Looking for a good book about the life of a soldier during World War II, German perspective.
Got Koschorreks work but need something else
I´ve been reading a lot books from/about German Soldiers in WW2 in the last few months. But I think most of them are only available in German.
Hans Jürgen Hartmann "Zwischen nichts und Niemandsland"
The author served as a PAK crew in russia, first on the southern front, then in the middle. He thinks about the human aspects as well when they stay in captured villages behind the front, living with the people there in there houses. Also he describes in great details the situations when they were for weeks in trench systems and bunkers. He mentions the fear of being "taken by the Russians" while being on a lonely post at night a lot. One scenery was very intense when they had large battle during a Russian offensive for 48 hours. They lost and recaptured a large trench line system a few times during the night and kept still during the day with the enemy being in the trenches just a hand grenade throw away. Later they got support by some stugs that cleaned the trenches, crowded with hundreds of Russian soldiers, by shooting at 20 meters directly into the masses that did not move and retreat or attack. But even more impressive is how he is able to make you realise the horror from constant waiting and fears, the weather, hunger, lack of sleep and over all the lice and the stench of the dead. First he just wanted to keep out of trouble and stay alive until he got promoted and now had to think for all his men and make them follow orders, even if it ment most likely death. I have highest respect for this man.
Willy Peter Reese "Mir selber seltsam fremd"
A very sad book. He was not the average soldier. He was a very intelligent and well-read young man. He got drafted and wrote this book while he was at the eastern front and when he was on recovering holiday after being injured. He describes the war with the words and thoughts of a poet and still it is the horrors of the eastern front. He was a lonely guy in the army. He even describes how he woke up in a foxhole and everyone had moved and left him behind because he was without friends.
The book ends with "I was soldier in danger and pain. Wanderer, Adventurer in Space. But I loved the life." just before he went back to the eastern front. He died in July 1944 near Witebsk.
Herbert Brunnegger "Saat in den Sturm"
He was 15 years old when he volunteered for the SS in 1938. He was the youngest Soldier of the third Reich.
He joined the Waffen SS Division "Totenkopf" and became a KZ Guard during training. He was with the first troops who entered the Sudetenland, later they went to Poland and then to France. In 1941 they went to Russia were he was in the Demjansk Pocket, then Charkov, and later Operation Zitadelle. After his fourth injury he came to Italy and the back to the east to Brandenburg in 1945. Mostly he served as a driver, delivering ammunition and orders to the Front and brining the dead and wounded back.
Hans Heinz Rehfeldt "Mit dem Eliteverband des Heeres 'Großdeutschland' tief in den Weiten Russlands 41-43"
"Mit dem Panzerkorps 'Großdeutschland' in Russland, Ungarn, Litauen und im Kampf um Ostpreußen 43-45"
This books is like a movie somehow. He describes in great detail what he did, what happened and the battles they had. But it does not contain self reflection, scepsis about the orders or the meaning of his doing.
He fought in a Elite Division in a grenade launcher crew and he was certainly a good soldier but not a fanatic. To many thoughts just get you killed and they were in action nearly without interruptions from one part of the front to another were the situation was bad and help was needed.
Albrecht Wacker "Im Auge des Jägers - Der Wehrmachts-Scharfschütze Josef Allerberger"
Albrecht Wacker wrote this book based on talks with Allerberger and it´s a tough book, the death around him is described in disturbing detail. Be it his comrades, getting shot by enemy sharpshooters or killed by shrapnel or tanks during an enemy assault or the enemy he just killed. The book even has pictures of the dead he describes.
He served in the 3. Gebirgsjäger Division on the eastern front from July 1943, always on retreat.
He used a Russian Tokarev Rifle with scope first, later K98 and G43 with Scope. He also tells about a SS Sharpshooter company he met in April 1945 armed with G43 ZF and a few had a STG44 ZF.
His duty was patrolling near the front line trenches and stopping enemy scout troops and such. He was also able to stop several attacks, sometimes about 100 people in four waves, mostly alone with his G43 with FZ.
He mentions the explosive ammunition a lot. The Russians issued it to their snipers from the beginning while Germans used it only for Plane Mg Adjusting because of limited supplies. Only later in the war he could use this ammunition with German Rifles.
The effects of this kind of ammunition is horrible as he explains in a lot of occasions.