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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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Russian JS-2 Stalin Heavy Tank - Summer Camouflage Russian JS-2 Stalin Heavy Tank - Summer Camouflage (1:72 Scale)

The Iosif Vissarionovich tank (or IS tank, also known as the Joseph Stalin tank), was a heavy tank developed by the Soviet Union during World War II and first used in the Kursk area in September 1943. The tanks in the series are also sometimes called JS or ИС tanks.

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Russian JS-2 Stalin Heavy Tank - Summer Camouflage Russian JS-2 Stalin Heavy Tank - Summer Camouflage (1:72 Scale)

The Iosif Vissarionovich tank (or IS tank, also known as the Joseph Stalin tank), was a heavy tank developed by the Soviet Union during World War II and first used in the Kursk area in September 1943. The tanks in the series are also sometimes called JS or ИС tanks.

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Russian Su-100 Tank Destroyer - Summer Camouflage Russian Su-100 Tank Destroyer - Summer Camouflage (1:72 Scale)

Designed as a tank destroyer, the SU-100 was used extensively during the last year of World War II and saw service for many years afterwards with Soviet allied armies around the world.

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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)

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.

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German Mid Production Sd. Kfz. 181 PzKpfw VI Tiger I Ausf. H1 Heavy Tank with Zimmerit - schwere Panzer Abteilung 509, Armeegruppe Mitte, Kielce, Poland, 1944 German Mid Production Sd. Kfz. 181 PzKpfw VI Tiger I Ausf. H1 Heavy Tank with Zimmerit - '122', schwere Panzer Abteilung 509, Armeegruppe Mitte, Kielce, Poland, 1944 (1:72 Scale)

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.

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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)

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.

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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)

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.

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German Sd. Kfz. 181 PzKpfw VI Tiger I Ausf. H1 Heavy Tank with Zimmerit - 307, Mammut Battalion, schwere Panzer Abteilung 502, Eastern Front, 1944 German Sd. Kfz. 181 PzKpfw VI Tiger I Ausf. H1 Heavy Tank with Zimmerit - '307', "Mammut Battalion", schwere Panzer Abteilung 502, Eastern Front, 1944 (1:72 Scale)

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.

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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)

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.

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Russian T-34/85 Medium Tank - #36 Russian T-34/85 Medium Tank -"#36", Eastern Front, 1944 (1:72 Scale)

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.

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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)

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.

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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)

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.

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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)

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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German Sd. Kfz. 184 Elefant Tank Destroyer w/ Zimmerit - 3./schwere Panzerjager Abteilung 653, Eastern Front, 1944 German Sd. Kfz. 184 Elefant Tank Destroyer w/ Zimmerit - 3./schwere Panzerjager Abteilung 653, Eastern Front, 1944 (1:72 Scale)

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.

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German Sd. Kfz. 184 Elefant Tank Destroyer w/ Zimmerit - 3./schwere Panzerjager Abteilung 653, Eastern Front, 1944 German Sd. Kfz. 184 Elefant Tank Destroyer w/ Zimmerit - 3./schwere Panzerjager Abteilung 653, Eastern Front, 1944 (1:72 Scale)

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.

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German Sd. Kfz. 234/2 Puma 8-Wheeled Armored Car - 11.SS Freiwilling Panzer Grenadier Division Nordland, Narva, Estonia, 1944 German Sd. Kfz. 234/2 Puma 8-Wheeled Armored Car - 11.SS Freiwilling Panzer Grenadier Division "Nordland", Narva, Estonia, 1944 (1:72 Scale)

On August 5th, 1940, an order was given to design an eight-wheeled armored car similar in design to the Sd. Kfz. 231. Unlike the previous design, where the armored body was bolted to the chassis, the Sd. Kfz. 234 armored hull was to serve as the chassis, thereby strengthening the overall integrity of the vehicle.

