East Prussia was the ﬁrst German region visited by the Red Army, and to some extent the worst treated. The ﬁrst incursion, at Nemmersdorf on 21 October 1944, was to be a foretaste. In the course of a single night the Red Army killed seventy-two women and one man. Most of the women had been raped, of whom the oldest was eighty-four. Some of the victims had been cruciﬁed. Gauleiter Koch refused to allow the population to ﬂee. Hitler wanted East Prussia to prove the resilience of the German people. That autumn the East Prussians watched the departure of the birds: ‘Yes, you are now ﬂying away! And us? What is to become of us and our land?
After The Reich by GILES MACDONOGH
Dozens of carts were smashed, sideswiped, rolled over. Baggage spilled out, people were crushed. The tanks rolled ahead obliviously, but in a few minutes Dodge trucks appeared. Infantrymen jumped out and began pillaging and raping. At The White Mug restaurant four women were raped many times, dragged outside naked and nailed through the hands to a wagon. Not far away, at The Red Mug, another naked woman was nailed to a barn. When the Russians moved off, they left behind seventy-two dead civilians.
A few miles to the west, Russians were breaking into the village of Weitzdorf. a young woman, Lotte Keuch, watched in horror as her father-in-law and six male neighbors were shot. Next a dozen French slave laborers at the manor were rounded up and their rings taken away by slicing off their fingers. Then the Frenchmen were lined up, executed. And the raping began.* Similar scenes were re-enacted in a thousand villages all over the east that day as troops of the four Red Army fronts looted, raped and killed.
From The Last 100 Days: The Tumultuous and Controversial Story of the Final Days of World War II in Europe by JOHN TOLAND
60 years ago the earth trembled at the front in the east. On 12 January 1945, the Soviet offensive on Hitler's Empire with a force that witnesses describe today as the "worst inferno". From three sides simultaneously attacked the Red Army.
EAST PRUSSIAN OFFENSIVE
In 1944-45 the seemingly irresistible Soviet Army stormed into German East Prussia. The German Army defending East Prussia was strong but poorly led and invariably the Soviet Army broke through.
Numerous fortified areas covered a major portion of East Prussia. However, German Army Group North that was linked to the defense of East Prussia to the north proved invincible and was not broken by massive Soviet Army assaults. German Army Group North was transformed into Army Group Courland, which held out until after World War II ended.
Prior to January 1945, in East Prussia, the German Army had experienced a series of Soviet Army offensives rippling across the western Soviet Union from June to August of 1944. Those Soviet offensives included the Belorussian operation, the Lvov-Sandomierz Operation, and the operations in the Baltic States. As a result, Soviet Army forces swept to the boundary of East Prussia and to the Narev and Vistula River lines north and south of Warsaw.
The Soviet threw in Zhukov and Konev's armies totalling 2.2 million soldiers, 6000 tanks and 5000 aircraft.
Prince Alexander of Dohna-Schlobitten
As General Reinhard Gehlen, head of the secret "Foreign Armies East," the reaction to the turn of 1944/45 threatening numbers of Soviet troop concentrations, made the self-proclaimed German commander (read Hitler) angry: The dossier was called "the biggest bluff since Genghis Khan" and advised that "idiotic editors " of the gloomy prognosis" should be immediately thrown into a mad house. But the assessment was correct. More than a half million Red Army soldiers marched into East Prussia in January alone. The Nazi propaganda had said that not a single Soviet soldier would ever cross the frontier.
SIDENOTES: WHO WAS REINHARD GEHLEN?
Reinhard Gehlen (3 April 1902 – 8 June 1979) was a General in the German Army during World War II, who served as chief of intelligence-gathering on the Eastern Front. After the war, he was recruited by the United States military to set up a spy ring directed against the Soviet Union (known as the Gehlen Organization), and eventually became head of the West German intelligence apparatus. He served as the first President of the Federal Intelligence Service until 1968. Gehlen is considered one of the most legendary Cold War spymasters.
THE EAST PRUSSIA OFFENSIVE: RUSSIANS ENTERED GERMANY
WHAT HAPPENED TO KOENIGSBERG?
