Kirischi bridgehead / Volkhov

German campaigns and battles 1919-1945.

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jmark
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Kirischi bridgehead / Volkhov

Post by jmark » Tue Jan 16, 2007 1:21 am

Can someone help me with info about the Kirischi bridgehead. I know there was heavy fighting in the bridgehead in the second half of 1942 (involving elements of 11. and 21.Inf.Div.) and that the troops referred to it as "the Verdun of the northern front". My main questions:
1. When was the bridgehead formed? Was it a result of the Soviet winter offensive in 1941-42?
2. When was it finally abandoned?
3. What German units fought in the bridgehead?

The unit histories of 11. and 21.Inf.Div. provide very detailed info about specific time periods, but I'm trying to ascertain a broader overview.

Any info welcome!
Jason Mark
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Kirischi bridgehead 1942

Post by tigre » Tue Jan 16, 2007 6:18 am

Serás lo que debas ser o no serás nada. General José de San Martín.

Snefens

Post by Snefens » Thu Jan 18, 2007 12:10 pm

1.
Yes, the German had advanced to Tikhvin, 100km east of Kirishi, in early November 1941, capturing the town on November 8th. On November 12th the Soviets counterattacked and drove the Germans back, but despite heavy fighting they were unable to capture Kirishi and stopped the attack December 28th. They did however advance southwest to the west of the city, creating the nearly surrounded bridgehead.

2.
Hitler finally gave permission to straighten the line at the bridgehead in late september 1943 and the withdrawal was started on the night between October 1st and 2nd. By October 5th the new prepared lines was occupied with no incidents and 4 divisions was thus released.

3.
Besides the two you mention, I know also the 61st, 127th and 132nd was rotated into the bridgehead.

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Re: Kirischi bridgehead / Volkhov

Post by tigre » Sun Oct 25, 2020 11:53 am

Hello to all :D; something on it................................................

Memories of Kirishi.

We were relieved on July 27, 1942. We should set up ourselves in tents in the Dratschewo area and train the battalion for the attack on the Pogostje sack for a fortnight. A splendid tent city was set up, and on the 28th the theater in Dratschewo was visited. A KDF troop played there.

The audience was a bigger experience for me than the stage. There the soldiers sat huddled in the dark room on wooden benches, the rifle between their legs, the hat hung on top of the rifle, the "steel helmet" laid on the floor. At first the soldiers applauded somewhat embarrassed. But then they got warm, and now every punch line was greeted with roaring applause, harsh laughter and loud clapping. These were soldiers who for months had known nothing but their position and their lousy clothes.

First of all, it was an interesting collection of harsh and rough people. Then the pungent human smell and the unpleasant thought of nearby breeding grounds of enormous numbers of lice fell on the mind. The "rustic" expression of applause or a shock of the diaphragm was a pleasure. The predatory looks that seemed to pierce all the blouses and panties of the dancers, who were not overclad anyway, were often dangerous. In the end, however, it was touching the thanks of the men for this modest bit of spiritual stimulation and local culture. Whether Mozart or Peter Kreuder is performed on stage is almost irrelevant. Also whether it is witty or just sour.

At noon on July 29th, the order came in like a bolt of lightning out of the blue that parts of the IR 2, IR 44 (11th ID) and the Geb.-Jäg.-Rgt. 100 had to be replaced.

I would have to lie if I wanted to say that we were more or less glad of this order. There were quite long faces. Cornelius (Oberarzt and bat. Physician of the II./IR 3) and I looked at each other meaningfully. The 6th Company had suspected this yesterday evening when, in the high spirits of their evening of comradeship, they sang, not ending: "We don't give a damn about everything, everything, everything... We don't give a damn about everything, everything, everything... We are everything, eveeeerything ... etc. "? Cornelius and I had laughed to tears about it, and we kept believing that we could hear Rackwitz's (Lt. Rackwitz. Führer 6./IR 3) voice as he intoned: "Everything is to us, everything ..." Now everything was really all no matter.

The commanders of the company took note of the command of the Btl. With mock calm in the "chief briefing". Then you packed your things feverishly.

