28 January 2013

German Soldier Playing With a Cat

Image size: 1380 x 1600 pixel. 446 KB
Date: Thursday, 16 July 1942
Place: Voronezh, Voronezh Oblast, Soviet Union
Photographer: Unknown

Rare photo of German soldier with cat from inside Sd.Kfz.250/1. This vehicle possibly belong to the 2.Kompanie/Kradschützen (motorcycle) Bataillon/Infanterie-Division "Großdeutschland" (before they became 2.Kompanie/Panzer-Aufklärungsabteilung/Panzergrenadier-Division "Großdeutschland"). This picture is quite rare because for the first time it shows what the MG mount actually looks like! it appears to be an early MG 34 mount in an Sd.Kfz.250 and also used in the 251. It would have its advantages in long range accurate fire but be a hazard in close defense. The optics arrangement is interesting. The periscope for the sight appears the same as that used in the Richtkries 31, also the 250/3 had the radios and these are not in the usual 'tubular' rack. The time of this picture was taken is more interesting: it looks like mid war 1942-43 but seems to be the soldier is wearing a M43 type shirt with straight pocket flaps and plain pockets, which was generally only seen from 1944... But the unprotected MG mount would put it back to a 251/1 Ausf.A, Polish/France campaign! This is a strange one indeed. Grey shirts with collars were not issued till around 1942 to infantry/panzergrenadier etc. They were issued with the white collarless shirt up to that period. You can see the figure in the background wearing the standard issue white collarless shirt. Best Guess if this is early war, and it must be a privately acquired shirt. This Lafette type was occasionally used throughout the war. It was a bit similar arrangement as the Lafette of the heavy MG (MG34/MG42). What if the shirt is not German at all? The shade is lighter than colour of his Hosen could be a even a Russian shirt! German army collar shirts had very long pointed collars, this one does not, so it might be captured stock from some other army. At the front, troops indeed wore whole variety of different clothing, also officially. GJ (Gebirgsjäger) Truppen were in the beginning allowed to wear civvie Berghosen and Schuhe. Early winters troops received a lot of winter clothing collected via Winterhilfe. No wonder there were mismatch items everywhere. At garrison duty it was a whole other case (possible even right behind the frontline).


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