Russian Weapons of World War II, David Porter

Russian Weapons of World War II, David Porter

Russian Weapons of World War II, David Porter

Russian Weapons of World War II, David Porter

Any study of Russian weapons of the Second World War has to deal with the high level of secrecy in place at the time, and the often misleading information published by the Soviet regime. As a result books published at different dates often contain quite different information (as I discovered when researching Soviet artillery). It is thus nice to have a modern book on the subject that reflects the most recent research (and matches with what I’ve found).

The book is nicely structured. Each section begins with an overview of the topic, rather than leaping straight into individual items. There are also sections on the organisation of parts of the Soviet military, which provide a good background to the weapon articles (I hadn’t realised that the VVS was only part of the Soviet air force for instance).

Each major weapon and many minor types are then given an individual entry, ranging from single paragraphs for the more obscure up to about a page for major items. The technical descriptions are matched by brief accounts of the weapon’s combat record (if any), and what replaced it, so there is a flow to the story, rather than a series of isolated entries. Each weapon is illustrated with at least one full colour drawing, and many also get contemporary wartime photographs.

Once of the nice features of this book is the chapter on Lend-Lease weapons, looking at the various British and American weapons that went to the Soviet Union in large numbers, and some of which played an important role in keeping the Red Army fighting.

1 - Armoured Fighting Vehicles
2 - Artillery, Rockets and Mortars
3 - Infantry Equipment
4 - Soviet Aircraft
5 - Lend-Lease Weapons
6 - Naval Weapons

Author: David Porter
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 224
Publisher: Amber
Year: 2018

List of Soviet Union military equipment of World War II

The following is a list of Soviet military equipment of World War II which includes firearms, artillery, vehicles, aircraft and warships. World War II was the deadliest war in history which started in 1939 and ended in 1945. Following political instability built-up in Europe from 1930, Germany, which aimed to dominate Europe, attacked Poland on 1 September 1939, marking the start of World War II. The USSR (Soviet Union) invaded Poland from 17 September 1939, when the Polish state and its government actually ceased to exist. Germany with the allies attacked USSR on 22 June 1941, and the country lost 26,6 millions people during four years of the Great Patriotic war. The war in Europe ended on 8 May 1945 with the capitulation of Germany to the allied (including Soviet) forces. About 80-90% of losses during the entire war the German armed forces suffered on the Soviet (Eastern) front, which contribution to the victory was decisive. By the end of the war, the Soviet Union produced 19.8 million rifles 1,477 million machine guns 516,648 artillery guns 347,900 mortars 119,769 tanks and self-propelled guns 265,600 army trucks 213,742 military aircraft 2 cruisers 25 destroyers 52 submarines. [1]

On 2 May 1945, after one of the most intense battles in human history, the guns at last stopped firing amongst the ruins of Berlin. According to Soviet veterans, the silence that followed the fighting was literally deafening. Less than four years after his attack on the Soviet Union, Hitler's self-proclaimed thousand-year Reich had ceased to exist. The German Führer himself was dead.

Europe would never be the same again. Despite years of Cold War tension, the continent would remain free of war for decades to come, unprecedented in European history. Crucially, by the time that Germany re-emerged as a single and united nation in 1990, the megalomania that had brought death and destruction to the continent in the first half of the century had been well and truly purged.

But the human cost of the battle for Berlin had been enormous. Millions of shells were fired into a city that was already devastated after two years of relentless bombing raids by British and American warplanes. Nearly a quarter of a million people died during the last three weeks of World War Two, almost as many as the United States lost during the entire war.

The battle of Berlin has never been told from the point of view of the ordinary Russian soldier .

Some 54 years after the war, the acclaimed British military historian, Antony Beevor, embarked on one of the most ambitious projects of his career. His aim was to discover new material on the battle for Berlin, following the success of his award-winning book on the battle of Stalingrad.

'The battle of Berlin has never been told from the point of view of the ordinary Russian soldier,' Beevor said when I first interviewed him in 1999. 'Nor has it been told from the point of view of the revenge they took on the population of Berlin when they captured the city.'

Fall of the Soviet Union

In the mid-1980s Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev led a series of reforms known as glasnost and perestroika which eventually brought the dissolution of the Soviet empire into a variety of independent states.

In 1991, Boris Yeltsin became the first democratically elected Russian president. The dramatic change led to an overhaul of U.S. foreign and defense policy.

The new era of tranquility that ensued also led the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists to set the Doomsday Clock back to 17 minutes to midnight (the farthest away from the clock's minute hand has ever been), a sign of stability on the world stage.