The East Prussian city of Konigsberg, founded by the Teutonic Knights in the thirteenth century, became, seven centuries later, a key stronghold for the Third Reich. As the Russians approached it in 1945, Hitler declared that the city be held to the last man. Its governor compounded his master's folly by failing to organize any sensible evacuation plan. And so tens of thousands of refugees streamed out of the city to die of frostbite, starvation, Russian attacks, and drowning in the Baltic when they fell through its ice or when their ships sank. The remaining soldiers and civilians who didn't die in the fighting were often enslaved, either to rebuild the city or to labor in the Soviet gulag. The ruined city, renamed Kaliningrad, was incorporated into the Soviet Union in 1946, and it is now one of Lithuania's more prosperous municipalities. But it still shows scars of its ghastly ordeal in 1945. Denny fills in a gap in the historiography of World War II's European eastern front.
By March 1945, the Panzergrenadier Division Großdeutschland had been reduced to around 4,000 men. These escaped by ferry from the collapsing Memel bridgehead. They landed at Pillau and were put straight back into combat. By 25 April 1945, the division ceased to exist, having been completely destroyed in the battles around Pillau. Of the survivors only a few hundred were able to make their way to Schleswig-Holstein and surrendered to British forces. The majority of the men were left behind and were forced to surrender to the Russians where they often faced a fatal and indefinite amount of time in Russian Labor Camps (Gulags).
BATTLE OF KOENIGSBERG
The Battle of Königsberg (also known as the Königsberg Offensive), was one of the last operations of the East Prussian Offensive during World War II. In four days of violent urban warfare, Soviet forces of the 1st Baltic Front and the 3rd Belorussian Front captured the city of Königsberg (now Kaliningrad, Russia). The siege started in late January 1945 when the Soviets initially surrounded the city. There was heavy fighting for the overland connection between Königsberg and the port of Pillau, but by March 1945 Königsberg was hundreds of kilometres behind the main front line. The battle finished when the German garrison surrendered to the Soviets on 9 April after a three day assault made their position untenable.
"IVAN'S WAR" BY Catherine Merridale
The men knew that their own conduct was turning brutal. "I have to say that the war has changed me a lot," Aronov wrote. "War does not make people tender. On the contrary, it makes them reserved, rather coarse, and very cruel. That's a fact." But he was not really apologizing, and his comrades would also show little sense of shame. "Our soldiers nave not dealt with East Prussia any worse than the Germans did with Smolensk," a Russian combatant wrote home from a town inside the Prussian border. "We hate Germany and the Germans deeply. In one house, for example, our boys found a murdered woman and her two children. You can often see civilians lying dead in the street, too. But the Germans deserve the atrocities that they unleashed. You only have to think about Maidanek. . .. It's certainly cruel to have killed those children, but the cold-bloodedness of the Germans at Maidanek was a thousand times worse."
The first atrocity that Lev Kopelev would witness was the burning of a Prussian town. There was no military reason for it. Valuable food and other supplies—blankets, clothing, even medicines—were all consumed in the fire. It was this kind of profligacy, the waste of resources, that would eventually bring the great rampage across Prussia to an end. The interests of the war, as Rokossovsky would insist, called for more discipline. But military thinking seemed to have been suspended in those first wild hours—or rather, a new tactic had become widespread. The order of the day, Kopelev noted, was "smash, burn, have your revenge." Many of his fellow officers were shocked, especially at the wanton waste, but the political officer in charge dismissed the incident. "The Fritzes have plundered all over the world," he said. "That's why they've got so much. They burned down everything in our country, and now we're doing the same in theirs. We don't have to feel sorry for them." Kopelev's own concern would soon be dubbed "bourgeois humanitarianism," and within a few weeks of his first complaint he was arrested for it.
