Infanterie Regiment 187 - Jun 1941.

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Infanterie Regiment 187 - Jun 1941.

Post by tigre » 16 Apr 2007 01:21

Hello to all people. Please, could someone here kindly enlighten me up about the part played by the Infanterie Regiment 187 in the 87 Infanterie Division's Attack at the Beginning of the Russian Campaign on June 1941. TIA. Cheers. Tigre.

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Re: Infanterie Regiment 187 - Jun 1941.

Post by tigre » 29 Jun 2008 14:59

Hello to all :D; a little story dealing with the actions carried out by this regiment behind the frontlines as Aug 1941......

32nd Russian Cossack Division against the IR 187 - Aug 1941.

On 22 June, 1941, the German Army attacked Russia The German offensive was initially very successful in terms of tempo and distance covered. Whole Russian armies were annihilated by German encirclement operations. However, the cost of maintaining the momentum necessary for successful large-scale encirclement operations was that the Germans by passed large areas which could not be easily traversed.

During pre-war exercises, the Soviet General Staff had realized that they could not stop the German armored spearheads near the border. They decided, therefore, on a strategy of delay in order to separate the attacking armor from the supporting infantry formations. They would then deal with each group separately with their operational echelon in the interior of western Ukraine. Integral to this strategy was the insertion of small infantry and cavalry forces in the German rear areas to disrupt the lines of communication and further the separation of the armor from infantry formations.6

The 32nd Russian Cossack Division was assigned the mission of disrupting the rear areas of Field Marshal Fedor von Bock's Army Group Center, which was continuing the attack towards Smolensk and Moscow. To insert the force in the rear of the Germans, the Cossacks hid in the Pripet Marshes until the attacking German formations passed them by. Mobility in the Pripet Marshes was extremely limited, with only a few small trails crossing the otherwise swampy terrain. In addition to the difficult terrain, coordinated German operations in the area were difficult because the Pripet Marshes were the boundary between Field Marshal Gerd von Rundstedt's Army Group South and Bock's Army Group North. By mid-July the Soviet forces north of the Pripet Marshes had been encircled and were being reduced, and on 11 July Colonel General Heinz Guderian's Panzer Group 2 was crossing the Dnepr River. This was the trigger for the 32nd Cossack Division to go into action.7

The 32nd Russian Cossack Division was organized with four troops of about 100 soldiers each, and a three-gun artillery battery. The Cossacks were reinforced by other Russian soldiers who had escaped from the German encirclement and taken refuge in the swamps of the Pripet Marshes. In all, the division was approximately 750 men strong. The Cossacks provided themselves with horses and a few vehicles found in the area, thus making the division tactically mobile. They were supplied with a large amount of explosives, and were resupplied to a limited extent by air. Most supplies, however, came from foraging, which was difficult, given the limited sustainment capacity of the Pripet Marshes. Indeed, one captured Cossack told his captors that he had survived for weeks by eating nothing but tree bark. Orders came via couriers, who either infiltrated through the German lines dressed as civilians, or parachuted.8 This obviated the need for long range communications systems.

Upon being ordered to begin disruption operations, the 32nd Cossack Division moved from the Pripet Marshes north into the area west of Bobriusk, which was mostly marshy and forested. Once in this critical sector of the German lines of communications they destroyed road and railway bridges, mined the German supply routes, and ambushed German supply columns and courier vehicles. Occasionally they attacked the supply trains. During the day the Cossacks stayed hidden, sending patrols out for security as well as intelligence gathering. The patrols, dressed in peasant garb, reconnoitered and marked routes for use by raiding forces at night. They made good use of the local populace as an intelligence source, though at this point in the war the population was not totally friendly to the Cossacks.

Source: Infantry behind the lines – still a viable concept. Major Mike McMahon, Infantry. School of Advanced Military Studies United States Army Command and General Staff College Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

More follows. Raúl M 8-).

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Re: Infanterie Regiment 187 - Jun 1941.

Post by tigre » 06 Jul 2008 14:33

Hello to all :D; more follows..........................

