31 August 1942.
Volkhov Front, command post of the 8 Army.
At the command post of the 8 Army, stretched out "at the string", the arrived leadership of the Volkhov Front was met by the army commander, along with his chiefs of staff and artillery. Next to them was the special commander of the 4 Guards Rifle Corps, Major General Hagen, who had been summoned to the meeting. Dryly saying hello to the generals, the front commander went into a dugout. He was followed by the head of the front staff, Stelmach, and a member of the Military Council, Army Commissar of the 1 rank Zaporozhets. Going into the room, Meretskov removed his cap, putting it on the edge of the table in the center of the room. His expression was sullen and did not promise anything good to the commanders of the 8 Army. Having waited until everyone had taken their places around the table, Kirill Afanasyevich turned to the commander.
- Philip Nikanorovich, the attacks of the 8 Army are becoming weaker and weaker every day. Since the third day of the operation, the offensive has slowed down significantly. Your army broke through the enemy defenses at the front of five kilometers and plunged into its battle formations to a distance of seven kilometers, but this was the case. What's the matter?
“Comrade General of the Army, in order to halt our attack, the Nazis began hastily pulling units and subunits from other sectors of the front to the breakthrough site, sharply increasing the density of fire,” Starikov answered trying to speak calmly. - They threw into battle everything that was at hand, pulled up artillery and redirected almost all of it here Aviationbased near Leningrad. The resistance of enemy troops is increasing every day. Intelligence reports that a new German infantry division appeared on the front, which had just arrived to them from the Crimea. Reinforced tanks The 12th Panzer Division, removed from the Neva section of the Leningrad Front, attacked our units on the fly. There are heavy oncoming fights. Enemy aircraft are constantly hanging over our battle formations. In addition, the Germans simply bombard our advancing units with shells and mines ...
- The fact that the enemy will be able to reserve the reserves to the place of our breakthrough and remove additional parts from other sectors of the front, for the application of counter-attacks on the army, was a surprise for you? - sharply interrupted him Meretskov.
“No, comrade front commander,” the commander replied, lowering his voice. “In terms of the operation, we took into account the possibility of such enemy response, but the fresh German division from the southern front and such strong air support provided to their troops came as a surprise to us.
Kirill Afanasyevich was silent for a while, then turned to the commander of the artillery of the 8 Army.
- General Bezruk, in the composition of your artillery about 600 guns and ten regiments "Katyusha". How could it happen that such a strong artillery grouping of the 8 army, which before the beginning of the offensive exceeded the enemy’s artillery 2 times, could not pave the way for the infantry?
“Comrade Lieutenant-General, the army’s artillery headquarters planned the preparation of the attack, the support of infantry and tanks to capture the strongholds located on the front line,” Major General, responding to Meretskov, was nervous. “But we were unable to plan the combat in depth at the outset, due to the extremely short deadlines for preparing for the offensive.”
“According to the front artillery command, you, first of all, violated the principle of massive use of artillery on the main line,” the front commander raised his voice and looked at the major general at close range. - The entire reinforcement artillery was distributed almost evenly across divisions with a density of 70 - 100 guns per kilometer of the front, while the total number of guns and mortars involved in the attack could ensure that 150 - 180 guns on the main strike direction were one kilometer Shooting is mainly done not by targets, but by squares, while the enemy’s fire system remains intact! And the attacking infantry pays with its blood for your mistakes, without being able to perform its tasks after that!
Perhaps this photo can be titled as “Beat the enemy with his own weapons! When in the battles of 1941-1942 of the Red Army of the Red Army began to capture serviceable or easily repairable German tanks, these machines were actively used to complete the tank units. In some cases, it was possible to arm entire units with similar equipment, up to the individual tank battalions, inclusive. The photo shows the captured Pz.III Ausf.J and its crew, under the command of Senior Sergeant N.I. Baryshev, from the 107-th separate tank battalion of the 8-th army of the Volkhov front (summer 1942).
Silence reappeared in the dugout, interrupted only by the distant sounds of front-line cannonade. Trying to defuse the situation, Major General Stelmakh turned to the Chief of Staff of the 8 Army.
- Pyotr Ivanovich, what do you know about this new division of Germans from Crimea? When she arrived here, was she transferred alone or with any other parts?
- Information about this division is extremely scarce. This is the 170-I (according to other data - the 180-I) infantry division, arrived at the front only a few days ago and 28 August attacked the advancing units of our army, - Major General Kokorev pointed out on the map the arrival area of the German division at the station Mga. - According to the testimony of prisoners, the connection during the rest in the Crimea was replenished with people and equipment. She arrived alone, or as part of any associations, we still do not know for sure. The only thing that can be said is that there is an increase in the intensity of the work of enemy artillery, including heavy. This suggests that perhaps this division was given parts of the gain, right up to the hull level (18).
