Bridgeheads over the Pruth, June 1941

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CNE503
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Bridgeheads over the Pruth, June 1941

Post by CNE503 » 09 May 2021 09:58

Hello,

Germans and Romanians did create several bridgeheads over the Pruth river in the last days of June 1941.
198. Infanterie-Division did so in Sculeni, Divizia 6 Infanterie in Mitoc, Brigada 6 Cavalerie in Santa Mare/Chetris/Badarai, Divizia 1 Garda in Falciu and Bogdanesti, Divizia 21 Infanterie in Oancea.
Soviet counterattacks repulsed some of the invaders west of the river on June 23rd and 24th, but several bridgeheads were maintained: Sculeni, Falciu, Bogdanesti, Oancea.

Nevertheless, on July 2nd, when operation "München" was launched, the only bridgehead that I can track back is 198. Infanterie-Division's one in Sculeni (this division suffered heavy losses defending it on July 1st, disbanding one of Infanterie-Regiment 326's battalions). It looks like Divizia 1 Garda, that repelled heavy Soviet counterattacks against its hold east of th Pruth in the last week of June, forsook its bridgeheads somewhen and had to create brand new ones early July (it would do so in Tiganca).

Is my understanding of the situation correct?

Regards,
CNE503
"Sicut Aquila" / "Ils s'instruisent pour vaincre" / "par l'exemple, le coeur et la raison" / "Labor Omnia Vincit"

CNE503
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Re: Bridgeheads over the Pruth, June 1941

Post by CNE503 » 10 May 2021 18:19

From NARA T312 R355 (AOK11 KTB), file 865: "26.6.: Brückenkopf der rum. Garde-Div. westl. Jepureni ging in der Nacht zum 26. verloren. Eisenbahnbrücke wurde durch Russen gesprengt".
I assume that this bridgehead was the Bodganesti bridgehead, Jepureni (Iepureni) being 5km eastwards Bogdanesti and 4km from the railway bridge over the Pruth.
So, I found the explanation for:
- Sculeni bridgehead (still active on July 2nd);
- Bogdanesti bridgehead (evacuated during the night of June 25th to 26th).
I have to clear the fate of those of Santa Mare, Falciu and Oancea now.

CNE503
"Sicut Aquila" / "Ils s'instruisent pour vaincre" / "par l'exemple, le coeur et la raison" / "Labor Omnia Vincit"

Art
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Re: Bridgeheads over the Pruth, June 1941

Post by Art » 10 May 2021 18:59

From the war diary of the Soviet 9 Cavalry Division:
22.50 25.6 2nd squadron 73 Cav.Rgt. and 4th squadron 108 Cav.Rgt. after a strong artillery preparation at 22.50 the enemy was dislodged from the area of the Falciu rail bridge about a battalion of infantry. Our troops exploded the rail bridge. 4 men are taken prisoners, 100 men are killed. Our losses - 30 men wounded, 10 men killed.
https://pamyat-naroda.ru/documents/view/?id=10232199&

CNE503
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Re: Bridgeheads over the Pruth, June 1941

Post by CNE503 » 10 May 2021 19:07

Excellent, thank you Art!
The Romanian Guard Division had two neighboring bridgeheads over the Pruth, in Bogdanesti (where the railway bridge was located) and in Falciu. Apparently, only the first was overrun in the evening of June 25th.
CNE503
"Sicut Aquila" / "Ils s'instruisent pour vaincre" / "par l'exemple, le coeur et la raison" / "Labor Omnia Vincit"

CNE503
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Re: Bridgeheads over the Pruth, June 1941

Post by CNE503 » 10 May 2021 20:05

KTB AOK11 (NARA T312 R355 file 871): "28.6.: Folgende Brückenköpfe über Pruth in eigener Hand: Oancea, westl. Jepureni, Dranceni, Sculeni, Trifesti, Santa Maria".

I tracked back the Santa Mare bridgehead created by Brigada 6 Cavalerie on June 22nd evening.
Oancea was in Divizia 21 Infanterie sector.
Sculeni was the 198. Infanterie-Division bridgehead, heavily attacked by Soviet forces on June 26th and 27th.
"westl. Jepureni" was the Divizia 1 Garda bridgehead near Falciu.
Trifesti bridgehead was located around 20km north from the Sculeni one, and was probably held by Divizia 8 Infanterie.

CNE503
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CNE503
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Re: Bridgeheads over the Pruth, June 1941

Post by CNE503 » 11 May 2021 09:30

KTB AOK11 (NARA T312 R355 file 872): "30.6.: Brückenkopf bei Sculeni wurde durch 198. Div. erweitert. Brückenköpfe bei Oancea und westl. Jepureni gingen verloren. Feindangriff auf Brückenkopf Santa Maria wurde abgewiesen, Brücke leicht beschädigt".

