German Mountain Troops in Ukraine, 1941-42: Photo Collection

 

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Soon after the marching orders were issued, the division was on the move

Soon after the marching orders were issued, the division was on the move. First it went through the southeastern corner of the Government-General. Soldiers didn't quite believe in a military conflict with the Soviet Russia, but they are no diplomats, and obediently have to follow the Fuhrer's order. In the night hours at 22 June the word came under the veil of secrecy: "War with Soviet Russia".'

 

The march has begun. We crossed the San River, and relentlessly went on, through Jaworow and Mizana to Lemberg.

 

The Bolshevik resistance is extremely tough. We met with the opponent's armor and above all, super heavy tanks, steel behemoths that we encountered in this theater of war for the first time. But they are crushed by the fighting spirit of the brave Gebirgsjäger.

 

In many cases, Reds were trying to tow their tanks away under the cover of darkness. Our soldiers had thwarted most of these attempts, and now this big powerful monsters litter the streets where they were shot down in combat.

 

Lemberg, the old university town, makes a good impression, its German roots are strongly felt. The Ukrainians have already fought for their independence under the Polish rule and suffered enormously. After Polish terror, in the recent days the terrible impact of the Bolshevik terror came. Here, we saw the unveiled true face of the new enemy. Thousands of ethnic Germans and Ukrainians were dragged in a most bestial way to the dark cellars of the prison and murdered. Courtyard of the GPU prison was the scene of the most horrible crimes that humanity had never witnessed before. Long rows of the victims of Bolshevik cruelty lay one after another in the prison's backyard.

 

We do not linger longer in this city, which runs smell death, and pursue the enemy with angry heart in south-eastern direction. Ukrainians felt relieved of a tremendous pressure and built triumphal arches, on which the swastikas and inscriptions such as "Hail to the Fuhrer," "We welcome the liberators" were placed appropriately.

 

This reinforces our goal and gives our warfare a deeper meaning.

 

The system of Bolshevism is shattered and fell off the pedestal of the materialistic attitude, like this statue of Lenin, whose plaster
glory is alsmost a symbol of this political menace.

 

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The extraordinary tough battle raged fiercely before Tarnopol. Our Mountain Troops and Waffen-SS took bloody revenge for the displaced ethnic Germans and Ukrainians as well as the fallen German comrades, against whom atrocities were committed.

 

Piles of the dead bodies were laying around, some burned beyond recognition.

 

Red columns were ruthlessly smashed by the heavy weapons and Stuka dive bombers. Dead bodies, ruined soil, draft animals and all kinds of war equipment are scattered on the battlefield.

 

We saw this desolated sight everywhere, gradually traveling through these fields

 

The fields of horror.

 

Burned.

 

After the battle, POWs are looked after by our paramedics, as we otherwise can not discard our view of soldierly honor and respect for life, as opposed to the infamous, sadistic behavior of our opponents.

 

Operating the water pump.

 

In the dull shock of inevitable fate, many Bolsheviks tried to find safe place in the church.

 

Catch in the woods.

 

Nothing is better than a good beer

 

Our Stukas did all the work. They prevented the destruction of the railways.

 

This well-camouflaged ammunition train was delivering supplies to the Soviets

 

What is not immediately blew up high into the air is laying around in the messy heaps.

Destroyed bridge at Trembovlya.

On and on it goes, we pass destroyed enemy tanks, faltered guns.

 

Tractors and vehicles of any kind, ditched in the swampy places.

 

In the heat of the battle near Brzezany, the Bolsheviks tried to attack us with cavalry, but their night treacherous attack was broken completely by our fire.

 

Fireplace chimney stands as witness to this harrowing.

 

And here too, only chimney was left standing after this house was consumed by fire.

 

We have approached the vaunted and insurmountable Soviet Stalin line. Before the storm begins, we must make sure that the shortage of ammunition will be replenished quickly.

 

Our logistic people have their hands full.

 

After the gigantic drum fire of our heavy and heaviest artillery, the countless bunkers of the enemy's defense protected by barbed wire obstacles were destroyed

 

Scores of prisoners are moved to the rear

 

Ukrainian auxiliary service supports us in meeting the varied tasks

 

Even heavy rain and deep mud can't stop us in the pursuit of the enemy

 

We moved forward very quickly. Passing the heavy grain of corn fields, where pillars of smoke marked battered Soviet tanks, we broke a stubborn resistance of the enemy in Vinnitsa.

 

Our infantry is coming in.

 

The amusement park has a resident, this fellow established himself near the monument for some political conversation between the Red Titans.

