First battle for Kharkov

German campaigns and battles 1919-1945.

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First battle for Kharkov

Postby Morden » Fri Jan 23, 2004 1:31 am

I'm looking for info concerning 1st battle of Kharkov. Are there any interesting books or on-line articles on that?

As far I found only info in Carell, Titans by Glanz and Road to Stalingrad.

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Postby Jerry » Fri Jan 23, 2004 5:09 am

Are you referring to the 6th Armee's initial capture of the city in October '41 or the Russian's attempt to recapture it in May '42? If it is the latter you might want to read Kharkov 1942, Anatomy of a military disaster (ISBN: 1-885119-54-2) , by David Glanz.

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Postby Shingo » Sun Feb 01, 2004 1:32 pm

Hi Morden,

Here is something you may want to look at....... unfortunately Russian view
Please try the page of "Sumy-Kharkov defense"
http://hwar1941.narod.ru/swfr.htm

I do not know about the German view's books and on-line articles of "1st Battle of Kharkov".

If you are interested in Battle of Donbass 1941 (Stalino, Mius River and Rostov etc.), please look for the following book.

Hans Steets "Gebirgsjäger in der Nogaischen Steppe" Aug-Oct 1941
Hans Steets "Gebirgsjäger ywischen Dnjepr und Don" Oct-Dec 1941

Cheers
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Postby Shingo » Sun Feb 01, 2004 1:39 pm

Sorry, not "ywischen" but "zwischen".
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Postby Paul B » Tue Feb 03, 2004 1:14 pm

A fairly detailed account on the 1st Battle for Kharkov in 1941 can be found in Weinmann's history of the 101st Jäger-Division. Actually this division went right through the center of the city while the 239th Infantry Division entered the city from the north and the 57th Infantry Division from the south.

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Postby Morden » Wed Feb 04, 2004 12:06 am

Is it in german?

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Postby Paul B » Wed Feb 04, 2004 1:25 pm

Yes, it's in German and as far as I know there exists no English translation.
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Kharkow Oct 1941

Postby tigre » Sat Jan 21, 2006 8:12 pm

Hello to all, Sorry the answer delayed a while to come, but recently I've found again this interesting book; so I'll post the beginning of the story if there is someone still interested, please let me know. The source is the book "Gefechten in Russland" written by Hans Kissel (at that time a LtCol in the JR 228 / JD 101). Here goes and be patients with my translation.

The First Battle of Kharkow - Oct 1941.
(The conquest of the city by the JD 101)

Situation.

In spite of great difficulties due to foe rearguards, bad roads, mud and rains both jager regiments (JR 228 and JR 229) had reached a line 6 kms from the west edge of kharkow. (JD 101 KTB).

On 21 oct 41 the 228 JR informed via radio: I / JR 228 took defensive positon at the east edge of Gja. Ryshoff; enemy ahead. III / JR 228 at Kurjasch without foe contact. II / JR 228 reserve at Ssipolitschewka. Command Post there. Mine fields at Saliutina. Kharkow station heavily defended with infantry and tanks. (JR 228 KTB).

On 22 oct 41 at 02:30 hrs the attack order came; as stated there the JR 228 must, by means of detailed reconnaissance, to set up the basis of the conquest of the city.

At noon the I / JR 228 was attacked by one russian infantry battalion supported by tanks; the attack was rejected and two tanks were disabled.

As ordered by the Division the I / JR 228 was shifted at once to Ssipolitschewka.

The Udy river was the boundary with the right (south) unit (IR 199 / ID 57); Dergatschi the boundary with the left (north) unit (DI 239). The gap (14 kms) to the north was secured by the AA 101 from Kurjasnoshe.

On the night of 22 oct 41 the recon infos were transmitted by radio: west edge of Kharkow occupied by enemy; also Saliutina, many MG nests and mortars pits were observed; minefields to the west of the town. The wood's edge NE of Saliutina was occupied by own security forces. The battalions' trains and the Regimental Antitank Coy (16. Coy) were stuck in the mud somewhere in the rear. Enemy purpose: to retain the city.

Regards. Tigre.
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Kharkow Oct 1941

Postby tigre » Sun Jan 22, 2006 2:36 pm

Hello to all, the second part.

Readiness for the attack.

On 23 oct 41 at 02:00 hrs the divisional CP informed that at noon the unit will move on to the readiness position.

At 07:10 hrs the divisional CP issued the attack order. The anti tank Coy, the trains and the Command Coy/ JR 228 with the bike platoon were still stuck somewhere.

At 08:45 hrs the regiment OIC issued his order as follows:

Enemy: Nothing significant to report.

The JR 228 (reinforced) will take a position in readiness at the woods NE of Saliutina (already secured by the III / JR 228) and from 12:00 hrs onwards breaks into the city, in conjunction with the ID 57 to the right.

