Bidermann – In Deadly Combat

Gottlob Bidermann (2000) was a German officer fighting with the 132nd Infantry Division on the Eastern Front of World War II. Formed in September 1940 the Division fought during the brief Balkan campaign of April-May 1941, but Bidermann’s account takes up when the Germans crossed the Russian frontier on 30 June 1941. Bidermann fought during Operation Barbarosa, at the siege of Sevastopol in 1942, on the Leningrad Front in 1943, and in the Courland pocket in 1944/45. Up to 1943 he served in the anti-tank company of the 437th Infantry Regiment, but then moved to the infantry.

Bidermann is a great read and provides a great insight into the combat life of an ordinary landser. The book is available from Amazon USA, UK, and Canada:

Bidermann, G. H. (2000). In Deadly Combat: A German soldier’s memoir of the Eastern Front (D. S. Zumbro, Trans.). University Press of Kansas.

Order of Battle

Biderman was part of 437th Infantry Regiment within the 132nd Infantry Division, LIV Corps (later XXX Corps), Eleventh Army.

In Deadly Combat

  • 132nd Infantry Division
    • 436th Infantry Regiment
    • 437th Infantry Regiment
      • 3 x Infantry Battalions1
        • 3 x Rifle Companies2
        • 1 x Machine gun company – including machine guns and mortars
      • 13th Infantry Gun company – horse drawn
      • 14th Anti-tank company – 12 x 3.7 cm guns, motorised3
      • 1 x Pioneer Platoon 4
    • 438th Infantry Regiment
    • 132nd Artillery Regiment of four battalions (I to IV) – horse drawn
    • 132nd Anti-tank battalion – motorised
    • 132nd Reconnaissance battalion5

(1) In Jan 1942 the divisional strength was temporarily reduced to two battalions per regiment, so the remaining battalions could be brought up to strength. This occurred again, this time permanently, in 1944.

(2) The Companies within the Regiment were numbered 1 – 12. I Battalion had companies 1 – 4, II Battalion 5 – 8, and III Battalion 9 – 12. Company 4, 8 and 12 were the machine gun companies. The 9th Rifle company (in III Battalion) was equipped with bicycles.

(3) Initially the anti-tank company was equipped with 3.7 cm PAK 35/36, but sometime between Jan and May 1942 the guns were upgraded to 5.0 cm PAK 38s (probably in Apr when they handed their old guns over to another regiment); later still they got 7.5 cm PAK 40s. Initially at least two tows were light French Lorraine chenilette tractors and another a half track, but anything available was used. From Aug 1941 the anti-tank gun company started using trucks captured from the Russians; although Zis trucks were available, the Germans chose Fords in preference. Each gun platoon (2 guns) seemed to have had a MG34 crew attached to help with local defence.

(4) The Pioneer Platoon often formed the basis of an “assault reserve” or “alarm company”, although these could as well be formed from cooks, clerks, walking wounded and/or stragglers.

(5) As a reconnaissance battalion it was issued with with horses, bicycles, and a couple of light armoured cars. In 1944 it was converted to a “Fusilier” battalion, which was effectively a 7th infantry battalion directly under Divisional HQ.

Steppes Terrain

Steppes Terrain as described by Bidermann (2000):

  • “Endless open space with only occasional clusters of sparse trees stretching to the horizon” (p. 15-16).
  • “Thatched-roofed huts of the collective farms.” (p. 16) and “straw-thatched huts of the collective” (p. 21).
  • “Wood-framed schoolhouses” (p. 16).
  • “Primitive wooden windmills dotted the horizon” (p. 17).
  • “An immense open field lay before us, and our view extended over the steppe, which offered little protection save gently rolling terrain with shallow depressions invisible to the untrained eye” (p. 19).
  • When describing a wheat field: “The waving green sea, interrupted only by sparse potato gardens” (p. 19).
  • “Hedgerow” (p. 20).
  • “A small rise” which in fact had a concealed minefield on it (p. 24).
  • A “railway embankment” which was “along the edge of a small grove of trees” (p. 29).
  • “A small wood” (p. 30).
  • “Uneven hills and deep ravines, the ‘balkas'” (p. 30).
  • “A small valley lined with birch trees and heavy undergrowth” (p. 30).
  • “The small depressions lined with bushes and birch trees” (p. 33).
  • “Undulating terrain” (p. 32).
  • By October “the crops had been harvested; tall haystacks and threshing machines dotted the landscape” (p. 47).

