Maria Denisovna always shares her memories of the war years so emotionally that you involuntarily experience with her the bitterness of loss, fears, and hatred of the invaders. She went to the front as a girl from her native Kemerovo: right after school she began to study nursing. The year of study flew by so quickly that she did not have time to blink an eye. And now she is on her way to the southern front of the country in a freight car.
Maria Denisovna received her first award « For Courage » after the battles near Voronezh. Now she recalls that Ivan Chernyakhovsky himself, the commander of the 60th Army, presented it. Yes, only before that her parents had time to « bury » their daughter.
Maria Denisovna says that she miraculously survived those battles. One of the 250 plus girls remained. I went into reconnaissance, and the Nazis opened mortar fire. The nurse girl found herself in a crater covered with earth. And when I woke up, everything was already quiet. I got to my family, and they say that the funeral has already been sent to the family.
In those terrible battles, Maria Denisovna carried 25 wounded soldiers from the fields, with weapons. The fragile girl, it seemed, would have collapsed from her feet from fatigue, and she dragged the men weighed down from wounds under the bullets.
– Where only the forces were taken for this … And how much their weapons weighed! – she recalls with a smile. – But they did not think about themselves, did not feel heaviness. So it is until the very Victory.
Maria Denisovna, a participant in the Battle of Kursk, who liberated Kharkov, Lvov, Poland and Czechoslovakia, carried more than three hundred soldiers from the battlefield. The Order of Glory in Prague was awarded to her for saving 57 wounded. There she met Victory.
After the war, she was sought after by those whom she saved, not sparing herself. One soldier with whom Maria Denisovna shared her blood – the transfusion was done urgently and in the field – found it many years later.
Throughout her life, Maria Koltakova made bold plans and lived to implement them. For example, she dreamed of jumping with a parachute, and jumped – at 93! She dedicated this act to her brother.
Then she became an « iron grandmother », only Maria Denisovna herself refutes these words, repeating with a smile:
– What are you, ordinary me! I just wanted to understand for myself what I am capable of in my young years!
« The grandmother is joking, » her assistants say, and she, meanwhile, jokingly set 12 Russian records. More than once I jumped with a parachute, dived with a scuba dive, flew on a hang glider and a balloon, tested a wind tunnel. I even rode a bike with the « Night Wolves » team, and as if that was not enough, I took the place of the crew navigator in the jeep trial cup. The car, bouncing with passengers inside, then fell into a ravine, then buried itself and got out of the sand. After such a « bumpiness » any other unprepared person would come to his senses for a long time, and the « iron grandmother » opened the jeep door and asked in surprise: « Is that all?
Maria Denisovna was invited to talk about courage and decisive striving on the way to her goals on the TV show of Leonid Yakubovich and Maxim Galkin. In response to the attention from journalists, the veteran Koltakov grumbles, but not without a smile.
“Ask your questions,” she says. – But loud! My hearing is not the same. Shout in your ear! I’ll tell you everything.
Maria Denisovna set her 12th record in shooting competitions. The last time she kept the weapon in training before going to the front, and at the age of 99 she decided to repeat this experience. At the children’s sports school, Maria Koltakova showed such results that the young shooters gasped. She apologized for not hitting the very center of the target.
Last year, the veteran celebrated her 98th birthday at the Palace of Culture, where admirers of her steel character and will came with congratulations. She answered questions with a smile, shared her memories of the war, the fallen comrades and those who returned to their homeland with Victory, but no longer with us.
And then the coronavirus restrictions made adjustments to the multifaceted life. Due to the pandemic, meetings with veterans, visits to schools, and the main holiday, Victory Day, had to be spent at home. Celebrating the 99th birthday also did not work out widely. All this could upset anyone, but not Maria Koltakova.
– I did not despair, – says Maria Denisovna. – When we were told that we had to sit in isolation because of the virus, I began to learn poetry! I also mastered the Internet – now I communicate via video, it’s very convenient!
“I’d dive to the bottom of the ocean,” she says dreamily. – I was not there yet!
Veteran of the Great Patriotic War Maria Koltakova was a foreman of the medical service, participated in the Battle of Kursk. She carried more than 300 wounded from the battlefield. Maria Denisovna was awarded the Order of Glory III degree, the Order of the Patriotic War I degree.