There was nothing bourgeois or humanitarian about most Soviet troops in those cold days. "In the few German areas that have been occupied by the Red Army," German intelligence reported, "the behavior of the soldiers is exactly as predicted earlier in the war—in most cases is horrifying. Brutish killings, rapes of young women and girls, as well senseless destruction are taking place on a daily basis." A prisoner of war told his German captors that a specific order from Stalin had de-creed all this by stating that revenge should be taken for German atrocities. "A confirmation of the Stalin order," the author observed, "is not available yet." It would not be, for nothing as specific as an order to rape and destroy was ever issued. Indeed, all through these months the penalty for rape and looting, technically at least, was death on the spot. But the men read license into every exhortation to revenge. "Red Army soldier!" a poster declared. "You are now on German soil. The hour of revenge has struck! "
A packet of the men's letters intercepted by German intelligence in February 1945 required no editing to make the point. "Happy is the heart as you drive through a burning German town," wrote one man to his parents. "We are taking revenge for everything, and our revenge is just. Fire for fire, blood for blood, death for death." "It was evening when we drove into Neidenburg," Kopelev wrote. It was a small town, meaner than Insterburg, and like all the others it was almost deserted. The Red Army had torched the place. Through the smoke, the officer made out the body of a dead old woman. "Her dress was ripped," he saw, and "a telephone receiver reposed between her scrawny thighs. They had apparently tried to ram it into her vagina." The pretext was that she could easily have been a spy. "They got her by the telephone booth," one of the men explained. "Why fool around?" It was the first of several murders Kopelev would witness in that cursed place. Then came Allenstein, and more fire, more death. Near the post office, he met a woman with a bandaged head, clutching the hand of a young girl with blond pigtails. Both had been crying, and the child's legs were stained with blood. "The soldiers kicked us out of our house," she told the Russian officer. "They beat us, they raped us. My daughter is only thirteen. Two of them did it to her. And many of them to me." She wanted him to help her find her little boy. Another woman begged Kopelev to shoot her.
THE DEFENCES OF KOENIGSBERG
-------------------SIDELIGHTS: MG 151/20The MG 151 (MG 151/15) was a 15 mm autocannon produced by Waffenfabrik Mauser starting in 1940. It was in 1941 developed into the 20 mm MG 151/20 cannon which was widely used on many types of German Luftwaffe fighters, fighter bombers, night fighters, ground attack and even bombers as part of or as their main armament during World War II. The 20 mm MG 151/20 was also fitted on the Italian World War II fighter aircraft of the "Serie 5", the most effective Italian fighters of WWII.
Later, while in captivity, when asked how did he explain the rapid decline of the fortified castles of Koenigsberg, Lyash said that the Russian "secretly managed to concentrate a large amount of artillery and aircraft, the massive use of which destroyed the building and demoralized soldiers and officers. When morale is broken - it is first difficult, then impossible to fight."
Otto von Lasch - the last German commandant of the town and fortress of Konigsberg
KOENIGSBERG IN APRIL 1945: HELL ON EARTH
Extract From The book: "So Fiel Konigsberg" by Otto von Lasch
----------------------------------------"Houses were burning.. Upholstered furniture, musical instruments, kitchen utensils, paintings, china - it was all thrown out of their homes. Between the burning tanks and cars, lay clothing and equipment. Drunken Russian soldiers roamed about.. Some shooting wildly at random, others tried to ride a bike, but fell down and remained lying unconscious in the gutters with bleeding wounds. In the house were dragged weeping, struggling women and girls. The children weeped, calling their parents. Before our eyes are brought paintings, which are impossible to describe. The roadside was filled with corpses. The dead bodies bore traces of unimaginable brutality and rape. Lying around were a lot of dead children. They were hung on the trees - with ears cut off, eyes gouged. In all directions were German women. Drunken Russian fought for nurses. On the roadside under a tree, sat an old woman, both her legs were crushed by a car. We heard cries for help but we could do nothing. From their homes, raising their hands in prayer, women go out, the Russian drove them back and shoot them if they refused. It was awful. This we could not even imagine. The wounded, for whom no one cared, moaned from the pain. Almost all were tormented by hunger and thirst. From both sides in the column of prisoners of war squeezed Russian soldiers picking someone's overcoat, cap or a wallet. Everyone wanted something to profit. 'Ury, Ury! " they shouted."
Here are excerpts from the book by Max Hastings 'Armageddon: The Battle for Germany, 1944-1945' were published in the "Daily Mail" (UK) in October 2004
The action of the Red Army was not a manifestation of senseless violence - it was systematic sadism, not inferior to the Nazis' own actions.
An eyewitness account says, 'In the yard stood a farm wagon, on which were crucified, nailed by the hand, a few naked women Near the inn is a large barn, to each of its two doors were nailed crucified pose naked woman. In homes, we found a total of 72 women and girls, and one man 74 years - all of them were killed brutally, only a few had bullet holes in the head . Some babies had their heads smashed. " These atrocities later caused the Russians embarrassment. The official history of Moscow's so-called 'Great Patriotic War, is usually very discreet in such matters, recognized: "Not all Soviet soldiers properly understand how they should conduct themselves in Germany. In the first days of fighting in East Prussia were some violations of proper conduct. "
In fact, what happened during those first attacks were a harbinger of the barbaric behavior of the Red Army in the terrible months of the rapid advance deep into the Third Reich. More than 100 million people who were in the range of Nazi Germany, were in a dark labyrinth, where they waited for the horrors, far superior to anything that the Western countries had experienced during the Second World War.
