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The Eastern Front WW2: In Maps (Color)

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Maps And Text:

Operation Barbarossa: Nazi Invasion of the USSR June 22 - September 1, 1941 maps
Operation Barbarossa: Nazi Invasion of the USSR June 22 - September 1, 1941

German armed forces achieved strategic surprise and made substantial progress towards their initial objectives. Army Group Center reached Smolensk by July. Large Soviet military forces were surrounded as a result. An operational pause ensued at the center of the front while armored forces from Army Group Center struck south to link up with forces striking northward from Army Group South. This move destroyed a substantial concentration of Soviet armed forces around Kiev.

The Eastern Front December 5, 1941 April 1942
The Eastern Front December 5, 1941 to end of April 1942

After the German offensive toward Moscow was called off on December 5, 1941 the Soviets launch a counteroffensive that recovered substantial territory by the end of April 1942. Soviet forces, however, did not achieve their strategic objectives and were relatively depleted by that time. German strength, meanwhile, was growing as was their confidence.

Red Army Advances to Kiev Isolates  Crimea August 18 - December 23, 1943
Red Army Advances to Kiev and Isolates the Crimea August 18 - December 23, 1943

The Soviet follow-up offensive after Kursk carried the Red Army inexorably forward. Although it failed to encircle significant German forces, the Soviet armed forces trapped the German Army Group A in the Crimea and recaptured Kiev before the end of December 1943.

Eastern front maps after Stalingrad
Soviet Pursuit After Stalingrad: January 13 - March 26, 1943

By the time the German 6th Army surrendered at Stalingrad, the Red Army aggressively pursued the remnants of Army Group Don, now renamed Army Group South, further west. Soviet units recaptured Kharkov and were approaching the Dniepr River. However, the commander of Army Group South, F.M. von Manstein marshaled forces for a counterattack in March 1943 that stabilized the southern wing of the Eastern Front until the Battle of Kursk in July 1943.

Soviet Gains on the Eastern Front: July 1, 1943 - June 1944

Red Army military forces pushed the Axis armies back to the Rumanian frontier in the south leaving a massive German salient, defended by Army Group Center, before Moscow.

Eastern Front: Soviet Gains June 1944 - January 1945. The constant military pressure on the southern front led to a serious German intelligence failure in the summer of 1944. The Soviet summer offensive, opened on June 22, 1944, was directed against the Minsk salient. Army Group Center collapsed under the weight of the Red Army assault and the Soviet armed forces advanced on to the Vistula River line. The Balkans were cleared of German forces in the follow-up offensive.

Vistula to Oder: Soviet Advance Across Poland January 11 - February 2, 1945

Soviet Advance into East Prussia; Seige of Königsberg January 13 - May 9, 1945

German Counterattack and the Soviet Drive on Vienna March 6 - April 15, 1945. The German military plan and execution of offensive operations against Soviet forces advancing beyond Budapest failed to produce lasting results. Soviet counterattacks followed and pushed the German defenders back behind Vienna.

The Final Soviet Offensive: Oder to Elbe April 16 - May 8, 1945


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Source for the following maps
Invasion of Russia. Operation Barbarossa. June 22 to August 25, 1941 (Click to enlarge map)

Invasion of Russia. World War Two. Eastern Front. August 26 to December 5, 1941 ( Click to enlarge map)

Soviet counter-offensive. December 6, 1941 to May 7, 1942 (Click to enlarge map)

Eastern Front. German advance. May 7 to July 23, 1942 (Click to enlarge map)

 Eastern Front. German advances. July 24 to November 18, 1942. Stalingrad. (Click to enlarge map)

Soviet offensive. November 19 to December 12, 1942 (Click to enlarge map)

Russian attacks. December 13, 1942 to February 18, 1943 (Click to enlarge map)

German offensive. February 19 to March 18, 1943 (Click to enlarge map)

 Eastern front. Summer 1943 and Kursk (Click to enlarge map)

Eastern front. Russian offensive. July 17 to December 1, 1943 (Click to enlarge map)

Eastern front Leningrad. Soviet offensive. December 2, 1943 to April 30, 1944 (Click to enlarge map)

Soviet offensive. June 22 to August 19, 1944. Balkans and Baltic attacks. (Click to enlarge map)

Poland. Russian offensive. January 12 to March 30, 1945 (Click to enlarge map)

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Points To Ponder


It is difficult to distinguish between the quality of both the German and Russian soldiers. Both were motivated by their love for their motherland. But there were others factors that drove the two sides to such desperate fighting.

One, both sides knew that this was a no-holds bar war. Not fighting was thus not an option.

