Hitler versus Stalin – Eastern Front 1941-1942

Hitler-versus-Stalin---Eastern-Front-1941-1942

The world was not prepared for the massive onslaught launched by Nazi Germany on the Soviet Union on 22 June 1941 – the scale of the invasion, the speed of the German advance, the hundreds of thousands of Red Army soldiers taken prisoner, the chaotic, headlong retreat of Stalin’s forces eastwards, towards Leningrad and Moscow. But equally it was not prepared for the Soviet fight back. For, despite all the predictions, the Red Army stemmed the Wehrmacht’s advance, held the lines before Leningrad and Moscow, and mounted a counter-offensive that changed the course of the campaign and the outcome of the Second World War.

These are the historic events that Nik Cornish portrays in the selection of rare wartime images he’s selected for this graphic history of the war on the Eastern Front.The key aspects of the opening year of the war are vividly recorded – Operation Barbarossa; the German and Soviet forces as they marched and fought their way across the countryside and through the villages and towns of the Ukraine, Belarus and the Baltic states; the clashes at Brest, Smolensk, Kiev; the failure of Operation Typhoon, the turning point in this phase of the war which denied to Hitler the anticipated quick victory in the East.

Soviet anti-tank gunners move their model 1932 45mm piece from cover. They are preceded by an anti-tank rifle team. On the far side of the road is another anti-tank crew.The road is flanked by dense forest, often swampy, which is typical of the countryside through which Army Group North and Army Group Centre had to fight before reaching relatively open ground. It was ideal terrain for ambushes and later partisan operations.
Soviet anti-tank gunners move their model 1932 45mm piece from cover. They are preceded by an anti-tank rifle team. On the far side of the road is another anti-tank crew.The road is flanked by dense forest, often swampy, which is typical of the countryside through which Army Group North and Army Group Centre had to fight before reaching relatively open ground. It was ideal terrain for ambushes and later partisan operations.
Beautifully posed, this German anti-tank gun crew appear to have just destroyed the T-34 tank to the left rear. Their 50mm PAK 38 weapon was one of the few widely available anti-tank guns capable of dealing with the T-34's sloping armour. It was later issued with a tungsten cored round to deal with the heavier armour of the KV-1.
Beautifully posed, this German anti-tank gun crew appear to have just destroyed the T-34 tank to the left rear. Their 50mm PAK 38 weapon was one of the few widely available anti-tank guns capable of dealing with the T-34’s sloping armour. It was later issued with a tungsten cored round to deal with the heavier armour of the KV-1.
On the way to Vyazma. Here two Soviet infantry divisions disappeared under a landslide of over 500 German tanks deployed across a 25km front. Reserve Front's armour suffered the same fate. Very swiftly the disoriented POWs were being rounded up in their thousands.
On the way to Vyazma. Here two Soviet infantry divisions disappeared under a landslide of over 500 German tanks deployed across a 25km front. Reserve Front’s armour suffered the same fate. Very swiftly the disoriented POWs were being rounded up in their thousands.
The perils of the mixture of snowfall,thaw and mud can be seen here. In addition to the limited fuel supply, this only increased the strain on the Wehrmacht. The decline in the performance of vehicles was noticeable, as was the exhaustion of the men.
The perils of the mixture of snowfall,thaw and mud can be seen here. In addition to the limited fuel supply, this only increased the strain on the Wehrmacht. The decline in the performance of vehicles was noticeable, as was the exhaustion of the men.
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