Italian 8th Army - Defense of Kantemirovka and Rossosh

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Larry D.
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Italian 8th Army - Defense of Kantemirovka and Rossosh

Post by Larry D. » 13 May 2005 13:15

HELP!

Can anyone recommend some sources, probably in the Italian language, that provide at least 3 or 4 pages of details on the defense of Kantemirovka 20-30 Dec 42 and Rossosh 14-17 Jan 43 by units of the Italian 8th Army? The C.A. Alpino defended the latter, but I don't know who defended the former. Although I am interested in the details of the overall defense of these two pivotal railway towns along the rail line from Voronezh to Millerovo, I am particularly interested in the defense of the airfields there by disparate ground elements of the German Luftwaffe. I have already searched the internet and tried to locate published material in English and German on the subject, but there is very little and what there is lacks detail. At this point, I suspect what I am looking for can only be found in Italian language works like the Historical Office of the Italian Army General Staff book Le Operaazioni Delle Unità Italiane Al Fronte Russo (1941-1943). Does this work cover Kantemirovka and Rossosh in detail? I can fumble and stumble along in written Italian, so don't hesitate to make recommendations in that language. Like you, I just don't want to order a bunch of books only to discover on arrival that they don't cover what I am looking for!

Many thanks in advance,

--Larry

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Lupo Solitario
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Post by Lupo Solitario » 13 May 2005 19:25

the book you name is a good starting point if you can read italian

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Post by Larry D. » 15 May 2005 12:58

Thanks, Lupo, and yes, everyone says Le Operazioni.... is a fine book. I was hoping someone could tell me if that and other Italian language books provided details (at least several pages each) on the defense of Kantemirovka and Rossosh. These books are hard to find and expensive. I want to make sure they have what I want before buying them.

Thanks anyway,

--Larry

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Lupo Solitario
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Post by Lupo Solitario » 16 May 2005 18:13

the point is: there's not a book "dedicated" to your interest...you have to dig between the many books given to russian campaign , historical or memories.
Overall Kantemirovka is really a forgotten page; Rossosch is a bit more known but sincerly I got some trouble in giving you a precise suggestion

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Post by Larry D. » 16 May 2005 18:32

Thanks for your suggestions and thoughts, Lupo. The reason I am interested is because the Luftwaffe lost a large number of its Bodenorganisation personnel (service and support - signal, Flak, aircraft mechanics, truck drivers, airfield people, construction troops, supply personnel, etc., etc.) at both Kantemirovka and Rossosh airfields while attempting to defend them. I was just hoping there were some detailed Italian accounts of what happened at both places, because there are no German accounts. I have even looked in the surviving microfilmed German records and there is nothing concerning the defense of these two airfields.

Thanks anyway.

--Larry

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Post by Abel Ravasz » 16 May 2005 18:39

Larry,

looks like I've infected You with this Kantemirowka stuff (LuNa Abt 130, remember? :D ). Hope I could help You with this but I have got very little info and no sources to offer.
This is my unit list for the two locations for late December 42 - early Januar 43

Kantemirowka
5.(H)/Aufklärungsgruppe 32
Fliegerhorst-Kommandantur E 29/IV
gemischte Flak-Abteilung 254 (v)
Luftnachrichten-Abteilung 130

Rossosch
Störkampfgruppe Luftwaffenkommando Don
2./Jagdgeschwader 52
Luftwaffen-Bau-Bataillon 4./IV
Luftwaffen-Bau-Bataillon 5./VI
Luftwaffen-Bau-Bataillon 4./VII
Luftwaffen-Bau-Bataillon 8./VII
Luftwaffen-Bau-Bataillon 9./VII
II./Flak-Regiment 43 (gem. mot.)

I know that this is almost nothing compared to what You've requested, but perhaps good for a starting point...

Abel

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Post by Larry D. » 16 May 2005 18:49

Thanks Abel. Here is a more complete list that I took directly from BA-MA Freiburg, Signatur RL 2 III Meldungen über Flugzeugunfälle bei die fliegende Verbände (Loss Reports – LRs) which, until the end of June 1943, also include all losses of the Bodenorganisation personnel:

