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Old August 22, 2021, 02:36 PM   #526
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From Lt. Moisey Gitmanovich

Born in Odessa, Moisey Gitmanovich volunteered for the Red Army on the first day of the war and attended officers' school where he graduated and became a platoon commander.

"I had my observation hole, and I had three or four such holes [that I was in charge of]. At night I walked between my stations to check how my soldiers were doing. One time I went, and there was quite a distance between them, about four or five kilometers. There was a snowstorm and I lost my way. Fortunately, I kept close to our trenches through the snowstorm. I just lost my bearings. It was a blizzard, I couldn't see anything, and suddenly, I was getting shot at. I got down on the ground. I was get[ting] shot [at] and I could hear someone yelling curses in Russian. I understood these were our guys. I answered. They said, "Deserter!" And they grabbed me and led me to their commander. Obviously, defection was a punishable act, execution. [They] started questioning me. I started explaining, telling them what happened. They wouldn't believe me: why would I go out in a blizzard? There was nothing I could do to prove [my innocence] to them. And then I remembered that, after all, I'm a Jew, and, forgive me, but I took off my pants to show them that I'm a Jew. They all started laughing and they said: Germans kill a man with that badge. And that's how they let me go."
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Old August 24, 2021, 09:51 PM   #527
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Soviet style road rage circa 1943?

This involves a T-34 tank commanded by Gennady Aizenshtadt.

Gennady Aizenshtadt - "I had a young driver in my crew. The hatch would open when he drove. One time we were traveling and the tank was weaving from side to side like this. Someone was following us in a car and wanted to pass, but we kept getting in his way. My driver could not see what was happening behind him. He eventually got in front of us and stopped us. A captain or a major got out, drew his pistol . . . and killed him."

Interviewer "—The tank driver?"

Gennady Aizenshtadt - "Yes, the tank driver. There were two women and a young man in the car with him. I ordered my tank crew to open fire and killed them. When we arrived at our destination, I reported on the incident and did not suffer any repercussions."

Available here (I read the transcripts since I don't speak Russian): https://www.blavatnikarchive.org/item/2327
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Old August 31, 2021, 04:24 PM   #528
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Your patriotism sucks

In the Great Patriotic War, the Soviets really played up their propaganda and within a few days of Germany's invasion the song, The Sacred War, was composed. It is still played today in Russia before that big parade in Moscow. If you guys watched any documentaries, you probably heard it before. http://youtu.be/viUnzgXPrDg

Well, at one hospital the wounded learned the war was over. They sang neither that song nor the national anthem. Thankfully SMERSH was not summoned.

Quote:
At noon the hospital chief, the lieutenant colonel of the medical services, lined up the hospital staff and invited the patients whoever could stand. The chief congratulated us on the victory and said: "My dear friends. We have received the most prised decoration—we survived." And suddenly one wounded soldier without an arm started singing the Katyusha song. We joined in and afterwards we asked: "Why did you start singing "Katyusha"? Why not the national anthem? Why not "The Sacred War"? And he said—he was older than us by about ten years—he said: "Guys, this is a pre-war song but this song was with us throughout the war. It told us about the loyalty of our wives. So it's impossible not to think about them today."
Sweetheart and wives over socialism.

Here is Katyusha (I had to look it up) https://youtu.be/7J__ZdvsZaE

I'm finishing up looking for images for my book on WW II sniping & snipers.

Source for anecdote: https://www.blavatnikarchive.org/item/5307
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Old September 26, 2021, 09:54 AM   #529
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Snipers annoy the 36th Infantry Division

The following incident involved the 36th Infantry Division (Texas).

Quote:
"It was the story of two GIs from one of our other regiments who, during the fighting on the Riquewihr-Mittlewihr area, had fallen on some fairly lush days when they found a wine cellar fully stocked with rare old wines. For them the war had stopped for a while as they sampled the various vintages and compared notes on them.

At that time, Colonel McGrath, of the moustache, had taken command of one of our battalions. One day he called m in a great stir over the fact that sniping had driven him into the basement of the home where his CP was loated and he wanted to know what the hell the regiment was doing to round up the snipers.

'Well Mac,' I said, 'we're getting the same treatment. The trouble is that the sniping isn't localized. Yesterday, supplies to one of the other battalions were held up for almost 3 hours and the graves registration officer was pinned down under his jeep for an hour or more.'

