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Liquor and the gun

“The Red Army often displayed courage and determination far beyond anything that ever could have been asked of American or British troops. Yet its achievements on the battlefield seem all the more remarkable given its manic indiscipline. Even the relentless efforts of firing squads proved unable to deter excesses that often became suicidal. Huge injections of alcohol alone rendered service in the eastern war endurable to many of those who took part. Yet institutionalized alcoholism could be deadly to men in possession of weapons. Lieutenant Vasily Kudryashov’s orderly started a drunken fight following an argument about—of all things—which tank possessed the thickest armour. A pilot shot him dead.” – Max Hastings, Armageddon

Published inMax HastingsThe Second World War

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