Invasion

Invasion

Original taken from

July 1, 1941

We step on Sasov. Tanks of the enemy rush us from all directions, but these attacks are reflected. We plan to achieve a breakthrough from Koltov to Podkamnya.
I am ordered to return and bring reserves. We are racing along the road at a speed of 80 km per hour. In front of a small village, our main road, about 50 meters from us, connects with a secondary one. At the last moment I have time to notice how the Russian tank turned onto the main road and is now heading in our direction.
What can I do? We do not have with us hand grenades, not even a carbine. And if the tank finds us, everything will be over with us. The decision came in a split second: I turned into a roadside ditch. The car rolled over in a ditch, and we all lay flat on the ground.
How we would like to fall through this land. The grass is cool, and its touch is very nice. If only the tank does not move out of the way and does not smear us into pieces. Henny! Carly! Lorley Mother of God, what is happening in my head in these few seconds!

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Slowly and carefully I lift my head above the roadside ditch and see the tank straight ahead.But he calmly rolls on. We breathed a sigh of relief, and now we should go to the eastern entrance to the village and tell about everything in the 7th company; their cars are clearly visible from here.
Attempts to roll our car back onto the road failed; I had to leave her where she was. It would not be the best thought for us to continue along the road along the moat, since the Russian tank, of course, would attack the trucks of the 7th company. Too dangerous. So - forward through the field.
We jumped into the car and were about to rush forward, when we saw the Russian tank right across the field, heading straight for us. No matter. Then - back to the curb, and from there - a crazy rush to the 7th company. Over our heads shells from tank guns already whistled. We see how they fall among the cars of the 7th company. It is a terrible rumble.
Crouching, and sometimes crawling, we move on. Too slow, because I want to get into the company before the tank rolls onto the road. He is already very close. Two or three minutes, so we need, stretch like a clock. And so we got to the company that was camped.

Complete confusion reigns here, everyone randomly runs somewhere, no one knows what to do.Finally, they rolled an anti-tank gun into position and opened fire. A few minutes later the panic was over, and Russian tanks disappeared from view. Glory to you, my God!
I was told that this time we almost suffered a cruel defeat. The 8th company entered the forest in front of us, at about 100 m, and came under heavy fire from the Russian infantry; he was led both by snipers and by perfectly camouflaged machine guns. The company lost eighty soldiers. This is two thirds of the composition. The commander was badly wounded.
Those who came back told the most blood-chilling stories imaginable. The Russians finished our wounded comrades to death with rifle bayonets. Many saw it with their own eyes.
Only Russians can do such atrocities. They themselves are in essence beasts! No other people on earth, no other soldier in our vast world can compare with them in cruelty!

July 3, 1941

In the afternoon, we heard a cry at the field headquarters of the regiment: "The enemy’s tanks! The anti-tank guns on the position!" Our battalion is still oppressed by the enemy, the 1st battalion is moving towards the Kamenki, but nowhere was there a single anti-tank gun.
I rushed to the motorcycle and rushed to the rear, like a rocket, to call several anti-tank guns here. The road was pretty crowded with units heading for the front, and, even worse, with broken Russian tanks that were everywhere.
It took me a long time to get to the rear and give orders to pull up the guns. I managed to pass a good three-quarters of an hour, and when I returned to the headquarters of the regiment, the guns were no longer needed.
The Russian tank was moving from the north to Kamenka and rolled right onto the field headquarters with an open turret. On the armor of the tank sat with a dozen Russian soldiers, including women. They wanted to break through the heaters to the east - a suicidal decision!
One of the Russians killed a supply officer with a pistol shot. What could we do with our weapon against this huge tank? This hulk, practically unscathed, ran through Kamenka and rushed straight across the bridge to the east, before it hit the sight of one of our anti-aircraft guns.
Later, when we drove past a destroyed tank, it was almost completely burned out. Next to the tank lay the completely nude charred bodies of the women. Awful.Along the entire road, Russian corpses were visible, turned into a mess by our heavy vehicles or tanks.
Looking at them, it was impossible to say that it was once a man. There is a hand, there is a head, half of a leg somewhere else, spreading brains, broken and crumpled ribs. Fearfully.
We spent the night in the open, while the 1st Battalion organized a bridgehead near the town of Volochysk on the left, east bank of the Zbruch River, where we were supposed to move tomorrow morning.

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July 4, 1941

Soon we reached Odochishki, where a field regimental headquarters was organized. A short meeting, after which everyone was ready to immediately fall off their feet. I must determine the marching order for our unit.
I poured some liquor in my flask. This is my constant companion, and I prefer it to water, tea or coffee, because it quenches thirst better. Our colonel also carries with him a small bottle of vodka, which he carries in his pocket. In many cases, a gulp helps strengthen strength.
By evening, at the head of the watch of the 6th company, we came to Fridrikhovka. In the village, the commander ordered a stop. I go with advanced watch and wait at the main crossroads for the arrival of the rest.Heavy weapons do not keep up with us, so I have to go back and hurry them, especially the 88-mm anti-aircraft gun.
At this time, the adjutant managed to find a house to be used as a field headquarters. The commander of the advanced patrol, Lieutenant Bauer, with whom I went to the crossroads, was killed, as was the company veteran Ober-corporal Shtoken.
The most terrible rumors reach us about how the Russians deal with our prisoners. In addition, we have evidence that these are not just horror stories, after what they did with the soldiers of our 8th company on July 1.

