14. Juli 1941
|GEO & MIL INFO|
|14 July –Husiatyn (former polish-russian border)|
17 –Dunajewzy (rest)–Iwankowzy/
18 day of rest
19 –Nowaja Uschicza
20 –Samechow (Rast?)–Konischtscheff
24, 25 days of rest
27 day of rest
1 August rest (“horses exhausted by yesterday's march on muddy paths”)
|3 Aug: I.R. 477 subordinated to 1. Geb.Div.|
|(this subordinated to XXXXIX. (Geb.)A.K.)|
We approach Husiatyn on the Polish-Russian border. It is a rather unsightly settlement, a big village. Most of the houses are wooden buildings, only occasionally do we come across a stone house. Beginning in a wide valley, the village stretches up the slope which, becoming ever steeper, rises like a rampart on the Russian side. A perfect natural border for the Russians!
We cross the wooden bridge over the small river that flows through the lower part of the village and are now on Russian soil. We follow the badly-paved road, which leads up the tall slope in tight turns. The ruins of numerous houses are still smoking and smouldering. The charred beams glow and crackle. The place was captured just a few days ago by SS units in bitter fighting. Everywhere in the gardens there are crosses for fallen SS soldiers, and their large numbers testify to the terrible ferocity of the battle that raged along this border which was difficult to cross.
Arriving at the top of the hill, the flat, barren, treeless steppe stretches before us to the horizon, over which our long columns are now moving eastwards on winding paths like dangerous giant snakes.
We have reached our objective for the day, a small village, and I have moved into my quarters. But the neighbouring farmer won't stop complaining that no-one is quartered with him. He persuades me to move into his house. I fulfil his wish, especially since I can see that he has a nice daughter about my age. In his joy he puts a large plate of fried potatoes on my table, which I begin to eat heartily. At this moment the company chief comes in. After a few friendly words he inquires about the quarters for the horses. He's not happy with my answer and suddenly he begins to get angry. Finally he drives me out to check on the horses. He is a nasty old creep and he's also ruined my pleasant evening with the farmer and his daughter.
A few days later. After reaching our objective we occupied our quarters, and in the meantime darkness had fallen. Then the greybeard calls the platoon leaders together and snaps at them again. He noticed that there were some acacias in the village and that some of our horses were tied up under these trees. (Acacias are said to be poisonous or at least indigestible to horses.) Then he orders that as soon as the day's objective is reached a written report is to be made that the horses have been properly cared for. The platoon leaders think this is ridiculous. Lieutenant NN challenges him and there's a sharp exchange of words.
Our machine-gun company (with heavy machine-guns and mortars) is the heavy (weapons) company of our infantry battalion. That is why we are horse-drawn, i.e. we have many horses. The horses are as important for our mobility as fuel is for motorised troops. So care of the horses is very important, but our greybeard overplays their importance almost irrationally. Because we had many horses, the leaders of the machine-gun companies were often of peasant origin, and some of them understood looking after horses better than they did leading human beings. Our greybeard seems to be use his greater knowledge of horses to underscore his authority over us. The new lieutenant, who immediately got into an argument with the commander, recently joined our company. He also liked to see me suffer right away. Perhaps he is influenced by Lieutenant Herzog. I'd like that very much, because my position at the moment is not easy. I am a senior Feldwebel, but the only reservist among the four platoon leaders, and the youngest, with little fighting experience. The other three platoons are led by two lieutenants and an active Feldwebel. In addition, as an academic I also encounter animosities with the rural greybeard.
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- ↑ KTB 257. I.D., NARA T-315 Roll 1803 Frame 000354/60, Benary S. 33
- ↑ Frame 000360
- ↑ Frame 000366/96
- ↑ Frame 000366/96
- ↑ inferred from Frame 000400 („mass of div. in advance“) and 000401 (further march from Nowaja Uschicza); the author does not mention the location in the text, but in a list of advance locations
- ↑ Frame 000401/05/08/27
- ↑ Frame 000428 (the map entry has to be interpreted as „green“), inferred als from 000421 (further march from Kopai Gorod)
- ↑ Frame 000421/57
- ↑ inferred from Frame 000430
- ↑ The planned target Tulcyn (Frame 000439) could not be reached because of rain. Cf. Frame 000446/53/55/57/58
- ↑ Frame 000455
- ↑ Frame 000461/64
- ↑ Frame 000463/64
- ↑ Frame 000465/81
- ↑ Frame 000504
- ↑ Frame 000511
- ↑ “Russia” and “Russians” was for a long time a common pars-pro-toto term from the time of the Tsarist Empire (which had only fallen a good 20 years ago at the time) for “Soviet Union” and “Soviets” (Soviet soldiers, Red Army soldiers) or “citizens of the Soviet Union”, which the author also uses, although as a geographer he was aware that he was now in Ukraine.
- ↑ on 7 July 1941 from the regiment “Westland” of the SS division “Wiking” (cf. also Frame 000324)
- ↑ Presumably, they were robinias, which are also called false or pseudo-acacias and are deadly poisonous especially for horses.
- ↑ The space for some missing names is left blank in the original, but unfortunately the author never remembered them.