Military Review

Reasons for the use of captured Soviet military equipment by the Wehrmacht


In the first months of the Great Patriotic War, the Red Army lost such a quantity of weapons and military equipment that, perhaps, no other army in the world lost at that time. As spoils of war, the Nazis got Tanks, artillery pieces, mortars, small arms weapon... And if at first for the Wehrmacht, as was believed, there was no need to use captured Soviet weapons, then the situation began to change.

What are the reasons for the use of captured Soviet equipment by the Wehrmacht?

There are, in fact, many such reasons. Firstly, individual copies of Soviet weapons caused, no less, the envy of the enemy. Here the fact is that due to the work of the well-known propaganda machine and the great successes of the German army on the Eastern Front in 1941, there was clearly an underestimation of the Red Army and the military equipment used by the Soviet troops on the part of the Nazis. Among German designers, it was believed that the Soviet Union, by definition, could not have those weapons that could compete with the weapons of the Third Reich.

When this "uncompetitive" weapon suddenly began to inflict devastating blows on Hitler's troops, the understanding came that the weapon was more than worthy. And you can use it at least for study.

Secondly, the use of captured Soviet military equipment by the Germans and their allies was due to the very course of the war. The Wehrmacht itself suffered heavy losses, including in weapons and equipment. And often it was necessary to "patch holes" so as not to lose the opportunity to conduct military operations. And there was no time for a special choice - almost everything that could be taken as a trophy was used.

Thirdly, the captured equipment of the USSR was used by the enemy for disinformation - for all the same propaganda. Publications from the series "Soviet tanks fire at civilians in Eastern Europe" - one of the options for Goebbels's final phase of World War II.

The Starina channel tells about captured Soviet military equipment as part of German formations:

Photos used:
Federal Archives of Germany

Subscribe to our Telegram channel, daily additional materials that do not get on the site:

Dear reader, to leave comments on the publication, you must sign in.
  1. Petrik66
    Petrik66 15 November 2021 09: 41
    Lieutenant Dub convinced the soldiers gathered around the wrecked guns and aircraft that these were war booty. But suddenly he noticed that not far from him, in the center of another group, Schweik was standing and was also explaining something. Coming closer, the second lieutenant heard the judicious voice of Schweik:

    - Whatever you say, but still these are trophies. It is, of course, very suspicious at first glance, especially when you read "kuk Artillerie-Division" on the gun carriage. Obviously, the situation was like this: the gun fell to the Russians, and we had to repulse it, and such trophies are much more valuable, because ... Because, - he exclaimed with inspiration, seeing Second Lieutenant Dub, - nothing can be left in the hands of the enemy. It's the same as with Przemysl or with that soldier, from whom the enemy snatched a marching flask from his hands during the battle. This happened back in the days of the Napoleonic wars. Well, the soldier went to the enemy camp at night and brought his flask back. And he also made money on this, since at night the enemy was given vodka.
    1. knn54
      knn54 15 November 2021 12: 06
      According to official data, in May 1943, there were 63 Russian tanks in the Wehrmacht (of which 50 were T-34), and in December 1944 - 53 Russian tanks (49 of them were T-34).
      For example, the commander's towers were modified and installed. One T-34 was "turned" into an anti-aircraft self-propelled gun. The standard turret was dismantled, and instead of it a rotating, open-top, special welded turret with a 20-mm quad mount Flakvierling 38 was installed. In the spring of 1944, this vehicle was included in the 653rd heavy anti-tank battalion of the Ferdinand self-propelled guns.
      1. Ashes of Claes
        Ashes of Claes 16 November 2021 14: 10
        Quote: knn54
        One T-34 was "turned" into an anti-aircraft self-propelled gun.

        I like most of all how Wikipedia cheerfully "equips" captured T-34s with towers from PzKpfW III and IV) And network dreamers stick a KwK 34 stub into 76-37, and a tiger's gun in 34-85. About fake photos "shtug" from 34, "akht-komma-akht" on the T-34 and other photoshop creativity and do not want to talk.
        1. volodimer
          volodimer 24 November 2021 15: 50
          Can you link to these fantasies? "religion" does not allow me myself, suddenly someone will see the search history laughing
          So only the Egyptian T-34-100 I remember

