Blood Red Snow

The Memoirs of a German Soldier on the Eastern Front
Narrated by: Nigel Patterson
Length: 9 hrs and 41 mins
Categories: History, Military
4.5 out of 5 stars (775 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Gunter Koschorrek wrote his illicit diary on any scraps of paper he could lay his hands on. As keeping a diary was strictly forbidden, he sewed the pages into the lining of his thick winter coat and deposited them with his mother on infrequent trips home on leave. The diary went missing, and it was when he was reunited with his daughter in America some 40 years later that it came to light and became Blood Red Snow.

The author was a keen recruit at initial training, and his excitement at the first encounter with the enemy in the Russian Steppe is obvious. The horror and confusion of fighting in the streets of Stalingrad are brought to life by his descriptions of the others in his unit; their differing manners and techniques for dealing with the squalor and death. He is also posted to Romania and Italy, assignments he remembers fondly compared to his time on the Eastern Front.

This book stands as a memorial to the huge numbers on both sides who did not survive and is, over five decades later, the fulfillment of a responsibility he feels to honor the memory of those who perished. Gunter K. Koschorrek was a machine-gunner on the Russian front in WWII. He lives in Germany, having retired from his job as managing director of a sales company.

©2002 Greenhill Books (P)2018 Tantor

What listeners say about Blood Red Snow

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Simply one of the best.

Whether you are looking for a German WW2 story. WW2 in general, or just a first hand accounting of war in general, Blood Red Snow is a vivid real telling of some of the ugliest most brutal combat in modern history. Splendid telling of a terrible experience. 5 stars.

4 people found this helpful

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War is hell!!

A well written, riveting account of the horrors of ground combat and the understandably dehumanizing emotions it engenders in those misfortuned to experience it. Fascinating to experience it vicariously and from a German soldier’s experience, giving me all the more gratitude that I personally was spared the misfortune. Also, it made all the more understandable how the Nazi regime manipulated so many young men and women, thrusting them into the caldron of the total terror of “kill or be killed, brutally.”

3 people found this helpful

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Great Book

Liked the story from a grunts point of view on the Eastern Front. Narrator was good except the English accent. Thought a German accent would have been more realistic but maybe too hard to understand?

6 people found this helpful

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One of the best personal accounts coming out of WW2

I’ve read many many wartime biographies and autobiographies including such classics as the thin red line, helmet for my pillow, with the old breed, samurai, forgotten soldier and this beauty holds its own. The author did a fantastic job balancing foxhole detail with thoughtful and intelligent reflections which show he never really lost perspective on what he was going through. What a masterpiece.

2 people found this helpful

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Humanizing the average German soldier

In today's interpretation of history Germany is a nation that must bare the guilt of some murderous mad man who assumed power through means of sedition and went on to try and take over the world. We're sort of encouraged to look at the German citizenry of the time to be in favor of genocide, and imperialism, This book puts a plethora of human faces on the people we've been told were "the bad guys". It shows they were normal people who were turned into the cudgel of the actual bad guys. The author does describe meeting people who bore our archetypal image of a German soldier who is barbarous, but he describes meeting a lot of people who were just normal people dragged into a terrible war. He wasn't in the SS so maybe that's why he wasn't engaging in barbarous acts, but I did feel compassion for the author and his comrades on the front lines.

4 people found this helpful

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Awesome story

This is a great memoir of a german soldier and his comrades. The narrator does a great job . It has intense moments yet I found myself laughing at some events he describes. would recommend.

1 person found this helpful

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Excellent book!

This book is great! The author goes into so much detail you almost get absorbed into it as if you're right there with them! Very well detailed and be really breaks everything down, I also enjoyed the fact that he wrote this book as he wrote it in his diary with the dates and everything. The author does say he's fairly young when he enters the war, and you get that vibe. Unlike some of the other memoir/ firsthand experience books, you know right of the bar the author is either an adult or a better older. This author was fairly young and you can tell from his writing the way he complains about certain things at the beginning and shows he really has no battle experience. Then as the book progresses you can see that author is maturing and his confidence really boosts up as the war goes on, it's almost as if that author grows up right in front of us!

