Southeast of Leningrad, May 14, 1943
Hundreds of shells were overhead, thousands more would soon follow. Death and destruction was measured in tons and slivers.
Machine guns were hammering away at a strong point. Submachine gunners were crawling forward on their bellies to storm an outpost. Pioneers were a few meters behind the spearpoint, each man carried the tools needed to penetrate a minefield and pierce a wire.
Four hundred meters behind the assault force, Tatianna maintained her watch. Today, she was acting as a sharpshooter instead of being an independent hunter. Her rifle dealt death one bullet at a time, a few grams of steel and lead and copper and powder per life. She had fired seven times already, her targets were officers and sergeants first and then machine gunners and mortar crews. Riflemen were too common for her efforts. She fired once again. The rifle kicked against her shoulder and she cleared the bolt. Her spotter marked the impact, four inches low and two inches wide of the optimal point, but a wounding was almost better than a kill right now. That veteran would need his squad to care for him while demoralizing the men who had looked up to him. Her spotter nudged her in the ribs. It was time to switch. She would spot and her partner would shoot.
Four hours later, the pair relaxed. The regiment had met up with a tank battalion that was attacking into Leningrad even as they were attacking out. Rumors had it that they would be loaded into trucks to help reinforce another part of the general offensive, but for now, they had bread, they had water, and they even had good Turkish cigarettes.