29 October 2013

Panoramic View of the Battle of Vyazma

Image size: 1600 x 981 pixel. 286 KB
Date: Thursday, 2 October 1941
Place: Vyazma, Smolensk Oblast, Soviet Union
Photographer: Helmut Ritgen

A distant but fascinating photograph of the fighting of 2 October 1941, which repays close study. In the right foreground is a Soviet freight train overrun on the tracks - note two locomotives, one facing forward, the other to the rear. In the background several buildings are on fire, and the sky is black with smoke from an oil dump. In the left and centre background, Panzerkampfwagen 35(t) tanks in company strength may be seen advancing under fire. Following the Battle of the Ukraine, the German High Command was ready to resume the offensive against Moscow. General Hopner's Panzer Gruppe had been sent from Leningrad and General Hoth and General Guderian's Panzer armies were ready to challenge the last of the USSR's great armies: the Thirty-Second and Third. The Panzers had no trouble breaking through. Guderian took Orel in the first week of October and Hoepner forced Konev's Western Front into the path of the infantry of Generals Kluge and Strauss. In the north of this sector Hoth broke through to the south and took Vyazma. This meant that there were two pockets and 650,000 men were trapped. After some fierce fighting the Soviet Third Army at Vyazma surrendered on the 14 October and the Thirty-Second at Bryansk surrendered on the 20 October.

Helmut Ritgen photo collection
Book "The 6th Panzer Division: 1937-45" by Oberst a.D. Helmut Ritgen

1 comment:

  1. Great additions! I ve just recently discovered this blog and I absolutely love it. Keep up the great work.
    oh and its czech? super! :)
    best regards