Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

The Eastern Front through the eyes of the Grunts

Collapse
This topic is closed.
X
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • The Eastern Front through the eyes of the Grunts

    I have decided to start a new thread jumping off "The Soviets the first to explore Lightning Warfare" thread in answer to another post and was veering off topic.I think the title of this post and all contributions would make a worthy "stand alone thread" for all members of ACG.

    The original post:

    This is a good idea as far as the Ostkrieg from the "higher" POV. I do not think it would shed any light on the "grunts" on both sides slugging it out in the trenches for nearly 4 years. On the one hand there have been many German Landser memoirs translated to English since 1945 and to many to count that have still not been translated. I have read most of the translated memoirs of the common landser on the eastern front and they all have one common thread running through each account and that is that their Russian adversaries while they came to loathe them for their combat tactics they also (the majority) had the utmost respect for them. The reasons for this are told vividly throughout these many memoirs.

    I have also read a handful of the common Russian soldier memoirs which have been translated all after the collapse of the USSR as before this any such literature was prohibited and might have gotten you a 10 year sentence in the gulag or worse. The few that were written after the fall of the iron curtain were 45 or more years after the confrontation and so one must wonder how accurate (memories fade) the memoirs are compared to the German landser's who started writing theirs during ,after, and upwards into the 21st century as there was no punishment to fear. Millions of letters sent home from the front by the German landser's although subjected to censorship thousands still survive to this day. Over the years more and more have surfaced and in time I am sure some of them will be translated and published in other languages.

    These memoirs of the German and Russian "grunts" at the tip of the spear represent the true horrors of the ostkrieg 1941-1945 which, at the ground level, was an ideological battle in which the worst was brought out in both of the belligerents.

    As this is off topic from this thread I will start a new thread beginning with the above paragraphs of this subject.

    Regards,Kurt

    P.S. here is an interesting link:http://closeencountersinwar.com/inde...from-the-front
    Theo mir ist die munition ausgegangen ich werde diesen ramman auf wiedersehen uns in walhalla

  • #2
    Here are the first two paragraphs from the preface of "Frontsoldaten" by Stephen G. Fritz:
    This is not a book about war in the sense that such histories are usually understood. Instead,it concerns the nature of men at war. Indeed, war serves merely as a backdrop against which human actions and emotions can be illuminated.As a consequence,I do not take a traditional "top down" approach, relying on official documents and assessments of events, but rather approach history from the "bottom up", from the perspective of the common fighting man.This approach, of course, has certain limitations, foremost among them the fact that the broad strategic sweep of traditional military history is absent. Nor is there any of the usual conjecture over matters of tactics, leadership, command decisions, or the relative merits of various weapons.Not only have those matters been dealt with elsewhere by other historians, but pursuing them here would negate the entire intent of every day history. My purpose is to allow average German soldiers to speak, with a minimum of external interference, to hear their words and see the war through their eyes so as to get at the reality of the combat experience as lived by the men in the bunkers and foxholes. It is this sense of immediacy and drama, unfiltered and uncluttered by excessive analysis, that is at the heart of everyday history.

    By its very nature, every day history relies extensively on the comments of average people, which is why I have leaned heavily on quotations from the soldiers themselves.This does not mean however, that there is no analysis or that the book is simply an edited collection of combat experiences. In reading countless letters and diaries, I analyzed them for personal, social, political, or ideological content, looked for recurring themes, created a systematic framework within each chapter in order to focus the words of the average soldiers, and then commented in a concise, analytical fashion. I could certainly have summarized much of this material in my own words, but then it would have lost the intimacy and impact of the moving stories of "little men" that are the strength of every day history
    Regards,Kurt
    Theo mir ist die munition ausgegangen ich werde diesen ramman auf wiedersehen uns in walhalla

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Kurt Knispel View Post
      Here are the first two paragraphs from the preface of "Frontsoldaten" by Stephen G. Fritz:


      Regards,Kurt
      I like the idea Kurt, you had better hurry though for we are all 90 plus as of now and steadily 'Falling off of the perch'. lcm1
      'By Horse by Tram'.


      I was in when they needed 'em,not feeded 'em.
      " Youuu 'Orrible Lot!"

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by lcm1 View Post
        I like the idea Kurt, you had better hurry though for we are all 90 plus as of now and steadily 'Falling off of the perch'. lcm1
        Of the many memoirs and war diaries I have read only a few who wrote them are still with us today. It is an honor to chat with a soldier such as yourself that is still among us. My own father was born in 1919 and died in 2009.He was in the United States Army and fought at Guadalcanal (his only campaign during the war).

