Prior to Operation Barbarossa, the men of Aufklärungs-Abteilung 29, elite recon soldiers of the motorised 29. Infanterie-Division with several campaigns under their belt, emblazoned their vehicles with a creeping fox insignia, a seemingly apt emblem because they, too, were cunning, stealthy and observant. Yet once the campaign was in motion, it became apparent that gathering intelligence was closely connected with combat and casualties. But that was in the future. Before crossing the border into the Soviet Union and in the heady opening days of the campaign, they imagined they would always be out in front, sniffing a way forward, tracking their foe, feeling him out, yet avoiding confrontation. They would be foxes. Guderian’s foxes.
Uniquely positioned on the staff to capture the battalion’s exploits was Gefreiter Karl Jungermann, a reluctant soldier whose father owned a photo shop. With access to film stock and processing facilities, Jungermann became the unit’s photographer. After returning ill from the Eastern Front in April 1942, he created a photographic report, in reality a “sales catalogue”, which his comrades could browse and use to order prints.
Jungermann’s voluminous archive – original negatives, colour slides, the well-thumbed photographic report, stacks of individual photos and his diaries – forms the basis of this volume, all of it scrupulously researched, cross-checked and expanded using the war diaries of his parent division and supplemented with images from other sources.
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