19. Februar 1944

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Kalendernavigation ab 1944 -04-16.jpg

Editorial 1938 1939 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945 1946 1947 1948 1949 Epilog Anhang

Chronik 40–45

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Chronik 45–49

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31.

Erfahrungen i.d.Gefangenschaft Bemerkungen z.russ.Mentalität Träume i.d.Gefangenschaft

Personen-Index Namen,Anschriften Personal I.R.477 1940–44 Übersichtskarte (Orte,Wege) Orts-Index Vormarsch-Weg Codenamen der Operationen im Sommer 1942 Mil.Rangordnung 257.Inf.Div. MG-Komp.eines Inf.Batl. Kgf.-Lagerorganisation Kriegstagebücher Allgemeines Zu einzelnen Zeitabschnitten Linkliste Rotkreuzkarte Originalmanuskript Briefe von Kompanie-Angehörigen

Deutsch

Yesterday evening, a box of chocolate came down for us with the catering. I distributed it now. So after a semi-restful night’s sleep, the new day starts with a little treat to go with the usual frugal breakfast. The artillery lieutenant also got a bar, of course. We have to keep on the right side of the artillery! The Saint Barbara’s protégé then has three shots fired at the barrage area in front of our bunker, preventively. He has the receiver in his hand: “Fire!” - Brookh! “Over - range 3100 - fire!” - Ssseeou-brookh! That one struck home closely! 20 metres from the bunker! That’s enough for us.

The morning is grey, the sky overcast with low clouds. It had been snowing all night. I step out of the door and look along the front. Heavy snow is already sweeping across the land again. In some places I recognise individual figures wielding shovels. These are the guards who have to keep the bunker entrances clear. They have been shovelling all night and have achieved no more than just keeping the entrance open, because there was just as much snow falling from the sky as they could shovel away. Watching and observing was out of the question.

It is freezing cold.[1] To answer the daily call of nature outside is a real problem.

In the evening we were relieved by the same platoon that had been thrown out by the Russians. There are 30 men from the infantry gun company. As they are completely inexperienced in trench warfare, their insecurity is great and their steadfastness low. I gather my platoon and return to the battalion. On orders from the regiment, we are not to return there, but stay right at the front with the battalion so that we can be on the spot more quickly in the event of an alarm. I therefore move into a bunker together with my company team and a reserve squad. The company team currently only consists of a messenger, a combat clerk and a medic, the reserve squad of 6 men.

The battalion commander is a bundle of nerves. I’ve only just come up from below and have barely distributed the men to the bunkers when he calls and wants the equipment report. As the squads haven’t even had time to report, I can’t tell him anything yet. But he insists: “You must have an approximate overview. I have to report to the regiment!” (He should have said: ‘I want to report to the regiment as soon as possible so that they can see what a quick guy I am!’) There’s actually a machine gun and some ammunition boxes missing. He’s literally bursting with horror at these losses. He screams so loudly into the mouth piece that I hold it far away from the ear. No doubt the loss is annoying, but it could well have been much worse. The shouting has now made me antsy too. In the evening, I send the squad leader in charge and the ammunition gunner down with the rations sledge to look for the loss. An hour later they are already back, of course without having achieved anything. No doubt it’s almost impossible to find the stuff now in the deep snow. But I’m pretty sure they weren’t even looking at all. I also suspect that they deliberately left the heavy equipment in the snow so that they wouldn’t have to keep hefting it.

Of course, the squad leader and then the platoon leader are responsible for their equipment. But ultimately the responsibility remains with the company leader. Unless he is clever enough to pass the responsibility on to his subordinates. The company leader has to educate his subordinates accordingly. But how am I supposed to do that, for example, if I’m always assigned a second and third company in addition to my own, whose men I never get to know because I hand them over again after just a few weeks? What’s more, today’s troops are no longer those of 1939.

With our supply difficulties, the loss of weapons and equipment is a serious matter, and I am the last person to take such sloppiness lightly. But an attack in such a snowstorm is also extraordinary and does not go off without losses. It’s not as easy as Herr Oberleutnant up in his warm bunker imagines. He’s never taken a trench in a storm. We had two dead and four wounded in the operation. The guy didn’t say a single word about that! I’m boiling with rage and can’t enjoy myself at the moment.

Carola, future wife of the author and mother of the editor, shortly after the engagement 1943; the author received this or a similar photo from her today by field post

This evening, after a long time, home mail arrived again. 14 of the letters are for me, all from Carola. That makes me feel a little better. The letters are all very long. One contains her picture in postcard format. Carola! While I’m still absorbed in the sight of my fiancée, the adjutant comes in. I now talk all my anger out of my chest. He’ll tell his boss later what I think of him and the whole thing. But he should. Then we talk about personal things and reminisce about the time we spent together at the forester’s lodge and in France. Then he sees Carola’s picture and picks it up. “Man, appreciation,” he blurts out, “You know, with a fiancée like that, I wouldn’t be annoyed with the battalioner!” Then he left.

I’m standing outside the bunker door. Down in the dimly lit bunker, the combat clerk is sitting at the table writing. He has three lighted candles in front of him. I hear the medic say to him: “Man, don’t leave so many candles burning. If the old man sees that, he’ll go mad!”[2]

Unbelievable how easily you can get lost! Two minutes ago I left the bunker to do a quick business. I had climbed the stairs, walked about ten metres further and then stopped. The winter night is so bright that you can see a few hundred metres around: A white, snow-covered landscape. Then I turn round and walk the few steps back to the bunker - but I can’t find the entrance! I take a few more steps forwards, then back again. I carefully turn a little to the left, then to the right. Nothing! I stop and look round carefully. The bunker hill should be recognisable. But the deep snow has buried everything under a uniform blanket. I listen. There are several bunkers in the neighbourhood, housing 35 men. You must surely be able to hear a sound. Nothing. Then, at last, a Landser emerges from the blanket of snow as if he alighted from the earth. He comes out of one of the crew dugouts, twenty metres away. He probably has the same intention as me. Now I can orientate myself and find my hole in the ground again. Just as silently as the Landser emerged, I disappear again from the surface of the earth and dive down through the narrow gap into the warmth of the bunker in the ground under the thick blanket of snow.


— next date →

Editorial 1938 1939 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945 1946 1947 1948 1949 Epilog Anhang

January February March April May June July August September October November December Eine Art Bilanz Gedankensplitter und Betrachtungen Personen Orte Abkürzungen Stichwort-Index Organigramme Literatur Galerie:Fotos,Karten,Dokumente

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31.

Erfahrungen i.d.Gefangenschaft Bemerkungen z.russ.Mentalität Träume i.d.Gefangenschaft

Personen-Index Namen,Anschriften Personal I.R.477 1940–44 Übersichtskarte (Orte,Wege) Orts-Index Vormarsch-Weg Codenamen der Operationen im Sommer 1942 Mil.Rangordnung 257.Inf.Div. MG-Komp.eines Inf.Batl. Kgf.-Lagerorganisation Kriegstagebücher Allgemeines Zu einzelnen Zeitabschnitten Linkliste Rotkreuzkarte Originalmanuskript Briefe von Kompanie-Angehörigen

  1. On the 18th still -1°C, on the 19th -5 to -6° and blizzard (KTB 6. A. NARA T-312 Roll 1493 Frame 000259/99)
  2. The author describes a similar situation in the field post letter of 1 Nov 45 to his wife.