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War spoils - the official booty from the battle was taken at all times. The Second World War was no exception in this respect, especially since the collection of trophies helped to improve the situation with the material support of the troops and even the economic situation. Separate types of enemy weapons and equipment were used by soldiers on both sides of the front. Let's see what things we tried to capture in the first place when possible.
1. How trophies were treated in the Red Army
Until 1943, the trophy collection process was chaotic. In the middle of the war, special trophy brigades were created in the Red Army, groups of military personnel, who, among other things, were engaged in collecting trophies from the defeated enemy. The collected items of ammunition and weapons were sent to warehouses. There they were sorted and distributed. Something was sent for utilization and processing, something was transferred to the troops.
Note: in fact, the procedure for collecting trophies includes not only the "looting" of the defeated enemies, but also the search and collection of equipment lost during the battle of their comrades, as well as the removal of ammunition from the killed soldiers. This was usually done by funeral teams.
The main emphasis during the gathering of trophies was, of course, on the enemy's weapons and combat vehicles. The existing equipment, including the damaged one, was repaired and used again. Those vehicles and tanks that could no longer be returned to service were sent to be melted down. Most of the German tanks, armored vehicles and guns were scrapped.
It is interesting: The command of the red army was mostly interested in German technology, and not in equipment, as such. Each sample of new technology, ammunition and small arms was promptly delivered to the deep rear for testing, studying and improving its types of weapons through the acquisition of new knowledge.
Contrary to popular movie myths, captured small arms were not widely used in regular troops after 1943. Most of the captured equipment was sent for recycling. Only some of the firearms were sent to warehouses. The only exceptions in the second half of the war were hand-held anti-tank grenade launchers, which appeared in Germany. They were actively used in the Red Army.
Note: the systematic use of trophies is always quite problematic due to the complexity of providing ammunition and issues of organizing this very support. As a rule, the use of captured weapons was chaotic.
2. How trophies were treated in the Wehrmacht
Did you know that according to German soldiers during World War II, Soviet tanks, unlike German vehicles, which even had leather seats, had only three advantages - a large cannon, thick armor and a reliable engine. But what else do you need to win a battle? Joking aside, the Wehrmacht loved Soviet equipment and equipment much more than German equipment in the Red Army.
For example, among German soldiers, Soviet helmets, which were a little heavier, were especially popular. At the same time, Soviet steel helmets SSh-39 and SSh-40 provided better protection, for which they found recognition in the enemy camp. Helmets were taken especially actively at the end of the war, when the German industry faced a shortage of resources and the Germans began to lose their own steel helmets in quality due to metal savings.
The Germans also did not like winter in the east. In 1941-1942. Reich soldiers actively removed quilted jackets (quilted jackets) and pea jackets, as well as Soviet earflaps from the dead Red Army men. Among small arms, the Tokarev self-loading rifle, the newest Soviet semi-automatic weapon, was in special demand.
Interesting fact: Today there is a popular myth that SVT was a bad weapon. In fact, this reputation for the rifle was due to the fact that it needed more care than the Mosin rifle. During the siege of the Brest Fortress, German attack aircraft very often could not even lean out due to the fact that SVT were beating much further than their submachine guns.
Also, the Soviet Shpagin submachine gun was very popular among the soldiers of the Wehrmacht. In German field workshops, the PPSh was altered by handicraft methods under their own 9x19 cartridge. Officially, this weapon was called "Maschinenpistole 717".
Most of the Soviet armored vehicles were sawed into metal by the Germans. By the middle of the war, Germany tried to put into service repaired Soviet tanks. This idea was not the best, since subsequent repairs became impossible due to the banal lack of spare parts.