Hitler Sent Troops to Russia's Frozen Hell

Unprepared troops suffered 'horrific' consequences
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jul 26, 2009 1:10 PM CDT
Adolf Hitler (1889 - 1945), accompanied by other party officials, including Ernst Roehm (1887 - 1934),on right of Hitler, inspects his followers in the Sportpalast in Berlin.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – When Adolf Hitler sent his troops to invade Russia, he gave little thought to their warmth—leaving them in “desperate need” of millions of hats, gloves, and coats, writes historian Andrew Roberts in a Daily Telegraph book excerpt. “One can't put any trust in the meteorological forecasts,” Hitler once said. But the consequences of that lack of preparation were “horrific.”

A journalist recounted seeing the Germans on their return: “Thousands and thousands of soldiers had lost their limbs; thousands and thousands had their ears, their noses, their fingers and their sexual organs ripped off by the frost. Many had lost their hair… Many had lost their eyelids.” Winston Churchill later ridiculed Hitler: “There is a winter, you know, in Russia. We all heard about it at school; but he forgot it.”