimental Command, tired, and ate for the first time that day. By this time it was 12 in the evening, and I slept soundly.

Suddenly I heard shooting from the basement. Fritz, 15 of them, crawling. They smashed the artillerymen, who had heard, being near the house, in the barn. The girls were all cowards and fled. Kaleria was the brave one. The girls saw the danger and were ready to tear me to pieces when I led them to the front. Sasha Koreneva3 was killed in the fight and two were wounded: Valya Lazarenko and Anna Kuznetsova. I was afraid to go home, as the girls will “stick” all the blame on me. Soldiers, the boys and commanders, are pleased by my bravery. It came before the commanders, and I was recommended for the Order of Glory 1st Degree for repelling those attacks.



1 Penal company of 150-200 men. These were units formed of disgraced soldiers and Gulag prisoners who, rather than being executed, were sent on the most suicidal attacks. Most men were sentenced to these units for unauthorized retreat, cowardice, or desertion.

2 Captain Aseyev (in Russian)

3 Alexandra Nikolaevna Koreneva, 1920 – 10/26/1944. Roza recommended that she be posthumously awarded the Order of the Great Patriotic War, 2nd Degree.

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