Italian 8th Army - Defense of Kantemirovka and Rossosh

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Lupo Solitario
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Post by Lupo Solitario » 17 May 2005 21:03

ok, the italian position is that at December 19 the forces still effective of II Corps were elsewhere: the Ravenna division was fighting at Taly. Kantemirovka was collecting a lot of more or less disbanded people, summing to a large part of italian logistic and rear line personnel. Effective combat troops (as the named AA artillery battery) were rare.
The soviet attack of December 19 hit a mass of people, not a combat force. The italian troops morale breakdown was hard and evident

(for a better comprehnsion: italian logistic personnel was neither trained, neither armed to operate as fighting troops).

At 20-23 december italian front had just been broken four days before and II, XXXV and XXIX Corps were just organizing the retreat.
Successive facts at Kantmirowka involved really few italians

Abel Ravasz
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Post by Abel Ravasz » 17 May 2005 22:53

Hi,

this is how i see things.

19/12/42 - Ravenna is relieved by a German Flakkampfgruppe at Taly and retreats to the west. Elements of the division and Cosseria, plus parts of the PzJg Abt 654 pull out of town. The Italian 36. AT Group, reinforced by stragglers, remains, and is pushed out of Kantemirowka by Kharitonov's 6th Army during the course of the day. Kantemirowka airfield remains under the control of a Luftwaffe Kampfgruppe.

1/43 - sometimes before the 17th January, the airfield is evacuated and personnel withdrawn (where? how?). I'd suggest this had happened before the 14th, as the Ostrogozhsk-Rossosh offensive of the 3. Tank Army was initiated from the area of Kantemirowka, and after this date, there'd be nowhere for the airfield defense units to break through.

This are my 2 cents (and not the first 2 for the day :) ). I have also searched some of my Russian sources, in vain.

Best regards,

Abel

FB
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Post by FB » 18 May 2005 09:52

In the Chaplain's diary I talked about before, there is the entry, under Dec. 18, 1942 that two AA Batteries (65 and 31) were moved from Starobilsk to Kantemirowka in order to strengthen the defencese there, as the Russians "had been trying to brake the lines there for days".

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Post by Larry D. » 18 May 2005 13:09

Thanks to all for the very helpful contributions. The picture is gradually becoming clearer and clearer. It appears that the details of the defense of both Kantemirovka and Rossosh can only be found in the personal accounts of Italian survivors. I thought there might be something in the Soviet/Russian accounts, but those would certainly not include accurate details of the Italian-German side.

--Larry

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Lupo Solitario
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Post by Lupo Solitario » 20 May 2005 13:49

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
opppsss I noted it only now...well:

Italian divisions had often replacement battalions, overall when operating outside Italy. A replacement battalion collected all the personnel given as reserve to a combat unit. In itself it had no heavy weapons and was not trained to operate as a combat unit...it was mainly a man tank. But circumstances could often require replacement battalions to enter combat (with usually scarce results and large slaughter).
The usual attachment was a replacement battalion for each regiment, bearing the same number of the regiment (so the 1st Alpini regiment had the I Alpini replacement battalion)

Til know I identified at Rossosch the following units:

Monte Cervino ski battalion
XXX Guastatori engineer battalion
I/277th Infantry Battalion
Savoia Cavalry provisional squadron
I Alpini replacement battalion
an Horse Artillery detachment (unspecified)
service personnel of Alpine Corps

I'm doing some research about Kantemirowka...

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Post by Abel Ravasz » 21 May 2005 13:46

Thanks Lupo!

Please let us know about the results of Your research on Kantemirowka!

Abel

Mark V.
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Post by Mark V. » 25 May 2005 22:00

Hi guys,

Just found this tidbit:

The whole Kantemirowka group was known as Gruppe Tyroller - Oberstlt. Georg Tyroller (Kdr.le.FlakAbt 84 (mot.))

RK: on 23.12.1942 as Oberstleutnant and Kommandeur le.FlakAbt 84 (mot.) u. Fhr. einer Kampfgruppe.
Image
http://www.das-ritterkreuz.de/index_sea ... d=tyroller

Here's what I found on the net - http://www.achtungpanzer.com :

Image
Luftwaffe Oberstleutnant Tyroller inspecting captured Soviet T-70 light tank.
He is the one listening to the sound of the engine.
He received the Ritterkreuz on December 4th of 1942,
for leading his 2000 men strong force made up of Luftwaffe and Organisation Todt men
along with Supply troops to defeat Russian armor division.
Photo and info provided by Bjørn Jervås.

