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Kharkov: The Backhand Blow (January 1942 - May 1942)

Kharkov: The Backhand Blow (January 1942 - May 1942)

The Second Battle of Kharkov, so named by Wilhelm Keitel, was an Axis counteroffensive against the Red Army Izium bridgehead offensive conducted from May 12th to May 28th, 1942, on the Eastern Front during World War II. Its objective was to eliminate the Izium bridgehead over Seversky Donets, or the "Barvenkovo bulge" which was one of the Soviet offensive's staging areas. After a successful winter counteroffensive that had driven German troops away from Moscow, but also depleted the Red Army's reserves, the Kharkov offensive was a new Soviet attempt to expand upon their strategic initiative, although it failed to secure a significant element of surprise.

On May 12th, 1942, Soviet forces under the command of Marshal Semyon Timoshenko launched an offensive against the German 6th Army from a salient established during the winter counteroffensive. After initial promising signs, the offensive was stopped by German counterattacks. Critical errors by several staff officers and by Joseph Stalin himself, who failed to accurately estimate the 6th Army's potential and overestimated their own newly-trained forces, led to a successful German pincer attack cutting off advancing Soviet troops from the rest of the front.

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Soviet Matilda Mk. II Infantry Tank - Summer Camouflage Soviet Matilda Mk. II Infantry Tank - Summer Camouflage (1:72 Scale)

The Matilda Mark I was developed in response to a 1934 requirement for a close-support infantry tank. Well armored for its day, it was, nevertheless, a small, simple tank. Despite being sturdy enough to withstand hits from most German tank guns in the early stages of WWII, it was too poorly armed to be of much use as the war progressed.

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Soviet M3 Lee Medium Tank - Summer Camouflage Soviet M3 Lee Medium Tank - Summer Camouflage (1:72 Scale)

Designed as a stopgap measure until the M4 Sherman tank could come on line, the M3 General Grant medium tank saw action in the North African campaign with both US and British forces battling the Afrika Korps. The M3 tank was unusual because it mounted two large caliber weapons in the body of the vehicle.

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Captured German T-34/76 Medium Tank in Winter Camouflage - 94.Infanterie Division, Eastern Front, 1942 Captured German T-34/76 Medium Tank in Winter Camouflage - 94.Infanterie Division, Eastern Front, 1942 (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 Guards Tank Brigade, Moscow, 1942 Soviet T-34/76 Medium Tank - 1st Guards Tank Brigade, Moscow, 1942 (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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British Army Bedford OY 3-Ton GS Truck - Luftwaffe, Eastern Front British Army Bedford OY 3-Ton GS Truck - Luftwaffe, Eastern Front (1:76 Scale)

The Bedford OY is an army lorry (truck) built by Bedford Vehicles for the British Armed Forces and introduced in 1939. It was based on Bedford's O-series commercial vehicles with a modified front end and single rear tyres. It was designed for a 3 ton payload.

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German Sd. Kfz. 141 PzKpfw III Ausf. G Medium Tank German Sd. Kfz. 141 PzKpfw III Ausf. G Medium Tank (1:72 Scale)

As early as 1934/35, General Heinz Guderian envisioned two basic types of armor to act as the lead elements of the future German Panzer Divisions. The first vehicle was to be armed with an anti-tank gun and two machine guns while the second one was to be a support vehicle, armed with a larger caliber gun.

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German Opel Blitz Truck - Winter Camouflage German Opel Blitz Truck - Winter Camouflage (1:43 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 Krauss-Maffei Sd. Kfz. 7/1 Prime Mover with Sd.Ah. 51 Trailer - 24.Panzer Division, Don Sector, Russia, 1942 German Krauss-Maffei Sd. Kfz. 7/1 Prime Mover with Sd.Ah. 51 Trailer - 24.Panzer Division, Don Sector, Russia, 1942 (1:72 Scale)

Development of the Sd. Kfz. 7 can be traced back to a 1934 requirement for an 8-ton half-track. The vehicle first appeared in 1938 and was destined to be used mainly as the tractor for the 8.8cm flak gun. The Sd. Kfz. 7 was an extremely useful vehicle, employed both as a weapons carrier and prime mover by the Wehrmacht.