'You get those bastards, hear?' McGrath yelled.

Several days elapsed with more reports of snping being made to our headquarters in Riquewihr. Finally, we began to see that the pattern of sniping emanated from a vineyard just outside of Riquewirh. We hastily put together a task of force of two TDs, infantry, and mortars to take the vineyard under fire.

As we did, all kinds of fire was directed from the center of the vineyard to targets lying anywhere around its perimeter. The TDs opened fire and sent a number of their 3in shells screaming into the vineyard. Mortars joined in the cannonading and the infantry, formed as skirmishers, started their walk through the low vines.

The battle reached a crescendo and I took shelter behind a shed near one corner of the vineyard. I could see GIs, on their bellies, working into the spot from which the hostile firingg was coming. Suddenly all shooting stopped and I could hear voices exlaiming rather loudly over something.

Shortly, our men caame back - escorting two GIs who had' been on a drinking spree for over a week. One was short and swarthy, the other tall and stoop-shouldered. They hadn't shaved for a week or ten days and they were grimy with dirt.

I later learned from the men who had finally captured the snipers that the two had dug a circular trench inside the vineyard and had stashed in it, not only German weapons and ammo, the use of which completely fooled us, but a very large supply of wine.

Each of the men was brought before General Stack, then temporarily commanding our regiment, and while he managed to maintain his usual icy and acerbic mien, I caught him, once, covering a smile with one hand.

'I tought I'd have to laugh right out loud,' he said as we recounted the story when I met him on my G-1 rounds. 'That tall GI didn't care about anythingg we were telling him about the seriousness of his and his buddy's actions. He kept looking at the wine bottles we'd taken from him and you knew that his one care in the world was to get back to them.

To make the story complete and save it from becoming another tale of disaster, it should be noted that during the ten-day fusilade of snipers' bullets, no one was scratched, which says something about the capacity of the men to fire their weapons. If anything occurred, later, to cause the two snipers to regret their daliance with the bottle, I never hrad of it. They probably received minor company punishment.

The officer in charge of the task force that rounded up the offenders told us, after the men were led away, that he had heard them greet the GIs who'd come after them with the following statement:

'Where the hell have you been you jerks?' We been fightin' the Germans for a week and no one came to help us. We been fightin' and fallin' back, fightin' and fallin' back. What kinda army is this, anyway?'"
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Old October 10, 2021, 04:18 PM   #530
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Not a sniping story but some things were done right. A rangefinder was brought in to confirm the distance. A gun was set up ready to engage. The target had established a pattern. This incident took place in the Western Desert near El Agheila (450 miles from Tripoli and 700 west of Alexandria).

Quote:
The El Agheila position was direct in front and facing us about 700 yards waay were Italians with a stiffening of Germans. Due to the supply problem, orders were given that ammunition could not be fired unless attacked. After a short while the Italians began to realize this and started to take liberties. One day, before the heat haze occured, an Italian climbed out of his trench, raised his hand in the Fascist saluted and shouted, 'Viva Mussolini.' Turning his back to us, he dropped his pantaloons and squatted to answer the call of nature. We obseved with surprised interest. The next day, this fearsome Italian soldier gave a repeat performance. This was going too far for Frank Dillon and he said, 'We're not takng that!' The following day our range-taker, Chris Shambroook ensured that we had the correct distance, and Frank expertly laid his Vickers on the correct spot. Being good soldiers, we had some spare ammunition. As we waited, a jeep pulled up and out got Brigadier Douglas Graham, the Officer Commanding 153 brigade. He immediately wanted to know what was going on, so the situation was explained about trying to teach this Italian a lesson and also that we had some spare ammunition. He said, 'All right, but you had better not miss!' Our Italian did not let us down. He jumped up to what was to be his third performance and although he did not know it, his finale. When he began to exalt his love for Il Duce, Frank made final adjustments to the Vickers. Suddenly, the Brigadier's telephone began to sound, but he ignored it! The Italian duly dropped his trousers, Frank fired a short burst and the Italian fell headfirst into his trench. The Brigadier laughed and congratulated us. A wound in the bottom is not generally considered life threatening, but the next time that Italian used the toilet, he would have to decide which hole to wipe. When the Brigadier returned the call from HQ, they asked why he had not answered. He said, 'I was busy watching my men shoot an I-tie up the arse!'
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