Organization.
III / JR 228 to the right (reinforced with two guns of AR 85, one Coy/ Pio 101 and one 88 gun).
II / JR 228 to the left (reinforced, same as the III without the 88 gun)
I / JR 228 reserve behind of the II. Battalion.

Objectives:

First: the rail road enbankment heading north from the main station.
Second: Lopany river.
Third: road leading towards Belgorod.
Fourth: Kharkow river.
Fifth: crossroad at the bridge 212.
Last: east edge of the city, astride the road Kharkow-Stary Ssaltow.

Boundary of the readiness position.

Fore: edge of the wood west of Kharkow.
Rear: Karotitsch-Kurjasnoshe trail (boundary with the JR 229 that will follows our regiment). I / JR 229 will protect our left open flank.

Two great water ways must be crossed, the battalions OIC will arrange the proper support with the engineers. The movements will be by bounds and at my command. When the east edge of the city be reached the battalion will take a defensive position at once. For antitank purposes AT mines will be carried.

I'll follow behind the III. Battalion.

The Com platoon will maintain radio links with the II. And III. Battalions.

At 11:00 hrs the regimental CP was shifted to Gja Kurjash, there the Colonel met the AR 85 OIC, the artillery is not ready yet. The II / AR 85 was allocated to the III / JR 228 and the III / AR 85 to the II / JR 228; one Forward Observer was alloted to each frontline battalion.

Meanwhile the OIC of the antitank coy arrived at the spot, he must assign inmediately one 37 gun platoon to each frontline battalion.

The artillery of the adjoining division (ID 57) was firing from noon onwards, besides it was observed riflemen moving along the road Guka-Kharkow.

At 14:25 the OIC AR 85 informed that the unit was ready to open the fire as planned.

The time of the attack was set up for 15:00 hrs.

Regards. Tigre.
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Kharkow Oct 1941

Postby tigre » Mon Jan 23, 2006 8:07 pm

Hello to all - 3º part.

The attack - 23 oct 1941.

Shortly before the attack went under way, the machine guns engaged the targets previously reconnoitered and at some places the enemy infantry fleds.

At 15:00 hrs the artillery fire broke out hammering the irruption's points. At 15:10 hrs the frontline battalions jumped out in deployed formation spreading out in a 500 mts front each. Some enemy machine guns fired upon the left battalion causing minor casualties but the artillery shelled it with smoke.

Upon the right flank fired entrenched tanks, the III / JR 228 was unable to advance any farther. The regimental commander pointed out this targets to the support guns and when the fire support became effective the officers of the III. Battalion led the men ahead towards a hollow and a dead angle. The troops went through a barbed wire and jumped into a deep antitank ditch; later climbed out the wall using the infantry shovels as steps.

At 15:25 hrs both battalions reached the west edge of the mighty fortificated Kharkow, which was on fire. Under the impression of a mighty blow and the efect of the artillery fire the enemy withdrew, was annihilated or taken as prisoner. (JR 228 KTB).

The III / JR 228 (right battalion) moved forward in column astride the assigned street, the II / JR 228 did the same some 500 meters to the north; the rearguards mopped up the buildings left behind. The first objective, the rail road north of the main station, was reached at 16:45 hrs and when the night fell the regiment took an all-round position astride the rail road. 345 prisoners were taken.

There was not communication with the divisional CP; the right neighbour (ID 57) was fighting farther to the rear (will reach the rail road the next day) and was the same for the neighbour to the left (I / JR 229). The JR 228 was isolated. All night violent explosions sounded through the air, the russian blew up buildings, rail road, bridges, etc.

The commander of the AR 85 arrived during the night. The attack must be resumed on 24 oct at 06:00 hrs.

Regards. Tigre.

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Kharkow Oct 1941 - 4º part

Postby tigre » Tue Jan 24, 2006 6:53 pm

The attack proceeds - 24 oct 1941.

The infantry guns, some antitanks guns (horse drawn) and the artillery guns arrived at last in the morning.

On 24 oct at 06:00 o'clock the attack proceeded. The frontline battalions (III. Right and II. Left ) moved ahead in columns distants 400 meters each other. Each vanguard's coy was organized in assault platoons and was reinforced with machine guns, infantry cannons and antitank cannons (PAK 37), then follows the battalions commanders, then the engineer with material to ford the water ways, then artillery guns and at last the battalion's main body. The explosions were continuals and lasted several days, demolitions charges armed with clock devices (time bombs) and electrical fuzes.

At 06:30 hrs the III / JR 228 had reached the second objective, the Lopany river; the bridge there was destroyed and no enemy was seen. Shortly after the river was reached by the II / JR 228 which was fired upon by the russian, the enemy took position on the other river bank supported by all kind of weapons.

