Sniper on the Eastern Front: The Memoirs of Sepp Allerberger, Knight’s Cross by Albrecht Wacker
Josef “Sepp” Allerberger was the second most successful sniper of the German Wehrmacht and one of the few private soldiers to be honored with the award of the Knight’s Cross (Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes). An Austrian conscript, after qualifying as a machine gunner he was drafted to the southern sector of the Russian Front in July 1942. Wounded at Voroshilovsk, he experimented with a Russian sniper-rifle while convalescing and so impressed his superiors with his proficiency that he was returned to the front on his regiment’s only sniper specialist.
In this sometimes harrowing memoir, Allerberger provides an excellent introduction to the commitment in fieldcraft, discipline and routine required of the sniper, a man apart.
There was no place for chivalry on the Russian Front. Away from the film cameras, no prisoner survived long after surrendering. Russian snipers had used the illegal explosive bullet since 1941, and Hitler eventually authorised its issue in 1944. The result was a battlefield of horror. Sepp Allerberger was a cold-blooded killer, but few will find a place in their hearts for the soldiers of the Red Army against whom he fought.
REVIEW: This is the non-fiction autobiography of Josef “Sepp” Allerberger, the second highest scoring German sniper of WWII and winner of the Knight’s Cross.
It is a great read and covers just about everything you would want to know about Allerberger, the weapons, techniques and employment of German snipers on the Eastern Front in WWII but does it in a manner and narrative that is never boring and is guaranteed to hold your interest. I read this book in one sitting (I confess to being a bit of a speed reader) and found it so interesting that I have re-read it twice since then as well as referring to it for a few facts now and then. You cannot go wrong in buying this book… It flows and reads like fiction but all of it is true.