8. Fighting From the Baltics to Central Europe
After graduating tank school, Aleksandra Boiko was commissioned into the Red Army as a lieutenant. She arrived at the front with her husband in 1944, in their brand new IS-2 heavy tank – her as commander, he as driver. They first saw combat in the Riga Offensive, during which Aleksandra’s IS-2 destroyed five enemy tanks, including a Panzer VI Tiger, and two guns. For her exploits, she was awarded the Order of the Patriotic War, First Class.
A few months later, the Boikos’ tank was hit and damaged, and both were seriously injured. They were down, but too badass to remain out. The Boikos’ tank was repaired, and they eventually recovered from their wounds and returned to the front. All in all, Aleksandra and her husband fought from the Baltics, through Belarus, into Poland, and eventually ended up in Czechoslovakia at war’s end. Upon demobilization, Aleksandra returned to Magadan, where she ran a bakery, and was eventually elected to the City Council. Unfortunately, the couple did not live together happily ever after: they divorced in the 1950s. Ivan died in 1995, and Aleksandra followed him a year later.