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4.4 out of 5 stars
Blood Red Snow Memoirs German
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67 of 68 people found the following review helpful
on 27 February 2007
There is a mass of German autobiographies hitting the market place at the moment which is certainly a good thing if we are to understand all sides of the Second World War. Some books are obviously better than others and I have to say that this book is very good. Well-written, well-organised and telling things from the general ranks (a rare thing), this is a powerful book, not least because it brings to life the characters mentioned in the text, and thereby makes the story more accessible and less academic. I would heartily recommend this book to anyone with an interest in the Eastern Front as well as the Second World War.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on 10 January 2010
I don't really want to repeat what other reviewers have said. What I would like to add though, as an ex-professional translator, is how well this story was translated into English - by a Norwegian translator. Apparently the translator himself is of the wartime generation, having fought in the Norwegian Resistance, so he has some experience of the German Army in WW2. I found it especially interesting how he gave British Army equivalents some very specific German military designations, and how he conveyed the German flavour of the story so well.

There is always unfortunately great potential for a poor translation to ruin a good story, but in this case the translator has done the author proud.

All in all an excellent and enthralling story.
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39 of 40 people found the following review helpful
on 25 April 2008
I recently bought this book from Amazon.co.uk and I can say that it is well worth a read. I know that there are loads of memoirs out there from soliders fighting in the various allied armies, but I jumped at a chance to read a book from the frequently under-represented German persepctive.

The author writes very well and I felt that he was able to portray the sheer terror of fighting on the Eastern front very well. One engagement in the early part of the book really had me on the edge of my seat as I wondered how they would repel an attack frmo Soviet armour without any ATG's etc.

Great book, great author, great read.
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131 of 136 people found the following review helpful
on 1 May 2003
This is truly a remarkable first hand account of the fighting on the eastern front during WWII. There are many other books which have all dealt with the same topic, but I have never read a book which simply describes what happened with honesty and simple clarity. We follow machine gunner Koschorrek between the years 42-44 in different parts of Russia, Italy and Romania. The book actually starts with his lucky escape from the Stalingrad pocket in Dec -42, from there on it just gets worse. He describes the incredible bravery performed by the average soldier, the friends and comrades who were not so lucky and last but not least, the inhuman conditions of war as they were experienced on the eastern front. I read this book in two days - it was impossible to put it down.......
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 19 February 2011
This book is an account of the war experience of a member of a machine gun section in the German 24th Panzer Division during the Second World War. Koschorrek was only able to produce this work because the detailed contemporaneous notes that he made of his experiences were unexpectedly returned to him many years after he thought that they had been lost. Consequently, in a book that was written long after the events described, he is able to provide an almost daily account of his experiences .
Koschorrek's war began in October 1942 when he narrowly escaped being caught up in the Stalingrad encirclement. During the subsequent weeks he was involved in the defensive battles on the lower Don, rapidly becoming something of a veteran before being wounded in mid-December.
In October 1943 he was returned to the Eastern Front, this time defending frontline positions on the left bank of the Dnepr in the Nikopol bridgehead. Subsequently he was involved in the long retreat of German forces from the Dnepr to the Bug and on into Moldova in February and March 1944. During the spring and early summer of 1944, despite being in a relatively stable sector of the front near Jassy, Koschorrek nevertheless saw plenty of action and saw several of his closest comrades killed.
As the major Soviet summer offensive of 1944 advanced across Belarus, Koschorrek's unit was one of many that were moved north from Moldova to bolster the German defences in eastern Poland. There, in August, Korschorrek was again wounded and, as part of his convalescence, was assigned to a training unit in East Prussia.
In October Soviet forces broke through German defences into East Prussia, and Koschorrek found himself in action near Gumbinnen (modern day Gusev). By early 1945 Koschorrek was in Denmark, and so escaped the full blast of the Soviet offensive across Poland and East Prussia that began on 12 January. By mid-March he was back on the frontline near Stettin but, within days, was again wounded. Koschorrek's war ended in a military hospital in western Czechoslovakia, which was liberated by American forces on 6 May.
Koschorrek does not discuss his views of the political circumstances that led him to be in the Soviet Union, but he does discribe his emotions and motivation on the frontline. His steady change of outlook from an anxious but reasonably enthusiastic soldier of the Reich, to a disillusioned and savvy survivor is clearly described. Koschorrek, it seems, saw himself as a decent, honest man, who was just another victim of a tragic and brutal conflict. He was clearly annoyed at his brief and relatively benign incarceration in an American p.o.w. camp after the war, was contemptuous of his captors, and was surprised by the hostility towards him from people whose country Germany had invaded. Interestingly, he never seems to see himself as an invader, part of a murderous military machine. Apart from the occasional shooting of wounded Soviet prisoners by errant German non-coms, the only atrocities he records are those by the Red Army against their own civilians, or against Germans.
This book seems to be a genuinely honest account of one man's war on the Eastern Front, and is well worth the read.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 23 March 2009
I have read a couple of other books written by others and this book is the only one I believe every word is genuine and true.
Unlike some others the book was written, albeit many years after the events took place, by the man who experienced the hardship
Keeping a diary was not permitted for German soldiers for obvious reasons mainly because of its potential use by the enemy if found.
This book is one of the few that could be written from notes made at the time rather than vague memories from the past.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 22 August 2011
having read Guy Sajer's book already i had high expectations for this book and i was not disappointed. the book tells the story of a German machine gunner from Stalingrad in late 1942 to the end of the war in Czechoslovakia. the book does not hold back in describing the horrors of war and as close friends of the author drop dead all around him i felt such a pain of sorrow that such men had died. he has an excellent writing style that is easy to follow and he lists in the introduction that his reason for writing the book was as a memorial to all those unknown soldiers who fell in the war ans to tell their story. in that he succeeded as the names and deeds of so many of the people in his story will stay with me for a long time to come, they are not forgotten. battle scenes are described in amazing detail and it feels almost like your there with him watching it happen. if you wish to really understand what being a German soldier on the eastern front was like then this is for you and if you want to understand the truth of what war is like then this is also for you, it holds no barriers in describing the gritty horror, fear, camaraderie and sadness of war.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on 6 April 2010
Absolutley brilliant book, well worth the read in my opinion. If your like me and like first hand accounts of the eastern front from the germen point of view these books might also interest you.

