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The Invasion of Russia (June 1941 - December 1941)

The Invasion of Russia (June 1941 - December 1941)

Operation Barbarossa (German: Unternehmen Barbarossa) was the code name for Nazi Germany's invasion of the Soviet Union during World War II that began on June 22nd, 1941. Over 4.5 million troops of the Axis powers invaded the USSR along a 2,900 km (1,800 mile) front. It was the largest military offensive in history. In addition to the large number of troops, it also involved 600,000 motor vehicles and 750,000 horses. Planning for Operation Barbarossa started on December 18th, 1940; the secret preparations and the military operation itself lasted almost a year, from spring to winter 1941.

Barbarossa's operational goal was the rapid conquest of the European part of the Soviet Union west of a line connecting the cities of Arkhangelsk and Astrakhan, often called the A-A line (see the translation of Hitler's directive for details). At its end in January 1942, the Red Army had repelled the Wehrmacht's strongest blow. Adolf Hitler had not achieved the expected victory, but the Soviet Union's situation remained dire. Tactically, the Germans had won some resounding victories and occupied some of the most important economic areas of the country, mainly in Ukraine. Despite these successes, the Germans were pushed back from Moscow and could never mount an offensive simultaneously along the entire strategic Soviet-German front again.

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Soviet BA-64 Light Armored Car Soviet BA-64 Light Armored Car (1:72 Scale)

The BA-64 is a small, lightly armoured, four-wheeled Soviet scout car. It can carry a Degtyaryov machine gun or PTRD anti-tank rifles. Nicknamed Bobik (a popular dog name/nickname) by Red Army crews, the vehicle has been widely exported.

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Soviet Kliment Voroshilov KV-1 Heavy Tank - Summer Camouflage Soviet Kliment Voroshilov KV-1 Heavy Tank - Summer Camouflage (1:72 Scale)

Design on the KV-1 heavy tank began in 1938, with the intention that it should be the successor to the T-35 heavy tank. The first models of the KV-1 were field-tested during the Red Army's disastrous 1940 campaign in Finland.

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Soviet Kliment Voroshilov KV-2 Heavy Tank - Summer Camouflage Soviet Kliment Voroshilov KV-2 Heavy Tank - Summer Camouflage (1:72 Scale)

Design on the KV-1 heavy tank began in 1938, with the intention that it should be the successor to the T-35 heavy tank. The first models of the KV-1 were field-tested during the Red Army's disastrous 1940 campaign in Finland.

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Soviet T-28 Medium Tank - Summer Camouflage Soviet T-28 Medium Tank - Summer Camouflage (1:72 Scale)

The Soviet T-28 was a multi-turreted tank that was among the world's first medium tanks. The prototype was completed in 1931, and production began in late 1932.

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Soviet BT-7 Light Tank Soviet BT-7 Light Tank (1:72 Scale)

In January 1933, the Kharkovskij Parovozostroitelnij Zavod (KhPZ - Kharkov Locomotive Factory) was ordered to develop a new tank. It was supposed to correct some of the problems manifested in its predecessors thanks to its all-new M-17 engine, which was deemed more reliable and more powerful than the M-5 engine already used for the BT-2 and BT-5 tanks.

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Soviet BA-20 Armored Car - Winter Camouflage Soviet BA-20 Armored Car - Winter Camouflage (1:72 Scale)

The BA-20 (Russian: Broneavtomobil 20) was an armored car developed in the Soviet Union in 1934. It was intended to replace the FAI and its field trials were completed in 1935.

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Soviet FAI Armored Car - Summer Camouflage Soviet FAI Armored Car - Summer Camouflage (1:72 Scale)

The FAI (Ford-A Izhorskiy) armoured car was a replacement for the D-8 armoured car, used by the Soviet Union from the early 1930s to early 1940s.

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Soviet T-40 Amphibious Scout Tank - Winter Camouflage Soviet T-40 Amphibious Scout Tank - Winter Camouflage (1:72 Scale)

The T-40 amphibious scout tank was an amphibious light tank used by the Soviet Union during World War II.

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Soviet Kliment Voroshilov KV-1 Heavy Tank - Winter Camouflage Soviet Kliment Voroshilov KV-1 Heavy Tank - Winter Camouflage (1:72 Scale)

Design on the KV-1 heavy tank began in 1938, with the intention that it should be the successor to the T-35 heavy tank. The first models of the KV-1 were field-tested during the Red Army's disastrous 1940 campaign in Finland.

