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In the Hell of the Eastern Front (Hardback)

The Fate of a Young Soldier During the Fighting in Russia in WW2

WWII Russia & the Eastern Front Frontline Books Frontline: WWII Military

By Arno Sauer
Frontline Books
Pages: 184
ISBN: 9781526733337
Published: 14th September 2020



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On 22 June 1941, German forces launched Operation Barbarossa – Hitler’s invasion of the Soviet Union. Instead of the swift knock-out blow that the Germans had anticipated, the war against the Soviets ground on relentlessly for almost four years. It was into this bloody theatre of war that Fritz Sauer was sent.

Having initially joined the ranks of the Reichsarbeitsdienst, the Reich Labour Service, Fritz was posted to Infantry Regiment No.437 in April 1942. Part of the 132nd Infantry Division, the regiment was serving on the Eastern Front having been deployed to the Crimea. The regiment was then transferred to the region around Leningrad, where, for the first time, Fritz truly experienced the horrors of war.

As well as his best friend being killed by a sniper, Fritz recalled events such as recovering the body of a fallen colleague from No Man’s Land, the terrifying experience of facing a Red Army infantry attack, Soviet tank assaults, and the moment when a group of comrades in a neighbouring crater were hit by a shell. He became a casualty himself when he was badly wounded in the legs during a counterattack.

After his recovery and retraining in a convalescent unit, Fritz was detailed to serve as a guard in a prisoner of war camp – still on the Eastern Front. Transferred to a tank assault regiment during the last year of the war, he was ordered to make contact with another unit, but lost his way in the snow. After sheltering with a farmer’s family, Fritz decided to head west, fleeing before the advancing Red Army. His subsequent journey home took many twists and turns.

Based on Fritz’s own recollections and narrative, this account of a young soldier’s experiences in the Second World War was brought together by his son. It is a moving and graphic description of one man’s involvement in the largest military confrontation in history – the Hell that was the Eastern Front.

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WWII History

This is a great little book that reveals the everyday and the horrors that can be seen in the war. The author has done a great job writing his story, it’s both informative and riveting to read. Certainly recommended.

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UK Historian

This offering from Pen and Sword, is one of those excellent presentations that have come to the fore, in recent years. Telling the story of one man’s war in possibly one of the most brutal theatres of battle during World War II. I urge anyone who wants a sense of how close you can become to another human being in times of adversity to read this title.

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It's not a long book, but it contains gripping details, especially as the war turned into a disaster for the Germans. A good read.

The Armourer, February 2021

This book joins the growing list of first class personal accounts by German soldiers. They all seem to follow the same road of immersion into the Eastern Front and tell of the horrific combat conditions. Their survival is about luck, coupled with some deeper personal resolve or character that assists them to not only survive but to compile their accounts and thoughts for the benefit of later generations. A fascinating book.

Michael McCarthy. Battlefield Guide

Michael McCarthy

About Arno Sauer

Known to his friends and family as Fritz, FRIEDRICH GOTTFRIED SAUER was born on 22 December 1923, in Bassenheim near Coblenz in the Rhineland, to farmer and potato dealer Josef Sauer and his wife Antoinette. He was just eighteen when he was first conscripted by the German authorities in the winter of 1940-41. Initially joining the ranks of the Reich Labour Service, he was soon transferred to the Heer, the German Army, and posted to an infantry unit which formed part of Army Group North on the Eastern Front. Despite being terribly wounded, Fritz survived the war.

Based on his father's recollections, In the Hell of the Eastern Front – an account of his wartime experiences – was written by his son, Arno Sauer.

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