By Vasily Grossman
Paperback booklet. historical past. crimson military
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Additional info for A Writer at War: Vasily Grossman with the Red Army 1941-1945
We hid beneath a tree. A truck was standing there, and in it was a dead rifleman-signaller, covered with a tarpaulin. Red Army soldiers were digging a grave for him nearby. When there’s a raid of Messers, the soldiers try to hide in ditches. ’ Korol hides in the new grave, while everyone runs in different directions. Only the dead signaller is lying full length, and machine guns are chattering above him. Grossman and Knorring visited the 103rd Red Army Aviation Fighter Regiment stationed near Gomel.
Sometimes they shine and sometimes are slate grey. The air is filled with hot, stifling moisture. A beautiful girl, Marusya, has come to see Troyanovsky off. She works at the editorial offices [of Krasnaya Zvezda], but apparently she is seeing him off on her own initiative, not at the editor’s request. Knorring and I are tactful. We avoid looking in their direction. Then the three of us [go to the platform]. I have so many memories of the Bryansky railway station. It’s the station I arrived at when I first came to Moscow.
Gastello was made a Hero of the Soviet Union, posthumously. I. Yeremenko (1892–1970) took part in the partition of Poland in 1939. After the fighting round Gomel in August 1941, he took command of the Bryansk Front, and that autumn he was badly wounded in the leg and nearly captured when Guderian’s panzers outflanked his forces. He was later the commander-in-chief of the Stalingrad Front, where Grossman interviewed him. 4 Roslavl was some two hundred kilometres to their north-west, so the area around Gomel was left dangerously exposed.