Crimean Terrain

Crimea as described by Bidermann (2000):

  • The northern part of the Crimean peninsular is a large salt steppe.
  • Central Crimea is flat, nearly treeless, Steppes Terrain. Three large valleys run through the peninsula: the Alma, Katscha, and Belbek. The Katscha at least had poplar trees, fruit farms, and villages.
  • The Yaila Mountains to the south were also thickly wooded, had fruit plantations, fields, white cliffs, gently rising hills and shallow valleys.
  • The local population are Muslim Tartars. Their houses were small, attractive, had wooden porches and were mud coloured.

Kargarlyk, Ukraine, 1 Aug 1941

Source: Bidermann (2000), p. 19-23.

Key features of Terrain:

  • Steppes Terrain: in this case including waist high heat fields, potato gardens, rolling terrain, shallow depressions, small rises, hedgerows, and thatched-roof huts.
  • Kargarlyk village in the east.
  • Klein-Kargarlyk Collective Farm south- west of the village.
  • A railway embankment in front of Kargarlyk.
  • A east-west road to Kargarlyk.
  • A north-south road leading to Klein-Kargarlyk.
  • These two roads intersected; it was about 500 m from the crossroads to both the village and the collective farm.
  • Possibly another road from the Klein-Kargarlyk heading east (or possible north-east to the village)
  • Russian minefields (some visible, some not)

On 30 July 1941 the 437th Infantry Regiment was bivouacked at Michaelovka. Through the night of 30
July and into 31 July the rifle companies and horse drawn units force marched 65 km to enable an
attack on Kargarlyk. As dawn rose on 1 August the Regiment was in position. The German artillery
and mortars opened fire at 0650 hours as the infantry began to advance through the wheat fields
and potato gardens. The regiment attacked on a broad front. Bidermann’s anti-tank gun platoon (two
3.7 cm PAKs and tows) advanced along the sandy road towards the village. 5th Rifle Company was to
their right in the fields and 7th Rifle Company to their left – both from II/437 Battalion.
Russian machine guns opened up on the advancing Germans from about 400 m. The PAK gunners deployed
their guns and returned fire. 5th Rifle Company was pinned in a shallow depression, but with
covering fire from Bidermann’s PAK they managed to push forward again. The other PAK fired on the
Russian positions in Klein-Kargarlyk Collective Farm – about 600 m distant, and where the Russian
artillery observers were rumoured to be stationed. As the Germans pushed forward the Russians
ranged their artillery closer to their own positions. The 7th Rifle Company became heavily engaged
and Russians began surrender or flee toward Kargarlyk. The regiment reached their objective for
the day – the railway embankment before the village. Note: Bidermann mentioned seeing two villages which seems to match up to his use of two names, Kargarlyk and Klein-Kargarlyk Collective Farm, in his narrative. It is possible, however, given the similarity in names that these are the same village, and the other is unnamed.

Hills 197 and 160, River Dnieper, Ukraine, 6 Aug 1941

Source: Bidermann (2000), p. 26.

At 0550 hours on 6 Aug 1941 the artillery of 132nd Division began firing smoke and high explosive onto a Russian stronghold on Hill 197. Many of the Soviets fled mistakenly believing the Germans were using poison gas. By 0850 the infantry had cleared the height, suffering minimal losses, but the fight continued as the Russians doggedly withdrew to their next prepared position on Hill 160. Despite attacks by Russian fighter-bombers in the late afternoon, by the morning of 7 Aug the Division were digging in near Balyka, only 100 m from the Dnieper. Lack of supplies, however, forced them to withdraw again.

