Hi everyone! Given that the German decision not to send cold-weather equipment left their armies unprepared for the winter, how did the German soldiers survive while stationed on the front lines in Russia?
Several German Units did have winter clothing but many more did not and You did what was needed to survive if you were lucky enough to have heat and shelter from the cold and snow you were lucky. Others took winter clothing from Russian soldiers and others took clothing from dead comrades. It wasn’t uncommon for non functioning vehicles to be burned for heat and anything burnable was found to make fires with. There are many accounts of German soldiers being found frozen to death where they sat or stood.
First of all, many didn’t survive the cold. Those who survived would resort to many different measures. Richard Freiherr, in his memoir, “Panzer Ace”, says that he “took some straw from the barn and slept behind my panzer, nicely warm near the engine.”(pg. 80) Soldiers on all sides definitely slept inside the entrails of livestock at times, which is a common cold-weather survival technique, and seen in movies such as Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back and The Revenant.
There’s another account I remember reading of Nazis gutting civilians simply to use their body heat, but I cannot remember the specific source right now.