Hi Christian,Christian wrote:How are you coming along with your research? Have you heard back from Bama?
BAMA wrote back but basically they have nothing new really, here let me share what they gave me:
*******, Jakob, born 20/05/1911 in Bergen-Enkheim
Adress: Bergen, Kreis Hanau, Bergweg 20
Mustered in: 26/07/1942
Tag: 5983-3./Pi.Ers.Btl. 213
From 26/07/1942 to 01/10/1942 3rd Company Pionier-Ersatz-Bataillon 213 at Strassbourg/Alssace.
Later 2nd and 4th Companies Pionier-Reserve-Bataillon 213
Report from 07/06/1943 Home Company (Stammkompanie) later March Company (Marschkompanie) Pionier-Ersatz-Bataillon 213 to City of Brieg.
Report from 16/06/1943 to 16/10/1943 3rd Company Pionier Bataillon 662 in Russia.
Herr ******* fell on the 16/10/1943 in Wlasskowo and was buried at the Gostilowo Cementery.
Last Rank: Gefreiter (No date of promotion)
Now...most of this I already knew although it seems that the 213 Ersatz Bataillon stayed longer than we thought in Strassbourg before getting transfered to the City of Brieg in Silesia.
What seems he had also a rather "pleasant" duty being at this reserve unit for almost a whole year before getting sent to the front in June 1943. I know from my grandmother that he had some "Party" conections that might have helped him on that. "Funny" enough is that he volunteered from his comfortable Party duty in the Generalgoverment at Krakow out of a mix of shame at his younger brother who had been in ranks already from 1939.
From Werner Haupt´s "Heeres Gruppe Nord" I have been able to tighten the nose a bit more around this man´s fate.
At pages 168 and 169 he writes about the Kalinin Front Offensive in October 1943 with the grand aim to take Vitebsk. That objective was not fullfiled but the initial attack on the 2nd Luftwaffe Field Corps the 6/10/1943 at the border between the Army Group Center 3rd Panzer Army and the Army Group North 16th Army archived a major breakthrough with the almost complete anihilation of the 2nd Luftwaffe Field Division. This debacle made a 5 km gap between both Army Groups and, worse, gave the important rail hub and storage City of Newel to a daring Soviet Coup de main by 30 tanks and some Inf on trucks.
This gap and the capture of this city was about the "only" success in a majorly "forgotten" battle as readable in Glantz´"Vol-V The Summer-Fall Campaign (1 July-31 December 1943) Part 1."
As the Soviet 3rd Shock Army struggled to widen this gap between both army groups on the north side of this breakthrough we can follow closely Gefreiter ******´s fate.
So we read on with Haupt how the German 263th Inf Div. does the impossible holding back the onslaught of scores of Soviet Rifle and Guard divisions between the Ivan Sea (South of Novolskolniki). More German reserves are sent to stop the Soviet push northwards (We are for the purpose of this research now leaving out the western and southern drama of this Newel breakthrough). We see the 58th, 122nd and the 69th German Inf Divs sent into this area to bolster the 263th.
Now we read:
And around these events Gefreiter ****** fell. Vlascovo (where he died) is just between this area on the north east coast line of the Ivan sea. Gostilovo (where he was buried) a bit further to the north between the Ivan sea and Novosokolniki.The Soviets used the time between the 9th and the 15/10 to fill up their units. The 3rd Shock Army (General Major Galatzkij) began on this day a two pronged assault northward on both sides of the Ivan Sea with 13 Rifle divs, 2 Tank, 3 rifle, 1 Artillery brigade and 6 MG Battalions.
The 28th Rifle Div and the 100 Rifle Brigade broke through the land istmus between the lakes Ivan and Karataj. The 69th German Inf Div. (General Lt. Ortner) fought back in desperation. She went to the counterattack and restored the lines! The enemy lost 1850 counted dead and 120 POWs.
The 17th the 3rd Shock Army kept up the preassure against the 69th ID with another 5 Rifle Divs and one tank brigade but onlt took minimal terrain...this made the Soviets desist.
There is no mention about the 662th Pionier Bataillon in either Glantz´or Haupt´s work although both mention the desperate German effort in sending everything that could fight into closing the gap. The 662th as a XVI Army independent unit would surely have been sent into the fray.
My actual research now goes into locating the written memoires from as many German Inf divs that took part in the fighting in this northern area. I need to locate these:
Die Geschichte der 58. Infanterie-Division 1939-1945, by Kurt von Zydowitz
Bildband der rheinisch-pfälzischen 263. Infanterie-Division 1939-1945, by Heinz F. Krüger
Die 263. Infanterie-Division 1939-1979, 40 Jahre alt, by Franz Regnary
122. Infanterie-Division, Erinnerungen der pommersch-mecklenburgischen GreifDivision, by Helmut Weber
Sadly...I have not found any published work about the most likely candidate..the 69th ID.
As always any help is very much apreciated.