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15 November 1941

15 November 1941


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15 November 1941

Eastern Front

German attack on Moscow renewed but is slowed down by the intense cold

Far East

Canadian troops reinforce the garrison of Hong Kong

War at Sea

German submarine U-583 sunk with all hands after a collision with U-153 in the Baltici



Near Springfield, ME – November 15, 1941

According to the Army Air Corps investigation report on this accident, the aircraft involved crashed about ten miles south of Springfield, Maine. Other sources put the location closer to Lee, Maine.

Douglas B-18
National Archives Photo

At 4:45 p.m., on November 15, 1941, two Douglas B-18A bomber aircraft, left Westover Field in Chicopee, Massachusetts, bound for Bangor Air Base in Maine. The two planes were not cleared as one flight, but as two individual flights.

The first B-18, (Ser. No. 37-521) was piloted by 2nd Lt. Peyton W. Beckham, and the other by a pilot identified only as Lt. Offers. The two men had agreed to stay in sight of each other during the trip, and had further agreed that in the event they had to fly above any overcast in the vicinity of Bangor that that Lt. Beckham would wait until Lt. Offers landed first. This was due to the weather forecast for Bangor stating there was cloud cover over the area.

At a point about half way between Concord and Augusta, both aircraft climbed to 5,500 feet to get above the 3,500 foot overcast. When they reached Bangor shortly after 6:00 p.m., Lt. Offers made his descent first as per their agreement. The overcast ceiling at Bangor at this time was 1,400 feet, and dropping, and darkness was coming on.

At 6:32 p.m., after some garbled radio dialogue with the Bangor control tower due to interference with the radio signals from a Canadian source, Lt. Beckham advised he would try to make it to Portland, Maine, as his aircraft wasn’t equipped for instrument flying.

By 6:46 the overcast had dropped to 400 feet.

At about 7:20 p.m. Lt. Beckham’s aircraft was seen approaching Springfield, Maine. Ten minutes later it passed over the Carry Farm about ten miles south of Springfield, where three hunters later said it passed over their camp at a very low altitude heading southwest, and shortly afterwards they heard it crash.

According to the hunters, the weather in the area was very bad, with poor visibility due to fog and rain.

The plane had crashed in a remote and thickly wooded area surrounded by bog and swampland. Investigators concluded that the left wing caught in the tree tops near the bottom of a hill, dragging the aircraft down and causing it to swing to the left for 10 to 15 yards before it began to cartwheel up the hill for 200 yards. It was at this point the plane broke apart and caught fire. Debris was scattered in all directions for 200 to 300 yards.

All four crewmen aboard the plane were killed. They were identified as:

(Pilot) 2nd Lt. Peyton W. Beckham

(Co-Pilot) 2nd Lt. Wyman O. Thompson, 21. He’s buried in Underwood Cemetery in Underwood, North Dakota. To see photo of Lt. Thompson, and one of his gravesite, go to www.findagrave.com, and see Memorial #21814620.

(Engineer) Corporal Jacob L. Parson, 30. He’s buried in Rosemont Cemetery in Rogersville, Penn.

(Radioman) Pfc. Lee E. Rothermel, 20. He’s buried in Trinity Lutheran cemetery in Valley View, Penn.

One of the cockpit instruments that was recovered at the scene was the plane’s airspeed indicator, which was stuck at 195.

The men were assigned to the 63rd Bomb Squadron, 43rd Bomb Group.

This crash is said to be the first fatal military aviation accident to occur in the State of Maine. To see photos of the crash site as it appears today, see www.mewreckchasers.com.

Twenty-two days after this accident, the United States was drawn into World War II.


Borger Daily Herald (Borger, Tex.), Vol. 15, No. 311, Ed. 1 Thursday, November 20, 1941

Daily newspaper from Borger, Texas that includes local, state, and national news along with extensive advertising.

Physical Description

eight pages : ill. page 22 x 18 in. Digitized from 35 mm. microfilm.

