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Go Back   Armchair General and HistoryNet >> The Best Forums in History > World History Group Hosting > RKKA (The Russian Army) in World War II

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RKKA (The Russian Army) in World War II Discuss the Russian armed forces in World War II. Hosted by our resident Russian expert, AMVAS. Please visit his RKKA in WW2 Website.

View Poll Results: Are you interested in Y.V.Klimov's memoirs?
Yes. No doubt. 81 89.01%
Yes. You are a charming KGB provocator, and I want to read your biased propaganda 5 5.49%
No. No way, Jose! 2 2.20%
No. Though you are a very handsome KGB agent, it doesn't compensate for biasity of your propaganda 3 3.30%
Voters: 91. You may not vote on this poll

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  #61  
Old 25 Oct 08, 08:45
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Quote:
- 18 -

From Tiraspol we took a freight train that included a single passenger car. It took us to the end of the line which, if I am not mistaken, was the station at Artsyz. Beyond that the tracks had been damaged and not yet repaired. By a combination of walking and hitching we reached Izmail by evening. It was already dark and we could not see the town. The military commandant's office and the border guard’s office were located at the river port [the river Danube]. We spent the night on the pier and very early the next morning went to the river crossing. Apparently the military prosecutor’s office had not stayed for long in Izmail and had already moved to Rumanian town of Giurgiu, which is also located on the banks of the Danube. Izmail’s military commandant advised Lt. Asiamochkin to go there by train across Romania. My bad leg concerned me more and more, especially after long walks. We reached the Danube crossing point at about noon. It was a wonderful warm and sunny September day. We purchased a huge watermelon from the ferryman. It was time to get something to eat. The ferryman sat with us and we chatted. He was “Rusyn” [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rusyns] – a local name of the Nekrasov Cossacks who fled here from Russian Tsar’s oppressions in the previous century [ Inaccurate information. The Nekrasov Cossacs moved to the Danube area after 1740, not in the 19th century. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nekrasov_Cossacks ]. His attire was quite distinctive; there was something traditionally Russian in his look. A broad, thick beard, long curly hair, and proportional facial features – it all clearly distinguished him from local Rumanian and Moldavian population. A long white robe girdled by sash highlighted his well built figure.

Here we received 5 days food ration from the military food supply depot. I remember, we were amused by the German hard tack, which we were given instead of bread. Formed as a biscuit, but not sweet; well packed. Back then we were thinking that Germans made such tasteless biscuits because of shortages. Now I know that those were just intentionally dry crusts, nothing more.

The town of Tulcha, located on the other side of the Danube, was quickly reached thanks to the quick rowing of our ferryman. Now we had crossed the border and were in another country. Here we were in the domain of the Romanian language, though there were some people who could understand a little Russian. We took a train “Constanta – Bucharest.” We shared a compartment with a Rumanian naval officer dressed in neat sparkly uniform. He fawned over us all the way trying to win our favour. But just recently had been enemies, fought against each other. And now he had to fawn over the victors…

The next day – Bucharest. We walked across the whole town to the other railway station. We looked around, gazing. We were impressed by the wide selection of consumer goods and food available. Such abundance was not familiar to us from our pre-war lives. The currency in use was the Rumanian Leu, which we did not have. Of course the prices were high, but at least one had possibility to buy what one needed. An express train, “Rapid”, delivered us to Giurgiu the next morning. Then we took ferry to the other bank of Danube where a Bulgarian town, Ruse, could be seen. The commandant told us that the front’s military prosecutor’s office had moved to the Bulgarian town of Dolna Oryahovitsa. Train again. In the evening we reached the town of our destination. In Ruse we were impressed by touching Bulgarian affability and our ability to communicate without an interpreter. We noticed their newspapers, signboards and greeting banners. All was similar to Russian and rather understandable. The whole of Bulgaria was flooded with red flags, Bulgarian flags and flowers. They were celebrating the expulsion of fascism from their land. They were very happy to see us, Russian soldiers: they treated us well and greeted us with kind words. I saw this nowhere before. And likely will never see it again.

