A Soviet Churchill Mk IV passes a knocked-out German Sd.Kfz 232 (8-Rad) armoured car at the fourth battle of Kharkov in 1943
Victorious Red Army soldiers in the process of loading a large cast metal Nazi eagle from the Reichskanzlei / Reich Chancellery into their truck, Berlin 1945...probably destined to be shipped back to Moscow as a war trophy?
In the right background are the wrecks of some unusual armoured cars.
Closest to the camera is a ex-Dutch Witon-Fijenoord whilst behind it is a Schupo-sonderwagen Benz /21 armoured police vehicle.
(LIFE / Vandivert)

A fine aerial view of the massive reinforced concrete edifice that was Berlin's Tiergarten Flakturm / "Zoo Tower", following the fall of the city in 1945.
It was approximately 13 storeys high.
Positioned in the four corners on its roof were were initially 10.5 cm Flak 38s, later replaced by 12.8cm Flakzwilling 40s which were better able to strike at the increasingly high-flying Allied bomber formations.
These are still in position and can be seen in the enlargement of the photograph posted below.
There were also supplementary 20mm and 37mm Flaks on the lower levels.
(LIFE / Vandivert)

Red Army tankers, October 1941. What is at first glance a T-34 behind them is actually one of the A-20 prototypes that led to the T-34. Victor Efimov photo.

Soviet armoured train, named "Baltic", from the 72nd separate Armoured Trains Division, which was part of the Leningrad Front order of Battle.

The tradition of the "Sons of the Regiment" has existed in the Russian army since ancient times.
This tradition was continued with the beginning of World War II In the regular units of the Soviet Army, according to the Central Archives of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation, during the Great Patriotic War there were 3,500 young front-line soldiers under the age of sixteen. This figure does not reflect the actual picture, because it did not include young boys of the underground and partisan detachments. And also because this figure was underestimated, because often the commanders did not advertise the presence of such a child fighter in their unit.
As the Red Army began moving west, it came across abandoned and orphaned children. They sometimes found children in the villages destoyed by the retreating Germans. These children were supposed to be sent to orphanages set up throughout the Soviet Union. For a variety of reasons, this did not always occur.
The girls were sent to the orphanages, but not all of the boys. Red Army soldiers connected with the boys and the boys with the soldiers. With their parents killed, these were the only people with which they had connections. Thus some children were incorporated in combat units. Many of these boys stayed with their regiment till the war ended.
Photo: The son of the regiment, Vanya Kozlov, surrounded by Red Army soldiers.
Location: Poland
Date: 12/16/1944
Photographer: Arkady Shaikhet

This married couple are Alexandra and Ivan Boiko from Magadan. In 1943 they donated 50 000 rubles of their own savings to build a tank for the Red Army. More of that - they volunteered to join the army while had the right not to serve in a military.
In 1944 they started to fight Nazis on "their own" tank IS-2 "Kolyma". Alexandra was a commander and Ivan was a driver. They participated in a few battles and reported destruction of a Tiger tank and some other vehicles and artillery pieces.

Corporal Yelizaveta "Liza" Fyodorovna Mironova. She was a sniper with the 255th Marine Infantry Brigade. On September 10th 1943, during the battle of Novorossiysk, she was badly wounded and passed away shortly after, aged 19. Corporal Yelizaveta "Liza" Fyodorovna Mironova is credited with 100 kills.

Diesel powered Russian bomber.
The Petlyakov Pe-8 was an early design Soviet heavy bomber which debuted in 1936. This monster of a bomber was the only four-engine bomber produced by the Soviet Union during World War II. Though loimpressive as it was, it was only produced in limited numbers and was reserved for special occasions called "morale raids" to encourage and raise the spirits of the Soviet population by hitting important German targets deep behind enemy lines to include bombing Berlin in mid-1941. Other prime targets included the nighttime bombing of factories, German airfields and rail yards. As such an important aircraft to the Soviet people, it became a priority target for the German Luftwaffe pilots to go after. By 1944 all remaining Pe-8s were removed from service but were retrofitted for other jobs such as VIP transport and operations up into the arctic circle.
The Pe-8 though a large and tempting target, it is not without its merits. The huge bomber has a nose gunner, tail gunner, rear-facing dorsal turret and two rear-facing underwing gun pods. Attacking this aircraft especially from the rear whether above, below or directly from the rear is a bad choice as, like with the BV 238, there are many defensive guns which can hit and hit hard. These defensive weapons are critical to protecting the bomber against inbound enemy fighter especially because of the bomb payload which it can carry. Options can range between 2,000 and 5,000 kg bomb loads with as many as 40 x 50 kg or 100 kg bombs, or fewer but heavier bombs such as 6 x 500 kg bombs or a single massive 5,000 kg FAB-5000 bomb.
It is easy to see why the Pe-8 would be a prime target to eliminate as if left unchecked, it could easily wipe out the enemy bases without flinching and move onto the next. Other payload options are useful for carpet bombing areas where clusters of lighter vehicles or fixed anti-aircraft targets may sit. Fleet vessels are not to discount this bomber as it has the means to destroy ships with its accurate bomb site, pending the pilot slowing the aircraft down enough to let the bombardier line up the target and release the necessary ordnance. For the pilot of the Pe-8, fly high and drop as much as you can on the targets, as a fighter trying to take out the Pe-8 set up your run so that in the event you lose control of your aircraft, it has a good chance of ramming the bomber causing it to crash as this aircraft has a good propensity to soak up bullet.
It was propelled by diesel engines Charomsky ACh-30.


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