          I also remember Finnish:
    2. vladcub
      vladcub 15 November 2021 15: 09
      "The Adventures of the Gallant Soldier Švejk" Reading this book guarantees laughter.
  2. YOUR
    YOUR 15 November 2021 09: 45
    I read at the beginning SSvskie units armed themselves on a leftover principle. Those. on those you that the Wehrmacht did not go and at the beginning of the war, up to three divisions were armed with captured by our SVT. Security units were armed with Soviet armored vehicles, machine guns against partisans. The vaunted German industry did not cope.
    We did not have such a scale in arming our units and units with captured equipment, but nevertheless there were separate units that used trophies. And by the way, memos were distributed to the soldier on the use of captured small arms, concerning automatic machine guns, machine guns. There is no need to talk about pistols, they tried not to show them, they might come in handy.
    1. Grandfather
      Grandfather 15 November 2021 09: 57
      grandfather, mechanic driver KV 1, once said that I had to shoot at 34ku .... the tower was blown off ... and yes, there was a "cross".
    2. bairat
      bairat 15 November 2021 12: 18
      From read sources: in battle, trophy weapons can be used, then hand them over to the trophy team. Not passed - punishment. Then it was stored somewhere, after the war it was distributed to the Chinese and other new allies. I have a question: for example, our main machine gun of those years, Maxim, is bulky, canvas tape, there are constant problems with water cooling, then there is no water, then it is frozen, watch the oil seal, the fragments are making holes in the casing and so on. Why did they not take the MG-34/42 into service, they were trophies in thousands?
      1. YOUR
        YOUR 15 November 2021 12: 28
        The main machine gun, judging by the number, was the DP-27. According to the state in each department, in fact, of course, this was not the case. In other respects, like the Germans have the same problems. In fact, everything in the squad was built around a machine gun, in fact, most of them ran with the Mauser 98K, without any machine gun support. And with their MG34 not everything is as blissful as another time they paint it, which was so good that after the Moscow battle it was urgently replaced with MG-42. Leaving him in tanks and planes. And during the Moscow battle, they urgently began to replace them with trophy (!!!!!), Czech ZB 26/30
        1. bairat
          bairat 15 November 2021 13: 33
          Trophy Czechs said loudly, came and took them from them, and ordered to continue to produce. But the fact that the Czech workers made weapons for the Wehrmacht with sad faces allowed them to refer themselves to the countries of the anti-Hitler coalition, pancake winners.
          1. YOUR
            YOUR 15 November 2021 13: 40
            There are many of them in the anti-Hitler coalition, but as you look at when they joined it or what they were doing before, they are shameless creatures.
          2. aleks neym_2
            aleks neym_2 15 November 2021 14: 34
            Father, a tankman, born in 1925, told: May, Prague, the outskirts of the city and the factory checkpoint, clogged by the "workers, anti-fascist" people ... the Czechs worked until the last moment, with "emaciated muzzles" in the Reich ... as they were litter, and remained ... for that Prague was saved by the Vlasovites, and my FATHER was resting somewhere on the outskirts in a garden!
      2. vladcub
        vladcub 15 November 2021 15: 49
        "Thousands of trophies" I heard from the front-line soldiers that MG "Hitler's scythe" was used by ours. One old man said that he was a machine gunner and had an MG for half a year.
      3. 75 Sergey
        75 Sergey 15 November 2021 23: 31
        Hitler churned out cartridges for him.
        1. Petrik66
          Petrik66 16 November 2021 14: 50
          If you read Drabkin, then a lot of tankers and artillerymen of the PTO, had German machine guns with them to fight the German infantry. Moreover, some indicated that they ran out of cartridges - they threw it away. But about the StG 44, I agree, the Germans themselves had problems with cartridges.
    3. vladcub
      vladcub 15 November 2021 16: 00
      "up to three divisions were stolen by the captured by our SVT" Kremlin writes that the entire Mob stock of SVT was concentrated in Belarus. You have to be a complete idiot not to use brand new rifles, and the Germans were not idiots. They willingly used Sveta in their teams.
      It is reliably known that in January 1945 there was an SS regiment armed with a Sudeev assault rifle.
      1. YOUR
        YOUR 16 November 2021 03: 38
        In the case of the PPS, the Germans were no longer able to capture the required amount of ammunition, as they were at the beginning of the war. They also rearranged PPS (Maschinenpistole 719 (r)) and PPSh (Maschinenpistole 717 (r)) chambered for 9 * 19
  3. svp67
    svp67 15 November 2021 09: 54
    Basically, the Germans used our tanks in training units. To train their tankers and their infantry, methods of fighting our tanks.
    During the Battle of Stalingrad, there was a case when the German guards mistook our tanks coming to the bridge as their own, captured. returning from the training ground, which allowed the tankers to quickly capture the bridge, without loss
  4. Cormoran
    Cormoran 15 November 2021 10: 04
    During the assault on the Crimean isthmuses, the Germans very actively and in significant numbers used captured Soviet tanks. Accordingly, the Red Army did not disdain trophies. "Treshki" and self-propelled guns based on them, "Panthers", half-track armored personnel carriers. Excellent walkie-talkie, comfortable conditions for the crew. The very thing. But with spare parts strained.
    1. aleks neym_2
      aleks neym_2 15 November 2021 14: 54
      As the Front-line soldiers recalled: they used everything that rolled, but ... until the first breakdown, and sometimes until the fuel ran out ...
  5. serg.shishkov2015
    serg.shishkov2015 15 November 2021 10: 52
    There is a book about the captured BTT in the Red Army, there is a table indicating the units of the Red Army, in which there was captured * armor *, I especially liked the SU-76M regiment, which had 3 captured * Panthers *
    one more fact, in 1944 ours transferred to Bulgaria an echelon of captured armored vehicles - German, Hungarian, Italian. among other things there were * Panther * and 2 * Nimroda *, on the way * Panther * dried up to T-4, and * Nimrods * evaporated without a trace!
  6. Dmitry V.
    Dmitry V. 15 November 2021 11: 59
    This is the tragedy of the Red Army in 1941 - the loss of a cadre army and weapons - especially tanks and artillery ...

