10
Jun
09

Steel Storm – Waffen-SS Panzer Battles on the Eastern Front 1943-1945

The Eastern Front was the decisive theatre of operations during World War II. The pivotal point came in mid-1943, when the Red Army and Nazi Germany massed the largest tank forces in the history of modern warfare for a titanic clash of armour. At the Battle of Kursk in July 1943, millions of troops and thousands of tanks clashed in an epic engagement. The Red Army’s defences held and Adolf Hitler’s panzer armies were stopped in their tracks. Over the next 21 months, having gained the strategic initiative, the mighty Red Army surged forward into the heart of the Fuhrers Thousand Year Reich. Standing in the way of the Russians was an increasingly bclca-guered and battle-weary Wchrmacht, its divisions understrength and its reserves largely spent. When crises threatened. Hitler turned to the elite panzer divisions of the Waffen-SS. Time and again they were thrown into desperate holding actions and counterattacks to plug gaps in Germany’s Eastern Front. As a result, they soon became known as the Fuhrer’s “Fire Brigade”. As the war progressed, these actions became more forlorn until even the die-hard Waffen-SS commanders could see that their cause was lost.

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