Widely dispersed in hide positions, the Cossacks assembled upon signal by red flare, and began operations. Action was continuous throughout the night, placing a heavy burden on the reactive German command and control system and on the morale and physical readihess of the German soldiers. The Cossacks' actions reflected detailed coordination and intelligence work. Usually, their operations were characterized by dispersed acts of sabotage, though they were always synchronized against the same type target However, when a large supply train was due, the Russians combined for large-scale raids, with a few small outlying actions to divert attention from the main - effort. Just before dawn the Cossacks dispersed to new hide positions .to rest and prepare for the next night's action.9

The most effective tactic employed by the Cossacks was laying well-camoflagued mines on the primary roads and railroads. This not only destroyed many supply vehicles and rail engines and cars, but disrupted the flow of traffic while German mineclearing squads swept the roads every morning. The Cossacks were innovative in quickly developing methods to counter German defensive measures, and were continually successful in significantly disrupting the flow of material in the area. This had significant effects on Army Group Center's Ninth Army, which, due to disruptions in their sipply lines, had to delay further offensives in support of Guderian's Panzer Group 2's attack toward Smolensk.10

The Germans' initial response to the actions of the 32nd Cossacks was to detail the 87th Infantry Division, which was the Ninth Army reserve, to reinforce security detachments along the railroads. However, this merely caused the Cossacks to shift tactics. The Cossacks alternated between widely dispersed acts of small sabotage and coordinated attacks on the security detachments. Realizing that these reactive tactics could not be successful, the 87th Infantry Division was ordered in the beginning of August to neutralize the enemy in the area by seeking out and destroying them. The commander of the 187th Infantry Regiment, assigned this task, decided to encircle the enemy and destroy them completely in one operation." Success depended on responsive and accurate intelligence to pinpoint the Cossack's location.

The Cossacks discovered the German plan and began exfiltrating from the area toward the east. On 5 August they attempted to break out of the area as a combined unit. This made them much easier for the Germans to track. The Germans reacted rapidly and positioned blocking forces to prevent further escape of the Cossacks. The Cossacks then
tried to escape to the south back into the Pripet Marshes. In their attempt they exposed themselves and the Germans reacted quickly to encircle them by 6 August. The encircling German forces then began to collapse the pocket. The resulting close combat was fierce, requiring the use of hand grenades and bayonets, since mortars and machine
guns had little effect in the thick forest. Throughout the night of 6-7 August, the Cossacks attacked repeatedly in their attempts to break out. But since they were dispersed, these attacks were disjointed and rarely effective. The Cossacks collapsed their positions into a tight defensive enclave and fought until their annihilation by midday on 7 August Very few made it out of the cordon, and even fewer returned to Russian lines.12

Source: Infantry behind the lines – still a viable concept. Major Mike McMahon, Infantry. School of Advanced Military Studies United States Army Command and General Staff College Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

More follows. Raúl M 8-).

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Re: Infanterie Regiment 187 - Jun 1941.

Post by tigre » 13 Jul 2008 19:25

Hello to all :D; the last part..........................

The operations of the 32nd Cossack Division were successful in disrupting the supply lines of the German forward forces, and thereby delaying their advance. This permitted the Russian operational echelon to regroup around Smolensk and buy enough time for the strategic reserve to be formed and deployed to launch the counteroffensive forward of Moscow. Additionally, the Cossacks tied down reserve forces that could have been otherwise employed in support of the German offensive.

Though not the only cause of the Germans' operational pause before continuing the attack toward Smolensk, the Cossacks actions show that the interdiction of the operational lines of communications of the enemy can have a significant impact on the enemy's operations. The cost to the 32nd Cossack Division was significant, with virtually all of the 750 soldiers of the division destroyed. Several observations from the experience of the 32nd Cossack Division are relevant to the current analysis. First, during World War Two, large units could hide in untrafficable terrain and avoid the enemy during his assault through the area. These units could then emerge into the less dense (in terms of combat forces) area behind the enemy front lines. Second, direct attacks of the enemy's combat forces were near suicidal for the Russians. The Cossacks were successful in evading detection as long as they operated through sabotage and mining, and were less successful when they launched large-scale raids.