For the Russian it was revenge for the atrocities committed by the Nazis in their own country . For three years German troops on the territory of the Soviet Union had gone on a rampage, destroying a lot of people and causing immense suffering to its people. During the war some 8.7 million Soviet soldiers and 18 million civilians were killed.
Russian hatred of the enemy intensified after the release of areas occupied by the Germans. Before them appeared real desert - crops destroyed in the bud, the cattle taken away, a million houses burned down, most people either killed or driven into slavery. The Soviet Army Witold Kubaschewski remembers how the soldiers of his platoon in the newly liberated country found that a stench came from from the barn near the local church. Inside, they saw that the room up to the roof had rotting corpses of local peasants. Even more horrific pictures were awaiting them at the Nazi death camps.
At the crematorium at the Majdanek camp in Poland Stalin's soldiers found the burnt remains of 200,000 people. Direct 'contacts' with the enemy soldiers who behaved arrogantly and self-confidence seemed to add fuel to the fire of hatred. In the field hospital, where he worked as medical officer Nikolai Senkevich, a group of German prisoners during interrogation refused to answer: 'We just took them to the side where they were shot. " Most of the Germans surrendered and have not seen the camps for prisoners of war. 'We killed the prisoners just like that - says Captain Basil Krylov, and snaps his fingers. - If the soldiers were ordered to deliver the prisoners to the rear, they are likely to 'killed while trying to escape.'' Witold Kubaschewski recalls how intolerable it was for him to shoot the prisoners, and he tried not to look into the eyes of a doomed man. But, like everything he shot, following an order. 'In war, one rule - you go into battle, you see the enemy and the enemy for you -is not a man - says Sergeant Nicholas Tymoshenko. - Raising his hands, you will not be saved."
What disgusted the Russian most were claims by the Germans that they belonged to a higher civilization.
Stalin encouraged the soldiers to keep 'registers of retribution', recording data on the German atrocities, and fixing the personal contribution to the 'settling of accounts' with the enemy. Political officers in the same order was carried out 'rallies retaliation. " When the hungry horde of vengeance came to Germany, it was a terrible sight. Stalin did not care how many people died, ensuring his victory, and the successful attack of his infantry and tanks were based more on self-sacrifice of soldiers, than clever tactics or forethought.
The Germans were lined with four or five pieces, but in their place, always there were new tanks, and behind them came waves of infantry. recalls a German soldier: 'You would not believe - they all came and went, they just rushed the infantry on our tanks, running , with cries, even when the front of our positions had piled up mountains of corpses. A thought: 'Is it possible to stop these people?'' The numbers of Soviet losses and to this day for many veterans are the subject of unnatural pride. 'Of course, the Red Army treated with contempt for human life, - said Vladimir Gormin artillery. - No one knew how many people died, but this did not really care. " The generals threw their 'shock army' in frontal attacks, despite the danger of enemy counterattacks, or the environment. 'The Germans cut them, sometimes for weeks, they were surrounded, they ended with food, fuel, ammunition, - says a Russian officer. - But they had to break out of the ring."
Recalls a German soldier: 'You would not believe - they all came and went, they just rushed the infantry on our tanks, running , with cries, even when the front of our positions piled up mountains of corpses. A thought: 'Is it possible to stop these people?''
Russian were ruthless in the melee, and especially formidable opponents were in a night battle. All the German soldiers who were on the Eastern front, and then find themselves in the West, in a voice note that during the fighting with the Americans and British, they could move freely at night, while the Russian was always harassing the enemy.
One of the favorite tricks of Soviet reconnaissance groups at night, was to cut the throat of a German sentry, and then leave the mutilated corpse for their surviving comrades to see. bravery and tenacity of the Red Army were combined with the extreme lack of discipline, fueled by a monstrous drunkenness: excessive consumption of vodka was the only one way for Ivan to keep going. Even the tireless efforts of firing squad - Stalin preferred to keep their troops in check in this way - they could not keep people from the excesses.
