Archive for July 6, 2008

“Shell That Saved Lives” Dinara’s Grandfather

Having grown in peaceful time younger generation seems to be unaware of war hardship and human casualties. The only time we remember to treat war veterans is 9 of May, the Day of Victory. A story of my dad’s grandfather is a proof of how immensely important one single action may be in human life.

The war has left deep traces in his soul. Dead bodies of friends and mates all over the place. Oppressive feeling of despair. That day grandfather will never forget. Grandfather Abutalip served as antitank rifleman. Since antitank rifle was quite heavy missile, it needed two people, one to shoot and the other to carry shell. Abutalip had an Uzbek mate, who usually carried three shells. This Uzbek mate lived from hand to mouth before the war period. In order to send something to his starving family in Uzbekistan, he used to take off watches from German soldiers dead body. Whether the burden of these watches was heavy enough, or for some other reasons that day he took only two shells.

They were attacked by German soldiers. Hysterically, people running to and fro in  a debilitated moment. Having heard the captain’s command, soldiers came into position. After shooting from anti-tank rifle, grandfather had to quickly reposition himself in order not to let the enemy identify the source of shells. One shot: Tarts! It overshot a target. Quickly, grandfather took his rifle and was running to relocate. Having looked backwards he saw that his Uzbek mate was not running after him. He ran back and in a split second a grenade exploded just in front of him.

When he was able to see something through that smoke he spotted the Uzbek, who was heavily injured. With one hand he was trying to get his fallen entrails back into his stomach. Grandfather approached him seeing horror on his face. Knowing that these were last minutes of his life, his Uzbek mate stretched his hand with watches to the grandfather asking him to take it. With heavy thoughts of inevitable death the grandfather closed the Uzbek’s eyes. Tears desperately ran down his cheeks. Yet, he had to pull himself together.

The battle was not over yet. He shot a glance over the place in search of missile. The value of this shell was far much invaluable than the watches. At last, he spotted one shell. Taking it, he recharged the rifle as fast as possible. Only by that time he saw how close the German tank “Tiger” approached them. There was a last shell to shoot. Maybe a last thing he would ever manage to do before death would grab human lives. Shot banged. A “Tiger”, a tank that was deemed to be undestroyable, collapsed! The enemy was taken aback. They thought that there might have been much more anti-tank rifle (actually, grandfather’s anti-tank rifle was one of few left). Taken aback by destruction of “Tiger”, the enemy retreated. If there was not that last shot from antitank rifle, fascist might have been more persistent in their attack, killing more numerous soldiers left.

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