There was a restrained hum throughout the camp. At 2 p.m. the commander (Hptm. Schütze, Kdr. II. / IR 3), I and all company commanders (Lt. Kretschmann 5th Kp., Lt. Rackwitz 6th Kp., Lt. Barran 7th Kp.) rode towards the bridgehead. The rain poured; that was good for the replacement. Hauptmann Anton (8./ IR 3) and the adjutant (Oblt. Petereit) were supposed to follow up the battalion. The company troop leaders (Komp.-Truppführer) set off on foot with the runners.

Sources: http://www.bartels.com/genealogy/gen-ki ... Z(offline)
http://www.lexikon-der-wehrmacht.de/Gli ... 21ID-R.htm
http://www.maparchive.ru/index.php/army ... ll-55.html
https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schlacht_ ... y_1943.png

Cheers. Raúl M 8).
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Location of the Kirischi bridgehead....................................
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Re: Kirischi bridgehead / Volkhov

Post by tigre » Sun Nov 01, 2020 10:13 am

Hello to all :D; more...............................................

Memories of Kirischi.

Our horses often slipped frequently on the log path (Knüppeldamm), because it was broken by the endless columns of ammunition. The entire 11.ID had to resupply with ammunition and food via this road. The train did not run most of the time. Two artillery regiments were deployed on the western bank of the Volkhov, firing round after round at enemy positions. They launched an artillery barrage when the Russian tanks arrived and when the Ivans stormed the area once more with their "Urrahs". The enemy's bombardment was monstrous, as was his own defensive fire.

July 29 was pretty quiet. Of course you could hear grumbling. After a while, the howitzers fired more clearly. Here and there a shot of the enemy in search of the German artillery. So we had our artillery behind us. The leaders of the companies stayed on the embankment (Petersburg-Moscow) to await their advance orders. They should meet us again at the bridgehead commander's command post. A rain fell.

Schütze and I walked across the embankment to the bridge. For him, Kirischi was associated with the memory of a beautiful and peaceful winter. After the withdrawal that 21. ID had carried out in good order from Volkhovstroy to Kirischi, the IR 3 established a bridgehead on the east side of the Volkhov, which included the city of Kirischi and some smaller districts, expanded it, defended it against some less serious attacks in winter and against a strong attack on April 30, 1942. Hauptmann Schütze, who was entrusted with the leadership of the newly created II. Battalion, headed south through the so-called Schulhöhe on the Plawnizy-Nowinka section. The "regiment" lived in the big red brick house. Standing behind a bush on the path, Schütze explained the situation to me. Now, on July 29, 1942, the Brücko (bridgehead) was barely recognizable.

A few days after IR 3 was relieved by IR 23 it had been attacked by the Reds with heavy artillery preparation, IR 23 was heavily decimated, after being detached IR 2 was terribly pressured with tanks and artillery, and now the remains of IR 44, IR 2 and III./Geb.-Jäg.-Rgt.100 held the bridgehead, while the Russians began a new great attack. The houses and factory buildings in which all the kitchens and trains were established, where there was still a civilian population, where theater and cinema had been represented in winter, had disappeared. Only ruins remained, and one could say with Sheremetyeff: Nothing else to destroy! But there was still a lot to break. We were destined to experience that.

Sources: http://www.bartels.com/genealogy/gen-ki ... Z(offline)
http://www.lexikon-der-wehrmacht.de/Gli ... 21ID-R.htm
http://www.maparchive.ru/index.php/army ... ll-55.html
https://www.militarycollectibles4u.nl/a ... escription

Cheers. Raúl M 8).
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Kirischi's bridgehead.....................................
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Re: Kirischi bridgehead / Volkhov

Post by tigre » Sun Nov 08, 2020 11:00 am

Hello to all :D; more...............................................

Memories of Kirischi.

We half knew that, half suspected it, and so we approached with a shudder the mighty 300 m long bridge that had formerly led the Petersburg-Moscow railway over the Volkhov before two yokes had crashed. This bridge still represented the only permanent connection between the bridgehead and the "mainland". In the gorge in front of the west pillar was crater to crater. Small and inconspicuous the craters of the countless small-caliber "Ratschbumm" shots, deeper and black the craters of 15.2 and 12.2 cm artillery, and huge, filled with yellow "water" were the holes that the bombs of the "Iron Gustav" left behind. The "Iron", the "Lame Duck", the "dead fly", the "Burbel" (??) and finally the "Rollbahnhure" (Runway whore), these were the country names for the slow double-decker, which hummed with a disturbing even sound very low in the night sky.

