The Eastern Front of World War II was a theatre of World War II between the European Axis powers and co-belligerent Finland against the Soviet Union, Poland, Norway and some other Allies which encompassed Northern, Southern and Central and Eastern Europe from 22 June 1941 to 9 May 1945. It was known by many different names depending on the nation, notably the Great Patriotic War (Russian: Великая Отечественная Война) in the former Soviet Union, while known in Germany as the Eastern Front (German: die Ostfront), the Eastern Campaign (German: der Ostfeldzug) or the Russian Campaign (German: der Rußlandfeldzug).
Soviet Il-2 ground attack aircraft in Berlin sky; German Tiger I tanks during the Battle of Kursk; German Stuka dive bombers on the Eastern Front, winter 1943–1944; Killings of Jews by German Einsatzgruppen in Ukraine; Wilhelm Keitel signing the German Instrument of Surrender; Soviet troops in the Battle of Stalingrad.
The battles on the Eastern Front constituted the largest military confrontation in history. They were characterized by unprecedented ferocity, wholesale destruction, mass deportations, and immense loss of life variously due to combat, starvation, exposure, disease, and massacres. The Eastern Front, as the site of nearly all extermination camps, death marches, ghettos, and the majority of pogroms, was central to the Holocaust. Of the estimated 70 million deaths attributed to World War II, over 30 million, many of them civilians, died on the Eastern Front. The Eastern Front was decisive in determining the outcome of World War II, eventually serving as the main reason for Germany’s defeat. It resulted in the destruction of the Third Reich, the partition of Germany for nearly half a century and the rise of the Soviet Union as a military and industrial superpower.
1941 German propaganda poster for the Russian Front.
The two principal belligerent powers were Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, along with their respective allies. Though never engaged in military action in the Eastern Front, the United Kingdom and the United States both provided substantial material aid to the Soviet Union, though they failed to meet the specific quotas that had been agreed on. The Soviet–Finnish Continuation War may be considered the northern flank of the Eastern Front. In addition, the joint German–Finnish operations across the northernmost Finnish–Soviet border and in the Murmansk region are also considered part of the Eastern Front.
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The German advance during Operation Barbarossa, June to December 1941.
The Soviet winter counter-offensive, 5 December 1941 to 7 May 1942: Orange: Soviet gains Green: German gains
Eastern Front… May-1942 to November-1942
Eastern Front ….November-1942 to March-1943
Eastern Front. February 1943 to August 1943.
Soviet advances on the Eastern Front, August 1943 to December 1944.
Eastern Front. January 1945 to May 1945.
Map of South Western Front (Ukrainian) at 22 June 1941.
German soldiers with a Panzerbüchse 39 “tank hunting rifle model 39” on the Eastern Front, 1941.
A Kriegsberichter (war correspondent) holding an Arriflex 35 2 1942 camera 35mm ACR 0292 and he is leaning against a knocked out Soviet BT-5 light tank, 1941.
Mechanized units of possibly the 26th Infantry Division rest over in the area of Staritsa, Kalinin Oblast, Russia.
MG 34 machine gun team takes up position on the outskirts of Sevastopol in the Crimea, 1942.
German soldaten from 1st Ski Division (1. Skijäger-Division) armed with StG 44’s in Pripyat, Ukraine.
Heer in Russia.
This picture was taken during the advance in Russia (which measures over 9000 km to the depth). German soldiers of that time as the infantry marched Napoleon, 50 km daily average, but the intence that the fighting, producing exhaustion, every moment of rest was used for sleeping.
German Army soldiers marching during OperatGerman Army soldiers marching during Operation Barbarossa.
A Heinkel He 111 P-2 “CA+NA” (Werknummer 2471) part of “Fliegerstaffel des Führers” (Führer’s Air Squadron) in the spring of 1942 during a visit by Adolf Hitler to an airfield in the Southern sector of the Eastern Front.
A Soviet plane has been shot down.
A Croatian Oberfeldwebel pilot of the 10.(Kroat) KG3 bomber-group standing by his Dornier Do-17Z on the Eastern Front. c. October 1941.
Oberleutnant d.R. Heinz Endruweit, Nachrichtenoffizier (signals officer) of Panzer Regiment 24, Pz Div. 24 in his Panzerbefehlswagen IV on the Russian Steppes in the Summer of 1942. ( THIS INFORMATION MAY BE INCORRECT, WE WILL UPDATE AT A FURTHER TIME.)
During the East Prussian offensive from 1944-1945.
German Flammenwerfer 35 plameňometom on the Eastern Front, 1941.
Messerschmitt Bf 109 G of JG 52 being serviced somewhere on the Eastern Front.
NCO rests a MG 34 on the shoulder of a Hauptfeldwebel who is holding a Soviet SVT-40 rifle, somewhere on the Eastern Front, 1942.
Eastern Front 1941.
German graves at Stalingrad.
SS Grenadiers discussing tactics with Panzer commanders with their Tigers.
Tiger in the background with destroyed Soviet tanks.
German Panzers on the Eastern Front.
Tiger with an anti-air unit on the Eastern Front.
Schwere Panzer-Abteilung 502 prepares to leave the assembly area at Daugavpils, Eastern Latvia, July 1944.
Near Leningrad now Saint Petersburg, Russia. September 1942.
Moscow sector, Winter 1941.
Schwimmwagen navigating the mud of Russia with Panthers in the background near Vinnytsia area of the Ukraine in November 1943.