Further, the Cossacks were able to avoid detection as long as they operated as dispersed small units. There were two advantages to this mode of operations. There was a greater level of confusion on the part of the German command because they could not know the size of the forces operating against them. Additionally, they portrayed a number of small targets for the Germans, which were inherently more difficult to find and track than a large unit was. Once the Cossacks combined to attempt the breakout, they were easy to find and could not escape in the face of overwhelming German combat power. Finally, the Cossacks made good use of the local populace for security and intelligence. The locais provided excellent intelligence about the activities of the Germans so that targeting could be planned.

6 Bryan I. Fugate, Operation Barbarossa (Novato, CA: Presidio Press, 1984), 46. ,
7 E Bergen, "Encirclement and Annihilation of the Russian 32d Cossack Division 6-7
August, 1941," Historical Manuscript #D-075 (Office of the Chief of Military History,
Headquarters, European Command, 25 April, 1947), 6 and 22-23.
8 Bergen, 4 and 22-23.
9 Bergen, 6-8.
10 Bergen, 7-9.
l1 Bergen, 10-11.
l2 Bergen, 18-22

Source: Infantry behind the lines – still a viable concept. Major Mike McMahon, Infantry. School of Advanced Military Studies United States Army Command and General Staff College Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

It's all folks. Cheers. Raúl M 8-).

PS: by chance, anyone has the Bergen's work on hand?

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Re: Infanterie Regiment 187 - Jun 1941.

Post by tigre » 09 Aug 2008 20:03

Hello to all :D; here goes something from the german side of the hill......................

87 ID – Jul and Aug 1941.

24 Jul 1941

The leading parts of the 87 ID had just entered at Minsk when the Division received the following radio message: Rollbahn (higway) 1 and railway Minsk – Bobruisk, besides the Pz Group 2’s trains threatened by heavy hostile cavalry forces coming from the Pripjet swamps, the 87 ID should asume the railroad security.

Hence, the Division issued the following order: the Pz Jäg. Abt 187 was to guard the railroad’s eastern sector towards Bobruisk – Osipowitschi; the AA 187 the stretch around Rudenski. The western sector towards Minsk would be secure by the 14./ IR 187.

The troops were alarmed and by Jul 26 1941 had reached its assigned sectors.

Was the Pz Jäg Abt 187’s Commander who got the first news about the enemy, on Jul 27 1941, as he established liasion with the 162 ID at Sluk and the XXXXIII AK at Bobruisk: one Russian Cavalry Corps had reached in strenght the road at Simoniwitschi and to the north and was approaching to the railway. Also the inhabitants of Osipowitschi reported about thausends of cossacks in the woods south of the town.

Yet during the night from 27 to 28 Jul 1941 at 03:00 hours, the enemy blown up the railway track close to the stop of Tatarka, 10 kilometers to the southeast of Osipowitschi. Shortly afterwards the Commander of the 2./ Pz. Jäg Abt 187 reported that railroad station at Jasen was under heavy attack and he was sourrounded at the station properly. In spite of all the forces on hand were engaged in security tasks one antitank platoon could reach Jasen and with that help the company compeled the cossacks to retreat towards the woods.

Around noon arrived at Osipowitschi the first reinforcement sent by the division’s Ia, a train conveyed 150 railwaymen (security and technicians); they were old men and their combat skill were low.

The night from the 28 to 29 Jul 1941 was quiet and in the morning rolled the Panzerzug Nº 29, it was sent by the Feld-Eisenbahn-Direktion Minsk so the striking force and the fighting capacity was improved in the area. Later reached the threatened zone the II./ IR 187, it was conveyed by rail.

Source: Der Weg der 87. Infanterie-Division. Hermann Oehmichen, Martin Mann, Traditionsgemeinschaft der ehemaligen 87. Infanterie-Division, Traditionsgemeinschaft der ehemaligen 87. Infanterie-Division Publicado por Im Selbstverlag der Division, 1969.

More follows. Cheers. Raúl M 8-).
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Re: Infanterie Regiment 187 - Jun 1941.

Post by tigre » 13 Aug 2008 23:04

Hello to all :D; the story follows.......................................