Under the fire furnished by its heavy weapons, placed between the houses and in the gardens, the II. Battalion could establish a bridgehead with one rifle coy.
Nevertheless the river bank was free, russian heavy machine guns fired upon the troops from 600 meters to the south so the III. Battalion could cross only at 07:30 hrs, after its own heavy weapons laid a protective barrage in support of the riflemen.

At 08:10 hrs it was given the order to reach the third objective, the main road heading to Belgorod.

At 08:50 the II / JR 228 reached the third objective; but the III / JR 228 was heavily engaged in the streets (MOUT). The anti tank platoon commander ( a leutnant) tried to place its guns in position but was killed by a shot in the thigh. As ordered by the regimental commander, on the spot, the battalion turned to the left and crossed through backyards and gardens making use of every dead angle they found. Finally the main road (third objective) was reached.

The inhabitants fed the soldiers with bread, marmalade and tea; the troops were thirsty despite of the weather was cold and rainy because the enemy resistance stiffened, even counter attacks were launched.

At this point the Ia (Ops Officer) of the JD 101 ( recently arrived) proposed to cross the Kharkow river farther to the east in order to avoid the resistance. The proposal was acepted and the regimental commander issued the order at 10:10 hrs.

However the resistance did not decrease and the casualties grew up; in order to cross an avenue the troops brought some buses setting them on fire. The riflemen crossed then the main street protected by the smoke.

The II. Battalion was shifted behind the III. Battalion and the regiment moved forward through buildings, houses and gardens and at 12:30 hrs the river bank of the fourth objective was reached. Meanwhile the I. Battalion occupied the building of the Technological Institute (important as OP and reference) in order to protect it against counterattacks from the north and east.

At 13:15 the II / JR 228 established a small bridgehead making use of one little bridge located there, then all the battalion crossed. The III / JR 228 must first remove the enemy resistence and then wait for the rubber boats. Nevertheless at 13:50 hrs the CP of the jager regiment could cross the Kharkow river. At the spot, the frontline battalions did receive the order to proceed towards the sixth objective (the last), the fifth was eliminated due to the change in the attack's direction.

Shortly before the last objective was reached the vanguard met a russian tank, motionless but still manned; it was destroyed with anti tank mines by the engineers. Next, one enemy patrol (riders) was seen, an anti tank cannon opened fire lying down one rider, the others fled.

About 15:00 hrs the vanguard reached the last objective, the east edge of Kharkow, where one broad street heading NE, the Konjushenaja-ul, was located. The regimental CP was established there near the road leading towards Sstarij-Ssaltow.

Regards. Tigre.
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Kharkow Oct 1941 - 5º part

Postby tigre » Wed Jan 25, 2006 7:36 pm

Defense at the east edge of the city.

The III / JR 228 occupied a defensive position from Nemischja to the road leading towards Sstarij-Ssaltow and the II / JR 228 from there to the Konjushenaja-ul avenue, roughly 1500 meters ahead of the regimental CP. The I / JR 228 was called from the Technological Institute and crossed the Kharkow river in order to protect the rear area of the regiment.

Sudenly one sentry shouted "a russian", a few shots were fired and a rider with his horse were lain on the ground, ¡a woman with the rank of LtCol!.

Shortly after that, a car; it was shot in front of the CP and fourth russian officers were killed. Next the sentry informed about a motorized column moving slowly along the Kosjushenaja-ul, the rearguard of the russian troops that were defending Kharkow. Ahead, light tanks behind cars and horse drawn vehicles.

The staff troops and one infantry cannon placed there engaged the enemy column shot by shot; it was surprised and beaten. The survivors fled towards the near buildings, answering the fire from there. These enemy groups were annihilated later by assaults platoons organized by the infantry battalions.

The mop up operations were finished on 25 oct and 834 prisoners belonging to the 216 Rifle Division were taken, the loot includes 10 guns, 1 heavy tank, 5 light tanks, prime movers, trucks, horse drawn vehicles and several machine guns and mortars.

Meanwhile the ID 57 (to the right) had reached the east edge of Kharkow by the night of the 24 oct, so the city fell in German hands.

It is all. I hope this little account be helpful to someone. Cheers. Tigre.
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Postby Wolfkin » Fri Jun 16, 2006 12:46 am

Excellent information Tigre!

I have a question I was wondering if you or anyone could answer. I know that the 101st Jager, 57th Infantry and 239th Infantry all belonged to the 6th Army during the battle for Kharkov in October 1941. But what Korps did they belong to? I can't find this information anywhere! Would you know? Thank you in advance!

Cheers,

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Postby Jan-Hendrik » Fri Jun 16, 2006 1:12 am

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Postby Wolfkin » Sat Jun 17, 2006 1:05 am

Hello Jan-Hendrik!

Thank you for your response! This answers my question. Plus, that link has much useful information, thank you for posting it. Thanks again!

Cheers,

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