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IDNNG Chapter 4

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【 Chapter 4 – Spanish Civil War – Battle of Guadalajara (1) 】


March 8, 1937
Guadalajara, Northeast of Madrid, Central Spain

The Nationalist leadership seemed quite encouraged by the enormous support from Italy.

This time, they were poised to take back Madrid, the capital of Spain, and break the Republicans’ fighting spirit…

However, I was seriously, seriously anxious as I was in a position to participate in the operation, thinking of the high-ranking people, even those who changed the soldiers at Jarama.

The operation is fine. The size of the troops is also good.

Among the Nationalists’ troops, 15,000 is the best, and 35,000 is the Italian army, which is a whopping 50,000.

It is said that not only 50,000 infantrymen but also Mussolini sent in a large amount of his country’s armored forces, field artillery, and fighters.

The Republican army that participated in the Battle of Jarama, which was the last great battle, was about 30,000 at most.

Given how disastrous the sacrifices were in Jarama, it is inevitable that the Republicans’ available strength would have been significantly reduced.

In addition, it was also known that the best Republican power corresponding to our Condor Legion, and even the international brigade, made enormous sacrifices in the last battle.

So this is, in short, a battle that can’t be lost. That’s probably why Mussolini put his heart out.

But the problem is- as far as I know, Madrid didn’t fall to the end of the Spanish Civil War and the civil war continued until 1939.

A city Southeast of Madrid, Rivas-Vaciamadrid, has already fallen.

The supply line beyond the Jarama River, Rivas-Vaciamadrid road was protected, however, if it fell to Guadalajara in the Northeast, the protected road was meaningless, so Madrid should have given up no matter how much the Republicans tried.

So, this battle that can’t be lost is a battle that we can lose. The Italians are famous for their poor records, but still…

What could be bleaker than a soldier who goes into battle knowing he was going to lose?

God, I know you don’t have a conscience just by dropping me here, but if you still have a small conscience at the bottom, please save me….


The operation did not show good signs from the beginning, overshadowing the prayer. No, ‘He’ wouldn’t have dropped me here if ‘He’ was going to listen to my prayer in the first place.

When the Condor Legion and the Italian Air Force flew like bees and bombed the defenseless Republican army, the enemy seemed to have never predicted our offensive, and there were no fortified positions at all.

The unexpected advance was made in no time. Although it was nothing more than a tank, the offensive with Italy’s CV-33 and our Panzer I tank quickly crushed an army of defenseless enemies, and victory seemed imminent.

The problem was poor weather. During the Battle of Jarama, it rained at an important moment to help the Republicans, and this time, the winter had passed, but fog and sleet bothered our troops.

Still, the Italian army was quite unprepared, and in order to occupy the area where all kinds of towns and cities were mixed, some of the tanks were remodeled and equipped with flamethrowers.

These were very effective at clearing the building of hidden Republicans. It would have been more effective if it hadn’t been for this fog and sleet.

Now, I got goosebumps seeing Republican soldiers falling off the building lit by flamethrowers and thought they were “cleaned up,” but I couldn’t deny that I became insensitive as becoming a German soldier in just a few months.

In any case, Italy’s ambitious air strikes and offensives have also slowed down thanks to the bloody weather. At best, he succeeded in occupying several small towns, and the fog grew worse and worse, forcing them to halt near their main objective, Brihuega.

While we wander like this, the effects of the surprise attack will wear off, and Republican reinforcements will be on their way.

I think I saw this situation just a month ago, but I have a bad feeling about it.

General Lotta, the Commander of the Italian army, may be nervous because he received enormous support from Mussolini, but he could not attack in the fog where we could not see an inch ahead.

“Who was the guy who talked during the briefing that the central highlands of Spain were warm and dry?”

Would the Captain, whose face not even remain in Dietrich’s memory, be living comfortably in Berlin by now?

Since we were in the middle of an operation, instead of leisurely walking around with umbrellas on the front line, we were waiting while being hit by a beggar-like sleet mixed with rain and snow.

If it were me, I would have been warm at home in Seoul after being discharged.

Oh, I feel like crying. I want to eat the pizza that my mom bought for me.

Korean military jjamppong in the 21st century is like a beggar, so what do you think of the jjamppong 80 years ago? It’s fortunate that I’m a human who could live well even if I didn’t eat kimchi, given the subject of Koreans.

“Ugh, I don’t know. Shit. It’s cold. Like a dog…”

Seeing Clement, who is colder than me, shivering with his arms around him, made me laugh because I felt a little pleasant.

Dude, the officers got no guts. The Korean Army and the German Defense Forces were all the same after all.

“Lieutenant, Platoon Commander. The Company Commander is looking for you.”

“Ah, thank you, Sergeant Koher.”

Sergeant Koher, an adjutant of the 1st Platoon led by Clement, smiled slightly with a bandit-like face. Contrary to my image, the German Defence Force was not such a tight, angular organization.

Rather, it was a flexible organization with quite a guarantee of autonomy, and the relationship between executives, non-commissioned officers, and soldiers was quite observed.

