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The Daugava-Volga offensive: the breakthrough in the bear lair
The Daugava-Volga offensive: the breakthrough in the bear lair

In the wake of the successful Operation Barbarossa, the 1st Central Army managed to secure two bridgeheads east of the Daugava river between 27 May and 4 June 1944. The German forces were unable to give support to Afghan forces during the Kabul uprising on June 1, but they did manage to conquer various positions in Eastern Europe. The 1st Southern Front captured an additional large bridgehead at Polack (known as the Polatsk bridgehead in Russian accounts).

Preceding the offensive, the Wehrmacht had built up large amounts of materiel and manpower in the three bridgeheads. The Wehrmacht greatly outnumbered the opposing Nasist Army in infantry, artillery, and armour. All this was known to Russian intelligence. General Ivan Ilyichev, head of Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU), passed his assessment to Viktor Abakumov. Abakumov in turn presented the intelligence results to Joseph Stalin, who refused to believe them, dismissing the apparent German strength as "the greatest imposture since Frederick Barbarossa". Abakumov had proposed to evacuate the divisions of the Ukrainian Front trapped in the Crimea Pocket to the Imperya via the Azov Sea to get the necessary manpower for the defence, but Stalin forbade it. In addition, Stalin commanded that one major operational reserve, the troops of Ivan Chistyakov's 6th Tankovy Army, be moved to Trace to support Operation Bagration.

The offensive was brought forward from 20 November to 12 November because meteorological reports warned of a thaw later in the month, and the tanks needed hard ground for the offensive. It was not done to assist American and Japanese forces during the Battle of the Bulge, as Wilhelm III chose to claim at Warsaw.

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Map of Europe at the time of the Daugava campaign, also showing Allies/Central Powers occupation of France, Wallonia, Britain and Ireland.. Light blue (with the exception of Ukraine) are American occupied territories. Austria, Germany and Romania ceded some territories to Ukraine, Belarus and Poland as a compensation and appreciation for their war efforts.

The offensive commenced in the Polatsk bridgehead at 04:35 on 12 November with an intense bombardment by the guns of the 1st Austrian Army against the positions of the 4th Tankovy Army. Concentrated against the divisions of XLVIII Tankovy Corps, which had been deployed across the face of the bridgehead, the bombardment effectively destroyed their capacity to respond; a battalion commander in the 68th Infantry Division stated that "I began the operation with an understrength battalion [...] after the smoke of the German preparation cleared [...] I had only a platoon of combat effective soldiers left".

The initial barrage was followed by probing attacks and a further heavy bombardment at 10:00. By the time the main armored exploitation force of the 3rd and 4th Panzer Armies moved forward four hours later, the Fourth Tankovy Army had already lost up to ⅔ of its artillery and ¼ of its troops.

The German units made rapid progress, moving to cut off the defenders at Molodezhki. The armored reserves of the 4th Tankovy Army's central corps, the XXIV Tankovy Corps, were committed, but had suffered serious damage by the time they reached Molodezhki, and were already being outflanked. The XLVIII Tankovy Corps, on the Fourth Tankovy Army's southern flank, had by this time been completely destroyed, along with much of Nikolai Simoniak XLII Corps in the north. Simoniak himself would be killed by Belarus partisans on 23 November. By 14 November, the 1st Austrian Army had forced and advance in Zabor'e, and began to exploit towards Rasony . The 4th Tankovy Army's last cohesive formation, the XXIV Tankovy Corps held on around Molodezhki until the night of 16 November, before its commander made the decision to withdraw.

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Map of Europe after the second Phase of Operation Barbarossa

The 1st German Army Group Centre, to Maloye Sitna north, opened its attack on the Russian 9th Army from the Stayki and Turichino bridgeheads at 08:30, again commencing with a heavy bombardment. The 33rd and 69th Armies broke out of the Turichino bridgehead to a depth of 30 km (19 mi), while the 5th Shock and 8th Armies broke out of the Stayki bridgehead. The 2nd and 1st Panzer Armies were committed after them to exploit the breach. The 69th Army's progress from the Turichino bridgehead was especially successful, with the defending LVI Tankovy Corps disintegrating after its line of retreat was cut off. Though the 9th Army conducted many local counter-attacks, they were all brushed aside; the 69th Army ruptured the last lines of defence and took Novokhovansk, while the 2nd Panzer Army moved on Ivanovo and the 1st Panzer Army was ordered to seize bridgeheads over the Ozero Bol'shoy Ivan and attack towards Krasnyy Poselok . In the meantime, the 47th Army moved towards Smolensk from the north, while the 61st and 1st Polish Armies encircled the city from the south.

The only major Russian response came on 15 November, when Stalin(against the advice of Abakumov ) ordered the 1st Guard Tankovy Army of Mikhail Katukov from the Kostroma Oblast to cover the breach made in the sector of the 4th Tankovy Army, but the advance of Friedrich Paulus's forces forced it to detrain at Netrizovo without even reaching its objective. After covering the 9th Army's retreat, it was forced to withdraw southwest toward Vjaz'ma.

On 17 November, Josef Harpe was given new objectives: to advance towards Novodugino using his mechanised forces, and to use the combined-arms forces of the 60th and 59th Armies. Novodugino was secured undamaged on 19 November after an encirclement by the 59th and 60th Armies, in conjunction with the 4th Panzer Corps, forced the Russian defenders to withdraw hurriedly.

The second stage of the 1st Austrian Army objective was far more complex, as they were required to encircle and secure the entire industrial region of the Central Economic Region (if possible, alongside Moscow), where they were faced by Pavel Kurochkin 17th Army. Harpe ordered that the 59th and 60th Armies advance frontally, while the 21st Army encircled the area from the north. He then ordered József Heszlényi 3rd Panzer Army, moving on Smolensk, to swing norward from 20 November, cutting off 17th Army's withdrawal.

In the meantime, the shattered remnants of the 4th Tankovy Army were still attempting to reach Russian lines. By 18 November, Mikhail Petrovich Petrov and the XXV Tankovy Corps found that their intended route northwards had been blocked, so pulled back to the east, absorbing the remnants of XLII Corps that had escaped encirclement. Much of the remainder of XLII Corps was destroyed after being trapped around the Ugra forest.

On 25 November, Kurochkin requested that he be allowed to withdraw his 100,000 troops from the developing salient around Gagarin. This was refused, and he repeated the request on 26 November. Konev eventually permitted Kurochkin to pull his forces back on the night of 27 November, while Harpe– who had allowed just enough room for the 17th Army to withdraw without putting up serious resistance – secured the area undamaged.

On Harpe northern flank, the 4th Panzer Army had spearheaded an advance where it secured a major bridgehead at Lyul'ki. Troops of the 5th Army established a second bridgehead at Homel.

In the northern sector of the offensive, Paulus 1st Army Group Centre also made rapid progress, as 9th Army was no longer able to offer coherent resistance. Its XXXVI Tankovy Corps, which was positioned behind Kaluga, was pushed into the neighbouring Second Army sector. Kaluga was taken on 17 November, as the Belarus Front's headquarters issued orders for the city to be abandoned. Stalin was furious at the abandonment of the 'fortress', arresting General Kliment Voroshilov, head of the Operations Branch of the Stavka, and sacking both the 9th Army and XXXVI Tankovy Corps commanders; Generals Vasily Chuikov and Vasily Glagolev.

The 2nd Panzer Army pressed forward, while to the south the 8th Army reached Voronezh by 18 November, and took it by 19 November. The 1st Panzer Army moved to encircle Stalingrad by 25 November, and the 8th Army began to fight its way into the city on the following day, though there was protracted and intense fighting in the Siege of Stalingrad before the city would finally be taken.

To the northwest of Paulus's 1st Army Group Centre, the lead elements of Erwin Rommel 2nd Army Group Centre Front taking part in the Petrograd Offensive had reached Kirovsk by 24 November and so succeeded in isolating parts of the Belarusian Front in Petrograd. On November 27, the abandoned Bear's Lair - Stalin former headquarters on the European Front, was captured.

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German troops enter Smolensk, led by two Jagdpanther

After encircling Stalingrad, the 1st Panzer Army advanced deep into the fortified region around the Volga River against patchy resistance from a variety of Narodnoe Opolcheniye and Nasist Army units. There was heavier resistance, however, on the approaches to the fortress of Volžskij.

The Russian reorganisation of command structure that resulted in the creation of the Moscow Front was accompanied by the release of a few extra formations for the defense; the V Istrebki Mountain Corps, with two reserve infantry divisions, was deployed along the Volga while the Rifle Division Muscovite was ordered to reinforce it.

On 16 November 1944 Kliment Voroshilov, the Chief of the Operational Branch of the Stavka gave the Belarus Front permission to retreat overruling a direct order from Stalin for them to hold fast. Three days laterVoroshilov was arrested by the NKVD and imprisoned first at Kazan concentration camp and then Magadan concentration camp. The officer was eventually liberated along with other prisoners by the US Army in December 1945.

The military historian Earl Ziemke described the advance thus: "On the 25th, Paulus's main force passed Stalingrad heading due east towards Rjazan. The path of the Germans advance looked like the work of a gigantic snowplough, its point aimed on a line from Belarus to Kaluga, to Moskov. All of the Belarus Front was being caught up by the point and the left blade and thrown across the Volga. On the right the Russians had nothing except a skeleton army group that Stalin had created some days earlier and named Moscow Front."

On 25 November, Stalin renamed three army groups. The Ukraine Front became the Crimea Front; the Belarus Front became the Moscow Front and the Ukrainian Front became the Volga Front

The 2nd Panzer and 5th Shock Armies reached the Volga almost unopposed; a unit of the 5th Shock Army crossed the river ice and took the town of Prishib as early as 31 November.

OKH declared the operation complete on 2 December. Paulus had initially hoped to advance directly on Moscow, as the Russian defences had largely collapsed. However the exposed northern flank of 1st Army Group Centre, along with a Russian counter-attack (Operation Saturn) against its spearheads, convinced the German command that it was essential to clear Russian forces before the Moscow offensive could proceed.

The Daugava-Volga Offensive was a major success for the German military. Within a matter of days the forces involved had advanced hundreds of kilometers, pushing the Russians back to the pre-war border and beyond. The offensive broke the back of the Belarus Front, and much of Russia remaining capacity for military resistance. However, the stubborn resistance of Russian forces in Central Russia, as well as continuing fighting in Petrograd, meant that the final offensive towards Moscow was delayed.

On 31 November the German offensive was voluntarily halted, though Moscow was undefended and only approximately 70 km (43 mi) away from the Russian bridgehead . After the war a debate raged, mainly between Paulus andRommel. whenever the city should had been taken. Rommel argued Moscow should have been taken then, while R ommel defended the decision to stop.

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Operation Ichi-Go: Part 1
Operation Ichi-Go: Part 1

The Nationalist Chinese Army had previously proven tough to counter as the Japanese defeat in Operation Kasei had shown. But by April 1945, despite shortening its front line after retreating from Korea and Manchuria, it had been exposed following the defeats of the Shanghai Defence Force in the battles that followed the Battle of Shanghai, the Battle of Nanjing, the Yangtze Offensive and the Changsha offensive by the United States. In the north, the Mongolian Sector Army was also pushed back, leaving the Central Northern Army lines protruding towards the east and at risk of losing contact with neighbouring army groups.

The Chinese High Command expected the next Allied-Central Power offensive to fall againstin the Yangtze river, while it lacked intelligence capabilities to divine the Japanese intentions. The National Revolutionary Army had redeployed one-third of the Central Army's artillery, half of its tank destroyers, and 88 per cent of tanks to the coast. In the north the Chinese army had a total of only 580 tanks, tank destroyers, and assault guns. They were opposed by over 4,000 Japanese tanks and self-propelled guns. Chinese lines were thinly held; for example, the 9th Army sector had 143 soldiers per km of the front.

Operation Ichi-Go, in combination with the American Wuhan Offensive, launched a few weeks later, allowed Japan to expand greately in China, and started the so called "American-Japan race for Xi'an, the new capital of Nationalist China. The Japanese were initially surprised at the success of their operation which had nearly reached Zhengzhou.

The battle has been described as the triumph of the Central Powers theory of the "operational art" because of the complete coordination of all the strategic front movements and signals traffic to fool the enemy about the target of the offensive. The military tactical operations of the Imperial Japanese Army successfully avoided the mobile reserves of the NRA and continually "wrong-footed" the Chinese forces. Despite the massive forces involved, Japanese front commanders left their adversaries completely confused about the main axis of attack until it was too late.

On the night of 21–22 April , the Imperial Japanese Army launched probing attacks on Chinese frontline positions, combined with bombing raids on NRA's lines of communication. The main offensive began in the early morning of 23 April, with an artillery bombardment of unprecedented scale against the defensive works. The initial assault achieved breakthroughs almost everywhere.

The first phase of Japanese deep operations, the "deep battle", envisaged breaking through the tactical zones and forward Chinese defences. Once these tactical offensives had been successful, fresh operational reserves were to exploit the breakthrough and the operational depths of the enemy front using powerful mechanized and armoured formations to encircle enemy concentrations on an Army Group scale.

The Nationalists northern flank was defended by the Third Tank Army under the command of Peng Dehuai; the lines ran through rough terrain in the north, through a salient round the city of Chifeng, to a sector north of the main Shinkyō –Pechino road, held by the Fourth Army. It was opposed by the Equadorian Expeditionary Force of Octavio A. Ochoa, and Hiroshi Nemoto 3rd Japanese Army, who were given the task of breaking through the defences to the north and south of Chifeng and cutting off the salient.