The next day we were received in the military prosecutor’s office. First, Lt. Asyamochkin delivered my case documents from the civil prosecutor’s office of Tiraspol and papers from my regimental headquarters. Then I was asked into the office. I was asked to report the whole matter and after answering few questions told to await in the reception.
[ to be continued ]

Last edited by Egorka; 25 Oct 08 at 15:39..
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  #62  
Old 25 Oct 08, 10:27
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Thumbs up Good stuff Egorka.

What a great read. Keep up the good work!
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  #63  
Old 26 Oct 08, 16:29
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Quote:
- 19 -

Soon Lt. Asiamochkin too came out of the office. Looking at his face I could see that he was pleased with his talk with the prosecutor. “Everything will be alright” – he told me. We were told to come back in a couple of hours to arrange the paperwork. My leg really started to hurt, I got shivers. When we came back I, in the presence of the lieutenant, was informed that I had acted correctly at the guard post and my actions had not been criminal. I was to be released from custody upon leaving the prosecutor’s office. I was happy beyond understanding! Both Lt. Asiamochkin and the other soldiers were happy too. The only thing that cast a shadow over my happiness was my poor state of health.

We took a train back to Bucharest. There we stopped for a couple of days. We stayed in barracks built by the Germans at the railway station square “Gara-de-Nord”.

Unexpectedly, I met Pavka Obogrelov while eating in the special canteen for the Soviet soldiers. Pavka was the older brother of my childhood friend in my home town. We were both happy to meet and shared our life stories, talked about relatives and friends. Obogrelov’s family moved from Petuhovo before the war and settled in the neighbourhood of the town of Batum, Azerbaijan. Pavka finished a technical school course there while his younger brother, Yurka, continued in primary school. And now this surprising reunion in the soldiers' canteen in Bucharest. After lunch I lay on my bed as my leg hurt, while Asiamochkin with soldiers went for a tour of the city. In the evening they joked about their tour and the “easy girls” they saw at the railway square.

From Bucharest our way back crossed the town of Brailu on the banks of the Danube. I do not know why we ended up there, maybe accidentally, just because the train stopped there or maybe because of Lt. Asiamochin’s lack of geographical intuition. But now in order to reach Tiraspol we had to take a boat over Danube to the town of Galati. That is about 70km upriver. We spent the whole night on the upper deck, chilled to the bone. I felt really ill. My temperature rose. In the morning going from the port to the railway station I had to use a stick as a cane. I had to hurry to reach my battalion and its medical unit where I was guarantied care and help.

Next morning we reached the khutor of Blizhniy. As always, the company’s morning muster was ordered. Overcoming my pain I took a place in the line. Lieutenant-Colonel Chernih – the battalion's commander and Major Pehota – the commander's deputy for political work announce to the battalion the order that I was to be given a citation for remarkable conduct during guard duty and the prevention of escape.
– “I serve the Soviet Union” – I answered according to the regulations.
Then I had to stay in bed for 10 days, released from all service duties.

While staying in Blizhny our unit began to prepare for a long march to the towns of Reni and Galati. The exact place that we had just came from.
[ to be continued ]
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  #64  
Old 26 Oct 08, 16:44
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I hope you understand how much we enjoy these pages. Don't ever dream that the hard work isn't appreciated by many. The words of the common soldier are so much more fascinating than the often self-serving memoirs of the famous.

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Last edited by holly6; 26 Oct 08 at 16:47..
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  #65  
Old 26 Oct 08, 17:30
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Holly6, thanks a lot for your words!
All credit should naturaly go to my grand dad. Without his writing I would be blind about most of the aspects of my family's genealogy. And of course his account of the WW2... I regret so much right now that I read his memoirs only after he passed away. There is so much I would want to ask him right now... but it is too late... Well, I can only blame my self for that...

And of course special gratitude to Slim Fan, who is editing the translation before it is presented here!
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  #66  
Old 26 Oct 08, 18:12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Egorka View Post
Holly6, thanks a lot for your words!
All credit should naturaly go to my grand dad. Without his writing I would be blind about most of the aspects of my family's genealogy. And of course his account of the WW2... I regret so much right now that I read his memoirs only after he passed away. There is so much I would want to ask him right now... but it is too late... Well, I can only blame my self for that...

