That's just according to the memories of the Germans themselves, the court they were not afraid of all. They were kidnapped by their near-camp and quartermaster "heroes" in such a way that colleagues from other armies could envy their scope and shamelessness.
Horsemeat - to comfrey, Belgian chocolate - staff
This is what Major Helmut Welz had to face when he found himself in the Stalingrad boiler. After the dissolution of the remnants of his sapper battalion 16th tank he, along with several surviving soldiers, was waiting at the army headquarters for a new appointment. Here, he became convinced, they did not suffer from malnutrition: “A bright lamp is drowning in clouds of cigarette smoke. Warmth, one might even say, is hot. There are two quartermaster at the table, smoking like factory chimneys, in front of them are shot glasses of schnapps. One of the six wooden beds is occupied, a sleeping soldier is stretched on it. - Yes, you can settle down. Today the room is freed, after half an hour we are leaving.
Will they not find a cigarette for us?
- Clearly, Mr. Major, here's a hundred! “And the quartermaster puts a big red packet in my hand.” Austrian, "Sport". I frantically open the pack. Gets everyone. Baisman stretches the match, we sit down, enjoy the smoke, inhale deeply. Already a week has passed, as we smoked the last cigarette. The troops spent their last stocks. To smoke enough, you had to go to the higher headquarters. Here a hundred - for the great life! It can be seen, there is no need to save ...
It is full of jewels long gone. Of the two half-open bags glitter cans of meat and vegetable canned food. Packs of Belgian chocolate using 50 and 100 grams, Dutch tiles in a blue wrapper, and round boxes labeled “Shokakol” come out of the third. Two more bags filled with cigarettes: "Attica", "Nil", English brands, the best varieties. Next to it are flour tortillas, folded exactly according to the instructions - in Prussian style, arranged in columns in a row that could be fed to fill a hundred people. And in the farthest corner of the whole battery of bottles, light and dark, pot-bellied and flat, and all are full of brandy, Benedictine, egg liqueur - for every taste. This food store, reminiscent of a grocery store, speaks for itself. The command of the army issues orders that the troops should save in everything possible, in ammunition, gasoline and, above all, in food. The order establishes a lot of different categories of food - for soldiers in the trenches, for battalion commanders, for regimental headquarters, and for those who are “far behind”. For violation of these norms and disobeying orders, they are threatened with a military court and execution. And not only threaten! Field gendarmerie without unnecessary words puts people against the wall, the only fault of which is that they, yielding to the instinct of self-preservation, rushed to pick up a loaf of bread that had fallen from the car. And here, in the headquarters of the army, which, no doubt, in the category of food belongs to those who are “far behind”, and from whom everyone expects that he himself carries out his orders in the strictest way, it is here that that for the front it has long been one memory and that it is thrown up as a sop in the form of miserable grams to the very people who put their heads every hour ...
The full staff of the headquarters at the table set for breakfast — and the rows of soldiers thinning every day, whose teeth sank into horse meat with frenzy — such are the contrasts, such is the abyss, which is becoming wider and more insuperable than possible ... ”
After reading such memories, the idea of vaunted German honesty and order is unwittingly subject to significant adjustments.
By the way, before Major Welz was able to enjoy the chic staff supply, he happened to visit the hospital and evaluate the local contentment: “The adjacent room - the former school class - is occupied by people suffering from starvation. Here doctors have to meet with such unknown phenomena as all kinds of edema and body temperature below thirty-four degrees. Those who die of hunger are taken out every hour and laid in the snow. Food exhausted can give very little, mostly boiling water and a little horse meat, and even then once a day. Blankmeister himself has to go around all nearby parts and food depots to get something edible. Sometimes you can not get anything. About bread here is almost forgotten. It is barely enough for those who are in the trenches and conservation, they put on 800 calories per day - a hungry ration, on which you can stretch only a few weeks. ”
As they say, feel the difference between horse meat and Belgian chocolate. But maybe Major Welz faced a single, atypical case? However, the fact that the position of the wounded in German hospitals was simply catastrophic was also noted by the Soviet military. For example, Gleb Baklanov, appointed commander of the Zavodskaya part of Stalingrad after the surrender of Paulus, was shocked that the German doctor did not even know how many patients of his hospital were alive. Other Germans who survived Stalingrad also recalled the striking "contrasts" in the provision of food to the belligerents on the front line and the headquarters.
German soldiers will start shooting at German soldiers
Here, for example, what Colonel Luitpold Steidel, who commanded the 767 Grenadier Regiment of the 376 Infantry Division, literally in the last days of defense, saw at the headquarters of the Sixth Army: “I threw open the door without knocking and not reading the inscriptions on it. I find myself in a large room lit by a multitude of candles, among a dozen officers. They are tipsy, some are sitting at two tables, others are leaning on a chest of drawers. In front of them are glasses, bottles of wine, coffee pots, plates of bread, biscuits and pieces of chocolate. One of them is just about to strum on the piano, lit by several candles. ”
Just a few minutes before, the colonel, from whose regiment 11 officers remained, 2 doctor, 1 veterinarian and 34 soldier, tried unsuccessfully to explain to the authorities what state the soldiers were at the front line and even tried to scare the possibility of internecine fights inside the boiler: “ You will have to reckon with the fact that soon and here, yes, it is here, in the courtyard and in these basement corridors, German soldiers will start shooting at German soldiers, and maybe even officers - at officers. Perhaps even hand grenades will be used. This can happen quite unexpectedly. ” But with chocolate and wine, it was hard for the staff to understand the mood of the trench soldiers. In general, in the German army, with a truly excellent organization, the inevitable regularity in any military structure, formulated by Jaroslav Hasek in the immortal book The Adventures of the Good Soldier Schweik, acted: “When ... soldiers were given lunch, each of them found himself in his kettle two small pieces of meat, and the one who was born under an unlucky star, found only a piece of skin. In the kitchen, the usual army cronyism reigned: everyone who was close to the ruling clique enjoyed benefits. Batman walked with faces glossy from fat. All orderlies had stomachs like drums. ” Well, just the Wehrmacht 6 th army in the Stalingrad winter.
