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Rambler's Top100

3

Report about the Combat Actions of 563rd Independent Battalion Print E-mail

REPORT ABOUT THE COMBAT ACTIONS OF 563rd IndepTBn

Top Secret

Copy #1

8 March 1943

To the Chief of Staff, KU BTMV SKF [North Caucasus Front -Valera P.]

To the Chief of Operations Section the staff of ChGV [Black Sea Group of Forces], North Caucasus Front


Herein I present a summary regarding the combat actions of the tank units of the Black Sea Group of Forces, North Caucasus Front for February-March 1943.

APPENDIXES:

1. Summary of combat actions in 17 pages
2. Sketch of combat actions of tank units in 5 pages [scetch is missed -Valera P.]


CHIEF OF STAFF UK BTMV ChGV SKF
LIEUTENANT COLONEL /FEDOROVICH/



APPENDIX

563 IndepTBn

The battalion was part of the group of Colonel Gordeev. Over the course of January [1943] it was prepared for amphibious landing operations and deployed to GELENDZHIK. The battalion was equipped with 30 M3L tanks. [M3L is Soviet designation for US M3 "General Stuart" Light Tank -Valera P.]

On the night from 2 to 3.2.43 the battalion was loaded on three Bolinders (10 tanks and 2 GAZ trucks on each Bolinder) and at 21:00 on 3.2 departed on the course: GELENDZHIK BAY-shore of Southern OZEREYKA.

At 02:00 on 4.2.43 two towed Bolinders reached the shore of Southern OZEREYKA.

These Bolinders were fired upon by enemy artillery.

The Bolinders attempted to disembark their tanks. The tanks were unloaded directly into the water under enemy fire. The second Bolinder managed to unload 7 tanks. One Bolinder was unable to unload because the gangway received a direct hit from an artillery shell. Tanks were set on fire and the burning Bolinder was abandoned by its crew and the infantry. These personnel landed on the shore and occupied a defense in accordance with an order of Major KUZMIN, the commander of 142nd Battalion.

The 7 tanks that had disembarked from the first Bolinder, with their assigned desantniki, and infantry under the command of Captain AGEEV conducted an attack on Southern OZEREYKA, Northern OZEREYKA, and approached the outskirts of the village GLEBOVKA.

On 4.2.43 it became known that the enemy had occupied Southern OZERYKA and the tanks under the command of Captain AGEEV had become cut off from our own forces.

Contact with the remaining group of landed forces was not reestablished.

By the end of the day on 4.2.43, contact was established with aviation, which had dropped a message by pouch to attempt to reach Cape KhAKO-STANICHKA.

The infantry commander with whom the tanks were operating (whose name cannot be determined) decided to attempt to reach STANICHKA. The tanks had expended their fuel and were unable to move under their own power. The crews removed the machine guns from the tanks, disabled them, and together with the infantry at 02:00 on 5.2.43 moved to STANICHKA.

The third Bolinder, during its approach to shore, was dropped from tow and moving by inertia stopped some 30-40 meters from the shore. The unloading of the tanks directly into the water was begun. Seven tanks were able to disembark safely. Three tanks died [drowned, perhaps] during movement in the water and only five tanks reached the shore. Along with the infantry under the command of the commander, 140th Battalion, these tanks began to fight off the counterattack of the enemy from Southern OZEREYKA.

Over the course of 4, 5, and 6 February, the tanks and infantry continued to fight. No reinforcement came from the air or sea.

The infantry and tanks were in a critical situation.

Seeing the hopeless situation, the commander of 140th Battalion, 255th KMBR gave an order to disable their serviceable tanks, remove their machine guns, and together with his battalion attempt to reach friendly forces. (The tanks had no fuel and thus could not be used.)

The tank crews joined the rifle battalion and began to move in the direction of Lake ABRAU.

Having reached the vicinity of ABRAU-DYURSO, this group fell under the fire of the garrison of Germans and Romanians. Not accepting combat, the group split into small groups and in unorganized small groups began to withdraw in various directions.

During the period of the combat actions 563rd IndepTBn suffered the following losses: set fire by enemy tanks -7 vehicles; rendered unserviceable by own crews -23 M3L tanks.

Losses in personnel: did not return from the area of combat actions-command personnel -45 persons; enlisted and junior supervisory personnel -96 persons.



Photocopy of original document.


Notes:
The style of the original document is preserved.
Translated by:
James F. Gebhardt
Sources:
"Tankomaster" #1, 1999.
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