(18) - in fact, it was about the 170 Infantry Division, from the 30 10th Army Corps of the 11 German Army. Unloaded at the station Mga, she was the first of the troops under the command of Manstein joined the battle with the advancing Soviet units.
- We still lacked the appearance of some additional German corps at the front! - with undisguised irritation, Meretskov said sharply. - Immediately inform the Headquarters about the appearance of this division in the sector of our front and ask for assistance in obtaining intelligence information about the possible redeployment of troops from other directions to Army Group North. Philip Nikanorovich, - the front commander again turned to Starikov. - How do you assess the capabilities of your army to continue the offensive?
- Kirill Afanasyevich, our troops suffered heavy losses in five days of fighting. The enemy managed to significantly tighten his defense in the breakthrough area, - the general made a short pause, then continued. - I think that without additional forces, the successful continuation of the operation will be impossible.
- What will be the opinion of the chief of staff of the front? - Meretskov asked Stelmakh a question.
- I agree with the commander of the 8 army, comrade general of the army. It is necessary to bring the second echelon troops into battle, - Grigory Davydovich turned his eyes to the commander of the 4 Guards Rifle Corps, all the while silently standing next to him.
“Comrade front commander, the corps entrusted to me is in readiness to advance to the advanced order and continue the offensive,” General Hagen told meretsov vigorously.
- Well, Nikolai Aleksandrovich, you will soon receive the appropriate order. And one more thing, - Meretskov looked in the direction of a member of the Military Council of the front, an army commissioner of 1 rank Zaporozhts. - Alexander Ivanovich, I ask you to inform the Military Council of the Leningrad Front about our decision to introduce a second echelon. Inform them that the enemy is hastily dispatching to the site of our offensive its reserves, located at the junction of the Leningrad and Volkhov fronts, and also withdrawing troops from many sectors of the Leningrad front. Thus, for Leningraders now is the most favorable moment for the start of active actions.
- Let's do it, Kirill Afanasyevich. I hope they have enough strength to deliver their counter blow, - said Zaporozhets.
The generals had been discussing for some time the details of entering the second echelon into battle, after which they hurriedly left the command post to begin organizing the solutions they had worked out. Soon the troops of the 4 Guards Corps, overcoming the vast swamps of the Sinyavinsky swamps, began to advance to the front line. The Soviet command was making its next move, hoping to turn the tide in their favor. The bloody millstones of the battle accelerated their run, ready to grind more and more new lives and fates.
September 3 1942
Volkhov front, field location
medical battalion 265 of the Infantry Division
Sitting on a small bench near one of the medical tents, Orlov watched leaves of a lonely little birch tree swaying in the wind. It was evident that some of them had already touched the autumn yellowness, which began to draw its intricate patterns. The tree swayed and sagged from time to time, the gusts of air tried to pick at least one of its leaves, but they still cling tenaciously to the maternal branches. It was cool, but Alexander did not wear his tunic - his wound after the operation was just beginning to heal, and the coolness of the September wind had some analgesic effect on her. Therefore, he was wearing only trousers and a light wearable white shirt for release, which also made it possible not to take it off during bandaging.
A short middle-aged soldier came out of the opposite tent, leaning on a stick. Noticing Orlov, the fighter went to him, limping heavily on his left leg.
- Brother, there is no smoke? The soldier asked, crouching heavily on the bench.
Orlov took a cigarette from his pocket and handed one of them to him.
- Thank you, - he thanked and introduced himself, - my name is Vladimir, Gubar.
“Orlov, Alexander,” answered Orlov, shaking the hand extended to him.
- Long since the front? - deeply drawn, Vladimir asked.
- Several days. The wound is not dangerous, I will soon be back in operation.
“And yesterday I was slightly hooked by a shard,” he nodded at his bandaged leg, so I won't sunbathe here for a long time. True, I can not run yet, - he grinned.
- What is there at the front, you can hear? - asked Orlov.
- Why, they say the 4-th Guards Corps went into battle. Little by little, but gnaw through the defense of the Germans. We are already under Sinyavino, seven kilometers to the Neva, no more. So give the "Fritz" heat!
German map showing the critical situation for the defense of the 18 Army in the “bottle throat”, by the end of September 3 1942.
At that moment, the sound of an approaching car was heard. At the end of a long glade, the “lorry” appeared, with a big red cross in a white circle drawn on the cab. Jumping on the uneven ground of the road, she approached one of the tents of the medical battalion. From the cab of the car on the ground jumped the girl, who immediately asked something from the nurses standing nearby and with a quick but light step walked towards the people sitting on the bench of Orlov and Gubar.
The slim figure of the girl, accentuated by a tight-fitting tunic and beautiful blond hair slightly developing in the wind, immediately attracted the attention of men. They watched her approach with interest for several minutes, admiring the grace of the stranger's gait. What was Alexander's surprise when he finally recognized in her the recent guest of his fighters.