Russian Weapons of World War II, David Porter - History

General History & Ephemera

Illustrations, Posters, Visual Reference Materials

  • World War II in Color. Color photos of the war from different nations. Includes a large number of lesser-seen national forces.
  • Pictures of World War II (U.S. National Archives (NARA)). Photographs, posters, and other illustrations from some of the best war photographers and artists.
  • Second World War Gallery (World War Photos). Great collection organized by country and type (e.g., aircraft, tanks). Many unique photos (some color). . Contains over 16,566 pictures from 6 countries. Good black and white photos. (Paul Reed). Photographs of battlefields, histories, research, wargaming resources, and more.
  • World War II blog. Heavy on photos, many originals, and original equipment.
  • World War Poster Collection (Univ. of North Texas Libraries). Hundreds of great images of original posters from both World Wars. Mostly US but French, British, and other nations represented as well .
  • German Propaganda Collection (Calvin College, Mich.). Posters, art work, advertisements, leaflets, all sorts of visuals. Also on site are articles, speeches, and other Nazi documents relating to propaganda. [Note: this is an educational site and does not support or praise Nazi activities then or now--neither do I.] A few of the groups are:
    • Nazi Posters
    • Visuals
    • Maps (RKKA in World War II). Maps involving Soviet forces and covering various theaters and specific actions. Arranged by year and front. Also see this page for additional maps & images. . From official and commercial publications. Wide variety and topics. Uses a special file format that requires reader (available free by links).

    Theaters & Campaigns


    • European Theatre of World War II (WarWiki). "The European Theatre was an area of heavy fighting across Europe, during World War II, from 1 September1939 to 8 May1945. Allied forces fought the Axis powers in three theatres: the Eastern Front, the Western Front and the Mediterranean Theatre."

    War in Africa

    • Afrika Covers all aspects with lots of photos (including color images from participants), images, detailed descriptions, books, articles, biographies, bibliographies, glossaries, abbreviations, uniforms, etc. On leaders, troops, vehicles and weapons, air power, more. Good source for modeling and gaming as well. Includes materials on all Axis and Allied forces in the desert.
    • Desert War. On the North Africa war. Photos, anecdotes and eyewitness memoires, histories, etc.

    Italy Campaign, 1944

    Normandy Campaign 1944 (D-Day & Breakout/Pursuit)

    • Battle of Normandy: Memories. Great site. Descriptions and photos of various stages of the campaign, each city and town (with photos), and more.
    • D-Day: Etat des lieux. Collection of anecdotes, photos, maps, articles, and other materials on the big day.
    • Normandy Allies. Site by an organization founded to preserve and promote the memory of the 1944 Allied liberation of Normandy and the post-war reconstruction of France.
    • Busting the Bocage: American Combined Arms Operations in France, 6 June-31 July 1944 (Army Command & General Staff College). Document on the tactics during the breakthrough. . Article.
    • Normany Region Then and Now. Amazing collection of photos taken during WW2 and in recent times (2000s).
      The WW2 photos were taken during the invasion of Normandy on and after D-Day. Great for comparing sites, and also for model-making (houses, bocage, etc.). (Few Good Men forum). Great current and contemporary photos of bocage, landscape, and other features that were fought over.
    • Fighting in Normandy, Combat Lessons No. 4. Bocage tactics, good description of bocage
    • German AFV in Normandy. Listings of various vehicles, statistics, etc.
    • Tiger I Tanks in Normandy
    • Culin hedgerow cutter. Read also the Osprey article: Normandy legends: the Culin hedgerow cutter .
    • Panzers and the Battle of Normandy. Histories, photographs, etc.

    Ardennes Campaign 1944-1945

    • Ardennes Offensive, 1944-1945 . Images, maps, visuals.
    • Battle of the Bulge (U.S. Army in WW2 Series). Online book facsimile.
    • Tiger II Tanks of s. SS-Pz.Abt. 501 Engaged in the Ardennes Offensive. Great photos and historical info.
    • Ardennes 44 Battle of the Bulge. Main site in French but has OOBs, photos, portraits of combatants. Wander around to find all the great photos and other materials.
    • Museums and Memorials in The Ardennes/Belgium . Photos of existing vehicles.


    Armed Forces


    • Orders of Battle. Unit database covers British Commonwealth, United States, Germany and other major powers).
    • World War II Armed Forces:Orders of Battle and Organizations. OOBs, maps, book references, other.
    • Battalion Organisation during the Second World War. ". devoted to the various small unit organisations deployed by the major combatants during World War Two. Covers all major countries and their dependents. Also has pages on infantry tactics and weapons. . . Covers all aspects of warfare, but for WW2 resources by country, this is quite comprehensive. Search the table of contents.
    • WW2 Weapons: Cataloguing the weapons of the world's largest conflict: one weapon at a time. Extensive catalog of all weapons, by country, then by weapon type.
    • In addition to links on Aircraft & Pilots, the following are selected:
    • WW2 Weapons

