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From Sepp Allerbergers autobiography:

A soldier's chances for survival depend in no small degree on his feeling for what is possible. Here we were being asked to seek out and engage an infantry company that outnumbered us four-to-one and was occupying previously prepared positions, the locations of which we were not sure. I considered this to be a suicide mission and felt very bad about it. I went to the Waffen und Geraet Offizier or WuG (weapons and equipment officer) to exchange my Mauser carbine for a semi-automatic with optic and took another four magazines of explosive rounds with which I filled my tunic and trouser pockets. I then joined the others. That night an Opel Blitz lorry conveyed us to the endangered sector. We sat in the interior of the truck in silence, each man sunk in thought. We knew the dangers of what we faced. When the lorry stopped and the rear flap droppe d down to signal the beginning of the mission, we leapt down, got our bearing, the platoon sergeant issued a few brief instructions and then led us off into the darkness. I took up my position on the flank of the platoon to the rear, weapon at the ready. After an hour dawn began to show through the overcast sky to the each and we found ourselves ascending the gentle slope of a hillside. Suddenly a white star-shell hissed into the night sky and lit the area bright as day. At the same time our ranks received the continuous rattle of murderous MG-fire. The platoon sergeant and six Jager were hit, and fell to the ground groaning and writhing. Some eleven platoon survivors returned fire while five of the seven wounded were dragged out of sight into a shallow depression. The Russians now sprang up from their positions and attacked.

Apparently unnoticed I had thrown myself down some distance from the two wounded Germans remaining in the open, playing dead and hoping to gain for myself the element of surprise. I watched the first two waves of Soviets leave their dugouts, then arose zombie-like from the dead and began firing round after round of accurate fire over open sights at a range of about 80 meters. To be sure of the hit, and for the explosive round to do its work, I aimed for the area just above the hip. With devastating effect each bullet found its mark inside a Russian stomach, destroying a range of inner organs and intestines. The Soviets appeared stunned by having an unexpected apparition firing at them from an oblique angle on the flank, and then became visibly annoyed. Things were not going to plan for them. In the meantime my ten comrades had gathered their wits and were pouring towards the Russians a blistering fire. The magazine of my semi-automatic held ten rounds. Once the first clip was empty, every shot a hit, I swiftly fitted the second and continued firing. I could see the ground strewn with twenty or more Russian dead or writhing in terrible agony. After reloading with the third clip I became the target of a few desultory replies, but the awful screams of their wounded comrades had unsettled them so much that they aborted the attack and, apart from some withering fire in my direction, retired to their trench. I leapt up again and ran in wild zigzags to the two wounded Jager, throwing myself down beside them in an unevenness in the ground which offered very little cover. So far I had come through the action without a scratch, but the dangerous sprint through the hail of bullets to render first aid to my wounded colleagues was of no avail. One was already dead and the platoon sergeant, whose torso had been raked by a machine gun burst, died a few minutes later.

From their positions the Soviets were sweeping the foreground with small arms and light machine gun fire, pinning me down with no hope of escape. The corpses of my two former colleagues were now useful as a bullet trap. while the sergeant's thigh made an excellent rest for my rifle barrel. While the remainder of the platoon gave me supporting fire from the background, my hour had now come. The Soviet positions consisted of two light MG nests at either end of a long trench. I had the inestimable advantage of facing an enemy who seemed to have no idea how dangerous a sniper could be even the distance of a football field away. Through the rifle scope I concentrated on the nearer nest, which was about 100 meters off. They knew where I was, of course, and while MG-fire spattered into the two cadavers, with my first two carefully aimed rounds I exploded the heads of the MG-gunner and his belt-feeder. There seems to be no activity in the other nest, leaving the field clear for me to finish the rest of them at leisure.

During a table talk at his headquarters on 25 September 1941, Hitler said that whereas he had nothing but admiration for the fighting spirit of the Russians, it was characterized by stupidity. How true that statement was, we were now about to discover. There were eighteen Russians in a long trench, and I could only see individuals within it if they stood up or moved incautiously at the parapet. Every so often a Russian would show his head and I would shoot his brains out. It was just like a shooting gallery at the local amusement park.

.........After a few minutes the German infantry rose from their concealment and advanced with caution towards the enemy positions. Nothing stirred. Before us was a charnel ground upon which an entire Russian company had been wiped out to the last man. Over fifty dead littered the field, plus eighteen in the long trench and three machine gunners. It was a scene reminiscent of medieval impressionistic art depicting hell.

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The Hague Convention only covers warfighting, not actions against individuals. Bank robbers rarely bother to get through the red tape, so police forces are free to use frangible or expanding ammunition against them for good and pragmatic reasons of incapacitation and prevention of overpenetration. The same applies to the COIN operations in Afghanistan and Iraq and any other operations against stateless terrorists.

Did you mean indigenous freedom fighters in Iraq and Afghanistan? The concept of being able to identify stateless terrorists from the natives I think beyond reasonable possibilities.

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Excellent find! Don't know the author you quote, though.


A very brief account of Japanese wooden bullets and the purported reason for employing them.

http://history.amedd.army.mil/booksdocs/wwii/actvssurgconvol2/chapter13.2.htm (p. 835)

"Thursday, 6 April

The cards have been made for all those killed in action and wounded in action on Bougainville since February 15, and some 200 are completed. We found some wooden bullets yesterday. They are said to be used by the Japanese for close-range fighting in order to avoid injuring their own men."


John Kettler

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