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April 25, 1945 began mass fraternization of Soviet and American soldiers. And this is despite the fact that fierce fighting was still going on in the streets of Berlin at that time, and Prague also remained in the hands of the Germans. But the event, which was waited for four years, could not be canceled or banned.
The following days were marked by a whole chain of American-Soviet meetings at various levels. The commanders of regiments, corps, divisions were fighting ... According to the recollections of our officers who participated in those celebrations, it was surprising how relaxed the Americans were.
They all had the idea of fix: to get some small change from the Russians. The most popular souvenirs were emblems and stars with shoulder straps, buttons (sometimes, in the midst of a friendly feast, they were torn from the uniform, even without the knowledge of the owner).
A veteran of the Great Patriotic War, Yuri Timoshenko, told how, during one of the feasts, he “got the nuts” to one suspicious type who was mistaken for a spy, but was not driven away from the table:
"The" fat "that was sitting against us, broke the silence after the first glass.Rushing blood, he coughed loudly and spat. It turns out that someone poured vinegar into his glass.
This "someone", as it turned out, was the driver who brought us here. He mocked the bacon all evening. During the second toast, when everyone stood up, he quietly removed the fatty chair, and he, sitting down, crashed to the floor. Later, the driver, taking a candle from the table, for a long time set fire to the bacon cap hanging on the back of the chair.
"At the end of the award ceremony, we went out with the Bradley from the mansion to the fresh air. I knew that Bradley was going to give me a memory of the jeep from his bet right on the plane.
For my part, I also prepared a personal gift for him: a drill horse that had followed me everywhere since the summer of 1943, when I took command of the Steppe Front. It was a beautiful, well-traveled Don stallion. I gave it with all the equipment to General Bradley, "- Ivan Konev, then twice told Hero of the Soviet Union.
It’s not so easy to give a horse, especially a fighting one, for a military man, like giving a brand-new “jeep” with whom you can’t connect anything and cannot connect.
The act of Konev speaks eloquently aboutthat not only ordinary soldiers, but also the top military leaders of the Red Army, meeting in the spring of the 45th with the Americans, were sincere in their feelings, believed that they were true allies, friends.
Marshal Konev, as expected, received as a gift a jeep vehicle with the inscription: "To the Commander of the First Ukrainian Army Group from American soldiers of the 12th Army Group." In addition, Ivan Stepanovich was awarded the American flag and the American machine gun.