    Tanks, Guns and Vehicles

      . Original vehicles and guns. Not all the paint jobs are accurate, but the equipment is..
  • AFV Database. Vehicles from all periods. Tech data and more.
  • Battle Tanks . All countries, lists of all tanks/vehicles with photos, articles, statistics, etc.
  • World War II Drawings. Excellent site showing color illustrations of vehicles, aircraft, ships, guns, weapons, and other, for all major, and most smaller powers. Beautifully-rendered mages show front/rear, top, side views, and are researched, with dates, specs, and other data.
  • Encyclopedia of the Tanks of World War II. Comprehensive list of vehicles from all countries. Loads of photos and detail information (currently the 'new' site is down link goes to 'old' site).
  • Jagdtiger page. Photos of original vehicles in museums. Includes all nations.
  • Missing Lynx. For modelers, but has historical articles and photos, as well as other materials. . Great for trying to determine caliber/size of rounds.
  • Heavy Guns and Mortars. Descriptions, histories, data, photos. (MAFVA). Broad coverage of AFVs (all periods), with a variety of resources.
  • Mortar models. Photos with titles.
  • Patton Museum of Cavalry and Armor. Tanks and vehicles from all nations. . Not in English (yet), but easy to read for portraits, weapons, vehicles, etc. Arranged by topic and country.
  • Vehicle Index (Henk of Holland). Great site. Primarily for modelers, has links to vehicles by country/type. Lots of photos of models and original photos of these in service. Additional links to model suppliers and dealers.
  • World War II Vehicles, Tanks, Airplanes, and Guns . Very detailed data, photos, etc. Listed by country, then by type/use.
  • Tanks! All countries, all types comprehensive, with data and photos, etc.
  • Tanks of World War II. All countries. Images, diagrams, statistics and tech data.
  • Tanks in World War II. All countries too.
  • Tank Museum (Bovington, UK).
  • Tank Museum (Kubinka, Russia). Tanks from all nations photos of tanks by nation, type also action photos and uniform info.
  • Vehicle Markings, See also: Tactical Symbols
    • Archer decal site for a complete listing with illustrations.


      . Very good illustrations, predominantly of aircraft (also some vehicles and weapons). Shows profiles for planes. . Histories, illustrations. Includes Axis allies. . Table of colors used. - Scale modeling from Austria
  • War Bird Photos. Thousands of photographs arrange by country, type of plane, and model.
  • WWII German Aircraft Photos. 10,750 Photos. Selection below:
  • American

    • African Campaigns, See:Afrika
    • Brief History of the U.S. Army in World War II. Official Army book online. Outline history.
    • World War II Records (U.S. National Archives). All sorts of items.
    • WW2 Impressions. Reproduction U.S. uniforms, equipment. Photos. Great Links.
    • U.S. Army Shoulder Sleeve Insignia (Field Armies) WWII and Immediate Post-War Era (Big Book of Warfare). Excellent images of patches for armies, etc. Also has sub-page giving: U.S. Draft Statistics.
    • Stars & Stripes Magazine. Has WW2 archives and articles.
    • Army Quartermaster Museum Exhibits.
    • World War II Army Field Manuals. Buy a CD-ROM with complete files of original manuals.
    • From the Home Front and the Front Lines (Library of Congress). Online exhibit of Americ a at home and the armed forces.
    • Small Unit Organization, See: Battalion Organisation during the Second World War. . Reproductions of numerous US Army tables (emphasis on 1943 to 1945). . Military Information HQ. Covers all aspects of U.S. Army. Several examples:
        . Olive drab paint history .
    • Colors, Markings, and Camouflage

      Air Service


      U.S. Artillery . Very detailed data, photos, etc. Guns listed by type/use.


      Tank Destroyers

      British (includes Commonwealth/Empire (Australians, Canadians, New Zealanders, Indians, etc.))

      • 8th Army and War in Africa, See:Afrika
      • Canadians at Normandy, 1944. Maps, photos, memoires.
        • Canada at War. Histories, photos, film footage, etc. Includes:
        • Canadians in Normandy, 1944


        • Axis History Factbook (Marcus Wendel). Non-political site that covers all aspects of Axis powers for WWI and WWII. Hosts the Axis History Forum "an apolitical forum for discussions on Axis nations, as well as First and Second World Wars in general."
        • Afrika Covers all aspects with lots of photos (including color images from participants), images, detailed descriptions, books, articles, biographies, bibliographies, etc. Good source for modeling and gaming as well. Includes materials on all Axis and Allied forces in the desert.
        • Panzer Ace: Michael Wittman. Also has other data and photos.
        • German Armed Forces . Comprehensive and detailed. Organizations, by name/number, by type, theater, and date. Also includes: Orders of Battle (campaign/theater), Unit Strengths (named units), Organizational Symbols, Rank Structure, Panzer Field Strengths, etc.
        • Statistics of German Army Divisions:


        • German Anti-tank Weapons. Army article on main classes of German antitank weapons of World War II.
        • Panzerfaust. Short, illustrated description of the weapon, use, design.
        • Panzerschreck. Same, for this weapon. (Axis History Forum). Shows images, with text and provenance when available.