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Captured German T-34/76 Medium Tank - 6.Panzer Division, Kaluga, Eastern Front, 1941 Captured German T-34/76 Medium Tank - 6.Panzer Division, Kaluga, Eastern Front, 1941 (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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Soviet T-34/76 Medium Tank - 1st Moscow Motorized Rifle Division, July 1941 Soviet T-34/76 Medium Tank - 1st Moscow Motorized Rifle Division, July 1941 (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 PzKpfw 38(t) Ausf. F Medium Tank - Panzer Regiment 25, 7.Panzer Division, Heersgruppe Mitte, Berezina River Sector, Russia, July 1941 German PzKpfw 38(t) Ausf. F Medium Tank - Panzer Regiment 25, 7.Panzer Division, Heersgruppe Mitte, Berezina River Sector, Russia, July 1941 (1:72 Scale)

Through the invasion of Czechoslovakia the Germans got a reasonable tank in the LT-35, but they also got a better tank in the LT-38, otherwise known as the TNHP-8 or, in German service, as the PzKpfw 38(t) (t=tschechoslowakish). The LT-38 shared many features with the LT-35, like riveted and bolted armor (weaker than welded armor), the same crew and high silhouette.

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Soviet KV-85 Heavy Tank - "Order of the Red Banner" Soviet KV-85 Heavy Tank - "Order of the Red Banner" (1:72 Scale)

The Kliment Voroshilov (KV) tanks were a series of Soviet heavy tanks, named after the Soviet defense commissar and politician Kliment Voroshilov. At the time of the German invasion of the Soviet Union in World War II, these were amongst the large number of Soviet tanks that were superior to German tanks.

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Soviet KV-85 Heavy Tank - "5215" Soviet KV-85 Heavy Tank - "5215" (1:72 Scale)

The Kliment Voroshilov (KV) tanks were a series of Soviet heavy tanks, named after the Soviet defense commissar and politician Kliment Voroshilov. At the time of the German invasion of the Soviet Union in World War II, these were amongst the large number of Soviet tanks that were superior to German tanks.

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Captured Sd. Kfz. 161 PzKpfw IV Ausf. E Medium Tank Captured Sd. Kfz. 161 PzKpfw IV Ausf. E Medium Tank (1:72 Scale)

Just one month prior to the commencement of "Operation Typhoon" (the German assault on Moscow) the Waffenamt was scheduled to begin installing the long-barreled 7.5cm KwK gun on its new Mark IV Ausf G tanks.

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Soviet T-26 Model 1932 Light Tank Soviet T-26 Model 1932 Light Tank (1:72 Scale)

The T-26 was a light tank used by the Soviet Union from the 1930s until World War II. It was based on the British Vickers 6-Ton tank, widely considered one of the most successful designs of the 1930s.

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Soviet T-26 Model 1931 Light Tank Soviet T-26 Model 1931 Light Tank (1:72 Scale)

The T-26 was a light tank used by the Soviet Union from the 1930s until World War II. It was based on the British Vickers 6-Ton tank, widely considered one of the most successful designs of the 1930s.

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Soviet T-50 Light Infantry Tank Soviet T-50 Light Infantry Tank (1:72 Scale)

The T-50 was a light infantry tank built by the Soviet Union at the beginning of World War II. The design for this vehicle had some advanced features, but was complicated and expensive, and only a short production run of 69 tanks was completed.

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German VW-166 Schwimmwagen - Eastern Front, 1941 [EDG Packaging] German VW-166 Schwimmwagen - Eastern Front, 1941 [EDG Packaging] (1:43 Scale)

Built by Volkswagen, the simple yet reliable Kubelwagen ("bucket car") was the German equivalent of the American Jeep. This nimble four-seater, based on Ferdinand Porsche's original "People's Car" design of the 1930's, used the same rear-mounted, aircooled engine to drive the rear wheels.

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Soviet GAZ 67B Staff Vehicle - Eastern Front, 1941 Soviet GAZ 67B Staff Vehicle - Eastern Front, 1941 [EDG Packaging] (1:43 Scale)

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.

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German Horch 108 Type 1A Command Car with 10.5cm le FE 18M Cannon German Horch 108 Type 1A Command Car with 10.5cm le FE 18M Cannon (1:72 Scale)

One of the problems presented by the original policy of purchasing commercially based vehicles for military usage was the vast diversity of makes taken on to the inventory, and the associated maintenance and spares supply problem. Different makes of engine, transmission, chassis, and so on meant that the stock of spares needed was immense.

