Here's the first part of the 298.ID KTB (supplied by the great Kommisar) translation. Comments are most wellcome
Great Russian offensive at Division Ravenna (to the left of 298.ID). Local offensive operations at Division Pasubio (to the right of 298.ID).
Evening: Division Ravenna is subordinated to 298.ID. 298.ID, until now subordinated to XXXV.ital.AK is subordinated to II.ital.AK.
Divisional command post is moved to Radshenskoje.
Divisional command post is moved to Malewanny.
15.00: Divisional command post is moved from Malewanny to Bogunoff.
On the way from Malewanny the regiments received, through a radio, the order, to disengage from the enemy at dusk and to reach in a march towards south, through the still free of enemy gap Medowa - group of houses 6 km eastwards, the Tichaja sector and to prepare defenses there.
0.3 remains in Malewanny till all the messages are reported to be confirm delievered.
Ia, Ic and O.1 drive with the divisional commander.
At around 21.00, 03 arrives with elements of the radio central in Makaroff.. The commander of staff quarters, Hptm. Zander, returns from Meschkoff and reports that the roads Makaroff-Meschkoff and Makaroff-Nasaroff are blocked by enemy tanks and that it is impossible to come through to Bogusoff. Nothing is known of division's staff whereabouts.
At 21.00 Oberstlt. Maempel arrives with his KG in Makaroff. Hptm. Zander reports him his observations and assumption, that the divisional commander reached Meschkoff before enemy's advance.
Thereupon Oberstleutnant Maempel takes over the leadership of the Division (here Generalmajor Szelinski's report).
It was decided to wait for Gren.Rgts in Makaroff and then to breakthrough together towards south. Securities were formed.
00.15: a telegram from XXIX.AK arrives. Afterwards the regimental commanders are by radio ordered to the divisional command post.
06.00: Commanders conference. Oberst Michaelis takes over the leadership of the division. The regiments receive orders to reach the following towns: Gren.-Rgt.526 Popowka, Gren.-Rgt.525 Michailow, Gren.-Rgt.527 Karasejew. At first there is to rest.
Large elements of the Italian divisions Pasubio and Torino have attached themselves to 298.Inf.Div. and are with their undisciplined behaviour disturbing the division's march movements.
08.20: From the Ital. AOK8 arrives a telegram.
Thereupon a further breakthrough is ordered.
Order of battle for the continuing march:
Spearhead regiment - Gren.-Rgt.526 with 2 Sturmgeschütze batteries, 12. Pz.Jg.Kompanie from XXIX.AK, Sturmbatterie Weiß with three guns, III./A.R.111, II./A.R.298, IV./A.R.298 (without guns), elements of Pz.Jg.Abt.654
then Gren.-Rgt.525, with 3 Sfl., 2 7,5-cm Pak, 2 cm Flak-Zug, 1./Pz.Jg.Abt.298
then Gren.-Rgt.527 (rearguard Btl. Rumprich), 2 8,8-cm Flak, 5 Sturmgeschütze, 6 Pak Pz.Jg.Abt.654.
10.00: Gren.-Rgt.527 reaches Popowka and Gren.-Rgt.525 Makaroff. Gren.-Rgt.527 is still south of Medowa.
Gren.Rgt.525 continues to Popowka. One enemy tank is destroyed there and further driven away.
13.00: Gren.-Rgt.527 reaches Krasejew.
14.00: Gren.-Rgt.526 sets off with the order to take Posdniakoff and in case of no enemy resistance to continue the advance towards Tichno-Shurawskaja.
17.00: Under continuos rearguard battles Gren.-Rgt.527 reaches Popowka. Elements of Italian divisions, around 10,000 men, are held back in Popowka. Gren.-Rgt.527 has orders to pass no Italian through.
20.00: Podniakoff in our hands.
24.00: All elements of division are billeted in Posdniakoff. Italians are held back behind Btl. Gumprich.
Division's command post in Posdniakoff.
Enemy shells the town with salvo guns.
Gren.-Rgt.526 stays in Posdniakoff with the intention to advance towards Ticho-Shurawskaja on the next morning
Telegrams to the AOK8 regarding assurances of air supplies.
03.00: the Division's order is issued.
04.00: the Division moves out. Constant threat of enemy tanks on the flanks and in the rear. 4 tanks are destroyed.
09.00: Tichno-Shurawskaja is found free of enemy. An Italian truck collumn, which managed to breakthrough, is taken along.
Gren.-Rgt.526 and 5./A.R.298, as escort battery, moves out towards Tichowskoje. Forward Sturmgeschütze, with one infantry company from Gren.-Rgt.527 mounted aboard, has to constantly defend against enemy on the flanks and in the rear.
Tichowskoje (as would later be established, the town was Arbusow - from here on it will be referred to as so) is occupied by enemy in battalion strength.
Gren.-Rgt.526 moves out to attack. 3 enemy tanks are destroyed.
14.00: Divisional command post 2 km NE of Arbusow. Gren.-Rgt.525 is deployed to secure towards W and NW. Heavy shelling of march column by anti-tank guns, tanks and mortars.
15.00: Gren.-Rgt.527 caught up and is committed with front towards NE and E. Hedgehog has now the size of 2km x 500m, NE of Arbusow.
