Tuesday, July 10, 2018
Von Paulus I.
Consider this anecdotal account - - German soldiers of the Sixth Army in the aftermath of the Battle of Stalingrad. Thanks to the wiki:
"We [Soviet soldiers and British journalist] . . . went into the yard of the large burnt out building of the Red Army House; and here one realized particularly clearly what the last days of Stalingrad had been to so many of the Germans. In the porch lay the skeleton of a horse, with only a few scraps of meat still clinging to its ribs. Then we came into the yard. Here lay more more [sic?] horses' skeletons, and to the right, there was an enormous horrible cesspool – fortunately, frozen solid. And then, suddenly, at the far end of the yard I caught sight of a human figure. He had been crouching over another cesspool, and now, noticing us, he was hastily pulling up his pants, and then he slunk away into the door of the basement. But as he passed, I caught a glimpse of the wretch's face – with its mixture of suffering and idiot-like incomprehension. For a moment, I wished that the whole of Germany were there to see it. The man was probably already dying. In that basement [...] there were still two hundred Germans—dying of hunger and frostbite. 'We haven't had time to deal with them yet,' one of the Russians said. 'They'll be taken away tomorrow, I suppose.' And, at the far end of the yard, besides the other cesspool, behind a low stone wall, the yellow corpses of skinny Germans were piled up – men who had died in that basement—about a dozen wax-like dummies. We did not go into the basement itself – what was the use? There was nothing we could do for them." - - British war correspondent Alexander Werth, witness at Stalingrad.
Multiply the scene as described above by hundreds if not thousands of instances and you have a good idea of the German soldier, Stalingrad, upon surrender.
That combination of unremitting combat, pitiless cold, lack of provision, disease and inadequate if not downright non-existent medical care. The iconic image accompanying this blog entry does say a lot, doesn't it!
More to follow. I am going somewhere with this.