Well I know I said there would be no more posts while I was away on holiday, but it dawned on me, that I can still post something (due to that mobile flatrate which also works in Egypt) and that is reviews of the books I have taken along. So here is the first one:
“Blood Red Snow, the memoirs of a German soldiers on the Eastern Front” by Gunther K. Koschorrek
As the title suggests the book tells about the personal experiences of a common soldier on the Eastern Front. He does not attempt to give a overview, about the whole war in the east, but just his personal experiences. Even to the extend, that he does not want to mention his unit. Although from a few remarks he makes about the unit and their insignia I assume that he was in the 24th Panzer Division. The author joined the division as a replacement while the division was fighting inside Stalingrad. Now the text on the back of the book states that it is about the fighting in Stalingrad, but this does not hold true. He tells about his replacement train having to march across the steppe since the railroad track was sabotaged by partisans, live on the edge of Stalingrad with the trains and an incursion into the city to deliver food and supplies. He goes on to tell how the city was surounded, how the Soviets penetrated their lines to attack the Rollbahn (main supply route) where he was part of the defense as a machine gunner and how their defences were broken and they had to flee across the Don before he was wounded. That is about all you get from the fighting inside Stalingrad. Does it diminish the book? No not the least! The account is very realistic and gritty and give a real feeling about how live on the Eastern Front was.
And it goes on like this. After his recovery he gets send back to his unit, has short tour in Italy and fights on almost to the very end (he was recovering from his 7th wound when the war ended). He gives very detailed acounts of how live was, how his friends died and how they felt about the situation in general. And he tells how he ended as an American POW and did everything not to be handed over to the Russians.
The greatest thing about it is that it stays out of politics. He does not try to get into those and he does attempt to justify why he fought formthe Nazi juggernaut like so many others do. This story is told at the squad and platoon level and I recommend this for people who like personal memoirs of common soldiers as opposed to books that tell the big picture. So how good is it? Well official retail is 17,95 US$ and I think it is worth every penny.
By the way… When I packed my suitcases for this holiday I forgot that I had already read this book a couple of years ago, but I still felt it was well worth a second read.