by Horst Slesina. Translated from the original Third Reich book about the first months of Operation Barbarossa. Captures the crusader spirit of the German soldiers. Lots of combat action.
With Carbines against Tanks
“A wedge of German infantry and artillery has been driven deep into the enemy. The situation changes every moment. Suddenly situations emerge where even the hardest man must summon up his last ounce of strength in order to overcome them.
An artillery detachment has been set ahead, directly behind the infantry. A few hundreds ahead the rifle lines have just crossed a hill and now decline into valley, hard on the heels, chasing the Soviets from one position to another. The detachment commander, his battery commander and lieutenant W. have driven up to this hill from the firing position in order to look for a favorable observation position – a position from which they can clearly follow the infantry’s further attack and direct their artillery fire. They drive in a truck on a path along the top of this hill. Suddenly, machine-gun fire comes from a high grain field, followed by the high, whipping fire of a tank gun. The truck’s side is ripped open. The officers and the driver leap out. “Where does that come from?” There are more machine-gun bursts and more whipping fore from a tank gun!
They hear motor noise and the gnashing of tracks. Suddenly the turret of a Soviet tank emerges from the grain field. The steel colossus slowly approaches the few men who lie helpless on the street watching the monster coming at them. There is no help with a few hundred meters – the artillery firing position is a few hundred meters back, but the men there do not know what is happening to their commander and officers at this moment.
The tank notices that is has easy prey and crawls toward its victims. Again and again, its machine-gun fire sprays the road and sweeps the ground in front of them with its explosive shells.
It is a damned situation to see such a colossus coming at one and knowing one cannot harm it. What do they have with them? Machine-pistols, carbines and pistols – that is everything. But one cannot fight a tank with that! Lieutenant W. is furious when the tank sprays another round of machine-gun fire in front of his face, casting up pillars of dust. Jumping to the side and retreating, they try to get away, but it does not work. The tank has noticed that it can get the men. It maneuvers to the left and right until it has a clear line of fire and then stubbornly drives toward the men in order to run over them.
Lieutenant W. raises his machine-pistol and fires one round after another at the enemy monster out of sheer rage. But what good are pistol bullets against a tank! At the last moment the lieutenant makes a decision. He jumps up, runs across the street to his truck and pulls out a carbine, constantly followed by bursts of machine-gunfire from the tank. He loads the carbine and again throws himself down at the edge of the road with the others. Now he calms his racing pulse for a second, holds his breath and mobilizes his concentration, determination and will power for one shot!
The tank is within 20 meters. The lieutenant sees the eye slot is open. He calmly raises the carbine, and puts it to his shoulder. He remains calm despite the crazy excitement and takes aim. Then he fires the carbine. Almost the next instant the lieutenant sees something flash over there. Then there is a terrible explosion. He had fired through the eye slot and had somehow hit the panzer ammunition that torn the tank appear and veiled it in a glowing cloud of massive, bark smoke. One of the crewmen jumps out, but he his hit by the second well-aimed shot. The tank has been destroyed by one shot fired by lieutenant W. with utter determination and cold-bloodedness. At the last moment the danger was overcome. The detachment commander and his officers have escaped from certain death.”