Hold the line

German soldiers moving up, a junior officer leading the way, passing light sleds with abandoned equipment and what appears to be a wounded or dead soldier, his valenki felt boots sticking out. A stack of ammunition crates can be seen on the left. There are some notes written on the back of the photo, but I couldn’t decipher the handwriting. Thanks to Axis History Forum member nichte, some sense could be made out of it. The photo is most likely taken near Spasskaya, just north of Novgorod, in February 1942. The Red Army had mounted a massive counter-offensive, and to the south-east there was fierce fighting for the Demyansk Pocket. The difficult terrain, bad weather and stubborn German resistance stopped the Soviet attempts to reach a decisive result, though.

The text on the back:

Beim Transport von Verwundeten
in den Winterkämpfen im Februar
bei Spasskaja mit dem Schneeschuh
btl.

The great thing about the Internet is the ability to get in touch with people who have talents like reading crabbed German handwriting, and together with someone you’ve never met figure out the circumstances around a photo.

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