Theyíre only giving the shelling an hour. Just an hour of respite for the infantry. Just an hour until the most important of matters: Who gets a medal, and who gets the gallows. For an hour we donít write a single line. We prayed to the gods of war - to the artillerymen! Since we arenít regulars, weíre penal soldiers. They donít write us: "Count like a communist". Before the attack - vodka? Alright here! We drank ours up in civilian life. So we wonít shout "hurrah!", Weíll play with death quietly. Penal soldiers have only one law, only one ending - Chop up that Fascist tramp! And if your chest doesnít catch some lead, Your chest will catch a medal "for courage". You strike with a bayonet, but itís better to strike by hand - Itís more reliable, yes and quieter. And if you remain alive, Walk in the trench even higher! The enemy thinks that weíre morally weak. Behind him lay burned forests and cities. You should have chopped the forest into the coffins - Penal battalions now enter the breach! Now itís O-six-hundred, and thereís the barrage. Well, god of war! Do it without respite! Only an hour until the most important matters: Who gets a medal, and who gets the gallows.
© Peter Struwwel. Translation, ?