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German Winter Morale

The problems of German troop morale during the harsh winters of the Eastern Front — translation of German Taschenbuch für den Winterkrieg, August 1942 from the U.S. wartime publication German Winter Warfare, Special Series, No. 18, Military Intelligence Division, U.S. War Department, December 1943.

6. MORALE

a. General

The coming winter will again severely tax the spiritual stamina of the soldier. All suitable means commensurate with the situation and combat conditions will be employed to bolster his inner resilience. The example of the soldier, especially the officer who has proved himself in all situations, is a determining factor in maintaining the morale of the troops. Eagerness for action and good discipline must be maintained, especially behind the lines. Prerequisites in assuring morale are consideration for the welfare of troops, tolerable shelter, and adequate provisions. Winter equipment, lighting facilities, and fuel must be procured in advance or substitutes provided. Important! Stimulate the initiative of troops. Shows should be staged and soldiers encouraged to participate in them. Intelligent organization of spare time is the best means of preventing useless brooding, rumor-mongering, and disciplinary offenses.

The welfare of troops in the lines has priority. Morale-building supplies for the front must actually reach the front lines. There must be no pigeonholing in depots, railroad stations, headquarters, or orderly rooms. Checks against delay must be made continually. Commanders and headquarters must be in constant communication with field offices of the High Command of the Armed Forces.

b. Recreational Aids

(1) Reading material.–Do not leave newspapers lying around. Newspapers, bulletins, and magazines must reach the front fast. There the soldier is waiting for recent news. Papers of occupied territories should be sent forward because they do not have to be transported far. Front papers of field armies also serve the purpose of inculcating combat doctrine in troops.

Exchange of library kits between battalions and regiments should be encouraged. Field library kits of the Army Book Service (Heeresbücherei) are exclusively for front-line troops. Rear echelons and higher headquarters are normally equipped with Rosenberg libraries.

“Information for Troops” (Mitteilungen für die Truppe) continues to be distributed through the Army Postal Service (Feldpost) to divisions, two copies per unit. Report immediately any failure to receive copies. This also applies to “Information for the Officer Corps” (Mitteilungen für das Offizierkorps).

(2) Lectures.–Important lectures by speakers from the High Command of the Armed Forces are possible only under quiet conditions and after long preparation. Lectures by members of units on general cultural subjects (history, geography, travel, economics, engineering, fine arts) have been successful even in small units. The units themselves have good men for this purpose!

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Ju 87 B-2 with Ski Landing Gear

Ju 87 B-2 Stuka Dive Bomber with Ski Landing Gear WW2

Original Caption: Sowjetunion.- Feldflugplatz im Schnee. Wartung/Reparatur eines Flugzeugs Junkers Ju 87 auf Schneekufen; KBK Lw 4, Russia, 22 December 1941, Photographer: W. Wanderer. File is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Germany license. Attribution: Bundesarchiv, Bild 101I-392-1334-04 / Wanderer, W. / CC-BY-SA.
 

German Transport

Two photographs of German transport on the Russian Front during Operation Barbarossa from the website’s photo collection.

Cars lead a column of supply trucks past a destroyed bridge:

German Transport WW2 Russian Front

© LoneSentry.com Collection

Wehrmacht staff cars behind a truck of the 3rd Waffen SS Division Totenkopf:

3rd Waffen SS Totenkopf Division Truck

© LoneSentry.com Collection

Source: LoneSentry.com Collection.
 

Russian Battleship Sevastopol

Details and illustrations from a U.S. Naval Intelligence 1943 report on the Russian battleship Sevastopol:

Sevastopol Battleship Russia WW2

Russia WW2 Battleship BB Sevastopol - Silhouette Diagram and Dimensions

Russian Battleship Sevastopol - WW2 Russian Fleet

BATTLESHIP SEVASTOPOL

GENERAL SPECIFICATIONS

Date laid down: 1909.
Date commissioned: 1915.
Normal displacement: 23,000 tons.
Length overall: 594 feet.
Beam: 87 feet.
Maximum draft: 27 feet.
Type of machinery: Parson’s Turbines.
Horsepower: 42,000.
Number of Propellors: 4.
Type of boilers: Yarrow.
Number of boilers: 25.
Full speed: 18 knots.
Cruising speed: 16 knots with a cruising radius of 4,000 miles.
Aircraft normally carried: 2.
Launching device: 1 catapult.
Fire control: director control.
Number of searchlights: 6.

ARMOR

Armor: Belt 8 3/4 inches amidships; 5″ and 2″ at ends; 3″ to 4″ internal belt.
Turrets: 12″ – 10″; 8″ barbettes.
Decks: 3″.
FC towers: 10″ forward.

The armor belt is about 15 feet wide, five feet of it being below the water line, of uniform thickness; there is a second 3″ or 4″ internal belt from 11 feet inboard above the protective deck extending between it and the barbettes. The space between the main and internal belts is divided up into water tight compartments.

ARMAMENT

12 — 12″ 52 caliber guns in triple turrets with a maximum elevation of 25°, a muzzle velocity of 2644 feet per second, and a maximum range of 30,000 yards.
10 — 4.7″ 50 caliber guns in casemates with a muzzle velocity of 2624 feet per second.
6 — 4.1″ antiaircraft guns.
3 — 3.9″ antiaircraft guns.
4 — 3″ antiaircraft guns.

The port plates above each gun are in the form of a hinged flap, allowing each 12″ gun to elevate to 25° maximum.

Arcs of fire: end triple 12″ turrets is 310° central turrets, 130° on each beam; the after 4.7″ gun, 90° the other 4.7″ guns, 85°.

Main battery guns in number 2 and number 3 turrets have been replaced by guns of a “higher caliber”, reports indicate.

Number of torpedo tubes: 4 18″ submerged.

GENERAL

It is not believed that the modernization of this unit included an increased compartmentation of the hull as in the case of the other two units of this class. There is no evidence of external blisters having been fitted. The first stack was trunked aft, and a tripod foremast with FC top, and catapult have been fitted. Otherwise, the reconstruction does not appear to have been as extensive as on her sister ships.

This unit is reported to be most unhealthy, unsanitary and badly ventilated.

The Sevastopol proceeded from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea in 1930 in company with the overage light cruiser Profintern. Her general condition, at that time was reported to be unfit and the official explanation of her remaining in the Black Sea was that she could not face the return voyage.

DISTINGUISHING FEATURES

The main deck level centerline disposition of the four large triple turrets is unique among existing capital ships, readily distinguishable from the air.

At long range on the surface, this vessel bears a faint resemblance to the Japanese battleship of the FUSO Class.

Russian Battleship BB Sevastopol: Main turret gun armament Russian Battleship BB Sevastopol: Stern Antiaircraft Battery Russian Battleship BB Sevastopol: Three main battery triple turrets