The Road to Kanev, River Dnieper, Ukraine, 14 Aug 1941

Source: Bidermann (2000), p. 30-32.

Having been redeployed the 132nd Division was advancing toward Kanev on the Dnieper. On 13 Aug 1941 Bidermann and his compatriots dug into abandoned Russian earthworks about 10 km northwest of the city. The Russians were about 300 m away in a small wood. A small valley was to the left, containing birch trees and heavy undergrowth. In early morning of 14 Aug two self-propelled guns joined the Germans.

Starting at 1500 hours on 14 Aug the Germans conducted a 10 min mortar barrage on the Russian held wood. The German infantry advanced, but when they were 100 m from the wood, a concealed Russian tank opened up from the left flank. It inflicted several casualties on one of the rifle companies, before one of the German self-propelled guns knocked it out. As the infantry advanced the German machine guns, mortars and PAKs fired into the tree line to suppress any enemy snipers. The Germans pushed through the wood and on toward Kanev.

Kodorov, River Dnieper, Ukraine, 29 Aug 1941

Source: Bidermann (2000), p. 37-44.

Key features of Terrain:

  • Kodorov village was in a Y shaped ravine leading to the river.
  • A stream ran down the ravine surrounded by heavy undergrowth – thick bushes, trees, and small gardens of sunflowers, tomatoes, and bean plants are mentioned.
  • The village houses started at the intersection of the two arms and ran down the ravine to the river.
  • The houses were “rustic clay cottages with thatched roofs and whitewashed walls”.
  • The school – a large stone building – stood out as a reference point.
  • There was a small rise behind the school house.
  • A tomato farm was on the eastern edge of the village.
  • A hill was near the tomato farm with clear views over the river.
  • An unpaved road ran through the village and presumably crossed the stream as …
  • A wooden bridge crossed the stream.
  • A wooden store house was in the centre of the village, on the western bank of the stream. The store house was about 100 m from the bridge and about 300 m from the crest of the ravine. Its proximity to the bridge made the store house a key feature of the fight. The view from here was blocked by houses, hedges and trees.
  • Some trees were about 20-30 m from the store house.
  • A small rise was about 50 m from the store house. This allowed a view from the top of the ravine to the bridge and the slopes on either side, and allowed a clear view of the school house and the rise behind.

In late August 1941 the Germans were thinly stretched along the western bank of the River Dnieper, leaving many opportunities for the Russians to cross the river and counter-attack. On the night of 28 Aug elements of the 437th Infantry Regiment were redeployed to the village of Kodorov overlooking the river. In the village were Bidermann’s PAK, a company of artillery, and some infantry (at least a company plus one platoon, but there is a suggestion of more). The gun company was located on a height near the tomato farm and had a clear view over the river. About 30 men including an rifle platoon and an anti-tank crew were billeted in the store house in the centre of the village, with the still limbered PAK about 20-30 m away under the trees. Another unit was billeted in the eastern part of the unit. A company headquarters was located in a farm house across the bridge from the store house, perhaps at the tomato farm in the east.

That night a Russian battalion crossed the river and infiltrated the ravine. Just before dawn on 29 Aug they assaulted the village. A Russian force armed with sub-machine guns attacked the store house from the stream bed. The anti-tank gun crew and some riflemen ran for the PAK, and managed to drive off the attackers with small arms fire and grenades. The anti-tank crew then unlimbered their gun and begun firing anti-personnel rounds into the undergrowth along the stream, thus suppressing the opposing Russians forcing them to retreat. The attack lasted no more than 10 minutes. The Lieutenant from the rifle platoon was wounded and withdrew to the store house, and the Lieutenant of the anti-tank guns took command. The PAK was repositioned to the rise near the store house – offering better views up the ravine. The Russians also attacked the positions in the eastern part of the village, but were similarly driven off.

