ON THE MOVE IN THE VOLKHOV POCKET
The campaign in Russia meant that the Spanish were confronted with terrain and climatic conditions previously unknown to them . The extremely cold winter of 1941 - 42 was a hard experience for the men of the Blue Division, coming as they did from a very different environment. Even wit h the arrival of the spring and summer of 1942 they had to ope rate in an environment that was equally inhospitable: the swampy forests around Volkhov. The Germans had named the area the ‘Arsch der Welt ’ . There can be no doubt that during the course of the 20th century, the volunteers of the Blue Division fought in the most extreme environmental and climatic conditions experienced by Spanish troops. For veterans of the division, the very fact of surviving the experience was a source of great pride. While the fighting along
t h e banks of the Volkhov and around Leningrad has never achieved the fame of Stalingrad or Kursk, this certainly does not imply that it was a quiet sector of the Eastern Front.