Download Captured Weapons & Equipment of the German Wehrmacht by Wolfgang Fleischer PDF

By Wolfgang Fleischer

Covers the diversity of captured guns and kit utilized by the Wehrmacht.

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Additional info for Captured Weapons & Equipment of the German Wehrmacht 1938-1945 (Schiffer Military Aviation History)

Sample text

At the Yalta Conference the Allied leaders had approved the principle of enforced labour for German POWs, not only in order to repair the damage that the Nazis had inflicted on their victims and fellow Germans but also as a form of war reparation. The three Allied powers handled this in different ways and prisoners held by the Russians, in particular, were very harshly treated with thousands transported to the Soviet Union where they faced years of back-breaking labour in the work camps. Whereas most of those imprisoned by the western Allies were released by the end of 1948, the final repatriation of Russian-held prisoners didn’t take place until 1955; ten years after the war had ended.

The team assembled in the Officers’ Mess and Fedden briefed them on the purpose of their mission. Only a few weeks earlier Sir Stafford Cripps, the Minister of Aircraft Production, had called Fedden to his office and instructed him to lead this special mission to Germany. Unlike some of the more thoroughly prepared American teams already sifting their way through Germany, the Fedden Mission was to be a very British affair. Ostensibly its primary purpose was to visit universities, research departments and engineering works in Germany, and to earmark plant, equipment and documents that would be suitable for the new college of aeronautics which was to be established in England.

However, this story is about much more than just the aeronautical hardware the Fedden Mission uncovered in Germany. Travelling through this ‘conquered and disintegrated country’ Fedden’s team witnessed the appalling devastation of the war and the impact it had upon the lives of the ordinary people. They also discovered the unremitting horrors of the vast Mittelwerk underground weapons factory tunnelled into the Harz Mountains, where inmates from the Dora concentration camp were worked to death.

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