With the story set in 1944 inevitably even those who had not volunteered for the army were called up, as the collapse became more of a certainty. Bearing in mind the Nazi’s were using children at the end to try to defend Berlin the idea of a 16-year-old going off to training and then into battle seems quite normal.
But what makes it harder is the success that Mahlke is having blazing a trail in the tank regiment blowing up Russian tanks with such regularity that he gets the Iron Cross and becomes a legend in his own lifetime.
Bullet points between pages 91 – 121
* Having told the narrator that he is joining up Mahlke disappears from the story and is only heard of through second hand accounts including a letter his aunt shows off in the street with drawings of tanks that Mahlke has hit
* Even at training camp above the toilets there is some religious, Virgin Mary, inspired text scratched in by Mahlke and there are stories about his big ears, cock and passion for wearing something round his neck
* That passion is finally sated when he gets a medal of his own for his performance in his tanks against the Russian enemies and like those before him heads back to the school to give a lecture of his own to the students but is told to go away because of his former expulsion
* Having failed to get the headmaster to back down Mahlke waits for him near his home and then gets his chance and pushes him up against the railings and slaps him in the face before heading off into the night
Final few pages over lunch tomorrow…