Even after washing my eyes, I couldn’t find anything like beatings to maintain discipline. The shell shock during the operation, and the soldiers who are out of their minds, are slapped to keep themselves together.

If you look at it like this, the Korean Army is a really useless piece of shit…

“Ugh, it’s fucking cold. Dietrich! Let’s go.”

“Hey, you’re good?”

Clement excitedly headed with me to the tent where the Company Commander, Captain Kaufmann, would be.

Either the soldiers or the young ones, we couldn’t let the old Captain get wet in the sleet, so we had even set up a simple tent, and now the warmest place in our company is here.

“Heil-”

“Ah, it’s done, it’s done. Come and have some coffee.”

“Thank you!”

Captain Kaufmann, the waiting Company Commander, waved his hand and poured coffee, and we received it thankfully and drank hot coffee.

“The hardships are severe. I think I want to help the soldiers, but I can’t….”

“Well, for now, I think I have no choice but to wait for the weather to get better.”

While talking to Captain Kaufman, my thoughts went to poisonous warfare. How many Germans froze to death in Russia’s East General, where this cold weather took as a joke for children?

While quenching my thirst with warm coffee, I feel somehow cool.

Captain Kaufmann smiled at us, drinking coffee continuously, and began to write what he had used.

“Are you writing a letter, Captain?”

“Yes, it’s been almost a month since I got a reply from my wife, but now I’m writing one. When I go back, I’m going to get ripped off.”

“Hahaha…”

Both of us burst into laughter at the boss’s joke. I remember making a phone call at Nonsan Training Center for the first time and getting nervous.

Captain Kaufman was a really good superior. He has the strength to command a company on the front line, and at the same time, he guarantees a lot of autonomy rather than pushing his men hard like an FM-like leader.

If you work with these guys and you get promoted together, and luckily you’re deployed together on the Western or African front, you can convince them to surrender to the Allies together….

Clement, who is drinking coffee while smiling and laughing, seems to be so good next to him.

Sergeant Koher, if possible. Lieutenant Hydemann, who is silent but carries his duty without reserve, and Lieutenant Havenstein, who is still depressed after losing his adjutant…

I was only with them for a month, and maybe because of Dietrich’s original memory, I was surprisingly attached to them.

Well, of course, I knew very well that that couldn’t be the case. When the German War was in full swing, most of the German Wehrmacht was deployed on the hellish Eastern Front. No more dead than that.

The myth of the strongest German army, which shook the whole world in shock and fear in the early days of the war, will be repeatedly misjudged by the defense forces and shoveled by Hitler, and will collapse in the huge and cold Russian frozen soil.

Like us, the excellent soldiers who have gained experience in Spain, Poland, and France will die and scrape off the boys and old men who should be studying in schools.

When I was learning history, I used to curse at stupid Hitler, but now I began to feel that my comrades, who endured the cold together with me, would die like that, not the Germans in the history book.

If this is the case, it would have been better if you came in with a body that could do anything. Hitler, Göring, Himmler, Goebbels, or at least Heydrich would have prevented World War II, or if that was impossible, the Nazis would have been overthrown, or whatever, they would have changed into a more normal organization.

I’m only a Lieutenant, and even in Spain, not in Germany.

Nothing has happened yet, but from next year, Nazi madness will quickly drive Europe to war.

Anschluss, not knowing that it was the beginning of ruin, there was only one year left until the annexation of Austria, when all of Germany would praise Hitler.


As soon as the fog cleared, we crushed the few resistance and immediately captured Brihuega, but the whole war situation was completely unknown.

The Italian tanks that were brought in a rush of armor were, at best, cars or even smaller than those seen in Korea! Panzer I tank looks like crap too, but to bring something like that as armor!

Again, Enrique Líster and the 11th Division, led by Soviet-made tanks T-26 and BT-5, smashed the Italian Armored Division, which was only patterned, and blocked progress on the road.

He and the 11th Division gradually began to be feared by all Nationalists. Imagine how it would feel to see a war hero born on the enemy side of the battlefield where you’re not good at.

But the real problem is that I have yet to be able to grasp the situation at all since then. There is no such thing as a portable walkie-talkie, which is immediately reminiscent of the military. It’s still an era when the messenger rides a bicycle or, if things get better, a motorcycle!

Naturally, there were no orders or reports of circumstances to be delivered to each unit from time to time, and we had been stationed in Brihuega for several days in a daze.

The visibility was too narrow due to the foggy weather. The guy who said central Iberia is hot and dry, ah…

In the sky, Luftwaffe, the Italian Air Force, and the Republican Air Force engaged or bombarded each other, but aircraft had not yet developed so much and had not fallen on our side, which is not the main line beyond the river.

Ugh, I can’t get used to this terrible fog.”

“That’s right. Captain, is there no order from the battalion headquarters?”

Captain Kauffman and I were conversing on the perimeter outside Brihuega.

“There’s nothing much to say in the command department. I’m saying this because it’s you, Lieutenant. There is also a saying that Colonel Moscow seems to be passive.”

“Well, certainly. It seems that the achievement of the original plan, which was to surprise and drop it to a small amount of damage, is already ruined, so I don’t know if they don’t want to exhaust the elite troops.”

