- [6. Armee XVII korps 113.IR 1e Co StuGAbt 244]
- Fall Blau, the attack on the Don bend (on the road to Stalingrad)
Sometimes the Internet’s horrible. Take our friend Kurt Pfreundtner; whatever he did is translated into two sentences that appear everywhere, parroted in one form or other. The original is from a Wehrmacht-succesful-officers-trading-card set, for bog’s sake. Let’s think, people, instead of just repeating silly bits of data. I will, therefore, make an uneducated guess.
So it seems 224. StuGAbt was part of the 113rd Infantry Division. They were sandwiched in between 3rd and 23rd Panzer Divisions and moved from Kharkov via Novyy Oskol and Alekseevka to Karayashnik as part of Fall Blau. The Soviets, unlike before when they kept getting themselves encircled, withdrew in good order. The Soviet Command was adopting a flexible defense, having experimented with the concept in earlier battles. Thus Hitler had to be told that the Russians were getting smart to his fabled Blitzkrieg tactics. True to form, the Great Fuehrer did not believe.
Still, on june 17th, the 113. ID faced the Soviet 3rd Guards Cavalry Corps (which was supposed to be leading the attack) and broke through their lines. 113rd then drove south-east to Rossosh’ and Veshenskaya only to bump into a second defensive line between Kletskiy and Surovikino.
When 16th Panzer, to their south, broke this line they followed through the gap and headed north towards Verkhnaya Buzinovka and Osinovskiy, north of Kalach-on-the-Don. On july 28th, the Soviets conter-attacked with a pincer movement of their own. It failed miserably; the recently formed First and Fourth tank armies were entirely without experience. By August 10th, the Red Army had been driven from the western bank of the Don but continued resistance (and bad roads) delayed the Germans. Our 244th StugAbt finally reaches the north outskirts of Stalingrad around the end of August. They were there to stay, defending the rest of 6th Army. Well, we all know what happened, don’t we.
But now, Pfreundtner’s claim to fame. The card says he killed 9 Soviet tanks during the attack on the Don river. So I postulate (!) that he and his buddies faced the 182th mechanised brigade to the north of this Osinovskiy town. There’s many little ridgelines there, farm country on chalk ground (it seems, I can’t judge very well). The Soviet brigade had (at this time & at full strength) 32 T-34s and about 20 T-60s. Knowing the Russians, they were driving along all buttoned up, not talking to each other while Kurt must’ve seen the opportunity and picked a good ambush spot. His Knight’s Cross did him no good in the long run; he died in some gulag nine years later.
- “Moscow To Stalingrad: Decision In The East”, Earl F. Ziemke & Magna E. Bauer III, Center of military history, US Army 1987 (hosted here)