1942 in February, we establish our command post in Luga, 40 km behind

the front, at minus 25 degree Celsius. The. It took several days until the barracks for the Division were clean and warm. The day before had been down to -51 0 C, there were lots of frostbite. With leather boots, steel helmets and thin uniforms we were inadequately equipped.

A brigade of the "Organisation Todt" (Army Corp of Engineers), carpenters arrived, they crafted luxury quarters for the officer's. Each officer was given a room; kitchenette, reading room, "Kasino" (Officer's Club), a tiled stove was installed, the walls with covered with fur plywood, wardrobes, smoking room, dining room, a generator for electric light, washrooms. Also an ice-house for the summer, for which we had to get ice from afar, and use up valuable Gasoline in the process. The following year German girls arrived for the Officers, they were officially called secretaries, we referred to them as "Officer Mattresses" and we were not allowed to talk to them.

We shared a small room with 6 men, and had to set it up and maintain it ourselves. Our provisions were spares, because the officers had first pick of the allocations as well as canteen goods. 6 men had to man each watch in 2 hour shifts, two would have sufficed. Often, the officers were drunk and harassed us.

As a radio operator there was little to do, initially I was “Fourier” (Quartermaster) for the “Marketänderware” (army stores), then I was assigned as a Fellow to an officer. Usually he slept till 10 clock, at which time his breakfast table had to be set and the room had to be warm. During breakfast I was not allowed to be disturb him, even with important military messages. Then we started: give me the book, sharpen the pencils, have you cleaned my shoes already, show me, get me something to drink, do this or that, so it was the whole day. If he wanted to go for a stroll in the summer time, one of us with a watering jug had to go beforehand and moisten the soil so that dust did not sir up.

Many times I had to go to Riga and 5 times to Berlin, shopping for the officers, luxury items, which they partly by special courier brought into Germany.

In the little free time I tinkered figures formed from wire and drew. For a Judge Advocate I made for his 4 year old son 20cm large carved Wooden Figures and painted animals. Before Christmas I along with a carpenter in our limited free time made a wood model of our barracks, which we gave to the General at our team feast. Both of us in return, got a book with a dedication from the General and 3 weeks off duty, and 1 bottle of vermouth.

The men were on duty from 7 until 18 clock. Standing watch, even at the

Potato field, lettuce patch, vehicle scales. In the summer, 4 clock was time to get up and fetch wood for: firewood, corduroy roads, and wooden pathways.

During this quiet time, the Russians regrouped and re-provisioned with help and support of the Americans Forces.

I didn't liked this life serving the Officers. I had volunteered to a fighting force, which came to be in the following year.

Additional history :
Some Myths Dispelled

Additional history :
Maps and Statistics