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Juris Eigims
Fictional Character
The Hot War
POD: November, 1950
Appearance(s): Bombs Away
through
Armistice
Type of Appearance: Direct
Nationality: Soviet Union (born in Latvia)
Date of Birth: Early 1930s (presumed)
Military Branch: Red Army (1951-2), Latvia guerrilla band (from 1952)

Juris Eigims was a Latvian tank gunner in the Soviet Red Army during World War III. In May 1951, Sgt. Konstantin Morozov was assigned as Eigims' new tank commander. Morozov knew that Eigims was from one of the Baltic states (although not which one specifically), and thus, was likely to try to undermine Morozov as much as possible. In addition, it was clear that Eigims had wanted to take over as tank commander and receive the promotion that likely would come with it.

When Morozov first met the crew, they were doing work on the engine, claiming they were trying to make it run smoother. Morozov realized that the crew had gummed up the engine, and was able to fix the problem.[1]

Eigims and the rest of the crew were assigned to the drive on Bocholt.[2] That drive stalled out quickly, as Bocholt's defenders were too numerous.[3] However, the following month, the Soviets broke through, crushing the largely British defenders of the city, with Morozov's crew doing its fair share, even destroying a British Centurion. Morozov's competence in battle did impress Eigims sufficiently that their antagonism lessened, although Eigims didn't quite let Morozov forget their respective ethnicities.[4]

In July, the crew was in the Soviet forward lines, but were far enough from the main front that they survived the nighttime U.S. atomic bombing of several Soviet strong points in West Germany. The crew had been sleeping under their tank, as per custom, when the bomb came. The blast sent the tank up on one side before it crashed down again. After climbing back in their tank and checking in with headquarters, the crew was ordered to fall back for medical check.[5]

In short order, they all developed symptoms of radiation poisoning. Morozov lost all of his body hair (including in his nose ears, eyebrows, and lashes), and was still quite weak even in September.[6] Eigims and Sarkisyan were similarly affected. Vladislav Kalyakin had non-stop rectal bleeding until he underwent surgery. While the bleeding was stopped, he was still a long way from being fit for duty.[7] The rest of them healed,[8] and Morozov and Eigims actually became something like friends.[9]

In December 1951, Morozov, Eigims, and Sarkisyan were assigned a new driver Demyan Belitsky, and a new bow gunner, Ilya Goledod. They were also assigned a T-34/85, a tank that had been produced in 1943. Despite his protests that the tank was outdated and likely to be destroyed, Morozov knew he'd be overruled by the higher ups.[10] They were then assigned to the regiment of Major Kliment Todorsky, and joined a drive on Paderborn. Todorsky freely admitted he was using the T-34s as point vehicles in his platoons to draw fire, and then using T-54s to finish off the enemy.[11]

They survived the drive, and, against all odds, the whole tank crew grew rather fond of their old tank.[12] As March gave way to April, Paderborn was still in American hands. Morozov and his crew were once again part of a drive on the town, under the command of Captain Lezkov. Morozov's tank was the point-tank of the platoon. After a kilometer and a half, a bazooka round hit the engine compartment, crippling the tank. The crew evacuated safely, and there were no further attacks.[13]

When the time came for a new tank, Morozov flatly refused to be assigned another T-34. He demanded that Ninel, the tank-park sergeant, fetch an officer with a great deal of mat. The park's senior officer, a lieutenant colonel, initially threatened Morozov with court-martial and execution, but Morozov stood his ground, assuring the colonel that putting him in the T-34 would have the same result. Convinced, the colonel gave Morozov's crew a T-54. Since they no longer needed a bow gunner, Goledod was reassigned.[14] They then joined their new regiment, commanded by Major Genrikh Zhuk, in Dassel. Zhuk was impressed with Morozov's T-54, and his tenacity in obtaining it.[15]

ReferencesEdit

  1. Bombs Away, pgs. 401-402, ebook.
  2. Fallout, loc. 739-768.
  3. Ibid, loc. 784-799.
  4. Ibid., loc, 1002-1062.
  5. Ibid., loc. 1826-1886.
  6. Ibid., loc. 2562.
  7. Ibid., loc. 2576.
  8. Ibid., loc. 2591-2637.
  9. Ibid., loc. 3314-3371
  10. Ibid., loc. 4482-4531.
  11. Ibid., loc. 4520-4543.
  12. Ibid., loc. 5641.
  13. Ibid, loc. 5691-5704.
  14. Ibid., loc. 5989-6024.
  15. Ibid. loc, 6036-6049.

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