|Author : Robert Michulec & John Healey |
Printed in Hong Kong
|- 72 Pages |
- 175 Photos
- 16 Color plates
On June 22nd 1941, the Wehrmacht with over three million soldiers attacked the Soviet Union. For the invasion the Panzerwaffe managed to field some 3,000 Panzers and were distributed among 19 Panzer-Division, 10 motorized infantry division, 4 motorized SS divisions, the motorized GroBdeutschland Regiment and a few independent assault gun units. Initially, the Panzer-Division achieved great success, however, the vast expanse of terrain its vehicles had to cover and huge logistical problems, gave the commanders of the Panzer-Divisions serious difficulties, particularly when the winter arrived and the Russians put up strong resistance. But still, the German factories were able to replace depleted armored vehicles at a steady rate.
By June 1943, 21 Panzer-Divisions were prepared for Operation Zitadelle in the Kursk salient. For this massive attack, which became the largest tank battle of World War II, the Panzerwaffe were able to muster no less than 1715 Panzer and 147 StuG III assault guns. But the losses at Kursk were so immense that the Wehrmacht took the firt steps of its slow painful retreat back to Germany. By August 1944, the Panzer-Divisions had incurred huge losses in the East. During this month alone they had lost almost 1500 tanks and assault guns. After this, all their reserves were gone. They continued to fight on with badly depleted divisions organized into various ad hoc groups. With insufficient fuel and incorrect ammunition supplies, desperation filled the ranks until the very end of the war.
This issue is filled with many unpublished photos and traces the Panzerwaffe in the campaigns in the East, from Barbarossa to late 1944.