A Hungarian Official's Visit to the Kharkiv Front During Operation Barbarossa.
Timely set of three annotate maps of the Eastern Front in 1941 and 1942, showing the front lines in the vicinity of Kharkiv, eastern Ukraine.
The maps show the route taken by a Hungarian visitor to the Axis lines in Taranovka, located between Kharkiv and Izium. A general map of Ukraine shows the whole journey, with dates and annotations showing the progress of the trip. This is also shown in greater detail on the two regional road network maps, which also shows the Axis-Soviet front in early 1942 using a series of brown symbols.
The route taken starts in Lviv before heading eastward to Kyiv. From there, a direct, if southerly, line is taken to Kharkiv. Several journeys from Kharkiv are made, in the general direction of the Russian front. The visitor returns homebound via northern Ukraine, passing through the city of Sumy.
The information shown on the map suggests that it was not annotated by a frontline fighter, but rather by an official (or, perhaps, officer or journalist) visiting the front on official business. The journey from Lviv to Kharkhov takes some three-and-a-half months, with frequent, prolonged stops in major cities including Kiev. The duration of time at the frontline in Kharkhov is only eight days, enough time to analyze and document the war effort, but likely not enough to be involved in any sort of conflict role. The demarcations of the exact position of the frontline, as well as access to the frontlines in Taranovka, suggest that the person who annotated the map was high ranking enough to be able to visit these normally restricted areas. Annotations are made on a Hungarian map and in Hungarian, belying the nationality of the author.
Kharkiv in the Second World War
Kharkhiv, known in Russian as Kharkov, was held for over two years by German troops, but was always located close to the front lines. Between the October 1941 fall of the city to the Germans and the final August 1943 offensive where the Soviets regained the city permanently, the city changed hands several times and served as an important German outpost. For much of the war, Kharkhiv represented a bulge in the Russian lines, acting as a location for Germans to undertake offensive actions, as shown on the present map.