        Regards,Kurt
        Theo mir ist die munition ausgegangen ich werde diesen ramman auf wiedersehen uns in walhalla

        Comment


        • #5
          More from the author of "Frontsoldaten:"
          The great majority of the atrocities resulted from the ideological nature of the war in Russia, from deliberate action on the part of German authorities and their executioners, the ordinary men of the German police forces and army. In an order issued in May 1941, even before the German attack on the Soviet Union, Field Marshall Wilhelm Keitel, the titular head of the German armed forces (OKW), stressed that the upcoming campaign was to be a war against the Jews and the Bolsheviks and that the Wehrmacht should move ruthlessly against these alleged enemies of Germany. To arouse necessary ardor, he absolved soldiers from the jurisdiction of military courts if they should engage in atrocities against Russian civilians, and he approved measures of "collective reprisal." As Christopher Browning has noted, the order amounted to a license to kill, a license that was renewed by the infamous "Nacht und Nebal"(Night and Fog) decree of December 1941, also issued by Keitel.

          The average Landser, moreover, betrayed little sense of shock or outrage at such orders. The world was seething with death, and its proximity evidently stifled many a soldiers compassion. War became a job, casual labor, common work, and whom or how one killed didn't seem to make a great difference. Furthermore the rank and file of the Wehrmacht were probably more thoroughly Nazified then has heretofore been acknowledged, indeed , average Landsers were consistently Hitler's strongest supporters . As a consequence, their letters and diaries disclose, there existed among the troops in Russia such a striking level of agreement with the Nazi regime's view of the Bolshevik enemy and the sort of treatment that should be dealt them that many soldiers willingly participated in murderous actions.
          Regards,Kurt
          Theo mir ist die munition ausgegangen ich werde diesen ramman auf wiedersehen uns in walhalla

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Kurt Knispel View Post
            Of the many memoirs and war diaries I have read only a few who wrote them are still with us today. It is an honor to chat with a soldier such as yourself that is still among us. My own father was born in 1919 and died in 2009.He was in the United States Army and fought at Guadalcanal (his only campaign during the war).

            Regards,Kurt
            Hi Kurt, as you probably know I was in the Royal Marines and on Landing craft crew in the Normandy landings, 18 going on 19. Soon back in England and reformed into infantry battalions. Joining the war again in Belgium finishing up at wars end in Kiel. lcm1 ( Ken )
            'By Horse by Tram'.


            I was in when they needed 'em,not feeded 'em.
            " Youuu 'Orrible Lot!"

            Comment


            • #7
              As a lad I used to talk to one of the Polish guys who used to work for my Dad. This bloke had had the experience of being a prisoner in both Soviet and German camp systems and had fought in both the Soviet Army and the German Army - the only way, he explained, to get to kill both Germans and Russians. In his case things weren't black and white but grey and more grey (and not necessarily feld grey).
              Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
              Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by MarkV View Post
                As a lad I used to talk to one of the Polish guys who used to work for my Dad. This bloke had had the experience of being a prisoner in both Soviet and German camp systems and had fought in both the Soviet Army and the German Army - the only way, he explained, to get to kill both Germans and Russians. In his case things weren't black and white but grey and more grey (and not necessarily feld grey).
                I wonder how he menaged to land in German army from the camp and then land again from Soviet camp to army. Or the other way around.
                There are no Nazis in Ukraine. © Idiots

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Emtos View Post
                  I wonder how he menaged to land in German army from the camp and then land again from Soviet camp to army. Or the other way around.
                  The Soviets placed a great many Poles in Camps in 1939 - some did nor survive - heard of the Katyn Wood Massacre? When Stalin got desperate in 1941 he had survivors drafted into the Soviet forces. Some of these were captured and ended up in Nazi work camps and were offered the chance of serving in the German forces when Hitler got desperate. A few like the guy I knew ended the war in Allied POW camps and a very few managed to evade being expatriated to be killed by Stalin's goons. Satisfied?
                  Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
                  Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by MarkV View Post
                    The Soviets placed a great many Poles in Camps in 1939 - some did nor survive - heard of the Katyn Wood Massacre? When Stalin got desperate in 1941 he had survivors drafted into the Soviet forces. Some of these were captured and ended up in Nazi work camps and were offered the chance of serving in the German forces when Hitler got desperate. A few like the guy I knew ended the war in Allied POW camps and a very few managed to evade being expatriated to be killed by Stalin's goons. Satisfied?
                    To my knowledge the Poles taken prisonners by Soviets were mostly sent in Anders's army when those in USSR were organized in units only by 1943. It also looks strange that they get the possibility to serve in German army after being made POW. Usually they get hiwi roles.
                    There are no Nazis in Ukraine. © Idiots

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      From "A German General on the Eastern Front: The Letters and Diaries of Gotthard Heinrici 1941-1942":

                      23.6.41: Yesterday, we had a Russian division in front of us, which completely scattered after being surprised. Everywhere in the huge forests, in countless farmsteads, there are lost soldiers who all to often ambush us from behind.The Russian is really conducting an underhanded war. In response, on several occasions our people have really cleaned up without mercy.

