Saturday, April 19, 2014
WWII in Staritsa & Rzhev, Russia
The weather was nice, about 65, so had to get out. First interesting thing we came upon was this old church in the town of Staritsa. The Girlfriend, Okcana, is talking with a guy who was interested in the bike.
There was this old Monastery there also.
This is the Monument to the Great Patriotic War, as its called here. Considering all the fighting that went on nearby it wasnt as elaborate as I figured.
Our destination and point of turn around for the day was the town of Rzhev. There were major battles here. It is a little known place but the amount of destruction rivals the likes of Stalingrad. There is a heated debate on the amount of lives lost in the battles around this town but an estimate of350,000 Germans and around 1,000,000 Soviet soldiers seems to be thrown around a lot. Before the war the town had more than 56,000 citizens, upon liberation 150 were left…….
These were on the entrance of the town.
This is the monument for the Town declaring it a town of Military Glory.
One of its smaller monuments to the war.
This gun was used during the war.
The main monument in town
This town really upset me in many ways. First just the amount of lives lost fighting around here. Next the almost total disregard for the town and battles that happened here after the war. The Battles of Rzhev, the Rzhev Meat Grinder as it was called, like I said were on the scale of Stalingrad but because it was not a decisive victory for the Soviet Union it was pretty much forgotten about, even though its less than 150 miles from Moscow. Many of my friends here when asked about Stalingrad can go on and on but when asked about this place know nothing. most of the information I have given you so far wasn’t released until after the fall of the Soviet Union. I hope someday this place is recognized more after the stuff that went on here.
The last place we visited in Rzhev was the cemeteries. There was one for the Soviets and one for the Germans. The Soviet Cemetery was disappointing. I have no idea how many people are buried there or really any info at all other than it is still being added to as soldiers are uncovered through out the country side
There was also a monument to the Kazakhstan soldiers who fought and died here.
The German cemetery was much better done. I am not sure as to the current number of people there but it will hold 40,000 when its full. They are relocating many smaller graves to this location and again as soldiers are dug up they are brought here for burial.
These stones had the names of the known soldiers buried here. the names are covering the entire front and back of each stone.
All and all it was a very somber place. well maintained and looked after I was very glad we stopped.
After that we went back home for the day about 75 miles back to her house