Luftwaffe Units (all or elements) Involved in Defending Kantemirovka:
Fl.H.Kdtr. (E) 29/IV: 23.12.42
Fl.H.Kdtr. A 201/VIII: 19.1.43
Fl.Pl.Kdo. Kantemirovka-Süd: 19-30.12.42
Ldssch.Zug.d.Lw. 7/VII: 22-24.12.42
Ldssch.Zug.d.Lw. 340/XI: 20-23.12.42
le.Flak-Abt. 84: 20.12.42-16.1.43
Flak-u.Lehr-Rgt./FAS I (elements): 18-26.12.42
1./Lw.-Bau-Btl. 2/VII: 20.,21.12.42
San.Gr./Lw.-Bau-Btl. 8/VII: 24-26.12.42
Lw.-Bau-Btl. 2/IV: 20-27.12.42
Lw.-Bau-Btl. 8/VII: 20-30.12.42
Lw.-Bau-Btl. 2/VIII: 20.-29.12.42
Lw.-Bau-Btl. Borispol: 25.12.42 – 18.1.43 (heavy)
Bau-Ger.Zug 10/XII: 23.12.42, 18.1.43
I./Lg.Nachr.Rgt. Charkow: 20-29.12.42
II./Lg.Nachr.Rgt. Charkow: 20-30.12.42
VI./Lg.Nachr.Rgt. Charkow: 22.-29.12.42
III./Ln.-Rgt. 31: 15.1.
Nachschub-Kp.d.Lw. 3/VIII: 21.12.42
Stab/Nachschub-Kol.Abt.(mot) 1/VIII: 23-24.12.42
Trsp.Kol.d.Lw. 7/VIII: 20.12.42-4.1.43
Trsp.Kol.d.Lw. 35/XI: 24.12.42
Trsp.Kol.d.Lw. 82/XI: 22.12.42
Luftzeugstab 103: 21-22.12.42

Luftwaffe Units Involved in Defending Rossosh:
Kdo.d.Flugh.Ber. 4/XIII: 3.2.43 (massive)
Fl.H.Kdtr. (E) 15/VIII: 18.1.43
Fl.H.Kdtr. (E) 18/XII: 18.1.43 (massive)
Ln.-Stelle/Fl.H.Kdtr. (E) 18/XII: 18.1.43 (wiped out)
I.Flak-Rgt. 19: 5.1.43, 1-18.1.43 (heavy)
II./Flak-Rgt. 43: 18-19.1.43 (heavy)
Gem.Flak-Abt. 100: 14.1.43
I./Lg.Nachr.Rgt. Charkow: 15-21.1.43
VI./Lg.Nachr.Rgt. Charkow: 17.1.43
III./Ln.-Rgt. 31: 15.1., 18.1.43
Ln.-Tel.Bau-Abt.z.b.V. 6: 15.1.43
Ln.-Verb.Kp.z.b.V. 1: 15.1.43
Flugh.Ber.Ln.-Kp.z.b.V. 6: 18.1.43
Feldwerftverband (mot) 70: 15-24.1.43 (massive)
Lw.-Bau-Btl. 5/IV: 5-15.1.43 (massive)
Lw.-Bau-Btl. 4/VII: 17.1.43 (wiped out)
Lw.-Bau-Btl. 9/VII: 18.1.43 (wiped out)
Lw.-Bau-Btl. 8/XII: 5.1.43
Bau-Ger.Zug 12/IV: 18.1.43 (wiped out)
Bau-Ger.Zug 1/VI: 18.1.43 (heavy)
Stab/Nachschub-Kol.Abt.(mot) 1/VIII: 15-17.1.43 (massive)
Stab/Nachschub-Kol.Abt.(mot) 2/VII: 31.1.43 (heavy)
Trsp.Kol.d.Lw. 35/II: 26.12.42
Fl.Betr.Stoff-Kol. 506/XIII: 16.1.43
Lw.-Kriegsber.Kp. (mot) 1: 29.1.43

So my problem was not one of identifying the units, but rather finding out exactly what happened. I guess we could say that we are "in the same boat" on this one. :wink:

--Larry

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Post by Abel Ravasz » 16 May 2005 19:05

8O

8O

WOW! Now this is something!!! Thanks a lot, Larry! I wanted to offer You a little help and in the end I get helped out a LOT by You! This is just wonderful, thanks!

Abel

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Lupo Solitario
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Post by Lupo Solitario » 16 May 2005 23:08

The point is that it's in itself difficult to describe what had happened in Kantemirowka and Rossosch...For example, it's reported that a replacement battalion of Cuneense division arrived in Rossosch just while Russians were attacking it. It simply...disappeared, there was no more trace of this unit after its arrival at Rossosch railway station.

In more general terms just understanding which units were present in those battles is often complicated. What is certain is that while in Rossosch was present a certain bulk of good combat units, in Kantemirowka they were completely absent.

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Post by Larry D. » 17 May 2005 13:50

Thanks for that, Lupo. Every little bit helps in coming to a better understanding of what went on there.

