A really neat and unusual little group. This soldier served with the Railroad Engineers on the Russian Front. These units had a dramatic and often unknown effect on the German war effort on the Russian Front. Especially in the early days of the invasion, the depth of the German penetrations was governed by how quickly the captured Soviet railroads could be placed back in service. When the Germans captured Soviet territory they often had to repair the tracks and rail yards that were damaged in the fighting or by the retreating Soviet soldiers. More importantly the German Railroad Engineers had to re-gauge almost all of the track they captured. The Soviets used a wider gauge (the iron rails were farther apart) so before it could be used by the German engines and railcars the rails had to be reset to the narrower gauge. Without rail transport of supplies the Germans simply could not sustain their massive penetrations of Soviet territory. This soldier, whose name is unfortunately not recorded, received both the War Merit Cross 2nd Class and the Russian Campaign medal for the winter of 1941/42. In addition the group includes his dog tag which notes his unit, his Sleeve Grade Insignia (Oberschutze) and his photo. One last interesting thing to note is that in the photo he is missing part of his left index finger.