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Soviet T-34/76 Medium Tank - Unidentified Unit, Eastern Front, 1941 Soviet T-34/76 Medium Tank - Unidentified Unit, Eastern Front, 1941 (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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Soviet Kliment Voroshilov KV-2 Heavy Tank - For Stalin!, Russia, Autumn 1941 Soviet Kliment Voroshilov KV-2 Heavy Tank - "For Stalin!", Russia, Autumn 1941 (1:72 Scale)

Design on the KV-1 heavy tank began in 1938, with the intention that it should be the successor to the T-35 heavy tank. The first models of the KV-1 were field-tested during the Red Army's disastrous 1940 campaign in Finland.

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Soviet Kliment Voroshilov KV-1E Ehkranami Tank - Crush the Fascist Vipers, 86th Tank Battalion, Leningrad Front, September 1941 Soviet Kliment Voroshilov KV-1E 'Ehkranami' Heavy Tank - "Crush the Fascist Vipers", 86th Tank Battalion, Leningrad Front, September 1941 (1:72 Scale)

Design on the KV-1 heavy tank began in 1938, with the intention that it should be the successor to the T-35 heavy tank. The first models of the KV-1 were field-tested during the Red Army's disastrous 1940 campaign in Finland.

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Soviet Kliment Voroshilov KV-1B Heavy Tank - 124th Guards Tank Brigade, Leningrad, 1941 Soviet Kliment Voroshilov KV-1B Heavy Tank - 124th Guards Tank Brigade, Leningrad, 1941 (1:72 Scale)

Design on the KV-1 heavy tank began in 1938, with the intention that it should be the successor to the T-35 heavy tank. The first models of the KV-1 were field-tested during the Red Army's disastrous 1940 campaign in Finland.

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German Sd. Kfz. 251/7 Ausf. C Half-Track - Unidentified Unit, Operation Barbarossa, Eastern Front, 1941 German Sd. Kfz. 251/7 Ausf. C Half-Track - Unidentified Unit, Operation Barbarossa, Eastern Front, 1941 (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 Horch 108 Type 1A Command Car - Unidentified Unit, European Theatre of Operations, 1941 German Horch 108 Type 1A Command Car - Unidentified Unit, European Theatre of Operations, 1941 (1:72 Scale)

One of the problems presented by the original policy of purchasing commercially based vehicles for military usage was the vast diversity of makes taken on to the inventory, and the associated maintenance and spares supply problem. Different makes of engine, transmission, chassis, and so on meant that the stock of spares needed was immense.

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German Opel Blitz Cargo Truck with 2cm FLaK Gun on Portee Mount - Luftwaffe FLaK Abteilung 74, Russia, 1941 German Opel Blitz Cargo Truck with 2cm FLaK Gun on Portee Mount - Luftwaffe FLaK Abteilung 74, Russia, 1941 (1:72 Scale)

The 3-ton Opel "Blitz" truck was the Wehrmacht's principal general-purpose truck during the Second World War. The engine was a water-cooled, straight-six OHV gasoline unit of 3.6 liters that was fueled by a 21.6 gallon gasoline tank situated under the driver's seat.

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German Opel Blitz Ambulance Truck - Sanitatsabteilung (Medical Detachment), 30.Infanterie Divison, Russia, Autumn 1941 German Opel Blitz Ambulance Truck - Sanitatsabteilung (Medical Detachment), 30.Infanterie Divison, Russia, Autumn 1941 (1:72 Scale)

The 3-ton Opel "Blitz" truck was the Wehrmacht's principal general-purpose truck during the Second World War. The engine was a water-cooled, straight-six OHV gasoline unit of 3.6 liters that was fueled by a 21.6 gallon gasoline tank situated under the driver's seat.

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German Opel Blitz Cargo Truck - Pioniere Abteilung 18, 18.Infanterie Division, Lithuania, June 1941 German Opel Blitz Cargo Truck - Pioniere Abteilung 18, 18.Infanterie Division, Lithuania, June 1941 (1:72 Scale)

The 3-ton Opel "Blitz" truck was the Wehrmacht's principal general-purpose truck during the Second World War. The engine was a water-cooled, straight-six OHV gasoline unit of 3.6 liters that was fueled by a 21.6 gallon gasoline tank situated under the driver's seat.

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