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German Nashorn Self-Propelled Heavy Howitzer - Red Heart, 3./schwere Panzerjager Abteilung 88, Eastern Front, Autumn 1944 German Sd. Kfz. 164 Nashorn Self-Propelled Heavy Howitzer - "Red Heart", 3./schwere Panzerjager Abteilung 88, Eastern Front, Autumn 1944 (1:72 Scale)

In an effort to get sizeable numbers of tank destroyers into service along the Eastern Front, the Waffenant embarked upon a series of hurried improvizations throughout 1942-43. Eventually, a special weapons-carrier vehicle based on the PzKpfw IV chassis was developed, which was adapted to take the 8.8cm PaK 43 gun.

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German Sd. Kfz. 251/10 Ausf. D Half-Track with 3.7cm PaK Gun - Panzer Grenadier Regiment 9 Germania, 5.SS Panzer Division Wiking, Poland, 1944 German Sd. Kfz. 251/10 Ausf. D Half-Track with 3.7cm PaK Gun - Panzer Grenadier Regiment 9 'Germania', 5.SS Panzer Division 'Wiking', Poland, 1944 (1:72 Scale)

The Sonderkraftfahrzeug (Sd. Kfz.) 251 half-track had its origins in the same requirement as the smaller and lighter Sd. Kfz. 250. Intended as an armored personnel carrier, the Sd. Kfz. 251 entered service in 1939, and quickly became the standard means of transport for the panzergrenadiers.

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German Sd. Kfz. 167 Sturmgeschutz IV Assault Gun - StuG Brigade 912, Kurland, Latvia, 1944 German Sd. Kfz. 167 Sturmgeschutz IV Assault Gun - StuG Brigade 912, Kurland, Latvia, 1944 (1:72 Scale)

The German Sturmgeschutz (StuG) was one of the most successful armored fighting vehicles of the Second World War. It arose from an original concept of the pre-war panzer divisions, whereby a special vehicle for infantry support work was planned.

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Russian T-34/85 Medium Tank - Unidentified Unit, Eastern Front, 1944 Russian T-34/85 Medium Tank - Unidentified Unit, Eastern Front, 1944 (1:72 Scale)

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.

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German Nashorn Self-Propelled Heavy Howitzer - Red Heart, 3./schwere Panzerjager Abteilung 88, Eastern Front, Autumn 1944 German Sd. Kfz. 164 Nashorn Self-Propelled Heavy Howitzer - "Red Heart", 3./schwere Panzerjager Abteilung 88, Eastern Front, Autumn 1944 (1:72 Scale)

In an effort to get sizeable numbers of tank destroyers into service along the Eastern Front, the Waffenant embarked upon a series of hurried improvizations throughout 1942-43. Eventually, a special weapons-carrier vehicle based on the PzKpfw IV chassis was developed, which was adapted to take the 8.8cm PaK 43 gun.

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German Sd. Kfz. 181 PzKpfw VI Tiger I Ausf. E Heavy Tank with Zimmerit - 3./schwere Panzer Abteilung 501, Red 311, Eastern Front, 1944 German Sd. Kfz. 181 PzKpfw VI Tiger I Ausf. E Heavy Tank with Zimmerit - 'Red 311', 3./schwere Panzer Abteilung 501, Eastern Front, 1944 (1:72 Scale)

The Ausf. E mounted a huge 8.8cm KwK36 L/56 cannon and featured two MG34 machine guns for close support against enemy infantry. By war's end, 1,354 vehicles had been produced, some rolling off the Wegmann assembly line.

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German Early Production Sd. Kfz. 165 Hummel Self-Propelled Howitzer - 4.Panzer Division, Eastern Front, 1944 German Early Production Sd. Kfz. 165 Hummel Self-Propelled Howitzer - 4.Panzer Division, Eastern Front, 1944 (1:72 Scale)

The Hummel ("Bumble-Bee") was to be a mere 'Zwischenlosung' (interim solution) until a chassis designed specifically as a self-propelled gun platform could be developed and mass produced. By May 12th 1943, 100 Hummel were to be built for use in the planned summer offensive against the Red Army, code-named "Operation Zitadelle".

