Another suicidal Soviet assault

German troops with the MG 34 heavy machine gun in Russia during September 1941.

In the early hours of the 17th September 1941 SS-Sturmbannführer (Major) Kurt Meyers SS reconnaissance troops approached Genitschesk [Henichesk] on the approaches to the Crimea in the far south of the Ukraine. Meyer was beginning to feel the effects of the campaign, with mounting losses amongst his officers and men. However these losses were insignificant compared with the numbers that the Soviets were prepared to throw into the battle:

From the steep bank at Genitschesk we could see far to the south over the spit of land and observe all movements. Consequently, I was not a little surprised when the Soviets suddenly attacked us from the south, presenting themselves like targets on a range.

Company after company moved slowly but steadily toward our steep embankment and into certain death or captivity. It was a mystery to me why the Soviet commander was carrying out this attack.

We allowed the enemy infantry to get within about two hundred meters of us before our machine guns reaped a bloody harvest. The result was horrific. Within minutes countless brown dots covered the sparsely grassed area whilst others staggered toward our positions with arms raised.

The Russian mortar emplacements were engaged by the superior fire-power of our 88 mm Flak. By 0900 hours the attack had been called off and the 1./SS-Aufklarungs-Abteilung 1 [SS Reconnaissance Battalion] moved out over the footbridge on a reconnaissance to the south.

My intention was to set up a bridgehead and push on across the narrow strip as far as possible. Unfortunately, that reconnaissance came to a halt after only three kilometers. Field fortifications and coastal batteries emplaced in concrete formed an insurmount- able obstacle and the fire which emanated from them, together with a few bomber attacks, caused some casualties during the night.

At about 2100 hours on 17 September the battalion was relieved by the III./SS-Infanterie-Regiment 1 “Leibstandarte”.

See Grenadiers: The Story of Waffen SS General Kurt "Panzer" Meyer

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