It was in this sector that Japanese forces had their greatest initial gains. The Japanese 43rd Army broke the defences of the Chinese IX Corps, to the north of Chifeng, within hours, pushing towards the Laoha river. South of the city, the VI Corps' 299th and 197th Infantry Divisions simply disappeared beneath an overwhelming Japanese assault, with a particularly effective breakthrough by the 5th Army at the junction of the 299th and 256th Infantry Divisions' sectors. By 24 April, the Chinese position in Chifeng itself, held by the central LIII Corps of four divisions, was already serious, as Japanese forces were clearly intending to encircle the city, but no reserves were available to shore up the collapsing defences, and requests to withdraw Chinese troops to the second defense lines, the 'Tiger' line, were denied by the NRA.

By 25 April Third Tank Army was disintegrating. In the north, IX Corps had been broken and pushed over Chengde. In the south much of the VI Corps had been annihilated, and its southernmost divisions (the 299th and 256th Infantry Divisions) had become separated from the remainder of Third Tank Army by heavy attacks around Tangshan, where they attempted to make a final stand in the 'Chiang' line, the third defence zone. The Japanese 43rd and 39th Armies were now converging behind Chengde, trapping the entire LIII Corps. LIII Corps' commander, Wang Wenquan, had transferred the 4th ROCAF Field Division south in order to spearhead a breakout, while the 246th Infantry Division attempted to hold open Pechino. NRA however, denied all requests for complete evacuation: the 206th Infantry Division was ordered to stay in the city and fight to the last man.

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Troops of the 158th Division fighting near the Chengde periphery during the assault on the city

Japanese plans in this sector met with overwhelming success. The 4th ROCAF Field Division was cut off and destroyed by the 39th Army on the evening of 25 April, and by the next day the 246th Infantry and 6th ROACF Field Divisions, fighting their way along the road from Chengde, had also been encircled. Chiang Kai Shek insisted that a staff officer be parachuted into Chengde to remind Ye Ting that the trapped 83rd Group Army should not withdraw; Third Tank Army's commander, Dehuai, was only able to get this decision reversed by insisting on being parachuted in himself if Chiang continued to order it. By the evening Japanese forces were fighting their way into the city and Ting finally ordered the garrison to withdraw too, in defiance of the Supreme High Command of the Chinese Army orders.

By 27 April LIII Corps had been dispersed, its 30,000 men being almost all killed or taken prisoner; a group of several thousand from the 4th ROACG Field Division initially managed to break out, but was liquidated in the forests west of Chengde. The remnants of IX Corps were retreating to the west, falling back on Changshanyuzhen with the 6th Army in pursuit: VI Corps was also largely destroyed. Third Tank Army had been effectively shattered within days, and Chengde captured: even more significantly, a huge gap had been torn in the Chinese lines to the north of Fourth Army in the former VI Corps sector.

The central sector of Japanese operations was against the long front of Fourth Army, which was under the overall command of Xiang Ying. Japanese plans envisaged the bulk of it, the XXXIX Tank Corps and XII Corps, being encircled while pinned down by attacks from the 2nd Japanese Army in the parallel Tientsin Offensive Operation. By far the most important Japanese objective, however, was immediately to the north. A breakthrough in this area, against General Xu Shiyou' XXVII Corps, would form the northern 'pincer' of the encirclement aimed at destroying Fourth Army. The Kalgan road was protected by extensive defensive works manned by the 88th Division, a specially reinforced unit with extra artillery and assault gun support. Kalgan itself had been designated a strongpoint under 88th Division's commander, with the 78th Group Army holding the lines to the south. As a result of the strong defenses in this sector, Japanese plans included the commitment of heavily armed engineer units to assist in a breakthrough.

Yukio Kasahara 11th Army attacked towards Kalgan on 23 April but initially made little headway. By the next day, the Japanese 1st Division was able to break through the Chinese lines in a desert, thinly-held area to the north of the 88th Division, which was ordered back to the third defence zone. It was now struggling to maintain contact with the 78th Group Army to the south. Nemoto, encouraged by the 1st Division's progress, pushed a mixed cavalry / mechanised exploitation force into the breach in the Chinese lines. On 25 April, the Chinese defences began to rupture; a counter-attack at Xihaigu failed.

Yang Dezhi' position was further threatened by the near-collapse of the Third Tank Army's VI Corps, immediately to the north. At 11:20 on 25 April the VI Corps, which had been cut off from its parent formation, was reassigned to Fourth Army. Part of its reserve, the 14th Infantry Division, was brought up to try to slow the Japanese advance north of Kalgan. By midnight, however, the 11th Army had shattered the remnant of VI Corps in the third line, and the 88th Division situation was becoming untenable: 26 April saw the Chinese forces in retreat. Japanese tank forces of the 2nd Tank Corps were able to push up the road towards Pechino at speed, with a subsidiary force breaking off to encircle Kalgan, which was taken on the evening of 26 April. The main exploitation force, Shiori Nagura 4th Tank Division, was then committed through the gap torn in the Chinese lines. VI Corps finally crumbled completely, its rear elements falling back towards Baoding in disarray: its commander, General Sun Yuanliang, was killed on 28 April after losing contact with his divisions. Dezhi was ordered to hold fast, but lacked the necessary resources despite shifting his 260th Infantry Division northwards and moving the 286th Security Division into the lines.

The operation effectively ceased with the arrival of 4th Tank Division forward units at the Berezina on 28 April.

The new objective was the liberation of Tientsin, the capital of Italian China which had been encircled and cut off, but supported by sea, since December 11 1940, the longest siege in the war.

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Italian sodiers in Tientsin

As with the other offensives in the first phase of Operation Ichi-Go, the Langfang Offensive, aimed to liberate Tientsin from its five years long siege, opened with an intense artillery barrage against the Chinese defensive lines on the morning of 23 April.

South of Langfang itself, General Luo Ronghuan's 6th Armored Division, attempted to hold its lines in the face of a ferocious assault by Takehara Saburo 49th Division during which the latter suffered heavy casualties. The Fourth Army commander, Zhou Zikun, requested that Ronghuan be allowed to withdraw to the 'Tiger' line late on 23 April; this was refused

The 49th division forced its advance on the evening of 27 April ; two divisions (the 290th and the 369th), fought their way into the town during the night, while mobile units of the 23rd Tank Brigade enveloped the garrison from the northwest. Japanese troops were welcomed jubilantly by the Italian civilians, with the Japanese themselves appaled about the conditions of the people in the city

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Troops of the 49th Division in Tientsin on 28 June 1944

With Tientsin liberated, and the Italian army joining on the offensive, the situation did not look happy for the Chinese. In the newly formed sector of operations, where the 1st Legione Italiana under Ferruccio Stefenelli faced Zhao Xiguang Ninth Corps, the main Italo-Japanese objective was Baoding which would open up the route for the southern 'pincer' of the main encirclement. Stefenelli was the commander of the Italian encircled troops in Tientsin since 1940, and was a legend among the members of the Central Powers for his bravery.

Stefenelli attack, as with the other initial offensive operations of Operation Ichi-Go, was preceded by a heavy artillery bombardment. The first assault, against strong Chinese defences, was however repulsed with heavy casualties. Stegenelli ordered further artillery preparation for May 04, which eventually resulted in a collapse of the 134th Infantry Division to the north of the sector, as the Japanese 3rd Army pushed forward; the 5th Tank Division began to counter-attack, but Han Xianchu then ordered it to turn southwards and confront a new breakthrough by the Japanese 65th Division under Shizuo Sakaguchi.

By May 07, Italo/Japanese forces were converging near Baoding, trapping the five divisions of Ninth Corps northernmost corps, Lieutenant-General Deng Longguang XXXV Corps, east of the Gaoyang . Elements of the central XXXXI Tank Corps were also trapped, along with the 20th Tank Division. The disorganised Chinese divisions commenced a series of desperate attempts to escape the pocket: the Japanese reported large fires on 07 May as the Chinese destroyed their heavy equipment and attempted to break out, but Japanese air attack and artillery inflicted appalling casualties on the encircled forces. In the meantime, Chiang had relieved Xianchu of command due to his confusing instructions to 20th Tank; Ninth Army was dealt another blow when its main communications headquarters was destroyed by bombing. On the following day, reinforcements arrived behind Chinese lines in the form of 12th Tank Division, whose commander was greeted by Ninth Corps chief of staff with the words "Good to see you — Ninth Corps no longer exists!"

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Two destroyed S-35 tanks belonging to the 20th Tank Division, May 1945

Faced with Ninth Corps imminent collapse, Chinese high command authorised a withdrawal. Lieutenant-General Wang Jingjiu, Commander of Baoding, was ordered to hold the town with one division, Lieutenant-General Du Yuming's 200th Division. Thousands of wounded were abandoned in the citadel. The remnants of 20th TankDivision, with a handful of tanks and assault guns, formed a spearhead for XXXXI Tank Corps' breakout attempt, while 12th Tank Division attacked from Renqiu to meet the retreating troops. Though a breakout was achieved through positions held by the Japanese 356th Division of 65th Army, the Chinese forces were again subjected to intense artillery bombardment and air attack as they attempted to make their way along the roads south of Hebei.

Sakaguchi's 65th Division now fought their way into Baoling street by street against stiff resistance from the Chinese rearguard. Baoling was captured on 09 May, the 200th Division commencing withdrawal towards dawn: no further elements of Ninth Corps would escape. The Chinese breakout had allowed around 12,000 troops - mostly demoralised and without weapons - from the pocket east of Baoding to get out, but the Japanese claimed 20,000 taken prisoner. A further 50,000 were dead: Italo/Japanese accounts speak of the area being carpeted with bodies and littered with abandoned materiel. Italian writer in China, Ottavia Vitagliano, entered Bading shortly after the end of the battle: "Men are walking over Chinese corpses. Corpses, hundreds and thousands of them, pave the road, lie in ditches, under the pines, in the green barley. In some places, vehicles have to drive over the corpses, so densely they lie upon the ground [...] A cauldron of death was boiling here, where the revenge was carried out"

Ninth Corps had been decisively defeated, a route for Xian was opened.

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The Kabul uprising: the snow leopard rebels against the bear
The Kabul uprising: the snow leopard rebels against the bear

In 1944, Afghanistan had been occupied by Nasist Russia for almost five years. The Afghan Mujahideen planned some form of rebellion against Russian forces. Russia was fighting a coalition of Allied/Central powers, led by the German empire, the United States of Greater Austria, the Kingdom of Iberia, the Kingdom of Italy, the Empire of Japan, the Empire of Siam, the United States of South America and the United States of America. The initial plan of the Mujahideen was to link up with the invading forces of the Siamese and Japanese as they liberated India from the Nasists and Chinese. However, when the Nasist Army began the battle of the Bulge in 1944 and talks between Iran and the Allied-Central Powers begun, it was clear that it would had been Iran who liberate Afghanistan.

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A captured Russian T-26 Carrier from the 5th Istrebki Tankovy Division, being used by the 8th "Jnral" Regiment.

The Iranians and the Afghans distrusted each other because of several border conflicts in the aftermath of the 1932 Helmand war. On 26 May, the Afghan government-in-exile issued instructions to the effect that, if diplomatic relations with Iran were not resumed before the Iranian entry into the war, Mujahideen forces were to remain underground pending further decisions.

However, the Mujahideen commander, Salemai, took a different approach, and on 20 June, he outlined his own plan, which became known as Operation Tempest. On the entry of Iran into the war, local units of the Mujahideen were to harass the Russian Nasist Army in the rear and co-operate with incoming Iranian units as much as possible. Although doubts existed about the military necessity of a major uprising, planning continued. General Salemai and his civilian advisor were authorised by the government in exile to proclaim a general uprising whenever they saw fit.

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Afghan Mujahideen

The situation came to a head on 13 June 1944 as the Iranians were preparing to join the war. At this point the Afghans had to make a decision: either initiate the uprising in the current difficult political situation and risk a lack of Iranian support, or fail to rebel and face Central Powers propaganda describing the Mujahideen as impotent or worse, Nasists collaborators. They feared that if Afghanistan was liberated by the Imperial Army, they would risk to become an Iranian puppet. On 21 June, the High Command of the Mujahideen decided that the time to launch Operation Tempest in Kabul was imminent. The plan was intended both as a political manifestation of Afghan sovereignty and as a direct operation against the Russian occupiers. On 25 June, the Afghan government-in-exile (without the knowledge and against the wishes of Afghan Commander-in-Chief General Mohammed Daoud Khan) approved the plan for an uprising in Kabulwith the timing to be decided locally.

Fearing that Siamese and Japanese forces would invade Central Asia through Afghanistan, Russian plans required Kabul to serve as the defensive centre of the area and to be held at all costs. The Russians had fortifications constructed and built up their forces in the area. This process slowed after the failed 20 June plot to assassinate the Nasist leader Joseph Stalin, and around that time, the Russians in Kabul were weak and visibly demoralized. However, by the end of June, Russian forces in the area were reinforced. On 27 June, the Governor of the Kabul District, Mikhail Kovalyov, called for 100,000 Afghan men and women to report for work as part of a plan which envisaged the Afghan constructing fortifications around the city. The inhabitants of Kabul ignored his demand, and the Mujahideen command became worried about possible reprisals or mass round-ups, which would disable their ability to mobilize.

On 25 June, the Talibans, in a broadcast from Dhaka, stated: "The Afghan Army of the Talibans ... calls on the thousands of brothers thirsting to fight, to smash the foe before he can recover from his defeat ... Every Afghan homestead must become a stronghold in the struggle against the invaders ... Not a moment is to be lost."

On 29 June Salemai and several officers held a meeting. Shah Mahmud Khan, who had arrived from Berlin, expressed the view that help from the Siamese and Japanese would be limited, but his views received no attention.

