Forgive the Alexandr not being used....
Published as Avgust chetyrnadtsatogo in Paris in 1971 and translated by Michael Glenny in 1972:
Publisher’s Note
In the “screen” sequences in this book, the four different margins are used to represent four sets of technical instructions for the shooting of a film. These, from left to right on the page, are sound effects, camera direction, action, dialogue. The symbol = indicates “cut to.”
[ 56 ]
    A horse’s muzzle;
no thoroughbred, just an ordinary Russian bay horse.
A gentle, helpless-looking muzzle.
No less than a human face, it can express despair:
What’s happened? Where am I? I’ve seen so many others
die–and I’m nearly dead myself.
The horse’s collar has not been removed or loosened.
Exhausted, its legs can hardly support it. It has not been
fed or unharnessed, but only whipped and whipped:
“Giddup! Pull! Save us!” The traces are broken, the
horse has dragged itself free.
Ears pricked up, it wanders hopelessly until a leg gets
caught in a
    patch of swamp.
The horse jerks violently to pull itself out of danger,
then roams off again, treading in the traces which are
dragging along the ground;
its head is hanging down, although it is not looking for
grass because there is none here . . .
It nervously skirts
the corpses of other horses lying with all four legs point-
ing stiffly into the air and bellies distended. They are
terribly swollen–how hugely horses expand when they
are dead!
Whereas a man shrinks. He lies face down, shriveled,
so small that it seems incredible that all this thunder
and gunfire, the movement of all these masses stemmed
from him,
masses that are now abandoned, shattered. A wagon lies
on its side in a ditch,
its back wheel sticking up like a rudder . . .
Another, lying on its back as though in horror, its draft
bar upward . . .
a cart that seems to have gone mad, rearing up on its
end . . .
tangled, torn, discarded harness . . .
a whip . . .
rifles, loose bayonets, and smashed rifle stocks . . .
first-aid bags . . .
officers’ suitcases . . .
caps . . . belts . . . boots . . . swords . . . officers’ knapsacks . . .
soldiers’ packs . . . some of them still
on corpses . . .
Barrels–some whole, some smashed, some empty . . .
sacks–full, half empty, tied, untied . . .
a German bicycle that did not get taken back to Russia . . .
newspapers . . . Russkoye Slovo . . .
orderly-room documents fluttering in the breeze . . .
corpses of those two-legged creatures who harness us,
drive us, whip us . . .
and more of our kind–dead horses.
If a dead horse has been disemboweled, then–
    flies, gadflies, and mosquitoes
buzz greedily
    over the rotting entrails.
  Higher in the sky
    birds are circling, swooping down on the carrion
and crying excitedly in a dozen different voices.
Our horse will never forget this.
    And it is
not alone! Countless more are roving about the battlefield
in this low-lying, accursed, marshy place
where all these things have been thrown away, abandoned,
among so many corpses.
Scores, hundreds of horses are wandering around,
Gathering into herds
and into twos and threes,
lost, exhausted, bony, but still alive where they have
been able to wrench themselves free from a team whose
other horses have been killed;
some, like our horse, are still in harness,
or dragging a shaft with them,
or there is a pair with a broken draft bar between them . . .
and there are wounded horses . . .
the undecorated, unnamed heroes of the battle, who for
a hundred, two hundred miles have hauled
this artillery, now dead and drowning in the swamp . . .
and all that ammunition, ammunition limbers with their
chains . . .
The fate of those who failed to drag themselves clear:
two complete teams, all dead, lying across one another,
three limbers and three teams . . .
having trampled and crushed each other to death, they lie
where they fell . . .
though perhaps some of them are not dead and may be
pulled out and saved.
Or else like those dead teams over there, hit by shellfire
As they rode up to haul a battery away from its position.
The battery kept firing to the last round: smashed guns,
surrounded by dead crews
and a colonel, six-foot body flung to one side, who was
obviously in command in place of a troop leader . . .
But the field in front of the battery is also scattered with
the corpses of Germans who died in the attack.
The horses are being rounded up. They are chasing us,
catching us,
and we horses shy and bolt . . .
but they grab us and tie us up . . .
It is being done by German soldiers.
Not an enviable job, chasing horses.
Thousands of captured horses slip through their hands.
They are not only chasing horses. Over there, on the edge
of the wood, they are lining up a column of
Russian prisoners
and men with unbandaged wounds.
and deeper in the forest,
many more are lying on the ground, exhausted, asleep,
or wounded.
The Germans have formed a line to comb the forest and
are flushing them out
like animals.
They pick them up
and if they are badly wounded
they shoot them
    to put them out of their misery.
Here comes a column of prisoners, virtually unescorted.
Prisoners’ faces. Terrible fate–only those who have ex-
perienced it know what it means.
Prisoners’ faces . . . Capture does not mean being saved
from death; it means the beginning of suffering.
They are already swaying and stumbling;
it is worst of all for those with leg wounds.
You are lucky if you have a faithful comrade so you can
put an arm around his neck and he
can half lead, half carry you.
For other prisoners, it is even worse: they are not allowed
to march away but are harnessed instead of horses
to their own Russian guns, which are now trophies
of war, and have to drag them,
pull them, and push them up to where the
victors are patrolling the main road in armoured cars,
with armed cyclists and
machine gunners ready to open fire.
Large numbers of Russian guns, howitzers, and machine
guns are lined up.
Along the road a team of powerful cart horses is pulling
a large civilian cart with extra sides made of staves–
a tumbril, used for carting hay. Its load consists of–
    Russian generals!
Nothing but generals–nine of them.
They are sitting quietly on a bench, legs crossed,
all of them facing one way, all of them looking dejectedly
toward the prisoners,
resigned to their fate. Some look grim, some actually look
relieved: their fighting days are over, and with them their
The cart is stopped by
a German general standing beside his car; he is short,
keen-eyed, slightly tense, perhaps with triumph. It is
General von François, with the frown of a victor.
He does not feel sorry for these generals, but he finds
their wretchedness intolerable. With a gesture
he invites them to get down–why are they riding in a
cart? He has enough cars for
the generals: there are four standing over there.
Stretching their stiff legs, the Russian generals get down
from the cart, mostly shamefaced, though some are grati-
fied at the honour done to them, and they
take their seats in the German cars.
The column of men on foot is led
into a cage for people, fenced in
with barbed wire, so makeshift as to be little more than
on temporary poles stuck into the ground.
Here the prisoners are strewn about on the bare earth,
lying, sitting, clasping their heads,
standing, walking,
exhausted, some with their arms in slings, some bandaged,
some unbandaged, some bruised, some with open wounds,
others, for some reason, in nothing but their underwear;
some are barefoot
and none of them, of course, has been fed.
Mournful, forsaken, they look at us through the barbed
A novel problem–how to hold so many people in an open
field and prevent them from running away?
Where are they to be put?
The novel solution–a concentration camp!
The fate of men for decades to come.
The herald of the twentieth century.
Document No. 4
Having been strengthened by reinforcements drawn from the entire
front by means of the highly developed rail network, the Germans,
with superior numbers, attacked our forces of approximately two army
corps after subjecting them to an intense bombardment by heavy
artillery from which we suffered heavy losses. According the avail-
able information, the troops fought heroically; Generals Samsonov,
Martos, Pestich, and a number of staff officers perished. The necessary
steps to counter this unfortunate reverse are being taken with the
utmost vigor and firmness. The commander-in-chief continues to be-
lieve firmly that God will help us carry them to a successful conclusion.