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95th Anniversary of the Russian Military Reconnaissance Service
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Today is 95th Anniversary of the Russian Military Reconnaissance Service, we would like to tell you a story about 12 year old boy who joined reconnaissance in 1943.


Soviet recon unit. 01.03.1942




An ordinary boy.

Alexander Kolesnikov was an ordinary Soviet schoolboy from Moscow, whose father was a tanker during the great patriotic war.


In March 1943 at the age of 12 he ran away from home to join the army. He told the commander of the 50th tank regiment that his father was also a tanker and lied that he had lost his mother during the evacuation. From that day he became a soldier. Alexander was employed as a scout - behind enemy lines, he looked even younger than his age which helped him stay above suspicion. In June 1944 the 1st Belorussian Front was preparing for an offensive. Kolesnikov was called to the recon commander, here he met a pilot. The pilot was looking at Alexander with doubt, but the recon commander assured him that the boy was quite experienced.  

The task was to find a hidden railroad used by the Germans to transport ammunition and vehicles - and mark it with old bed sheets and then wait for a signal from a pilot. Alexander crossed the front line with a recon squad, after crossing he left them to carry out his mission alone. He was dressed as a beggar and dragged a pile of old bed sheets behind him as if he was going to trade them in for food. He located the secret railroad, marked it with bed sheets and then climbed a nearby pine tree where he waited for the plane. He spent the whole night on the tree, but finally he saw a La-5 flying above, the plane rocked its wings, which was the signal agreed - "Leave now! Bombing is about to begin!"

The way back was long and when he was crossing the Sluch river he met the recon squad again. He found out that they had a task - to destroy a railway bridge across the river, but it was heavily guarded and they had spent several days already trying to get near it. Meanwhile, a train had arrived and stopped just before the bridge. Alexander grabbed the explosives and rushed towards the train. The recon squad watched on amazed, as the train crossed the bridge, they saw a small figure jumping off one of the wagons into the river. A few moments later, there was a mighty blast, ammunition on the train started detonating on the other wagons as well - both train and bridge were completely destroyed. Alexander was picked up by a German patrol boat and brought to a hut nearby, the recon squad rushed to the rescue. They eliminated all of the enemy soldiers and found the boy in the hut - with his hands and legs nailed to the wall, unconscious but still breathing.

On their way back to friendly lines, the recon soldiers had to fight hard. Almost all of them were killed. Alexander was found later by advancing Soviet troops and survived.

In 1945 he became part of a T-34 crew in assigned to Berlin.

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