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Operation Bagration (June 1944 - Dec. 1944)

Operation Bagration (June 1944 - Dec. 1944)

Operation Bagration was the codename for the Soviet 1944 Belorussian Strategic Offensive Operation during World War II, which cleared German forces from the Belorussian SSR and eastern Poland between June 22nd, 1944 and August 19th, 1944. The operation was named after 18th-19th century Georgian Prince Pyotr Bagration, general of the Russian army who received a mortal wound at the Battle of Borodino. The Soviet armies directly involved in Operation Bagration were the 1st Baltic Front under Army General Hovhannes Bagramyan, the 1st Belorussian Front commanded by Army General Konstantin Rokossovsky, who was promoted to Marshal on June 29th, 1944, the 2nd Belorussian Front commanded by Colonel-General G. F. Zakharov, and the 3rd Belorussian Front commanded by Colonel-General Ivan Chernyakhovsky. This action resulted in the almost complete destruction of the German Army Group Centre and three of its component armies: Fourth Army, Third Panzer Army and Ninth Army. The operation "was the most calamitous defeat of all the German armed forces in World War II". By the end of the operation most of the western Soviet Union had been liberated and the Red Army had achieved footholds in Romania and Poland.

The objectives of the operation are more complicated. The Red Army practiced the concept of Soviet Deep Operations, Soviet Deep Battle and Maskirovka, (military deception). It has been suggested the primary target of the Soviet offensive was bridgehead on the Vistula river in central Poland, and that Operation Bagration was to create a crisis in Belorussia to divert German mobile reserves to the central sectors as a part of Maskirovka, removing them from the Lublin-Brest, Lvov-Sandomierz area where the Soviets intended to undertake the Lvov-Sandomierz Offensive and Lublin-Brest Offensive. This allowed the Red Army to reach the Vistula river and Warsaw, which in turn put Soviet forces within striking distance of Berlin, conforming to the concept of Soviet deep operations - striking deep into the enemy's strategic depths.

