1. Is there any indication of when and where this photo was taken? The only thing I can really see is that the soldiers seem to be in winter clothing, somewhere on the eastern front perhaps?

  2. Those are Gebirgstruppen Anoraks. Don’t see an Edelweiss & the bill looks a little long for a Bergmutze. The Anoraks were issued to non mountain troops, could be Russia or Italy.

  3. The Walther rifle in the background is probably a G.41 (W). The charging handle appears to lean to the right of the bolt carrier in this photo. Anyways, the G.41 (W) was muzzle heavy and not very well liked unless I’m totally wrong.

  4. These were the men our fathers and grandfathers fought.They were just men ,doing their dutyThis man is probably doomed but he is not resigned to that fate.This man’s eyes say it all, exhaustion,hyper vigilance, fear,and sadness unfathomable to those who have not seen battle.
    This may be Forgotten Weapons best photo of what War does to the psyche.

    • Poor guys. Most didn’t really know what they were getting into… Propaganda and romantics of a madman be damned! The soldiers deserved a better life and death than being shot full of holes and then frozen in Stalingrad!

  5. No finer troops ever fought for a worse cause. The German Wehrmacht soldier was highly trained and expected to take initiative in combat and not just follow orders. Their worst enemies were not met on the battlefield, but occupied high political office. If it had not been for Hitler’s interference in strategic military decisions, they would have defeated Stalin’s USSR forces and quite possibly could have won the war, or at least enough to sue for peace on favorable terms. But then again, if it wasn’t for Hitler’s intervention, they would not have been in the war in the first place

    • “But then again, if it wasn’t for Hitler’s intervention, they would not have been in the war in the first place”
      Arguable, considering WW1 and concurrent wars aftermath – tenses it creates in Europe, second war was not possible to avoid, however it is possible that someone other would fire first shot. For example: Hungary might attack one of adjacent countries to get clay lost in effect of Treaty of Trianon.
      Other question: if Hitler don’t assume power in Germany, then who?

  6. RE: Pervitin. It’s amazing just how pervasive that drug was, in Germany. From what I understand, both the war and the post-war recovery were fueled by that stuff, and the Germans were still selling it over the counter in pharmacies up into the 1980s. Which was the primary reason such places were off-limits to GIs stationed in Germany…

    Kinda makes you wonder why we’ve made such a huge deal out of meth, to be honest–Would it be such a huge issue, if we treated it the way the Germans did? From what I’m told, they only made it illegal and took it off the market due to international pressure–The stuff is still available, under doctor’s care, and about as pervasive as it was in the old days. At least, that’s what my German informant tells me…

    • Methamphetamine is a stimulant, right? It was issued to combat troops and fighter pilots who had to keep round the clock patrols, if I’m not mistaken. The problems happened when the stimulants were used too much. If I’m not wrong, abusing such will cause drowsiness and hallucinations… AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!

      • Methamphetamine has pretty much the same side effects as amphetamine, but although (like the so called meth mouth) seem to be unique to it. Prolonged heavy use of both can lead to hallucinations and psychosis. On the other hand just prolonged total insomnia usually leads to hallucinations as well, so it’s difficult to know for sure if they are caused directly by the drugs or by simply inability to sleep under its influence.

        Pervitin was used also by the Finnish Army during the Continuation War (1941-1944) by combat pilots and LRRP infantry. During critical battles in summer 1944 regular infantry received some as well. Experience from the Winter War had shown that troop performance was seriously compromised after 24 hours of wakefulness and caffeine no longer had any effect, so use of a stronger stimulant was necessary.

  7. In most cases neither one of you really want to be there and the ones who should be there, the ones who caused all this, are somewhere in a bunker eating fresh food and washing it down with expensive wine while you eat K-rations left over from WWII and kill each other in order to live a little longer or maybe someday get to go home. War is NOT glamorous. The smells are what you can never seem to forget.

    • “(…)who caused all this, are somewhere in a bunker eating fresh food and washing it down with expensive wine while you eat K-rations(…)”

      “War is NOT glamorous”
      Google for example: I died in hell (They called it Passchendaele)

      “The smells are what you can never seem to forget.”
      Sounds too – for example Katyusha rocket launcher were known by Germans as Stalinorgel (Stalin’s organ) and ZiS-3 field gun as Ratsch-Bum

  8. At Christmas time in 1945 my 52 year old (at the time) German grandfather (on my mother’s side) lie on a bed stricken with fever, knowing that the stump of his amputated right leg might be infected again and require an extremely painful cleaning. He was in a room on the third floor of his sister’s home where his wife and two daughters lived with him. They could look across the street at the bomb crater filled with the rubble of their home. He kept doing his best to cheer up his family and having them all pray every night to God for sparing his life and letting him return home from the hell of the Russian front and that their residence was in the far north of Germany and not in front of the Russian onslaught where rape, robbery and murder where the norm. Their suffering was nothing compared to my father’s family (the ones who stayed in Poland not migrating with the others in the 1870’s)) who were tortured, murdered and enslaved by the Russians. Many of those who resided in the West of Poland were murdered by the Nazi’s. Good men sometimes have to do things to other good men during combat that they are forced to do in the name of WAR. Those who occupy conquered lands and engage in brutality are not good men and will have to face their judgement in the next life.

  9. This is useful complement to technical analysis of firearms. It tells the story what war is about – total exhaustion.

    All the best in N.Y. everyone!

  10. A good place to mention Norman Ohler’s book
    Blitzed: drugs in the Third Reich (U.S.)
    Blitzed: drugs in Nazi Germany (U.K.)
    Extensive coverage of Pevitin’s use in the German military, especially in the French campaign, but with plenty on Poland and Barbarossa.

    That particular look of exhaustion and hyper alertness is too familiar these days as well.

1 Trackback / Pingback

  1. Never Yet Melted » Tausender Blick

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.