Stormtrooper on the Eastern Front
By Mintauts Blosfelds
Paperback: 224 pages
Published: April 11, 2019
A Review by Brian Williams
“StormTrooper on the Eastern Front: Fighting with Hitler's Latvian SS” tells the story of Latvian Mintauts Blosfelds, who was given the choice of either joining
service with the SS or forced into a labour camp. He reluctantly chose the enlist with the newly-formed Lavtian Legion, which was part of the Waffen-SS.
The book is broken down into the following parts:
Part I - Training
Part II - The Russian Front
Part III - Recovery
Part IV - Return to the Russian Front
Part V - Retreat from the Russians
Part VI - Prisoner of War
The book begins with the telling of how the German Army entered Latvia in the late Summer of 1941 and life under German occupation. It then moves to Blosfelds joining the Latvian Legion, training and instructing with various auxiliary units and then becoming attached to the 205th Division on the Russian Front in January 1944. He becomes wounded and gets sent to the hospital to recover and then back to the Russian Front in July 1944. He again gets wounded and returns to the Legion, but this time the Front is in full retreat. He heads west where he is interned by the Allies.
This personal account was enjoyable to read. I have personally been interested in life under occupation and Blosfelds gives the reader a small glimpse in the beginning of the book. Very little of the book is given to actual combat, though. Blosfelds’ unit, even though part of the Waffen SS, was used sparingly in combat. The combat he did partake in resulted in his wounding and therefore resulted in being pulled from the front. So, much of the book is spent with him travelling, recuperating and doing other mediocre tasks. But it is still a worthwhile read.
Of particular interest was his disassociation with the fact that he was part of the Waffen SS. It seemed he never quite grasped the gravity of being in an SS unit and the consequences that would follow once he was interned. The Allies had no compassion with individuals of SS units and his treatment reflected this. This became clear to him with he was handed over to the US Army, where he felt he was mistreated and neglected in simple things such as food and shelter. As the reader, you feel compassion for the man, but not for the involvement with the SS. But, of course, he really had no choice and would’ve never joined if given his own free will to do so.
About the Author:
Mintauts Blosfelds was born in Latvia in 1924. After his wartime adventures he came to England and worked in the Yorkshire coalmines until he joined International Harvesters.
He retired in 1982 and died in 1987. His daughter Lisa who edited his memoirs lives in Doncaster.