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Time brought us a new objective, Danzig.
The combat actions become more dynamic with speed marches and many encounter battles. Not many villages were met till the Baltic sea. We acted together with infantry.

Finally we reached the last village before Danzig. It greeted us with strong fire from Oerlikon. No sweat, the second shell finished it off. The tank jumped once on it and a shot from the flame-thrower added fire to the life of mortar battery hidden behind the corner. Gorbachev and Karpov smashed whatever was still moving there and the infantry raised in attack again.

On March 15,1945 we were attached to the 108th Division of the 65th Army.

The combat experience in storing fortified cities taught us that the units fight in small groups. The decision was to form such assault groups in advance. Danzig was well prepared for the defense and presented no easy task due to well thought and skilfully arranged system of defense.
We set 30 groups. Four men were to be armed with Faustpatrons, which we intend to use during the storm. The perspectives were not absolutely clear but the training gave hopes. The experimental launchers for Fausts were designed, which allowed to fire in salvo by ten. We also trained members of the assault groups to use German ammo and detonators. The whole day of March 26 was dedicated to the training.

Our tank was to join the assault unit - 3 flame-throwing tanks, 2 SU-122, 4 guns, infantry company, 6 men with Fausts, 10 men with pack flame-throwers, 10 miners.

We reached our troops in the night to 26th and on the following day trained the joint actions.

Morning of March 27. At 10.00 the artillery started the preparation. After that, our tanks moved forward at the high speed. Suburbs... We reached the first line. Karpov turned his tank and streams of fire from the flame-thrower along the trenches made the Germans run. Our infantry followed them until stopped by MG fire from the house. A few shots from my tank and the wall collapsed. The attack resumed.

At the city limit the advance delayed. Each house was a fortress and each was to be taken after the fight. Flame-throwers proved to be indispensable. The flame suppressed the defense in the cellars, the fortified MG positions. Infantry moved forward paving the way for tanks, which supported them by fire. In the heavy fight in the suburbs only Karpov and Shelukhanov killed more than 40 Fascists each.

Captain Tamosian fought bravely and skillfully. The tank smashed an AT-gun at the crossroad, while suppressing almost at the same time a few machine-guns' positions. Next day Tamosian saw a barge with Germans aboard on the river. Captain opened fire immediately. A few shells found the target and sank it.

Our company fought to the right of Tamosian. Our first platoon attacked in the direction of the center, while the second reached the port. The Germans fired from all what could fire at us from the behind the wall of the port. I turned the gun to the rear part of tank and commanded to drive to the gates.

My tank took out the gate easily. The infantry behind us poured onto the territory of the port. Suddenly the German machine-gun opened a fire at our guys. The slogan in black letters on the wall of warehouse read "Danzig bleibt Deutsch!" (Danzig remains German). "What a hero this Fritz!" said my driver. Five shots took care of the warehouse, Fritz and the slogan of Doctor Gebbels.

I saw two half-finished subs and at the same moment the German ships started intensive fire. Heavy shell drop everywhere, we stopped but soon the air was filled with the howl of engines-the air support arrived. Wave by wave, our aircraft attacked ships from the tree top height. The noise become deafening, the water area was filled with explosions and smoke.
The fire engulfed warehouses and berths. The bombardment ceased. The German ships, firing from all their AA guns, were leaving the port. Approximately, the third of their ships was lost.

And again we met Fausts. Explosions, bright light and I lost conscious...

Danzig was taken on March 30, 1945. Despite the German's claim that Danzig was a bastion on the East, they kept it only for slightly more than two days after the beginning of the storm.

We were proud that we took part in the liberation of Poland from Fascists. The battle took 240 days and night and 600,000 lives of our soldiers.

The victory was only 38 days away but each day was yet to be paid for...


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