In the morning of Jul 30 1941, came from Swislotsch (20 kilometers north of Bobruisk) as a help one Baukompanie, which was working on the Beresina’s bridge there. According to division’s orders the Panzerzug Nº 29 reinforced by a platoon of the 14./ IR 187 and another of 3./ Pi 187 rolled to Swislowitsch to guard the rail track in that sector. The Staff and III./ IR 187 were marching to Osipowitschi where Oberst Bergen took command over all the forces engaged in the area.

On Jul 31 1941, at 05:30 hours the newly arrived Panzerzug Nº 28 reported that up to three hostile cavalry squadrons crossed the railway between Jasen and Bobruisk heading north; also the landowners saw russians troops getting over the Beresina towards east at Kosje (3 kilometers south of Swislotsch).

Oberst Bergen sent the 14./ IR 187 and 3./ Pi 187 coming from the south (out of Bobruisk) against the woods located west of Kosje and the Platoon belonging to the 14./ IR 187 from the north (Swislotsch) against Kosje. Around 15:00 hours, the 14./ IR 187 met the enemy south of Kosje, but due to the terrain’s feature (thick forest) it could not ascertain the enemy situation there.

Source: Der Weg der 87. Infanterie-Division. Hermann Oehmichen, Martin Mann, Traditionsgemeinschaft der ehemaligen 87. Infanterie-Division, Traditionsgemeinschaft der ehemaligen 87. Infanterie-Division Publicado por Im Selbstverlag der Division, 1969.

More follows. Cheers. Raúl M 8-).

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Re: Infanterie Regiment 187 - Jun 1941.

Post by tigre » 16 Aug 2008 17:16

Hello to all :D; the story follows.......................................

On Aug 01 1941, the III./ IR 187 together with the 3./ Pz Jäg 187 moved on from Osipowitschi in southerly direction and reached, without hostile interference, the Rollbahn 1 at Somiwitschi and Gusha. In this way Oberst Bergen could establish that the bulk of the enemy was located in the woods southeast of Osipowitschi. Hence, he ordered deep reconnaissance in that area for the next day.

On Aug 02 1941 last night, the XXXXIII AK sent the report, got thru a soviet officer’s statement, that the russian 32 Kav. Div should occupy and assembly area in the forest north of Koptscha in order to get across the Beresina river on this very day. Group Oehmichen: Pz Jäg Abt 187 (less its 3. Company), 14./ IR 187 and 3.(Mot)/ Pi 187 should prevent that crossing. The Group attacked towards Kosje and with fire of machine guns and antitank cannons hindered the cossacks movement, compelled them to retreat towards the woods located west of the town.

At 15:30 hours, the AA 187 entered in Switsloch and got the order that with one squadron should attack in order to avoid the foreseen enemy withdrawal to Tatakowitsch.

Source: Der Weg der 87. Infanterie-Division. Hermann Oehmichen, Martin Mann, Traditionsgemeinschaft der ehemaligen 87. Infanterie-Division, Traditionsgemeinschaft der ehemaligen 87. Infanterie-Division Publicado por Im Selbstverlag der Division, 1969.

More follows. Cheers. Raúl M 8-).

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Re: Infanterie Regiment 187 - Jun 1941.

Post by tigre » 23 Aug 2008 20:28

Hello to all :D; the story follows.......................................

On Aug 03 1941, at 03:30 hours the AA 187 reported that almost 10 squadron with artillerie were marching from Kosje in westerly direction. At 06:00 hours Panzerzug 28 informed that the before mentioned hostile force had got across the railway heading south west of the Stop of Tatarka; hence the IR 187 Commanding Officer ordered 14./ IR 187 and 3(Mot)./ Pi 187 were to block the crossing at Kosje.

The Pz Jäg Abt 187 was to hinder the enemy movement toward west and southwest along the road Osipowitschi – Korinto. The AA 187 was to look for the enemy contact and then press on with its bulk against Sasseletschi in order to impede the way towards the southeast.

The III./ IR 187 was to move out from the south edge of Korinto towards the wood located north of Kochanowka. At 14:30 hours that battalion knocked the enemy within the forest and drove it northwards but suffered great number of casualties in doing so.

At 15:30 hours the AA 187 met the enemy at Broditschi; the 5./ IR 173 attacking on its left took Borock. To the right was employed the 1./ IR 173 which was sent by the division and carried on trucks (LKW). The Pz Jäg Abt 187 could establish liaison with the III./ IR 187 south of Borki. Around 17:00 hours the enemy resistance stiffened and the german attack was called off.