And of course special gratitude to Slim Fan, who is editing the translation before it is presented here!
Isn't that the truth for most of us. We waited to long to ask and then it was to late. Whether it deals with military service, or family history, I would hope our younger members could learn from our mistakes and ask the questions now. And now rep for Slim Fan.

for your Father

Hal
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  #67  
Old 28 Oct 08, 15:30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Egorka View Post
Hello,

My granddad, Yurii V. Klimov (1922-2002), left 3 volumes of hand writen memoirs. More than 1000 pages including photographs where he describes his life from the childhood in a tiny Sibirian town until the retirement in Moscow. During the war he was in occupation in the city of Odessa until april 1944. After he was in RKKA the second line troop delivering the munition to the frontline. He was in Romania, Yugoslavia and ended the war in Hungary. After the war he studied in Moscow in the "Institute of Geodesy, Aerial photography and Cartography". He was working in the area of the soil recourse management for agricultural and industrial purposes.

I started to convert them into electronic format. So far I inserted only first 40 pages.
You can get a taste of it in the following Russian links:

* part 1: http://egorka-datskij.livejournal.com/42044.html
* part 2: http://egorka-datskij.livejournal.com/43820.html
* part 3: http://egorka-datskij.livejournal.com/54914.html
* part 4: coming soon

And you can get a taste of it in English in these couple of places:

* quote 1: http://www.ww2incolor.com/forum/show...491#post100491
* quote 2: http://www.ww2incolor.com/forum/show...951#post121951

The question is do you want me to translate some parts of it into Eglish and place in the forum?
I need to know how many people are interested as it is not so easy for me to translate it. It also takes much time...
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  #68  
Old 31 Oct 08, 16:41
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Quote:
- 20 -

Liberation of Europe
In the meantime the Yasso-Kishinev strategic offensive of the 2nd and 3rd Ukrainian front developed swiftly. Our forces, after a forced crossing of the Danube, rushed across Rumania into Bulgaria and Hungary, and reached the Yugoslav border. The fight for liberation of Budapest had begun.

Lying on my sickbed I saw that our 88th Separate Work Battalion was preparing for relocation. Dislocation was approaching. The battalion's personnel were to make a 200km route march into Rumania. I was to move as part of one of our logistic units, the one that looked after the horses.

Just before departure the platoon leader, comrade Zhitovoz, sent me and another soldier on a two-horse carriage to Tiraspol. We were to collect some supplies from the military storage depot. The road wound along the bank of Dniester which used to be our defensive line before the war. Here and there I could see pillboxes blown up in 1941 by our forces retreating under enemy pressure.

At the supply store in Tiraspol I exchanged my ordinary rifle for a new sniper rifle. The sergeant major, who was to issue weapons to us according to the equipment list, had for a long time rejected my request to get a rifle with an optical sight. But he changed his mind after I gave him my entire personal stash of tobacco. My dream of having a sniper rifle finally came true. I had loved firearms since I was a kid, when we hunted ducks and roe deer. A good gun is essential for a hunter. Everyone bragged about the finer qualities of his gun. Competing claims were decided in shooting at a cap or a hat thrown high up into the air. We could be easily recognised by the pellet holes in our headgear.

Our battalion was lined up on the local school ground. The companies formed a square with our commander Chernih and his deputy Pehota in the centre. The order for the march and the specific details were given and our column got going.

The logistical company closed up the rear of the column. In such a manner we covered the distance in a week, passing by places such as Căuşeni, Besarabeasca, Comrat, Bolgrad and reaching the town of Reni on the banks of Danube. But soon we were ordered to relocate to Galati where we stayed next to the river port. We worked in three shifts a day loading the barges and other boats with the ammunition, provisions and other goods for the front. The stuff first had to be unloaded from the rail cars because the European rail tracks were narrower than Russian ones.