It should be noted that the German memories of the theft of their commissaries are confirmed by the observations of representatives of the Soviet side during the surrender of the 6 army. The winners noticed that with the extreme exhaustion of most of the prisoners, some of them “were in full body, their pockets were filled with sausage and other food, apparently remaining after the distribution of the“ meager rations ”.
What would the owners of the sausage say about the reasoning about how they de “do not rob, svovyat svovo German brother - they are strictly with this case”? Probably would have laughed at such a naivety of the Red Army man. He thought too well about the German backs.
Motorcycles were taken instead of the wounded.
But not only did the intendants and okoloshtabnye hangers-up live inside the ring at the expense of the fighting soldiers. At the same time, utter chaos was created in the organization of return flights from Stalingrad to the “Big Land”.
Who, it would seem, in such a situation is primarily subject to evacuation? It would be logical first of all to take out the seriously wounded. They still can not fight, but in the delivery of medicines and food need. But the wounded place was far from always:
“There is a feverish rush at the airfield. The column enters, everyone quickly gets out of the cars, the planes are ready for departure. Outsiders on the field does not allow protection. While an air battle is played out above us and one Messerschmitt is deftly trying to rise above two Russian fighters, the doors of gray-white airplanes open, and now the first officers are sitting inside. Batman barely keep up with them. With drawers, suitcases and linen bags, they trot along. Two motorcycles are loaded into planes. While they are being dragged upstairs - and this is not easy, because their weight is solid - I manage to talk with the staff clerk, in whose eyes the joy of unexpected salvation shines. He is so intoxicated with this joy that he is ready to give the most detailed answers to all questions. The General wants immediately after landing - presumably in Novocherkassk - to move further west as soon as possible, according to the order, of course. Unfortunately, you don’t drag the car into such a small plane, so we’re carrying two motorcycles, both of them are filled to the top ”.
To take out instead of the wounded generals' motorcycles and lingerie staff officers - a strong move. Is it necessary with such behavior of the authorities to be surprised that the evacuation at the Stalingrad airfield Nursery turned into a uniform disgrace? “At the very edge of the airfield there are large tents of the sanitary service. By order of the army command, all the seriously wounded are transported here so that they can take off in vehicles that deliver supplies. Army physician, Major General of Medical Service, Professor Dr. Renoldi is here; he is responsible for sending the wounded. In fact, he is powerless to restore order, since many light-wounded people get here. They are hiding in empty trenches and bunkers. As soon as the car landed, they were first in place. Ruthlessly they repel the seriously wounded. Some succeed, despite the gendarmes, to slip into the plane. Often we are forced to clean the plane again to make room for the seriously wounded. We need the brush of Bruegel, nicknamed the painter of hell, or the power of the word Dante, to describe the terrible scenes that we have witnessed here the last ten days. ”
How is it possible for soldiers to demand order during evacuation, if they see the general and officers taking motorcycles and junk in place of the wounded?
I do not mind wearing Russian pants
Is it any wonder that already in December 1942, a few weeks before the end of the battle, the German soldiers completely forgot about the notorious Prussian bearing? “Scout Alexander Ponomarev delivered a prisoner to the divisional headquarters, the whole appearance of which could serve as a convincing illustration of the thesis“ Hitler Kaput ”. At the feet of the Nazis - something like a huge felt boots on wooden soles. Because of the boot legs crawling out of straw. On the head, on top of a dirty calico shawl, is a woolen balaclava. A female katsaveyka is on top of the uniform, and a horse hoof sticks out from under it. Holding the "precious" burden with his left hand, the prisoner saluted every Soviet soldier and sounded shouting: "Hitler kaput!" Recalled Ivan Lyudnikov, who commanded the 138 rifle division defending in the area of the Barricades factory during the Battle of Stalingrad.
Moreover, the prisoner was not ordinary, and sergeant-major (!). To himself Mr German sergeant, has long been considered the living embodiment of order and discipline, to bring to this profane state, it was necessary to try very much ... Commander 13-th Guards Rifle Division Alexander Rodimtsev in his memoirs with undisguised pleasure quoted the commander's order 134-th German Infantry Division:
“1. Warehouses have been seized by Russians; they are therefore not.
2. There are a lot of excellent uniformed officers. It is necessary to take off their pants and exchange them for bad ones in combat units.
3. Along with the completely torn infantrymen, the soldiers in patched trousers present a pleasing sight.
You can, for example, cut off the bottom of the pants, hem them with Russian fabric, and patch the back of the resulting piece. ”
4. I do not mind wearing Russian pants. "
The prediction of Colonel Shteydle did not come true - the internecine battles in the Stalingrad cauldron did not break out. But it was not by chance that German prisoners from the Stalingrad boiler became the backbone of the antifascist organization Free Germany. Is it necessary to be surprised?