Accounts of wartime activities by the victors are all common – but accounts of a German wartime sniper are quite rare. This is the story of Josef ‘Sepp’ Allerberger. A conscript, he was initially sent as a machine gunner on the Eastern front.
Injured, he took the opportunity to experiment with a captured Russian sniper’s rifle and found he had a snipers skills. He returned to his unit as a sniper specialist only to encounter resentment and dislike by many of his officers and colleagues who did not like snipers.
He had to teach himself, and learn by his own mistakes – there was no formal training scheme until much later in the war.
Surprisingly, Allerberger became the second most successful German sniper and one of the few private soldiers to be awarded the coveted Knights Cross. Military historians will find the accounts of life on the eastern front from a German perspective very illuminating.
It is a well-researched, and readable account of Sepp Allerberger’s activities based on personal interviews carried out over a period of several months.