Active defense A Soviet theory of defense conducted by generally offensive means, espoused particularly by Stalin.
Armeeabteilung A German command intermediate between a corps and an army, usually under an enlarged corps headquarters.
Armeegruppe A German command arrangement in which one army headquarters was subordinated to another.
Army group Heeresgruppe (Ger.), front (Russ.)--a headquarters established to command two or more armies.
Balka Deep gullies in the steppe regions of the Soviet Union.
Berghof Hitler's Bavarian retreat.
Commissar A cabinet minister in the Soviet government. In the Soviet Armed Forces, prior to October 1942, a political officer assigned to each military headquarters with the power to countermand orders given by the commander.
DORA German 800-mm. gun.
front A Soviet army group.
Fuehrer Hitler's title as German chief of state.
GAMMA German 420-mm. gun.
Gestapo Geheime Staatspolizei, the German Secret State Police.
Guards An honorific designation given to elite units and to Soviet units that had distinguished themselves in combat.
Hero of the Soviet Union Title given for acts of exceptional bravery or exceptional performance in command. The award consisted of the Order of Lenin, the highest decoration for valor, a certificate signed by the chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet, and the Gold Star Medal, which was awarded only to Heroes of the Soviet Union and Heroes of Socialist Labor.


Hiwi, Hilfswillige Russian auxiliaries, mostly prisoners of war, who served with German units on the Eastern Front in various noncombatant capacities.
Jaeger Term used to designate German light infantry.
JU-52 The German Junkers 52 trimotor transport plane.
KARL German 540-mm. siege mortar.
Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross The highest class of the Iron Cross and the most prized of the German World War II military decorations.
Komsomol Kommunisticheskiy Soyuz Molodyezhi, the (Soviet) Communist Youth League for adolescents and young adults aged 14 to 28 years.
NKVD Nadrodnyy Komissariat Venutrennikh Del (People's Commissariat of Internal Affairs), the Soviet internal security and secret political police ministry.
OKH Oberkommando des Heeres, the German Army High Command.
OKL Oberkommando der Luftwaffe, the German Air Force High Command.
OKM Oberkommando der Kriegsmarine, the German Navy High Command.
OKW Oberkommando der Wehrmacht, the German Armed Forces High Command.
Panje German World War I army slang for Poles and Russians. Used in World War II to describe the Soviet peasant wagons.
Panther A German tank, designated Panzer V. It mounted a long-barreled 75-mm. gun, and in its sloping armor and low silhouette was patterned after the Soviet T-34. It was not in quantity production until early 1943.
Panzer III A German prewar-model tank, mounting in its latest version (1942) a long-barreled 50-mm. antitank gun.
Panzer IV The latest of the prewar German tanks, and mounting in its latest version (1942) a long-barreled, high-velocity 75-mm. gun, which supplanted a short, 75-mm., low-velocity gun.
Panzergrenadier Armored infantry.
Politruk Polit rukovoditel, a low-echelon political officer.
rasputitsa Literally, time without roads. The fall and spring muddy periods in the Soviet Union.


RSFSR Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic, the largest of the Soviet republics, comprising 75 percent of the USSR's total land area and 55 percent of its population.
Rollbahn A highway.
SS Schutzstaffel, elite guard of the Nazi Party.
Self-propelled assault gun A lightly armored, tracked vehicle mounting a relatively heavy gun and intended to be used as close-support artillery.
Shock army An army (Soviet) reinforced to lead breakthrough operations.
Shturmovik Soviet Ilyushin Il-2 ground attack bomber.
Stavka Stavka Verkhovnogo Glavnokommandovaniya (Staff of the Supreme High Command), under Stalin, the top-level Soviet military executive committee. Decisions made in the name of the Stavka appear frequently to have been made by Stalin alone.
Stuka Sturtzkampfflugzeug (dive-bomber). Although all German bombers in operational use during World War II were built to have a dive bombing capability, the "Stuka" as such was the Junkers JU-87.
T-34 The tank that was the mainstay of the Soviet armored forces throughout World War II. It mounted (1942) a short-barreled 76.2-mm. gun. Sloping armor on the turret and glacis plate gave it particularly good protection against antitank fire.
Tiger A German tank, designated Panzer VI, mounting an 88-mm. gun. At 57 tons, the heaviest tank on the Eastern Front in 1942 where it appeared first (in small numbers in the late summer).
Totenkopf Death's head. The emblem of the SS concentration camp guards.
Waffen-SS The combat units of the SS.
Wehrmacht The German Armed Forces.
Werwolf Hitler's headquarters at Vinnitsa in the Ukraine.
Winter War The Soviet-Finnish war of 1939-1940.
Wolfsschanze Hitler's headquarters in East Prussia.


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Transcribed and formatted by Jerry Holden for the HyperWar Foundation