German troops suffer in Russia
13th March 1942: The Wehrmacht was still struggling to provide proper winter clothing - leaving front line troops to scavenge from the dead
March saw the beginning of the thaw on the southern parts of the Eastern Front - but as it ran over a thousand miles long - conditions varied enormously.
Willy Reese's memoir of his time on the Eastern Front1 is remarkable as being the work of a very cultured and sensitive individual who found himself caught up in a war. He does not flinch from describing the appalling conditions suffered by German troops who were effectively cut off from their own supply lines during the Russian winter.
Although an emergency collection of cold weather clothing had been made in Germany, much of it did not reach the troops who needed it. In some areas the Wehrmacht were building up for a counter-attack, in others their units were in a terribly deprived state.
‘The next day he found a Red Army corpse frozen stiff. He tugged at his legs, but in vain. He grabbed an axe and took the man off at the thighs. ‘
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial
Subscribe to World War II Today to keep reading this post and get 7 days of free access to the full post archives.