Sniper on the Eastern Front
The Memoirs of Sepp Allerberger, Knights Cross
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Josef “Sepp” Allerberger was the second most successful sniper of the German Wehrmacht and one of the few private soldiers to be honored with the award of the Knights Cross.
An Austrian conscript, after qualifying as a machine gunner he was drafted to the southern sector of the Russian Front in July 1942. Wounded at Voroshilovsk, he experimented with a Russian sniper-rifle while convalescing and so impressed his superiors with his proficiency that he was returned to the front on his regiments only sniper specialist.
In this sometimes harrowing memoir, Allerberger provides an excellent introduction to the commitment in field craft, discipline and routine required of the sniper, a man apart. There was no place for chivalry on the Russian Front. Away from the film cameras, no prisoner survived long after surrendering. Russian snipers had used the illegal explosive bullet since 1941, and Hitler eventually authorized its issue in 1944. The result was a battlefield of horror.
Allerberger was a cold-blooded killer, but few will find a place in their hearts for the soldiers of the Red Army against whom he fought.
- Pen and Sword, June 2012
Pen and Sword
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