So, on June 30th at the latest, the bridgeheads held by Divizia 1 Garda (Falciu, "westl. Jepureni") and Divizia 21 Infanterie (Oancea) were lost. 198. Infanterie-Division succeeded in expanding its own bridgehead in Sculeni, Brigada 6 Cavalerie held its positions in Santa Mare.

If someone has details about the loss of Falciu and Oancea bridgeheads on June 30th (or during the night of 29th to 30th), it would be more than welcome.

Regards,
CNE503
"Sicut Aquila" / "Ils s'instruisent pour vaincre" / "par l'exemple, le coeur et la raison" / "Labor Omnia Vincit"

CNE503
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Re: Bridgeheads over the Pruth, June 1941

Post by CNE503 » 11 May 2021 11:58

KTB AOK 11 (NARA T312 R355 file 875): "Am Abend des 30.6. wurden vom XXX. A.K. neue Brückenköpfe westl. Valea Mare und vom XI. A.K. bei Stanca und Languriri (nördl. und südl. Stefanesti) gebildet".
So, three new bridgeheads were created on June 30th:
- two by XI. Armeekorps near Stefanesti (Stanca is easy to find, but I could not track back Languriri which was probably near Stanca);
- one by XXX. Armeekorps in Valea Mare, near the towns of Tutora, Opriseni and Moreni.

CNE503
"Sicut Aquila" / "Ils s'instruisent pour vaincre" / "par l'exemple, le coeur et la raison" / "Labor Omnia Vincit"

CNE503
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Re: Bridgeheads over the Pruth, June 1941

Post by CNE503 » 11 May 2021 16:10

To end the thread: "2.7.
[...] Gegen zäh kämpfende Nachhuten Pruth-Übergang überall erzwunen und Brückenköpfe gebildet: 170. Div. Brückenkopf in etwa 10 km Tiefe zwischen Valea Mare und Ungheni, 14. rum. Div. von etwa 4 km Tiefe zwischen Ungheni und Zayarance, 13. rum. und 198. Div. beiderseits Buciumeni (wie 1.7.), 22. Div. von Wegespinne ostw. Romanesti bis zum Wald südwestl. Galosceni, 76. Div. bis Strasse südl. Varatec, rum. Kav.Korps Höhe nordwestl. Varatec erreicht" (NARA T312 R355 file 879).

CNE503
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Art
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Re: Bridgeheads over the Pruth, June 1941

