Reburial of Red Army soldiers in Latvia this weekend. Click the link below.
The wait is over...
An Early April Expedition.
For months now I had dug nothing but snow from my driveway and I started getting some serious need for soil and rust. I contacted my friends and we made plans for a trip to the forests. I found some tickets and packed my digging gear not forgetting some fresh batteries for the detector. The trip started with almost having a drip waiting for the morning bus to take me to the airport. It was supposed to leave at 0520 but still at 0530 there was no bus. I did not have a big margin on delays so I lit a third cigarette with the hope that would make the bus arrive,.No such luck. As I got my phone to wake my father to beg him get me to the flight the bus raced into the parking lot. Mr.Busdriver had a classic "slept waaay to long" look plastered all over his face and rushed us all into the bus,not even taking the time for letting us pay tickets. He sped off and it was an amazing race really. It snowed thick and it was not the best road surface for Formula 1 but having golden hairs he kept us on the road and starting off 16 minutes delayed he dropped us off at the airport only two minutes past schedule :)
The rest of the morning went fine and two flights later I was in a taxi towards Old Riga and an exellent lunch at Riga Rock Cafe. The day and evening was spent strolling around Riga followed by a small Folk Rock Festival at the university before an afterparty at Ala Folkbar.
Having learnt from previous trips I didn`t drink too much beer and was picked up by a van full of diggers early Friday morning. The guys had some new permissions on a capitulation site and we drove towards the Kurland Kessel.
As we reached Kurland we stopped to pick up our friend Ainars, and a stop at the food shop, and short after we parked the car and found our bags and shovels. It did not take long before the detectors started making noise prooving some sort of activity at the site. The first few finds I did was the standard shrapnel and small arms casings. The soil was sandy and easy to dig, and a good preserver. We reached a small forested hill and spread out. Viktors`dog kept running between us checking we were all there and not lost,now he is a large and slightly scary dog, but it was nice to be herded by him coz then I knew I was not lost, as I have a tendency to become in these forests.
Now I got a few nice signals close to eachother and started opening the ground. The first one was a German coin from 1934, and the next one a more "dramatic" find, a bunch of live detonators. On the bottom of the hill I had a very interesting and large signal. I was sure it was a rifle or Panzerfaust because of the lenght of the signal, but when I had it dug out I realised it was the floor plates of a German vehicle, prehaps a Küblewagen. As I knocked the sand off from it several bullet or shrapnel holes in it appeared,, no SS helmets or great medals was found here, but we didn`t hang with our heads for that.
We drove to another area not far away and searched for a while with not much results at all when we heard some of the other diggers call for us. They had found a great spot. Several large and good signals was dug and from the holes came large caliber grenades and detonators. A few meter away from the grenade pit was some very kool finds. A few pieces of armour from a tank, and even better part of its barrel and the grenades seemed to fit the barrel perfectly. The digger presented me the barrel part and a perfectly cut grenade as a gift which I was very happy for. Can`t wait to have it cleaned up and put on my table as a new decoration :)
Late on the afternoon the boss decided we had to go pick up a soldier some other digger had found and reported to Legenda. They had removed his dog tag and given it to Talis so no "Black diggers" would steal it. It was a long drive there and it started to be dusk when we finally found the spot. It was obvious that we was infront of a trench line and that it had been fighting here. There was not much left of the soldier, prehaps a combination of bad soil conditions and that he had met with an explosion, but after a while all the bones in the trench had been lifted out into a Volksbund tray and brought to the van. One more missing and lost soul recovered from the old battlefield.
It was dark when we got back into the car and headed back home, and we didn`t arrive to Riga before 01 at night.
Mp38 magazine imploded in a blast. I ve never seen such a thing before,it must have been one hell of an explosion.
The rest of the weekend we had no time for digging as on Saturday we attended a Latvian War Grave Commission meeting which was very interesting and we went to a large fleamarket where it was mostly militaria being traded. We visited a Red Army Cemetery where ca 500 soldiers is reburied, a very nice cemetery which is kept clean and nice by Talis and Legenda. And finally we also made a "inspection-trip" to a field where we are going to search for and find a lost field cemetery sometime in the future.