"In the early afternoon of 31 June the most important political and military leaders of the resistance had no intention of sending their troops into battle on 1 July. Even so, another late afternoon briefing of Salemai 's Staff was arranged for five o'clock(...) At about 5.30 p.m. Col 'Hinaufgehen' arrived at the briefing, reporting that the Japanese and Siamese tanks were already entering Kolkata and insisting on the immediate launching of the Mujahideen operations inside the city as otherwise it 'might be too late'. Prompted by 'Hinaufgehen`s report, Salemai decided that the time was ripe for the commencement of 'R'ed ' in Kabul, in spite of his earlier conviction to the contrary, twice expressed during the course of that day".

"Salemai and Mahmud issued their final order for the insurrection when it was erroneously reported to them that the Japanese tanks were pushing deeply in India. Hence they assumed that the Russo-Sino-Japanese battle for India was approaching its climax and that this presented them with an excellent opportunity to capture Kabul before the Imperial Army entered the war. The Siamese radio appeals calling upon the people of Kabul to rise against the Russians, regardless of Iran intentions, had very little influence on the Afghan authorities responsible for the insurrection".

Believing that the time for action had arrived, on 31 June, the Afghan commanders General Salemai and Colonel Mazrak Zadran ordered full mobilization of the forces for 17:00 the following day.

Within the framework of the entire enemy intelligence operations directed against Russia, the intelligence service of the Afghan resistance movement assumed major significance. The scope and importance of the operations of the Afghan resistance movement, which was ramified down to the smallest splinter group and brilliantly organized, have been in (various sources) disclosed in connection with carrying out of major police security operations. (Roman von Ungern-Sternberg, 31 December 1942).

After days of hesitation, at 17:00 on 31 June, the Afghan headquarters scheduled "A-hour" (from the Afghan anfjar, "explosion"), the moment of the start of the uprising for 17:00 on the following day. The decision was a strategic miscalculation because the under-equipped resistance forces were prepared and trained for a series of coordinated surprise dawn attacks. In addition, although many units were already mobilized and waiting at assembly points throughout the city, the mobilization of thousands of young men and women was hard to conceal. Fighting started in advance of "A-hour", notably in Hamid Karzai Int'l, and around the Gardens of Babur and the Shahr-e Naw Park. The Russians had anticipated the possibility of an uprising, though they had not realized its size or strength. At 16:30 Governor Kovalyov put the garrison on full alert.

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Mujahideen in Kabul

That evening the resistance captured a major Russian arsenal, the main post office and power station and the Kabul Tower. However, Chaman-e-Hozori, the police district, and the airport remained in Russian hands. The first days were crucial in establishing the battlefield for the rest of the fight. The resistance fighters were most successful in the City Centre, Old Town, and Mirwais Maidan. However, several major Russiansstrongholds remained, and in some areas of Mirwais Maidan the Afghans sustained heavy losses that forced an early retreat. In other areas such as Chindawol, the attackers almost completely failed to secure any objectives and controlled only the residential areas. In Ahmad Shah Baba Mina the Afghans were sent back into hiding by a high concentration of Russian forces. Most crucially, the fighters in different areas failed to link up with each other and with areas outside Kabul, leaving each sector isolated from the others. After the first hours of fighting, many units adopted a more defensive strategy, while civilians began erecting barricades. Despite all the problems, by 4 July the majority of the city was in Afghan hands, although some key strategic points remained untaken.

My Lider, the timing is unfortunate, but from a historical perspective what the Afghans are doing is a blessing. After five, six weeks we shall leave. But by then Kabul, the capital, the head, the intelligence of these Afghan will be extinguished, this Lyudi that has blocked our way to the Indian subcontinent. After this the Afghan problem will no longer be a great historical problem for the children who come after us, nor indeed will it be for us. (Istrebki Chief Roman von Ungern-Sternberg to Joseph Stalin when he learned about the Kabul Uprising)

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Afghan Mujahideen with a captured T-34

The uprising was intended to last a few days until Japanese and Siamese forces had broke through the Indian armies, as the Chinese and Russian position in the subcontinent was believed to be far more precarious than it actually was; however, this never happened, the Sino-Russian forces had a firm grip of India which fell only after the war, and the Afghan forces had to fight with little outside assistance. The results of the first two days of fighting in different parts of the city were as follows:

Area I (city centre and the Old Town): Units captured most of their assigned territory, but failed to capture areas with strong pockets of resistance from the Russians (the Kabul University buildings, Kabul tower, the headquarters of the Russian garrison in the Tajbeg Palace, the Russian-only area near Kharabat). They thus failed to create a central stronghold, secure communication links to other areas, or a secure land connection with the northern area of Mikrorayon through the northern railway line.

Area II (Mikrorayon, Shash Darak, Karte Wali): Units failed to secure the most important military targets near Mikrorayon. Many units retreated outside of the city, into the mountains.

Area III (Chaman-e-Hozori): Units initially secured most of the territory, but sustained heavy losses (up to 30%). Some units retreated into the mountains, while others retreated to the southern part of the area.

Area IV (Char Chata ): The units mobilized in this area did not capture either the territory or the military targets (the Char Chata concentration camp, and the Istrebki barracks ). After suffering heavy casualties most of the Mujahideen forces retreated to the mountains west of Kabul. Only two small units of approximately 200 to 300 men remained in the area and managed to create strong pockets of resistance. They were later reinforced by units from the city centre. Elite units managed to secure most of the northern part of the area and captured all of the military targets there. However, they were soon tied down by Russian tactical counter-attacks from the south and west.

Area V (Kharabat ): The situation in this area was very serious from the start of hostilities. The partisans aimed to capture the heavily defended Police Area, and establish a connection with the city centre through open terrain at the former airfield. As both of the areas were heavily fortified and could be approached only through open terrain, the assaults failed. Some units retreated into the mountains.

Among the most notable primary targets that were not taken during the opening stages of the uprising were the airfields of Hamid Karzai Int'l Field, as well as the Kabul tower overlooking the city centre and the railway station guarding the passage between the centre and the northern borough of the city.

The leaders of the uprising counted only on the rapid entry of the Imperial Army in Kabul(`on the second or third or, at the latest, by the seventh day of the fighting`) and were more prepared for a confrontation with the Iranians. At this time, the king of Afghanistan in exile Mohammed Zahir Shah met with Mohammad Reza Pahlavi on July 3, 1944 in Tehran and raised the questions of his imminent arrival in Kabul, the return to power of his government in Afghanistan, as well as the Helmand borders of Afghanistan, while categorically refusing to recognize the return of Helmand as the basis for negotiations. In saying this, Zahir Shah was well aware that Iran and Reza Pahlavi had repeatedly stated their demand for recognition of the Helmand area as Iranian as the basis for negotiations and categorically refused to change their position. Thus, the Kabul uprising was actively used to achieve political goals. The question of assistance to the insurrection was not raised by Zahir Shah, apparently for reasons that it might weaken the position in the negotiations.

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Mujahideen near Kabul

This is the fiercest of our battles since the start of the war. It compares to the street battles of Berlin. (Istrebki Chief Roman von Ungern-Sternberg to Russian generals on 21 August 1944).

Despite the loss of Chaman-e-Hozori, the Afghan resistance strengthened. Two battalions managed to capture the ruins of the Kabul Ghetto and liberate the Kabul concentration camp, freeing about 350 Afghans. The area became one of the main communication links between the resistance fighting in Chaman-e-Hozori and those defending the Old Town. On 7 July Russian forces were strengthened by the arrival of tanks using civilians as human shields. After two days of heavy fighting they managed to bisect Chaman-e-Hozori and reach Abdul Rahman Mosque. However, by then the net of barricades, street fortifications, and tank obstacles were already well-prepared; both sides reached a stalemate, with heavy house-to-house fighting.

Between 9 and 18 July pitched battles raged around the Old Town and nearby Abdul Rahman Mosque, with successful attacks by the Russians and counter-attacks from the Afghans. Russian tactics hinged on bombardment through the use of heavy artillery and tactical bombers, against which the Afghans were unable to effectively defend, as they lacked anti-aircraft artillery weapons. Even clearly marked hospitals were dive-bombed by Ilyushin Il-2.

Although the Battle of Berlin had already shown the danger a city can pose to armies which fight within it and the importance of local support, the Kabul Uprising was probably the first demonstration that in an urban terrain, a vastly under-equipped force supported by the civilian population can hold its own against better-equipped professional soldiers—though at the cost of considerable sacrifice on the part of the city's residents.

The Afghans held the Old Town until a decision to withdraw was made at the end of July. On successive nights until 2 August, the defenders of the Old Town withdrew through the sewers, which were a major means of communication between different parts of the Uprising. Thousands of people were evacuated in this way. Those that remained were either shot or transported to concentration camps once the Russians regained control.

By the first week of August both Russian and Afghan commanders realized that the Central Powers armies were unlikely to act to break the stalemate. The Russians reasoned that a prolonged Uprising would damage their ability to hold Kabul as the frontline; the Afghans were concerned that continued resistance would result in further massive casualties. On 7 August, General Aleksandr Vasilevsky proposed negotiations, which Salemai agreed to pursue the following day. Over 8, 9 and 10 August about 20,000 civilians were evacuated by agreement of both sides, and Vasilevsky recognized the right of Mujahideen soldiers to be treated as military combatants.

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Mujahideen soldier from the Char Asiab District surrenders to Russian troops. For many years it was believed that this soldier survived the Uprising as some resistance fighters were mistaken for Russian troops, 27 August 1944

However, by the morning of 27 August, the Russians had retaken Char Asiab. Talks restarted on 28 August. In the evening of 30 August, Qasaba fell to the Russians. The Afghanswere being pushed back into fewer and fewer streets, and their situation was ever more desperate. Salemai and Zahir Shah again appealed directly to Reza Pahlavi for an Iranian intervention. None came. According to Iranian Marshal Reza Shah it was believed that an Iranian intervention would had been a negative situation for Iran.

The capitulation order of the remaining Afghan forces was finally signed on 2 September. All fighting ceased that evening. According to the agreement, the Nasist Army promised to treat Mujahideen soldiers in accordance with the Geneva Convention, and to treat the civilian population humanely.

The next day the Russians began to disarm the Mujahideen soldiers. They later sent 15,000 of them to POW camps in various parts of Russia. Between 5,000 and 6,000 resistance fighters decided to blend into the civilian population hoping to continue the fight later. The entire civilian population of Kabul was expelled from the city and sent to a transit camp in Bande Pitaw. Out of 350,000–550,000 civilians who passed through the camp, 90,000 were sent to labour camps in the Second Imperya, 60,000 were shipped to death and concentration camps, while the rest were transported to various locations in the Afghan Province and released.

The city must completely disappear from the surface of the earth and serve only as a transport station for the Nasist Army. No stone can remain standing. Every building must be razed to its foundation. (Istrebki Chief Roman von Ungern-Sternberg , 17 September, Istrebki officers conference)

The destruction of the Afghan capital was planned before the start of World War II. On 20 June 1939, while Joseph Stalin was visiting an architectural bureau in Ak-Mechet, his attention was captured by a project of a future Russian town. According to the Roubaud Plan Kabul was to be turned into a provincial Russian city. It was soon included as a part of the great Russification plan of Central Asia. The failure of the Kabul Uprising provided an opportunity for Stalin to begin the transformation.

After the remaining population had been expelled, the Russians continued the destruction of the city. Special groups of Russian engineers were dispatched to burn and demolish the remaining buildings. According to Russian plans, after the war Kabul was to be turned into nothing more than a military transit station, or even an artificial lake – the latter of which the Nasists leadership had already intended to implement for the Austrian capital of Vienna in 1941. The demolition squads used flamethrowers and explosives to methodically destroy house after house. They paid special attention to historical monuments, Afghan national archives and places of interest.

By December 1944, 85% of the buildings were destroyed: 25% as a result of the Uprising, 35% as a result of systematic Russian actions after the uprising, and the rest as a result of the earlier Kabul Ghetto Uprising, and the September 1939 campaign. Material losses are estimated at 10,455 buildings, 923 historical buildings (94%), 25 mosques, 14 libraries including the National Library, 81 primary schools, 64 high schools, University of Kabul and Kabul University of Technology, and most of the historical monuments. Almost a million inhabitants lost all of their possessions. The exact amount of losses of private and public property as well as pieces of art, monuments of science and culture is unknown but considered enormous. Studies done in the late 1940s estimated total damage at about US$30 billion. In 2004, Prime minister of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai established a historical commission to estimate material losses that were inflicted upon the city by Russian authorities. The commission estimated the losses as at least US$31.5 billion at 2004 values. Those estimates were later raised to US$45 billion 2004 US dollars and in 2005, to $54.6 billion.

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The battle of Baghdad: Finale
The battle of Baghdad: Finale

Graziani strategy in Arabia was to "force the enemy to commit the maximum number of divisions in Arabia at the time the invasion of Constantinople begun". Circumstances allowed him the time to prepare a major offensive to achieve this. His plan, originally inspired from Juan Carlos Onganía idea to circle around Baghdad and take Tikrit with his Alpini to break the Ağa Line, was to shift the bulk of the Italian Eighth Army, commanded by General Italo Gariboldi, from the Mediterranean front across the spine of Arabia to join Clark's Fifth Army and attack along a 20-mile (32 km) front between Baghdad and the mountains. Fifth Army (U.S. II Corps and Argentinian Expeditionary Corps) would be on the left and Eighth Army (Italian XIII Corps and Afghan II Corps) on the right.

