Archive for the ‘Military Interest’ Category

Finally completed my collection of representative helmets from all of the major armies that fought on the Eastern Front of World War 2 from 1939-1945. The Red Army of the Soviet Union wore three styles of helmet during the war, the Ssh36, Ssh39, and the Ssh40. Germany fielded three variants as well, the M35, M40, and M42. Hungary, Finland, and Spain fielded their own versions of the German M35/M40/M42 family of helmets which were nearly identical in appearance at first glance, but did have subtle differences which distinguished them from actual German helmets. Poland, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Romania, and Italy all fielded helmets that were unique to themselves. The tiny Baltic nations of Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania were largely equipped with surplus WW1 era German M16/M18 helmets. Here are photos of the helmets in my collection with corresponding wartime images of the helmets in use. I prefer battlefield relic helmets or salty representative pieces over pristine lightly used or restored helmets, I want items in my collection “that were there”  Enjoy!

1. Poland Wz31 “Szalamandra”

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Polish dress uniform, Wz31 with “Szalamandra” or Salamander camo texturing

2. Slovakia M32 “Egg Shell”

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Slovaks under fire, Soviet Union 1941

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Slovakian troops cross the Dniester River, 1943

3. Bulgaria M36

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Bulgarian troop wearing M36 equipped with German MP40 in the Soviet Union, 1942

4. Italy M33

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2.WK.:Sowjetunion, Italienische Beteiligung: Deutsch-italienische Stellung Herbst 1942

Mixture of Italian and German troops, southern Russia

5. Hungary M38 with distinctive belt hook loop on back skirt

 

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Hungarian Border Guard

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6. Spain “Blue Division”

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Spanish graves in the Soviet Union, 1942

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The Spanish Blue Division, a combo of Spanish and German helmets can be seen

7. Finland M40

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8. Romania

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Russland-Süd, rumänische Soldaten

9. The Baltic Nations- Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania WW1 German M16/M18 family

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Latvian Volunteer in the Waffen-SS

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Estonian Waffen-SS Volunteer

 

10. Germany M35, pressed vent, in Winter Camo, from Demyansk

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M35 helmets worn by SS troops during the 1939 Poland invasion

11. Germany M40 stamped vent, from Stalingrad

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Fantastic shot of an M40 showing the stamped vent above national shield

 

12. Germany M42 “flared edge”

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M42 with vent

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Late-war M42 without vent, only a handful are known to exist

 

13. Soviet Ssh36

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Red Army boy soldier with Ssh36

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14. Soviet Ssh39

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Officer on the far right wears an Ssh39, most of the others wear the Ssh36

15. Soviet Ssh40

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Soviet Soldiers

 

 

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G41s

G-41(M) and G-41(W)     Photo Credit: Public Domain

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G/K-43    Photo Credit: Public Domain

German semiautomatic rifles of WW2 are a popular topic and prized possessions among firearm collectors and military history buffs. During the war Germany experimented with several different designs of semiautomatic rifle, all of which aimed to level the playing field with the Soviet Tokarev SVT-38/40 family of rifles, and the American M-1 Garand rifle. The three finalists which German arms designers chose for actual field service were the Gewehr Modell 1941 Mauser or G-41(M) of which only an estimated 6,673 were produced, the Gewehr Modell 1941 Walther or G-41(W) which estimates indicate between 40,000 and 125,000 were produced, and the Gewehr or Karabiner Modell 1943 also known as the G-43 or K-43 rifle which saw an estimated 400,000 rifles produced. It appears that the majority of these German semiautomatic rifles went to the Eastern Front where additional firepower was greatly needed in the brutal fight with the Red Army.

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German soldiers prepare a Goliath remote-control bomb during the Warsaw Uprising, 1944. A rare G-41(M) can be clearly seen slung over the shoulder of the man center-left, closest to the camera. This is a commonly seen WW2 German Press Corps photograph of which hundreds were printed and distributed during the war.                                      Photo Credit: German Press Corps

Today the G-41 and G/K-43 are highly sought after rifles commanding premium prices on auction sites and from dealers. But even rarer than the rifles themselves are photographs showing the weapons in service during the war. When the first German-made semiautos began to appear in substantial quantities at the front in 1943, Germany was already on the retreat, and men on the run fighting for their lives rarely stop to snap photographs. A number of well-known and often-published photographs of the G-41 and G/K-43 exist and are found all over the web and in numerous print publications going back years. Most of these photos are German Army Press Corps images, taken at the front by professional German Army photographers, charged with documenting the war for the newspapers back home. Private snapshots from the photo albums of individual German soldiers are exceedingly scarce and difficult finds today.

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A wartime PK Hoffmann Press Corps photo shows German troops trudging through the Pripjet Marshes in 1944. The man second from left carries a G-43 rifle, the soldier third from right is equipped with the Stg-44.                                          Photo Credit: German Press Corps/Hoffmann

Over the past twenty-five years I have collected authentic, original wartime developed WW2 photographs, both mass-produced Press Corps images of which more than one “real” copy exists, and the rare, private snapshots of individuals, of which there is only one “real” photo. I have shared a few of my photographs over the years on websites such as Gewehr43.com and the G/K-43 Forum and therefore you will find some of the very rare, one-of-kind, photo album snapshots from my personal collection shared elsewhere on the web, and sometimes even copies surface on Ebay.

