“On the road, swollen corpses of dead Russians lay between bloated Russian horses. By night, civilians creep from their hideouts to tear lumps of flesh off of the rat-eaten cadavers. The Russians don’t bury their dead, they throw them into shallow craters. We bury ours for reasons of hygiene.
We suffered so many dead and wounded. Our battalion has been disbanded..my company has been shriveled to just 10 exhausted men.
Today’s attack was beaten back. Some discarded their weapons and defected to us. The ones who ran back were shot dead by their commissars.
We knew the ruthless brutality of the Red army against itself and its own. The Russian bayonet was mainly intended to kill their own or the enemy wounded; only accidentally for close combat.
I went through our positions after the attack and all 4 our machine gunners were bayoneted to death. Russians lay dead in front. Our wounded had been dragged away and killed. One of our gunners gave a sign of life with his hand. He had lost a lot of blood. I unbuckled his steel helmet, laid his head, streaming with blood and shouted for a stretcher bearer. He then mumbled his last words: “Write Mother…Jesus…Mother…Jesus” I closed his eyelids and moved on.
At the command post stood five Red Army soldiers who had surrendered, waiting to be picked up. We then heard mortars being fired in the distance. I crept into my hole and shouted to the prisoners to take cover. They shook their heads in sign of protest and remained standing in the open, upright… until the rounds rained down. None of them survived.
I then learned that the Russian leadership fired those mortars into our command post in order to kill all prisoners who had surrendered from the failed attack.
The great promises, reports of success on the fronts, the numerous safe conducts were now believed by no one.”
– Lt. Josef Goblirsch, 54th Jäger Rgt., 100th Jäger Div. Stalingrad, Sept 27th, 1942
As we always say here at Battles and Beers (TM) Every soldier has a story, and every story deserves to be told.