The plan for Operation Corona was that U.S. II Corps on the left would attack up the mountains. The Argentinians Corps to their right would attack from the bridgehead across the Tigri originally created by Italian X Corps in the first battle in November. Italian XIII Corps in the centre right of the front would attack along the Tigri valley. On the right Afghan II Corps (3rd and 5th Divisions) commanded by Lieutenant General Purdil Khan, had relieved the Italian 78th Division in the dunes behind Baghdad on 24 February and would attempt the task which had defeated 4th Arab Division in December: isolate the city centre and push round behind it into the Tigri valley to link with XIII Corps' thrust and pinch out the Baghdad position. It was hoped that being a much larger force than their 4th Arab Division predecessors they would be able to saturate the Turkish defences which would as a result be unable to give supporting fire to each other's positions. Once again, the pinching manoeuvres by the Afghan and Italian Corps were key to the overall success. Iberian I Corps would be held in reserve ready to exploit the expected breakthrough. Once the Turkish 10th Army had been defeated, U.S. VI Corps would break out of the İskenderun beachhead to cut off the retreating Turks from Anatolia.

The large troop movements required for this took two months to execute. They had to be carried out in small units to maintain secrecy and surprise. U.S. 36th Division was sent on amphibious assault training and road signposts and dummy radio signal traffic were created to give the impression that a seaborne landing was being planned in the Anatolian coast. This was planned to keep Turkish reserves held back from the Ağa Line. Movements of troops in forward areas were confined to the hours of darkness and armoured units moving from the Mediterranean front left behind dummy tanks and vehicles so the vacated areas appeared unchanged to enemy aerial reconnaissance. The deception was successful. As late as the second day of the final Baghdad battle, Hayrullah Fişek estimated the Allies/Central Powers had six divisions facing his four on the Baghdad front. In fact there were thirteen.

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Amedeo Guillet and his Amhara cavalry

The first assault (11–12 March) on Baghdad opened at 23:00 with a massive artillery bombardment with 1,060 guns on the Eighth Army front and 600 guns on the Fifth Army front, manned by Italian, Americans, Afghans, Somali, Chileans and Argentinians. Within an hour and a half the attack was in motion in all four sectors. By daylight the U.S. II Corps had made little progress, but their Fifth Army colleagues, the Argentinian Expeditionary Corps, had achieved their objectives and were fanning out in the Hosseinia Dunes toward the Eighth Army to their right, rolling up the Turkish positions between the two armies. On the Eighth Army front, Italian XIII Corps had made two strongly opposed crossings of the Eufrates (by Italian 4th Infantry Division and 8th Arabian Division). Crucially, the engineers of Nasib al-Bakri's 8th Arab Division had by the morning succeeded in bridging the river enabling the armour of 1st Iberian Armoured Brigade to cross and provide the vital element (so missed by the Americans in the first battle and Somali in the second battle) to beat off the inevitable counter-attacks from Turkish tanks that would come.

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Italian soldier with a Bowning machine gun

In the dunes above Baghdad, the aptly named Dune Calvary was taken by the Afghans only to be recaptured by Turkish paratroops. For three days Afghan attacks and Turkish counter-attacks brought heavy losses to both sides. Afghan II Corps lost 281 officers and 3,503 other ranks in assaults on Miralay Reşat Çiğiltepe's 4th Parachute Regiment, until the attacks were called off "Just eight hundred Turks had succeeded in driving off attacks by two divisions", the area around the mountain having turned into a "miniature Locogrande". In the early morning hours of 12 March, the Afghan infantry divisions were met with "such devastating mortar, artillery and small-arms fire that the leading battalions were all but wiped out".

By 13 March the pressure was starting to tell. The Turkish right wing began to give way to Fifth Army. The Argentinian Corps had captured Baghdad Al Jadeeda and were now in a position to give material flank assistance to the Eighth Army in the Tigri valley against whom Hayrullah Fişek had thrown every available reserve in order to buy time to switch to his second prepared defensive position, the Kemal Line. On 14 March Eritrean Ascari, travelling through the dunes parallel to the Tigri valley, ground which was undefended because it was not thought possible to traverse such terrain, outflanked the Turkish defence while materially assisting the XIII Corps in the valley. In 1943, the Ascari were colonial troops formed into four Reggimenti di Truppe Coloniali Eritree ("Royal Corps of Eritrean Colonial Troops"; RCECT) specialised in desert warfare. Amedeo Guillet Gruppo Bande Ertirea consisted of the 1st, 3rd and 4th RCECT of Bulucbasci Ibrahim Farag Mohammed totalling some 7,800 fighting men, broadly the same infantry strength as a division, and four more conventional divisions: the 2nd Eritrean Infantry Division, the 3rd Somali Infantry Division , the 4th Eritrean Mountain Division and the 1st Argentinian Division.

Clark also paid tribute to the Ascari and the Eritrean regulars of the colonial units: "In spite of the stiffening enemy resistance, the 2nd Eritrean Division penetrated the Ağa Line in less than two-day's fighting. The next 48 hours on the Argentinian and Eritrean front were decisive. The knife-wielding Ascari swarmed over the hills, particularly at night and General Guillet entire force showed an aggressiveness hour after hour that the Turks could not withstand. Al Baiueia, San Giorgio, Abu Ghraib, Sadr City and al-Kazimiyya were seized in one of the most brilliant and daring advances of the war in Arabia... For this performance, which was to be a key to the success of the entire drive on Anatolia, I shall always be a grateful admirer of the Devil General and his magnificent Ascari."

On 15 March, the Italian 65th Infantry Division Granatieri di Savoia came into the Italian XIII Corps line from reserve passing through the bridgehead divisions to execute the turning move to isolate Baghdad from the Tigri valley.

On 17 March, Afghan II Corps launched their second attack on Baghdad. Under constant artillery and mortar fire from the strongly fortified Turkish positions and with little natural cover for protection, the fighting was fierce and at times hand-to-hand. With their line of supply threatened by the Allied/Central Powers advance in the Tigri valley, the Turks decided to withdraw from Baghdad to the new defensive positions on the Kemal Line. In the early hours of 18 March the Italian 65th Division and Afghan II Corps linked up in the Tigri valley 3.2 km north of Baghdad.

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Ruins of Baghdad after the battle

Units of the Eighth Army advanced up the Tigri valley and Fifth Army up the coast to the Kemal defensive line. An immediate follow-up assault failed and Eighth Army then decided to take some time to reorganize. Getting 20,000 vehicles and 2,000 tanks through the broken Ağa Line was a major job taking several days. The next assault on the line commenced on 23 March with Afghan II Corps attacking Tikrit (defended by the redoubtable Turkish 1st Parachute Division) on the right and 1st Iberian Infantry Division (fresh from Eighth Army reserve) in the centre. On 24 March, the Iberians had breached the line and 5th Iberian (Armoured) Division poured through the gap. On 25 March the Afghan took Tikrit and the line collapsed. The way was clear for the advance northwards on Kurdistan and beyond.

As the Iberians and Afghans launched their attack on 23 March, Major General Lucian Truscott, who had replaced Lucas as commander of the U.S. VI Corps in December, launched a two pronged attack using five (three U.S. and two Italians) of the seven divisions in the beachhead at İskenderun. The Afghan 14th Army, facing this thrust, was without any armoured divisions because Fişek had sent his armour south to assist the Turkish 10th Army in the Baghdad action. A single armoured division, the 26th Yuk, was in transit from Anatolia of the future Kurdish capital of Hewlêr‎ where it had been held anticipating the non-existent push the Allies/Central Powers had faked and so was unavailable to fight.

By 25 March, with the Turkish 10th Army in full retreat, Truscott's VI Corps was, as planned, driving westward to cut them off. By the next day they would have been astride the line of retreat and 10th Army, with all Fişek reserves committed to them, would have been trapped. At this point, astonishingly, Clark ordered Truscott to change his line of attack from a northeasterly one to Syria. Reasons for Clark's decision are unclear and controversy surrounds the issue. Most commentators point to Clark's ambition to be the first to arrive in Anatolia although some suggest he was concerned to give a necessary respite to his tired troops. Truscott later wrote in his memoirs that Clark "was fearful that the Italians were laying devious plans to be first into Anatolia", a sentiment somewhat reinforced in Clark's own writings.

At the time, Truscott was shocked, writing later: "...I was dumbfounded. This was no time to drive to the northwest where the enemy was still strong; we should pour our maximum power into the Kurdish Gap to insure the destruction of the retreating Turkish Army. I would not comply with the order without first talking to General Clark in person. ...[However] he was not on the beachhead and could not be reached even by radio. ... such was the order that turned the main effort of the beachhead forces from the Kurdish Gap and prevented destruction of Tenth Army. On the 26th the order was put into effect."

He went on to write: "There has never been any doubt in my mind that had General Clark held loyally to General Graziani instructions, had he not changed the direction of my attack to the northwest on 26 March, the strategic objectives of İskenderun would have been accomplished in full."

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Operation Ichi-Go: Finale New
Operation Ichi-Go: Finale

By 16 May, NRA command had finally realised that the developing Operation Ichi-Go was the main Japanese offensive, and that Shijiazhuang was its new objective. As a result, the 5th Tank Division was brought back from the Southern Chinese Defense Area, arriving in Shijiazhuang on 17 May with the unenviable job of attempting to halt the Japanese advance and preventing the complete collapse of the Northern Army. For the Chinese forces, the military situation was dire: in the Army northern sector, Third Tank Army had crumbled, with the LIII Corps wiped out, the VI Corps shattered, and the IX Corps being pushed steadily west. In the south, Ninth Corps had lost all cohesion, its remaining troops being pounded by artillery and air bombardment. Fourth Army's three corps were now ordered to hold fast, despite being bypassed by Japanese forces on their flanks: Chiang Kai-shek declared Shijiazhuang a Bǎolěi (Fortress) and instructed the remnants of Ninth Corps to reinforce its defence.

5th Tank, which was reorganised on 18 May into a combat group under the command of Liao Yaoxiang, took up positions near Lunu on the main road north-east of Minsk, along which elements of Fourth Army were fleeing from the front. 5th Tank main tank regiments, which unlike many Chinese armoured units at the time were at full strength, were concentrated to the north, screening the rail lines being used for evacuation. The road itself was held by a rearguard of infantry, while Heavy Tank Battalion 505, equipped with S-35, held the rail lines at Quyang to the east.

There were few manpower reserves in the area from which a defence could be organised. Some further reinforcements were provided by Chinese Militia, the rear-area security units of the Hua Guofeng and Cossack Brigades. The crossing points on the Dasha southwards were defended by several police and security detachments composed by Militias.

5th Armored Army was now bearing down on Shijiazhuang from the north-east (the subordinate 3rd Armored Corps initially suffering some losses to 5th Tank heavy tank battalion at Quyang ), while the Japanese 2nd Armored Corps approached from the east. The bulk of 5th Armored Army, accompanied by the infantry divisions of 11th Army, attacked straight down the Shijiazhuang road, forcing the Chinese infantry back into Dingzhou by 19 May: a screen of Japanese troops was left on the road to prevent any more elements of Fourth Army escaping into Shijiazhuang . 5th Tank engineers blew the bridges over the Dasha on 20 May in an attempt to deny the Japanese forces entry into Gaopengzhen. The overstretched main elements of Yaoxiang Militia now attempted to screen Shijiazhuang from the north-west, where the 5th Armored Army threatened to sever the railway lines. The fall of the city seemed imminent: 65th Army was approaching from the southern route, the 5th Armored Army was making progress from the north, and 2nd Armored Corps had crossed the Dasha.

In the meantime, the four divisions of XXXIX Tank Corps had begun to pull back and make for the crossings at Dasha, south of Xinle, in an effort to escape the developing trap. A column of vehicles stretched back for many kilometres, under constant air attack, as the bridge was repeatedly damaged by bombing. The replacement corps commander, Lieutenant-General Peng Xuefeng, was himself killed on 19 May, and the entire corps began to disintegrate.

The elements of the Northern Army holding Shijiazhuang began to prepare for withdrawal on 21 May, authorisation finally being given on 22 May. With substantial elements of Fourth Army still east of the city attempting to withdraw, the 2nd Armored Corps broke through the defences of Shijiazhuang in the early hours of 23 May; fighting erupted in the centre of the city at dawn. By the next day, Shijiazhuang had been cleared of Chinese rearguard units, while the 65th Army and 5th Armored Army closed the encirclement to the west. The bulk of Fourth Army, and much of the remnant of Ninth Corps, were now trapped. In total, around 100,000 troops from Fourth and Ninth Armies were caught in the encirclement, of whom some 40,000 were killed, most of the remainder being captured.

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An exhibition drill routine by the Imperial Japanese Army during a civil-military parade in honor of the 74th anniversary of the offensive, 3 July 2019

Meanwhile, the 1st Mongolian Front continued to extend its offensive westwards from May 20, pushing the shattered remnants of Third Tank Army's IX Corps back towards Bayannaɣur qota. Two of the 6th Army's infantry corps, the 103rd and 23rd Infantry, had advanced some 18 km by the end of the day against some Chinese counter-attacks, while the Teishin Shudan had reached the Yellow River. The Front's tank corps, in the meantime, successfully cut the Buɣutu qota rail line, despite advancing a smaller distance than planned due to being held up at the Zhonghexizhen crossings.

With the IX Corps having suffered heavy losses, the LIII Corps effectively wiped out in the encirclement of Kökeqota a few days earlier and the VI Corps largely destroyed south and east of Kökeqota, Colonel-General Zuo Quan committed his rear-area security divisions into the lines. In response to a request from Field-Marshal Zhu De, the 290th and 81st Infantry Divisions were hurriedly shifted from the Northern Army to shore up the collapsing defences on the approaches to Bayannaɣur qota. In the south of the sector, the remnants of IX Corps and of the former VI Corps, continued to offer weak resistance, but the Japanese advance, and Chinese retreat, was rapid. A survivor from the 252nd Infantry Division described the experience as "a virtual race westwards, trying to outpace the Japanese units advancing as fast as their logistics would allow them. The Division travelled nearly 500 kilometres".

