Secret-Rated Red Army Map of the Western Allies' Armies in Occupied Germany.
Fascinating Soviet Red Army map of Germany, prepared by hand in November of 1945 to illustrate the disposition of Allied armed forces in western Germany. The map has as its base a printed map from 1939, reissued in 1945; it is substantially augmented by hand to show the locations of the American, British, Canadian, and other Allied forces in western Germany in the immediate aftermath of the defeat of Nazi Germany.
With the defeat of Germany in April-May of 1945, the military calculus in Europe shifted dramatically. The Allied Powers had the largest-ever mobilized armies at their disposal and no rivals left but each other. The Western Allies immediately began planning for a potential war with the Soviet Union (in the United Kingdom this took the form of Operation Unthinkable). In June of 1945, the Red Army commander General Georgy Zhukov ordered Soviet forces in Poland to regroup in defensive positions. It is possible that the Soviets were aware of the plans through the Cambridge Five, or that they were generally wary of the Western Allies' intentions. Either way, continued war in Europe was viewed as a real possibility by commanders on both sides. These fears would eventually build and bleed into what became known as the Cold War.
This map provides clear evidence that the Red Army was closely tracking the status of the Western Powers' militaries in Germany in the aftermath of the Second World War, and that that information was considered a state secret.
The printed base of the map is a 1939 Soviet map of the administrative districts of Germany, including Austria and the Sudetenland. Additional imprint lines show that it was reissued in 1942 and 1945.
Hand-written abbreviations show where, for instance, the 15th Army Corps, with the 83rd Infantry Division and 4th Tank Division, was located. Printed borders are augmented with hand-drawn borders that show the bailiwicks of the respective military units. Unit indications have been crossed out, either as they moved, better information became available, or they were repatriated.
The map includes the following abbreviations, among others:
- Тбр [Tank Brigade]
- ТД [Tank Division]
- Пбр [Infantry Brigade]
- ПД (пехотная дивизия) [Infantry Division]
- Арт. Гр. [Artillery Group]
- АК [Army Corps]
- А [Army]
- ПП [Field mail unit]
The map includes a more detailed description of some units, such as Корпус Немецких Военнопл. "Штокхаузен" [German POW Corps. "Stockhausen"] and Польск Парашютн Бригада [Polish (Independent) Parachute Brigade]
On the back of the map are several official inventory notes, indicating that it was a secret map and by whom it had been prepared. The maker is given as УКА-ГСОВ. ГСОВ stands for Группа советских оккупационных войск [Soviet Occupation Forces Group]. УКА is less straightforward, but it probably stands for Управление командующего артиллерией [Artillery Command and Control].
In all, the map is an extremely important original Red Army document, crucial for understanding the aftermath of World War II and the beginning of the Cold War.