December 21, 2016

1943. Soviets Capture Enough Equipment to "Fight Four Verduns"

Massive Amount of German Armament Captured by the Red Army
Red Army soldiers firing a captured German 8.8 cm Pak 43 antitank gun (source)
(For more, see the complete 1943 Moscow reports)
Bill Downs

CBS Moscow

May 28, 1943

Foreign correspondents over here are beginning to get that strained look that you find on the faces of expectant fathers standing outside the maternity ward of any hospital. We're getting that way from waiting for the summer offensive. The feeling is like standing at the foot of a big dam—knowing the dam is going to break at any moment.

I picked up some interesting figures the other day about the German armament that the Red Army has captured. An immense amount of booty has fallen into Russian hands—booty which the Soviet command is quick to use. In this summer's fighting, the Germans are going to get a lot of bombs and shells in their necks which were made in Nazi war factories.

For example, at the first of this year in the Don bend, the Red Army captured a half million perfectly good aerial bombs. A Red Army colonel figured out that these bombs, averaging two hundred pounds each, are enough to completely smash Berlin exactly 112 times.

The Russians also captured something like 17 million artillery shells during the winter offensive. This same colonel figured that these shells are enough to drop a ton of metal on every yard of a front 250 miles long.

Compared with the last war, this is a stupendous figure. When the French were defending Verdun in 1916, they used some four million shells in the fourteen-day offensive. The Verdun fortress hurled six tons of metal on every yard of the front during the battle. With the shells that the Red Army captured this winter, it is calculated that the Russian troops could fight four Verduns.

Last winter the Russians also captured 123,000 Axis trucks. This is 6,000 more than the entire motor car production of Italy in 1938. On top of that, there are now 9,190 German tanks in Russian hands. This is enough to equip 44 Russian tank divisions.

It's something to think about when you consider the strengths of the Red Army as it prepares for its greatest test this summer, because this captured equipment is going to see plenty of action.