On February 8 1942, the Soviet ring finally closed around the already depleted SS-Division Totenkopf and the German II and X Corps, trapping 12, 30, 32, 123 and 290.Infantry Divisions. When contested villages changed the occupants they usually turned into flames. The Totenkopf Division was split up, on orders of 16.Armee, with sub-units being despatched to various crises points. The Waffen-SS units fighting in snow well over one metre deep and in temperatures of minus 30 degrees, came under extreme pressure as they tried to hold the line of scattered villages.

Images: photos taken by a Propagandakompanie (PK) on the north-eastern front showing a German and a presumably Latvian volunteer Jäger of unidentified units, both with determined expressions into the wide vista. The Jägers were usually crack shots used for ambushes and patrols. Commons: Bundesarchiv.
Admiral Scheer photographed from the Prinz Eugen en route to Norway, 21st February 1942.
A knocked-out Mark VG Panther tank, one of a handful of German Mark IVs and Panthers assigned to the 150th Panzer Brigade and disguised to look like a U.S. M10 tank destroyer in Operation Greif. Thin steel plates were welded to this Panther’s 45–ton hull and turret, minus its cupola, to mimic the silhouette of the American tank hunter. Manned by a crew of five, the German tanks were painted U.S. olive drab and applied with U.S. markings. However, the Panther’s distinctive interleaved wheeltrain remained unchanged, so that these counterfeit M10s were readily recognized by U.S. troops and destroyed.

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