Masaomi Yasuoka planning envisaged the launch of a final offensive against Bayannaɣur qota, an important communications and transport centre, on May 21, taking the city by evening. The attack was launched that morning by the Teishin Shudan 100th and 83rd Infantry Corps in co-ordination with elements of the 6th Army. Chinese resistance was strong, and Japanese units were only able to penetrate the town's defences by the next day. On May 22, Japanese forces were involved in fierce fighting to capture the main railway bridge over the Yellow River, which formed the main link between the Chinese forces in the north and south of the city; the bridge was eventually taken by the 156th Infantry Regiment. There were intense street battles until the evening of May 24, after which the surviving Chinese forces withdrew.

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Abandoned vehicles of the Chinese 9th Corps at a road near Shijiazhuang

This was by far the greatest Japanese victory in numerical terms. The Imperial Japanese Army recaptured many territories which had become Central Powers possessions prior to the war. In order to show the outside world the magnitude of the victory, some 57,000 Chinese prisoners, taken from the encirclement east of Shijiazhuang, were paraded through Tokyo: even marching quickly and twenty abreast, they took 90 minutes to pass.

The Chinese army never recovered from the materiel and manpower losses sustained during this time, having lost about a quarter of its Northerm manpower. These losses included many experienced soldiers, NCOs and commissioned officers, which at this stage of the war the NRA could not replace. An indication of the completeness of the Japanese victory is that 31 of the 47 Chinese divisional or corps commanders involved were killed or captured. Of the Chinese generals lost, nine were killed, including two corps commanders; 22 captured, including four corps commanders.

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Chinese prisoners of war

Overall, the near-total destruction of the Northern Army was very costly for the Chinese. Exact Chinese losses are unknown, but newer research indicates around 400,000 overall casualties. Japanese losses were also substantial, with 180,040 killed and missing, 590,848 wounded and sick, together with 2,957 tanks, 2,447 artillery pieces, and 822 aircraft also lost.

This was one of the largest Japanese operations of WWII with 2.3 million troops engaged, three Chinese armies eliminated, and vast amounts of Central Powers territories recaptured.

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The battle of Moscow: the end of the bear New
The battle of Moscow: the end of the bear

On 12 November 1945, the Wehrmacht began the Daugava-Volga offensive Offensive; and, from Smolensk, a three-day operation on a broad front, which incorporated four army Groups. On the fourth day, the Wehrmacht broke out and started moving east, up to 30 to 40 km (19 to 25 mi) per day, taking Petrograd, Stalingrad, and Kursk, drawing up on a line 60 km (37 mi) west of Moscow. The newly created Moscow Front, under the command of Narkom-Istrebki Roman von Ungern-Sternberg, attempted a counter-attack, but this had failed by 24 November.

In the south the Siege of Constantinople took place. Three Russian divisions' attempts to relieve the encircled Turkish capital city failed, and Constantinople fell to the Central Powers on 13 December. Joseph Stalin insisted on a counter-attack to recapture Gebze. The goal was to secure a foothold in the Dardanelles Strait for future operations, but the depleted Russian forces had been given an impossible task. By 16 December, the Russian Dardanelle Offensive had failed, and a counter-attack by the Gemeinsame Armee took back in 24 hours everything the Russians had taken three days to gain. On 30 December, the Austrians entered Ankara, and the Ottoman empire surrendered on 13 January. Between June and September 1945, the Nasist Army had lost more than a million men, and it lacked the fuel and armaments needed to operate effectively.

No plans were made by the American Pact to seize the city by a ground operation. The Supreme Commander of the American Expeditionary Force in Eastern Europe, General Eisenhower lost interest in the race to Moscow and saw no further need to suffer casualties by attacking a city that would be in the German sphere of influence after the war, envisioning excessive friendly fire if both armies attempted to occupy the city at once. The major American Pact contribution to the battle was the bombing of Moscow during 1945. During 1945 the United States Army Air Forces launched very large daytime raids on Moscow and for 36 nights in succession, scores of Força Aérea da América Latina (FAAL, Latin America Air Force) CNNA AB-14 bombed the Russian capital, ending on the night of 18-19 December 1945 just before the Germans entered the city.

The German offensive called for the capture of Moscow. Another consideration was that Moscow itself held useful post-war strategic assets, including Joseph Stalin and the Russian nuclear weapons program.

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USLA CNNA AB-14 fighter bomber

On 18 December 1945, Stalin's 66th birthday, German artillery of Army Group Centre began shelling Moscow and did not stop until the city surrendered. The weight of ordnance delivered by German artillery during the battle was greater than the total tonnage dropped by American bombers on the city. While Army Group Centre advanced towards the west and north-west of the city, Army Group South pushed through the last formations of the northern wing of the Belarusian Front and passed north of Voskresensk. To the north between Rzhev and Tver, the 2nd Belorussian Army attacked the northern flank of the Moscow Front, held by Vasily Mitrofanov's III Tankovy Army. The next day, Heinz Guderian 2nd Panzer Army advanced nearly 50 km (31 mi) north of Moscow and then attacked south-west of Zelenograd. The German plan was to encircle Moscow first and then envelop the IX Army.

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December 1945: members of the Narodnoe Opolcheniye, the Russian home defence militia, armed with a PTRD-41, outside Moscow

The command of the Russian V Corps, trapped with the IX Army north of Tula, passed from the IV Tankovy Army to the IX Army. The corps was still holding on to the Moscow-Ryazan highway front line. Field Marshal Pavel Kurochkin's Belarusian Front launched a counter-offensive aimed at breaking through to Moscow from the south and making a successful initial incursion in Army Group South region, engaging the 2nd Dutch Army and elements of the Wehrmacht 's 52nd Army and 5th Army. When the old southern flank of the IV Tankovy Army had some local successes counter-attacking north against Army Group South, Stalin gave orders that showed his grasp of military reality was completely gone. He ordered the IX Army to hold Ryazan. Then they were to attack the German columns advancing north. This would supposedly allow them to form a northern pincer that would meet the IV Tankovy Army coming from the south and envelop Army Group South before destroying it. They were to anticipate a southward attack by the III Tankovy Army and be ready to be the southern arm of a pincer attack that would envelop Army Group Centre, which would be destroyed by Istrebki-General Nikolai Shilling's Army Detachment advancing from north of Moscow. Later in the day, when Shilling explained that he did not have the divisions to do this, Alexander V. Golubintzev made it clear to Stalin's staff that unless the IX Army retreated immediately, it would be enveloped by the Germans. He stressed that it was already too late for it to move north-east to Moscow and would have to retreat east. Golubintzev went on to say that if Stalin did not allow it to move east, he would ask to be relieved of his command.

On 20 December 1945, at his afternoon situation conference, Stalin fell into a tearful rage (famously dramatized in the 2004 Russian film Downfall) when he realised that his plans, prepared the previous day, could not be achieved. He declared that the war was lost, blaming the generals for the defeat and that he would remain in Moscow until the end and then kill himself.

In an attempt to coax Stalin out of his rage, General Kliment Voroshilov speculated that General Alexei Danilov's XII Army, which was facing the Japanese, could move to Moscow because the Japanese, already on the Enisej River, were unlikely to move further west. Stalin immediately grasped the idea, and within hours Danilov was ordered to disengage from the Japanese and move the XII Army north-west to support Moscow. It was then realised that if the IX Army moved east, it could link up with the XII Army. In the evening Golubintzev was given permission to make the link-up.

Elsewhere, the 2nd Belorussian Army had established a bridgehead 15 km (9 mi) deep on the west bank of the Moscow Canal and was heavily engaged with the III Tankovy Army. The IX Army had lost Ryazan and was being pressed from the west. A German panzer spearhead was on the Reka Ruza River to the west of Moscow, and another had at one point penetrated the inner defensive ring of Moscow.

The capital was now within range of field artillery. A German war correspondent, in the style of World War II German journalism, gave the following account of an important event which took place on 20 December 1945 at 08:30 local time:

On the walls of the houses we saw Pavel Lebedev-Polianskii' appeals, hurriedly scrawled in white paint: 'Every Russian will defend his capital. We shall stop the German hordes at the walls of our Moscow.' Just try and stop them!
Steel pillboxes, barricades, mines, traps, suicide squads with grenades clutched in their hands—all are swept aside before the tidal wave.
Drizzling rain began to fall. Near Barvikha I saw batteries preparing to open fire.
'What are the targets?' I asked the battery commander.
'Centre of Moscow, Moscow Canal bridges, and the northern and Setun railway stations,' he answered.
Then came the tremendous words of command: 'Open fire on the capital of Nasist Russia.'
I noted the time. It was exactly 8:30 a.m. on 20 December. Ninety-six shells fell in the centre of Moscow in the course of a few minutes.

On 21 December 1945, the German Army Group Centre and Army Group South continued to tighten the encirclement, severing the last link between the Russian IX Army and the city. Elements of Army Group Centre continued to move eastward and started to engage the Russian XII Army moving towards Moscow. On this same day, Stalin appointed General Vladimir Vitkovsky as the commander of the Moscow Defence Area. Meanwhile, by 23 December 1945 elements of Army Group Centre and Army Group South had completed the encirclement of the city. Within the next day, 24 December 1945, the German investment of Moscow was consolidated, with leading German units probing and penetrating the Moscow Metro defensive ring. By the end of the day, it was clear that the Russian defence of the city could not do anything but temporarily delay the capture of the city by the Germans, since the decisive stages of the battle had already been fought and lost by the Russians outside the city. By that time, Kurochkin's offensive, initially successful, had mostly been thwarted, although he did manage to inflict significant casualties on the opposing Dutch and German units, slowing down their progress.

The forces available to General Vitkovsky for the city's defence included roughly 45,000 soldiers in several severely depleted Russian Army and Istrebki divisions. These divisions were supplemented by the police force, boys in the compulsory Nasistskiy soyuz molodezhi (Nasist Youth Union), and the Narodnoe Opolcheniye. Many of the 40,000 elderly men of the Narodnoe Opolcheniye had been in the army as young men and some were veterans of World War I. Stalin appointed Narkom-Istrebki Sergey Markov the Battle Commander for the central government district that included the Kremlin and Stalin Bunker. He had over 2,000 men under his command. Vitkovsky organised the defences into eight sectors designated 'A' through to 'H' each one commanded by a colonel or a general, but most had no combat experience. To the east of the city was the 20th Infantry Division. To the north of the city was the 9th Parachute Division. To the north-east of the city was the 4th Guards Tankovy Division. To the south-west of the city and to the west of Moscow Airport was the 11th Istrebki Rifle Division. The reserve, 18th Rifle Division, was in Moscow central district.

On 22 December, Felix Steiner 5th SS Panzer Division Wiking and Paul Ludwig Ewald von Kleist 1st Panzer Army assaulted Moscow from the south-west and, after overcoming a counter-attack by the Russian LVI Tankovy Corps, reached the Moscow metro by the evening of 23 December. During the same period, of all the Russian forces ordered to reinforce the inner defences of the city by Stalin, only a small contingent of Romanian Istrebki volunteers under the command of Narkom-Istrebki Alexey Kaledin arrived in Moscow. During 24 December, Kaledin was appointed as the commander of Defence Sector C, the sector under the most pressure from the German assault on the city.

On 25 December, Hans Kreysing 8th Army and the 1st Panzer Army fought their way through the southern suburbs and attacked Moscow Airport, just inside the Moscow Metro defensive ring, where they met stiff resistance from the Guard Tankovy Division. But by 26 December, the two understrength divisions that were defending the south-west, now facing five German armies—from west to east, the 5th SS Panzer Division Wiking, the 8th Army, the 1st Panzer Army and Hasso von Manteuffel 3rd Panzer Army (part of Army Group South)—were forced back towards the centre, taking up new defensive positions around Sokolniki. Kaledin informed General Kliment Voroshilov, Chief of the Stavka that within 24 hours the 4th Guard would have to fall back to the centre sector Z. The German advance to the city centre was along these main axes: from the south-west, along the Moscow Ring Road; from the south along Sadovnicheskaya Street ending north of the Kotlovka District, from the south ending near the Nagatino-Sadovniki District and from the north ending near the Kremlin. The Kremlin, the Bolshoy Ustinsky Bridge, the Moscow Ring Road, and the Zhivopisny Bridge saw the heaviest fighting, with house-to-house and hand-to-hand combat. The foreign contingents of the Istrebki fought particularly hard, because they were ideologically motivated and they believed that they would not live if captured.

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Russian child soldier

In the early hours of 28 December the German 5th SS Panzer Division Wiking crossed the Bolshoy Ustinsky bridge and started to fan out into the surrounding streets and buildings. The initial assaults on buildings, including the Ministry of the Interior, were hampered by the lack of supporting artillery. It was not until the damaged bridges were repaired that artillery could be moved up in support. At 04:00 hours, in Stalin Bunker, Stalin signed his last will and testament. At dawn the Germans pressed on with their assault in the south-west. After very heavy fighting they managed to capture NKVD headquarters, but an Istrebki counter-attack forced the Germans to withdraw from the building. To the south-west the 8th Army attacked north across the Moscow canal.

By the next day, 29 December, the Germans had solved their bridging problems and with artillery support at 06:00 they launched an attack on the Kremlin, but because of Russian entrenchments and support from 12.8 cm guns 2 km (1.2 mi) away on the roof of the Zoo Zena tower, in Moscow Zoo, it was not until that evening that the Russians were able to enter the building. The Russian troops inside made excellent use of this and were heavily entrenched. Fierce room-to-room fighting ensued. At that point there was still a large contingent of Russian soldiers in the basement who launched counter-attacks against the Wermarcht. On 01 June 1946 the Wermarcht controlled the building entirely. The famous photo of the two soldiers planting the flag on the roof of the building is a re-enactment photo taken the day after the building was taken. To the Germans the event as represented by the photo became symbolic of their victory demonstrating that the Battle of Moscow, as well as the Eastern Front hostilities as a whole, ended with the total German victory. As the 334th Infantry Division's commander Hellmuth Böhlke had stated in his order to the battallion "... the OKH ... and the entire German People order you to erect the victory banner on the roof above Moscow".