--Larry

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Post by FB » 17 May 2005 15:04

About Kantemirowka (Dec. 19th and following days, 1942)

maybe this link will be interesting (it's in Italian).

http://groups.google.it/group/it.cultura.storia.militare/browse_thread/thread/6d32026ad2a0a586/27bb840531b02696?q=kantemirowka&rnum=2&hl=it#27bb840531b02696

it's an Italian discussion group where a member (Bruno) is a veteran and was the CO (or an Officer) of the 1st Bty, XXXVI Gruppo AA (75/46 guns, part of the 8th Armi asset, the 4th Ragguppamento Artiglieria Contraerea).

His battery fired all the 800 grenades available against the Russian tanks, sodliers and aircrafts that were attacking the site.

The discussion is pretty recent: it dates back to the last day of last year. But it appears that it has been abandoned. Maybe Lupo (if he reads that group: I only stumbled on it by chanche, while researching a completely different thing. I don't know how that "thing" works, sorry) knows something about it.

In another book, written by one of the AA Raggruppamento Chaplain, a resistance in the area by the XXXVI Gruppo is reported, and also that they ad to leave the city without the guns, after the fightings.

Best regards

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Post by Lupo Solitario » 17 May 2005 15:32

it's something new for me too...anyway I'd like to trace a story of all the 13 AA batteries of 4th Raggruppamento...where there was one of them it seems something of interesting happens always... :wink:

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Post by Abel Ravasz » 17 May 2005 15:42

Hi Lupo, Larry, FB!

Lupo, what do You mean by "a replacement battalion of Cuneense"? I was not aware of the fact that there were more replacement battalions available in Alpini divisions. Can You elaborate on this topic, as I'm no Italian TO&E expert? Thanks.

If I know right, XXX. Guastatori Bn and the Monte Cervino Ski Bn were present at Rossosch at the time of the first assault. Can anyone confirm this?

FB: I have recently read this thread, and what I have understood of it (I don't speak Italian), talks are about the first rush on Kantemirowka there. Kantemirowka was captured almost immediately after the first Russian attacks (Ravenna + parts of Cosseria + corps artillery) pulling out to the west, but battle raged on at the airfield, defended mostly by Luftwaffe troops until the first part of January. And that is when the Lw Boden units suffered the high losses.

Best regards,

Abel

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Post by FB » 17 May 2005 17:08

Abel Ravasz wrote:Hi Lupo, Larry, FB!

Lupo, what do You mean by "a replacement battalion of Cuneense"? I was not aware of the fact that there were more replacement battalions available in Alpini divisions. Can You elaborate on this topic, as I'm no Italian TO&E expert? Thanks.

If I know right, XXX. Guastatori Bn and the Monte Cervino Ski Bn were present at Rossosch at the time of the first assault. Can anyone confirm this?

FB: I have recently read this thread, and what I have understood of it (I don't speak Italian), talks are about the first rush on Kantemirowka there. Kantemirowka was captured almost immediately after the first Russian attacks (Ravenna + parts of Cosseria + corps artillery) pulling out to the west, but battle raged on at the airfield, defended mostly by Luftwaffe troops until the first part of January. And that is when the Lw Boden units suffered the high losses.

Best regards,

Abel


Hi Abel

in the thread from the newsgroup I linked above, they speak about the fightings in Kantemirowka happened starting from Dec. 19, 1942. Mr. Bruno (who says he is 88 years old) made a mistake and wrote "1943".

But I do not frequent that newsgroup and hence I don't know nor how it works neither if the discussion went on somwhere else.

Best regards

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Post by Larry D. » 17 May 2005 18:34

FB, Abel and Lupo -

Good stuff! It's my understanding that the fighting in and around Kantemirovka looking something like this:

On 19 December most of Italian Div. Ravenna and the 90 Art Rgt (Div. Cosseria) fled in disorder from Kantemirovka.
20-23 Dec 42: elements of Soviet 1st Guards Army broke through the front held by the Italian 8th Army and advanced to the outskirts of Kantemirovka and pushed reconnaissance units beyond the town, thus momentarily cutting the railway. The line was quickly restored and H.Gr. B was ordered to hold it. On 24 Dec “Stützpunkt Kantemirowka” was being held by just 500 men. By 25 Dec the 1st Guards spearhead had been deflected away from the rail line, passed 40-50 km to the east of Millerovo and had driven further southeast threatening the key supply airfield at Tatsinskaya, which is 200 km SE of Kantemirovka. On 26 Dec a company of reinforcements were flown in by Ju 52 to reinforce the 500 men at Kantemirovka. From 29 December on, most of the Soviet pressure was on Millerovo and between Kantemirovka and Millerovo. But, on 31 December a strong Russian attack on Kantemirovka was thrown back with the loss of 10 tanks.

I pieced this together from several German sources, but I cannot attest to its accuracy. The Germans are always quick to blame the Italians, so this account may be biased.

--Larry

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