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A great collection of military color photos from the Second World War

~ THE WAR IN RUSSIA ~

I



Pzkpfw IV

A German tank Pzkpfw IV of an earlier version, armed with a short 75 mm cannon and capable of a maximum speed of 40 km/h. The Pzkpfw IV was intended to be a support tank for the infantry, while the Pzkpfw III would assume the anti-tank role. However, the production of the Pzkpfw III was finished in 1943, since this tank was too small to accommodate on its turret any anti-tank cannon over 50 mm, that was now necessary against the new and heavier enemy tanks, so the Pzkpfw IV, being a bigger tank, was reconverted to the anti-tank role, by arming it with a long 75 mm cannon and improving its armor in successive versions. With this new configuration, the Pzkpfw IV became the workhorse of the German panzerdivisions until the end of the conflict, and a fearsome tank when used by skilled troops.

German panzers crossing the steppe

The German panzers massively advance formed in columns along the Russian steppe during the summer of 1941. Von Manstein said to Hitler that England should be invaded before attacking the Soviet Union, but Hitler surely feared that these had also the intention to attack Germany, and therefore the Soviet Union should be invaded before it could reorganize its army, at that moment crippled by the purges of Stalin.

Signal flag

Two German soldiers lay a signal flag on the steppe as an indication to their allied aviation about the position of the attacking ground troops .

T34/76 medium tanks

Some Soviet T34/76 medium tanks immobilized on a muddy terrain in the area of Tolocin, near the river Drut. At the beginning of the campaign, the German invasion was helped by the fact that the Russians didn't know how to properly exploit the potential of their armored forces.

Panzer III

A German Panzer III tank advances through snowy fields. The advance is still fast, but a premature winter with very low temperatures will soon block it. In the winter of 1941/42, the Wehrmacht stopped its fast advance at the gates of Moscow.

T34/76 tank

A Soviet T34/76 tank burns after being hit. This was the best tank on the Soviet Army when the Germans invaded the Soviet Union, surpassing any German tank in service in those days, with better armament and armor. The Germans countered these tanks by using powerful anti-tank cannons as the famous 88 mm or the 75 mm Pak-40, and greatly improving their veteran Panzer IV tanks and producing the new Tiger and Panther heavy tanks.

Panzer IV

The Panzer IV was the most produced tank for the German Army but its influence in the war has been probably underestimated. The tank in the photo was photographed while crossing a burning Russian village in the summer of 1941, during the Operation Barbarossa.

Panzer III

A German Panzer III tank crosses a river by using a bridge quickly mounted by the engineers. The advance cannot have any pause. The obstacles must be surpassed to prevent the reorganization of enemy forces.

Tactic of scorched land in Russia

As it happened during the napoleonic invasion of Russia, the Soviet Army employed the tactic of the scorched land, leaving behind them only ruins and destruction.

German grenadiers with MG 34 machine gun

German grenadiers supported by a MG 34 machine gun advance with caution through the Ukrainian countryside. The Germans delayed the assault on Moscow and directed their efforts against the southern regions, that would give access to the grain of Ukraine and the rich oilfields of the Black Sea and the Caucasus.

German 210 mm artillery cannon

A 210 mm artillery cannon shoots towards Moscow. At first, the Germans believed to be able to crush the resistance of the Soviet capital. But Stalin, assuming as improbable a Japanese attack on the Soviet Union from Manchuria, moved three divisions from Siberia to Moscow, which decided the fate of the battle for Moscow.

Heinkel He 111

This propaganda photo published in 1942 shows the Heinkel He 111 medium bomber, which ended its days serving as a transport aircraft, due to the enemy air superiority.



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