Hello to all
Memories of Kirischi.
Countless and unspeakable have been the details of this week of hard fighting. Who speaks of Lt. Hottmann, who was left in the ditch with a splinter in his thigh because his company was already so weak that all men had a role. Who talks about the food haulers that crossed the bridge every day? Who still knows about Obergefreite Schmeing, who traveled the dangerous routes day and night with the stretcher and helped many, many comrades? Who still thinks of "Stalin", the Circassian defector who voluntarily went repeatedly to the front to search for the wounded? Do you still know Dr. Schneider, who stayed for weeks at his main medical station in a ruined factory? Many seriously injured people were rescued with quick help. There, more than a thousand wounded were treated.
It wasn't just terror that reigned in Kirischi, not just the feeling of being isolated from the civilized world, almost marginalized. Not only the dirt on the body, which had not been washed for weeks, was decisive in the bearded faces, the tired and inflamed eyes, the fever and the smell of corpses. All the bad things of this era cannot drown the fame that the German soldiers of the 11 and 21 Divisions and their enemies have earned. Even the word "silent heroism" does not yet encompass that brave and loyal compatriot who marches, fights, dies and wants to live happily before setting out on his bitter path to the warrior's tomb. Because the death of the hero is honorable, glorious, but not beautiful. Just as all this war is not pleasant either. Perhaps a war has never been pleasant?
But the memory is beautiful. Prospects for upcoming assignments are good. If we march again, we will fight and face the enemy. This will be another war. A pleasure to live!
One bridgehead was enough for us. Not twice! Finally, on August 24, we are relieved; the I. Battalion left a long time ago. The II Battalion had 700 men on July 28. We were 400 men with all the trains a month later. The soldiers at the front were sick and feverish; their feet were swollen, their bodies stabbed by lice, scratched and ulcerated, their legs just wanted to support them.
Relief. The bridge had passed. The position of the 15 cm howitzers at the Irssa station was easy to overcome, then it would go around several corners, and now we were in the forest camp in little huts and tents. There we were able to enjoy a break after the stressful weeks.
We take off our lousy outdoor clothes, wash the scratched body with warm water, rub it with oil and colognes, shave with pleasure, cut our hair and then put on the best shirt, the best pants and jacket, strutting with sparkly black boots, still pale and thin, but mentally at least a floor higher than an hour before. The guys had made wonderful coffee, real coffee beans that they still had to use. Now we have chocolate, cigars, sparkling wine, brandy, beer, in short, everything our hearts desire. Sausage and cheese covered the sandwiches. It was breakfast like old times. The sun shined. What bothered us were the few mosquitoes. They also wanted to live.
Sources: http://www.bartels.com/genealogy/gen-ki ... offline%29
http://www.lexikon-der-wehrmacht.de/Gli ... 21ID-R.htm
http://www.maparchive.ru/index.php/army ... ll-55.html
Cheers. Raúl M