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German Sd. Kfz. 184 Elefant Tank Destroyer w/ Zimmerit - 3./schwere Panzerjager Abteilung 653, Poland, 1944
German Sd. Kfz. 184 Elefant Tank Destroyer w/ Zimmerit - 3./schwere Panzerjager Abteilung 653, Poland, 1944 (1:72 Scale)
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The Elefant (Elephant) stemmed from the Porsche design for the PzKpfw VI Tiger. Henschel was awarded the contract for the new tank, but it was decided to use the Porsche design as a tank destroyer. Hitler demanded that the new vehicle be ready for the 1943 offensive on the Russian front, so development was rather hurried.
German Mid Production Sd. Kfz. 181 PzKpfw VI Tiger I Ausf. H1 Heavy Tank w/ Zimmerit - schwere Panzer Abteilung 509, Armeegruppe Mitte, Kielce, Poland, 1944
German Mid Production Sd. Kfz. 181 PzKpfw VI Tiger I Ausf. H1 Heavy Tank w/ Zimmerit - schwere Panzer Abteilung 509, Armeegruppe Mitte, Kielce, Poland, 1944 (1:72 Scale)
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The German Waffenamt issued an order to design the VK4501(H) (as the PzKpfw VI Ausf. E was then known) in May 1941, just one month prior to the commencement of Operation Barbarossa.
German Sd. Kfz. 186 Jagdpanzer VI Jagdtiger Heavy Tank Destroyer with Porsche Turret - Unidentified Unit, Germany, 1944
German Sd. Kfz. 186 Jagdpanzer VI Jagdtiger Heavy Tank Destroyer with Porsche Turret - Unidentified Unit, Germany, 1944 (1:72 Scale)
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Early in 1943, orders were given to design a heavy, self-propelled anti-tank gun, which would mate a 12.8cm gun with a Tiger II chassis. On October 20th, 1943 a wooden mock-up of the enormous vehicle was shown to the OKH planners who authorized that a prototype be finished by April 1944.
Russian T-34/76 Mod. 1942 Medium Tank - 30th Guards Tank Brigade, Leningrad Front, 1944
Russian T-34/76 Mod. 1942 Medium Tank - 30th Guards Tank Brigade, Leningrad Front, 1944 (1:72 Scale)
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The first generation T-34 medium tank made its debut in combat during the summer of 1941, when the Wehrmacht launched its invasion of the Soviet Union. The T-34 easily outclassed the German PzKpfw III and IV models, thanks to its hard-hitting 76.2mm main gun, thick frontal armor, wide tracks, and overall superior mobility.
German Sd. Kfz. 181 PzKpfw VI Tiger I Ausf. H1 Heavy Tank w/ Zimmerit - #307, Mammut Battalion, schwere Panzer Abteilung 502, Eastern Front, 1944
German Sd. Kfz. 181 PzKpfw VI Tiger I Ausf. H1 Heavy Tank w/ Zimmerit - #307 "Mammut Battalion", schwere Panzer Abteilung 502, Eastern Front, 1944 (1:72 Scale)
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The German Waffenamt issued an order to design the VK4501(H) (as the PzKpfw VI Ausf. E was then known) in May 1941, just one month prior to the commencement of Operation Barbarossa.
Captured German T-34/85 Medium Tank - Unidentified Unit, Poland, 1944
Captured German T-34/85 Medium Tank - Unidentified Unit, Poland, 1944 (1:72 Scale)
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The first generation T-34 medium tank made its debut in combat during the summer of 1941, when the Wehrmacht launched its invasion of the Soviet Union. The T-34 easily outclassed the German PzKpfw III and IV models, thanks to its hard-hitting 76.2mm main gun, thick frontal armor, wide tracks, and overall superior mobility.
Russian T-34/85 Medium Tank - #36
Russian T-34/85 Medium Tank -"#36", Eastern Front, 1944 (1:72 Scale)
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The first generation T-34 medium tank made its debut in combat during the summer of 1941, when the Wehrmacht launched its invasion of the Soviet Union. The T-34 easily outclassed the German PzKpfw III and IV models, thanks to its hard-hitting 76.2mm main gun, thick frontal armor, wide tracks, and overall superior mobility.
German Mid Production Sd. Kfz. 181 PzKpfw VI Tiger I Heavy Tank w/ Zimmerit - 3./schwere Panzer Abteilung 509, Eastern Front, 1944
German Mid Production Sd. Kfz. 181 PzKpfw VI Tiger I Heavy Tank w/ Zimmerit - 3./schwere Panzer Abteilung 509, Eastern Front, 1944 (1:72 Scale)
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The German Waffenamt issued an order to design the VK4501(H) (as the PzKpfw VI Ausf. E was then known) in May 1941, just one month prior to the commencement of Operation Barbarossa.
German Late Production Sd. Kfz. 181 PzKpfw VI Tiger I Heavy Tank with Zimmerit - 1./schwere Panzer Abteilung 506, Ukraine, 1944
German Late Production Sd. Kfz. 181 PzKpfw VI Tiger I Heavy Tank with Zimmerit - 1./schwere Panzer Abteilung 506, Ukraine, 1944 (1:72 Scale)
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The German Waffenamt issued an order to design the VK4501(H) (as the PzKpfw VI Ausf. E was then known) in May 1941, just one month prior to the commencement of Operation Barbarossa.
German Sd. Kfz. 182 PzKpfw VI King Tiger Ausf. B Heavy Tank with Henschel Turret and Zimmerit - 3./sschwere Panzer Abteilung 501, Ohrdruf Proving Ground, Germany, 1944
German Sd. Kfz. 182 PzKpfw VI King Tiger Ausf. B Heavy Tank with Henschel Turret and Zimmerit - 3./schwere Panzer Abteilung 501, Ohrdruf Proving Ground, Germany, 1944 (1:72 Scale)
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In January 1943, a new Tiger tank was ordered by the Waffenant, this time with a turret large enough to mount the fearsome 8.8cm L/71 gun. Besides improving its tank killing capabilities, the new Tiger was also intended to be more survivable on the battlefield.
   
 
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