You could hear it cranking up gently, see it in the moonlight, or even notice its insolence in the fact that it often flew with light. Sleight of hand! There was no anti-aircraft gun, at most a couple of 2-cm machine guns. The "Gustav" then switched off his engine, and one lost one's orientation until a quiet sh-sh- that got louder and louder and - once heard, did not disappear from memory again - until this sound prompted the connoisseur to take cover. One, two, three heavy detonations - the dirt smacked back to earth after a few seconds - and "Gustav" continued to crank happily. A "Gustav" didn't scare you. But ten at a time over the tiny bridgehead, and that all night! That annoyed you. You could shoot the "Iron" with a rifle and machine gun. That calmed the soul. But it was useless. Because "he" was armored.

He sometimes threw grenades with their wings screwed on, sometimes round balls, which burst when hit and scattered phosphorus in the area. He also threw light parachutes or he rained an ugly magnesium or phosphorus beam from parachutes. These rays looked gorgeous, but gave nasty burns. When the "iron man" was in a good mood, he glided very low and asked us to overflow with the megaphone. He extolled his "paradise" and told us about ours. But we hated him.

We, i.e. Captain Schütze and I were standing in the pioneer bunker that was built into the west pillar of the bridge. It was still daylight and the rain was rustling. The Russian shot the bridge pillar at 7.62, and we had to wait. From there you crossed the bridge into the other world, and you knew that many would stay. Was that true for us too? Birch crosses stood in long rows on the west bank. Some weathered, most new.

The walk across the bridge was like a lofty act to be done with holy horror. The "bridgehead step" began on the bridge, a hurried, quiet step. You walked with drawn lips, secured your ears for kills and other noises, secured your eyes for muzzle flashes, spotted and quickly overcame stretches overlooked by the enemy, and you never walked your way in one piece, but from stage to stage. The steel helmet strap had been pushed over the faceplate so that the shrapnel was intended to tear off only the helmet and not the head at the same time. Superstition? Anxiety? Fear is only a shame if you fail about it. Is the wolf afraid if it avoids the hunter? The enemy and we were both wild. But who was chasing us with all the technical sophistication?

Sources: http://www.bartels.com/genealogy/gen-ki ... Z(offline)
http://www.lexikon-der-wehrmacht.de/Gli ... 21ID-R.htm
http://www.maparchive.ru/index.php/army ... ll-55.html
https://pictures.abebooks.com/BUCHUNIVE ... 0927_3.jpg

Cheers. Raúl M 8).
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The railway bridge over the Volchov at the Kirischi bridgehead............
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Re: Kirischi bridgehead / Volkhov

Post by tigre » Sun Nov 15, 2020 11:17 am

Hello to all :D; more...............................................

Memories of Kirischi.

Weapons, backpacks and ammunition in the hand or on the back, this is how the soldiers moved across the bridge with food carriers, mail bags, radio spare parts, etc. They all went quickly and silently, cursing whispering, then suddenly they looked for cover, and indeed a grenade rushed towards them. Splinters slammed into the bridge frame. They could continue. Some remained lying down or were carried by their companions.

During the night the Russian prisoners of war walked slowly and bluntly with their heavy loads of ammunition or with stretchers from the ferry to the position and from there back to the ferry. "Pascholl," ordered the overseeing Gefreite. Unlike the "Urräh" during the attack, it sounded when the prisoners in their brown rags with fur caps on their heads, bearded, dirty, with dull or angry eyes, moaned "Uuäh". They gathered up their loads and walked slowly until the day came and they could disappear back into their holes. Then they ate what was given to them or what they had taken from the dead and wounded. They waited until they collapsed on the road, hit by the sun, the wind and rats to be buried. Fifteen left with ammunition and five or ten returned. Tomorrow would be the same and the day after tomorrow again. The Russian projectiles were waiting for them. They were not responsible for the bridgehead; but they helped. They knew all this and that is why they walked slowly.