The road transport services placed on the road signs 'brake or die!', But dozens of truck drivers ignored these warnings lightly - and indeed died. Vladimir Gordin once saw a convoy of three trucks, one after another fell into the abyss. Or take the following case: a soldier decided to make a joke: He put on a German helmet and jacket and stormed into the dugout, where the rest of his department, waving his Schmeisser and shouting "Hyundai hoch! ' One of his comrades shot the 'artist', before anyone recognized him. Of course, not all Soviet soldiers were fools - or heroes.
In the first battle of seventeen Anatoly Osminov turned gray when the armor of his tank barrage of bullets clattered. It recognizes the fact that put his pants from fear - it has happened with many of the soldiers on all fronts. 'Then you get used to the danger, as you get used to kill people - he says. - At first I thought: 'How can I kill a man?' But then I realized: either I kill him or he kills you. " Even today, many Russians - and the government itself - refuse to acknowledge the true scale of the atrocities that the Red Army perpetrated on the way to Berlin.
However, in 1945 the Red Army command, of course, believed that its soldiers could conduct themselves on German soil as savages. Hardest hit was East Prussia - in its vast rolling plains stretch estates of many German aristocrats. In the early years of the war it was a quiet backwater, living almost as in times of peace. Now it has become a living hell.
An eyewitness says. 'We all know that German girls were to be raped and killed - Alexander Solzhenitsyn wrote, during the war - as an artillery officer. - It was perceived almost as a difference in the fight. " He was echoed by Gabriel Temkin, who served as translator for the 78th Infantry Division: "The easiest way to get revenge - it is to master the women of the enemy."
In East Prussia, Red Army raped women in such numbers that it clearly was not a purely sexual satisfaction, and a desire to abuse the whole nation. fury of the conquerors only increased when they first saw with their eyes how the Germans lived lavishly. "Their villages and towns, compared with ours looked like heaven on earth - said Lieutenant Gennady Klimenkoput. - Everything was so well maintained. So many beautiful buildings. They were so much richer than we are. Why did they attack us in 1941 and why were we so treated? "
What the soldiers saw was contrary to years of propaganda about the advantages of the socialist economy. Perhaps it is the fury caused by the well-being of the enemy against their own poverty after decades of 'austerity', explains why the Soviet soldiers, went insane, destroying everything that came to hand. Looting occurred on an epic scale - and this contributed to the Red Army order that every soldier once a month could send a parcel home with trophies. If civilians foolishly complained of looting, soldiers simply burned their homes.
In the face of this fierce offensive the German population of East Prussia fled without looking back; Leading to an outcome that was one of the darkest in history. In one of the coldest winters of the twentieth century, hundreds of thousands of civilians (lucky few - on carts, and most of the foot) rushed to the west along a narrow corridor between the snowy plains of contracting tick the Soviet offensive. Only one thing mattered - to escape from the Russians.
The roads were clogged with living and shoulder - with corpses. Dead babies lay directly on the snow. Some of the refugees coming into the horror of this deadly chaos, turned back, saying: 'Perhaps, the Russian is not so terrible as they say. " Later, they had only to regret that decision. When they came across the columns of refugees, Russian troops shot their cannons and machine guns. This was no military necessity - it was only revenge. Those who could not go by land, tried to escape by sea - it has become one of the darkest episodes of the war. In the Baltic ports of Germany, thousands of people fought for a place on the ship sailing to the West - some frustrated in the water, slipping in a stampede at the pier, some other passengers were thrown overboard.
The Tregedy of Wilhelm Gustloff
In the port of Gdynia, near Danzig, stood the ship ' Wilhelm Gustloff. But that day in the passenger list included more than 6000 souls - including the wounded amputees from the military hospitals and pregnant women, for which the promenade deck was turned into a maternity ward. Later, when the 'Gustloff' moved away from the pier, it was surrounded by a whole flotilla of boats full of refugees, begging to be picked up - a woman raised her children with her hands. Moved with pity, they were taken aboard. It is believed that another 2000 people climbed the ship. Those who did it, experienced great relief - but, alas, they were doomed.
Leaving the harbor, Gustloff slowly overcame the stormy waters, swaying in the Baltic sharp waves. It became an easy target for a Soviet submarine captain Alexander Marinesco, who intercepted ship and fired torpedoes at it at point blank range, as usual, decorated with the slogan: 'For the Motherland ! ',' Over Stalingrad! ',' For the Soviet people! ". There were three deafening explosion, "Wilhelm Gustloff 'strongly tilted and sank in 70 minutes. The victims of this disaster - the largest in the history of navigation, which eclipsed the death of 'Titanic' or 'Lusitania' - were 7,000 (maybe more).
