WWII German Tankmen with Bergepanther
The harsh living conditions during the fighting and the constant nervous tension and stress experienced by most Wehrmacht soldiers necessitated some kind of mental relief. One of these ways was to drink alcohol. In his memoirs, former Wehrmacht soldier Guy Sayer noted: “At the front, there are as many vodka, schnapps, and liqueurs as there are machine guns. It’s easier to make a hero out of anyone.” Alcohol could also reduce the pain of the wounded. The main alcoholic drink in the Wehrmacht was schnapps, and German soldiers, especially tankers, could also be issued liqueurs. Officers often had French trophy cognacs or wines, which were captured in such large quantities that they were consumed even when surrounded, as was the case, for example, near Stalingrad in the winter of 1943. However, it was very often a bad omen to distribute alcohol to troops, as it often happened before major battles and portended heavy casualties at the front.