Due to the reconnaissance task accomplished by the AA 187, a strong hostile force could be encircled.

Source: Der Weg der 87. Infanterie-Division. Hermann Oehmichen, Martin Mann, Traditionsgemeinschaft der ehemaligen 87. Infanterie-Division, Traditionsgemeinschaft der ehemaligen 87. Infanterie-Division Publicado por Im Selbstverlag der Division, 1969.

More follows. Cheers. Raúl M 8-).

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Re: Infanterie Regiment 187 - Jun 1941.

Post by tigre » 30 Aug 2008 11:57

Hello to all :D; the story follows.......................................

On Aug 04 1941, during the night the enemy tried several times to break-through, but always was repeled. During this day the Kampfgruppe Bergen was reinforced as follows: transported by trucks (LKW) one platoon belonging to Pi. Btl 187 by train III./ IR 173 and two batteries of AR 187. The III./ IR 173 was detrained at Jasen and hindered any breakthrough towards north.

On Aug 05 1941, during the night the 5./ IR 173 was attacked by strong enemy at the stop of Tatarka and was compeled to withdraw. Due to operations carried out by AA 187 and 3./ Pz Jäg Abt 187 on the railway on either sides of Samocje another breakthrough was prevented. The III./ IR 173 counteratacked from Jasen towards south and engaged the russian between the railroad and Dubojawa.

On Aug 06 1941 taking advantage of the darkness, the enemy could breakthrough the german ring again; this time westwards in the sectors held by the Pz Jäg Abt 187 and III./ IR 187.

The II./ IR 185 (less its 8. Company) was transported by rail towards Borki. So more and more the division’s troops were engaged in the cossacks’ encirclement. At 18:00 hours the 87 ID issued an order for carrying out a concentric attack for the following dawn in spite of the artillery was not ready yet and the 8./ IR 185 would not arrive in time.

Source: Der Weg der 87. Infanterie-Division. Hermann Oehmichen, Martin Mann, Traditionsgemeinschaft der ehemaligen 87. Infanterie-Division, Traditionsgemeinschaft der ehemaligen 87. Infanterie-Division Publicado por Im Selbstverlag der Division, 1969.

More follows. Cheers. Raúl M 8-).

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Re: Infanterie Regiment 187 - Jun 1941.

Post by tigre » 06 Sep 2008 12:19

Hello to all :D; the last part of it.................................

On Aug 07 1941, more enemy groups broke through during the night mostly small parties of riders getting across the german lines at a full gallop.

At 05:00 hours all the combat groups went under way against the cauldron as follows:

From the west, Group of attack Schlegel: II./ IR 185 against Point 163,6 on Lipniki.

From the south, Group of attack Habitch: III./ IR 187 plus 1. (cyclist)/ IR 173 against Dubojawa on Lipniki.

From the north, Group of attack Strössner: II./ IR 173 plus 2. (cyclist)/ AA 187 and 2./ IR 173.

Blocking Group Oehmichen: Pz Jäg Abt 187 and 3. (Mot)/ Pi 187 securing the road Osipowitschi – Borki.

Blocking Group Geissler: AA 187 (-) and 14./ IR 187 the railway.

The swamps and thick wooded land hindered and delayed the attackers but the soviet’s fate was sealed and in spite of the cossacks showed a biter defence by noon they were all either killed or taken as a prisoners. The changing fight with the Cossack 32 cavalry Division which lasted thirteen days was over.

During the following days while mopping up the woods the II./ IR 185 found 200 russian corpses and 200 dead horses.

On Aug 12 1941, in compliance with orders issued by Heeresgebiet Mitte the prisoners were sent from Borisow to Minsk.

Source: Der Weg der 87. Infanterie-Division. Hermann Oehmichen, Martin Mann, Traditionsgemeinschaft der ehemaligen 87. Infanterie-Division, Traditionsgemeinschaft der ehemaligen 87. Infanterie-Division Publicado por Im Selbstverlag der Division, 1969.

It's all folks. Cheers. Raúl M 8-).

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