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The Eastern Front eviscerated the Wehrmacht. There were never enough Tigers, Panthers or Panzer IVs to staunch the rising tide of Russian armour; even German anti-tank guns developed to combat the threat had grown so large that their Zugkraftwagen were hard pressed to tow them. Operation ‘Bagration,’ the Russian summer offensive of 1944, collapsed entire armies.

Nevertheless, the Germans resisted, using every weapon and means at their disposal, from concrete and mesh to infrared rays, from factory built to makeshift, from allied to captured. And tanks fought everywhere, even in cities. One can imagine the clatter of steel tracks on cobblestone, the concussion of shell fire in hard, confined spaces, tracers bouncing off masonry and the stench of burning cities being absorbed into soldier’s clothing and psyches. Imagine the sights you’d see walking the trolley tracks through such a town at war, and then picture a dozen, hundreds, of such cities.

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