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German Krauss-Maffei Sd. Kfz. 7/1 Prime Mover with Sd.Ah. 51 Trailer - 24.Panzer Division, Don River Sector, Russia, 1942 German Krauss-Maffei Sd. Kfz. 7/1 Prime Mover with Sd.Ah. 51 Trailer - 24.Panzer Division, Don River Sector, Russia, 1942 (1:72 Scale)

Development of the Sd. Kfz. 7 can be traced back to a 1934 requirement for an 8-ton half-track. The vehicle first appeared in 1938 and was destined to be used mainly as the tractor for the 8.8cm flak gun. The Sd. Kfz. 7 was an extremely useful vehicle, employed both as a weapons carrier and prime mover by the Wehrmacht.

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German Sd. Kfz. 141 PzKpfw III Ausf. N Medium Tank - schwere Panzer Abteilung 502, Kelkolowo, Russia, 1942 German Sd. Kfz. 141 PzKpfw III Ausf. N Medium Tank - schwere Panzer Abteilung 502, Kelkolowo, Russia, 1942 (1:72 Scale)

As early as 1934/35, General Heinz Guderian envisioned two basic types of armor to act as the lead elements of the future German Panzer Divisions. The first vehicle was to be armed with an anti-tank gun and two machine guns while the second one was to be a support vehicle, armed with a larger caliber gun.

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German Sd. Kfz. 161 PzKpfw IV Ausf. G Medium Tank - 19.Panzer Division, Sgfonovo, Russia, 1942 German Sd. Kfz. 161 PzKpfw IV Ausf. G Medium Tank - 19.Panzer Division, Sgfonovo, Russia, 1942 (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-34/76 Mod. 1941 Medium Tank - Lazo, 116th Tank Brigade, Eastern Front, 1942 Soviet T-34/76 Mod. 1941 Medium Tank - "Lazo", 116th Tank Brigade, Eastern Front, 1942 (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 Mod 1941 Medium Tank - Defeat the Fascists, Eastern Front, 1942 Soviet T-34/76 Mod 1941 Medium Tank - "Defeat the Fascists", Eastern Front, 1942 (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 - 130th Tank Brigade, 2nd Tatsinskaya Guards Tank Corps, Russia, 1942 Soviet T-34/76 Medium Tank - 130th Tank Brigade, 2nd Tatsinskaya Guards Tank Corps, Russia, 1942 (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 - Kalinin Front, Russia, 1942 Soviet Kliment Voroshilov KV-2 Heavy Tank - Kalinin Front, Russia, 1942 (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 - Red 204, Demiansk, Russia, 1942 Soviet Kliment Voroshilov KV-1B Heavy Tank - "Red 204", Demiansk, Russia, 1942 (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. 251/2 Ausf. C Half-Track - Rivetted Version, 1942 German Sd. Kfz. 251/2 Ausf. C Half-Track - Rivetted Version, 1942 (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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EM010 German Sd. Kfz. 141 PzKpfw III Ausf. L Medium Tank - 16 Infanterie Division (Motorized), Voronezh, Russia, 1942 German Sd. Kfz. 141 PzKpfw III Ausf. L Medium Tank - 16.Infanterie Division (Motorized), Voronezh, Russia, 1942 (1:43 Scale)

As early as 1934/35, General Heinz Guderian envisioned two basic types of armor to act as the lead elements of the future German Panzer Divisions. The first vehicle was to be armed with an anti-tank gun and two machine guns while the second one was to be a support vehicle, armed with a larger caliber gun.

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German Sd. Kfz. 11 3-Ton Personnel Carrier / Prime Mover - Unidentified Unit, Crimea, Russia, 1942 German Sd. Kfz. 11 3-Ton Personnel Carrier / Prime Mover - Unidentified Unit, Crimea, Russia, 1942 (1:43 Scale)

The Sd.Kfz. 11 (Sonderkraftfahrzeug - special motorized vehicle) was a German half-track that saw very widespread use in World War II. Its main role was as a prime mover for medium towed guns ranging from the 3.7 cm FlaK 43 anti-aircraft gun up to the 10.5 cm leFH 18 field howitzer. It could carry eight troops in addition to towing a gun or trailer.

