After the defeat of the Austro-Hungarian 4 Army during the Brusilov breakthrough, Emperor Wilhelm II ordered his best forces to be thrown immediately onto the Russian front by removing a number of formations from the French front and also using a strategic reserve.
At the forefront of the avalanche of German troops, rushing to help an ally, was moving the 20-I infantry division of the 10-th army corps. The division was called "Brunswick" and "steel". The compound was completed by the natives of the Duchy of Braunschweig - very stubborn and cold-blooded fighters by character. In the event of a crisis on the Russian or French fronts, the division, capable of conducting massive repeated attacks and withstanding massive losses, was invariably brought into battle. As part of the 2 Army, the division battled Charleroi and San Quentin during the 1914 Border Battle, solving important tasks during the battle of Marne. The division is a “veteran” of the Gorlitsky breakthrough, acting on the edge of this strategic offensive. One of the legends about the exploits of the division stated that at the beginning of the war the unit was surrounded in Vosges by the iron ring of the French troops - and on the proposal to fold weapon her soldiers responded with an oath to die or break through. Indeed, by delivering a desperate blow, the division broke free from the hands of the Allies - and for this feat the Kaiser rewarded her with the name “Steel”. The division had a distinctive sign in the form of an “Adam's head” - like “death hussars” and flamethrowers.
The commander of the Braunschweig Steel Division during this period was Major General A. von Luttwitz, an officer with extensive combat experience, a participant in operations on both key fronts of the war, and a former commander of her 40 brigade. The 20 Infantry Division in 1916 included the 3 Regiment - 77, 79, and 92. Infantry.
1. Arthur von Luttwitz.
10 th army corps was transferred from the French Lang, where he stood in reserve, in Vladimir-Volyn. And on June 3 of 1916, almost immediately from the cars, he rushed towards the flow of troops of the Southwestern Front. The meeting of opponents took place at the town of Kiselin.
2. Rewarding distinguished German infantry. The great war in the images and paintings. Issue 2.
And then she found a scythe on a stone ...
Steel Brunswick faced with iron arrows.
The Russian elite front-line division, the 20-Infantry Iron, became the enemy of the 4 Infantry. The division (then the brigade) became Iron on Shipka - having defended a strategic pass during the Russian-Turkish war of the 1877-1878. During the First World Brigade (division) fought in Galicia and the Carpathians, participated in the Lutsk breakthrough (only for 22 in May capturing 147 officers, 4400 soldiers, capturing 29 guns and 26 machine guns) and was also a “wand” of the Russian command. Commander of the compound was the Knight of St. George’s Arms and the Order of St. George 4 and 3 degrees Lieutenant General A.I. Denikin. The division included: 13 of His Imperial Highness, Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolaevich, 14 of Field Marshal Gurko, 15 of Montenegro Nicholas I, and 16 of Emperor Alexander III rifle regiments.
3. Anton Ivanovich Denikin.
Veterans of many fights later said that they had not yet had to take part in more fierce battles than under Kiselin. Braunschweig furious take iron arrows. Without a break in the 4 days, the Germans bombarded the Russians with tens of thousands of shells, and then followed stubborn and powerful infantry attacks. One fierce attack of the Germans was replaced by another. But the attempts of the Germans to push aside their adversary to Lutsk were in vain - breaking on the insurmountable wall of valiant Russian infantry, like granite. And then the iron arrows struck a counter - almost destroying the German battalion's 2 and seizing several machine guns and two guns.
4. Fighters 4 th Infantry Division. Chronicle of war.
On June 7, after the 42 attack, the Brunswick infantry finally subsided. In the morning of June 8, the German 10 Army Corps, due to huge losses, was replaced by reserves and left the battlefield.
5. Attack of the German infantry. Chronicle of war.
Later on, A. I. Denikin also recalled the thousands of German shells that destroyed the position of his division, and the 42 attacks of the German infantry, repelled by iron arrows.
42 attacks in 4 of the day! Is it possible for some other armies, except the Russian and German, to withstand such combat tension?
And the words on a German poster posted in front of the Brunswick position and intended for the Denikin shooters - “Your Russian iron is not worse than our German steel, and yet we will break you” was not destined to come true. The answer came true to the Germans of the iron shooters: "Well, try it!" [Denikin A. The path of the Russian officer. M., 2003. C. 127.].
According to the testimony of the prisoners, the German 10 Army Corps lost about three quarters of the officer corps and more than half of the lower ranks over these four days. [RGVIA. F. 2003. Op. 2. D. 361. L. 48]. The 20-i Steel Division was particularly affected, in the shelves of which 300-400 people barely survived. In total, during the battles on the Russian front from June to November 1916, the unit actually changed its combat strength - for example, in the 92 infantry regiment, losses per company amounted to 160 people [Histories of Two Hundreds and Fifty-One Divisions of the German Army. Wn, 1920.].
The prisoners of Brunswick said: “In France it was much calmer. We have not been subjected to such defeat even once since the beginning of the war. ”
Iron arrows also suffered heavy losses - especially the 14 and 16 regiments, which after the Kiseli battle numbered only 300-400 people. But the battlefield was left behind them - the 20-I Steel Division left it, which crashed during the 42 attacks on Russian iron.