18.00: Enemy attacks from W and NW, especially heavy against Gren.-Rgt.525. Arbusow is firmly in our hands.
20.00: Enemy pressure on the elements deployed NE of Arbusow is increasing. Oberst Michelis orders the entire division to pull back in Arbusow.
23.00: All division's elements are in Arbusow. KGs Neumann and Sauer are created and Gren.-Rgt.525 is distributed among both KGs.
Hptm. Klehr arrives with his staff to division.
Gruppe Sauer takes over the northern sector, Gruppe Neumann the southern sector of defensive zone. Division's decision is to hedgehog itself in Arbusow till the arrival of ammunition and fuel.
All bigger houses in the town are occupied with the wounded. Accumulation of 800 wounded.
Heavy salvo and mortar fire on Arbusow.
The Italians, situated in town, are being organized. To every KG comes one Italian General with 8 companies, each with 100 men. Oberstlt. Maempel takes over the liaison with the Italian command.
The Division's staff is from 20.12.42 structured from:
Oberst Michaelis Kdr.
Hptm. Klehr Ia
Oblt. Überscher IIa
'' Falkner Ib
'' van Setten O1
Hptm. Zander Streifendienst
298.Inf.Div. is subordinated to Gruppe Kreysing.
10.00:Division's order is issued to Italians.
12.00: Thrust by the Sfl. Platoon Oblt. Köhler against a battery position N of Arbusow. Several guns and trucks are destroyed. Luftwaffe drops a very small amount of ammunition. Infantry ammunition and fuel are not included.
Enemy continues strengthening. Continuos attacks in company to battalion strength from N and S. Consideration are made to withdraw towards W during the night. But because the Army Group's order to hold still stands and air supply is promised, Oberst Michaelis orders to continue holding.
Appropriate divisional orders.
14.00: Russian forces on the march from SW. Mortar and salvo fire like on previous days. Heavy losses.
Night relatively calm. Motor sounds from the western direction. Ammunition is, due to continuous heavy attacks, very low.
In the forenoon 2 enemy attacks with tank support. Continuos shelling by salvo guns, one 12,2 cm battery and mortars. 2 enemy tanks are destroyed.
The losses are increasing hourly. The weather is unfavorable. Thus no air supply. In the afternoon two enemy tanks shell Arbusow.
2 telegrams come in. One contains an order to have one radio troop march ready by 21.00 hrs. The second contains information on enemy situation. It is concluded, based upon it, that the order to hold important towns is lifted. Arbusow is already surrounded from three sides. Only on the W there's temporarily no enemy.
18.00: Commanders conference by Oberst Michaelis. Order to the KGs: 22.00 disengagement from the enemy. Departure to the west.
Reasons for the decision: with further staying the casualties would rise in irresponsible scale. Weather situation is unfavorable. Weather improvement isn't expected.
W of Arbusow reconnaissance found no enemy.
Telegram to Army Group B: »Tomorrow morning ammunition exhausted. Suggest breakout to south.«
Order to the commanders.
Coming with are: operational Sturmgeschütze, Sfl., 2 cm Flak, all available sleighs for the transport of the wounded.
Left behind are: all motor vehicles, field-kitchens, mortars, bicycles, all for the battle unnecessary equipment.
The Italians have to remain at the end of marching column. Fuel is to be taken out of non escorting vehicles. The units are to take their wounded. The doctors decide, which cases are hopeless and are thus left behind.
Marching order: Sturmgeschütze - 2cm Flakbatterie Weiß - Schüler - Aufkl.Abt. - Scherbening - Frey/Hertmanni - Sturmgeschütze - Sfl. - Div. Stab - Gumprich - Opitz - v. Dahmen - Schebitz - Deuner - Sturmgeschütze.
The disengagement proceeds in the following order:
21.00 western part of defensive position with Btl. Schüler and Aufkl.Abt., then eastern defenses and subsequently at the same time the northern and southern defenses.
Immediate arrangement in the marching columns. 2 Sturmgeschütze remain till the final departure in Arbusow.
Before departure II./A.R.298 opens harassing fire.
Disengagement proceeds according to plan. Enemy doesn't follow up.
The Division marches on the following route: Arbusow - point 230 - Kutjelnikow - Ssiderowskij - Gussew - Poltawa - Scheptuchowka.
Weak, company sized enemy resistenceonly in Kutjelnikov.
Scheptuchowka reached at 21.00.
During march, Luftwaffe dropped small amount of ammunition and fuel.
The division chose the southern route, bypassing Mankowo, which Luftwaffe reported to be heavily occupied.
Iwanowka is, in face of weak company sized resistance, captured at 23.00 hrs.
24.00: Reconnaissance determines Bahnhof Scheptuchowka occupied by enemy. Around 300 men.
Troops are extraordinarily exhausted. From midday heavy snowstorm.
In Scheptuchowka, 6 Sturmgeschütze fall through ice and remain stuck.
Deutsche General bei ital.AOK8 gives KG Oberst Göller in Tschertkowo an order to support 298. Inf.Div.'s breakthrough.
19.00: KG Göller reports the results of the trust towards Mankowo to AOK8.
298.Inf.Div. is in radio contact with AOK8 and He.Gr.B and constantly transmits the location.
to be continued..