Kirischi bridgehead / Volkhov

German campaigns and battles 1919-1945.

Moderator: sniper1shot

Post Reply
User avatar
jmark
Contributor
Posts: 211
Joined: Sun Oct 13, 2002 4:39 pm
Location: Sydney, Australia

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
Leaping Horseman Books
Specialising in books about Stalingrad and the Eastern Front
*** NEW BOOK! Croatian Legion ***
http://www.leapinghorseman.com.au

User avatar
tigre
Patron
Posts: 6279
Joined: Sun Apr 10, 2005 5:42 pm
Location: Argentina

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.

User avatar
tigre
Patron
Posts: 6279
Joined: Sun Apr 10, 2005 5:42 pm
Location: Argentina

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).
Attachments
image064.jpg
Location of the Kirischi bridgehead....................................
image064.jpg (39.41 KiB) Viewed 2162 times
Serás lo que debas ser o no serás nada. General José de San Martín.

User avatar
tigre
Patron
Posts: 6279
Joined: Sun Apr 10, 2005 5:42 pm
Location: Argentina

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).
Attachments
image211.jpg
Kirischi's bridgehead.....................................
image211.jpg (54.61 KiB) Viewed 2094 times
Serás lo que debas ser o no serás nada. General José de San Martín.

User avatar
tigre
Patron
Posts: 6279
Joined: Sun Apr 10, 2005 5:42 pm
Location: Argentina

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).
Attachments
image081.jpg
The railway bridge over the Volchov at the Kirischi bridgehead............
image081.jpg (37.36 KiB) Viewed 2044 times
Serás lo que debas ser o no serás nada. General José de San Martín.

User avatar
tigre
Patron
Posts: 6279
Joined: Sun Apr 10, 2005 5:42 pm
Location: Argentina

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.

User avatar
tigre
Patron
Posts: 6279
Joined: Sun Apr 10, 2005 5:42 pm
Location: Argentina

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.

User avatar
tigre
Patron
Posts: 6279
Joined: Sun Apr 10, 2005 5:42 pm
Location: Argentina

Re: Kirischi bridgehead / Volkhov

Post by tigre » Sun Nov 29, 2020 9:27 am

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

Memories of Kirischi.

We were the first from IR 3 to step onto the bridgehead; the following night our 1st Battalion under Hauptmann Engbrecht relieved in the southern part of the bridgehead, got caught in an enemy attack and suffered equally heavy losses. The battalion had already received a fire as it approached, which had not been cautiously crossed the embankment. Moreover, our detachment from the matter had apparently caught the enemy.

On July 31, the regimental staff under Oberst Hermann took over the bridgehead. In the course of the day, enemy attacks were rolling out on all fronts, accompanied by hours of barrage of all sizes and a number of "Stalin organs". Russian bombing and attack planes kept appearing and throwing their dung on the poor, little bridgehead. The losses were already substantial. As a result of the replacement, the supply of power sources for the radio equipment, food and ammunition had stalled. Telephone connections were constantly torn to pieces. All of this had to be started first.

So on the evening of July 31st I had to go to the regiment, report, bring various things with me and receive orders. The path I set out with seven men was quite adventurous due to the fire when we climbed up the embankment. Then I stood in the adjutant's bunker, wet with sweat and rain, and there for the first and last time I met Oberst Hermann, who had brought me into his regiment, who was greatly admired by everyone. He had just returned from vacation and immediately took over the bridgehead command.

I reported, first waited for the instruction of a battalion leader (Hptm. Alex) from the IR 24, who was supposed to move in that evening, and was then able to report. Oberst Hermann, who was very depressed, asked how we were with the food. I replied that we had little to eat because the bridge was mostly blocked and often shot to death for hours, but that many people were not very hungry as a result of the events and the onset of stomach ailments. Oberst Hermann replied deadly serious: "You can lose your appetite here."

The red factory had suffered badly from heavy hits in the past few days. Even while I was there, it was under constant fire. When I marched back to the battalion, I met the companies of the II. / IR 24 who pushed themselves into positions in the semi-darkness.

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.