Creation Information

Context

This newspaper is part of the collection entitled: Texas Digital Newspaper Program and was provided by the Hutchinson County Library, Borger Branch to The Portal to Texas History, a digital repository hosted by the UNT Libraries. It has been viewed 21 times. More information about this issue can be viewed below.

People and organizations associated with either the creation of this newspaper or its content.

Editor

Publisher

Audiences

Check out our Resources for Educators Site! We've identified this newspaper as a primary source within our collections. Researchers, educators, and students may find this issue useful in their work.

Provided By

Hutchinson County Library, Borger Branch

The Hutchinson County Library strives to provide services on a fair and equitable basis to all individuals and groups in the community. It aims to be a source of lifelong learning to help meet the need for information and answers to general questions from all walks of life. It also contains the Hutchinson County Genealogical Society.


November 26, 1941, Franksgiving

Popular comedians of the day got a laugh out of the Franksgiving ruckus including Burns & Allen, and Jack Benny. One 1940 Warner Brothers cartoon shows two Thanksgivings, one “for Democrats” and one a week later “for Republicans.”

The first Autumn feast of Thanksgiving dates well before the European settlement of North America.

Historian Michael Gannon writes that the “real first Thanksgiving” in America took place in 1565, when Pedro Menéndez de Avilés landed in modern-day Florida, and “had the Indians fed and then dined himself.”

Likely, it was salt-pork stew with garbanzo beans. Yum.

According to the Library of Congress, the English colony of Popham in present-day Maine held a “harvest feast and prayer meeting” with the Abenaki people in 1607, twenty-four years before that “first Thanksgiving” at Plymouth.

George Washington proclaimed the first Presidential National day of Thanksgiving on November 26, 1783, “to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness“.

So much for the “separation of Church and state”.

President Abraham Lincoln followed suit in 1863, declaring a general day of Thanksgiving to be observed on the last Thursday of November. The date seemed to work out OK and the tradition stuck, until 1939.

Roughly two in every seven Novembers, contain an extra Thursday. November 1939, was one of them.

In those days, it was considered poor form for retailers to put up Christmas displays or run Christmas sales, before Thanksgiving. Lew Hahn, General Manager of the Retail Dry Goods Association, was afraid that extra week was going to cut into Christmas sales.

Ten years into the Great Depression with no end in sight, the Federal government was afraid of the same thing. By late August, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt decided to deviate from the customary last Thursday and declared the fourth Thursday, November 23, to be a national day of prayer and thanksgiving.

Opposition to the plan was quick to form. Alf Landon, Roosevelt’s Republican challenger in the earlier election, complained of Roosevelt’s impulsiveness and resulting confusion. “More time should have been taken working it out” Landon said, “instead of springing it upon an unprepared country with the omnipotence of a Hitler.”

In Plymouth Massachusetts, self-described home of the “first Thanksgiving”, Chairman of the Board of Selectmen James Frasier, “heartily disapproved”.

The short-notice change in schedule disrupted vacation plans for millions of Americans. Traditional Thanksgiving day football rivalries between school teams across the nation, were turned upside down.

Unsurprisingly, support for Roosevelt’s plan broke along ideological lines. A late 1939 Gallup poll reported Democrats favoring the move by a 52% to 48% majority, with Republicans opposing the move, 79% to 21%.

Such proclamations represent little more than the “’moral authority” of the Presidency. States are free to do as they please. Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia observed Thanksgiving day on the non-traditional date, and twenty-two kept Thanksgiving on the 30 th . Colorado, Mississippi and Texas, did both.

The next two years, thirty-two states and the District of Columbia celebrated what came to be called “Franksgiving” on the third Thursday of the month, while the remainder observed a more traditional “Republican Thanksgiving” on the last.

In 1941, a Commerce Department survey demonstrated little difference in Christmas sales between those states observing Franksgiving, and those observing the more traditional date. A joint resolution of Congress declared the fourth Thursday beginning the following year to be a national day of Thanksgiving. President Roosevelt signed the measure into law on November 26.

