Handler: U.S. weapons help Russians to take Rzhev (3-13-43)

The Pittsburgh Press (March 13, 1943)

U.S. weapons help Russians to take Rzhev

Snow limits use of tanks made in America on Central Front
By M. S. Handler, United Press staff writer

Rzhev, USSR –
American and British tanks and airplanes were used by the Soviet Army in their offensive that smashed the Nazi lines west of Moscow and paved the way for recapture of this city two weeks ago.

The use of Anglo-American equipment in the three-pronged attack on German forces was disclosed by Col. Yakov Dmitriev, Assistant Chief of Staff of the army which recaptured Rzhev, to foreign correspondents touring the wrecked city.

Where once stood big flax mills and terminals for Volga navigation, were only blasted factories and burned homes – the fulfillment of the German Army’s policy of destruction and extermination.

Only 247 left

Living among the ruins were only 247 inhabitants, out of a pre-war population of 65,000, when the Russians opened their triple assault from the north, east and west March 1.

The successful attack was carried out with the aid of Airacobras, Hurricanes and B-25 bombers, British Matilda and Valentine tanks and those of an unspecified American type.

Col. Dmitriev pointed out, however, that because of special winter conditions existing on the Central Front, the bulk of the Soviet armored units consisted of Russian heavy KV tanks and the T-34 mediums.

Use of tanks limited

He explained that U.S. and English tanks were used on a limited scale this winter because of insufficient clearance in heavy snowfields, which reduced their speed and made them easier targets for enemy guns. It was made clear the Russians will use these tanks under conditions for which they were designed.

Small units of Allied tanks were used against the German wings while big KVs and medium tanks concentrated on frontal operations.

One general staff officer expressed greatest appreciation for the British Churchill tanks and said they performed well under normal conditions.

Of the Allied planes, the officer described the B-25 bomber as “a highly effective bomber” and said the Airacobras and Hurricanes were “good planes.”

Tell of terror

The remaining 247 inhabitants of the city told many stories of mistreatment, semi-starvation and the ravages of typhus during the German occupation.

Three days before the Soviets retook the city, the Nazis rounded up more than 150 of the few residents and locked them in the “Old Believers” Church. We visited the church and found the interior one of indescribable horror.

The residents told how, while the Soviet forces were assaulting the city, German SS troops shot inhabitants who refused to go to the church.

Tried to block door

In one house, occupied by the Rumyanstev family, the body of the grandmother, her face smashed in by a rifle butt, lay across the corridor as she had fallen. Apparently, she had been trying to block the door to a tiny bedroom.

Across the bed, trying to hide a five-year-old blond girl, lay a young woman shot to death. She was still in a half-raised defensive position and almost lifelike.

Lying on the shelf of a big Russian stove was an eight-year-old boy, shot to death. Behind the young woman, crouching for protection, was a five-year-old girl. She had been shot in the back. Another boy, about 14, lay on two chairs, with seven bullets in his body.


Very touching stories and as for the lend-lease very interesting how they viewed that tanks and plane and how openly the US papers wrote about it. The Churchill tank is one of those awesome weapons which never got much credit. :slight_smile:


naa… mate… you are thinking of the bob semple tank. “Bob semple tank- best tank”. It is said that the Bob semple tank killed 5 tigers, destroyed 10 panzers IV’s, liberated achen and then it fired a shell.

Shame it was not mass produced. The emus and bob semple would have ended the war in 1 year.


Really? That ugly piece of crap? :wink: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:


If we judge tanks by their looks, sure! By their awesomeness? Not ugly at all.

It looks a lot better than the Ha-go.


I would go for the EMU’s as they are really good in stealing supplies. (The Yosemite chipmunks are no match for them). Getting an April 1st flashback !


what happened on april 1st? Okinawa? I don’t see how that connects.

Ah… I played myself. It is april fools day isn’t it.


Well it is ok to start early we all need a laugh after Covid and in the middle of this destructive war :-(. I already left a not at the “Spitting Image” with a question to restart the TV series (again) as it got us through the Cold War last time and there is tons of material to work with. (It is a British political humor series with puppets which are kinda spitting image of the real people)


Here is an old enough example everyone looks older or passed away, EXCEPT for Queen Lizzie 2 obviously :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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