Tamiya TAM26535 Russian GAZ 67B Staff Vehicle - Summer Camouflage (1:48 Scale)
"By powerful artillery fire, air strikes, and a wave of attacking tanks, we're supposed to swiftly crush the enemy."
- Marshal Georgi K. Zhukov
In 1938, with the start of World War II looming, the Russian Automobile Co., GAZ, started the development and production of 4x4 vehicles for the Russian Army. Their first model was the GAZ 61, designed to fill the same needs as the Bantam BRC40 jeep built in Butler, PA by the Americans.
The next model, the GAZ 64, was directly inspired by the American Bantam BRC-40, Ford GP, and Willys MA prototypes. Design similarities include; headlight mounting, the cut of the doorway openings, fender openings, seat design, steering wheel, and canvas top and top bow supports, and 1/2 doors. The power train more resembles the Ford Model A than the WWII jeeps. Ford Motor Co had actually entered into a contract and built a Ford Automobile and Truck production plant in Russia.
In 1943, the WWII Soviet GAZ 67 4x4 Staff Vehicle came into production with several improvements. Production of the GAZ-67 was begun on September 23rd, 1943 and ended in the fall of 1953. All told, 92,843 were produced. From the 2nd half of World War II until the Korean War, the GAZ 67 was the Soviet Union's version of the American Willys Jeep. Sold Out!
Length: 3 inches
Width: 1.5 inches
Release Date: February 2009
Historical Account: "Salvation" - The Red Army had begun planning for their own summer offensives for 1943, and had settled on a plan that mirrored that of the German assault at Kursk. Attacks in front of Orel and Kharkov would flatten out the line, and potentially lead to a breakout near the Pripyat Marshes. However, Soviet commanders had considerable concerns over the German plans.
All previous German attacks had left the Soviets guessing where it would come from, but in this case Kursk seemed obvious for the Germans to attack. Moscow received warning of the German plans through the Lucy spy ring in Switzerland. This was almost unnecessary, since Marshal Zhukov had already correctly predicted the site of the German attack as early as April 8th, when he wrote his initial report to Stavka (the Soviet General Staff), in which he also recommended the strategy eventually followed by the Red Army.
Stalin and a handful of Stavka officers wanted to strike first. The pattern of the war up until this point had been one of German offensive success. Blitzkrieg had worked against all opposing armies, including the Soviets'. None had succeeded in stopping a German breakthrough. On the other hand, Soviet offensive actions during both winters showed their own offensives now worked well. However, the overwhelming majority of Stavka members, most notably Zhukov himself, advised waiting for the Germans to exhaust themselves, first. Zhukov's opinion swayed the argument.
The German delay in launching their offensive gave the Soviets four months in which to prepare, and with every passing day they turned the salient into one of the most heavily defended points on earth. The Red Army and thousands of civilians laid about one million land mines and dug about 5000km (3000mi) of trenches, to a depth of 175km (95mi). In addition, they massed a huge army of their own, including some 1,300,000 men, 3,600 tanks, 20,000 artillery pieces and 2,400 aircraft. The Red Army could build up forces faster than the Germans; each month they pulled further ahead in men and material.
Many of the troops assigned to the defense of the salient were recent veterans of Stalingrad, but the Red Army also added over one million new men to its ranks in the first half of 1943. Thus, the Soviet Army was larger than in 1942, even after the losses at Stalingrad. The long delay between the identification of the likely site of the German attack and the beginning of the offensive gave the new units an unusually long time to train, training that would become exceedingly important in the battle to come.