In deadly combat by gottlob herbert biederman
Sniper on the eastern front by Albrecht Wacker
Twighlight of the gods by Thorolf hilblad
Through hell for hitler by Henry Metelmann
At leningrads gates by William Lubbeck
Tigers in the mud by Otto Carius
Forgotten soldier by Guy sajer
Stormtrooper on the eastern front by mintauts blosfelds

I would highly recommend any of these books
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 13 April 2009
I have read quite a few personal accounts of WW2 over the years and few have ever gripped me a this book did. I found this book extremely hard to put down: it drops you into the action right from the beginning and doesn't let up until the end. I also liked this book because I think it shows that not all german soldiers were jew killing monsters and that most of the german troops fought to protect family and friends not Hitler.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 1 February 2015
It's a bit Leo Kesslerish chock full of blood and guts there's the odd mistake like mentioning a Russian soldier with a kalashnikov a gun which which was not invented till May 1947.

It's not quite like Guy Sajers perhaps more accurate masterpiece which rings truer to me, I suppose memory has to be a poor substitue for a well filled diary. I don't doubt that he has been there at the sharp end and that much of what he writes about is at least redolent of his truth. There is only a truth life experience confirms this such an unlikely paragon as "The Truth" just doesn't exist in ...real life I will be generous and say that these stories were the best that they could do in both instances.

I worked with guys who were on the German and Italian side and with others who fought on the allied side in both World Wars. I worked with men who had fought at Passendhendaele and others who were wearing uniform from the first day throughout the whole kaleidoscope of the second conflict.. Some of these men were quite open about it and some only referred to it with great reluctance one of these let slip the info that had served with Popski's Private Army in Italy. one day out of the blue he just mentioned that his squad had prevented the Germans from stealing the treasures of Venice - what a tale he could have told?

One was in The 15th Scottish Guards Armoured Division up against the !2th SS Paner division in Normandy another bloke was on the German E,boats picking up downed airmen and attacking heavily escorted convoys at night in the channel One old friend in particular was a gunner on The H.M.S. Hardy at Narvik he helped sink half the German Destroyer Fleet and his skipper won a VC postumously he spent much of the War in The Mediterranean and then finished the war in The Far East with The British Pacific Fleet alongside the Yanks he served as The Petty Officer in a gunnery director on a destroyer protecting Illustrious class Armoured Flight Deck Fleet Aircraft Carriers by shooting down Japanese Kamikazis he had seen so much action that his hearing was very poor. We owe them - I suppose the only way we can do that is to try to make it impossible for it to ...happen again- .while we are here ................. A Tall Order that is...?

Gunter Koschorrek was right about the wall of propaganda being used by the Nazis to brainwash the German population we get the same wall of malevolently turned propaganda from London's Governence their media assails us with a litany of regimented applications - pseudo adverts and tilted programming of all kinds repeated and repeated at us relentlessly over and over again on their TV and Radio and ..."National?" and "local" newspapers it's unrelenting. Ever avenue of expression is being twisted and turned far too much to even approach any remotely ....copperbottomed reality - yes I know exactly where Gunter Koschorrrek is coming from - it's here and now!.
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