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Snapshots from the Ostfront.

Discussion in 'Photographs and Documents' started by Martin Bull, Nov 15, 2011.

  1. gunbunnyb/3/75FA

    gunbunnyb/3/75FA Member

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    i agree with andypants lol keep em coming please
     
  2. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

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    note the central pole is just a birch branch.
     
  3. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    Haven't added to this thread for a while, so here's one of my latest acquisitions : -

    [​IMG]


    Written on the rear is 'Hinter Witebsk' ( 'Behind Vitebsk' ) and although it's not dated, it seems to have a 'Barbarossa' feel to it. Vitebsk fell to the Germans on 7th July 1941 and apparently the country around there was quite wooded with rolling hills.

    Quite a bit going on when you study the photo......
     
  4. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    This one has a real amateur snapshot feel, and written on the back is 'June 41'....

    [​IMG]
     
  5. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    Same handwriting, same date as the above - and some of the same faces....

    [​IMG]
     
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  6. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Nice photos Martin! Perhaps "Boys" probably still unaware where they are going. Guarding the Eastern border or waiting for trains to take them through the USSR to Middle East to help Rommel...
     
  7. Hufflepuff

    Hufflepuff Semi-Frightening Mountain Goat

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    One of the more relaxing-looking photos from that hellish front. German soldiers taking a break in an abandoned "dacha"
    View attachment 17475
     
  8. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    I've just acquired these two, they're obviously from the same camera.

    On the back is written 'Kessel von Bialistok. An der vormarschstrasse'. So these are men of Army Group Centre- the Bialystock-Minsk pocket is described by Guderian in his memoirs as 'the first great vistory of the campaign' and the battle covered the end-June/early July 1941 period.

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    The photos give a vivid feel of a hot day , the sun glinting off K98s, helmets and gasmask cases. The men tending the horsedrawn column look tired and could the huge cloud of dust in the background mark the passing of a motorised column ?

    Anyhow, to me these are good photos of the early stages of Barbarossa.
     
  9. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    Another one from the same batch - a nice shot of a 10.5cm le FH18, the Wehrmacht's standard field howitzer, passing ruined Russian houses.

    [​IMG]

    Again, note the posture of the mounted man on the left - indicative of the pace and heat of the Barbarossa advance.
     
  10. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    Written on the back of this one is 'Tarnopol'.....

    [​IMG]


    ....in the Ukraine and, in the very early stages of Barbarossa, Kirponos' command post for defending Kiev against the advance of Army Group South. This photo was probably taken in early-July 1941.
     
  11. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    Very typical of the Ostfront. No date, and the only word I can decipher on the rear is 'Kessel'....

    [​IMG]
     
  12. Hufflepuff

    Hufflepuff Semi-Frightening Mountain Goat

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    Attached Files:

  13. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    Obviously, collecting these photos is for me an interesting form of battlefield tourism, seeing things that were seen by the Landser. But it is worth considering what is not quite being seen.

    I was a little puzzled by this pic. I searched my books and could find little mention of Tarnopol in mid-1941 ; there was no battle as such and it seems that Army Group South basically marched straight in. The town looks quite complete in the photo, with some large fires dotted about.

    By coincidence, I'm just now reading the collection of essays 'War Of Extermination' edited by Heer/Naumann, essay #10 - 'On The Way To Stalingrad : 6th Army In 1941-42' by Bernd Boll and Hans Safrian.

    In this essay is a description of the 'incident' at Tarnopol in the first week of July 1941 when 6th Army arrived, followed closely by SS-Sonderkommando 4(b). In their report dated 20 July, SK 4(b) described how 'Troops passing through......beat a total of roughly 600 Jews to death and set their houses ablaze....in the wake of persecutions of the Jews inspired by the SK'.

    A private letter, preserved at the Bundesarchiv, was written by a 6th Army soldier to his parents : -

    'Tarnopol, 6th July 1941.
    Dearest Parents ! I have just returned from the laying out of our comrades from the Air Force and mountain troops who were captured by the Russians. I can find no words to describe such a sight. Our comrades are bound, ears, tongues, noses and genitals have been cut off. That was how we found tthem in the basement of the courthouse in Tarnopol...there you have Russia and the Jews, the workers paradise......
    Revenge followed at once. Yesterday we and the SS were merciful, shooting on the spot every Jew we caught. Today is different, because another 60 comrades were found mutilated. Now the Jews are forced to carry the corpses up from the cellar and lay them out nicely......After they have viewed the victims, they are killed with clubs and spades. Up to now, we've launched about 1,000 Jews into the great beyond, but that is far too few for what they have done...
    I beg you, dear parents, to spread the word....
    Many greetings, your son, Franzl'.



    This letter was seized by Nazi Authorities and sent to Wehrmacht High Command.

    Makes you think.
     
  14. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    This one looks like genuine action - handwritten on the reverse ( roughly translated ) is 'Russian attack - truck shot-up and burning - end-October 1941'

    [​IMG]

    The truck looks to me like an Opel Blitz, and the driver can be seen hastily exiting......
     
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  15. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    Martin

    do I understand correctly your Tarnopol photo does have a date of 1941 written on the back or is it blank ? 1944 first op for the 10th W-SS Frundsberg and it's bleeding ..............
     
  16. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    Hi Erich

    yes - it just says Tarnopol 41 with no specific date.....
     
  17. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    An intersting, if frustrating, couple.....from a group marked 'winter 41/42' so no idea of unit or location. Obviously snapped from inside a halted column vehicle as what appears to be the top brass arrive. I wonder who they were....? :confused:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  18. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

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    Is the officer on the foreground drinking a hot drink? Also the running soldier could be a Felgendarme giving directions to the officers. I'm not sure whether it's a gorget or tabs around his collar.
     
  19. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    yes was looking at least one mans lower cuffs with the dual bands..... Heer column on the move with Offiziers and personal protection riding alongside ... (?) ok Hans wheres the map ?
     
  20. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    I really like these three - all from the same camera with identical handwriting on the rear. They're undated, but I reckon they are from Spring 1942, Army Group South at Kerch, on the way to Sevastopol. I like the way that our unknown Kradschutz has used his motorbike to lend perspective to the very flat scenes ( you can even see the rolled Zeltbahn on the back of the bike ). He was a very long way from home......

    This one is 'Bike in the vicinity of the fishing villages, Sea of Azov'...

    [​IMG]

    'The fishing village where we were deployed, Sea of Azov'.
    ...

    [​IMG]

    'The field of our baptism of fire, Kerch'......

    [​IMG]

    Certainly three of my favourites.
     

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