Sniper on the Eastern Front: The Memoirs of Sepp Allerberger, Knights Cross
by Albrecht Wacker, Pen and Sword Books, Barnsley, South Yorkshire, England, 2006, $34.95.
The Eastern Front during World War II was a great morass into which millions of men, both Germans and Russians, disappeared. Albrecht Wacker’s book Sniper on the Eastern Front is the story of 19- year-old Josef “Sepp” Allerberger, a Wehrmacht machine-gunner turned sniper who survived the German army’s fighting retreat at the end of the war. Wacker’s narrative, based upon Allerberger’s war notebook and interviews with the man himself, is harrowing and intense.
Not for the faint of heart, Allerberger’s book is painful but irresistible in the way its author has put his impressions to paper. His vivid, disturbing descriptions of the misery and horror of the Eastern Front leave a lasting impression.
Throughout the book, Wacker’s writing style, combined with Allerberger’s experiences, keep the reader in suspense. Although many of his experiences and emotions can be attributed to countless soldiers in countless wars, Allerberger fought under the added stigma of the lone sniper, hunted more so than others, condemned to a horrific death if he were to be taken alive and his specialty discovered. For any student of military history, Sniper on the Eastern Front is a powerful book, and quite simply a “must read.”
Originally published in the September 2006 issue of Military History. To subscribe, click here.