by Ove Kronborg » Sat Mar 11, 2023 6:10 am
In my book "Et Hjørne af en Hærs Sammenbrud” (A Corner of the Collapse of an Army) I wrote about the acquaintance of Langkeit and Lützow as follows (translated from Danish):
A battle group from the year 551. The Grenadier Division under the command of Captain Heinz Lich ("Kampfgruppe Lich"), consisting of grenadiers of the Grenadier Regiment II./1113 supported by the Sturmgeschütz-Abteilung 1551 under the command of Oberleutnant Wolf-Dieter Lützow, had been surrounded on 5.10.1944 between the two rivers Žižme and Venta on the road between Kuršenai and Tulkinčiai and now threatened to be completely wiped out. Lützow's situation report via radio from his command gun and call for help was intercepted by the Panzerregiment "Großdeutschland". Colonel Langkeit still had only the reconnaissance battalion of the regiment in the area and briefly discussed the situation with his commander, Rittmeister Schroedter. They immediately agreed on a relief attempt, although the battalion had only light reconnaissance vehicles and armored personnel carriers.
The auxiliary attempt of the detachment should be carried out by walking on the road of Tryškia He went to Švendriai and from there to Pazizme to establish a bridgehead on the other side. On the side of the small river Žižme, as well as to block the advance of the enemy over the forest meadows there. The advance proceeded smoothly, although enemy troops had already entered the forest area west of Pakepstenai.
At the end of the evening, when the bridgehead was established and secured, the rest of the battalion continued to advance at great speed. The attack had so much momentum that it completely surprised the enemy forces that had surrounded Kampfgruppe Lich and the Sturmgeschütz-Abteilung in 1551. The battalion fired machine guns and machine guns from all sides, quickly penetrated the encirclement and was greeted by the liberated soldiers.
Rittmeister Schroedter and part of the troops then made their way through the enemy forces to the old main battle line, but found no more surrounded groups, so they withdrew. Although Soviet tank and infantry troops had bypassed the position by more than 15 km on both the right and left, the reconnaissance battalion, together with the remnants of the battle group, was able to hold the position until October 6 at 03:00, when they were freed from the task and began a retreat to their own lines. The remnants of Kampfgruppe Lich and the assault gun detachment were brought back via Žižme in 1551, but Lützow had to leave behind most of his assault guns (StuG III), which had either been lost in battle or had to be blown up due to lack of fuel. The Germans counted 80 Soviet soldiers killed and took 20 prisoners during the action. There is no information about the German losses, but they must have been substantial.
Colonel Langkeit also personally took part in the liberation action. He and Oberleutnant Lützow ended an acquaintance that received a long continuation. In 1551, Colonel Langkeit incorporated the rest of the assault gun detachment into his troops, and the company continued the fight together with units of the Panzer Regiment "Großdeutschland".
Sources: Spaeter, Helmut: Panzerkorps „Großdeutschland“, Bind 2 and 3. Jacob Bleeker and Heinz Schönning interviewed by me in 2010 /2011.