July 5, 1941

Among the dead Russian many Asian faces. There are also corpses of women in military uniform. We deployed a field headquarters regiment in the former Russian military hospital. Inside he looked awful. In one of the rooms there are ten Russian corpses. They must have died from their wounds.
We were told that the SS division would replace us. It will be nice to spend a few days in a relaxed atmosphere, but in the end the campaign has just begun. I think that all this is just a welcome dream.

July 6, 1941

At eight o'clock we went to Proskurov. Lorley Orders were given, the attack began, and I was thrown into the thick of the battle.When the clock was 5.15, steel giants moved forward - as many as one hundred and forty tanks! Soon the Russians will be finished with all the devils.
Unfortunately, we on our all-terrain vehicle managed to pass not too far. We were hopelessly stuck in a ditch, so we had to continue our journey on foot. The driver of the all-terrain vehicle, who was driving behind us, volunteered to return and bring the tanks, but his car was stuck again.
While the driver was trying to find a solution on how to make the car go again, he noticed that his all-terrain vehicle was stuck above the hole from which the barrel of the enemy mortar was sticking out. He had to urgently get out of the car and take off running, like a wild boar, bypassing the numerous shelters, which were full of well-camouflaged Russians.
With guns and carbines at the ready, we walked through the forest. But there were only a few Russians, and after a short battle we cleared the territory from them. Meyer was next to the commander with a raised standard combat.
When we reached the skyscraper, the Russians again opened fire on us. The bullets whistled overhead; Apparently, we were exactly where the Russians concentrated the most deadly fire.
Slowly we crawled along the hill: it would be crazy to stick our heads out. The Russians were sitting in their well-camouflaged mortals, and they were not visible. Finally, a few of our tanks returned, who seemed to be looking for a commander. I immediately ran back through the forest and gave the tank crew the task of helping us smoke the enemy from his holes.

Everyone breathed a sigh of relief when I went back with the tanks and gave them direction to the height. Cars moved forward, and we followed them, shooting at shelters and throwing grenades into it. Smoke came from there, but in most cases the goal was not achieved. The Russians simply thrust out their rifles and pressed the triggers or threw hand grenades without even looking where they would fly.
Tanks were already rolling over the Russian shelters, ironing them back and forth several times; one can imagine that the people in these holes turned into a mess, however this was not the case. The Russians were still everywhere, firing from their holes and throwing grenades.
Lieutenant Kleine-Herzbach fell next to me. Falling in the stomach. Lieutenant Zirn stays close by to spend the last minutes with him. The officer dies in his arms, without regaining consciousness.
We have to check every slot, throw a grenade inside, and then finish off the Russians with fire from pistols and rifles. No shouts of surrender: the Russians preferred to be rolled out in their holes.
However, here and there a steel helmet and two raised dirty hands appeared. But we do not recognize the right to spare after the death of Schultz: after he was bandaged, the Russians shot him again. And we all loved him, it was a great guy. Now we are not just fighting here, it has become a mass slaughter!
As we moved further, fragmentation shells of enemy anti-tank guns fell on us. I was walking between Lieutenant Kuhn and Lieutenant Zurn, and both of them fell. Lieutenant Kuhn was bleeding from his mouth. A second later, his head hung down to the left side - he was dead. Lieutenant Zurn got a shard in the arm part. Thank God, the injury was easy, but still he had to go to the first aid station.
While we were clearing the wheat field, we found several Russians there who did not want to surrender. There was nothing left but to mow them with fire.

July 18, 1941

At 14.30, Herr Oberst (Colonel) Count Sponek arrived in our regiment to present us with the awards - Iron Crosses of the 1st and 2nd class. The first of the winners was me.
And for that reason: “The non-commissioned officer Prüller, the battalion clerk, acting boldly and decisively in the performance of his duties as a messenger, promptly passed orders of the command to the destination. Thus, when the threat of an enemy counterattack arose, he contributed to the successful reflection of the breakthrough .
When performing the task, he acted bravely, despite the fact that, driving a motorcycle in the first case and a car in the second, he collided with Russian tanks in both streets and in open areas. Formerly, he had twice, for the courage he had shown, presented himself with an Iron Cross of the 2nd class. "

July 24, 1941

In the morning, when I arrived at the regimental headquarters, the colonel explained to the general the position of Russia. In our opinion, it is as follows: here, in a nearby area, we have six divisions involved in battles. We are completing the encirclement of Russian troops in Ukraine. In addition, in the next few days, one of the two Russian armies will have to capitulate or it will be destroyed.
To date, the Russians have already lost more than a hundred divisions. This means that the Russians, despite all their intentions and attempts, have already lost the battle. They had to sacrifice their best troops in border battles near Bialystok and Minsk.
Their losses in weapons and materiel are gigantic and irreplaceable. All that they can now send into battle - it's just the masses of people, poorly equipped and almost unarmed. It is clear that they will not be able to offer us any or almost no resistance.

I believe that the Russian campaign will end by mid-September. "- from the diary of the non-commissioned officer of the 9th tank division of the Wehrmacht G. Prüller.

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