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Start of the War

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"Combat journal of the 125th Tank Regiment

Journal kept by: Commander of the 1st Detachment, Captain Chigin

June 18th, 1941

At 20:00, on orders from the commander of the 202nd Motorized Division, the unit was assembled and moved to the Parizh forest 18 cm east of Sheduv. 
The regiment was composed of:
  • 1st, 2nd, and 3rd battalion: dismounted with rifles
  • 4th battalion: 46 T-26 tanks, chiefly old, none of them equipped with complete set of tools. One starting crank present for every five tanks, no spare sparkplugs, lack of other vital spare parts. 
The unit's warehouse does not have a single spare part for tank repairs. The regiment has no tractors or tow chains, with the exception of one tractor that could barely move on its own.

June 19th, 1941

Supplies, gear, and ammunition were restocked. The unit began training in near-combat conditions (arrangement of observation and guards). The soldiers and commanders are in high spirits.

June 21st, 1941

During June 20th and June 21st the unit was moving to Podukste.

June 22nd, 1941

At 04:00 the regiment commander and his HQ left to survey the Kelme region. Many airplanes were seen during reconnaissance, some familiar Soviet silhouettes, and many unfamiliar ones. Explosions were heard and smoke spotted on the horizon. None of the commanders suspected Germany's treacherous invasion. At 12:00, the unit's delegate in the division HQ arrived at the reconnaissance area and told the regiment commanders and HQ staff about Germany's invasion of the USSR. The unit immediately began preparations to push back the enemy."

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