In the growing light of dawn the PAK crew spotted a Russian HMG team moving on the rise behind the school house. Armour piercing and HE rounds (they’d run out of anti-personnel rounds) killed and wounded some, and drove the rest of the Russians into cover. Further fire from the PAK forced them to retreat. Meanwhile another Russian party had infiltrated the ravine and attacked the PAK position through the heavy undergrowth. The PAK men held them off but at 1000 hours they fired their last anti-tank round. Subsequently the Russians stormed across the road and set the store house alight. The PAK crew forced to disable their gun and make their escape up the ravine.

As the Russians swarmed through the village near the store house, as the German heavy weapons began to bombard the river bank to prevent a Russian retreat (Russian guns were also active but apparently not too effectively). A German infantry company and the survivors of the platoon accompanying the PAK assembled on the western bank of the stream, then counter attacked back through the village. By 1030 hours the PAK crew had recovered their weapon near the store house, and the Russian survivors were trying to flee across the river.

Subsequently the Germans discovered the Lieutenant from the rifle platoon – last seen wounded in the store house – had been captured and shot.

Road to Sevastopol, Crimea, Oct-Nov 1941

Source: Bidermann (2000). p. 48-50

In October the 132nd Infantry Division joined the 50th Infantry Division in the Crimea as part of LIV Corps, Eleventh Army. The Corps was tasked with pursuing the Russians toward Bacht-Schisserary and Sevastopol.

On 2 Nov 1941, and despite strong resistance during the morning, the 436th and 437th Infantry Regiments of 132nd Division advanced from Chanischkoy to Adshi-Bulat. A Russian heavy shore battery held up the advance on the western flank. Units from 438th Infantry Regiment assaulted south-west toward the coast and took a decoy position of this shore battery but didn’t find the real position. As darkness fell the German artillery dispersed large Russian formations gathering on the flanks of the advancing units. During the night Soviet Naval units desperately tried to break through to Sevastopol and the coast, but were held by the German line. Also during the night elements 438th Infantry Regiment (at least elements of II Battalion) found and attacked the heavy shore battery that had eluded them earlier in the day; after heavy fighting they took some of its outlying positions. The Russians subsequently abandoned the battery with the defending Naval infantry being evacuated by sea.

Katscha Valley, Crimea, 3-4 Nov 1941

Source: Bidermann (2000). p. 51-54

On 3 Nov 1941 the 9th Bicycle Company and a platoon from the motorised 14th Anti-tank Gun Company were the advance guard of the 437th Infantry Regiment as they moved down the Katscha Valley . At midday they captured an abandoned Russian magazine in a small village southwest of Evel-Scheich. As the sun was setting they saw another settlement; this village was surrounded by fruit trees and had stone walls and gardens inside. As the Germans approached they came under fire from the defending Soviet Naval troops (who were still in their dark-blue navy overcoats). Under cover of the anti-tank platoon (two guns and MG34 team) the rifle company advanced on the village. Thinking the attackers were an entire regiment the defenders retreated.

The next morning elements of an Elite Soviet Naval Infantry unit tried to break through to the coast and ran into the advance guard billeted in the village captured the evening before. The Russians were in brand new Naval uniforms and were all equiped with semi-automatic rifles or short-barrelled submachine guns. As the Russians advanced to within 50 paces of the village when the German outpost (an 3.7 cm PAK and the associated MG34 team) took them under fire. The German main body tumbled from their billets in the village, and caught the Russians in a crossfire. All the attackers were killed or captured. A second counter-attack was also repulsed.

Makensia, Crimea, Early Nov 1941

Source: Bidermann (2000). p. 55-59

On 5 Nov 1941 the 132nd Infantry Division attacked into the Belbek valley and took the region near Duvankoy, Gadschikoy, and Beyuk-Otarkoy. By 7 Nov, and in the face of heavy resistance, they had penetrated the outer defences of Sevastopol. They took Makensia including Hill 363.5 and the other heights nearby, and in the evening set up a perimeter on the western edge of the town.