        • German Uniforms ( Detailed descriptions, some images.
        • World War II German uniforms (shows actual uniforms) (if link fails, click here)
        • Thuringia Militaria. Artifacts, collectibles. Shows badges, insignia, all items.
        • SS machinegunner, Ardennes. Model shown, good resource. Links to many different models.

        Unit Insignia

        • Wehrmacht Awards. Includes medals, honors, cuff and shield campaign insignia, shoulder boards, and rank distinctions, and other items. Also has some good campaign histories.
        • German and Axis-Allied Awards and Postal History. Medals and badges, postage and envelopes. Originals shown with basic histories. Site for collectors but the images/details are great. (Service Branch Colors) (Helmet insignia)

        Panzers & Vehicles

        Tactical Symbols

        • German Vehicle Markings. Good intro and guide to symbols and use.
        • German Army Organizational Symbols, 1943-1945. Large listing of symbols and meanings.
        • German Tactical Symbols as of 1939. Similar listing.
        • Archer Tactical Symbols Decal. Example of decals from a store page.

        Colors, Markings, and Camouflage

        The Vehicles

        Achtung Panzer! All sorts of details. (if any links don't work below, try the Site Map.)

        • Captured / Foreign Equipment Registry
        • Wehrmacht Vehicles
        • AFVs Websites
        • World War II Websites
        • Hobby Websites
        • Books & Magazines Websites
        • Other Related Websites
        • Panzer Movie Clips
        • Panzers of the Wehrmacht. Division markings (great), weapons, medals, photos, specs, other, includes:
          • Panzer Markings and Camouflage. Description and some photos.
          • Panzer profiles. mechanical drawings of panzers.
          • Sturmtiger.
          • Tiger I Information Center. Photos, histories, data, model change info, and movies of Tigers in action. Also has a great Links page.
          • New German Heavy Tank from U.S. Intelligence Bulletin, June 1943. Article by the Army on the big cat.
          • Tiger Tank captured in Tunisia in 1942. Really detailed photo.
          • Tiger Tank H E 181. Site on Tiger E/H versions. Has detailed color photographs of the interior and exterior, tech specs, humor, and other materials. Mainly designed to sell CDs of all the data (which is great if you want a whole lot of data).
          • Jagdtiger page. Photos of original vehicles in museums. Includes all nations.
          • King Tiger.
          • Tiger II Tanks of s. SS-Pz.Abt. 501 Engaged in the Ardennes Offensive. Loaded with photographs and details.

          Captured Vehicles & Equipment

          The following are from the Axis History Forum and other sites. Each has photos, text, other, and cites provenance when available .


            (Dropping container for supplies). Drop cannisters for weapons and supplies. Everything you wanted to know photos and diagrams.
        • Fallschirmjä For reenactors, but has great resources, including uniform and equipment photos, specs, histories, and other materials.
        • Foreign Units in German Service


          Introduction to Foreign Volunteer Insignia. During the early 1930s the Fascist and Nazi movements spread all over Europe and the Middle East. Page opens with a map showing countries with participants..

          Norwegian Volunteers of Waffen SS . Photos, histories, descriptions of various units. Has a good links page for more.

          Russian (Soviet)

          • RKKA in World War II. "The Russian Project." Great site for Soviet forces. "The aim of this project is to provide information to the English-speaking community about the role of the Soviet Army (RKKA) in World War II and to supply you with translated information from the Eastern side." Has all sorts of images, maps, documents, vehicle production figures (by year), and other materials, including:
            • Gallery of vehicles, artillery, etc.
            • Maps arranged by front, year. Some are facsimiles of original tactical maps.
            • Uniforms. Great prints covering all regions.
            • Weapons. Types, production figures, numbers available (by year).
            • Soviet Infantry . Broken down into sub-sections, such as: Female Soldiers Anti-Tankers, etc.
            • Soviet Artillery . Broken down into sub-sections.
            • Soviet Tanks . Broken down into sub-sections by vehicle. Great photos.
            • Destroyed Soviet AFVs. Photographs of vehicles where they died.
            • Camouflage of the Soviet Tanks
            • German destroyed AFVs

            Other Nations


            Finland fought three separate wars during this period:

            • Winter War (Talvisota) Nov. 30, 1939-Mar. 13, 1940 (vs. USSR)
            • Continuation War (Jatkosota) June 25, 1941-Sept. 4, 1944 (vs USSR with German support)
            • Lapland War (Lapin sota) Sept. 27, 1944-Apr. 27, 1945 (vs Germany).

            The Finnish "Hakaristi" is not a Nazi Swastika. Read this explanation.

            • Winter War 1939-1940 (Based on Markku Onttonen's documentary series Talvisodan henki (The Spirit of the Winter War)). Chronology and history. covers historical events and comments after the Winter War between Finland and the Soviet Union from 30 November 1939 to 13 March 1940. The short period after the war and before the next, the Continuation War, is known as the Interim Peace.
            • Jatkosota = Continuation War. History, background, images, and resources on the Continuation War. Has great photographs of original equipment and vehicles. See LINKS. . The terms between the Soviet Union and Finland contained a clause forced on the Finns by Stalin, requiring Finland to force the Germans out of the country. They were forced into battle with their former supporters.

