sniper on the eastern front

title: Sniper on the Eastern Front: The Memoirs of Sepp Allerberger, Knights Cross

author: Albrecht Wacker

genre: Non-fiction, WWIII, German sniper

suggested by: Tiril P.

dates read: December 20th – December 21st

review: 4 out of 5 stars

summary: Josef ‘Sepp’ Allerberger was an Austrian with German nationality who became one of the best German snipers in WWII.  Joining before he was even 20 years old, he became indispensable, taking down 257 Russians, and countless more that weren’t recorded.  Coming back home from the war with few physical scars, the affects on his psyche were much more severe.

personal thoughts: The very subject of this book was difficult for me.  Reading about the notches in his gun to keep track of his kills, and the calculated way he took down his enemies (though, to be fair, it was either them or him and he was a sniper, who do need to be calculating in their kills), made it tough to keep going sometimes.  It makes me think of first-person shooter video games, some of the scenes he describes.  The depravity of humanity is highlighted in many of the stories, and I wish again, still, that we lived in a world without war.  The horrors that those in combat face are unfathomable.

favorite quotes:
“Fear, blood, death were the ingredients in the alchemy that intoxicated and drugged its participant; it marked the end of my personal innocence and swept away all visions and dreams of ‘my future’; swept away my life.” Chapter 1

“War is a merciless system of Killing and Being Killed.  In action, sympathy for the enemy is ultimately suicide, for every opponent whom you do not kill can turn the tables and kill you.  Your chances of survival are measured by the yardstick of how you compare in skill and objectivity as against your opponent.” Chapter 2

“A soldier’s chances of survival depend in no small degree on his feeling for what is possible.” Chapter 11