User avatar
tigre
Patron
Posts: 6279
Joined: Sun Apr 10, 2005 5:42 pm
Location: Argentina

Re: Kirischi bridgehead / Volkhov

Post by tigre » Sun Dec 06, 2020 10:19 am

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

Memories of Kirischi.

On the following days the Russians attacked the southern part of the bridgehead with artillery, airplanes, tanks and infantry from early morning until late at night. They managed to break through our line at a limit, probably during a relief, and to get right up to the regimental command post. Serious and costly battles developed there. Russian tanks drove up close to the red building and were shot down there. But the only heavy anti-tank gun failed. Counter-attacks threw the enemy back, new attacks brought them forward again. The enemy had broken in about 1 km deep and 400 to 500 m wide, and now it stood with nine tanks in the middle of the bridgehead. Why it did not advance further to Volkhov seems incomprehensible. Then it would have had the entire bridgehead in his hand.

When the danger was greatest, Oberst Alfred Hermann decided to counter-attack himself. He was getting on well with his men until a sheaf of machine guns knocked him down (August 4, 1942). We were deeply shocked by the news of the death of our respected regimental commander. Rarely in this phase of the war has a commander been mourned so honestly and painfully by every officer and man in his regiment as he was. Back then, a commander was a respected, popular, and also a little feared personality. He was a representative of the leadership. He was expected to be right, to be tough. If he went to battle himself, if he appeared in the position, that was the last measure. How different was the view later when the troop leader had to do everything himself. Oberst Hermann had been the model of an officer. His demeanor, his views, his kindness and his severity impressed and were understood. It was also his nature to make the decisive push himself and not to spare his person. The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross was awarded to the dead.

But the regiment was still rich in personalities. Hptm. Herbert Engbrecht took over the leadership of the regiment and for a short time also that of the bridgehead. Very different in temperament and form than the Colonel, he was a Siegfried figure. He laughed and looked the danger in the eye. In battle he was tough against himself, his men and against the enemy. After the fight, Engbrecht was a jolly comrade who liked to pay homage to a cheerful drink. He was simple and clear in nature, strong in action, strict and precise in service, which he knew exactly down to the finest finesse.

For a few days Engbrecht led the regiment, or rather, the remnants of the regiment. Then he fell while exploring at night. We couldn't even bury the beaming champion who himself had cracked a tank with a hand grenade, which had already been awarded the Knight's Cross near Woronowo in 1941. His body was not found, as was the case with an infinite number of soldiers in Kirischi. The I. Battalion had melted down to 120 men in those days of the heaviest fighting, the two battalions of theIR 24 were also severely decimated and had already been pulled out again. The 3rd Regiment of the division, IR 45, was already deployed with a battalion and battered. The bridgehead crushed the troops like a mill.

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.

User avatar
tigre
Patron
Posts: 6279
Joined: Sun Apr 10, 2005 5:42 pm
Location: Argentina

Re: Kirischi bridgehead / Volkhov

Post by tigre » Sun Dec 13, 2020 12:09 pm

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

Memories of Kirischi.

The landscape of Kirischi was not exactly beautiful. Huge cemeteries, ravaged by bombs and grenades. Ruins of houses that only showed the outlines of the former buildings. Tree stumps without branches or leaves, the ground covered with splintered boards and beams, machine parts, smashed weapons and torn pieces of equipment. Here and there the sawdust of one of the former timber factories smoldered from the last phosphor bomb. Here and there lay a dead Russian or a German soldier who had not yet been buried. Kirischi was a place of horror and fear, without proper bunkers and ditches, obstacles and minefields. But a swirling strategic point was the beachhead. At least that's what they said, and that is why it had to be kept, it also cost horrific losses.

And because the bridgehead had to be held, cut off from the German mainland, only connected to it by a ferry and an often shot-up bridge as if by a thread, deeds were carried out here that nobody knows. Because who knew are dead. It was not stormed here with enthusiasm and support. Here one endured, healthy or sick. Here stood the German soldier - fed or hungry, with or without ammunition, with artillery support on time or hours late. Here the soldier remained crouched in his hole until evening. Only then was he allowed to stretch his limbs; only then could he be helped when he was wounded. The man stayed in his hole whether the enemy stalked up with infantry or whether he came with tanks.