I see a lot of people disliking the British accent from the narrator, and I get it british terms are used here and there and kind of throws you off a bit. But i also feel like he did an excellent job portraying the author in his thoughts, tiredness, being hurt, and modifying his voice when he read something a different soldier stated, i feel he did a great job!

Overall this book was great, I just wish that author would've elaborated a bit more on his life before the war and after the war/ captivity. He basically picks up after when he's in the middle of his training and ends the book when he leaves captivity. I wish he would've let us know what he did after that, what career did he end up going into etc.

1 person found this helpful

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Russian Front

Its good to hear the other side of the story. Good narration, (few mispronounced words), but overall great story, interesting

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first hand account of a German soldier in WWII

Informative a good companion piece to the standard accounts of World War Two,well written for the most part.

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clinical German tale

Germans have a reputation of being cold, unemotional, clinical. this is how the story reads. i found it quite interesting how organized the Germans were, even in the horrific eastern front. and what happened to Katia?

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  • Jayceon1888
  • 08-29-18

If you like the Eastern front then you’ll like this book

This book is the story of a teenage recruit on the eastern front in ww2. Its not the best memoir I have read or listened to the story is told in diary form, one thing I did find different in this book is the soilder telling the story is in constant retreat, the story starts from the Don steppe during the assault on Stalingrad and its basically the soilders diary entry’s of the reteat back to German. The story is told well but is quite dry and boring at times for a book about the eastern front. I suppose the truth is sometimes boring compared to other books I have read that I seriously doubt there authenticity. All in all a part of history not wrote about enough

5 people found this helpful

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  • paul hadfeild
  • 09-23-18

very good book

i liked this book it's a good story ,glosses over atrocities and keeps talking about kalashnikov's which didn't exsist until after ww2 but other than that you get the idea it's mainly true .

6 people found this helpful

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  • Matthew n.
  • 08-05-18

Honest view of the brutality of the Eastern front

Have to say this is very engagjng memoir both through the context of the narrative and the performancs of the narrator a must listen for anyone interested in ww2 eastern front from german perspective or ww2 memoirs in general

2 people found this helpful

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  • P-J
  • 05-06-19

Excellent

For anyone with an interest in WWII and the soldier’s experiences of fighting on the Eastern Front, this is an absolute must. It ranks as highly as that of Guy Sajer’s personal account. Utterly compelling, I listened to it over 2 days. The narrator is excellent, and avoids the common error in many audio books of trying, and failing miserably, to give each character an individual and inappropriate voice which spoils so many other otherwise excellent listens. Superb.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 06-10-20

believable account of eastern front and aftermath

the winners write the history but media dont like talking truth about losers side. itspretty chosenite free account of what happened

Should have been narrated in german english but narrator was good. Told Gunthers story well

This is an edited version of a diary kept by a Wehrmacht enlisted man during the various stages and theaters of his service from mid-1942 until the end of the war, with brief interruptions when he gets wounded or doesn't have time to write. As he explains, keeping a diary was forbidden, and though a lot of the situations he gets into seem too insane to be real, given the conditions of the war I can give him a pass on authenticity questions.

The Eastern Front was by far the most vicious and awful front of the war, and so his descriptions of Stalingrad and Bagration are amazing in how unlikely his survival seems to be. I'm not sure of the survival rates for machine gunners, which was Koschorrek's specialty, so when I was reading I just sat back and marveled as he dodged endless waves of T-34s and mortars, or in the most ridiculous scene, manages to keep one step ahead of the Russians by stealing a pony.

He didn't seem to be stuck in Stalingrad for too long, fortunately for him, but the retreats he chronicles are still epics of chaos and death. Having never served in the military, I read war memoirs for the action and the sense of "what war is like", which he does pretty well.

