October 7, 2016

From Leningrad to Narva Part 3: The Soviet Offensive, January 14 - 31

General Leonid Govorov, Leningrad Front CG (left). General Kirill Meretskov, Volkhov Front CG (right)
General Leonid Govorov, Leningrad Front CG (left).
General Kirill Meretskov, Volkhov Front CG (right).

Soviet Objectives

By mid-January the Soviet buildup was almost completed. The Leningrad, Volkhov and Second Baltic Fronts were ordered to:
  • end the Leningrad siege
  • cut off and destroy the German Eighteenth Army
  • reach the Narva – Pskov - Velikaya line
  • lay the foundation for retaking the Baltic States


Furthermore, the Soviet offensive in the north was an enabling operation for the destruction of Army Group Center later that year. The three Soviet Fronts fielded 822,000 troops and were facing half a million men of Army Group North. The offensive would be supported by 35,000 partisans operating behind the German lines.


September 9, 2016

From Leningrad to Narva Part 2: Fall BLAU

The Panther Line
The Panther Line.

After the failure at Kursk Hitler gave his consent to the construction of a defensive line in the east, known as the “East Wall”. The north part of the “East Wall”, the “Panther Line”, was laid behind the Narva River, Lake Peipus, and Lake Pskov. The south half of the Panther Line run to the east of Pskov and Ostrov and to the west of Nevel where it linked to Army Group Center. In essence the Panther Line was the modern day border of Estonia.


August 26, 2016

From Leningrad to Narva Part 1: Army Group North Order of Battle

SPW of Army Group North


During the two years after the first Soviet winter offensive Army Group North (Generalfeldmarschall Georg von Küchler) had occupied an almost stationary front. At the beginning of 1944 the Army Group was in positions as follows:


July 2, 2016

Abandoned Tigers

Tiger I of schwere SS-Panzer-Abteilung 101


A Tiger I of schwere SS-Panzer-Abteilung 101 at Marle on August 30, 1944. The tank had crossed the Seine River but it was abandoned by its crew. Local population takes the change to examine the fearsome monster. On August 30 the Battalion lost its last three Tiger Is. The 1st Company of the Battalion was equipped with Tiger IIs. At that date the Company possessed five tanks.


June 28, 2016

All by Himself!

Tiger I

In the spring of 1943 German panzer forces around Kharkiv are getting ready for the next offensive. The Tiger in the photo belongs to 2. SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Division “Das Reich”. The man at the front had just rammed the cleaning rod and brush assembly through the bore all by himself!


June 18, 2016

Tiger Used as a Podium

SS-Gruppenführer und Generalleutnant der Waffen-SS Walter Krüger


After the battles around Kharkiv were over SS-Gruppenführer und Generalleutnant der Waffen-SS Walter Krüger addresses the men of SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Division “Das Reich”. Krüger was assigned to take command of the Division on March 18, 1943 and remained the divisional commander until January 25, 1944. He committed suicide on May 22, 1945. 

June 5, 2016

June 1, 2016

Tigers at Vilkaviškis

Tiger B12 of III. Abteilung/Panzerregiment “Großdeutschland”
Tiger B12 of III. Abteilung/Panzerregiment “Großdeutschland”
at Vilkaviškis 
(Wilkowischken) passing by captured Soviet anti-tank guns.

May 26, 2016

King Tigers for schwere Panzer-Abteilung 503

Between 11 and 17 June 1944 schwere Panzer-Abteilung 503 was issued 45 new Tigers, of them 12 were of the King-Tiger version and they equipped the 1st Company of the Battalion.

King-Tigers at the Ohrdruf Training Area
King-Tigers of 1./s. Pz-Abt. 503 at the Ohrdruf Training Area.


May 16, 2016

A Busy Crew!

This Tiger crew, of  schwere Panzer-Abteilung 508, have their hands full working to get their tank operational again. The action takes place in Italy in February 1944. 



May 9, 2016

A Tiger in the North

A Tiger I from the 1st Company of schwere Panzer-Abteilung 502. The photograph was taken in summer 1943, close to Leningrad.



May 3, 2016

Wandering Along the Grand Rue Bourgthéroulde

Tiger 213 of schwere Panzer-Abteilung 503 at Bourgthéroulde on August 12, 1944. The Battle of Normandy had already been lost for the Germans and schwere Panzer-Abteilung 503 was withdrawing to the east. The specific Tiger was destroyed by its own crew on August 20 when they found no usable bridge to cross the Seine River.

1. Tiger 213. 


April 24, 2016

Attack Formation!

Tigers of the 3rd Company/schwere-SS-Panzer-Abteilung 101 while on exercise in the Beauvais area, in mid-May 1944. Beauvais is located in northern France.

Schwere-SS-Panzer-Abteilung 101. 


April 19, 2016

Tiger 217

Tiger 217 of schwere Panzer-Abteilung 502. In March 1944 the Battalion’s strength was 81 Tigers. The Headquarters platoon contained 3 machines while the tank companies contained 26 Tigers each. The tank platoons numbered their tanks up to the number of 19.

Tiger 217 functioned as the replacement tank of Leutnant Otto Carius 
after the loss of his original Tiger 213. 


April 14, 2016

Tigers and Horses!

Tiger 312 of schwere Panzer-Abteilung 505 in Russia. Early July 1944. Notice the “Kletterbalken” (crossing beams) on its side.

