Panzers in the Desert by Bruce Quarrie

By Bruce Quarrie

Offers with the German panzers in North Africa in the course of WW2

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Panzers in the Desert

Offers with the German panzers in North Africa in the course of WW2

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The roar of engines, the tramp of the horses, the raucous voices of the soldiers filled the night with that sense of restless anxiety which characterizes any period of waiting near the front line. Then, as the first pale streak of dawn appeared in the eastern sky, the mutter of the guns was heard onee again in the distance. Through the grey, soundless mist, which hung from the branches of the trees like cotton-wool, I saw the sun slowly rising, yellow and flabby as the yolk of an egg. 'Inainte, inainte, baetzi!

It is the physical expression of a whole mental complex, of which, perhaps, I shall speak in due course, when I have succeeded in probing the mystery of those merry eyes set in those pale, sad faces. It is astonishing to see the cattle grazing in the meadows, the fields of golden corn nodding in the breeze, the hens scratching among the tracks of the tanks parked on the dusty road. The Rumanian bank, which we left only a few minutes ago, was thick with mud, but here we find dust. That, I think, is due to the fact that the Rumanian bank is low-lying and marshy, in contrast to the Soviet bank, which gradually rises in a series of ample folds through the vast, ever-widening circles of an amphitheatre of hills covered with woods and fields of ripening grain.

And I am bound to admit that, from their own point of view, the Fascist censors were right. My book was to have been published by Bompiani, and it was all ready to be despatched to the booksellers when, on February 18th, 1943, the printing works was destroyed in a British air-raid and the entire edition of The Volga Rises in Europe went up in smoke. Newly set up and printed by another firm, the volume finally appeared at the end of August, 1943. But a few days later, on September 15th, the German authorities, who in the meantime had made themselves masters of Italy, ordered the book's seizure.

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