Second, both Hitler and Stalin had squads that killed any deserter. Turning away from fighting was just not possible.

Thus was seen some of the most bitter, brutal and desperate fighting on the WW2 eastern (Russian) Front.
"Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
-- George Santayana


"Be polite; write diplomatically; even in a declaration of war one observes the rules of politeness."
--Otto von Bismarck

"When the enemy advances, withdraw; when he stops, harass; when he tires, strike; when he retreats, pursue.'
--Mao Zedong

Your Comments

Senior Observer said...

The reason the German soldier did not rape and loot as the other armies did. Including the US. (I was there) was the discipline. Half the troops or at least a great number of troops on my train to the front were AWOL's or deserters. That would not have happened in the German military. You left your post you were shot. Simple as that. Germans knew that so deserting was not an option. But the ordinary soldier knew that also applied to the officers. You did your duty or else.Remember Rommel? Hitler didn't care. Just follow orders. The respect for the officer by the ordinary soldier was good. I didn't have much respect for our officers. For months after the war we were still drinking instant coffee and instant milk. The general was living it up in London I suppose because I never saw him afterwards even though I was in 3rd DIVARTY Have a nice day


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Great Comments

"The photos are nice, but I hate the way the nazis are portrayed. They are portrayed as always evil. Think about it. What do you think would happen when a country loses WWI? When they enter a depression and are stolen from by gypsies and jews?! Also, the Russians were just as brutal if not worse. They ran the gulags! They murdered men, women, and children who opposed communism. Stalin's regime killed 65MILLION people in it's lifetime. Hitler killed 21MILLION. Take your pick, you politically correct WUSS!"

Anonymous on Nazi Germany: A Pictorial History

"ever heard of the saying two wrongs don't make a right. yes they lost ww1, but they started it so they got their just deserts. and hitler was pure evil,theres no doubt he was a great leader and orator that took advantage of a country in despair. he stood by people that were simular to him and used them to 'persuade' others in high places to flock to his banner. once in power it was easy to unite a nation with his speaches that germeny could rule the world at ANY cost, the hatetred between germany and russia was legendry with both country's sinking to new levels of for russia killing millions of their own under stalin, yes, that was an atocity in itself but it was an internal matter in russia. nothing to do with the west. germany treated the russians as less than human in fact, less than the jews and the feelings were neutral. the battle of stalingrad were tesamony to that. so picking someone to like because they killed 21m instead of 65m is just sick and shows what sort of person you really are. i will say though that although these pictures are interesting, dont belive everything that they show. the picture at the top seems to show two peasants being shot, both are women so we asume that they are inocents. not so, women fought along side their men with amazing efect. rusian women were excellent marksmen and made effective snipers and machine gunners. not behind them a machingun nest. its more likely that the machingun nest was overun and they are being shot for shooting german soldiers. that being said, it saddens me to say that many of the pictures do depict atrocities that the devil himself would be ashamed of.having never been in a war, i can't imagine what humans would go through under such horrific conditions. knowing death was just around the corner probly turned the most mild mannered men and women into monsters. im not going to justify there actions or condone them but to understand what they went through. i hope for all our sakes we never have to go through anything like it again. but i think we will."
Anonymous on Nazi Germany: A Pictorial History


"The main thing is to make history, not to write it."
--Otto von Bismarck

"When you have to kill a man it costs nothing to be polite."
--Winston Churchill


"In time of war the loudest patriots are the greatest profiteers."
--August Bebel

"God is not on the side of the big battalions, but on the side of those who shoot best."

Great Comments....

I think it's important to remember that the German army at this time was one of the most disciplined fighting forces in the world. It's the reason Hitler made them swear an oath on his rise to Fuhrer; he knew they wouldn't break it.

That unflinching devotion to service and country would be their undoing, eventually - there were many suicides in combat. German soldiers who just couldn't deal with the brutality anymore - and the crime. Even leadership attempted to murder Hitler several times.

The Nazis were Germans, but the Germans weren't Nazis. Not all German soldiers were so criminally cruel. Most criminal cruelty was perpetrated not by the German Army, but by the Nazis and their divisions (SS, Gestapo, etc)
(Brutality Of Germans In Russia)
-- By Anonymous

Quotes about War....

"Anyone who has ever looked into the glazed eyes of a soldier dying on the battlefield will think hard before starting a war."
---Otto von Bismarck


"Naturally the common people don't want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country."
--Hermann Goering


"To conquer the enemy without resorting to war is the most desirable. The highest form of generalship is to conquer the enemy by strategy."
--Tzu Sun

"All men are brothers, like the seas throughout the world; So why do winds and waves clash so fiercely everywhere?"
--Emperor Hirohito