A Russian Scout – 1944

A Russian Scout – 1944

Sergeant M. Katasonov scout 372nd Infantry Division, wielding a PPSh-41 sub-machine gun – one of the approximately 1.5 million produced by the Soviet Union during WWII.

The PPSh-41 is a classic example of a design adapted for mass production (other examples of such wartime design are the M3 submachine gun, MP40, PPS, and the Sten). Aside from the barrel, its parts could be made by a relatively unskilled workforce with simple equipment available in an auto repair garage or tin shop, freeing more skilled workers for other tasks. The PPSh-41 uses 87 components and could be manufactured with an estimated 7.3 machining hours.
Barrel production was often simplified by using barrels for the 7.62mm M1891 Mosin–Nagant rifle, cut in half and two PPSh barrels were made from it after machining the chamber for the 7.62mm Soviet submachine gun cartridge.
German Troops Enjoying Their Fire – Ardennes Forest 44/45

German Troops Enjoying Their Fire – Ardennes Forest 44/45

Deep in the Ardennes forest a Panther crew and some German infantry enjoy the warmth of their fire during “Operation Watch on the Rhine” – Hitler’s last gamble to halt the Allies in the west, hoping to force them to the negotiating table.

Despite early successes, the battle of the bulge failed in almost all of its objectives.  Running out of fuel a kilometer before the largest fuel dump in Europe, not being able to dislodge the US troops at Bastogne – all of these small failures compounded and ended up costing the German’s deeply, by the time the bulge was squeezed out many precious tanks and vehicles had been abandoned, countless lives had been wasted and nothing had been gained.