A lot of the book is about small things: food, new shoes, cigarettes, letters to home, and complaining about officers. It's interesting to see this kind of different take on the war, and I enjoyed Koschorrek's stories

Starts off shortly before Operation Uranus encircles Stalingrad and the Sixth Army. Koschorrek is a new recruit, anxious to get into battle and prove himself. He is quickly disabused of the glory of battle as we get a long exposure to the retreat back to Germany over the next two years.

His incredible survival against the odds brings the fate of the common German soldier into focus. Brutal. He becomes an experienced and lethal Heavy Machine Gun (HMG) gunner. His HMG saves the day many times but the MGs are always a target. His crew pays a heavy price.

We are with him as he loses two assistant gunners in rapid succession to headshots by a Soviet sniper with explosive bullets The unrelenting cold and the mud come to life in his account. Short detours to France, Italy and Denmark break up the story. Wounded 7 times, you get to follow a plain, unassuming mudslogger into the deepest penetration of the USSR and back out

Definitely on par with Forgotten soldier by guy sajer allways really interesting to read of the exploits of the German soldier on the eastern front how some ever got through it god knows nobody can understand what it was like unless they was there and this book takes us as near as possible recommended

no more brother wars and fighting for the so few

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 06-02-20

excellent audio book

narrator was very. very interesting view of the war. enjoyed it a lot flowed very well

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-28-20

A must for anyone with an interest in ww2

On pair with "Stalingrad" and such. Gunters personality and personal struggles are really interesting to get to feel

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  • Weary Gardener
  • 04-20-20

Excellent

Entertaining and very easy to listen. Highly recommended. Very detailed description of ww2 battlesband hardship.

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  • ed
  • 02-23-20

Excellent

A great first hand account to the grim realities of war on the Eastern front.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 01-31-20

superb

Great book, vividly explains on the horror of war, had me hooked.
Sad ,occasionally light hearted ,well written ,almost felt I was there with him.

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  • Mark
  • 09-17-18

Realistic day by day week by week account of life in the Eastern Front

This book is suited to the WW2 buff wanting a realistic account of trying to survive the Eastern Front. It makes it clear wits and courage are very important however the randomness of surviving is what is so apparent. The book would suite those with more than a passing interest in the conflict. What I find distracting is not using a German narrator speaking English. The talented narrator of this book I would suggest is upper middle class English, so narrating a book about the British in WW2 or the Zulu wars would to me be a better match. Please Audible take this into consideration to make it more authentic. Like Tiger Tracks and The Last Panther. I would have rated it higher if not for this.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-30-19

Surprised

After many years of reading biographies of WW2 from British & American soldiers it was very enlightening to hear from the perspective of a German soldier. Well written with a lot of personality apparent throughout. Narration was excellent.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-16-20

👍👍

read this book as a young 15 year old and wanted to read it again. the audio book suited me more now and it was just as brilliant as I remembered

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  • Andrew
  • 06-11-20

great book bad narrator

i already own a hard copy of this book its a fantastic read , unfortunately the narrator in this idk Tony Robinson maybe? sure sounded like an episode of fat tulips garden. the guy doing the voices of individuals, i think he thight he was reading an old script for the goon show. great book though try read yourself but or find a better version of this. A

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-08-20

excellent read

An excellent book puts you right in the fron lines on the Eastern Front. Very well read.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-27-20

ineresting story. struggle to finish.

An interesting story about a terrible time in human hisory. Lest we forget. narration is monotone.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Christopher Biddle
  • 04-13-20

Brilliant!

Absolutely brilliant listen. Gives a very lost and forgotten perspective on a very dark period of history.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-07-20

A sad story of war

Narrated from a diary, therefore sometimes lacks deeper emotion. Historically interesting portrayal of German combat deployment and battle tactics. Overall a confronting account of the Russian front.

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  • Andrew Fox
  • 11-28-19

Fascinating

A great read, I would have liked the author to give some greater insight into his post-war life but his reflections on the Easter front are vivid. It's a statistical anomaly that he managed to survive.

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  • Pat Feige
  • 03-14-19

excellent 1st hand experience

excellent 1st hand experience of the German soldier. told in a very easy to read style.