“We were in the ruins of the factory. Then we were ordered to cross the open terrain to the factory halls. That was a desert of rubble in which everything lay scattered around. About fifteen meters away, I saw Soviet soldiers in a bunker. I was about ten meters ahead and only five to six meters from them, and I took cover behind a brick of concrete, a piece of rubble, but a big one.
I huddled behind it and called over to them that they were to surrender. They didn’t do that. Fires were burning everywhere, and then I threw a hand grenade in there. And then one came out who had blood running from his nose, his ears, and his mouth. I knew nothing about first aid, but I knew one thing: he could not survive.
He aimed his submachine gun at me, a Soviet one with the drum in front (PPSH). I was saying to myself: ‘Boy, you won’t get me!’ I took aim at him with my pistol and then saw something small start hurtling through the air. For a moment, I was stunned—what was happening? Then I moved my hand over my face, and there was a big spurt of blood and teeth coming out.
One of my comrades saw what was happening and jumped on a slab of concrete and then on top of the Soviet soldier. With his boots, he struck straight into the face of the Russian. I can still hear it crack today. He probably kicked him to death. Leutnant Hennes indicated that I was to crawl into the cover of a shell crater, where he bandaged me provisionally. At that moment, a Soviet soldier appeared over us. The Russian aimed his submachine gun at Hennes, and then his steel helmet was torn away, a bull’s-eye hit, straight in the head.
His head was open—I could see the brain lying there, brain to the left and the right and water in between, no blood. Another soldier of our unit killed the Russian who had shot Hennes, and I crawled away to find a medic.”
– Helmut Walz. German 6th Army. The Battle of Stalingrad, 1942.
As we always say here at Battles and Beers (TM) Every soldier has a story, and every story deserves to be told.