German Armored Trains on the Russian Front 1941-1944 A Schiffer Military History
German Armored Trains on the Russian Front 1941-1944 A Schiffer Military History
German Armored Trains on the Russian Front 1941-1944 A Schiffer Military History
German Armored Trains on the Russian Front 1941-1944 A Schiffer Military History
German Armored Trains on the Russian Front 1941-1944 A Schiffer Military History
German Armored Trains on the Russian Front 1941-1944 A Schiffer Military History
German Armored Trains on the Russian Front 1941-1944 A Schiffer Military History

German Armored Trains on the Russian Front 1941-1944 A Schiffer Military History

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German Armored Trains on the Russian Front 1941-1944 A Schiffer Military History
 
German Armored Trains on the Russian Front 1941-1944 A Schiffer Military History Book by Wolfgang Sawodny
Soft Cover
48 pages
Copyright 2003
CONTENTS
Introduction
The Armored Trains of the Opponents
Armored Train Type BP-35
BP-35 became NKPS-42
Action
PZ 74 had the shortest career
The Division of Armored Trains Among the Army Groups on the Eastern Front
Epilogue
INTRODUCTION:                                                                                                                                   
After the successful conclusion of the French campaign at the end of June 1940, Hitler hoped he could move Britain to make peace. After this was shown to be an illusion and no alternative to continuing the sea war appeared on that front-the only halfhearted plan to invade Great Britain was soon ruled out by the loss of the air war over the island-, Hitler turned to the enemy whom National Socialism had regarded as one of his chief foes from the beginning, Communism, and especially its embodiment in the Soviet Union. Here it was not just an ideological disagreement between two dictatorial systems, both unscrupulous and inhuman, but also the presumably necessary expansion of the "Lebensraum" of the German "Master Race" at the expense of the Slavic "Untermenschen", which implied measures to wipe out the native population.
On August 28, 1939 Hitler had made an agreement with Stalin, to the amazement of many, that kept his back free for the invasion of Poland, but it was probably clear to both that this was an agreement for a time, which they would keep as long as it was useful, and that each would be ready to renounce or break at the optimal time for him. Of course the Soviet Union had armed itself steadily since 1930, but this process was not yet finished. The results of Stalin's purges in 1937-1939, to which numerous high-ranking officers had fallen victim, were by no means overcome, the lessons of the difficult 1939-1940 winter war with Finland were just beginning to be processed, the production of new and more effective weapons, such as the T 34 tank and the "Katyushrocket launcher (the feared "Stalin Organ") were just beginning in 1940-1941. A part of these difficulties had not gone unnoticed by the Germans; the taking of Bessarabia and the Baltic states by the Russians in June and July 1940 were seen as a certain threat, perhaps to the Romanian oil fields so important to the Germans, and finally the Soviet Union appeared as Great Britain's only remaining potential European ally for the further waging of the war, and it was believed that the first overtures in this direction could be sensed. In purely military terms one would have to see that-if such an adventure was to be undertaken at all-an attack date in the spring of 1941 was probably the latest possible one that still had a chance of success.
After Hitler had decided to attack the Soviet Union, the military and army high command began in July 1940 to plan the campaign. In the tried and true "Blitzkrieg" form, it was supposed to smash the opposing forces, as much as possible, before the defensive positions on the Dniepr and Duna, then make the decisive breakthroughs and wipe out the rest of the Red Army, in order to engulf Leningrad, Moscow and Kharkov. Then an occupation of the area up to the northern Dvina, the center) Volga and the Don (later extended to the lower Volga, thus to the Archangel-Astrakhan line) was to take place. The maximum time period was to be seventeen weeks, which would have meant the conclusion of the operation in September if it began in May. At least one of the planners, Generalmajor Marcks, had recognized risks: one was the impossibility of occupying the constantly expanding area thoroughly; another was the question of what was to be expected in the Soviet Union did not crumble under the strikes it suffered in the west, and if Stalin held out behind the Urals and continued the war in coalition with Britain and perhaps the USA. But he too neglected to stress these problems sufficiently-especially to his superiors. The possibility that the timetable might be exceeded considerably and continue the campaign into the Russian winter seems to have turned up briefly, but without being considered seriously. Two further points from the plans might also be noted. Supplying such numerous troops over the ever-increasing distances was naturally of special importance. Aside from their being supplied as much as possible from the conquered areas, there were still enough materials, ammunition and fuel, among other things, that had to be transported by road and rail. The Soviet Union's railroads, though-except for a few lines in the Baltic area and Poland that were taken over in 1939-1940, were wide-gauge (1524 instead of 1435 mm), so that they could not be used by German locomotives and cars. Thus it was presumed that after only about two weeks a transport capacity-still
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