A Russian-speaking German Kriegsberichter (war correspondent) of Berichterstaffel z.b.V. OBH in a BMW R12 motorcycle with sidecar strikes a conversation with Ukrainian female farmers out in the fields. Note on the front of the sidecar the emblem of the "Berichterstaffel zur besonderen Verfügung Oberbefehlshaber des Heeres" (Special War Reporters Command for the Army Headquarters), comprising a pen and a sword. June-August 1942. In the Steppes East of the Ukraine, there were no road signs and few landmarks by which the Germans could take their bearings. Good maps were few and far between. As a result german patrols and motorcycle riders (such as this one) had to ask their way of women and old men working in the fields. The poor planning and the consequent foundering of the German troops in the vastnesses of the uncharted territory, are reflected in photos such as this one. One must also remember the tough terrain that the Germans faced in their drive. RRs and roads built well enough to accommodate tanks were in limited supply in the Soviet Union. The ability to hold on to these roads was just as important on the long retreat as it was on the drive forward. The difference in gauges of RR track width between those in Russia and those in Germany also called for track conversion or trains able to travel on any given line of tracks - Russian on Russian tracks and German on German tracks. It was, indeed, a mess.