American soldier killed by German snipers in Leipzig, 1945
During the final days of the war a platoon of machine gunners entered a Leipzig building looking for positions to set up covering fire points which would protect foot soldiers of the 2nd U.S. Infantry advancing across the bridge. Two members of the platoon found an open balcony which commanded on unobstructed view of the bridge, set up their gun. For a while one soldier fired the gun while the other fed it. Then one soldier went inside and the other manned the smoking gun alone. Wile absorbed in reloading it, a German sniper’s bullet from the street pierced his forehead. He crumpled to the floor, dead.
War photographer Robert Capa climbed through a balcony window into the flat to photograph the dead man, who lay in the open door, a looted Luftwaffe sheepskin helmet on his head. The subsequent series of photographs show the rapid spread of the soldier’s blood across the parquet floor as other GIs attended to him and his fellow gunner took over his post at the machine gun. “It was a very clean, somehow very beautiful death and I think that’s what I remember most from the war”, Capa recalled two years later in a radio interview.