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HEER GRENADIERS - OPERATION CITADEL

by Chris Collingwood

Two highly experienced German soldiers of the Eastern Front take on a Soviet defensive position, part of the complex and at places four miles deep system of trenches, bunkers and anti tank positions prepared by the STAVKA to ensnare the Whermacht's offensive during battle of Kursk July 1943, on the Eastern Front.

In July 1943 Germany would attempt for the last time on the Eastern Front to regain the initiative lost at the great disaster of Stalingrad, when the surprise Russian winter offensive of November 1942 had trapped the German 6th Army inside the city, forcing it to eventually surrender with the loss of 250,000 Axis troops in February 1943. Later that year after the successful German counter offensive at Kharkov in March, when the Soviets flushed with the recent victory, had in an effort to throw the enemy back even further over extended them selfs and instead been dealt a heavy defeat, both sides settled down to lick their wounds and make plans for future attacks.

Stalin however was convinced by Marshal Zhukov to play a waiting game, fore warned by Soviet Intelligence and Ultra decrypts the Russians knew the German Army planned a major offensive to try and pinch out the bulge made by its defence lines around the city of Kursk, and thus destroy a large part of their army contained within. Preparations made by both sides, the German Army launched its attack led by some of the finest Panzer and Panzergrenadier Divisions they could muster, only to find their forces pinned down in a maze of minefields and defensive positions suffering terrible casualties. Sixteen days later Hitler called off the offensive, and from then on the Whermacht was forced back by relentless Russian attacks until the final surrender of Nazi Germany in May 1945.

Through the dust and smoke of the close quarter hand to hand fighting two experianced German soldiers close in on one of the myriad of Soviet defensive positions in attempt to destroy it and allow the advance to continue. As the NCO tense and alert looking out for any Russian reaction covers his comrade, the grenadier engages the position with hand grenades. Chris Collingwood one of Britains foremost portrait and battle artists has put the viewer right in the thick of the action capturing as always the adrenaline fuelled and terrifying moment when the foot soldier has to enevitably close with and destroy his enemy.     

200 Signed Limited Edition    :   £125

40 Artists Proofs Edition      :   £200

15 Remarque Editions          :   £365

15 Giclée Canvas Edition     :   £495

SIZE : 28 in x 23 in ( 71 cm x 58 cm )