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Liveblogging World War II: August 17, 1942

Memoirs of Seigfried Paul Bette;

Robert Haas… ordered to report back to his unit in Russia. So off he went with all his military gear going back through the huge countryside of Russia searching for his unit…. Rob was on the front again… advanc[ing] toward the city of Stalingrad.

Rob recalls that on August 17, 1942 when he was in the combat zone he suddenly was shot at from the rear area. He was standing up to give a report or something but did not see only Russians. "They were only 30-40 meters away from me firing a machine gun", he said. "I received a terrible heaviness in my hip and leg. It was a very hot day, temperature must have been 40 degrees centigrade… then they put me on a tent and dragged me out of the battle area."

Rob estimated that he was about 50 to 60 kilometers away from the city of Stalingrad when he was wounded. Soon he was taken with a Russian-made Panje wagon, a small horse-drawn cart, to a field hospital where he was operated on his shattered hip and put in a heavy plaster cast from the neck down with big handles attached so he could be carried. There was no blood transfusion and only vodka was used to kill the pain… flown… to Krakow… to a military hospital. There bed bugs would climb up the legs of the hospital's beds… the legs of the bed were put into containers of water to stop the bugs. But Rob noticed that they now climbed the walls onto the ceiling and then dropped off into the beds again…. "We had Russian nurses, very nice, and the one who took care of me, Sister Olympia, would drink three glasses of vodka straight down"…