When I visited Latvia in october we went searching in an area where many soldiers has been found and recovered earlier. Huge battles rolled across the fields and forests here, and the few farms in the area was totally wiped out. The HKL (HauptKampfLinie - main battle line) stretch for a few kilometer and in a depth of probably several kilometers and could change hands in close combat several times pr day. Much of the area is covered by thick forest today which can make it difficult to work , and rules out the use of tractor. We had been searching around some dug-outs and it was clear that we was in the right place because we found a lot of battle discards. A few meter from the dug-out someone had a good signal and they opened it up. After a while buttons and pieces of leather started to show up and not long after a soldier was found quite deep in the ground. Just a couple of meters away some other guys started to dig,also deep this time and it started to become clear to us that we had found a filled up trenchline untouched since the battles. In the second hole a damaged K98 Mauser rifle was one of the first finds and underneath it a very damaged body was recovered. It was only broken bones. Just looking at the rifle and what we found of his arms it could look like he was holding his rifle above the trench fending off the enemy when a direct hit ended his life.
Having recovered these two soldiers the diggers was hungry and went to get a bite, but me and Matt had decided to dig on a signal we had found earlier just a few meters away. It was the same trench so we thought we had to investigate it. Infact we had started digging it earlier on the day, but left it because we had met a big rock just above the signal, and I mean this rock was big, 100 kg class at least. We decided to try dig around it from another side and not long after we knew we was looking at the rim of a helmet! In the process we discovered that it was two of these huge rocks just atop the helmet. We needed bulls to remove these ones so we called out for some of the Latvians,, it took three of these huge guys and no way they could get it out of our pit. "Call for Ivan" one of them shouted out. Ivan came, now he is not a big guy at all, but they assured me the rock would be gone. I`ve never seen such strenght from a human ever before, he just flipped the rock away! The second rock was lighter so the other Latvians took that one. Now we could dig again. The helmet wasn`t empty. We had found a third soldier! A Volksbund plastic tray was arranged for us and we could start finding and taking up each bone which always is a somber and strange feeling. We found the ID disc on the chest of the soldier and we could read that he was a Sanität, a medic. Maybe he had run to help one of his friends further down the trench when he too fell and found a forgotten and temporary grave for 70 years. All three of our recovered soldiers this day was taken care of and returned to the Volksbund for registration and reburial. Somewhere else in the forest other guys found two Red Army soldiers which will have an official military burial next spring.