Military Review

The first counterattacks of the Red Army during the Second World War: the Raseiniai battle


Perhaps every student knows about the tank battle at Prokhorovka as part of the Battle of Kursk. This is understandable. Large-scale operation, the largest tank battle in stories... However, there were other tank battles during the Great Patriotic War (WWII), which, of course, are worthy of attention. Among them is the Raseiniai battle, which took place on Lithuanian territory.

This battle is noteworthy for the fact that it began on June 23, 1941 and was part of the Red Army's counterattack southwest of the city of Siauliai. The very date of one of the first counterattacks by the Soviet side speaks volumes. First, it fundamentally shatters the myth that the Red Army "only did what it fled to the east under German attacks." Secondly, it testifies to the development already in the first days of the Great Patriotic War of deterrent operations that fettered the enemy's forces and at least slowed down his advance.

The Raseiniai battle itself is usually not included in the assets of the Red Army due to the large losses incurred in armored vehicles and manpower. However, it is worth pointing out that already in the first days of the war, it became clear to many representatives of the enemy army that the war against the Soviet Union would definitely not become a "light walk". One of, so to speak, surprises with a minus sign for the Nazis were the Soviet KV-1 tanks, for the destruction of which not all German calibers were suitable.

Ilya Moshchansky tells about the Raseiniai battle on the air of the TacticMedia channel:


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    SERGE ANT 24 August 2021 05: 48
    During the battle, one of the KV tanks, having crossed the southern bridge, moved along the forest road to the west, and cut the road leading to the northern bridgehead occupied by the Rous group. The first victim of the KV was a convoy of German vehicles - several trucks were burned down by tank fire. As a result, the supply of the Routh group, which occupied the defense of the northern bridgehead, was disrupted. In addition, the tankers cut the wires, and Routh lost contact with the division headquarters. Subsequently, he recalled:
    “Hours passed, and the enemy tank, blocking the road, hardly moved, although it fired from time to time in the direction of Rasyainiai. His shooting set fire to 12 trucks heading towards us from Rasäiniai with the most necessary supplies. ”
    The tank was standing so well that it was impossible to bypass it - on one side there was a swamp, on the other a swampy forest. First, the Germans tried to destroy it with the fire of two of the newest at that time 50-mm Pak 38 anti-tank guns. However, the KV guns were destroyed by the return fire. Then the Germans tried to shoot the tank from an 88-mm anti-aircraft gun, which they began to roll at a direct shot distance. The commander of the battle group, E. Routh, wrote about it in his memoirs:
    “The crew of the tank was on the alert, and the commander had strong nerves. He watched the approach of the cannon, but did not prevent it, since the anti-aircraft gun, while in motion, was not dangerous. In addition, the closer she got, the more likely it was to destroy her. The critical moment in this duel came when the anti-aircraft gunners began to prepare for firing ... While the shooters were hastily preparing for a shot in the strongest nervous tension, the tank turned the turret around and opened fire first. Each shot hit the target. The heavily damaged antiaircraft gun was thrown into a ditch, where it had to be thrown. There were casualties among the anti-aircraft gunners. "
    Also, attempts to destroy the KV with the forces of the Routh group tanks failed - there were swamps to the right and left of the road, and the combat vehicles simply got stuck. In the evening, a group of sappers was formed under the command of Chief Lieutenant Gephard, who laid charges under the tank, but this did not work either. On the morning of June 25, 1941, in the morning, the Germans launched an attack with their tanks, and while the KV crew was distracted by this, they deployed two 88-mm anti-aircraft guns. The cannons opened fire, and only from the 13th shot were they able to hit the KV, whose crew was killed. According to German documents, the KV cut the road to the Routh group at about 14.00 on June 24, and was destroyed at about 11.00 on June 25. Thus, several thousand German soldiers spent almost a day fighting one tank. The Germans drove the residents out of the city, who buried the dead, while one of the officers told his soldiers: "You must fight just like these Russian tankers."
  2. DrRey
    DrRey 26 August 2021 12: 00
    Eternal memory, heroes.
  3. jonht
    jonht 26 August 2021 12: 16
    There is a cartoon about the battle of another KV-1 Z.G. Kolobanova
    True, the battle was near Voyskovitsy.