When the enemy bombers came, the soldier ducked into his hole and peeked: "Aha, released, the bombs are falling, now they are coming, right here, no, over there, pig!" Shortly afterwards, detonations shook earth and sky! Then the attack pilots appeared, first dropped bombs, turned back and spit once or twice into positions with on-board cannons and machine-guns. They flew very low. They didn't mind either anti-aircraft guns or fighters. All of this happened on the backs of the infantrymen and engineers, the anti-tank men and the able observers of the heavy weapons that sat in the holes and trenches and in the shabby bunkers of Kirishi.

Here a non-commissioned officer from the I. Battalion fought with hand grenades as the last of his group against the enemies surrounding him. Severely wounded and unable to fight, he finally shot himself in the head. Here Unteroffizier Windt of the II./ IR 3 cut down four Russians with his submachine gun whom he had unexpectedly encountered and drove away the remainder of the 20-man enemy raiding party.

In the southern part, Obergefreite Büthe (7./ IR 3) attacked a heavy Russian armored car with a T-mine and a hollow charge. He couldn't finish him off, but meter by meter he pushed back the monster whose occupants rightly feared the individual man.

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.

User avatar
tigre
Patron
Posts: 6279
Joined: Sun Apr 10, 2005 5:42 pm
Location: Argentina

Re: Kirischi bridgehead / Volkhov

Post by tigre » Tue Dec 22, 2020 3:48 am

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

Memories of Kirischi.

At Kirischi, Rackwitz, the "old Rackwitz of the 6th Company", as he called himself, managed to climb a thick, dry tree every day and closely observe enemy positions. Then he personally took a light mortar and a box of ammunition, crawled into no-man's-land until he could hit the previously designated targets, fired his ten shots, returned to his shelter with a cheerful smile, while the furious enemy sprayed the positions that had just left with mortars. Rackwitz once carried the launcher tube and a few rounds of ammunition up to his tree. He rested the barrel against the trunk and fired directly at an enemy machine gun from above. That was Rackwitz, whom his company loved very much.

In Kirischi, hundreds of compatriots were constantly at their posts, although they had a fever, although they had a raging diarrhea that had long spilled on their pants. They cooked their canned food on the hard alcohol stove and when the can was empty they @#% and threw it at the hostiles. "Land mines," they said.

The men were smiling at the Hptm. Schütze when he went through the ditch and through the holes at night, dirty and tired, and had a good word and a cigarette for everyone.

It was here that a 44 ton KV I with a 15 cm cannon (KV 2 with 15.2 cm barrel) broke through the German lines and, driving behind the position, became very unpopular until it got stuck in a pit. The radio operator of a forward artillery observer launched himself with a sticky charge on the Colossus and ignited it. It detonated, but the tank had no effect. The radio operator darted out of cover again and attached his mine. It did not ignite. Now the Russians became lively in the tank. They threw hand grenades out of their box. The radio operator dashed off again with a hollow charge at the tank while his comrade shot at the hatch. This time the tank burned out. Feeling excitement throughout his body, the little radio operator smiled at his success.

The leader of the battery, Leutnant Tschirner, took position in the most important trench and fired barrage fires. But the enemy broke through the barrier and was already close to the trench. Tschirner brought the fire closer and closer. A hundred meters from the position, fifty meters. The Russians were getting closer and closer. Tschirner knew that their guns were worn out, that they had already fired 7,000 to 9,000 rounds. But it had to be dared. Better to "shoot yourself in the head" than let the Russians in. "Shorten 25," he ordered, "top rate of fire!" The infantry attack actually collapsed on this last barrier, and all weapons now demolished the retreating enemy.

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).

Feliz Navidad - Feliz Natal - Frohe Weihnachten - Joyeux Noël - Merry Christmas - Wesołych Świąt!. :up:
Serás lo que debas ser o no serás nada. General José de San Martín.

