BATTLE OF RUSSIA: Before the Shock

The long winter leave was done. Now, as the mobilization trains crawled toward Orel, Kursk, Kharkov and Dniepropetrovsk, leave was becoming just a memory, the sharper because of what lay ahead.

The skiing at Garmisch, in the crisp air on the crisp snow, was done. The hard studies at the Kriegsakademie in Berlin and the Panzerschule outside Berlin were over.

Now there would be no more beer in the warm, smoke-blue Bierhauser; no more long walks from the military hotels in the mountains of the Austrian Semmering; no more regular hours at the interim job, sitting at a neat desk reading clean...

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