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Post by Abel Ravasz » 25 May 2005 22:21

8O

:D :D

Hats down for Mr. Marko V.!

Gruppe Tyroller (what a name!)- You can never think You know all Kampfgruppen, never! This one is a GREAT find Marko, thanks a lot!


Sidenote: does anyone know when did the actual breakthrough from Kantemirowka happen?

Was it on the 1st January? Or the 4th?


Thanks,

Abel

Larry D.
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Post by Larry D. » 25 May 2005 22:35

That's very interesting, Mark V. - Thanks for the contribution!

The only thing that seems a bit confusing is the date. The so-called defense of Kantemirovka that we're talking about took place between 19 and 25 December 1942. See above in this thread for my post of 17 May which has the details. So what is this about Tyroller being awarded the Ritterkreuz for his action on 4 December? Were there two "battles" of Kantemirovka? His le.Flak-Abt. 84 (mot.), which came under 10. Flak-Div., was the primary Flak defense for the airfield at Kantemirovka and was still there through December. It was still reporting casualties there as late as 16 January 1943. Apparently there were two struggles for the town and airfield. The first in early December must have been mainly a German show, while the second was mainly Italian. The Luftwaffe evidently participated in both of them. BTW, Georg Tyroller was one of the very few Luftwaffen-Truppenoffiziere to spend the war in the Flakwaffe. Most of the Luftwaffe officers in the Flakwaffe were Ergänzungsoffiziere and Offiziere der Reserve. Flak-Abt. 84 was pulled out of Russia in February 1943 and sent to Rennes/France to rebuild. Tyroller remained its Kdr. until July 1943.

--Larry

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Post by Mark V. » 25 May 2005 22:56

I knew I forgot something. The gruppe was extracted by Pz.Gruppe Köhler (19.Pz.Div.) on 17 January 1943 8O .

Abel Ravasz
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Post by Abel Ravasz » 25 May 2005 23:05

Larry,

Tyroller got the RK on the 23rd, the 4th is a typo.

There were two battles in Kantemirowka, but not the way You would suggest.

1. The city was assaulted on the 19th, and the Italian defense (mostly stragglers from the II. (ita) AK, plus small AT units) collapsed quickly, retreating to the west.
2. Meanwhile, the Luftwaffe, OT and no doubt other second-echelon troops (German and assumably some Italian, but unconfirmed) had organized the defense of airfield Kantemirowka. As Marko suggests, this grouping lasted in encirclement until the 17th of January, t.i. one month.

Marko - Stoves talks about the unsuccessful relief attempt of the 19. Pz Div, but not about a successful one - where on earth have You found this???

Abel

Mark V.
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Post by Mark V. » 25 May 2005 23:15

Hi Abel,

The info comes from the other 19th Panzer history written by Rolf Hinze.

Larry D.
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Post by Larry D. » 25 May 2005 23:20

Whoa, there fellas, whoa!

Tyroller's Ritterkreuz was awarded on 23 December, but this does not necessarily mean the feat/courage/deed/etc. that justified the award happened on that same date. It could have been for the event described that occurred on 4 December, if such an event did take place on that date. I think I might want to see the exact wording of the award just in case we really are talking about two separate dates here. Does anyone have a copy of the Biblio Verlag book that covers Luftwaffe RK awardees of the Flakwaffe?

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Post by Denis » 26 May 2005 09:37

Hello
Larry is completely right. It usually takes more or less times so that the RK can, be approved by the different members of the chain of command. I own the Biblio book book dealing with the RKT of the Flak. I will scan the page devoted to Tyroller this evening (European time) and will post it tomorrow for your interest (unless another member can have access more rapidly to the information).
Best regards
Denis

Mark V.
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Post by Mark V. » 26 May 2005 12:07

Denis, thanks again for the extra help. I'm looking forward to your follow up post.

While I generally agree with both of you, I have a feeling that in this case Tyroller received his KC pretty fast - for his post 16 December's actions at Kantemirowka (similarly like for example Andersen, Michaelis, Göller, etc. at the same time for actions in the 8th Ital.Army sector). Hopefully Denis will confirm this in the evening :) .

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