In the days that followed, in pouring rain, Elite troops of the Soviet Naval Infantry, supported by work brigades from the Sevastopol docks and factories, counter-attacked the positions at Makensia. According to Bidermann, vodka and the pistols of their commissars inspired a fanatical attacks. The Russians were initially sheltered by undergrowth, but had to cross 50 m of open, stony, ground to reach the German lines. They never made it – German machine guns, PAKs, and mortars dropped them in the hundreds.

Fortress Sevastopol, Crimea, 17-28 Dec 1941

Source: Bidermann (2000). p. 64-75, 83

As the weather worsened the Germans found themselves facing the Russian fortifications in Sevastopol, including the armoured embrasure of Maxim Gorki I with its 305 mm cannon. The 132nd Infantry Division and 22nd (Lower Saxony) Infantry Division were assigned to the attack the northern sector during the first assault. Their objective was to push through to Severnaya Bay. During the night of 16-17 Dec 1941 the German assault parties gathered in the preparation areas .

At 0500 hours on 17 Dec 1941 the German assault infantry attacked behind a dense artillery and smoke barrage. They quickly took the heights west of Hill 319.9 but then the attack ground down as the Russian grimly defended their fortifications. To the relief of the attackers the winter night fell early (about 1500 hours).

At first light on 18 Dec 1941 the Eleventh Army continued their assault in the northern sector, specifically on Lines 217 to 253. By about 0615 the Germans had taken these defences and the Russians were pushed past the ravines and gorges south of Kamischly to the Lines 226 to 228. By night fall at 1500 hours the German had taken almost all their objectives.

The 132nd Division pushed forward again before dawn on 19 Dec 1941. They were trying to capture the heights northeast of Tschernaya and secure the approaches to Severnaya Bay. Stiff resistance, including desperate counter-attacks by the Soviet Naval Infantry, and fire from unreported mortar batteries and long-range naval guns, meant the objectives were only reached early on 20 Dec. Infantry Regiment took Hill 251 and on the right Infantry Regiment 436 took the town of Kamischly, leaving the Division deep within the Russian defences. The Russians responded with massed bomber and fighter-bomber attacks (he mentions Illyushun II fighter-bombers a couple of days later). (In contrast the German Division to the left were held up by almost impassable terrain.)

Early on 24 Dec 1941 infantry of 132nd Division took the tank trenches in front of the Kamischly heights. Just after midnight on the night of 24/25 Dec the anti-tank unit of 437th Infantry Regiment started to dig in to these trenches and the abandoned Soviet bunkers. Over the next two days they suffered from a massive Soviet bombardment.

(On 25 Dec the Russians successfully landed at Kertsch.)

On the night of 26/27 Dec 1941 the anti-tank guns of 437th Infantry Regiment were pushed forward again. They dug into the rail embankment that led toward Mekensievy-Gory. By this time the rifle companies had been reduced from 80 men down to 20.

On the evening of 27 Dec 1941 the 50th Infantry Division was assigned to strengthen the left-hand sector.

At 0700 hours on 28 Dec 1941 another massed German attack went in, preceded by the normal bombardment. After heavy fighting the 132nd Division took Mekensievy-Gory.

Sharp Shooting PAK at Mekensievy-Gory Station, 29 Dec 1941

Source: Bidermann (2000). p. 75-79

Throughout the morning of 29 Dec 1941 the Russian artillery played upon the German positions within Mekensievy-Gory. At some point during the morning the Russians put in a tank and infantry counter-attack. Bidermann’s 3.7 cm PAK was positioned next to the Train Station where the road crossed the railway embankment. This embankment had at least one culvert in it – which the Germans found some time later.

Bidermann opened up when the first Russian tank crested a rise about 150 m down the road. The first shot bounced off the tank’s turret. The tank’s return shot missed. Bidermann’s second shot, of “special armour-piercing ammunition”, blew of the tank’s turret.

A second Russian tank then attacked from the right. It’s machine guns failed to hit the PAK crew as it charged through a wooden garden fence towards the German gun. The tank stopped to rotate it’s gun toward the Germans, but Bidermann’s PAK sent a shell through its turret before it could fire, and the crew bailed.