- Nastya! - Orlov called her when she was about to enter the next tent.
The girl turned around and, seeing Alexander, stopped. Then, thinking for a moment, she turned around and, with some timidity, approached him.
“I wish you good health, comrade major,” she smiled, embarrassed, smiling.
Now it was the turn of the matter to pass to Orlov. There were no insignia on him, but he could not admit that now an ordinary private soldier was sitting in front of Anastasia.
- Hello, - Alexander got up from the bench and came closer to the girl. Their eyes met, and Orlov felt that he again fell under the spellbinding effect of her huge eyes.
- Are you injured? She asked, gently touching his arm.
“Why, they don’t have healthy people here,” the former major smiled in reply.
There was a slight pause.
“Well, I guess I'll go, I still have to go to the dressing,” came Gubar’s voice from behind, tactfully deciding not to interfere with the couple standing in front of him.
“Good luck, Volodya,” Orlov shook his hand.
When the lame fighter disappeared under the nearest awning, Alexander turned back to the girl.
- How did you get here? Where is our 2 shock?
“Our army, including the medical battalion, is still there,” Anastasia replied with a little shrug. “But they say that we will soon be sent to the front, as the battles there are strong, the losses are big,” she added, lowering her voice. “And I ended up here because we received some especially needed medicines for our medical battalion in the front warehouse, and at the last moment it turned out that some of them were ordered to be urgently transferred here, so we had to make such a big hook.”
“Personally, I am very glad that you had to do it,” said Orlov, and again looked into the eyes of a young girl.
- I need to run, comrade major, - Anastasia smiled. “I hope you will recover soon,” she paused for a moment, then added, “and you can write to me about it.”
With these words, she took out a small piece of paper and a pencil from her breast pocket. Quickly scribbling a few lines on him, she handed it to Orlov. Taking this yellowish leaf in his hand, Alexander for a moment felt the warm touch of her tender fingers.
“Good-bye, comrade major,” said Nastya, and turning quickly, she hurried toward the medical warehouse.
Orlov watched her for a while, then he looked at the piece of paper in his hand. On it, in a neat woman's handwriting, the address of the field mail was written.
One of the most important tasks in the conduct of military operations - the evacuation of the wounded from the combat areas and the provision of the first qualified medical assistance to them - was assigned to individual medical and sanitary battalions (medical sanatoriums). It was this kind of medical assistance provided on time that saved the lives of many fighters and commanders. Unfortunately, not everyone was able to help. In the photo, doctor of the medical battalion of the 178 division of the E.F. division of the divisional newspaper Gassan bent over the mortally wounded front-line correspondent of the division newspaper. Bill. Next to him are nurses - P.V. Akimova and V.G. Lukianchenko, Kalininsky Front, 1942. (photo by V.A.Kondratyev)
ARTICLES FROM THIS SERIES:
Fiery radiance (1-I part) ("Military Survey" site)
Fiery radiance (2-I part) ("Military Survey" site)
Fiery radiance (3-I part) ("Military Survey" site)
Fiery radiance (4-I part) ("Military Survey" site)
Fiery radiance (5-I part) ("Military Survey" site)
FROM THE AUTHOR
Dear readers of "Military Outlook"!
By publishing this chapter, I end up familiarizing visitors to the site with my book. Unfortunately, I cannot now tell you when and where it will be published in full, but I will definitely inform everyone who would be interested to read the rest of it.
I want to express my gratitude to the administration and the staff of the Military Review website, whose work allowed me to carry out my publication. Special thanks to all forum users who participated in the discussion of the book for your feedback, criticism, suggestions and suggestions. In conclusion, I would like to give a list of references that I used when writing my work and a list of Internet resources, with the help of which I was able to supplement the book with photos, diagrams, maps and other useful information.
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COMBAT ACTIONS OF THE RED ARMY IN WWII
Волховский фронт. http://bdsa.ru/%D1%84%D1%80%D0%BE%D0%BD%D1%82%D1%8B/884-719
MILITARY HISTORICAL JOURNAL
At the reception of Stalin. Notebooks (journals) of the records of persons taken by Joseph Stalin (1924-1953)
Battle of Stalingrad through the eyes of German photographers
Hartwig Polman. 900 days of fighting for Leningrad. Memories of a German Colonel
Savolaynen Andrey, VOLKHOVSKY FRONT. 1942 GERMAN PHOTOS
Maps of military actions from Russian sources
Nazi Germany tank forces,
"Tigers in the mud"
Excerpts from the logs of the battlefield of the Wehrmacht’s operational headquarters from 12 August 1942 to March 17 1943
Hasso G. Stakhov. TRAGEDY IN NEVA. The shocking truth about the blockade of Leningrad 1941 – 1944
Olga Patrina / Porfir Publishing House, a selection of photos of Viktor Kondratiev