Don Front, Stalingrad. Romanian M38 Helmets
A bit of background first, though most of you I'm sure are familiar with the tale.
In the last third of 1942, the slaughterhouse that was the battle of Stalingrad wore on into it's fourth month. With an increasingly bleak outlook for the Soviet defenders, Stalin and his front commanders had been looking for options to turn the battle on it's head and Generals Zhukov and Vasilevsky presented Stalin with a grand plan called Operation Uranus. It would encircle the Axis forces in the city and the steppe to the west. Stalin was pleased with the proposal. Massed Soviet armies would punch through the Axis lines in the north and south, miles from the city itself, and meet at a small town called Kalach on the Don river. Intelligence correctly identified the weakest sectors of the front as those held by Germany's allies - one section of the Romanian line had only a single Pak36 anti tank gun, almost useless against the sloped armour of the T34. Thirty of those obsolescent weapons would likely have not been enough. On November 19th, after huge artillery preparation the Soviets carved through these Romanian lines and the encirclement was completed successfully, ensuring the eventual destruction of the 6th Army. After this the Germans were never again on the offensive in the east, and when these Romanian positions fell they were the first in a line of dominoes that ended on the steps of the Reichstag.
Two M38 Romanian helmets, recovered from the Romanian positions on the Don front - the northern flank of the Axis forces at Stalingrad. One has spectacular damage likely from artillery, indeed it still has a piece of shrapnel embedded in a dent on the front. The other is in undamaged condition and still retains the crest of King Carol II of Romania. I am fascinated by the battle of Stalingrad and these two subtle relics of that struggle bely their powerful significance in world history.
10-04-2013 02:56 PM
Thanks for showing this relic of the savage fighting in the Don-Bogen...However, I must point out that the Germans were indeed able to go over to the offensive in the East again in 1943 at Kursk...as I'm sure most of us are aware of. Thanks again!
No worries and quite understandable considering the magnitude of the victory, friend!
The Third Battle of Kharkov in early 1943 was the last large scale successful offensive in Russia and actually came about as Manstein manouvered his forces in Southern Russia following the Soviet success at Stalingrad and in the Caucusus, the whole southern front was in chaos and in severe risk of complete collapse.
After the withdrawal ofthe SS Panzer Korps from Kharkov by Hausser and the successful counter attack to retake the city and halt the Soviet advances , amongst SS Veterans it is felt by many to be their greatest offensive success in the east !!
The gates of hell were opened and we accepted the invitation to enter" 26/880 Lance Sgt, Edward Dyke. 26th Bn Northumberland Fusiliers , ( 3rd Tyneside Irish )
1st July 1916
Thought shall be the harder , heart the keener,
Courage the greater as our strength faileth.
Here lies our leader ,in the dust of his greatness.
Who leaves him now , be damned forever.
We who are old now shall not leave this Battle,
But lie at his feet , in the dust with our leader
House Carles at the Battle of Hastings
Nice story, here's my Romanian relic helmet found in Stalingrad.
Nice thread fantastic historic relics!!
Very cool thread! I am also infatuated with the battle for Stalingrad! I want to travel there one day! Thanks for sharing!