Mansur Abdulin fought in the front ranks of the Soviet infantry against the German invaders at Stalingrad, Kursk and on the banks of the Dnieper. This is his extraordinary story.
His vivid inside view of a ruthless war on the Eastern Front gives a rare insight into the reality of the fighting and into the tactics and mentality of the Red Army's soldiers. In his own words, and with a remarkable clarity of recall, he describes what combat was like on the ground, face to face with a skilled, deadly and increasingly desperate enemy. The terrifying moments of action, the discomfort of existence at the front, the humorous moments, the absurdities and cruelties of army organization, and the sheer physical and psychological harshness of the campaign - all these aspects of a Soviet soldier's experience during the Great Patriotic War are brought dramatically to life in Mansur Abdulin's memoirs.
Of special interest is the insight he offers into ordinary operations and daily life in the lower ranks of the Soviet army. As he tells his story he reveals much about the thinking of the men, their attitude to the war and their loyalties. He also sheds light on the tense relationships between the disparate national groups that were thrown together to create a huge fighting force. But most memorable are his honest, horrifying descriptions of combat, of being bombed and shelled, of trench warfare, of enduring tank attacks and friendly fire, and of coping with the wounded and the dead.
The Author Mansur Gizzatulovich Abdulin was born a Tatar in Anzhero-Sudzhensk, near Tomsk in central Siberia, in 1923. He worked as a miner before volunteering to fight for the Red Army in June 1942. After completing his course at the Tashkent infantry school, he fought on the Stalingrad front, during the encirclement of the German 6th Army, participated in the bitter, decisive battle at Kursk and harried the Germans as they retreated across the Steppes to the banks of the Dnieper river where he was seriously wounded. After the war he returned to his work as a miner and he now lives in retirement at Novotroitsk near Orenburg in the Urals.