Blood Red Snow: The Memoirs of a German Soldier on the Eastern Front
By Günter Koschorrek
Read by Nigel Patterson
Published by Tantor Audio, July 2018
Length: 9 hours 41 minutes
Günter Koschorrek was a 19-year-old German Army machine gunner who was sent to Stalingrad in 1942. Assigned to a dismounted Kavallerie brigade, his unit was able to escape encirclement. Their escape was a close-run thing, their positions were over run by Soviet armor and they were saved only by crossing the frozen Don River on foot under fire. Koschorrek was wounded and evacuated back to Germany.
After recuperating, he was briefly assigned to Italy on anti-partisan duties, then back to the Eastern Front. This time he was part of a well-equipped and supported “fire brigade” unit tasked with countering Soviet penetrations in the front lines. After each action, they were withdrawn to quarters in a local village. This inevitably came to an end as the Soviet offensives gained momentum, eventually resulting in a general retreat back to Germany.
This is a very gritty tale of combat on the Eastern Front from the perspective of a common infantryman where the hardships were many. Koschorrek was one of the very few from his original group to survive the war, and he himself was wounded six times. He avoided being sent to the Soviet Gulags after the war by aggravating one of his wounds and being hospitalized.
The audiobook is read by Nigel Patterson, who has an English accent. I found this a little odd at first for a German memoir but grew used to it as the book went on. Patterson did quite well with the occasional German rank or phrase. The translation is also very English, with German soldiers being referred to as “blokes” and that sort of thing. An odd error is the Soviets are often described as being armed with “Kalashnikovs” instead of the expected PPSH-41s or Mosen-Nagants, perhaps another problem with the translation.
I listened to this book while travelling to the Cincinnati IPMS show, a good way to get some benefit from the dead time while driving. The book was “loaned” from the local library to my cell phone, a very welcome option when needed. This was an interesting book which I can recommend to anyone interested in the Second World War on the Eastern Front.
The box says Encore, but Scalemates indicates this kit was first issued by Dakoplast in 1997, then Encore, then Eastern Express, and finally Modelist. As Marc mentioned in comments to the build thread the sprues match the ICM kit. I enclosed the wheelwells, replaced the wheels, and substituted a vacuform canopy for the awful kit piece. The model represents a generic Yak-9T of the 3rd FAC operating in the Kursk area, summer 1943.
Construction posts here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2021/07/30/encore-yakovlev-yak-9-build-in-1-72-scale-part-i/
More finished pictures here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2021/08/10/encore-yakovlev-yak-9-in-1-72-scale/
Ivan Golubin was credited with 13 personal and 2 group victories, and was awarded the Hero of the Soviet Union. He died when the MiG-3 he was piloting crashed in bad weather on 01NOV42. The model depicts the aircraft he flew with the 434th FAR in July 1942 over Stalingrad.
Vladimir Zalevskiy was credited with 17 personal and 23 group victories. He was awarded the Hero of the Soviet Union, but was shot down and killed on 05JUN43. This was the aircraft he flew with the 157th FAD during the summer of 1943.
More completed Yak-7B pictures here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2021/08/03/dakoplast-yakovlev-yak-7b-of-lieutenant-ivan-golubin-in-1-72-scale/
Vladimir Orekhov was awarded the Hero of the Soviet Union for achieving 19 personal and 3 shared victories during the Great Patriotic War. The model depicts his aircraft during the fall of 1942 while operating with the 434th FAR on the Stalingrad Front.
More completed Yak-7B pictures here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2021/07/29/valom-yakovlev-yak-7b-of-captain-vladimir-zalevskiy-in-1-72-scale/
US Aircraft in the Soviet Union and Russia
By Yefim Gordon, Sergey Komissarov, and Dmitri Komissarov
Hardcover in dustjacket, 355 pages, bibliography, profusely illustrated, color profiles
Published by Midland Publishing Ltd., January 2010
Dimensions: 8.9 x 0.9 x 11.5 inches
The Lend-Lease policy was enacted in March 1941, before America’s entry into the Second World War. It allowed the United States to provide military and logistical material to Allied nations fighting the Axis. While the main beneficiary of this aid was the United Kingdom, a significant portion went to the Soviet Union. This included roughly half a million vehicles and about fifty percent of the food, ammunition and aviation gasoline consumed by the Soviets. While this aid was officially downplayed publicly, Stalin admitted privately that the USSR would have lost the war without the vast amount of material supplied by the U.S., Great Britain, and Canada.
Part of this aid was over 11,400 U.S. aircraft. Most types operated by the USAAF were represented, with the largest portions being the Bell P-39 Airacobra with 4,719 provided and the follow-on P-63 Kingcobra with 2,397. Soviet pilots were enthusiastic about both types.
I expected this book to be about the Lend-Lease program. While that is a primary focus and occupies a substantial portion of the page count, there is so much more. The book opens with the purchase of a Wright A Flyer in 1908, and several additional pre-war types made their way to the Soviet Union under various arrangements. A surprise (to me at least) were the Soviet efforts to acquire American heavy bombers. These were denied under Lend-Lease, the USAAF citing the need for every bomber they could get, but several crash-landed examples were discovered as the Red Army pushed into Eastern Europe. Many of these were repaired, and the USSR were able to operate both the B-17 Flying Fortress and B-24 Liberator in squadron strength. The story of the Tu-4 Bull, reverse-engineered from three interred B-29 Superfortresses is better known. There is also a small section dealing with U.S. types (or components) acquired in various ways during the Cold War, and a much larger section on U.S. civilian types purchased after the end of the Soviet era beginning in 1991.
This is a beautiful book and a valuable reference. The pages are printed on glossy stock, and there is no shortage of photographs, line drawings, and high-quality profile artwork. Modelers looking for unusual schemes for American aircraft types will be thrilled. Highly recommended. If the subject interests you at all pick this one up, you will not be disappointed!
More completed Yak-7B pictures here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2021/07/27/valom-yakovlev-yak-7b-of-lieutenant-vladimir-orekhov-in-1-72-scale/