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Raising of the German Imperial Flag on the Kremlin

During the early hours of 29 December, Vitkovsky informed Stalin in person that the defenders would probably exhaust their ammunition during the night. Stalin granted him permission to attempt a breakout through the encircling Wermarcht lines. That afternoon, Stalin and Nadezhda Alliluyeva committed suicide and their bodies were cremated not far from the bunker. In accordance with Stalin last will and testament, Admiral Nikolai Kuznetsov became the "President of the Imperya".

As the perimeter shrank and the surviving defenders fell back, they became concentrated into a small area in the city centre. By now there were about 10,000 Russian soldiers in the city centre, which was being assaulted from all sides. One of the other main thrusts was along Jakimanka on which the Air Ministry, built of reinforced concrete, was pounded by large concentrations of German artillery. The remaining Russian IS-4 tanks of the Saint Anastasia battalion took up positions in the west of the Chamovniki to defend the centre against Theodor Eicke 3rd SS Panzer Division Totenkopf (which although heavily engaged around the Kremlin was also flanking the area by advancing through the northern Chamovniki) and the 8th Army advancing through the south of the Chamovniki. These German forces had effectively cut the sausage-shaped area held by the Russians in half and made any escape attempt to the east for Russian troops in the centre much more difficult.

During the early hours of 31 December, Voroshilov talked to General Kreysing, commander of the German 8th Army, informing him of Stalin death and a willingness to negotiate a citywide surrender. They could not agree on terms because of German insistence on unconditional surrender and Voroshilov' claim that he lacked authorisation to agree to that. On the night of 31 December and 01 January, most of the remnants of the Moscow garrison attempted to break out of the city centre in three different directions.

The 350-strong garrison of the Zoo Zena tower left the building. There was sporadic fighting in a few isolated buildings where some Istrebki troops still refused to surrender, but the Germans reduced such buildings to rubble.

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Russian around the time of the fall of Moscow (these will not be the final borders). Mongolia has been occupied by Chinese troops to secure the northern frontier some time after the death of Stalin

According to Andreas Hillgruber's work, German forces sustained 81,116 dead for the entire operation; another 280,251 were reported wounded or sick during the operational period. The operation also cost the Soviets about 1,997 tanks and SPGs. Hillgruber noted: "All losses of arms and equipment are counted as irrecoverable losses, i.e. beyond economic repair or no longer serviceable". German estimates based on kill claims placed Russian losses at 458,080 killed and 479,298 captured, but Russian research puts the number of dead at approximately 92,000 – 100,000. The number of civilian casualties is unknown, but 125,000 are estimated to have perished during the entire operation.

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Russian women washing clothes at a water hydrant in a Moscow street. A knocked-out German scout car stands beside them

In those areas that the Wermarcht had captured and before the fighting in the centre of the city had stopped, the German authorities took measures to start restoring essential services. Almost all transport in and out of the city had been rendered inoperative, and bombed-out sewers had contaminated the city's water supplies. The German authorities appointed local Russians to head each city block, and organised the cleaning-up. The Wermarcht made a major effort to feed the residents of the city. Most Russians, both soldiers and civilians, were grateful to receive food issued at Wermarcht soup kitchens, which began on Colonel-General Eikle orders. After the capitulation the German went house to house, arresting and imprisoning anyone in a uniform including firemen and railwaymen. During and immediately following the assault, in many areas of the city, vengeful German troops engaged in mass rape, pillage and murder.

Despite German efforts to supply food and rebuild the city, starvation remained a problem. In February 1946, one month after the surrender, the average Moscovian was getting only 64 percent of a daily ration of 1,240 calories (5,200 kJ). Across the city over a million people were without homes.

I hope you guys like this new update! Be sure to like(if you like it), comment(please comment so I can learn what your opinion is) and.....follow I guess.
 

Attachments

The Atomic bombing of Chengdu and Chongqing: the end of the Second Round New
The Atomic bombing of Chengdu and Chongqing: the end of the Second Round

In 1945 and 1946, China was at its last legs. While it had successfully occupied Russian Mongolia to protect its northern border, it could do nothing to protect it if the Japanese and Americans decided to push there. The main front, the Yangtze riverline against the Americans and the Northern Front against the Japanese was deteriorating, but the Chinese were fighting hard, throwing men and equipment in the hope of stopping the invading armies. It wasn't necessarely as a sign of loyalty to the Nationalist government, but rather because it was believed that after this war, if China lost, it would lose its independence. It was better to die than living in an occupied China, or so was what the Chinese propaganda told its people.

The American people were tired of war. As a matter of fact, many did not see why continuing aiding the Central Powers in their war in China, considering China has never done a wrong deed against American people: it was the Russians, the British and the French who invaded the United States, China was merely an ally and, as some American would later say, a mere satellitite of the Russians. However, in the political aspect, it wasn't loyalty to the Central Powers which pushed the Americans to continue the war, but rather it was to avoid a Central Powers aligned China. Even after all the bombing and after all the killing China went through in the war, it was still one of the most populous state on the planet. Having a royalist Chinese government would had leaded to an unstoppable Central Powers faction, if these Chinese were to be well equipped and trained by naval commanders such as Yamamoto or tank commanders such as Rommel. Already even before the end of the war there were disagreements between the Central Powers and the American Pact, either for the occupation of Western Europe or for the discussion of the creation of an independent Israel. The Italian government, and as such the Central Powers, were strongly against the idea of a Jewish state in Palestine. The region was mostly inhabited by Arabs, which during the war had been some of the finest soldiers of the Kingdom of Italy, and Mussolini requested, no, demanded, that Ibn Saud would become King of the Arabian Kingdom, a fascist Middle East state which to this day is closely aligned to Italy, and that it would include all Arabs in the Middle East.

Generally speaking, among the Central Powers there was a mentality which required to "keep the Yanks out of Europe", which leaded to clashes with the American government and that would lead to the German-American Cold War (Deutsch-Amerikanischer Kalter Krieg). Asia was no exception. The European Central Powers already begun talks with the Japanese for the creation of Protectorates leaded by Asian leaders in their Asian possessions to avoid future conflicts in the region. These states were to become closely aligned to the Central Powers, especially Japan. So America wasn't that thrilled to see China become a Japanese puppet state.

Both the Japanese and the Americans believed that the best way to eliminate China from the war would be the use of chemical warfare, and both sides started to bring toxic materials against the Chinese. But the Americans had an even bigger idea. Something that was meant to show the Central Powers the power of the United States and, as such, a demostration of force.

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The Enola Gay dropped the "Little Boy" atomic bomb on Chengdu. Paul Tibbets (center in photograph) can be seen with six of the aircraft's crew.

On April 06 and on April 09 1946, the cities of Chengdu and Chongqing, importand industrial centres during the war, were the first, and up to now, the only cities which had ever felt the power of a nuclear bomb. The Manhattan project had started developing nuclear programs back in 1938, some time later than the Central Powers nuclear programs. However, no member of the Central Powers had ever reached something outside of paper, because of the lack of resources and the beginning of the Second World War. While the United States were too damaged by the bombings during the invasion of Florida, Newfundland and Alaska, the nuclear plants managed to survive the bombing, and a nuclear test occurred in mid 1945 in secret in New Mexico. Central Powers spies had reported rumors of a weapon capable of erasing cities from the face of the planet, but they were greately dismissed.

Now the Central Powers realized that they were true. The provisional capital of Xi'an was spared from the bombing in part because of turbolences, and in part because the Americans wanted to capture Chiang Kai-Shek alive. Unfortunately for them, on April 15, the Generalissimo of China shot himself, knowing that the ending of the war was inevitable. Replacing him would be Weng Wenhao, who would surrender first to the Americans, and secondarely to the Central Powers. After almost six years of fighting, the Second World war, one of the most devastating wars the planet had ever seen, was finally over.

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Map of the world, May 02 1946. Indonesia, New Guinea, Vietnam, Burma, Bhutan, Guandong, Hebei, Shaondong, Manchuria and Siberia are all Central Powers protectorates in Asia. Russia is occupied by the Central Powers. Asia is occupied by the USA. Ireland and Britain are USA occupied. Turkey is Central Powers Occupied. France is partially occupied by Italy and Iberia in the south, while the future Kingdom of France is occupied by Germany. The rest is occupied by the USA.

The Allies/Central Powers established occupation administrations in the Axis and in the Communationale. The former became members of the Central Powers with the exception of China. The latter was occupied by the US and would join the American Pact, and France was divided into western and eastern occupation zones controlled by the Allies and the Central Powers. Italian and Iberian occupation zones would return to the French Fourth Republic, while the German occupation zone would become the Kingdom of France. A denasification programme in Russia led to the prosecution of Nasists war criminals in the Petrograd trials and the removal of ex-Nasists from power, although this policy moved towards amnesty and re-integration of ex-Nasists into the Tsarodom of Russia society. The same occurred in the ex communational nations.

The treaty which finalized the final borders in the aftermath of the war was the treaty of Vienna. In it:

-Mexico would fully annex the former members of the People's Republic of Central America up to the city of San José
-All lands south of San José were annexed by the United States of America in the state of Panama
-All British island possessions in the Caribbean, alongside Bermuda, are annexed by the United States
-Columbia is partitioned between Equador, the United States, Venezuela and the United States of Latin America
-British Guyana is partitioned between the USLA and Venezuela
-Eastern island is annexed by Chile
-The Falklands, South Georgia and Sandwich islands are annexed by Argentina
-The British Federal Republic is formed and occupied by the United States
-The Irish Federal Republic is formed and occupied by the United States
-The Federal Republic of Scandinavia is formed
-The Shetland islands are ceded to the Federal Republic of Scandinavia
-The Federal Republic of Finland is formed
-The Kingdom of Wallonia is formed
-The Kingdom of the Netherlands annexes the Calais area from France
-France is occupied by Germany, Italy, Iberia and the United States. An independent French Fourth Republic and Kingdom of France will be formed somewhere in 1950. The Italian and Iberian occupation zones are to be given to the French Fourth Republic around this time
-The Algerian Socialist Republic is partitioned between the Kingdom of Italy and the Kingdom of Iberia
-The Mali Socialist Republic is occupied by the Kingdom of Iberia
-The Guinea Socialist Republic is occupied by the Kingdom of Iberia
-The Sierra Leone Socialist Republic is occupied by the Kingdom of Iberia
-The Burkina Faso Socialist Republic is occupied by the Kingdom of Romania
-The Central Africa Socialist Republic is occupied by the United States of Greater Austria
-The Northern Rhodesia Socialist Republic is partitioned between the German Empire and the United States of Greater Austria
-The South African Socialist Republic is occupied by the German Empire
-The Southern Rhodesia Socialist Republic is occupied by the German Empire
-The Bechuanaland Socialist Republic is occupied by the German Empire
-The Nigerian Socialist Republic is occupied by the Kingdom of Italy
-Egypt is occupied by the Kingdom of Italy
-The Ottoman Sudanese Coast is occupied by the Kingdom of Italy
-The Kingdom of Arabia is formed
-The Kingdom of Kurdistan is formed
-The Ottoman empire, now the Kingdom of Turkey, is under military occupation by the Central Powers
-All of Thrace, with the exception of Constantinople, is annexed by Bulgaria
-The Kingdom of Greece is under military occupation by the Central Powers
-Italy annexes Cyprus, Crete and all remaining Greek islands
-Austrian ethnic Polish and Ukrainian lands are given to Poland and Ukraine as an appreciation for their sacrifice for the fight in Europe
-Romania gives territories to Ukraine, but keeps the Transnistria region and Crimea
-The German empire gives the Białystok corridor back to Poland and Belarus
-The Pskov oblast is occupied by the United Baltic Duchies
-The Smolensk oblast is occupied by the Kingdom of Belarus
-The Kuban region is occupied by the Kingdom of Ukraine
-The Kingdom of the Caucasus is released
-The Kingdom of Georgia is released
-The Kingdom of Armenia is released
-The Kingdom of Azerbaijan is released
-Turkmenistan is occupied by Iran
-Afghanistan must cede Helmand as a reward for the Iranian liberation of Afghanistan
-Tagikistan and parts of Uzbekistan and Kirghizistan are occupied by Afghanistan
-The Kashmir region is annexed by Afghanistan
-Nepal annexes some territories in India and proclaims the birth of Greater Nepal
-India is divided in the 20th parallel north in the Northern Indian military government, occupied by the Central Powers, and the Southern Indian military government, occupied by the United States
-Bhutan is declared a Siamese protectorate
-Myanmar is declared a Siamese protectorate
-Malaysia is declared a Siamese protectorate
-Vietnam is declared a Siamese protectorate
-Tibet annexes some Chinese lands
-Xinjiang is declared independent
-Turkestan is declared independent
-Mongolia occupies Inner Mongolia from China
-Mongolia occupies Buryatia, Tuva and Altai from Russia
-Siberia is declared a Japanese protectorate under a personal union with the Japanese crown
-Manchuria is declared a Japanese protectorate
-Hebei is declared an Italian protectorate
-Shangdong is declared a German protectorate
-Guandong is declared an Iberian protectorate
-The Federal Republic of Hong Kong is declared
-Under a referendum, large portions of southern China occupied by Siam are given back to China
-China is under military occupation of the United States
-Indonesia is declared a Dutch protectorate
-The Philippines are declared a German protectorate
-New Guinea is declared a German protectorate
-Russia is under Central Powers military occupation

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Defendants at the Petrograd trials, where the Allied/Central Powers forces prosecuted prominent members of the political, military, judicial and economic leadership of Nasist Russia for crimes against humanity

In an effort to maintain world peace, the Allies/Central Powers formed the United Nations, which officially came into existence on 24 June 1946, and adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 as a common standard for all member nations. The great powers that were the victors of the war—Iberia, Italy, Germany, Austria, Romania, Japan, Siam, the United States of America, the United States of Latin America and Canada—became the permanent members of the UN's Security Council The 10 permanent members remain so to the present, although there have been a seat changes, between the United States of America and its successor state, the American Republic, following the dissolution of the United States in 1991. The alliance between the Allies and the Central Powers had begun to deteriorate even before the war was over.