Tiger 312.


April 8, 2016

Time to Relax!

Receiving mail from home
Few pleasures greater than receiving mail from home!

Even a Tank Crew Needs to Eat!

1st Northamptonshire Yeomanry
1. Tankers of the 1st Northamptonshire Yeomanry on August 7, 1944 in Normandy.

Resupplying a Tiger

Tiger 214 of schwere Panzer-Abteilung 509 being refueled and having its ammo replenished. Every Tiger I needed 534 liters of fuel and 92 main gun rounds.

Tiger 214.


April 1, 2016

March 26, 2016

Tigers in Sicily

On May 12, 1943 schwere Panzer-Abteilung 504 surrendered in Tunisia, however, its 2nd Company was at Sicily and escaped that fate. When the Allies landed on Sicily the Company had 15 operational Tigers. In the photo below a Tiger of the Company is rushing to the landing site near Gela



March 19, 2016

Santa Maria di Loreto


A Tiger I of the 1st Company/schwere Panzer-Abteilung 508 follows the banks of the Tiber river and is photographed next to the church of Santa Maria di Loreto (Rome). On the rear deck it carries a DKW 250cc motorbike.



March 11, 2016

2.8 cm schwere Panzerbüchse 41 auf leichter Feldlafette

Panzerbüchse 41 was a light anti-tank gun. It weighted 505 lbs. It could fire armor piercing or fragmentation shells. It was used mainly by light infantry units. It was also mounted on several vehicles. Its effective range was 500 m. It was served by a crew of 3.

Panzerbüchse 41


March 6, 2016

M4 HS Tractor

The M4 High Speed Tractor was an artillery tractor used by the American Army in WW II. It entered service in 1943, weighted 14.2 t and it was armed with an M2 HB machine gun. It could reach the speed of 35 mph.

“Long Tom” artillery and M4 Tractor
1. M4 HS Tractor towing an 155mm gun.

February 28, 2016

Panzerjäger I

The Panzerjäger I, 4.7cm Pak(t) Sfl. Auf Pz.Kpfw. I Fahrgestell, was a modified PzKpfw I Ausf B which mounted a 47mm Czech anti-tank gun.

The Panzerjäger I was a modified PzKpfw I Ausf B which mounted a 47mm anti-tank gun
1. Twenty-seven Panzerjäger Is fought with Panzer-Jäger-Abteilung 605 in North Africa.

February 20, 2016

Haft-Hohlladung 3 kg

The Haft-Hohlladung 3 kg was a magnetic shaped charge weapon that could penetrate a T-34’s side or top armor. 

1. The Haft-Hohlladung 3 kg. 

February 14, 2016

Sturmgeschützabteilung 200

Sturmgeschützabteilung 200 was an ad hoc unit equipped with conversions of French Hotchkiss H35 and H39 tanks. The unit was part of the 21st Panzer-Division and fought in Normandy.

Assault guns 10,5 cm leFH18(Sf) auf Geschützwagen 39H (f) during inspection
1. Assault guns 10,5 cm leFH18(Sf) auf Geschützwagen 39H (f) during inspection. The gun 
had a range of 7.5 miles and a rate of fire of 6-8 rounds per minute. 48 of these were produced.

February 1, 2016

Arco dei Fileni

The “Arco dei Fileni” (Marble Arch) was a triumphal arc which straddled the “Littorinea Libica” road renamed the “Via Balbia” in honor of Marshal Italo Balbo who died on June 28, 1940. The Arch was erected to celebrate earlier Italian victories in North Africa.

1. Curtiss Kittyhawks fly into Marble Arch landing ground, past the Arco dei Fileni.

January 25, 2016

Das Reich Tiger

Tiger I of schwere SS Panzer-Kompanie “Das Reich”
A Tiger tank of the schwere SS-Panzer-Kompanie “Das Reich”. The tank wears a
variation of the unit's marking. The photograph was taken in April 1943 close to Kharkiv.

January 17, 2016

SU-76i

The SU-76i was a Soviet assault gun which was built using captured Panzer IIIs or StuG IIIs and stock 76mm guns. The letter “I” stands for inostrannaya – foreign.  

 1. SU-76i.

January 12, 2016

Inspection!

In March 1944 12. SS-Panzer-Division conducted a training exercise which was observed by Generalfeldmarschall Gerd von Rundstedt, C-in-C West.

In March 1944 12. SS-Panzer-Division conducted a training exercise which was observed by Generalfeldmarschall Gerd von Rundstedt
1. Panzer IVs Ausf. H of 5th Company/SS-Panzer-Regiment 12 lined up for inspection.

January 7, 2016

Sturm-Infanteriegeschütz 33B

Earlier in the war the German Army developed the 15 cm sIG 33 (Sf) auf PzKpfw I Ausf B by mounting the sIG 33 heavy howitzer on a Panzer I chassis. It was intended to provide close support to the motorized infantry companies. Later on the same gun was placed on a StuG III chassis and an armored superstructure was built for the protection of the crew. The new self-propelled gun was designated sIG 33B. Some 24 vehicles were produced and half of them took part in the battle for Stalingrad. The 150 mm cannon could demolish most houses and small buildings with 2 or 3 rounds. After Stalingrad the remaining vehicles were assigned to the Panzer-Regiment of the 23rd Panzer-Division.

1. sIG 33B.