 

The war is going on. Where resistance hardened, it was often broken with the force by our artillery, which was moving around quickly.

 

We go after the retreating enemy in scorching heat and dust. Drops of sweat run down.

 

But time and again after the marsh we enjoy a day of rest. Then a lot of of food are fried and boiled.

 

Haircuts are made.

We are getting closer to Uman.

 

The moment of the last rest before the advance.

 

Our heavy artillery is firing

 

Refugees

 

This wooden bridge has been promptly repaired.

 

The battlefield after the enemy's retreat.

 

This narrow stream gorge is full with all kinds of vehicles.

 

Dead enemy's horses have to be cleaned up to create a passage for our vehicles

 

The lonely survivor stands beside the corpse of its companion

 

Enemy left behind more than 200 000 dead

 

Wounded soldiers, who had received their first aid are seen here among the crowds of prisoners, their total number exceeded 103 000.

 

Agonizing thirst makes Bolsheviks drink from each puddle they can find alond the road.

 

Signal Corps unit, the nerve center of the division.

 

Their physical well-being is supported by a good chefs, following not far behind.

 

Everything is natural and easy in local people's lives, such as this oven which is fired with straw

 

The primitive accommodation of pigs in a pit

 

Suddenly a storm moves along and whirls the sand through the air, shakes the tree and sends leaves and twigs flying. The strong wind damaged the tent's braces. Then the storm broke out with lightning, thunder and, at last, violent downpour.

 

The sun breaks through the dark clouds and paints a magical rainbow high in the sky. This is the face of this wild steppe country.

 

Orlova is behind us. The end of the Nogay steppe has been reached.

 

To the Dnieper 

 

Bomb craters and destroyed vehicles on the banks of the mighty stream.

 

Pioneers rapidly re-built a bridge.

 

Unfortunately, this truck is not an amphibian.

 

On the opposite bank of the Dnieper.

Large clean up. Winning the battle for the Dnieper bridgehead is one of the most significant feats of this campaign.

 

Rugged mess kits.

Our Romanian comrades on the move

 

and with the captured cattle.

 

Graveyard.

 

Shotdown Rata

 

A blown-up bridge is nothing new to us.

 

 

A destroyed tank stands silently under the skies.

 

The beginning of autumn brings heavy rains, which soften the march routes in this land of black earth. Struggle with the mud demanded all our strength.

 

End of the road for this carriage.

 

Italian Comrade (Bersaglieri)

 

In the morning mist Donetsk terricone is visible ahead.

 

Giant prison, the Kirov Works in Makeyevka, where 46 000 men were employed before its destruction.

 

They are one of the largest and most important of Ruftungsbetriebe Donezgebietes fell into the handsWith them, they are one of the largest and most important of Ruftungsbetriebe Donezgebietes in the handWith them, they are one of the largest and most important of Ruftungsbetriebe Donezgebietes in the handOne of the largest and most important plant of all Donetsk basin is in our hands. them, they are one of the largest and most important of Ruftungsbetriebe Donezgebietes in the hand

 

Soon this plant will start a new life.

 

View of the plant's foundry.

 

Retreating Bolsheviks blew up most of the pits

 

The investments were made unusable. German organization will also need to change prejudice.

 

Makeyevka, end of October 1941. In a large public meeting, the residents understood the situation and asked for work.

 

In early November we reached our defense line along the Mius.

 

Winter is coming early and brings bitter cold and sharp east wind, but also an icy "buran", dumping a lot of snow over this vast country.

 

Our Flak comrades protect the airspace against enemy aircraft.

 

Lonely, they make their way through the night.

 

The winter shapes the landscape consistently. We experienced it throughout the whole month.

 

Alarm.

The Stakhanov foreman gets the Soviet star on the loveless cemented grave stone.

 

Despite all the hardships of the weather, blowing snow and bitterly cold commander visits positions down to his last unit and in each case gets in depth report on the situation.

 

Zugspitze base named "Munich house", the most advanced further eastward shelter during the winter of I941/42.

 

However, we practiced diligently.

 

Our marching makes a deep impression on the population.

 

More and more often we receive visits from the Bolshevik flying junk boxes, but our anti-aircraft gun is on the alert.

 

Fuhrer's birthday. The harshest winter is over. All hopes of the enemy have collapsed. Proudly flying Reich flag is a symbol of oncoming victories!

 

Editors: Lieutenant Colonel H. Manz and Captain E. Starkl
Photographs and overall processing: Obgefr. J. Gaa
Watercolors: Obergefr. A. Lüdecke
Captions for the pictures: E. Gemeinder