In war, each fortification and combat zone is unique in its own way. But the bridgehead on Malaya Zemlya can even be called specific. In such difficult conditions, it was extremely difficult to fight. And sometimes resourceful Soviet soldiers enlisted the help and support of the local fauna.
The Malozemelsky bridgehead in the Stanichka area (Cape Myskhako) south of Novorossiysk differed from others in a number of features. So, its close proximity to the front interfered with the landing. At the same time, the localization of the bridgehead itself was limited and at the same time not fixed. In addition, the features of the terrain and infrastructure of the area made it possible to supply the army only by sea - this made it difficult to transport the necessary cargo. Therefore, the military had to be content with everything that they could use in the fight against the enemy. And, as it turned out, animals are quite capable of helping to bring the long-awaited victory closer.
Perhaps the most common four-legged assistant among the Red Army soldiers was the donkey. This animal was a popular means of transportation on Malaya Zemlya in the conditions of narrow mountain paths, which sometimes remained the only connecting "highway" between combat positions. Therefore, donkeys were actively used to transport weapons or ammunition. The animals were looked after and tried to regularly graze in crevices hidden from the enemy.
It's funny, but donkeys, which are usually associated with impassable stubbornness, on the road behaved amazingly polite to each other. So, the commander of the reconnaissance company in Malaya Zemlya, Georgy Sokolov, recalled that the animals that met on the narrow road had their own unspoken rules of behavior. The soldiers more than once watched as the donkey, walking "empty", nestled to the ground, and the one that was carrying the load stepped over his kinsman, and both calmly continued on their way.
Another legendary animal is the cow of the land-poor. An episode was associated with it, which was presented in the memoirs of Brezhnev personally. And it was like this: one Red Army soldier sent to Gelendzhik for supplies found an abandoned cow in the mountains. The soldier realized that the animal would come in handy and took it with him. When they reached the pier, the commander of one of the motorbots at first thought that the request to deliver the cow to the other side was something like a joke. But the soldier convinced his senior comrade that the cow, as a source of healthy milk, should be taken.
The cow supplying the wounded with milk has become a real celebrity on the beachhead.
In order to preserve the valuable animal, a personal shelter was built for her and hay was obtained for her. The cow was also a kind of "anti-stress", because when literally in the middle of hostilities there is a cowgirl chewing hay, the soldiers understood that sooner or later the war would definitely end.
But the marine, Hero of the Soviet Union, Alexander Raikunov, in his memoirs about the defense of the Small Land, talked about how … a goat helped them to catch the Germans. Once the Marines found an animal in a gorge and at first, hungry for full food, wanted to make a shashlik out of it. But the commander decided to use it differently. That same night, a goat was tied up on a mountainside as bait for enemy soldiers who would clearly want to encroach on its meat. And so it happened: soon three Germans appeared, who had already "aimed" at the animal, but were immediately captured by the Red Army men lurking in ambush.
Another incident tells how a goat became a radar from enemy raids. So, during the evacuation of one of the settlements, the commander of one of the artillery batteries bought a goat named Krasotka from a local resident. Initially, she was simply milked, but during one of the raids a German outfit detonated next to her. The goat was not injured, but it did not give any more milk.
But she acquired another unusual ability: she could always accurately determine the enemy's bombardment or shelling. Moreover, Beauty was ahead of all the radars available to the soldiers, hiding in the rocks when there was still no sign of a raid. So the goat became a real fighting unit, whose behavior saved the lives of many.
But "a turtle in the service of the Red Army" sounds somehow even fantastic, but there was such a thing. The Mediterranean turtle is a frequent visitor to Malaya Zemlya and quickly became part of the soldiers' meager diet. However, there was a case when this small harmless animal was "retrained" into a real saboteur.
One day a soldier found a turtle in a trench moving towards enemy positions. The reasons for the soldier's action are unknown - either it was a deliberate provocation, or he just wanted to nerve the Germans, but he tied a tin can to his shell and sent the turtle to the barriers. Naturally, getting close to the barbed wire, the little "saboteur" made a lot of noise. And the Germans, who were simply afraid of the Soviet marines, without clarifying the situation, began to shoot indiscriminately.
A day later, the Red Army had already prepared a whole detachment of saboteur turtles. There was much more noise from them, and while the Germans, again without understanding, fired into the void, Soviet soldiers easily determined the location of the enemy's firing points and at the same time watched how the Germans were literally spending ammunition in nowhere.
Continuing the topic: Both radar and anti-stress: why cats were indispensable in war