Messerschmitt Bf 109 G being serviced somewhere on the Eastern Front.
German soldiers at Stalingrad.
Tiger of Schwere Panzer Abteilung 506 in Russia, 1944.
Ukraine 1941- Grossdeutschland Panzer grenadiers. The best trained and equipped German troops, but horrendous casualty rate, as always at the worst part of the eastern front.
Soldiers of the Waffen-SS in combat on the eastern front.
Soil after the battle of Stalingrad in the Vladimir Military Museum.
German soldiers soon after the invasion of Tallinn, the capitol of Estonia, 28th August 1941.
Wehrmacht troops on the Eastern Front.
Panzergrenadiers on a Tiger 1 on the Eastern Front.
Romanian IAR 80 fighter planes.
Soviet troops manning a PTRD-41 Degtyaryov Anti-Tank Rifle under cover of a knocked out German Panzer V ‘Panther’ tank during the Battle of Kursk in the summer of 1943.
A German soldier holds his arms up in surrender to a Soviet soldier who has his rifle trained on him during the Battle of Moscow, Russia. December 1,1941.
Panzer III advancing in Russia.
The Battle of Wolchow (Volkhov) near Lake Ladoga (Leningrad) in July 1943.
A young Unteroffizier (NCO – noncommissioned officer) armed with an MP 40 submachine gun in Russia, January 1944.
Somewhere on the Eastern Front, 1941-1942.
German soldiers gather around a French Gnome et Rhône AX2 800 motorcycle and side car in Belgorod, Russia, Summer 1943.
Issuing a regular postal and military payment to member of Propagandakompanie in support of the 6. Armee in Soviet Union, summer of 1942.
Stug IIIs being moved by rail through Lyubotin in the Ukraine.
Panzer III in Russia.
Panzer III with snow color camouflage.
Over three million Soviet prisoners were taken in the first 8 months of the war in Russia, which completely overwhelmed the Germans who only had facilities for a tiny fraction of that number.
This picture of Messerschmitt Bf 109 F-4 from 1. Ungarische Jabostaffel (1st Hungarian Fighter-Bomber Squadron) was taken during a fighter-bomber sortie. Over the wingtip, Fähnrich (Officer Candidate) Gynes photographs a Russian supply road. The white cross on the black square was introduced in late 1942, as the Hungarian nationality marking previously used (red-white-green arrow) had caused many recognition problems.
Waiting for the order to take off in Russia in the spring of 1942 of the Messerschmitt Bf 110.
A captured Lorraine painted in dark gray and working in southern Russia with a Feldgendarmerie (German Military Police).
The ubiquitous German motorcycle messenger (Kradmelder) from Stab Artillerie-Regiment 110 in the Eastern Front with his DKW NZ 350, wearing his rubberized coat (Kradmantel) that has been wrapped and buttoned around his legs to keep dirt and dust off his uniform.
Wehrmacht combat infantrymen taking a “Feuerpause” (firebreak) – the formal term for “cease-fire”, a cigarette break or a short rest break – in their advance in Russia, summer of 1942.
Sturmgeschütz III Ausf. G, somewhere in Russia c. 1943.
This picture was taken by Kriegsberichter Koltzenburg and showing a horse wagon belong to a German Grenadier company crossing the stream in Russia, summer 1942.
Regardless of the weather, the aircraft armorers were required to move enormous quantities of bombs daily to keep the Luftwaffe bombers, dive-bombers and fighter-bombers operational. While hydraulic bomb trolleys were available (an LWC trolley is seen here), they were often of little use on rain-softened Russian airfields and muscle power was the only option.
The halftrack prime mover shown in this picture (towing a 15cm sFH18 heavy howitzer battery) is the Sd.Kfz.7 mittlerer Zugkraftwagen (8-ton). It was the most widely used prime mover type of which 10,257 units were built.
Winter landscape: a Junkers Ju 52 transport plane in white winter camouflage colours prepares to take off in the snow after the onset of the Russian winter.
Off Color Photos
Battle damage in Befehlspanzer Tiger Nr 300 (Command Tiger), s.Pz.Abt.503 at Kursk.
With a machine gun MG-42, soldat from the elite division Großdeutschland.
German POWs Russia 1944.
White washed captured Soviet T-34 in German use.
Smolensk, Eastern Front.
Luftwaffe Flak officer in Artemivsk, Russia.
Soldier of SS Totenkopf division reading a letter, Eastern Front, 1943.
Heer soldats with captured Soviet prisoners.
In battle during the winter months.
Luftwaffe soldats in a Russian village.
Modern Day Photos
T-26 tank, model 1938, was used and destroyed during the battle for Suomussalmi . The tank still stands on the place where it was left behind.
Black and White Photos
Adolf Hitler with generals Keitel, Paulus and von Brauchitsch, discussing the situation on the Eastern Front in October 1941.
Oberleutnant on the Eastern Front wears a Schirmmütze without the wire stiffener. This gave it a resemblance to the old style “crusher” cap.
Snipers in action.
A German sniper with a captured Tokarev SWT-40.
Pak 43/41 in firing position overlooking a river in Ukraine in September 1943.
8.8 cm Pak 43/41 on display at a weapons show on the northern sector of the Eastern Front in 1943.
Bf 109’s of I./JG 52 at Anapa, early 1944.
A German column during the advance on Murmansk, 1941.
Captured Soviet equipment.
Paintings and Art