Even among those who managed to get into lifeboats, many froze to death, while waiting for rescuers, who arrived at the crash site at dawn. In total 949 people survived. However, the story of the terrible fate of 'Wilhelm Gustloff' was lost in the background of the global tragedy of 1945, and today only a few know about it.
On board were played terrible scenes. Hundreds of young women from the auxiliary unit of German Navy were lucky to die quickly - one of the torpedo exploded directly under the room where they were placed. The elderly, the sick and wounded could not move - their death was long and painful. cries of people trapped, as in a trap between the watertight bulkheads, which fell immediately after the explosion. The men shot their rifles and tried to curb the mad crowd, rushing upward from the lower decks. Steward, running past one of the cabins, I heard a shot. Opening the door, he saw an officer of the Navy, who was standing with a gun in his hand over the corpses of women and children: another child in terror clutched at his leg. 'Get out!' - Shouted the officer, and flight attendant closed the door without interfering. Even among those who managed to get into lifeboats, many froze to death, while waiting for rescuers, who arrived at the crash site at dawn. In total 949 people survived. However, the story of the terrible fate of 'Wilhelm Gustloff' was lost in the background of the global tragedy of 1945, and today only a few know about it.
In East Prussia, its capital - the fortified town of Konigsberg, was still in German hands. Some of the townspeople wanted to surrender - but then saw the bodies of 80 German soldiers executed for desertion, put up for public display at the city railway station and attached to the clothing labels: "They were cowards, but still lost." Russian bombed the city to the ground, and yet assault groups had to fight for every meter, using flame throwers to destroy the defenders, who did not want to give up.
'Never seen such a fierce resistance, as in Konigsberg "- says a Russian officer. When the Red Army finally captured the city, they massacred thousands of residents. Women were raped right in the maternity wards of hospitals. One doctor says to the desperate cries of "Shoot me! ',' Shoot me ', but the torturers to their victims chose a slow death. Michael Vick (Michael Wieck) - one of those who survived the massacre - says: 'Each man they encountered was killed, and every woman - raped. At night the cries could be heard everywhere pleading for help. People were locked in the basement and the house was set on fire. They were rounded up civilians on the former battlefields around the city, and then shot or burned them"
Bloody Winter of East Prussia - is one of the worst episodes of World War II. The Germans still feel angry that so few people in the world know about it. A woman from East Prussia said to me: 'It was our Holocaust, but nobody gives a damn."
Russians attempt to justify themselves. 'Remember that the Germans were doing in our country' - they say, and indeed, for every German killed by the Red Army, we have three, four or five Russians, who fell at the hands of the Wehrmacht, Luftwaffe and SS in the days of their triumph. For the majority of Russian soldiers every feeling of pity and compassion, died earlier - on hundreds of battlefields in Russia. Yet few people can, without indignation think of the fate that befell East Prussia, the more that it was not dictated by military necessity.
SIDELIGHTS: FRAUENBURG'S HISTORY
Towards and after the end of World War II the German inhabitants were either evacuated or expelled like most of the German population of East Prussia. At the end of World War II, 173 years after the partitions, the city along with the rest of southern East Prussia became again part of Poland by the decisions of the Potsdam Conference. The town was resettled by Poles, many of whom were expellees from Polish areas annexed by the Soviet Union.
SIDELIGHTS: STG 44 ASSAULT RIFLE
The StG 44 (Sturmgewehr 44, literally :"storm (or assault) rifle (model of 19)44") was an assault rifle developed in Nazi Germany during World War II and was the first of its kind to see major deployment, considered by many historians to be the first modern assault rifle.
READ MORE ON STG 44
The Sturmgeschütz III (StuG III) assault gun was Germany's most produced armoured fighting vehicle during World War II. It was built on the chassis of the proven Panzer III tank. Initially intended as a mobile, armoured light gun for infantry support, the StuG was continually modified and was widely employed as a tank destroyer.
In Danzig it was open season for the Russian soldiers once again. They raped, murdered and pillaged. Women between the ages of twelve and seventy-ﬁve were raped; boys who sought to rescue their mothers were pitilessly shot
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