Galati is a small Rumanian town on the Danube, tidy and cosy. I remember it also because that is where I learned about the failed assassination attempt on Hitler. We regretted so much that he did not get nailed. We believed: his death - war's end.
[ to be continued ]
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  #69  
Old 31 Oct 08, 18:35
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Can we postpone this until after the November 4 Operation to liberate America? Then I'd be happy to come back to the cave....
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  #70  
Old 03 Nov 08, 07:07
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Quote:
- 21 -

The battalion command, knowing that I can speak a little Rumanian, relieved me from the loading work in the port and gave me some assignments in the town. I remember how together with the section leader sergeant Komarov (he was from Vladimir county, a secondary school teacher in the town of Kovrov) we went to a shop to buy a Soviet flag with the hammer and sickle on its silk surface. The abundance of textile goods – wool, silk, cotton – was astonishing, as was the speed with which the hucksters adapted the prices to the increased demand from the customers, i.e. the Russian army, and adapted to their customers’ tastes. That is why such Soviet flags were available. I bought a “Kubanka” – a hat that was in fashion with all cavalrymen and with anyone from the Don, Kuban or Caucasus. In Galati I took a photograph – with my sniper rifle and wearing my “Kubanka” – and sent it to my parents in Petuhovo.


The abundance of consumer goods and food was simply astonishing to us. Where does it all come from during such a difficult time of war? Although the prices, in Rumanian Leu, were very high for ordinary people, everything was available.

The Soviet currency was accepted. It was accepted in all kind of transactions at the rate 100 Leu for 10 Rubbles. One week earlier in Tiraspol, milk cost 80 Rubbles and a loaf of bread 120 – 130 Rubbles. But now the prices in Soviet currency were not more than one Rubble! Obviously, everyone who possessed Rubbles immediately used them. In demand were sausages, salo, fruits, wine. Also clothes, footwear, wool and silk fabrics were purchased for the purpose of sending them home.


We were stationed in Galati for a long time, about 2 months. Towards the end of this period the store shelves emptied and prices skyrocketed. While in Galati, in the first two weeks, I was assigned to arrange the delivery of freshly baked bread from the local baker. For this purpose I had to deliver to him a certain amount of flour and get the bread in return. What wonderful bread that was! Little loaves of 400g each. Our soldiers could eat them in one go! But there also occurred an “international dispute” with the bakery owner. The thing is that our flour was of poor quality, either rye or barley with admixtures. According to Soviet regulations the final weight of the batch should be 100% greater than the weight of flour used, i.e. double the flour weight. The baker argued that it was not possible and that it was robbery. He could not use our flour in production. Maybe his equipment and the technology he used did not allow for it. But authority is authority, especially a military one, and, moreover, one that ideologically subordinates private capital. Therefore he found it sensible not to argue with me and regularly delivered the correct quantity of his wonderful bread.

Another event linked to Galati stands out in my memory. One day I was called urgently to headquarters to act as interpreter. In the office an old couple with tears on their eyes were trying to explain something to the officer on guard duty. With some effort we came to understand that they were complaining about the overnight robbery of their little shop, a theft committed by Soviet soldiers. The guard commander, myself and two other soldiers went to the place of the incident. Their shop was located on the ground floor of a two-storey house at the end of a street not far from our headquarters. This area was in our unit’s patrol zone. The owners lived on the second floor, above their shop. Their shop was small and they traded exclusively in groceries and wine.

The shop had clearly been ransacked. Salt, cereals and other goods were spilled on the floor. The owners did not say much, but told us it had become difficult to keep the shop open because of the shortage of goods. “Tovarischuli” [the Rumanian for the Russian word “Tovarisch”] threatened them with guns and took 15 boxes of fruit jelly and a couple of wine boxes. From their descriptions we gathered that the soldiers were in tankers’ uniforms – overalls and tank helmets. They had been led by a young officer in a green greatcoat. That’s when I noticed a loose button with a star and with loop broken off. It seems the button (it was a plastic one) was torn off while the thieves were moving the boxes. Clearly it was work of the tankers who had been waiting for 2 days for the transportation by rail of their equipment. Our patrol had seen them in the night entering a house on our street. In short order they were delivered “fresh as a daisy” to our headquarters and placed under interrogation. The young Lieutenant-Major was missing one button from his greatcoat. Only the loop was left hanging on a thread. The three tankers were sitting hanging their head. At first they categorically denied any involvement but after they were presented with the missing button and identified by the shop owner, they confessed the crime. But we are not a prosecutor’s office. The owner was told that “the robbers” will be punished and he was sent home. The boys remorsefully begged us to let them go. They were going to the frontline, into the fighting, and what awaited them there no-one knew. It was decided to let them go but to report the incident to their troop train commander.
[ to be continued ]
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Old 03 Nov 08, 23:05
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Once again. Many thanks for the effort. I really do wait for these.
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Old 04 Nov 08, 10:05
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Once again. Many thanks for the effort. I really do wait for these.
You are welcome to spread the word.
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  #73  
Old 05 Nov 08, 05:17
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A truly remarkable thread, and a splendid effort in translating it, well done my friend.