User avatar
tigre
Patron
Posts: 6279
Joined: Sun Apr 10, 2005 5:42 pm
Location: Argentina

Re: Kirischi bridgehead / Volkhov

Post by tigre » Sun Jan 03, 2021 12:09 pm

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

Memories of Kirischi.

The Soviets also had courage. Fifty meters from the main German resistance line there was a damaged tank. During the night the maintenance men crawled up to the tank, put new chains on it, fixed the engine, and the tank returned to be used against us again.

The "Ivans" crawled like snakes from the edge of the forest with food and reports or orders through the cratered open area and carried their charges to the most important trenches, which were between 25 to 150 m from the German position. Kirischi was hell even for the enemy. The Russian fire was bad, but the German defense was also terrible. Wherever a gathering area was recognized in the forest, concentrations of fire struck. The trees were splintered and the newly arrived Soviet companies were unable to attack because they had already been destroyed. New companies arrived. They too were crushed. The drivers, installers and gunners were armed with rifles. They were forced to attack weapons in hand and were riddled with German fire.

The Russian tank drivers no longer wanted to attack. It had no purpose. A captured tankman told us that whoever turned around would have been shot. New drivers came to the tanks. They drove and burned in their tanks. Because whoever wanted to disembark was killed by the Germans.

At night, a Russian battery chief and a radio operator crawled into a disabled tank, 20 m from our line. The next day we were hit by an excellently directed fire. How was that possible? Our soldiers later discovered an antenna on the knocked tank. Wait, here was the forward observer. One shot from the heavy anti-tank gun against the familiar tank, one brave foe less. But two days later the game was repeated.

Low-flying Russian planes sprayed burning fuel. Thick black clouds lay over the land. Piles of wood began to burn. A terrible weapon that the Soviets possess! There, there, an airplane had set itself on fire with its own flame, and it was burning. The second plane that followed flew over the first plane. They both rushed into the Volkhov, burning and smoking. The third plane was able to maintain its apparatus. He sprayed the burning fuel and disappeared.

In the evening the "Eiserne Gustav" returned. In the dark, at least one could move. People were too happy to "burn" it, even if it was useless. That was just a shock to our souls. The Russians fired flares when the "Gustav" arrived. They showed him where our trenches were. I can do that too, Rackwitz thought, and fired one red flare after another at the enemy. You could already hear the sound of the bombs, but not for us, the heavy load rushed towards the enemy. There was a flash of lightning and a crash on the Soviet side. Then there was the angry roar of the Reds and the cry of the wounded. "Gustav must have been sharpened for 14 days," said one Uffz. beyond me.

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.

User avatar
tigre
Patron
Posts: 6279
Joined: Sun Apr 10, 2005 5:42 pm
Location: Argentina

Re: Kirischi bridgehead / Volkhov

Post by tigre » Sun Jan 10, 2021 5:39 am

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

Memories of Kirischi.

Our air force was also seen. Some Ju-88s appeared in the sky. A tank deployment behind the mined forest had long been reported. Then the first Ju dived, launched, recovered, now the second and third. A noise, a huge detonation, much better than that of Russian bombs. That day no more tanks arrived from that sector. Fighters appeared here and there, too, keeping the air clear.

Then came our friend, "little Hans" (Hänschen), "Benjamin" and whatever his nickname was. Henschel's brave little explorer. He slowly purred closer, went deeper and deeper despite the Russian fire, and watched the situation closely. He sometimes flew from side to side like a shepherd in the air over the bridgehead, and in the German rear fire from 15 cm howitzers was heard. That was fighting artillery with the plane. That is why the Russian artillery was silent when our "boy" arrived. Hence the name "German air superiority" for the little man in the lingo of the soldiers. But when the Russian fighters appeared, Benjamin had to pull the rope. He went low and pissed off as much as he could. Flak had finally come too. In the light of the headlights, the "Iron" was no longer comfortable. Now the 2cm machine guns were barking and they also met. An eight eight was finally there too. It was really time. The Russian now had to be a little more careful. But our night fighters worked best.