                      24.6.41: In general, the Russian seems to be withdrawing with his forces back to the east. But when he is forced to fight, he puts up a very determined fight. He is a much better soldier then the Frenchman. Extraordinary tough, cunning, and deceitful. Many losses are caused because our people are shot from behind.

                      6.7.41: Our Russian who had been in front of us is now destroyed. The affair was incredibly bloody. In part no quarter was given. The Russian behaved with beastiality toward our wounded. So then our people struck down and shot dead everything running around in a brown uniform. But there are still some large areas of forest full of stragglers and refugees some with and some without weapons, which are of great danger. You can send whole divisions through there and still tens of thousands will escape capture in these impenetrable areas.
                      Regards,Kurt
                      Theo mir ist die munition ausgegangen ich werde diesen ramman auf wiedersehen uns in walhalla

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by lcm1 View Post
                        Hi Kurt, as you probably know I was in the Royal Marines and on Landing craft crew in the Normandy landings, 18 going on 19. Soon back in England and reformed into infantry battalions. Joining the war again in Belgium finishing up at wars end in Kiel. lcm1 ( Ken )
                        Hi Ken
                        I know you are a WWII veteran but I did not know the details.Thanks for sharing. I'm glad you made it back and are still here. My father's combat experiences I do not know because he never, ever talked about it. I have his honorable discharge certificate and that just gives basic info.One line caught my eye. It read "expert machine gunner" it did not say what MG ...I would think it must apply to a 30 or 50 caliber not the Thompson sub MG what do you think ?

                        Regards,Kurt
                        Theo mir ist die munition ausgegangen ich werde diesen ramman auf wiedersehen uns in walhalla

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Kurt Knispel View Post
                          Hi Ken
                          I know you are a WWII veteran but I did not know the details.Thanks for sharing. I'm glad you made it back and are still here. My father's combat experiences I do not know because he never, ever talked about it. I have his honorable discharge certificate and that just gives basic info.One line caught my eye. It read "expert machine gunner" it did not say what MG ...I would think it must apply to a 30 or 50 caliber not the Thompson sub MG what do you think ?

                          Regards,Kurt
                          Hi Kurt,
                          I would say that he had likely seen 'Active Service' as ( purely guess work ) a Bren gunner perhaps? lcm1
                          'By Horse by Tram'.


                          I was in when they needed 'em,not feeded 'em.
                          " Youuu 'Orrible Lot!"

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Emtos View Post
                            To my knowledge the Poles taken prisonners by Soviets were mostly sent in Anders's army when those in USSR were organized in units only by 1943. It also looks strange that they get the possibility to serve in German army after being made POW. Usually they get hiwi roles.
                            Poles were also sent to the Forces under General Zygmunt Berling which fought with the Red Army.

                            Poles were drafted into the German Army and the Todt organisation and as the war wore on the Germans became increasingly less picky

                            General Kukiel representing the Polish Ministry of National Defence had since December 1943 requested SOE to consider how to encourage desertion once the invasion had started. A note of protest dated 14th June 1943 (PRO/HS4/225/1109941) by Lt. Colonel Kowaleski (Polish Special Operations Office) to Lt. Colonel R. Hazell highlighted the friction and conflict between different and often competing departments. The BBC had regularly been broadcasting insurrection messages to the Poles in the German Army and TODT Organization without the Polish Government in Exile’s permission and it was felt these messages were endangering secret cells within these organizations as well as Operation Dunstable
                            Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
                            Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Kurt Knispel View Post
                              I have also read a handful of the common Russian soldier memoirs which have been translated all after the collapse of the USSR as before this any such literature was prohibited and might have gotten you a 10 year sentence in the gulag or worse. The few that were written after the fall of the iron curtain were 45 or more years after the confrontation and so one must wonder how accurate (memories fade) the memoirs are compared to the German landser's who started writing theirs during ,after, and upwards into the 21st century as there was no punishment to fear. Millions of letters sent home from the front by the German landser's although subjected to censorship thousands still survive to this day. Over the years more and more have surfaced and in time I am sure some of them will be translated and published in other languages.
                              That's like an elementary level fail. Of course, the Soviet Union was one big GULAG, everyone was unhapy, soldiers were killed for retreating on the spot, and no memoirs were every published, and those that were published, were edited by Stalin and Krhustchev.

                              Are you writing this from some 1950's Cold War nuclear shelter or something?

                              Another reason such absurdities are written about Soviet memoirs is to offset them with the supposedly "more true" description of the war in German memoirs, thus lending greater credence to the German view of the Eastern Front, where the German army is not presented an eager accomplice of the SS in the Holocaust and extermination policies against the Slavic populations, but a band of noble warriors who were forced to fight for Hitler. In fact, the amount of self-serving embellishments and lies by omission in German "landsers'" memoirs is often greater than in official Soviet party histories.
                              www.histours.ru

                              Siege of Leningrad battlefield tour

                              Comment

                              Latest Topics

                              Collapse

                              Working...
                              X