Dog of war

Something for you dog lovers this time. This Luftwaffe Unteroffizier (corporal) seems to love his (or his unit’s) dachshund. It isn’t possible to determine the branch he serves in, but at least he isn’t aircrew, as his collar patch would be lighter. The dachshund was bred to flush out badgers (German: Dachs), but this one is probably kept as a mascot and for company.

A boy and his cat (and soldier father)

It’s Caturday again, and the son of that Luftwaffe soldier is so proud of his cat, that he wants it in the family photo. The soldier himself appears to belong to a ground unit, possibly an antiaircraft unit. He also seems a bit older, probably in his 30’s. Family photos are common among soldiers’ photos, and while they aren’t that interesting from a military aspect, they meant a lot to the people in the photographs. Sometimes a collector stumbles on a photo that has something extra, making it a keeper. This is one of those.

Got milk?

Nothing like a bucket of fresh milk, even if it’s from a Soviet cowmunist… German signals troops supplementing their food and arsenal, Eastern Front, 1941. The soldier on the left holds a Soviet SVT-40 semi-automatic rifle, while the guy on the right carries a Mosin-Nagant M1891/30 bolt-action rifle, which was the standard rifle of the Red Army. The SVT-40 was supposed to replace it, but the huge losses in weapons in 1941 prompted production of the simpler Mosin-Nagant. Besides, the SVT-40 suffered from precision issues, both in manufacture and shooting. Still, some German soldiers liked the ten-round magazine, which held twice the amount of rounds compared to the Mauser Kar98k.

The Mosin-Nagant was a typical bolt-action rifle, with no special traits that would make German soldiers want to use it instead of their Mausers. The PPsH-41 submachinegun, on the other hand, found favour with German troops with its 71-round drum magazine. Ironically, Soviet reconnaisance troops liked the German MP-40 because how how well manufactured it was. As in all times and armies, the grass is always greener on the other side…

Tiny Tiger

As I post this on a Saturday – also known as “Caturday” – and the Internet is primarily for pictures of cats, I want to share this photo of a tiny but ferocious kitten challenging a little puppy. The two soldiers evidently have differing preferences in pets. Soldiers have brought pets along on campaigns for centuries, as companions, mascots, and for tasks like catching rats. It wasn’t just cats or dogs, but also more exotic animals, like bears and lions. Taking care of a small animal provided some distraction and comfort, though, supplying a small measure of normalcy in the chaos of war.

They are all reclining on a triangular Zeltbahn, which could be used as a poncho, or buttoned together with other Zeltbähne to make a shelter, small tent, or even a larger tent. I will post other photos, where we will be able to see how that piece of equipment was put to use.

Ferry enough

German troops embarking a simple ferry made from a boarded-over barge, summer of 1941. The cart to the right appears to be the company kitchen. During the advance into the Soviet Union, the Germans had to deal with many minor and major rivers, where the retreating Red Army had blown the bridges. Before pioneer units had arrived and either rebuilt the bridges or built temporary pontoon bridges, makeshift ferries had to serve for river crossings. That this affected the rate at which men, matériel and supplies could be brought forward to the front goes without saying.