One of the elements of the war were the so-called frictions, that is, everything that is different from what was planned. There are several ways to successfully wage war. In blitzkrieg one usurps the law of action, letting the agitated enemy fall from surprise to surprise until he is defeated. That is the method of the Polish and French campaigns. Of course, even in Blitzkrieg no victory can be achieved without the favor of the gods. The other method is Rommel's. Surprise and deceive; Then one throws the friction pendulum at the enemy, uses the pendulum's swing time to strike, and before it swings back, one throws it back at the enemy. This includes a huge repertoire of lists and a fast and secure hand. Here the general surprises Mars and Fortune herself with his ability. But, we saw it in Africa: Oh if the two (gods) are upset then the campaign is over!

Not only Field Marshal Rommel played with the frictions, but also the Regimental Adjutant, Oblt. Hildebrandt. He knew that the Soviets were jamming our long distance calls. At night, before dark, he telephoned from the regiment: "Today from 22:00 hours own night fighters. Do not shoot!" We gave the message to the companies, and to the platoons. Now the enemy knew it too; Watch out, Gustav, German night fighters. Gustav did not appear. It took Ivan days to discover the secret of Hildebrandt's night fighters. No German night fighters flew over Kirischi's bridgehead.

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.

User avatar
tigre
Patron
Posts: 6279
Joined: Sun Apr 10, 2005 5:42 pm
Location: Argentina

Re: Kirischi bridgehead / Volkhov

Post by tigre » Sun Jan 17, 2021 9:10 am

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

Memories of Kirischi.

Countless and unspeakable have been the details of this week of hard fighting. Who speaks of Lt. Hottmann, who was left in the ditch with a splinter in his thigh because his company was already so weak that all men had a role. Who talks about the food haulers that crossed the bridge every day? Who still knows about Obergefreite Schmeing, who traveled the dangerous routes day and night with the stretcher and helped many, many comrades? Who still thinks of "Stalin", the Circassian defector who voluntarily went repeatedly to the front to search for the wounded? Do you still know Dr. Schneider, who stayed for weeks at his main medical station in a ruined factory? Many seriously injured people were rescued with quick help. There, more than a thousand wounded were treated.

It wasn't just terror that reigned in Kirischi, not just the feeling of being isolated from the civilized world, almost marginalized. Not only the dirt on the body, which had not been washed for weeks, was decisive in the bearded faces, the tired and inflamed eyes, the fever and the smell of corpses. All the bad things of this era cannot drown the fame that the German soldiers of the 11 and 21 Divisions and their enemies have earned. Even the word "silent heroism" does not yet encompass that brave and loyal compatriot who marches, fights, dies and wants to live happily before setting out on his bitter path to the warrior's tomb. Because the death of the hero is honorable, glorious, but not beautiful. Just as all this war is not pleasant either. Perhaps a war has never been pleasant?

But the memory is beautiful. Prospects for upcoming assignments are good. If we march again, we will fight and face the enemy. This will be another war. A pleasure to live!

One bridgehead was enough for us. Not twice! Finally, on August 24, we are relieved; the I. Battalion left a long time ago. The II Battalion had 700 men on July 28. We were 400 men with all the trains a month later. The soldiers at the front were sick and feverish; their feet were swollen, their bodies stabbed by lice, scratched and ulcerated, their legs just wanted to support them.

Relief. The bridge had passed. The position of the 15 cm howitzers at the Irssa station was easy to overcome, then it would go around several corners, and now we were in the forest camp in little huts and tents. There we were able to enjoy a break after the stressful weeks.

We take off our lousy outdoor clothes, wash the scratched body with warm water, rub it with oil and colognes, shave with pleasure, cut our hair and then put on the best shirt, the best pants and jacket, strutting with sparkly black boots, still pale and thin, but mentally at least a floor higher than an hour before. The guys had made wonderful coffee, real coffee beans that they still had to use. Now we have chocolate, cigars, sparkling wine, brandy, beer, in short, everything our hearts desire. Sausage and cheese covered the sandwiches. It was breakfast like old times. The sun shined. What bothered us were the few mosquitoes. They also wanted to live.

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.

Post Reply