            Military Equipment and Photograph Sites

            • Finland (Axis History). Includes all service branches, and battles, uniforms, equipment, and other materials. Especially interesting is the "shopping list" of equipment captured from Russia and/or obtained from Germany. . Brief capsule history with links to resources.
            • Finnish Forces (World War II in Color). Unique photos of soldiers, equipment, landscape.
            • Battles of the Winter War. Another site loaded with data, images, and useful stuff on the Finns and the Soviets. Details on organization and equipment included. Still being developed but has quite a bit of material.
            • Mannerheim. Biographical resources and more, on Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim, the military and later, national leader of Finland. Has images, articles, links, and other resources.
            • Front museum in Hanko. Museum built by Finn veterans. Built as a military installation/fieldwork display, interior covers all aspects of the Winter War and related wars. Great site.
            • Mannerheim Line. Bunkers, archaeological sites, lots of photos. See also LINKS.
            • Finnish Reenactor site. Has lots of history, images, and other materials. Includes a collection of over 400 wartime photos. Also photos of original and reproduction uniforms and weapons.
            • Fin n Reenactors in the U.S . site. Good photos, descriptions, links.
            • Lessons of the Winter War: a Study in the Military Effectiveness of the Red Army, 1939&ndash1940 . Article from the Journal of Military History (available through Project Muse) .
            • Maps of the Karelian and Leningrad fronts.
            • Jaeger Platoon. Covers all aspects of Finn forces in the wars.
            • Antti's War photo GalleryFirst-Hand Continuation War History. Photos, video clips, history on a soldiers' level.
            • Pictures From Wars During Finland´s Independence. Loaded with original photos (some color) of battle, equipment, uniforms, people.
            • Northern Fortress Covers castles, forts and fortifications in Northwest Russia and Finland .


            • Tank Museum (Parola, Finland). View images and read data on Finn vehicles.
            • Finnish Armour in World War II (Andrea Slarka). Devoted to Finn armor and forces.
            • Panssarikiltra. Tank site (In Finnish). Has photos and various details. Covers Finn armor WWII to present.

            Vehicles (Produced, Purchased, Captured)

          • T-20 Komsomolets Artillery Tractor World War II Database). (Axis History Forum). (google search). (Axis History Forum). (Axis History Forum).
          • Air Forces

            • Finnish Air Force. See sections on the WW2 period. Types of Airplanes and images showing them in FAF.
            • Finnish Air Aces.
            • FAF: Finnish Air Force. Short history.

            Lotta Svärd

            The Lotta Svärd was a paramilitary organization composed of women and girls who supported the military effort, by playing many roles, including sometimes, combatant activities.

              . Brief history. . History with many photos links. . . Photographs of artifacts, uniforms, members, postcards, printed materials, etc.


            World War Romanian Forces in the Second World War. Covers all aspects.

            Models , Modeling, & Color Matching

            • Don Color World of Camouflage. Ships, Aircraft, Vehicles, Uniforms for every country, with all sorts of variants and periods. Shows color samples.
            • Luftwaffe WW II Messerschmitt Me 109 F Camo Types . Shows different schemes with example color plates.
            • Me 109 camouflage (Google Search). lots of images and links.
            • Missing Lynx. For modelers, but has historical articles and photos, as well as other materials, including:
              • Articles on vehicles (by country)
              • Facts about German Camouflage Paint in World War II . By Thomas L. Jentz and Hilary L. Doyle. Short, but important notes for modeling German vehicles. . Every little detail you need to know to make very accurate depictions of Tigers of specific type and variation.
              • Think Tank with lots of trivial items, among others (with photos)
              • Rarities World. Advanced painting, modeling tips for unusual effects (e.g., chipped paint). Remember, "advanced" does not mean "impossible" for the average painter. Read and try these techniques.
              • Other Modeling tips and ideas.

              Stowage Photos

              Coming. for now, stowage shows up in many of the links above.


              I am mostly listing 15mm models and figures, though many of these companies also produce/supply other scales. Most of the suppliers below I have done business with and find many of these to be my favorites. More miniatures dealers can be found on the Miniature Figures page.

              • Battlefront Miniatures. Flames of War rules and miniatures system (kind of what got me immersed).
                • Related sites:
                • See also: Flames of War (below)
                  of their products.
              • Another review showing PZ IV and T-34 models.
              • More r eviews: Russian infantry, T-34 Tanks, Panzer IV, and Sherman variants (kit image).
              • Gaming Rules

                Flames of War Rules System

                • BattleFront - Flames of War. The creators, rule writers, model makers, etc. Lots of stuff here. list. 600 point forces from all nations. . Need to create an OOB? Want to print out the Quick Reference Sheet? This is the page.
                • Official Flames Of War Intelligence Briefings:
                  • Early War, 1940-41 (no page yet)


                  I think that it is worth noting that while the SKS served only briefly as a front-line weapon for the Russians, it served in that role for decades in the satellite states.

