War Art was an important element of propaganda in World War II, with most of the powers engaging artists to follow a long tradition of battle-field paintings. Some, such as Peter McIntyre and Terence Cuneo became famous. Engaged in propaganda supporting a genocidal war, this was not so much the case for the German artists. Nevertheless, their paintings also show us the reality of war, and deliver a message of bleakness and destruction that speaks to us, who know now what the carnage in the east was, over the decades that have gone past.
The paintings below for the most part depict destroyed lend-lease tanks, sent to the Soviet Union to replace the thousands of tanks lost in the initial stage of the war with Germany, and which played an important role during the battles of winter 1941/1942, when the Red Army was at its nadir.
A dramatic picture of battle, with a wrecked Matilda II on top of a trench system, German Stuka dive bombers overhead and fires burning in the distance.
This picture was turned into a postcard, which could help us place the tank, although I suspect Panewo (Panevo is a common place name) and identify the artist.
A late-version Matilda II in the Russian countryside.
A clearly Sovietified Matilda II on fire with two dead infantry men in front.
A Matilda II with what looks like the green UK home base paint, gathering rust in a village.
Another late-version Matilda II in what looks almost like desert, saunter camouflage. The two smoke-launchers on the turret are clear to see.
An American M3 Lee medium tank that most likely suffered an internal explosion strong enough to dislodge the turret.
A Soviet T34 model 1943, with a commander’s cupola and a second hatch for the gunner, wrecked above a trench system. Dated 19 Dec 1942.