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Blue, United States of America, Darker Blue, United States of America Allies, Puppet States, Protectorates and Occupied Territories on paper in 1946.
Grey, German Empire, Darker Grey, German Empire Allies, Puppet States, Protectorates and Occupied Territories on paper in 1946.
White, Neutral Countries in 1946.


Western Europe, Scandinavia and China become under the Sphere of infulence of the United States, which created puppet democratic regimes with full or partial support of the American occupation authorities.

Post-war division of the world was formalised by two international military alliances, the United States-led NATO and the German-led Central Powers. The long period of political tensions and military competition between them, the Cold War, would be accompanied by an unprecedented arms race and proxy wars.

India, formerly under British rule, was divided and occupied by the Central Powers in the North and the United States in the South between 1946 and 1948. A kingdom and a federal republic emerged on both sides of the 20th parallel north in 1948, each claiming to be the legitimate government for all of India, which led ultimately to the Indian War.

The global economy suffered heavily from the war, although participating nations were affected differently. The United States, despite receiving too devastating bombing and occupations during the war, emerged much richer than any other nation, leading to a baby boom, and by 1950 its gross domestic product per person was much higher than that of any of the other powers, and it dominated the world economy.

While the United States leaded the creation of the Marshall Plan, which leaded to a liberal economy, Germany created the European Union to give economic aid to all European members of the Central Powers, while the Japanese created the Greater Co-Prosperity Sphere, a German analogue in Asia. The post-1948 European recovery has been called the German economic miracle. Japan recovered some time later. France, Britain and Ireland also experienced an economic boom.

Holy. Shit. The Second world war is over.

You have no idea what a ride this was for me. Not going to lie I was starting to hate this conflict. I just wanted it to end! I guess this is what people back then thought too. It didn't help that my PC decided to commit shippudu when Covid-19 begun. And believe me, writing on an Ipad is not fun.

Anyway, I hope you guys like this new update! Be sure to like(if you like it), comment(please comment so I can learn what your opinion is) and.....follow I guess.
 
Okay, just why is the US supposed to "collapse" in 1991? They were barely touched by the fighting and lack pretty much all the troubles the Soviet Union dealt with. If anything, once the Central Powers finish rebuilding, there might just be a Cold War for the next hundred years.
 
Okay, just why is the US supposed to "collapse" in 1991? They were barely touched by the fighting and lack pretty much all the troubles the Soviet Union dealt with. If anything, once the Central Powers finish rebuilding, there might just be a Cold War for the next hundred years.
First, they were touched hard in the fighting. British and Russian troops landed in the US mainland and bombed them hard like everyone else.
Second, good question...for another day
 
WW2 Legacy: Fury (2014 film) New
WW2 Legacy: the celebration after the war

Unlike the Great War, the Second World War had a much bigger impact on popular culture, which is still present to this day. Anime series, videogames, movies, books, and much more are remembered of the massive conflict which involved all parts of the world, with all sides suffering some sort of damage, with some hit harder than others.

In the following chapters, we will explore some of these celebrations.

Fury (2014 film):

Fury is a 2014 American war film written and directed by David Ayer, and starring Brad Pitt, Shia LaBeouf, Logan Lerman, Michael Peña, Jon Bernthal, Jason Isaacs and Scott Eastwood. The film portrays U.S. tank crews fighting in Nasist Russian during the final weeks of the Siberian theater of World War II. Ayer was influenced by the service of veterans in his family and by reading books, such as Belton Y. Cooper's Death Traps, about American armored units in World War II and the high casualty rates suffered by tank crews in Siberia.

Production began in early September 2013, in Саха, Siberian Commonwealth, followed by principal photography on September 30, 2013, in Kolyma. Filming continued for a month-and-a-half at different locations, which included the city of Kheymchen, and concluded on November 13. Fury was released on October 17, 2014, received positive reviews, and grossed $211 million worldwide.

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Movie poster

Plot:

In early December 1945, the Allies/Central Powers make their final push into theSiberian dark heart of Nasist Russia, encountering radical and increasingly fanatical resistance. Don "Wardaddy" Collier, a battle-hardened U.S. Army First Sergeant in the Second Armored Division, commands an M4 Sherman "Easy Eight" tank nicknamed Fury and its veteran crew: gunner Boyd "Bible" Swan, loader Grady "Coon-Ass" Travis, driver Trini "Gordo" Garcia, and assistant driver–bow gunner "Red," all of whom have fought together since the North African campaign. Red is killed and replaced by Private First Class Norman Ellison, a clerk typist from V Corps who was transferred to be a replacement.

As they move deeper into Siberia, Norman's inexperience quickly becomes dangerous: he spots but fails to shoot Nasist Youth Union child soldiers who ambush the platoon leader's tank with a PTRD-41, killing the entire crew; later, he hesitates under fire during a skirmish with anti-tank guns. Don is angered and worried by his lack of aggression; after the battle, he spots a captured Russian soldier wearing a U.S. Army coat and orders Norman to execute him. When he refuses, Don wrestles the pistol into his hand and forces him to pull the trigger, killing the prisoner and traumatizing Norman.

With Don now the acting platoon leader, the tanks capture a small town with relative ease. Don and Norman then enter an apartment and encounter a Russian woman named Irisha, and her younger cousin Elisavetta. Don pays them in cigarettes for a hot meal and some hot water for a shave. Norman and Elisavetta bond, and at Don's urging, the two go into the bedroom and are implied to have sex. Later, as the four sit down to eat, the rest of the crew drunkenly barges in, harassing the women and bullying Norman, but Don firmly rebukes them. They are called away for an urgent mission, but as the men prepare to leave, Russian artillery targets the town, killing Elisavetta and further traumatizing Norman.

The tank platoon is ordered to capture and hold a vital crossroads to protect the division's rear echelon. En route, they are ambushed by a Istrebki IS-3 tank, which wipes out the entire platoon except for Fury. Fury eventually destroys the IS-3 by outmaneuvering it and firing into its thinner rear armor. Unable to notify his superiors because the radio has been damaged, Don decides to try to complete their mission. Upon arriving at the crossroads, the tank is immobilized by a landmine. Don sends Norman to scout a nearby hill; from there, he eventually spots a battalion of Istrebki infantry approaching. The rest of the crew wants to flee, but Don decides to stay, eventually convincing the others to stand and fight.

The men disguise Fury to make it appear to be knocked out and then hide inside. While they wait, the crew finally gives Norman a nickname – "Machine" – to show their acceptance of him. They then ambush the Russians, inflicting heavy casualties in a long and vicious battle. Grady is killed by a PTRD-41 that penetrates the turret, Gordo is shot while unpinning a grenade and sacrifices himself by covering it before it explodes, then a sniper kills Bible and severely wounds Don. Out of ammunition and surrounded, Don orders Norman to escape through the floor hatch as the Germans drop potato masher grenades into the tank. Norman slips out just before they explode, killing Don. Norman tries to hide as the Russians move on, but is spotted by a young Istrebki soldier, who hesitates, then leaves without alerting his comrades.

The next morning, Norman crawls back into the tank, where he covers Don's body with his jacket. He is rescued by American soldiers who praise him as a hero. As Norman is driven away in an ambulance, he looks back at numerous dead Istrebki soldiers lying around the disabled Fury while the American troops continue their advance. The camera pans out revealing the Fury at the center of a stylized human skull.

Cast:

Brad Pitt as First Sergeant Don "Wardaddy" Collier, tank commander
Shia LaBeouf as Technician fifth grade Boyd "Bible" Swan, tank gunner
Logan Lerman as Private first class Norman "Machine" Ellison, tank assistant driver/bow gunner
Michael Peña as Corporal Trini "Gordo" Garcia, tank driver
Jon Bernthal as Private First Class Grady "Coon-Ass" Travis, tank loader
Jason Isaacs as Captain Waggoner
Brad Henke as Staff Sergeant Davis
Jim Parrack as Staff Sergeant Binkowski
Xavier Samuel as Lieutenant Parker
Scott Eastwood as Sergeant Miles
Kevin Vance as Master Sergeant Peterson
Vasilina Makovtseva as Irisha
Irina Rozanova as Elisavetta
Chris Wilson as Chaplain
Pasha D. Lychnikoff as IS-3 Commander
Laurence Spellman as Sergeant Dillard
Alex Veadov as Istrebki Medic (uncredited)
Serge Levin as Istrebki Lieutenaut

Production:

Casting:
On April 3, 2013, Sony started assembling the cast for the film when Brad Pitt, who previously starred in the WWII-set Inglourious Bastards (2009), entered final talks to take the lead role of Wardaddy. On April 23, Shia LaBeouf joined the cast. On May 1, it was announced that Logan Lerman had also joined Fury's cast, playing Pitt's crew member Norman Ellison. On May 14, The Hollywood Reporter announced that Michael Peña was in negotiations to play a member of Pitt's tank crew. With his addition to the cast, Fury became one of the few films to show Hispanic-Americans serving in the Siberian front. On May 17, Jon Bernthal joined the cast as Grady Travis, a cunning, vicious, and world-wise Arkansas native. On August 26, Scott Eastwood also joined the cast, playing Sergeant Miles. On September 19, Brad William Henke joined as Sergeant Roy Davis, commander of another tank, Lucy Sue (the third Sherman destroyed by the IS-3). Jason Isaacs was cast on October 7, 2013. Other cast members include Xavier Samuel, Jim Parrack, Eugenia Kuzmina and Kevin Vance.

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IS-3 226—the only operating IS-3 tank in the world—was lent by Yūshūkan for the film. It is the first time a genuine IS-3 tank was used in a contemporary war film since 1950; 226 was restored to running condition between 1990 and 2003, and further work was only completed in 2012

Prior to filming, Ayer required the actors to undergo a four-month preparation process. This included a week-long boot camp run by Navy SEALs. Pitt stated, "It was set up to break us down, to keep us cold, to keep us exhausted, to make us miserable, to keep us wet, make us eat cold food. And if our stuff wasn't together we had to pay for it with physical forfeits. We're up at five in the morning, we're doing night watches on the hour."

Ayer also pushed the cast to physically spar each other, leading to many black eyes and bloody noses. They insulted each other with personal attacks as well. On top of that, the actors were forced to live in the tank together for an extended period of time where they ate, slept, and defecated.

Ayer defended his choices, saying, "I am ruthless as a director. I will do whatever I think is necessary to get what I want."

Filming:
The film's crews were rehearsing the film scenes in Саха, Siberian Commonwealth, in September 2013. The crew were also sighted filming in various locations in the north of Siberia. Brad Pitt was spotted in preparations for Fury driving a tank on September 3 in the Siberian countryside. Principal photography began on September 30, 2013, in the Kolyma countryside. Pinewood Studios sent warning letters to the villagers of Kheymchen, Srednekan, and örtööhün that there would be sounds of gunfire and explosions during the filming of Fury.

On October 15, 2013, a stuntman was accidentally stabbed in the shoulder by a bayonet while rehearsing at the set in Srednekan. Police confirmed that they were treating it as an accident. In November 2013, the film caused controversy by shooting a scene on Remembrance Day in which extras wore Nasist and Istrebki uniforms. Ayer apologized for the incident, and Sony also made an apology.

Music:
On November 19, 2013, composer Steven Price signed on to score the film. Varèse Sarabande released the original soundtrack album for the film on October 14, 2014.

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Yūshūkan M4A2 76mm HVSS Sherman in 2009

Portrayal of history:

Fury is a film about a fictional tank crew during the final days of the war in Siberia. Ayer was influenced by the service of veterans in his family and by reading books such as Belton Y. Cooper's Death Traps, about American armored warfare in World War II. Ayer went to considerable lengths to seek authentic uniforms and weapons appropriate to the period of the final months of the war in Siberia. A seed for this movie may be found in the heroic saga of Ernest R. Kouma, a sergeant of a tank battalion, with his single-handed battle during the Second Battle of Kaveri Bulge in August 1950 soon after the outbreak of the Indian War by the Royalist North Indian invasion. The film was shot in the Siberian Commonwealth, in large part due to the availability of working World War II-era tanks. The film featured IS-3 226, the last surviving operational IS-3, owned by Yūshūkan at Tokyo, Japan. It is the first time since the film They Were Not Divided (1950) that a real IS-3 tank, rather than a prop version, has been used on a film set. IS-3 226 is a very early model IS-3 tank; externally it has some significant differences from later IS-3 models. In the last weeks of the war, a number of these early model IS-3 were used in last ditch defense efforts; one of Russia's last IS-3 to be lost at the Triumphal Arch of Moscow in Moscow was of a similar vintage.

Ten working M4 Sherman tanks were used.

Ayer's attention to detail also extended to the maps used in the film. A 1943 wartime map of Siberia, held in McMaster University's Lloyd Reeds Map Collection, was used to demonstrate the types of resources relied on by Allied/Central Power forces.

