Battery hare

Battery hare
Battery hare
Battery hare

Far to the north, on the very edge of our land, by the cold Barents Sea, the battery of the famous commander Ponochevny was stationed throughout the war. Heavy guns took refuge in the rocks on the shore - and not a single German ship could pass our naval outpost with impunity.

The Germans have repeatedly tried to seize this battery. But the artillerymen of Ponochevny did not allow the enemy to come close to them either. The Germans wanted to destroy the outpost - thousands of shells were sent from long-range guns. Our artillerymen held out and themselves responded to the enemy with such fire that the German guns soon fell silent - they were smashed by the well-aimed shells of Ponochevny. The Germans see: Ponochevny cannot be taken from the sea, cannot be broken from land. We decided to strike from the air. Day after day, the Germans sent air reconnaissance. They circled like kites over the rocks, looking out for where Ponochevny's guns were hidden. And then big bombers flew in, hurling huge bombs from the sky onto the battery.

If you take all the guns of Ponochevny and weigh them, and then calculate how many bombs and shells the Germans dropped on this piece of land, it turns out that the entire battery weighed ten times less than the terrible load dropped on it by the enemy …

I was in those days on the Ponochevny battery. The entire coast there was destroyed by bombs. To get to the cliffs where the cannons stood, we had to climb over large holes-funnels. Some of these pits were so spacious and deep that each would fit a good circus with an arena and seating.

A cold wind blew from the sea. He dispersed the fog, and I saw small round lakes at the bottom of the huge craters. Ponochevny's batteries were squatting by the water and peacefully washing their striped vests. All of them have recently been sailors and tenderly took care of the sailor's vests, which they remained in memory of the naval service.

I was introduced to Ponochevny. Cheerful, a little snub-nosed, with sly eyes looking out from under the visor of a naval cap. As soon as we started talking, the signalman on the rock shouted:

- Air!

- There is! Breakfast is served. Today breakfast will be served hot. Take cover! - said Ponochevny, looking around the sky.

The sky hummed over us. Twenty-four Junkers and several small Messerschmitts flew straight for the battery. Behind the rocks, our anti-aircraft guns rattled loudly, in a hurry. Then the air squealed thinly. We didn't manage to get to the shelter - the ground gasped, a high rock not far from us split, and stones screeched over our heads. The hard air hit me and knocked me to the ground. I climbed under the overhanging rock and pressed myself against the rock. I felt like a stone shore was walking beneath me.

The rough wind of explosions pushed into my ears and dragged me from under the rock. Clinging to the ground, I closed my eyes as hard as I could.

From one strong and close explosion, my eyes opened themselves, like the windows in a house open during an earthquake. I was about to close my eyes again, when I suddenly saw that to my right, quite close, in the shadow under a large stone, something white, small, oblong was stirring. And with each blow of the bomb, this small, white, oblong funny jerked and died again. Curiosity took me so deeply that I no longer thought about the danger, did not hear the explosions. I just wanted to know what kind of strange thing was jerking there under the stone. I got closer, looked under the stone and examined the white hare's tail. I wondered: where did he come from? I knew that hares were not found here.

A close gap slammed, the tail twitched convulsively, and I squeezed deeper into the crevice of the rock. I was very sympathetic to the ponytail. I couldn't see the hare itself. But I guessed that the poor fellow was also uncomfortable, as well as me.

There was a clear signal. And immediately I saw a large hare-hare slowly crawling out from under the stone. He got out, put one ear upright, then lifted the other, listened. Then the hare suddenly, dryly, fractionally, shortly struck with its paws on the ground, as if playing a rebound on a drum, and jumped to the radiator, angrily spinning its ears.

The batteries gathered around the commander. The results of anti-aircraft fire were reported. It turns out that while I was studying Zaykin's tail there, anti-aircraft gunners shot down two German bombers. Both fell into the sea. And two more planes started smoking and immediately turned home. On our battery, one gun was damaged by bombs and two soldiers were easily wounded by a shrapnel. And then I saw the oblique again. The hare, often twitching the tip of its humped nose, sniffed at the stones, then looked into the caponier, where the heavy weapon was hiding, squatted in a column, folded its forepaws on its tummy, looked around and, as if noticing us, headed straight towards Ponochevny. The commander was sitting on a stone. The hare jumped up to him, climbed onto his knees, rested his forepaws on Ponochevny's chest, reached out and began to rub his mustachioed muzzle against the commander's chin. And the commander stroked his ears with both hands, pressed against the back, passed them through his palms … Never in my life have I seen a hare behave so freely with a man. I happened to meet completely tame bunnies, but as soon as I touched their back with my palm, they froze in horror, falling to the ground. And this one kept up with the commander of the fellow.

- Oh you, Zai-Zaich! - said Ponochevny, carefully examining his friend. - Oh, you cheeky brute … did you not disturb you? Not familiar with our Zai-Zaich? He asked me. “The scouts from the mainland brought me this present. He was lousy, anemic in appearance, but we ate it. And he got used to me, hare, does not give a direct move. So it runs after me. Where I - there he is. Our environment, of course, is not very suitable for a hare's nature. We could see for ourselves that we live noisily. Well, nothing, our Zai-Zaich is now a small fired man. He even had a through wound.

Ponochny took carefully the left ear of the hare, straightened it, and I saw a healed hole in the shiny plush skin, pinkish from the inside.

- A shrapnel broke through. Nothing. Now, on the other hand, I have perfectly learned the rules of air defense. A little swooped in - he would instantly hide somewhere. And once it happened, so without Zai-Zaich there would be a full pipe for us. Honestly! They pounded us for thirty hours in a row. It's a polar day, the sun stays on watch all day long, well, the Germans used it. As it is sung in the opera: "No sleep, no rest for the tormented soul." So, therefore, they bombed, they finally left. The sky is overcast, but the visibility is decent. We looked around: nothing seems to be expected. We decided to rest. Our signalmen, too, got tired, well, they blinked. Just look: Zai-Zaich is worried about something. I set my ears and hit me with my front paws. What? Nothing is visible anywhere. But do you know what a hare's hearing is? What do you think, the hare was not mistaken! All sound traps were ahead. Our signalmen found the enemy plane only three minutes later. But I already had time to give a command in advance, just in case. Prepared, in general, on time. From that day on we already know: if Zai-Zaich has pointed his ear, beats a tap, watch the sky.

I looked at Zai-Zayich. Lifting his tail, he briskly jumped on Ponochevny's lap, sideways and with dignity, somehow not at all like a hare, looked around the gunners around us. And I thought: "What daredevils, probably, these people are, if even the hare, having lived with them for a while, has ceased to be a coward himself!"

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