'Butchery' on the Eastern Front
11th October 1943: A graphic and honest account from a German soldier of how the fighting on the Eastern Front has become a series of desperate retreats
On the Eastern Front bitter fighting erupted as the Germans attempted to stabilise their line and the Red Army sought to maintain the pressure. The seasons were changing and very soon the mud and then the cold would slow down the pace of battle.
We were put to the sword like sacrificial victims. This wasn’t fighting anymore; it was butchery.
Willy Peter Reese was already an experienced veteran of the Russian campaign. He had been wounded in 1942 but after convalescing for a long period he volunteered to return to the front.
His memoir clearly indicates that he had been badly traumatised by his first experience, but then at home he found his "life had no meaning" without the war.
He returned to the East just in time to see the hospital trains packed with the wounded from the Kursk battle returning the other way.
Keeping a diary when he could, upon which he based his later memoirs, he still had difficulty locating the exact date of events. It was a constant blur of forced marches to the rear, taking up trench positions and then vicious battles and further retreats.
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