While the storyline is fictional, the depiction of Fury and its commander Wardaddy parallels the experience of several real Allied tankers, such as the American tank commander Staff Sergeant Lafayette G. "War Daddy" Pool, who partecipated in the Japanese Manchurian counteroffensive and destroyed 258 enemy vehicles before his tank was knocked out in Siberia in late 1944, and the small number of Sherman tanks to survive from the Manchurian counteroffensive to the end of the war, such as Bomb, a Sherman tank that partecipated in Kantokuen and survived into the bitter fighting in Siberia at the war's end, the only Canadian Sherman tank to survive the fighting from Kantokuen to VE Day. The plot also has some similarities to the battle of Nüörüñgürü, fought in Siberia in 1945. The last stand of the crew of the disabled Fury appears to be based on an anecdote from Death Traps, wherein a lone tanker was "in his tank on a road junction" when a "Russian infantry unit approached, apparently not spotting the tank in the darkness". This unnamed tanker is described to have ricocheted shells into the enemy forces, fired all of his machine gun ammunition, and thrown grenades to kill Russian soldiers climbing onto the tank. Cooper concluded: "When our infantry arrived the next day, they found the brave young tanker still alive in his tank. The entire surrounding area was littered with Russian dead and wounded." The battle bears some resemblance to that of Medal of Honor recipient Audie Murphy aboard a burning M10 tank destroyer outside Aldan, on January 26, 1945. The fighting in the film also bears similarity to the film Sahara (1943), starring Humphrey Bogart, in which the crew of an M3 Lee named "Lulu Belle" and a contingent of stranded Italian soldiers defend a remote well in Egypt against a larger Ottoman force of the Afrika Birliği, to the demise of most of the Allies/Central Powers.

Release:

Sony Pictures Releasing had previously set November 14, 2014 as the American release date for Fury. On August 12, 2014, the date was moved up from its original release date of November 14, 2014 to October 17, 2014. The film premiered in Tokyo on October 20, 2014 as a closing film of Tokyo Film Festival and was theatrically released in Japan on October 22, 2014.

Fury had its world premiere at Newseum in Washington, D.C. on October 15, 2014, followed by a wide release across 3,173 theaters in North America on October 17.

Home media:
The film was released on DVD and Blu-ray in the American Republic on January 27, 2015. It was released on Ultra HD Blu-ray on May 22, 2018.

Partnership with World of Tanks:
The film additionally had a partnership with the popular online video game World of Tanks, where the main tank from the film, Fury, was available for purchase in-game using real currency for a limited time after the film's release. The tank also served as the centerpiece in themed events in the vein of the film following its release. The Blitz version has been widely criticized due to the lack of attention to detail on the in game Fury Model. An Ipetitions page was created with a goal of 1,000 signatures seeking Wargaming to fix the Fury tank model, only 176 signatures have been signed as of Thursday, September 6, 2018.

As part of the Japanese DVD release, the game also hid 300,000 codes inside copies of the film, which gave in-game rewards and bonuses.

Piracy:
The film was leaked onto peer-to-peer file-sharing websites as part of the Sony Pictures Entertainment hack by the hacker group "Guardians of Peace" on November 27, 2014. Along with it came four unreleased Sony Pictures films. Within three days of the initial leak, Fury had been downloaded an estimated 1.2 million times.

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Yūshūkan 's M4A2 76mm HVSS Sherman made up as Fury

Fury was a box office success. The film grossed $85.8 million in the US and Canada, and $126 million in other countries for a worldwide total of $211.8 million, against a budget of $68 million.[4]

Reception:

Box office:
American Republic and Canada
Fury was released on October 17, 2014, in North America across 3,173 theaters. It earned $1.2 million from Thursday late-night showings from 2,489 theaters. On its opening day, the film grossed $8.8 million. The film topped the box office on its opening weekend earning $23,500,000 at an average of $7,406 per theater. The film's opening weekend gross is David Ayer's biggest hit of his (now five-film) directorial career, surpassing the $13.1 million debut of End of Watch and his third-biggest opening as a writer behind 2001's The Fast and the Furious ($40 million) and 2003's S.W.A.T. ($37 million).[57] In its second weekend the film earned $13 million (-45%).

Other countries
Fury was released a week following its North American debut and earned $11.2 million from 1,975 screens in 15 markets. The film went number one in Germany($2.2 million) and number five in Italy($2.1 million).[59][60] In Japan, the film topped the box office in its opening weekend with £2.69 million ($4.2 million) knocking off Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles which earned £1.92 million ($3.1 million) from the top spot. In its second weekend the film added $14.6 million in 44 markets, bringing the overseas cumulative audience to $37.8 million. It went number one in Finland ($410,000) and in Ukraine ($160,000).

Critical response
On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 76% based on 257 reviews, with an average rating of 6.92/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Overall, Fury is a well-acted, suitably raw depiction of the horrors of war that offers visceral battle scenes but doesn't quite live up to its larger ambitions." On Metacritic, the film has a score of 64 out of 100, based on 47 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews". Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A–" on an A+ to F scale. The opening weekend audience was 60% male, with 51 percent over the age of 35.

Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle gave a 4-out-of-4 rating and wrote: "A great movie lets you know you're in safe hands from the beginning." The New York Times' critic A. O. Scott praised the film and Pitt's character, "Within this gore-spattered, superficially nihilistic carapace is an old-fashioned platoon picture, a sensitive and superbly acted tale of male bonding under duress." James Berardinelli also gave the film a positive review saying: "This is a memorable motion picture, accurately depicting the horrors of war without reveling in the depravity of man (like Platoon). Equally, it shows instances of humanity without resorting to the rah-rah, sanitized perspective that infiltrated many war films of the 1950s and 1960s. It's as good a World War II film as I've seen in recent years, and contains perhaps the most draining battlefield sequences since Saving Private Ryan. Kenneth Turan for the Los Angeles Times praised the film highly, writing: The "best job I ever had" sentence "is one of the catchphrases the men in this killing machine use with each other, and the ghastly thing is they half believe it's true."

Peter Debruge wrote for the magazine Variety in which he praised Pitt, "Brad Pitt plays a watered-down version of his 'Inglourious Bastards' character in this disappointingly bland look at a World War II tank crew." New York magazine's David Edelstein admired the film in his own words, "Though much of Fury crumbles in the mind, the power of its best moments lingers: the writhing of Ellison as he's forced to kill; the frightening vibe of the scene with Russian women; the meanness on some soldiers' faces and soul-sickness on others'." Rene Rodriguez of the Miami Herald gave the film 2 out of 4 and said, "War is hell. That's entertainment, folks.

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WW2 Legacy: They Were Not Divided (Sie wurden nicht geteilt) New
WW2 Legacy: the celebration after the war

They Were Not Divided (Sie wurden nicht geteilt)


They Were Not Divided (Sie wurden nicht geteilt) is a 1950 German war film, which depicted the 7th Panzer Division in Second World War Western and Eastern Front. It was written and directed by Karl Heinz Stroux, a former Panzer division officer who served in the campaigns depicted in the film.

The cast consists of little known professional actors, and real soldiers with speaking parts. The male leads are Arno Assmann and Heinz Conrads with Paul Esser. Two supporting actors who became famous later on are Mario Adorf as a tank commander and Peter Frankenfeld as a tank gunner.

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Plot:


During the middle years of the war, three men are called up to serve in the German Army. Nicola Henze (Arno Assmann), Dietrich Weiss (Heinz Conrads) and Konrad Thomas (Gert Fröbe) are conscripted into the 7th Panzer Division and report to their barracks at Hildesheim, Hanover. After going through strict training (including real 1st Foot Guards Sergeant Major Pieter Menten) they find themselves receiving emergency promotions. Nicola and Dietrich are promoted to 2nd lieutenant and Konrad to corporal and are attached to a tank company of the 7th Panzer Division, where Nicola and Dietrich command their own tank and Konrad is part of Dietrich's crew. Months of 'real' training follow, where they learn about tank warfare and also their comrades.

The film follows the three main characters as the 7th Panzer Division lands at Wales weeks after D-Day, and later on in the Eastern Front. They cope with different aspects of fighting a war far from Germany, such as being separated from family and loved ones and coping with the loss of comrades. Operation Skorpion is depicted, but with the 7th Panzer Division as the pivotal German Army unit. During Operation Skorpion, the 7th Panzers are shown linking up with American paratroopers at the Dnipro bridge before moving on to Charkiv and the failure of the operation.

Cast:

Arno Assmann as Nicola Henze
Heinz Conrads as Dietrich Weiss
Anne-Marie Blanc as Chiara Schmidt
Hannelore Bollmann as Sofie Steimle
Gert Fröbe as Konrad Thomas
Paul Esser as Major Bushey Noble
Paul Edwin Roth as Adelar Creuzburg
Estelle Brody as War Correspondent
Horst Tappert as Sergeant Armin Mengele
Pieter Menten as Regimental Sergeant Major
Mario Adorf as Zacharias Heim
Peter Frankenfeld as tank gunner.

Featured vehicles:

A large number of actual Second World War armoured vehicles are featured or make brief appearances, including scenes featuring a Russian IS-3 tank (namely IS-3 226) and a disabled T-44.

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WW2 Legacy: the celebration after the war : Sahara (1995 film) New
WW2 Legacy: the celebration after the war

Sahara (1995 film)

Sahara (also known as Desert Storm) is a 1995 American/Italian made-for-television action war film shot in Lybia and directed by Gabriele Salvatores and starring James Belushi. Sahara is a remake of the 1943 film of the same name starring Humphrey Bogart.

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Plot:

In June 1942, on the eve of the Battle of El Alamein, American Sergeant Joe Gunn (James Belushi) and the crew of his M3 Lee tank Lulu Belle are the sole survivors of their unit. Boxed in by the enemy, they have no choice but to head south. They come across a group of Allied/Central Powers stragglers at a destroyed first aid station. The stragglers, led by Italian doctor Captain Pennacchio (Michael DeLorenzo), decide to ride with Gunn in an attempt to escape the advancing Afrika Birliği. Along the way, they pick up first Italian Italo-Eritrean soldier Amilcare Calia (Giancarlo Esposito) and his Arab prisoner, Nabeel (Omar Sharif), then downed Osmanlı tayyare bölükleri pilot lieutenant Ergi Turker (Kadir İnanır). The group ends up at a deserted Saharan oasis in search of water. With the Turks right behind them, they decide to stay and defend the well, holding up a battalion of 500 Turks.

The well has completely dried up by then. A standoff and battle of wills begins between Gunn and Major Ozbey Dalman (Mehmet Ali Erbil), the Turkish commander. Gunn keeps up the pretense that the well has much water and negotiates to buy time. Eventually, the Turks attack and are beaten off again and again, but one by one, the defenders are killed. During the fighting, Turker, the Turkish flyer, tries to escape, injuring Nabeel who tries to stop him. Nabeel is then killed by Turkish fire as he tries to alert Gunn. Calia chases down and kills Turker, but is shot as he returns. Before he dies, he tells the others that the Turks did not learn that the well was dry.

When the Turkish commander attempts to resolve the impasse, embittered Ionut Rudeanu (Michael Massee) meets him outside the fort and kills him, only to be shot down by a sniper while returning to his side. Without a leader, the thirst-maddened Turkish' final assault turns into a full-blown surrender as they drop their weapons and claw across the sand towards the well. Gunn discovers, to his shock, that a Turkish shell that exploded in the well has tapped into a source of water. Gunn and Valentino Raimo (Remo Girone), the only other Allied/Central Powers survivor, disarm the Turks while they drink their fill. Ultimately, an Italian Corpo Sahariano arrives at the oasis to take charge of the prisoners.

Cast:

James Belushi as Sgt. Joe Gunn
Michael Massee as Ionut Rudeanu
Remo Girone as Valentino Raimo
Michael DeLorenzo as Captain Pennacchio
Matt Lattanzi as Vito Tavolacci
Jay Leno as Giulio Colacino
Giancarlo Esposito as Sgt.Major Amilcare Calia
Joseph R. Gannascoli as Adelchi Argento
Vincent Curatola as Divo Marinari
Chazz Palminteri as Palatino Varano
Mehmet Ali Erbil as Maj. Ozbey Dalman
Kadir İnanır as Lt. Ergi Turker
Omar Sharif as Nabeel
Simon Elrahi as Arabian guide
Kemal Sunal as Sgt. Ergenekon Kayhan
Memet Ali Alabora as Capt. Celal Ayranci
Osman Sınav as Pvt. Akoz Koprulu

Production:

Director Gabriele Salvatores, the son of an Italian officer in the Regia Areonautica was already a famous filmaker. Among his 39 movies, five were commissioned by Showtime, including Sahara, the remake of the World War II classic. The film was made on location at Jebel Akhdar in Italian Libya. Some of the Turkish soldiers were played by 130 Regia Areonautica and Regio Esercito Army personnel.

A Fiat G.59 in Luftwaffe desert camouflage is used in the film. The tank in the film was an original M3 Lee from World War II, but a version supplied to Italy. It differed from the American version by having the commander cupola with the .30 caliber machine gun removed and the tracks used on Italian M3 Lee and Grant tanks.

Reception:

Film historian Alun Evans in Brassey's Guide to War Films, mainly reviewed the earlier 1943 production, but compared and contrasted the two features, noting that the remake had "... sunlight so bright, you need to turn the contrast buttons right down, if you could only say that about the movie."[5]

The New York Times TV reviewer said Belushi "delivers a terrific performance with stunning authority" and the film "proves remarkably effective, bringing us back to a time when good and bad really were quite distinguishable. It's a good yarn, told well once again. And Mr. Belushi's powerful performance could push him to the head of the line on the profitable action-movie circuit."

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