As it approached the highway, the column deployed into a human wave and rushed forward. From our position, the left ﬂank of the German line of advancing men was about 1,200 meters away. We opened ﬁre on the Germans, not permitting them to turn in our direction. The Germans were packed so tightly together, and in such a mass, that it was simply impossible to miss.When our command found out that a German column was attempting to break out here, they rushed an antitank battery to our support. Twelve cannons unlimbered before the column and began to ﬁre at it over open sights.
That was the outward scene in the prisoners’ cage, and it made no sense at all. A dozen different nationalities. All of them reacting in different ways, pulling in different directions, speaking different languages. And yet an hour or two since they had all been ﬁghting with a suicidal ferocity. Pillboxes were being held long after their eventual destruction was a certainty. The Russians had been ﬁring right up to the last few yards before they threw up their hands.