31. März 1941
When I go down to the Kaczkowski family the next evening, I explain to them somewhat embarrassed (after this oppressive farewell!) that it had only been an exercise. To my great astonishment, they are not at all surprised by this news. They already knew, in fact they found out at the same moment as we turned around. They seem to have a damn good intelligence service, because they are better informed about many things than our soldiers.
The fodderer Jupp Zimmermann has been up to something and I'm supposed to take him to Reichshof to the Wehrmacht prison. I'm in service uniform with pistol, he's in drill suit. Before I deliver him, we have a beer in a restaurant at his request. Jupp was from Cologne. He was a rascal. He later took many photos during the advance, and I had given him a cigarette in advance for each print of his pictures, probably 50 in all (a treasure for smokers at the time), but I only received half a dozen of his photos, and even those only on request after the war.
By the way, Captain Goßmann has been our new company commander for some time now. He was my commander in Kombornia for three days before I was transferred to Jasło. He once told me a few things about the time after I had left, and at the end he said that he should rather have kept me, because there wasn't much up with Franz Bachem. Apart from the company commander, we also have a company officer. He is a first lieutenant, no more quite young, has a fresh, round, chubby child's face, is very friendly and takes the service very lightly. At the last mobilisation alarm we had already finished loading, but the company officer was still not there. I had filled in for him. When Goßmann came and found his deputy missing, he was hopping mad. But I now had a brownie point with him.
We are now learning Russian. The lessons are given by our battalion surgeon who is fluent in Russian. Participants are all officers and officer candidate sergeants of the battalion. In the normal officers' lessons we deal with river crossings over the San at the sand table. There was a rumour that it might be against Russia, but nobody really wanted to believe it. We regarded the Russian lessons as occupational therapy, one of the usual measures to enliven the service and expand our knowledge. Even the sandbox exercises held by Major Haarhaus did not necessarily have to be alarm bells because every army deals with the defence of its borders, and river crossings were a popular topic. And furthermore, we had an alliance with the Soviet Union, after all!
Most OA sergeants are promoted to reserve lieutenants. I am not among them. Captain Goßmann tells me that I am still a few weeks short of the minimum period of service required for each rank. The others had all been in the Polish and French campaigns while I was still sitting at home.
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Personen-Index Namen,Anschriften Personal I.R.477 1940–44 Übersichtskarte (Orte,Wege) Orts-Index Vormarsch-Weg Mil.Rangordnung 257.Inf.Div. MG-Komp.eines Inf.Batl. Kgf.-Lagerorganisation Kriegstagebücher Allgemeines Zu einzelnen Zeitabschnitten Linkliste Rotkreuzkarte Originalmanuskript Briefe von Kompanie-Angehörigen
- Russian lessons were started in January and reinforced from May (TätBer 257. I.D. Frame 000703, 000631).