Life and Fate Read Along, Part 2 Chapter 32

This post, covering Part 2, Chapter 31 is part of The Slavic Literature Pod’s chapter a day read along of Vasily Grossman’s Life and Fate. Learn more about our project here.

When we left Battlefront Stalingrad, the Red Army was facing one of its toughest days. The front lines are manned by the few survivors, still just enough to harry the Wehrmacht and prevent the total loss of Stalingrad. 

There are reinforcements bound for the city — but those soldiery are not, as the Germans assume — reinforcing the survivors. They are planning a counter-attack. Those still in the city, their sole duty is to sell their lives as slowly as they can. 

The narrator makes two interesting observations in describing this movement of troops. On one hand, the Wehrmacht. With only a little information about the Red Army troop movements, it should be easy for them to deduce they are not reinforcing the city itself. But they overlook that. 

Perhaps Paulus’ early-war attitude maintains among his officers. As the narrator notes: “The Germans were simply unable to believe that all their attacks were being borne by a handful of men. They thought the Soviet reserves were being brought up in order to reinforce the defense.” (p. 482)