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Wilhelm Hoffman was the name of supposedly a soldier in the 267th Infantry Regiment, 94th Infantry Division of the German 6th Army who chronicled the Battle of Stalingrad in his journal, and is cited in many documentaries and books concerning that topic.[1][2]

His journal provides a first hand account of what the German 6th Army was experiencing and how they were coping with the situation. Although it is limited in information because it only gives the account of one person, it is cosidered by many even today as one of the few unaltered German accounts to survive World War II. However, as time passed on, including the opening of the Soviet archives since 1991, it has been seen in a critical eye. Especially when his name is first mentioned in the 50's in Chuikov's book "The Road of Stalingrad" at page 267. And Adelbert Holl's account "An Infantryman In Stalingrad" contradicts Hoffmann's statements, and was considered by one Historian as Soviet propaganda.

The most notable account used in both is the brutal six-day long battle between 16 and 22 September 1942 over a grain elevator where, according to him, only 40 Russian soldiers (he refers to them as "devils") were found dead in the elevator at the end of the engagement, while his battalion in comparison, suffered disastrously heavy losses. However, the grain factory was briefly captured by the germans, which is why the 88m guns were hesistant to fire upon the factory, where would not be logical to call them unstoppable "devils" if they could be pushed back briefly.

Notably, it's frequent use of the word "tommy gunner" is unheard of in german primary sources within Stalingrad, including Holl, a soldier who served in the 267th Infantry Regiment.

Sources

  1. Parts of his journal are cited in the documentary series The World at War (Episode 9, Stalingrad)
  2. Some parts are cited in the 1960s British magazine series History of the Second World War (Alan Clark, Stalingrad, Vol. 3 No. 9), published by Purnell and Sons.

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