The Mundane and the Global Difference for Good


My opinion: Sanctity often is found in surprising places. They seem most humble and mundane…

Yet, here, World War II turned on its hinges, permanently opening the door to Allied victory. That’s according to the foremost English-language writer and scholar* on the Nazi/Soviet war.*

The firefight here that won the war was a “small” one: platoon-level action that lasted probably less than an hour. In other words, in a brief timespan at a seemingly-mundane place, a few people made a difference global and for the good.

The result of the firefight here led indirectly but quickly to the Nazis’ first strategic defeat. And that defeat was massive: more than a quarter-million Nazi soldiers captured, including their commander, a field marshal.

Until this battle, Nazis were accustomed to– and so presumed– victory. This was especially true in this war against these “untermenschen” Russians.

So, of course, to say the least, to those captured, the struggle leading only to defeat, plus the defeat, were shocking, disillusioning, terrifying, bloody, and often fatal.

Outside the scope of the scope of the victors and the vanquished, moreover, a few Nazis calculated, and others clandestinely discovered, the depth and breadth of this defeat. Many of them, too, were shocked, disillusioned, and scared. Some of these latter at least began to correctly-conclude the war was lost.

This was accurate realism, not defeatism.

The realists dared not show their deep misgivings, however, under the boot-heel of a totalitarian regime like the Third Reich.

So I made a pilgrimage to this “mundane” place of courage, honor, perseverance, expertise, massive potential successfully and completely realized, and…blood. That’s a memorial stone I had prepared long before. I worked as I was capable to place the memorial deep in the surrounding reeds.

That’s because the qualities and cost necessary for victory, mentioned above, are, in my opinion, immortal. So, somewhat likewise and in my own minuscule way, I hid my stone because I don’t want it discovered and removed anytime soon.

Mr. Clark’s description of the firefight at the western end of the Kalach bridge is more detailed– yet concise– and much-more engaging than mine. I recommend it.


© Landis McGauhey

“How-to”: Earn Eternal Attentives From Your Housekeeper in a Russian Hotel


Yes– I confess– I intentionally placed these souvenirs so as to be seen by the housekeeper.
Yes– I confess– that is the depth of my condescension.
However– I promise!– I did not intend to hide the T-V!
My apologies, Dear Reader, for my absence.  Yet, for several days I’ve been on the run, spending time going to,at, and returning to Moscow from Petersburg and Yasnaya Polyana.  Practically, I’ve had time only  to travel and sleep.


© Landis McGauhey


“Band-Aid”: That was a Benefit Concert in the 1980’s, Right?


If you are in Moscow and happen to suffer a slight injury, here’s my recommendation:  don’t go to the drugstore (“Аптека”/”Apteka”).  Or, at least, don’t go to the one I did and ask for “first-aid kit” or “small bandages”.   They won’t have them.

Instead, stroll down the mall to Perekrestok (Von’s, Safeway, Save-Mart, Raley’s, you get the idea) and find these.

They’re on the “impulse aisle”.

And there, if I recall correctly, they’re next to the condoms.

There is deep meaning in that proximity.  I just don’t know what it is.

© Landis McGauhey


PS -- But Seriously, Folks: these are the *best* "band-aids" you'll find anywhere

And This is on a Good Day of Campaigning (Part Two)


Early summer, 1942.  Panzer Commander Herr Hauptmann Heinz, late in the day after a good day of racing ‘cross the mid-Europen Russian Steppe, calls his company to a halt.  “Intelligence” all-day has radioed the positions of pockets of defenders.  But every time his company gets to one of these “pockets”, there are no defenders to be found…even the peasants are nowhere to be seen (they’re locked-up tight indoors)

Hey! Kameraden!  We got the untermenschen on the run!”

Yes, it’s true.  The defenders are on the run.  But in the euphoria addictive to Panzer crew of wind-in-the-hair racing ‘cross the Steppe, the furthest thing from the mind of Heinz is: he is not advancing, pushing-forward…no…he’s being pulled further and further…into the infinite void…

And then there’s the issue of these damned occasional treelines that still stand like pointless sentries the middle of nowhere after centuries of slash-and-burn agriculture.  Heinz and his company must bear at least a little oblique, presenting a larger silhouette to any defender hidden in the trees.  Thus far, however, it hasn’t been a problem all day…the treelines must be innocuous…

</discussion> Heinz and his crew and their Panzer are now dust and smoke courtesy a PTRD round fired expertly by an “untermensch” hidden in the “innocuous” treeline…</Heinz et al> photo taken someplace “in the middle of nowhere” along the Moscow-Stalingrad Volgograd railway.

© Landis McGauhey