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German Sd. Kfz. 166 Sturmpanzer IV Brummbar Assault Gun - Eastern Front, 1944 German Sd. Kfz. 166 Sturmpanzer IV Brummbar Assault Gun - Eastern Front, 1944 (1:72 Scale)

The Sturmpanzer (a.k.a. Brummbar or "Grizzly Bear") was developed by Alkett, who designed the superstructure, and Krupp, who modified their PzKpfw IV chassis to accomodate the design changes. After seeing Alkett's plans on October 20, 1942, Hitler demanded that forty to sixty production models be built as quickly as possible.

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German Sd. Kfz. 166 Sturmpanzer IV Brummbar Assault Gun - Eastern Front, 1944 German Sd. Kfz. 166 Sturmpanzer IV Brummbar Assault Gun - Eastern Front, 1944 (1:72 Scale)

The Sturmpanzer (a.k.a. Brummbar or "Grizzly Bear") was developed by Alkett, who designed the superstructure, and Krupp, who modified their PzKpfw IV chassis to accomodate the design changes. After seeing Alkett's plans on October 20, 1942, Hitler demanded that forty to sixty production models be built as quickly as possible.

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German Sd. Kfz. 167 Sturmgeschutz IV Assault Gun - Unidentified Unit, Eastern Front, 1944 German Sd. Kfz. 167 Sturmgeschutz IV Assault Gun - Unidentified Unit, Eastern Front, 1944 (1:72 Scale)

The German Sturmgeschutz (StuG) was one of the most successful armored fighting vehicles of the Second World War. It arose from an original concept of the pre-war panzer divisions, whereby a special vehicle for infantry support work was planned.

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German Sd. Kfz. 167 Sturmgeschutz IV Assault Gun - Unidentified Unit, Eastern Front, Autumn 1944 German Sd. Kfz. 167 Sturmgeschutz IV Assault Gun - Unidentified Unit, Eastern Front, Autumn 1944 (1:72 Scale)

The German Sturmgeschutz (StuG) was one of the most successful armored fighting vehicles of the Second World War. It arose from an original concept of the pre-war panzer divisions, whereby a special vehicle for infantry support work was planned.

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German Sd. Kfz. 162/1 Jagdpanzer IV L/70 Tank Destroyer - Unidentified Unit, Eastern Front, 1944 German Sd. Kfz. 162/1 Jagdpanzer IV L/70 Tank Destroyer - Unidentified Unit, Eastern Front, 1944 (1:72 Scale)

The Jagdpanzer IV L/70 (A) Zwischenlosung was the last tank to enter service with the Wehrmacht in September 1944. Essentially, German tank designers placed a Jagdpanzer IV turret on a Panzer IV chassis then fitted it with a powerful 75mm L/70(A) gun. The Zwischenlosung proved to be an excellent tank killer even though only 278 vehicles were built by war's end.

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German Sd. Kfz. 184 Elefant Heavy Tank Destroyer with Zimmerit - Unidentified Unit, Poland, 1944 German Sd. Kfz. 184 Elefant Heavy Tank Destroyer with Zimmerit - Unidentified Unit, Poland, 1944 (1:72 Scale)

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.

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German Sd. Kfz. 181 PzKpfw VI Tiger I Ausf. E Heavy Tank - Unidentified Unit, Eastern Front, 1944 German Sd. Kfz. 181 PzKpfw VI Tiger I Ausf. E Heavy Tank - Unidentified Unit, Eastern Front, 1944 (1:72 Scale)

The Ausf. E mounted a huge 8.8cm KwK36 L/56 cannon and featured two MG34 machine guns for close support against enemy infantry. By war's end, 1,354 vehicles had been produced, some rolling off the Wegmann assembly line.

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