Sometimes while researching, you’ll come across a fact or name that will stop you in your tracks. That was definitely the case when we saw this card to a German officer called Robert-Allan Stevenson. One wonders how a man of obvious British ancestry ended up in the Wehrmacht. He served as leader of a Panzer II Luchs platoon in a recon company of 9. Panzer-Division, was wounded during Operation Citadel and earned several medals, including both grades of the Iron Cross, panzer assault badge and wound badge. He ultimately survived the war and died 1 November 2006.
Some excellent detective work by Alex Skvorin has revealed that the photo of a German prisoner was taken in Stalingrad during the September fighting. A rare photo indeed. Alex wrote:
“The photo did not have any captions. But from the first photo everything seems to be clear. In the background, you can see a bit of the House of Specialists on the embankment of Stalingrad. I couldn’t solve the problem with the prisoner for a long time until I combined these two photos. Roofs of private houses, columns match precisely. Both photos were taken in Stalingrad, in the same place. As a result, a photo of a German prisoner of war (probably 71st infantry division) surrounded by our soldiers, still at the early stage of the battle. I think it’s September 1942.
Somewhere along this stretch of road leading to Smolensk are the graves of eight soldiers from the Falke-Division. To date their remains have not been disinterred by the Volksbund. In order to prevent the graves from being robbed by “black diggers”, no further information can be shared.
One of the pleasures of battlefield tours is doing some then & now comparisons. Unfortunately, circumstances sometimes mean that there is not enough time, or the correct location is not found, or – as happened in this case – a hi-res version of the WW2 photo was not on hand (only a lo-res pic on an iPad was available). In 2013, I was walking around Orel, looking for a huge church that was in the background of a panzer photo. Locals had no idea where it was (it was knocked down after the war). Anyway, on instinct, I took a photo of a street that seemed vaguely familiar and when I got home, discovered that it was almost the precise spot for the “now” comparison that I was seeking. Notice the colonnaded building on the left and the Oka River bridge in the distance. This photo was used in Panzerkrieg Volume 1 (page 187), but not it’s modern comparison.
Word-of-mouth recommendations and reviews drive a lot of our sales. One satisfied customer in the UK felt compelled to write in to a magazine that reviewed “Panzerkrieg Volume 1”.