The Finest Half Hour: Barbarossa


The thirteen episode of our World War II podcast series, "The Finest Half Hour," is now available!

The war in the east begins! Join us for the largest invasion ever mounted. The fate of nations, and of the whole world, may well rest on what happens here. If the Soviet Union falls, so falls the last opposition to fascism in continental Europe. But things look grim. Everywhere the Soviets are begin driven back. Stalin can't come to grips with what's happening. The Red Army looks on the verge of collapse. Will they be able to hold the line?

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To help tell the story, we've partnered with The Tank Museum, Bovington to showcase the KV-1 heavy tank. The KV-1 presented a serious danger to German divisions. Shells from Panzer mark III and IV tanks just bounced off these new Russian heavyweight monsters. The only way the Germans could knock out a KV-1 tank in 1941 and 1942 was from a well-aimed 88 mm anti-aircraft gun, artillery bombardment, Luftwaffe bombing, or climbing on top of the tank and pouring petrol over the engine hatches! Not until the introduction of the Tiger and Panther tanks were the KV-1s finally outclassed.

The Tank Museum’s KV-1 was supplied to Britain by the Soviets in the summer of 1942 along with a T-34 tank, so the allies could assess its capabilities. It was manufactured in Chelyabinsk (Tankograd) in the Urals, but the first KV-1s were built at the Kirovisky Works in Leningrad. The letters KV stand for Klim Voroshilov, one of the Five Marshals of the Soviet Union. The tank had a combat weight of 47 tons, a five-man crew and was armed with a 76.2 mm cannon and three 7.62 mm machine guns. The tanks engines could produce 600 hp which gave a maximum road speed of 34 km/h (21 mph). The Russian inscription reads “From the women of Leningrad to the front!”

German troops outside Warsaw
KV-1 Tank, with winter whitewash camouflage.
(Photo: The Tank Museum, Bovington)
Undated photo of KV-1s in the U.S.S.R. The inscription reads "For Stalin!"
(Photo: The Tank Museum, Bovington)

The Finest Half Hour is a podcast series that dives into the history and stories of World War II. It is brought to you by Wargaming and narrated by British Army veteran, and armored warfare instructor, Richard Cutland.

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If you missed the first episode, please take a listen.

Close the hatch, brace yourself, and prepare for the Finest Half Hour!

Richard "The Challenger" Cutland