This thread should be a sticky with the others.
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  #74  
Old 12 Nov 08, 17:00
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Quote:
- 22 -

While in Galati Sergeant Komarov, odessit Silonov [ “odessit” – resident of Odessa; www.odessitclub.org/en/ ] and I organised a lucrative transaction. We bought a case of matchboxes and a box of toilet soap. The soap was for the sergeant from the 3rd platoon. He lived in the town of Syzran where he had a wife and two children. He was veteran of the Finnish war, had been wounded. Since the beginning of the war he had not been able to get home. Oh happy day – someone was needed to escort a train loaded with used artillery cartridges to Syzran. Directly to his hometown! The soap was for him – selling it he would get money to spend while staying with his family, for presents.

The matches were taken care of by myself and Komarov. We took them to the town of Bolgrad (a small Moldavian town). There on a street market, the middlemen immediately bought the matches from us paying 9 Rubbles per matchbox while the retail price was 10 rubbles. Komarov and I got rich in a flash. Such money could make for a good life even in Rumania!

Soon after that our platoon was sent to the town of Chernavoda for work at an army supply depot. One of the sights of this little Rumanian town was the long railway bridge across Danube. Nowadays it is protected as an example of 19th century architecture. The bridge was built by the Rumanian engineer Angela Salingi in 1895 and has length of 1,595 metres. I have recently read in a newspaper that there is plan to build a new road and rail bridge there and that the old one will be preserved as monument.

The headquarters of the General Tolbukhin, the commander of the 3rd Ukrainian Front, had been located in Chernavoda prior to our arrival. Being a student I was considered to be educated and therefore was assigned as clerk to the supply depot. My task every tenth day was to compile a list of all the items present. This list was then sent to the Front’s headquarters. We were billeted in a fine villa, which we shared with some repatriated civilians who were temporally employed at Supply Depot #18916. [ remark: “Repatriated civilians” are likely to be some “OST-Arbeiter” repatriated from the liberated area. ]

* * *
On this picture (taken in October 1944 in Chernavoda) I am standing with my section mates. In the background is the bridge across Danube. The bridge is named after a Rumanian king. It was built in 1895 and is considered to be an architectural monument.
* * *

I can’t remember the names of those I briefly worked with at Supply Depot #18916, but I have kept the photograph from that time. I took it myself with a camera that I bought in Galati from a second-hand shop. I bought a cheap “Agfa” which used wide film. My own photo camera, a “Turist”, was confiscated by a Rumanian security officer during an apartment search back in Odessa. Here is a photograph of those decent and honest companions from the supply depot head office. Right in the middle, behind the desk, is my chief. He is a bookkeeper from the town of Ufa. Next to him is the Captain, the depot manager.

On the other side, there is a civilian employee, a nice young woman from the settlement of Milerovo in the Rostov area. The photo was taken at the end of September or beginning of October 1944, just before we were relocated back to our battalion in Galati. As a reminder of those times I still have a belt that I got from a German horse saddle stored in the depot trophy section. By the way, a lot of German POWs worked there and we had lengthy discussions with them. Their defeat in the war they mainly explained by the fact that they had been outnumbered by the Russians.

Returning to Galati we found that our battalion had almost completely relocated to the Rumanian town of Timişoara. Soon we and our other soldiers who arrived back in Galati from various assignments, left for Timişoara via Bucharest. In the waiting time between trains we wandered around the Rumanian capital sightseeing. For lodgings we stayed at private apartment in the area of the “Malaksi” factory. The evening was spent in the theatre hall at a concert given by Kala-Tanase – a Rumanian celebrity, well known in artistic circles at that time. I had heard of him back in Odessa where he had been performing on tour.

[ to be continued ]
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Old 14 Nov 08, 18:53
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Per request this is now a sticky thread.
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