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WPT021 Warpaint Books - Armstrong Whitworth Whitley

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More often, Red Army soldiers struck a spark with flint and steel or made their own lighters. On the knee of the soldier on the left, you can see a box with tobacco. The owner of the matches has a compass on his hand. On the helmet of the reading soldier, you can see a Red Star, although this was relatively rare in the fighting zone. Another front-line cigarette break. A soldier lights a roll-up known as a ‘goat's leg’, due to its shape. A typical scene during the final days of the war in Germany.

We didn't wear bras or underwear – we had none. We had no time to think about ourselves! Sure, by the end of a raid, any bear would run a mile from our stink [. ] Every forty minutes we had a rest. We longed for a stopover like manna from heaven. A stopover lasted ten minutes. You'd lift the backpack with strain, inwardly cursing the war – and sometimes aloud! Servicemen from mechanized brigades were better off. A sapper, Michael Tsourkan, remembers: We rarely went by foot during marches. ] I sat on the left side, and when the vehicle began to skid, I would have to jump off and put a special chock under the wheels.

An infantryman, Boris Ovetsky, remembers: Despite some opportunities to have a snooze during the day, the desire to sleep at night was unbearable, and we learned to sleep on the move. The most important thing was to have something to hold on to – a cart, a cannon – this way you could stay asleep for a while. If men had to rest at night they tried to stay in villages, where locals would billet the combatants. Even then, as most veterans remember, they wouldn't remove their clothes if near the front line.

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