Written by Georg Grossjohann, the book Five Years, Four Fronts: The War Years acts as a wartime memoir that follows the life of Grossjohann as a German soldier during World War two and how he was promoted from a sergeant to a major during this time.
Grossjohann joined the German army in 1928 when he was just 12 years old according the to the minimum age limit set by the treaty of Versailles. Soldiers of this age were commonly known as Zwolfenders. At this time Hitler had already invaded Poland and France and had now stationed his army on the Russian front. This was when world war two truly began and at this time he was 5 months away from discharge. Grossjohann started as an officer aspirant and eventually rose to the position of regiment commander. The book talks about various campaigns that the man participated in going from France to Italy then Russia and back to France again.
He fought on four fronts in all, but most of his combat experience was with the Russians in the Soviet Union and Romania. He not only talks about the campaigns he was a part of he also describes the attitudes of the officers who were in command and their attitudes towards their men. He talks about the German army had good relations with the citizens of France due to their enmity with the English before the Invasion of England began and how he was later on treated well by Russian family and participated in Barbarossa. He also speaks about the battles his regiment was involved in. How they were cut off by the Soviets at Uman when they escaped from the Cherkassy pocket. His tales finishes off by speaking about how lack of supplies and men left his regiment bare boned and eventually became part of the 19th Army. He also speaks about how most generals continued to fight even when the war was over and they knew they had lost. He ends the book with his captivity by the United States Army (Grossjohann, 1999).