Stalingrad Briefing, 1943
The patrols are told to eat snow as they go.
If they do this, the enemy marksmen cannot see
the give-away plume of their breath. Smoke
closes over the Volga, awash with bodies entwined
with detritus, riding the dead river, bumping up
against its broken shores. Even colour has been
bombed and shot away; everything has taken on
greyness. The men are grey, their rations are
grey. The light is black and white. The only true
colour left is red. Explosions, blood, a bit
of ribbon. Replacements are told only to carry
their rifles at the ready and step in the footprints
of the men before them. Don't bunch up. Expect
worse than you can imagine. Do not speak.
Stay low and in shadow. Eat snow as you go.