                  Also, as our lead writer points out in his recent SKS review, there is evidence that the 7.62吣 Russian cartridge was developed concurrently with the German 7.92 Kurz, not as a result of.

                  Finally, the SKS was developed to be an infantryman’s rifle, while the US M1 Carbine was developed as a replacement for a handgun for support personnel. Putting them into the same category seems a tad unfair, as they were developed for wholly different purposes.

                  It should be pointed out that SKS carbine is still in service with some infantry units of China’s PLA .

                  Featured World War II Germany (and Third Reich) Medals

                  Germany’s top military decoration was the Knight’s Cross (Ritterkreuz), which was awarded nearly seven thousand times from 1939 to 1945 – to both enlisted and non-enlisted men. The Iron Cross, which dated from 1813, was earned by some 2,500,000 men during World War II. Nicknamed the Gefrierfleischorden, or “frozen meat-medal“, the Eastern Front Medal was awarded to three million German and Axis personnel during 15 November 1941 to 15 April 1942.

                  5 Soviet superheroes in World War II who terrified the Nazis

                  When World War II began, Zinoviy Kolobanov already had serious military experience. For example, he fought in the Finnish War of 1939-1940, during which he escaped from a burning tank three times.

                  In 1941, Kolobanov commanded a tank unit during the German advance toward Leningrad (now St. Petersburg). Near the village of Voskovitsy, Kolobanov&rsquos unit got the order to defend the road leading to the town of Krasnogvardeysk (now Gatchina, 26 miles outside Leningrad). With only 5 heavy KV-1 tanks at his disposal, Kolobanov moved his unit to an important crossroads where he ordered two tanks to block the two roads to Krasnogvardeysk. Meanwhile, he strategically parked his tank 300 meters away in a hull-down position, such that it was barely visible.

                  As the German tanks approached their troops were overly confident, some even sitting on the hulls with hatches open. Clearly, they didn&rsquot spot Kolobanov&rsquos tank in a hull-down. Andrey Usov, Kolobanov&rsquos ace gunner, destroyed the first and the last of the 22 tanks in the enemy column, effectively blocking them on a narrow road surrounded by swamp. The rest of the tanks were all lined up before Kolobanov&rsquos tank just like in a shooting range.

                  Amid the turmoil, some of the enemy tanks&rsquo ammunition exploded, while others slid into the swamp, rendering them motionless, yet they fired fiercely. Fortunately, KV-1 tanks proved almost invincible to German guns. After the battle, there were over 100 hit marks on the hull of Kolobanov&rsquos tank, but none had pierced the armor. Kolobanov destroyed 22 enemy tanks, and his entire unit destroyed 48 in total, stopping the German forces.

                  Shortly after his most famous battle, Zinoviy Kolobanov was seriously wounded and recovered only in 1945. He lived in Minsk until his death in 1994. Kolobanov&rsquos win was considered so incredible and audacious that many didn&rsquot believe it. When in the 1970s Belarusian TV wanted to make a story about Kolobanov&rsquos feat, it was disapproved by superiors as preposterous.

                  2. Semen Nomokonov: the shaman sniper

                  Semen Nomokonov was an indigenous Siberian, a member of the Evenk people. He had been a hunter since childhood, and because of his extraordinary eyesight he was nicknamed &ldquoVulture eye.&rdquo He started his service in the army as a medic, and once when carrying a wounded soldier from the field he noticed a German sniper aiming at him. So, he grabbed a nearby gun and shot him dead almost without aiming. That&rsquos how Nomokonov&rsquos sniper career began.

                  In total, Nomokonov was wounded eight times. He killed 368 enemy soldiers, including one major general. His exploits were legendary, and the Germans purportedly nicknamed him &ldquothe Taiga shaman.&rdquo Often while on a mission, he utilized mirrors to distract the enemy with flashes, and used empty helmets on sticks to create &ldquoprosthetic&rdquo soldiers around him. Nobody could disguise himself better than Nomokonov.

                  He kept track of his kills by making notches on his smoking pipe, and he often used a simple rifle without a telescopic sight. &ldquoOne could think that the hunter is using some type of impure force,&rdquo a journalist once wrote of Nomokonov.

                  3. Ivan Sereda: don&rsquot mess with the cook

                  Ivan Sereda was just 22 in June 1941. Like many Ukrainians, he loved to eat and cooked very well, graduating from culinary college before the war began. Sereda was eager to get into battle, but there were few cooks who could provide healthy nutrition for the troops, so he was left behind to work in the field kitchen.

                  One day, when his regiment was on the front lines near Daugavpils in Latvia, two enemy tanks appeared in the rear of Soviet positions, near Sereda&rsquos field kitchen. He acted quickly and hid with the regiment&rsquos horses in the forest. The only weapons he had were an axe and an old rifle. One of the tanks advanced forward, while another one stopped beside the kitchen.