Post by Art » 15 May 2021 18:00

CNE503 wrote:
10 May 2021 19:07
The Romanian Guard Division had two neighboring bridgeheads over the Pruth, in Bogdanesti (where the railway bridge was located) and in Falciu. Apparently, only the first was overrun in the evening of June 25th.
CNE503
Below is a pretty detailed account by lieutenant general Oslikovsky (assistant commander of the Soviet 9 Cavalry division in June 1941), undated, written probably in 1949-1950:
At about 2 o'clock on June 22 I was awoken by a telephone call and when I arrived to the division headquarters, there I found everyone already gathered, since an encoded telegram was received from the Odessa Military District headquarters regarding occupation of positions along the border. I proposed to the divisional commander and chief of staff to act in the same way as we did during the recent night training exercise, I called commander of 5, 108, and 136 Cavalry Regiments by phone and personally trasmitted them a codeword, after that I got into a car and went from Komrat to Leova, where I arrived at dawn, encountering on my way vehicles and wagons with evacuated officers’ families.
While passing through Yar-Gora I personally confirmed an order to the commander of the 108 Cavalry Regiment to ride at a trot to Falciu and occupy a sector between the 5 and 136 Cavalry regiments.
At Leova, I found units of the 5th Cavalry Regiment already moved to their sectors and occupying trenches; artillery took up firing positions. 10 minutes after my arrival, as soon as dawn began, at about 4 o'clock on June 22, 1941, the enemy opened artillery fire from 5-6 batteries at Leova and border outposts at the Falciu bridges, as well as units of the 136th Cavalry Regiment in Gotesti, Tyganka.
Our batteries of the 5th and 136th Cavalry Regiments and two batteries of the 12th Horse Artillery Battalion immediately responded with artillery fire, and in the Leova area an enemy battery, which occupied open firing positions, was destroyed by direct fire by the battery of the 5th Cavalry Regiment. After a short artillery strike, the enemy attacked units of the
division, but was repulsed in the Loeva and Gotesti area, and in the Falciu, where border outposts defended fortifications at bridges, he captured the railroad and road bridges across the Prut River, as the 108th Cavalry Regiment was just approaching its defense sector.
Both bridges were prepared for the explosion, but they were not blown up since a commander of the border detachment didn’t receive an order from his superiors, and he did not follow my order, as he cooperated with units of the division on a voluntary basis.
At about 5 o'clock, I drove to the heights at Falciu by car, and by this time the 108th Cavalry Regiment and two howitzer batteries of the 12th Cavalry Horse Artillery Battalion approached the same place. The deployment of the regiment was carried out at a trot and squadrons at a gallop, in line of columns, came to the Prut River and occupied their defensive areas under hostile fire which was conducted in a disorderly manner, without causing damage to the cavalry. Both howitzer batteries immediately took up position and opened fire on the Romanian infantry,
which crossed across the road bridge at Falciu.
Intense combat and repeated attacks from the enemy with the aim to cross the Prut River in the sector Leova, Gotesti continued throughout the day on June 22, but without success and by the end of the day the enemy was everywhere thrown back to the western bank of the Prut River, with the exception of bridgeheads /our former border outposts/ at road railroad bridges near Falciu, which were captured and held by the Romanian guards regiments " Mihai Viteazu " and "Regina Eleonora". Throughout June 22, single hostile airplanes bombed and strafed at our battle formations, but without causing significant damage. Our fighters appeared four or five times by patrols of 2-3 aircraft, but only reached the Prut River and returned back to the east. There were no air battles.
At approximately 14 o'clock, by order of the division commander, I was appointed commander
of the battle sector Leova, Falciu; 5th and 108th Cavalry Regiments, two squadrons of the 136th cavalry regiment and the 12th cavalry artillery battalion were subordinated to me.
At the same time, the division commander reported that the division's defensive zone was expanded to the north to Novo-Leova inclusively, where the squadron of the 72nd Cavalry Regiment with tanks was sent, and to the south to Cahul exclusively, where the 136th Cavalry Regiment without two squadrons was sent with tanks.
My observation post was at heights near the Prut River on a concrete chimney on the road, from where there was a very good view towards the enemy. I created an improvised headquarters from the communications officers of the 5th and 108th cavalry regiments and border guards, and mainly relied on the headquarters of the 108th cavalry regiment, the commander of which with the commander of the 12th Horse Artillery Battalion was constantly at my observation post.
On the night of June 22-23, I received an order to dislodge by all means the enemy from the bridgeheads that he captured and blow up the road and railroad bridges over the Prut River at Falciu. In pursuance of this order, I assigned a task to a squadron of the 72nd cavalry regiment, with two platoons of engineers, which arrived to my reserve, commanded by senior lieutenant Nestorov - to secretly sneak to the road bridge and blow it up, and then attack the Romanians from the rear simultaneously with attack of two squadrons of the 108th Cavalry Regiment from the front.
For the capture and explosion of the railroad bridge I sent a company of the border detachment
with two platoons of engineers, which also had to attack the enemy from the rear simultaneously with the attack from the front by one squadron of the 136th Cavalry Regiment, which occupied defense positions in this sector.
The actions of the cavalrymen were very energetic, and before dawn on June 23, the road bridge over the Prut River was blown up in a complete surprise for Romanians by the squadron of 72 Cavalry Regiment commander by senior lieutenant Nesterov, after that the enemy attacked from two sides was completely defeated and partially captured, and the state border was completely restored at this point.
The border guards company failed to secretly infiltrate to the railroad bridge, despite the fact that they guarded it all the time and knew all approaches to it very well. Having detected the movement of the border guards, the enemy opened intensive fire and forced them to hit the ground at the level of squadrons of the 108 and 136 Cavalry Regiments that defended this sector and had the task of attacking the enemy from the front.
After the failure of the railroad bridge explosion, I decided to capture it by force by the end of the day on June 25 after preliminary thorough preparation and ranging of two cannon and two howitzer batteries during June 23-24. Two squadrons of 136 Cavalry Regiment and one squadron of the 72 Cavalry Regiment, as well as the entire sapper squadron were assigned to capture the bridge, with a sufficient supply of explosives carried by engineers in their sacks. The start of the attack was set at 18 o'clock on June 25 after a short artillery fire strike.
At the appointed time, all the artillery very successfully and with great intensity shelled the enemy, and then after 15 minutes transferred fire on the western bank of the Prut River, and then squadrons attacked the enemy, destroying and capturing more than two battalions of the “Mihai Viteazu” regiment. Thus, the state border was restored in the divisional defense sector.
There also parts about other Romanian attacks across the Prut River after 25 June.

CNE503
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Re: Bridgeheads over the Pruth, June 1941

Post by CNE503 » 15 May 2021 18:39

Excellent Art, thank you for sharing!
CNE503
"Sicut Aquila" / "Ils s'instruisent pour vaincre" / "par l'exemple, le coeur et la raison" / "Labor Omnia Vincit"

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