Is that why our unit under the command of Colonel Moscardo of the Nationalists is also sitting idle like this? The Italians have to fight anyway because they have eaten away support from Mussolini.

However, it was a story that could only be established if the Italian army alone could overwhelm the Republicans. The Italian army has a lot of troops, but I can’t believe it.

At that moment, I saw a human figure through the fog. What? Are you friendly?

“Captain, was there a unit that said they would join this way?”

“No, there is nothing like that….”

There were only two units stationed in Brihuega, our Condor Legion battalion and the Italian battalion.

Seeing the quick-witted Captain sprint toward the city walls, I slipped back and shouted in Spanish.

“You there, stop! Who are you!”

“Don’t-don’t shoot! Friendly!”

The answer is Spanish. Damn it! I sprinted towards the wall and shouted in German this time.

“Combat position! Combat position!”

“Wha-what?!”

In an instant, the line of defense began to become noisy, and at that moment, a terrible wind blew, and the fog began to clear.

“Fuck? X fucked up!”

For a moment, there were several bridges installed in the river that could be seen in the distance with an expanded view, and I saw a Republican army rushing over it.

“Come on, Dietrich!”

“Just shoot!”

As soon as I answered Clement, the shots began to explode, not to mention which one.

Goosebumps run up my spine at the sound that cuts through the air, passing right next to my ear.

When I cough in a mess in the dust, the Captain reaches out and raises me up.

“Sorry, Lieutenant, I hope you understand.”

Cough, that’s a wise decision as a Commander, Captain.”

To be honest, indeed, it was a bit harsh, but if the Company Commander is getting shot and killed from the beginning of the battle, it is already a ruined battle.

The city went into chaos in an instant.

Soldiers buzzing here and there, ringing bells, screaming and swearing at the sound of Kar98k rifles, MG34 light machine guns, and mortars firing, swearing-

And the roar of something flying in.

“Get down!”

At the sound of a damn so familiar, I screamed and fell close to the wall, and before a few seconds, I was covered in dust from the explosion.

Damn it. I can’t do this! In the 21st century, if you fell asleep, you would have died instantly, so should you take that as comfort!

A-argh, ack…!”

When I woke up with a cough, a platoon member I saw several times next to me was screaming and grunting on the floor. It must have been Private Lerner,  just looking at the amount of bleeding.

“Damn it, damn it! Dietrich! Are you alive?!”

“Safe!”

Clement clung to the wall and was busy commanding the platoon, but at least he looked fine. But Captain Kaufman was nowhere to be seen.

I tried to shout out loud, but I quit right away. I shouldn’t, but just in case, if he’s killed, there’s nothing good about causing a disturbance.

Finding Captain Kaufman was extremely difficult. Now, even at this moment, gunfire is constantly exploding outside, and when bored, artillery is flying in and destroying the city walls of the city.

“Cough, Schacht.”

“Captain!”

Fortunately, I caught a faint sound amid all the noise of the battlefield. But his condition was not so.

There was a steel bone stuck in his chest from which I did not know where it came from, and a considerable amount of blood flowed out.

“Oh, my God…”

Cough, it hurts. Schacht, kukh… I… Can I…. live?”

He did not seem to expect a positive answer while asking. After dodging shelling again and again and getting covered in dust, the hard-earned superior was dying.

“Captain Kaufmann… I wanted to serve you for a long time.”

“Kuh, hahaha… You’re saying things that even my wife wouldn’t say…”

You didn’t deserve to die in vain in a place like this.

“It hurts. One day, when a moment like this comes… I wanted to do a great job. It hurts. It hurts so much…”

Captain Kauffman trembled helplessly as he tried to put his trembling hand on his chest. I took a half-blooded piece of paper out of his coat for him.

Cough, thank you, yes. I’m sorry, could you pass it on…”

That was the end, of course. Captain Kaufman never moved again.

“Lieutenant! The Company Commander, huck!

When I looked down at him, a messenger of the first platoon who ran saw the captain’s body and hardened. Damn battlefield doesn’t give you time to be sentimental.

“Huh, Private Kraut, right? Run to battalion headquarters immediately and tell them. The Company Commander and many losses occurred due to the surprise attack of the enemy who crossed the river in the fog, and the front line cannot be maintained, so we ask for permission to retreat!”

“Yes, sir!”

Even after seeing the Company Commander collapsed, Kraut immediately tried to run at my command, but the sound of bullets cutting through the wind splattered blood, and he collapsed.

It’s instantaneous death to see blood flowing from the head. Damn it, damn it, damn it!

“I’m sorry, Captain, Private.”

Even though I knew that no one was listening, I muttered and wrote, but I stuffed the captain’s letter into my chest pocket and cut off the Captain and Private’s code number.

Then I got up and picked up the rifle that Private had dropped – Kar98k-.

The Company Commander is dead, so I’m in charge of this damn situation. Let’s send several messengers first.

In a situation where there was no walkie-talkie yet, I almost ended up like a drunkard at Waterloo.

I can’t die like this on this fucking battlefield.

Never!


【 Spanish Civil War – Battle of Guadalajara (1) 】- End


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