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World Battlefronts: The Wounded Sleep with Guns

2 minute read

Famed U.S. surgeon Elliott Carr Cutler, chief consulting surgeon of the European Theater of Operations, went to Russia last summer. Back in Algiers, Colonel Cutler last week recounted some of his impressions.

Their Own Country. The Russians are “the greatest people for fighting a total war you could ever find. … I believe that if the Americans were fighting in their own country, they would make the same effort. But we are not making war now on anything like the same scale as Russia.”

Their Own Enemy. The Russian hatred of the invading Nazis is so great that “Stalin couldn’t stop the Red Army even if he wanted to.”

Their Own Dogs. “Everyone is fighting. No building has been painted in Russia during the war. They are not taking the time now to fill up the bomb craters. They walk around them. When I was in England, I saw at least ten million dogs; but I didn’t see a single one in Russia. They have eaten them. . . . There isn’t too much food in some cities, but the Army gets everything that’s wanted.”

Their Own Way. Colonel Cutler met Russians who had earned eight wound stripes since the war began. “I am not sure that the Anglo-Saxon nervous system could go into trenches eight times and be wounded in that period. But that’s the way to win war, and that’s the way the Russians like it.”

Their Own Backs. “The Russians are very practical. When a soldier comes out of anesthesia, they throw a machine gun in bed with him, and he spends his time taking it apart and putting it together again. There are no Red Cross girls around to rub the backs of the wounded soldiers, no basket weaving.”

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