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German Opel Blitz 3-Ton Truck - "WL-346851", I/Jagdgeschwader 51 "Molders", 3 Staffel, Heeres Gruppe Mitte, Russia, August 1942 German Opel Blitz 3-Ton Truck - "WL-346851", I/Jagdgeschwader 51 "Molders", 3 Staffel, Heeres Gruppe Mitte, Russia, August 1942 (1:43 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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Soviet 203mm B-4 Heavy Howitzer - Battle of Berlin, 1945 Soviet 203mm B-4 Heavy Howitzer - Battle of Berlin, 1945 (1:72 Scale)

During World War II, the Russians did not waste any time in the manufacture of super-heavy artillery; they had an effective ground attack aircraft, the Sturmovik, which was directly under army control just as the Stuka dive-bomber was in the German Army, and this acted as the heavy artillery.

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Soviet T-34/76 Mod. 1941 Medium Tank - 1st Guards Armored Brigade, Eastern Front, 1942 Soviet T-34/76 Mod. 1941 Medium Tank - 1st Guards Armored Brigade, Eastern Front, 1942 (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 Mod 1941 Medium Tank - Unidentified Unit, Leningrad, 1942-43 Soviet T-34/76 Mod. 1941 Medium Tank - Unidentified Unit, Leningrad, 1942-'43 (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. 161 PzKpfw IV Ausf. F2 (G) Medium Tank - Panzer Abteilung 204, 22.Panzer Division, Russia, 1942 German Sd. Kfz. 161 PzKpfw IV Ausf. F2 (G) Medium Tank - Panzer Abteilung 204, 22.Panzer Division, Russia, 1942 (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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German Sd. Kfz. 161 PzKpfw IV Ausf. F2 (G) Medium Tank - Panzer Regiment 15, 11.Panzer Division, Russia, 1942 German Sd. Kfz. 161 PzKpfw IV Ausf. F2 (G) Medium Tank - Panzer Regiment 15, 11.Panzer Division, Russia, 1942 (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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German PzKpfw 38(t) Medium Tank - Panzer Regiment 25, 7.Panzer Division, Eastern Front, 1941 German PzKpfw 38(t) Medium Tank - Panzer Regiment 25, 7.Panzer Division, Eastern Front, 1942 (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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German Sd. Kfz. 161 PzKpfw IV Ausf. F1 Medium Tank - 14.Panzer Division, Russia, 1942 German Sd. Kfz. 161 PzKpfw IV Ausf. F1 Medium Tank - 14.Panzer Division, Russia, 1942 (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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German Sd. Kfz. 141 PzKpfw III Ausf. L Medium Tank - 3.Panzer Grenadier Division, Russia, 1942 German Sd. Kfz. 141 PzKpfw III Ausf. L Medium Tank - 3.Panzer Grenadier Division, Russia, 1942 (1:72 Scale)

As early as 1934/35, General Heinz Guderian envisioned two basic types of armor to act as the lead elements of the future German Panzer Divisions. The first vehicle was to be armed with an anti-tank gun and two machine guns while the second one was to be a support vehicle, armed with a larger caliber gun.

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Royal Hungarian Army Kfz. 70 Krupp Protze 6x4 Cargo Truck - 2nd Army, Don River, Russia, 1942 Royal Hungarian Army Kfz. 70 Krupp Protze 6x4 Cargo Truck - 2nd Army, Don River, Russia, 1942 (1:43 Scale)

The Krupp Protze Kfz. 69 was a light cross-country truck that was developed by Krupp AG in 1930. Delivered to the German national defence forces in 1933, it helped form the concept of motorized units for both the army and the air force and was very popular with the troops due to its good driving characteristics.

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Lim. Ed. Soviet T-34/76 Medium Tank - 116th Tank Brigade, Spring 1942 Limited Edition Soviet T-34/76 Medium Tank - 116th Tank Brigade, Spring 1942 (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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