12. Juli 1941
|13./14.: –Station Wygangka
The next day we are in Czortków. Right next to my platoon's quarters there is a nice little house which I seek out as my possible quarters for the night. It belongs to a Polish family. The husband is absent, working away. The housewife is currently alone with her daughter, who is about ten years old. She offers me one of the two beds in the parents' bedroom and wants to sleep with her daughter on a chaise longue in the kitchen. But I still want to bring Unteroffizier Mielenz with me. She hesitates. She doesn't want two men, but finally gives in, and I move with Mielenz into the parents' bedroom, where we both sleep like groundhogs in our double bed. The next morning the good woman even brings us a large cup of sweetened coffee with milk and a large roll.
I check on my platoon. In the quarters my second squad leader is sitting with his men. Then I realise that I am actually neglecting him a bit. He is a quiet, tidy and decent guy, only a little more reserved than Mielenz. The fact that I have moved Mielenz closer to me is probably due to the fact that I have known him for some time - since Jasło - and he lived very close to us in Neukölln. But that should not be a reason to treat the two men under my command so unequally. Such an unfounded preference or discrimination is the worst thing a superior can do.
We continue. First we have to cross a demolished bridge inside the town. It is bent, collapsed in the middle in a huge 'V' shape. So we first have to go down at a steep angle and then up again. The slope is steep. For the men this is not a problem, but for our horses with vehicles it is about as much as they can cope with. So the men form groups with their vehicles to help push if necessary. The wagons, each pulled by four horses., first carefully ride down the slope with the brakes on, and then make a running jump up the steep embankment to the cheers of the men, although they become slower and slower the higher they get.
••• im Original weiter ohne Zeilenumbruch ••• The brave horses are straining in their harnesses, their muscles are as tight as can be. Now the soldiers grab the spokes and with the inevitable shouts get up the last part. Since we have to put four horses on each wagon for this crossing, they can only cross one at a time, so the whole crossing takes quite a long time. Then on we go through hilly country. The landscape is beautiful, but I am sorry for our poor horses.
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- KTB 257. I.D., NARA T-315 Roll 1803 Frame 000347
- KTB 257. I.D. Frame 000348
- normally they drive two-horse