WWII Hungarian Ukraine Front Trench Art from German Shell Case


A very nice looking and rare example of WWII Hungarian Axis Forces’ Trench Art, consisting of an intricately worked and embossed German 37mm Pak anti-tank shell case, produced on the Ukraine Front in 1942.
The German shell case is made of brass and has been embossed and hammered to produce a series of geometric designs, not unlike those seen on carved wood ‘Wolchowstock’ walking sticks. The central cartouche is in the shape of a heart and is crudely engraved ‘Emlek Anikonok - Pologi 1942’. This translates from Hungarian as ‘Remembering Anikonok, Pologi 1942’. The base is stamped 3.7 cm Pak – P152 – 1936 – 31 – 6331*. Given the difference between the trench art decoration and the dedication, it is safe to assume that the shell was decorated by a local Ukranian artisan, whilst the dedication was made by a Hungarian soldier. Pologi (Ukrainian: Поло́ги) is a city in Zaporizhzhia Oblast, Ukraine, although since March 2022, it has been under Russian occupation.
During World War II, the Kingdom of Hungary was a member of the Axis powers. Hungarian politics and foreign policy had become more stridently nationalistic by 1938, and Hungary adopted an expansionist policy similar to Germany's. Hungary did not immediately participate in the invasion of the Soviet Union. The Axis invasion began in June 1941, but Hitler did not directly ask for Hungarian assistance. Nonetheless, many Hungarian officials argued for participation in the war. On 1 July 1941, under German instruction, the Hungarian Carpathian Group attacked the 12th Soviet Army, advancing far into Soviet Ukraine, and later into southern Russia, where the troops developed a reputation for indiscriminate killings.
The Pak 36 (Panzerabwehrkanone 36) was a 37mm calibre German anti-tank gun used during the Second World War. Developed by Rheinmetall in 1933, it was first issued to the German Army in 1936, with 9,120 being available by the beginning of the war in September 1939 and a further 5,339 produced during the war. It performed well in the Spanish Civil War and against Poland in 1939. However heavier French, British and Russian tanks were impervious to it and the gun received the derisive nickname ‘Anklop’ (door-knocker). However, 91% of the Soviet tanks at the time consisted of light tanks, so the Pak 36 knocked out thousands of them.
Size: 6 x 22.5 cm (2 3/8 x 8 7/8 inches)
Weight: 460 g