                  The Germans started to exit their tank to take stock of the captured kitchen and hopefully a warm meal. Suddenly, however, Ivan came running out of his hiding place waving an axe, forcing the Germans to retreat back into their vehicle. The machine gun started firing, but Ivan was already on top of the tank, bending the gun&rsquos barrel with his axe. Then, he started commanding his fellow troops (who weren&rsquot there, but the Germans didn&rsquot know that) to hit the tank with grenades. All the while, he banged away on the tank&rsquos armor with his axe.

                  When the terrified enemies tried to escape their tank, Ivan held them at gunpoint until his troops returned. Later, Sereda received the country&rsquos most prestigious medals, Hero of the Soviet Union, and Order of Lenin, for his fighting prowess. Certainly, it wasn&rsquot for his cooking skills.

                  4. Dmitry Ovcharenko: how does a Nazi lose his head

                  A peasant from Lugansk Region, Dmitry Ovcharenko wasn&rsquot a very good student, having only completed five grades. He boasted considerable physical strength, however, and so he was drafted in the early days of the war. When Ovcharenko was wounded he was given a commission in a logistics regiment, charged with supplying troops with food and ammo.

                  On July 13, 1941, while transporting goods, Ovcharenko was caught unaware by a German squad of 50 soldiers and three officers. At gunpoint, they took away his rifle, and interrogated him near his carriage with hay, food and ammo. In the blink of an eye, however, Ovcharenko grabbed an axe hidden under the hay and beheaded the interrogating officer. In the next few seconds, while the terror-stricken Germans stood by, he threw three grenades, killing over 20 people, while the rest fled. Ovcharenko managed to kill yet another officer, beheading him with the same axe. To avoid any doubt of his amazing feat, he gathered proof, taking the German troops&rsquo documents.

                  Soon after, Dmitry was awarded the medal of Hero of the Soviet Union, and sent to fight in a machine gun squad. Sadly, he didn&rsquot see the final victory over the Nazis, and was killed in Hungary in early 1945.

                  5. Lyudmila Pavlichenko: the sniper who inspired Woody Guthrie

                  Lyudmila Pavlichenko is considered one of the most successful snipers in history, and the top female sniper ever. Nicknamed &ldquoLady Death&rdquo by American journalists, in the Soviet Union her name was associated not with death, but with righteous vengeance.

                  In her youth, Pavlichenko studied to become a historian. When the war started, she had already finished her thesis work, but volunteered for the army. During her college years, she had taken sniper training courses. In the first years of the war, she met a sniper, Leonid, and they decided to marry. But Leonid was soon mortally wounded. Pavlichenko had to carry her groom&rsquos dead body from the battlefield.

                  By June 1942, Pavlichenko already had 309 kills. One of her longest sniper duels was against a German who had already taken down two of her fellow Russian snipers. For the entire day, the silent duel continued, with both Pavlichenko and her German opponent lying low, waiting for either to show themselves.

                  After 24 hours, both exhausted, the opponents found each other. Pavlichenko was faster, however. In the German sniper&rsquos notebook, she found records of the kills of over 400 Soviet and Allied soldiers.

                  In June 1942, Pavlichenko was wounded. After recovering, she was sent to the U.S. for propaganda purposes, where she met President Roosevelt and went for a short tour across the country and Canada.

                  &ldquoI&rsquom only 25, gentlemen, and I&rsquove already killed 309 fascist oppressors. Don&rsquot you think, gentlemen, that you&rsquove been hiding behind my back for too long?&rdquo she said in her famous Chicago speech. Pavlichenko impressed the Americans so much that even the folk legend Woody Guthrie wrote a song about the famous &ldquoMiss Pavlichenko&rdquo with the haunting refrain, &ldquoThree hundred Nazis fell by your gun.&rdquo

                  These are just a few of Soviet WWII heroes &ndash but every man or woman who fought the Nazis can be called one. You can read about 12 women who helped defeat the Reich, or learn 5 facts about the most feared Soviet weapon. Maybe you&rsquod like to know about foreign units in the Soviet army or how U.K. and U.S. helped boost Russian firepower? Or, if you&rsquore tired of battles and weapons, try taking a look at the Russian peacetime hero.

                  If using any of Russia Beyond's content, partly or in full, always provide an active hyperlink to the original material.

                  10 Most Powerful Weapons of World War II

                  World War II was the worst warhead in the history of mankind. When we think about the weapons used during World War II today, there is a lot of difference in perception. Though the war was quite long back, many creepy weapons were used to defend and target the opponents. Additionally, a huge amount of investments in design and innovations were put forward to come up with bizarre weapons. Here, we have listed the 10 most powerful weapons of World War II, which can still blow your mind.