But Schütze and I ran towards the commander of the bridgehead in Kirischi. We had to be instructed in the sector and mission and receive orders. The holy shudder is over! Now was the time to act, to be on guard, to persevere, not to "soften". We had to take control and maintain the northern section of the railroad. That night a battalion of IR 2, some groups of IR 44 and parts of the "Kraxlhuber" (= mountain hunters) were relieved. Starting tomorrow, Schütze would lead there.

At 03:00 hours on July 30, the commander of the detached troops, Hptm Ewert, said goodbye to us when it was already light. The entire replacement had been done on the rainy night with almost no loss. Only the right wing was not completely finished, so the new and old crews got behind each other in position.

This replacement had been disturbingly terrifying. The companies moved silently in groups towards the poor positions. Sometimes there were still shallow trenches, sometimes just projectile craters, here and there holes in the armored deck, but everywhere the trenches, craters, and holes were filled with knee-hard clay. In front of the battle line lay remnants of old German and new Russian minefields that could not be overcome. Here and there pieces of old wire obstacles still remained. By dawn all the tanks were clearly visible, having repeatedly rushed into the German position, often crossed and all destroyed. Where once the forest had turned green, there were only tree stumps. Where once a thick bush had restricted view, individual branches still showed a leaf. The town of Dobrowodny had completely disappeared. No, that is not true, there were still some piles of gravel and some rotten and charred beams and planks.

Sources: http://www.bartels.com/genealogy/gen-ki ... Z(offline)
http://www.lexikon-der-wehrmacht.de/Gli ... 21ID-R.htm
http://www.maparchive.ru/index.php/army ... ll-55.html

Cheers. Raúl M 8).
Serás lo que debas ser o no serás nada. General José de San Martín.

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Re: Kirischi bridgehead / Volkhov

Post by tigre » Sun Nov 22, 2020 7:29 am

Hello to all :D; more...............................................

Memories of Kirischi.

The battalion command post was in a so-called bunker at a height. In the past it had been invisible to the enemy in the thick bushes, now you could see it from everywhere behind the few green branches. No traffic was possible during the day in the position. During the day, the battalion could at least stoop down through a depression to the 6th Company. There was wire and radio communication with all companies, as well as with the bridgehead commander. Runners kept sneaking up to us across the open spaces, a wounded Feldwebel reported here, stray people let us guide them, and the enemy - behaved perfectly calm. A "Klops" (throwing grenade) seldom detonated, here and there a rifle shot or a burst of fire from the MG sounded. The night had been exhausting. For our amusement we found some bread in the bunker and, after all the trouble and considering the calm, which was also confirmed by the companies, went to sleep.

The enemy was lying across from us in the forest, quite far away, and had advanced postings into the confusing no-man's-land. Here and there one could observe movements from the trench near Ivan.

In the afternoon we were awakened by the launch of a very heavy gun from the north. Soon after, there was a far-off impact. The second impact was already closer, and we slowly realized that the enemy had probably recognized our command post by our conspicuous behavior and wanted to "score" it. Shot after shot went right, left, in front of and behind our building. After each shot there was the obligatory pause for correction, then again very far "Wumm-wuwuwu" - pause - short, violent hissing - huge detonation. Each shot left a crater several meters in diameter, some impacts were only 5 to 8 meters away from our earth house and caused the stable structure to shake like a tent. We sat like a small ship in a storm. From minute to minute we felt creepier, and I noticed, "I feel damned in God's hands here." That prompted the others to comment accordingly, and the remainder of the roughly two-hour bombardment was easier to bear with such phrases.

Since our telephone lines were all shot up, I had to go to the switchboard, and I covered this route at great speed. That worked. Immediately afterwards the heavy impacts were around the communication bunker.

We were deployed from July 29 to August 24 in the northern section of the bridgehead. Admittedly there were no major attacks in our country during this time, but at least the first days were filled with ongoing attacks, initially also regularly supported by tanks. The artillery of the 11th Infantry Division fired excellent and fast. On the evening of July 30, within four minutes, a huge rain of barrages stifled an enemy attack in the bud.

Sources: http://www.bartels.com/genealogy/gen-ki ... offline%29 (offline)
http://www.lexikon-der-wehrmacht.de/Gli ... 21ID-R.htm
http://www.maparchive.ru/index.php/army ... ll-55.html

Cheers. Raúl M 8).
Serás lo que debas ser o no serás nada. General José de San Martín.

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