“The German army was not designed to fight prolonged battles in cities. In Stalingrad we were in almost constant battles with the Soviets.
My company was reduced from an already depleted 100 to just 30 by our second day of combat in October. I was in an apartment resting with some other soldiers when we heard the noise of pots and pans banging together through the wall.
I asked our platoon leader if there were any other German units around us and he said no. The wall was so thin we could hear the Soviets prepare a meal less than 3 meters from us on the other side of the wall. An engineer with us prepared an explosive, and we backed up into a hallway to wait for the explosion.
The bomb exploded, and we rushed through the hole in the wall with machine pistols, spades and knives. A bloody fight happened in that room. I charged the first man I saw when I entered. A Soviet boy around my age holding a pan. He threw the pan at my face, and it hit me on my cheek very hard. (Points at 2 inch scar on right cheek)
I charged into him holding a spade and he fell back onto a piano. I can still hear the sound of the piano keys being smashed. I struck him several times with my spade until he stopped moving.
Even now as I go to sleep, I can still hear the sound of the piano as we crashed into it. It plays over and over in my head.”
-Mr E. Mechling. German Army. Stalingrad 1942.
This interview was conducted by Battles and Beers (TM) in 2018 shortly before Mr. Mechling passed away. His story is finally being told. As we always say. Every soldier has a story, and every story deserves to be told.