Bazooka Town: Spring 1945: Dark Days of a Dying Reich
Sergeant Robert Lofthouse
This book can be downloaded and read in iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.
The second book from Sergeant Rob Lofthouse, author of the Amazon smash hit Falklands biopic 'A Cold Night in June'.
After colleagues fall during the ferocious 1945 American advance through Germany, young German soldier Erik Baum joins the Himmler-inspired guerrilla Werewolf movement. But as horrendous war crimes against enemy and collaborators become prevalent, Erik wishes he had seen out the war with regular forces….
Told in a real soldier's voice, the 1945 battle for Kirchborchen forms the basis of this very real, powerful and brutal yarn. In this book, Rob Lofthouse proves he is the new Leo Kessler, and there are plenty more German wartime tales to come.
EXTRACT FROM FOREWORD BY MAJOR JUSTIN FEATHERSTONE MC
The narrative of war places a stark and often disquieting lens on the tensions between social identity and humanity. In ‘Bazooka Town’, Robert Lofthouse again uses his deep personal insight as a former infantry Sergeant and combat veteran to create the carefully-crafted characters at the heart of this irregular band of guerrilla fighters operating in the deepening shadows of the final stages of the war in Europe.
The original Operation Werewolf led to the training of a commando force by Obergruppenführer Prützmann, which by early 1945 comprised of probably no more than two hundred soldiers, largely drawn from the Hitler Jugend. This largely ineffectual organisation was more of a propaganda tool, and proved of no subsequent military significance, but… would have drawn inspiration from Joseph Goebbels’ ‘Werewolf Speech’ of 23rd March 1945, in which he called for all native Germans to fight to the death, in a demonstration of resistance to the advancing Allied armies.
Erik’s experiences of fighting resonate deeply… and reflect the confusion, horror, desperation and intimacy of close combat… the reader is propelled in to the maelstrom, and it is possible to feel that you are genuinely at the side of this young soldier.
The escalation of partisan activity from ambushes and close-quarter assassinations, to the murder of civilians and the abhorrent treatment of prisoners, is both shocking and rapid. The question of why essentially good men can become so morally degenerate is at the core of this book.
‘Bazooka Town’ is multi-layered, relentless, relevant and powerful. As a detailed and rigorously related narrative of a broken irregular unit fighting a desperate and futile insurgent action, it is both dramatic and engrossing. As a study of the insidious impact on moral agency by social identity and social structure, it is even more deeply affecting. Dehumanisation… transition from regular soldiers to brigands capable of acts of barbarism provokes moral outrage. This erosion of humanity is even more marked as witnessed by Erik, who although traumatised, resists the corrupting effect of what the others view as an existential fight. For the other Werewolves, national survival and dignity are causes that supercede the accepted conventions of both war and morality; the attrition caused by the years of fighting within a Total War environment have led to them losing the touchstones of perceived decency and sense of self… clash of a sacrosanct, incorrigible moral core, and the resolute adherence to an ideology and desire for survival that eclipses all governed and rational behaviours, both on and away from the field of battle. It is this very idea that remains the foundation of professional military ethos and discipline; as much to protect the mental wellbeing of individual soldiers, as to prevent acts of inhumanity in an environment where humanity itself remains so fragile.
This nuanced and arresting portrait of the tensions between a soldier’s sense of self, agency, identity and morality, is framed with integrity, and a genuine understanding that can only come from a soldier’s heart. These ideas remain as conflicted and tested today in modern military operations.