A third Russian tank, with accompanying infantry, then approached past the burning wreck of the first tank. As the infantry reached the houses on the outskirts of the village, Bidermann’s PAK sent a shell through the belly of the tank, thus immobilising it. As the tank’s turret rotated toward’s the PAK, Bidermann put a second shell through the tank’s body, which then burst into flame.

The PAK then fired anti-personnel rounds into the Russian infantry, and in conjunction with a single machine gun, drove off the attack. The retreating Russian infantry then fell prey to blocking from from German mortars and artillery.

Another two Russian tanks were seen to retreat to the shelter of nearby hills .

A second PAK was then dragged from the other side of the railway line to join Bidermann’s. A German self-propelled gun also rolled up.

Bidermann’s notes that by this time the rifle companies were sorely under-strength. In particular he mentions the 9th Company which had only 18 men under a feldwebel.

Russian landings, Dec 1941 – Jan 1942

Source: Bidermann (2000). p. 83-88

On 25 Dec 1941 the Russians successfully landed at Kertsch in the east of the Crimean peninsular. From 29 Jan 1941 through to early Jan 1942 the Russians also landed at Eupatoria and in the harbour of Feodosia. There was only one German division – the 46th Infantry Division – facing them, as the remainder were in operation against Sevastopol. The 46th Division fought a fighting withdrawal and successfully contained the enemy. A Rumanian cavalry division, a supply unit, and a weakened pioneer battalion were all that was immediately available as reinforcements, but some units – at least the 132nd and 170th Infantry Divisions, and Infantry Regiment 213 – were also rushed from Sevastopol.

Just before twilight on 15 Jan 1942 the 132nd and 170th Divisions attacked towards the Bay of Feodosia. The 132nd attacked Hill 132.3. Infantry Regiment 213 was to the right and 170th Infantry Division to their right. By dark the Germans had pushed the enemy out of their positions. Bidermann’s PAK destroyed several Russian vehicles at about 1,500 m range.

On 16 Jan 1942 a Russian infantry force attacked the rear of Bidermann’s regiment, then attempted to break the German front line through were Bidermann was positioned. PAK, machinegun and carbine fire halted the Russian infantry once they left the protective cover of a depression. Bidermann’s PAK had to resort to using armoured piercing shells when their anti-personnel ammunition ran out. During the day the Division pushed on to the Black Sea coast and took a northern suburb of Feodosia called Sarygol. First Battalion, Infantry Regiment 436 led the way, with Infantry Regiment 437 on their flank.

On the night of 17-18 Jan 1942 three Russian tanks tried to break through the German lines on the southern edge of Sarygol, but were destroyed by anti-tank mines.

On 18 Jan 1942 the Russian forces holding Assambay broke through the German lines and rampaged through the rear areas. After several days mounting casualties due to artillery fire destroyed them as an effective force.

On 19 Jan 1942 Infantry Regiment 438 advanced west of the coastal road of Daln-Kamyschi. The division HQ moved to Blish Baybuga. Meanwhile other German and Rumanian forces took Feodosia itself.

On 21 Jan 1942 the division HQ moved towards Feodosia and temperatures dropped to -30º C.

Icebreaker to Hill 50.6, Parpatsch Line, Feb to May 1942

Source: Bidermann (2000). p. 92-112

Following the battles of Feodosia (15-19 Jan 1942) the Kertsch front settled down into trench warfare that lasted until May 1942. Both protagonists dug in with trenches, minefields and wire. The 132nd Division held the line from the fortified “Icebreaker” position on the Black Sea, through the “Turtle” about 1,500 m from the sea and facing Kaln-Kamyschi, through Hill 66.3, and ending at Hill 50.6 in the middle of the Parpatsch line. An imposing factory building dominated Kaln-Kamyschi. The 46th Division was to the left, and a Rumanian Brigade was also in the line. Using superior numbers of infantry and tanks the Russian repeatedly tried to break through, but minor penetrations were quickly sealed. Major Russian attacks were launched between 26 Feb and 3 Mar, again during 13 to 20 Mar, and between 9 and 11 Apr. The assaults against Hill 50.6, Hill 66.3, the Turtle and the Icebreaker were the heaviest, with these positions beating back up to 12 attacks a day. Most penetrations were quickly sealed but eventually a Rumanian division broke and a new Panzer division was committed to stem the tide; they lost 40 tanks in the effort.