    For example, Maxim's easel machine gun is archaic, heavy, noticeable and low-maneuverable, it was easy to suppress with fire (since it is very problematic to quickly change position in the trench with it) and it is impossible to evacuate when retreating due to its bulkiness - therefore they were often thrown by rifle divisions knocked down from defensive positions.

    Along with artillery pieces, Maxim's heavy machine guns are more often than others come across in the photos of German trophy fighters.

    In the boilers near Vyazma, the artillery reserve of the RGKA was lost.
    It makes sense to use captured vehicles while there is ammo.
    Many opposing sides used worthy examples of enemy weapons.
    1. hohol95
      hohol95 15 November 2021 13: 06
      Was it more convenient for the British with the Vickers to run through the trenches?
    2. hohol95
      hohol95 16 November 2021 16: 52
      Was there a fine in the Red Army for the loss of personal weapons?
      British soldiers evacuated from France in 1940 were fined 5 pounds for "losing" their personal rifle !!!
      The British abandoned 2472 guns, 63879 vehicles from motorcycle to truck. Here the number of machine guns is not indicated.
  7. Dmitry V.
    Dmitry V. 15 November 2021 12: 08
    Just like ours used captured German weapons, including automatic weapons - here's a curious photo - from the fighter on the right - Sturm Gever
    1. Petrik66
      Petrik66 15 November 2021 13: 56
      Well, this is a staged photo. The officer has such a roll-up in his hands that Churchill will be jealous. And he leads, points to the Reichstag. And he put a zoldat fashionably on a map or a newspaper - that's what I am! It is strange that a signalman is without shoulder straps.
      1. vladcub
        vladcub 15 November 2021 15: 40
        I agree: the signalman must have shoulder straps. And really what a deliberate photo, something not natural
      2. voyaka uh
        voyaka uh 16 November 2021 03: 07
        On the contrary: in the staged photo there would be no hand-roll or a trophy machine.
        And everyone would be with epaulets.
        It is these "punctures" that confirm that the photo is not for the newspaper.
        1. Petrik66
          Petrik66 16 November 2021 09: 21
          A staged photo is not necessary for a newspaper, but for a demobilized album - just right. When you look at the album of a clerk or a construction battalion soldier, you are amazed in what situations he did not turn out to be and did not shoot except from the king of the cannon.))))))
          1. ramzay21
            ramzay21 16 November 2021 10: 01
            The officer has such a cigarette-roll in his hands that Churchill will be jealous.

            More like a cigarette. Then the officers were entitled to cigarettes.
            It is strange that a signalman is without shoulder straps.

            And you take a closer look at the photo, and you will see the signalman's shoulder straps.
            A staged photo is not necessary for a newspaper, but for a demobilized album - just right.