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An image from collection which I posted around a decade ago on another forum which is currently for sale on Ebay as a cheap, modern copy. Anyone can “save” an image and make a copy, I pride myself in owning the originals of these rare photographs. It is discouraging to see others simply “saving” and printing images from my collection, but that is the nature of the web, and why I now watermark the images I post online. Note: There is a chance that this image is a US wartime Press Corps photo, but I have never seen another a period copy to confirm it. Prior to my sharing this image a decade ago, I had never seen it anywhere else online or in print. If anyone can provide evidence of another wartime copy of this image proving it to be a Press Corps shot, I would love to see it and will stand corrected. Until that time, I stand by my claim that I own the “original” and these copies were born of the image I shared years ago.  I encourage people to “save” the images I share, just give my website credit if you share them with others.

Unfortunately, some members of other forums have challenged that fact that I own the actual, original copy of some of these images- It being the opinion of some that no “real” images of German semiautos exist in private hands, and that prior to these rare images “magically appearing” on the internet one day, they simply did not exist. Others have also claimed that I “lifted” the images from the web myself from the old forums, which is absurd, considering you will find me credited as the supplier of these images on the old forums. As is always the case and the risk with anything put on the internet, some have copied my images, reproduced them and have sold them on Ebay and other sites for their own profit. This is an unfortunate reality of the web, and is the cost of sharing your collection with the general public- For every 100,000 people who enjoy your collection, there will be 3 people who attempt to criticize, discredit,  or profit from it.

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My collection of WW2 German semiautomatic rifle photos, a few are Press Corps, the majority are one-of-a-kind snapshots taken by individual soldiers during the war and kept in their private photo albums- Amazingly, some critics have challenged the fact that I own these, claiming none of these photos ever existed prior to the internet, and all of them are somehow “public domain images” that magically appeared one day out of the ether.                             Photo Credit: JD Eberle

 

I do want to share my collection with the world, and regardless of what a handful of critics think- I own the only “real” copy of a number of very rare WW2 photographs. There are things I know about each of my photos that no one else claiming ownership can possibly know- Things that can not be faked like the soldier’s handwriting on the back of the photo, the paper and glue remnants where the snapshot was removed from the photo album, the brand of photo paper the image is printed on, the name of the studio where it was developed, ink or pencil- These are the things that separate my collection from the others, and prove that I own the “original” prints.

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It would be utterly pointless and hard to fake the various handwritten descriptions, hand writing, colors of ink and pencil, censor stamps, wartime German photo paper logos, period inks and dyes, and long-forgotten names of German photo studios lost in the war found on my originals. These details confirm the provenance of my collection.                                                                                                                                                                                                    Photo Credit: JD Eberle

My apologies for the lengthy disclaimer, but I won’t be called a “fraud” or a “thief” again regarding my photo collection, which I have spent two plus decades and thousands of dollars putting together. So without further adieu, I present my personal collection of WW2 German G-41 and G/K-43 photos for your enjoyment. I have watermarked all “one-of-kind” images that I have purchased over the years. Mass-produced “Press Corps” photos are credited accordingly. Again, you will notice some of these images from other websites, but I assure you I was the original supplier to those sites many years ago, and I have the original photo in my possession.

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The rare G-41(M) rifle                  Photo Credit: JD Eberle Collection

 

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Another G-41(M) can be seen in the background of this 1943 photo, the large,clunky, muzzle cone gives it away.       Photo Credit: JD Eberle Collection

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In this remarkable photo at least SEVEN G-41(M) rifles equipped with a blank-fire device can be seen!                                                 Photo Credit: JD Eberle Collection

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Another snapshot from the same group of seven G-41(M) rifles!                       Photo Credit: JD Eberle Collection

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A young soldier takes aim with a G-41(W)           Photo Credit: JD Eberle Collection

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An older image from my collection, now popular across the web, which I first shared a decade ago shows a soldier armed with a G-41(W) on the Eastern Front, 1944.                                          Photo Credit: JD Eberle Collection

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Another image shared long ago and now found regularly on the web. Same soldier as above with his G-41(W) Eastern Front, 1944     Photo Credit: JD Eberle Collection

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It appears that the soldier third from the back is holding a G-41(W)                           Photo Credit: JD Eberle Collection

 

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Eastern Front 1943, G-41(W)                                                                                          Photo Credit: JD Eberle Collection, modern print from original negative

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Eastern Front 1943                                                                                                Photo Credit: JD Eberle Collection, modern print from original negative

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Volksgrenadiers, Belgium 1944, G-41(W)      Photo Credit: JD Eberle Collection

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Volksgrenadiers, Belgium 1944, G-41(W)     Photo Credit: JD Eberle Collection

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Soldiers in face paint, 1943. Soldier on right holds a G-41(W)                                                     Photo Credit: JD Eberle Collection

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G-41(W) Note: No buttplate              Photo Credit: JD Eberle Collection

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Another of the same G-41(W)                     Photo Credit: JD Eberle Collection

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Photo discussed earlier showing two U.S. GIs with an array of captured German arms including a G-41(W) and Stg-44                   Photo Credit: JD Eberle Collection

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Volksgrenadier, Western Front 1945  G-43 slung under arm and two-pocket magazine pouch on belt                  Photo Credit: JD Eberle Collection

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German Press Corps photo showing a group of soldiers following fierce fighting on the Vistula River, 1944. Soldier on the right helping wounded comrade has a G-43 rifle slung over his shoulder.                                                        Photo Credit: Hoffmann/WW2 German Press Corps

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1945, Soldier on the left rests his hands on a G-43          Photo Credit: JD Eberle Collection

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East Prussia, March 1945, G-43 can be seen hanging from a hook on the rail car           Photo Credit: JD Eberle Collection

I hope you enjoyed this collection!

Stay tuned for more great WW2 photos in coming weeks!

A “share” is always appreciated!