As an example, at 0630 on 26 Feb 1942 Russian mortars and artillery opened up on the entire front. Infantry and heavy tanks moved in at 0830 after the barrage subsided. Nine Russian tanks tried to break through near Telegraph Hill, but seven were knocked out or disabled, four by artillery fire; IV battery 132nd Artillery Regiment knocked out one and V battery (probably 10.5 cm leFH 18 field howitzers) knocked out three more. By 1000 hours the Russians were withdrawing all along the line. At 1300 hours the Russians attacked at Telegraph Hill but were repulsed again. On 27 Feb 1942 the Russians tried again. Artillery, aircraft, gunboats and destroyers bombarded the German lines. Seven rifle divisions and a number of armoured brigades flung themselves against the Germans, but the line held.

On 23 Mar 1942 the Russians attacked the line from the Icebreaker to the nearby factory (presumably in Kaln-Kamyschi). Both sides used massed artillery, although there was little air support. Infantry Regiment 437 was defending the Icebreaker, supported by assault guns. Massive casualties prevented the Russians reaching the tank trenches behind the factory, but a Russian battalion took the Icebreaker on 24 Mar. By evening the Infantry and assault guns of 132nd Division had retaken the position.

The last major attempt by the Soviets to breach the Parpatsch positions was from 9 Apr to 11 Apr 1942. 132nd Division faced four rifle divisions, two armoured brigades (about 100 tanks of which 53 were knocked out) and 35 batteries. For example, at 0440 hours on 9 Apr 1942 the Russians launched a surprise attack on the German strongpoint called “Siegfried” in the sector of Infantry Regiment 437. Initially only infantry and artillery were involved but as the morning wore on tanks arrived. By 1200 hours, after several attempts on the position, the attack had faltered. Attack such as this occurred all down the line.

Operation Trappenjagd, Crimea, 8 May 1942

Source: Bidermann (2000). p. 112-114

A German force had penetrated the Russian positions at Parpatsch on on 8 May 1942 XXX Corps tried to exploit this opportunity.

0300 to 0310 A Russian barrage.

0315 The German barrage began.

0338 Sporadic Russian response started.

0402 German fighters and Stukas made their appearance.

0418 Russian Ratas quickly followed.

0430 The first Russian prisoners were being sent back.

0500 Visibility improved such that direct fire was possible. Infantry from 132nd Division had forced a bridgehead.

0535 Russian flak noticeably reduced.

0545 Russian fire on Baker Bunker silenced. Russian Concentrations on Hill 50.6 taken under fire.

0625 I Battery, 132nd Artillery Regiment, undertakes direct fire at Russian tanks.

0630 Forward observers from II Battery, 132nd Artillery Regiment, established positions on As-Tschaluke.

0755 to 1100 I Battery took Russian positions in the Balka Pestcharnaya and concentrations south of Point 323 under fire.

1100 III Battery shifted positions to the area east of the tank trenches.

1215 German infantry took the Moscow Bunker on Point 323 and I Battery destroyed a tank east of Point 323.

1220 Unit HQ moved forward.

1345 I and II Batteries moved forward. The artillery directed blocking fire onto Hill 50.2.

Darkness brought the action to a close.

Partisans, Crimea, 1942

Source: Bidermann (2000). p. 120

Partisans attacked the villages of Taygan, Rayon and Karabusar, stealing cattle, sheep, and horses. 60 Germans and 50 volunteer Tartars counter-attacked and overnight drove the partisans from the area.

Sevastopol, Crimea, Jun 1942

Source: Bidermann (2000). p. 126-


Bidermann, G. H. (2000). In Deadly Combat: A German soldier’s memoir of the Eastern Front (D. S. Zumbro, Trans.). University Press of Kansas.

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