The battle of Raseiniai: the Soviet KV-1 fought with a Panzer division of Hitler

History 05/03/20 the Battle of Raseiniai: the Soviet KV-1 fought with the Panzer division Hitler

At the beginning of the war in the vicinity of the Lithuanian town of Raseiniai was a unique case. One Soviet tank KV-1 for 48 hours, held back the advance of the German 6th Panzer division. The battle became known thanks to the memoirs of the immediate participant of those events – Colonel of the Wehrmacht Erhard Routh.

the Colonel recalled that on the first day of the war his unit had not met much resistance. However, on 23 June he was informed that the only road blocked by the Soviet super heavy tank KV (Klim Voroshilov), who also destroyed the telephone wires, thus complicating the relationship with the division headquarters. From the gun, he managed to knock out 12 cars supplies and were not allowed to help him, pouring all the approaching machine-gun fire.

to Circumvent the 43-ton war machine was impossible. Around them blocked the road were swamps and woods hid the scattered detachments of Soviet soldiers, continuing resistance.

KV-1 against artillery

the Germans did not believe that one tank decided to hold the Fort, and assumed it was a trap of the enemy. Raus ordered to organize the defense in case the Russians attack from the rear or flank. As time went on. June 24, the scouts reported that the County no major Soviet connections, and this meant that the road closes only one fighting machine.

the Division had a new 50-mm antitank guns, and the Colonel gave the order to his soldiers to come through the woods to KV at close quarters and shot him. Two hours later, well-camouflaged gun took a comfortable position and with a distance of 600 meters began methodically to shoot a tank.

After eight direct hits, the tank stopped, the Germans were sure that the crew destroyed. However, the turret of the KV slowly began to move, and 80-mm gun again opened fire. The result of this attack, several Germans were killed, one pushka was disabled, and two severely damaged.

the Second attempt to destroy the tank

Erhard Raus realized that to cope with the giant could only 88-mm anti-aircraft guns with their heavy armor-piercing shells. The second half of the day, antiaircraft guns brought to the site. Under the veil of smoke from the wrecked our tanks trucks gunners approached the target at a distance of 500 meters.

According to the Routh, in that moment there was a real duel of nerves. Soviet tankers noticed the flak and specifically have let her get closer. When Fritz started to prepare the gun for battle, the first shot did KV. Multiple accurate hits tank destroyed anti-aircraft gun, and its subservient machine-gunned.

the Sappers against the “steel fortress”

by nightfall of June 24 to eliminate the tank resorted to the bomb squad. 12 volunteers approached the car. Just at this time a few locals through the hatch and passed to the tank food. The Germans did not cross the line and waited until they are gone. At 01.00 on 25 June, the Marines were secured to the tank explosive charges. The explosives worked, but only damaged the tracks, the tank was still alive and opened machine guns fire indiscriminately. After this attack, the Germans began to call the tank a Ghost.

rouse knew that for a single tank, though heavy, the aircraft will not fly. And the situation worsened. Blocking the road was reflected in a combat situation and weakened the German garrisons in the occupied Lithuanian cities.

“the Ghost” defeated

it Was decided to arrange a distraction tank attack, during which KV roll up 88-mm antiaircraft guns. On the morning of 25 June obezdwijivanie Soviet war machine was on three sides shelled medium tanks PzIII and PzIV. Guns of the Germans could not penetrate the thick armor, but his task was accomplished: the Soviet crew didn’t notice the approaching-aircraft guns, and it is easily produced seven shots from close range.

the Germans approached a wrecked car for her inspection. It turned out that of the seven rounds, only two struck the armor, and the rest left behind only hollows. Eight hits 50-mm shells looked like small blue circles, and from the explosion the bomb squad was broken a caterpillar, and there was a minor chipped on the gun.

the Germans tried to penetrate the tank, but the hatch was blocked. In this moment the gun barrel of the KV was set in motion. The crew was alive and continued to fight. But one of the hand grenades thrown by sapper, got into a hole from the shot. Tankers already nothing could save. Rouse recalled that his soldiers were struck by the heroism of the Russians. Five of the tankers were removed from their car, and buried with full military honors.

In 1965, the characters were reburied at the military cemetery of the city of Raseiniai. The inscriptions on personal belongings found out that two of them named P. E. Ershov and V. A. Smirnov. The names of the other three tankers failed to find out.

Alexander Brazhnik

© Russian Seven

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