            Don't confuse the 1989 SA and the 1944 Red Army. Then one photo was a rarity, and no one knew whether he would survive after the next battle or not. And the people were completely different.
        2. Catfish
          Catfish 16 November 2021 09: 53
          I agree, not for the newspaper, but the men are clearly posing.
      3. Dmitry V.
        Dmitry V. 16 November 2021 09: 39
        Quote: Petrik66
        Well, this is a staged photo. The officer has such a roll-up in his hands that Churchill will be jealous. And he leads, points to the Reichstag. And he put a zoldat fashionably on a map or a newspaper - that's what I am! It is strange that a signalman is without shoulder straps.

        75-85% of photos and newsreels of the Second World War are staged, mythologisms of war.
        and this photo is also no exception :)

        When I served in the army, I had a camera - 90% of the photos were staged.
        The camera changes the person, and even in the war, the appearance of the correspondent radically changed the behavior.
        Well, not all correspondents aspired to the front line - therefore we have a kind of pictorial myth (smoothed picture) about the war on the part of Soviet correspondents.
        1. Petrik66
          Petrik66 16 November 2021 10: 03
          I agree, but staged photos are characteristic of all armies and in all wars after the advent of the camera. I remember myself after the first exit for 5 days .... Chushkan, dirty, ragged, thin, red eyes like a vampire and the rest are the same. nifiga not the pride of the Red Army. Whom to shoot? They took the driver of the regiment and the clerk - a heroic look, you can kill a piglet on the forehead of both, they are even hemmed, everything is fine: shoulder straps, cockade, underwear. The zampolit regiment was straining: a bunch of zats, bandits, etc. ))))))) Oh youth.
    2. Catfish
      Catfish 15 November 2021 20: 23
      I wonder where he took the cartridges for him when the Germans themselves had problems with the "shortened" ones.
      1. Dmitry V.
        Dmitry V. 16 November 2021 09: 43
        Quote: Sea Cat
        I wonder where he took the cartridges for him when the Germans themselves had problems with the "shortened" ones.

        These can be scouts, artillerymen (usually a gunner is an officer, two signalmen and two scouts in a group - judging by the radio), they moved with advanced units and could get hold of captured ammunition.
  8. Dmitry V.
    Dmitry V. 15 November 2021 12: 13
    Chuikov: "... already all the armor-piercers in my 8th Guards (Army) are armed with Faust cartridges. This is an excellent weapon, significantly superior to our anti-tank rifles and in skillful hands, in the hands of a courageous soldier - a Faust cartridge can practically hit any tank. Why don't we produce them? Let's release at least a copy, let's call it Ivan-patron ... "

    Source: ©
    1. vladcub
      vladcub 15 November 2021 15: 33
      For the first time I heard about the Faust patron as a preschool child from someone at the front. I don't remember the name or any details. I was also surprised that some kind of pipe could destroy the tank.
      When he got older and talked with the front-line soldiers, most of the Faust patrons were not "tested" (many did not see) and only a few were holding it in their hands. There was a strictest order: hand them over to special collectors.
  9. Cowbra
    Cowbra 15 November 2021 13: 03
    What is there to think?
    So, in the RKKA rifle division, according to the state No. 04 / 400-416 of April 5, 1941, it was supposed to have 3307 self-loading rifles and 6992 non-automatic rifles and a carbine.

    In terms of standard armament, the Red Army wing division of the Wehrmacht is like a bull turtle. It would be strange to think that when an automatic weapon gets into a trophy, they will not use it, especially when the German one, except for machine guns, which are also lacking, is almost nonexistent.
    1. vladcub
      vladcub 15 November 2021 15: 36
      In terms of the number of light machine guns, the Red Army was in the lead: a large number of RPDs were fired.
      1. hohol95
        hohol95 15 November 2021 16: 35
        RPD didn't exist then!
        1. vladcub
          vladcub 15 November 2021 18: 06
          That's right, I confused the name
  10. aleks neym_2
    aleks neym_2 15 November 2021 14: 22
    Quote: bairat
    sad faces
  11. vladcub
    vladcub 15 November 2021 15: 14
    During the war, some part of the armament is sure to "change its owners" so it was, is and will be.
  12. Sergey Medvedev
    Sergey Medvedev 16 November 2021 13: 22
    Another opus of another schmoger blogger from the KoliSurengoy camp. Again nonsense about the 14000 lost tanks. The VO publishing such nonsense has sunk to the level of a branch of the department of Dr. Goebbels.