                  10. Silbervogel Bomber

                  Silbervogel was referred to as “Rocket Bomber” in the late 1930s that was designed for the sub-orbital bomber. It was designed in a very powerful manner with rocket-powered, which was used by Germans in World War II. As the name says, the bomber was silver in color and was considered to be one of the most powerful and weird during the 1940s. Though the rocket bomber was proposed, it was just used for the trail purpose by Germans.

                  9. Yamato-Class Battleship

                  The Yamato-Class battleships were considered as the most powerful battleships during World War II with a full load weighing about 72,000 tons. It was Japanese’s warship that consisted of the heaviest artillery every mounted on a ship. The shells mounted on the artillery were as heavy as 1,460 kg and was capable of piercing anything on its way to a distance of 42 km. The designs of Yamato-class were very unique and were kept secret until 1941 to avoid revealing the concept behind the battleship.

                  8. Explosive Rats

                  Seems pretty funny when we come across the term “Explosive Rats”, which puts a thought process of crackers. Also was famously known as “rat bomb” by British Special Operations Executive to counter Germans during World War II. Winston Churchill played a major role in setting Europe to chaos, where the most dangerous rats came to picture. The rat’s carcasses were filled with plastic explosives and were to be distributed near German boiler rooms. Further, the heat-induced on them subsequently caused multiple region chaos across the city to cause a major economic and social loss for Germans during World War II.

                  7. Soviet Anti-Tank Dogs

                  As the name symbolizes, the Soviet Union in 1941 used trained dogs to combat tanks and enemy locations of Germany by dropping the bombs to detonate. The dogs were given intense training for six long months to drag the bomb from the body to targeted tanks. Being one of the most lethal methods to execute, Soviets however were unsuccessful in executing the opponent since the dogs had to experience the whole new environment. None of the dogs could master the task, and returned to the operator killing both the dog and operator. Finally, the dogs were just trained to move towards the opponent’s tanker as a suicide bomber to spoil the tank chassis.

                  6. T-34 Tank

                  The T-34 tank was one of the most decent, simple, and powerful combat tanks, which was first introduced in 1941. Primarily owned by Soviets, the tank was referred to as “the finest tank in the world” by German von Kleist. It was capable of handling any kind of terrain regions like rugged mountains and forests and had high-velocity firepower. The front armor of the tank was designed in the form of a slope to deflect the rounds and the opponents had a great challenge to penetrate the walls of the tank’s front line. Though many other tanks have come up these days with greater armor quality and combat ranging, T-34 still holds the position in the top ranking for tanks in the world.

                  5. The V2 Rocket

                  The V2 Rocket was the first long-range ballistic missile, which was developed by Germans during World War II as a vengeance weapon. Being launched vertical, the V2 rocket became the first artificial object to cross the boundary of space. The launch pads are portable and it is impossible to figure out the exact launch point. The rocket is strong, which travels vertically six miles before it cuts through its way to become horizontal. Beast in terms of speed capable of traveling at a speed of 4000 miles per hour. It digs several feet on the targeted ground before exploding and the impact can kill over 9,000 people around.

                  4. Dora and Gustav Rail Cannon

                  Dora and Gustav rail cannon were commonly referred to as “Schwerer Gustav” with an intent to destroy the forts of France. It was developed by Nazi Germans during World War II, which was considered as the strongest weighing about 1,350 tonnes. The launch is so powerful that it is capable of hitting targets 47 kilometers away. It was considered as the heaviest and largest caliber ever used in combat. A single shell in Gustav Rail cannon is at a terrible length of 800 mm to pierce almost everything on its way.

                  3. V3 Cannon

                  V3 Cannon was the most powerful and deadly cannon used in World War II. It was primarily developed to devastate London with a secret project codenamed as “Busy Lizzie”. V3 was developed to devastate Luxembourg from two large bunkers located in the regions of France. The weapon is heavily potent having a multi-charge propelling system to project at high velocity. The length of the barrel is pretty huge for perfect thrust against the base. V3 cannon was German’s most powerful weapon during World War II.

                  2. Gato-Class Submarine

                  Gato-Class submarines refer to a special type of fish name “Catshark”, which rests on the seabed. It was first introduced by the United States in 1941 and the following submain service became a destructor for the Japanese merchant marine. The Gato class provided strong support as a backbone to the US Navy fleet that helped them destroy the Japanese Naval force. They could dive up to 300 Feet and withstand intense pressure. Further, all the Gato-Class submarines were armored to withstand immense shots from the opponent.

                  1. Atomic Bomb

                  The atomic bomb is the world’s greatest and lethal inventions of all time. United State was the first nation to use Atomic bomb to hit Japanese city Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. The atomic bomb is basically a derivation from nuclear weapon, which uses fission energy to impact the location. A single atom bomb consists of energy equivalent to 10 million TNT, which uses the concept of the fission reaction. Additionally, the blast and destruction are so kick-ass to blow the entire city. And the radiation from the atomic bomb is much dangerous that can cause mutation to cause disease in humans and animals. This weapon leaves none in the city, which perfectly came true in 1945 where none of the Germans and Japanese were left behind by end of the war.