Soviet losses

Waffen-SS officer question Soviet prisoners
Soviet political commissar captured by the Leibstandarte SS
The SS-Division Wiking regularly provided good results from short and long range reconnaissance and Soviet prisoners were continuously brought back from these operations. The Soviet losses during the spring 1942 in the southern portion of the Eastern Front amounted to approximately 490,000 prisoners. The Soviets’ reserves appeared to be inexhaustible, especially when the losses of the previous year were taken into consideration: Between Kiev and Moscow, they had lost 1,300,000 men captured and 9,000 artillery pieces and 2,000 armored vehicles lost or captured. As one young SS grenadier wrote: No time to disarm them; a quick hands up, a gesture towards the west and we moved on again. For the Germans, Soviet POWs were expendable: they consumed calories needed by others and, unlike Western POWs, were considered to be subhuman. Top image: a Waffen-SS officer question Soviet prisoners in the beginning of the campaign. Public domain. Bottom image: a captured Soviet commissar who is most likely to be shot. The Commissar Order was an order issued by the German High Command on June 6 1941 before Operation Barbarossa. It instructed the Wehrmacht that any Soviet Political Commissar identified among captured troops be summarily executed. These commissars were not to be recognized as soldiers. Photo taken by the Leibstandarte war correspondent SS-Kriegsberichter Paul Augustin who served with the division from at least 1940 until March 1943. Commons: Bundesarchiv.

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