16. Mai 1942
It is not long before the first unmistakable preparations begin. Night after night, ammunition vehicles roll in. The forester’s lodge is alive and kicking. The old defensive position is converted into a dangerous attack base. The old forester’s lodge garrison is pulled out and moved back to Karpowka for the night. Here we are attached to the assault battalion being assembled in Karpowka. The village is swarming with soldiers and vehicles. All the houses are densely occupied. I have a lot to do during the day and am busy until late at night. Dead tired - because I hardly slept last night either - I throw myself onto the iron bedstead in my quarters to get some more sleep. There, high above the village, chugs a “Sewing Machine” Polikarpov Po-2. It is one of the supposedly obsolete Russian aircraft that were used for small night harassing flights and are known to every Landser as the “Nagger”, “Hoodiecrow”, “Duty NCO” or “Sewing Machine”. Now the engine stops. This is always the moment when the bomb is dropped. Then the house shakes to its foundations and the floor trembles under the rolling bomb explosion. The chalk bursts from the walls and falls down on me. A thick, white cloud of dust fills the room. I have to cough. I had jumped up at the detonation, but lie down again. The bed is full of chalk crumbs. Sleep is out of question. I haven’t slept for a day and almost two nights now, I’ve been on my feet for 24 hours without a break, and now the new day is already dawning. This one also brings new work, because attack briefings are being held, assault groups are being formed, ammunition and rations are being issued, supply questions and many other things are being dealt with.
The Ivan has noticed our attack preparations, for he now drops bombs into the village during the day as well. Again it is only a single plane, and this time it hits better. A few vehicles are smashed and the horses lie dead next to them.
This day also passes and tired, I return to my quarters. The chalk dust still lies like a layer of flour on the floor, and with every step the chalk crunches under my feet. The walls and the ceiling have large holes from which the wickerwork hangs out. The day has turned, but even the coming night will bring no rest, for now the concentration is just beginning!
Summer Offensive and Advance 1942
Night is approaching. I still have an hour to rest, but the brain continues to work on the tasks of the coming day.
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- In the night 15/16 May (KTB 257. I.D. Frame 000982/83/91)