Interestingly, the phrase “Thanksgiving Day” appeared only once in the 20 th century prior to the 1941 resolution, that in President Calvin Coolidge’s first of six such proclamations.

Most state legislatures followed suit with the Federal fourth-Thursday approach, but not all. In 1945, the next year with five November Thursdays, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Nebraska, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia reverted to the last Thursday. Texas held out the longest, celebrating its fifth-Thursday Thanksgiving for the last time in 1956.

To this day, the years 1939, ’40 and ’41 remain the only outliers, outside the fourth-Thursday tradition.

Popular comedians of the day got a laugh out of the Franksgiving ruckus including Burns & Allen, and Jack Benny. One 1940 Warner Brothers cartoon shows two Thanksgivings, one “for Democrats” and one a week later “for Republicans.”

The Three Stooges short film of the same year has Moe questioning Curly, why he put the fourth of July in October. “You never can tell”, he replies. “Look what they did to Thanksgiving!”

Joe Toye, the “Easy Company” character in the 2001 HBO miniseries “A Band of Brothers”, may have had the last word on Franksgiving. Explaining his plan to get the war over quickly, the paratrooper quips “Hitler gets one of these [knives] right across the windpipe, Roosevelt changes Thanksgiving to Joe Toye Day, [and] pays me ten grand a year for the rest of my f*****g life.


The Holocaust: The Mufti’s Conversation with Hitler

Haj Amin al-Husseini, the Mufti of Jerusalem and the influential leader of the Arabs in Palestine, moved to Germany during World War II and met Adolf Hitler, Joachim von Ribbentrop, Heinrich Himmler and other Nazi leaders in an attempt to coordinate Nazi and Arab policies in the Middle East. The following is a record of a conversation between the Fuhrer and al-Husseini in the Presence of Reich Foreign Minister and Minister Grobba in Berlin in November 28, 1941. Though he was willing to meet, Hitler&rsquos racist views applied to Arabs and he refused to shake the Mufti&rsquos hand or drink coffee with him. Nevertheless, Hitler provided the Mufti a budget of 750,000 Reichsmark per month to foment jihad in Palestine.

The Grand Mufti began by thanking the Fuhrer for the great honor he had bestowed by receiving him. He wished to seize the opportunity to convey to the Fuhrer of the Greater German Reich, admired by the entire Arab world, his thanks for the sympathy which he had always shown for the Arab and especially the Palestinian cause, and to which he had given clear espressos in his public speeches. The Arab countries were firmly convinced that Germany would win the war and that the Arab cause would then prosper: The Arabs were Germany's natural friends because they had the same enemies as had Germany, namely the English, the Jews, and the Communists. They were therefore prepared to cooperate with Germany with all their hearts and stood ready to participate in the war, not only negatively by the commission of acts of sabotage and the instigation of revolutions, but also positively by the formation of an Arab Legion. The Arabs could he more useful to Germany as allies than might he apparent at first glance, both for geographical reasons and because of the suffering inflicted upon them by the English and the Jews. Furthermore, they had had close relations with all Moslem nations, of which they could make use in behalf of the common cause. The Arab Legion would he quite easy to raise. An appeal by the Mufti to the Arab countries and the prisoners of Arab, Algerian,Tunisian, and Moroccan nationality in Germany would produce a great number of volunteers eager to fight. Of Germany's victory the Arab world was firmly convinced, not only because the Reich possessed a large army, brave soldiers, and military leaders of genius, but also because the Almighty could never award the victory to an unjust cause.

In this struggle, the Arabs were striving for the independence and unity of Palestine, Syria and Iraq. They had the fullest confidence in the Fuhrer and looked to his hand for the balm on their wounds which had been inflicted upon them by the enemies of Germany.

The Mufti then mentioned the letter he had received from Germany, which stated that Germany was holding no Arab territories and understood and recognized the aspirations to independence and freedom of the Arabs, just as she supported the elimination of the Jewish national home.

A public declaration in this sense would be very useful for its propagandistic effect on the Arab peoples at this moment. It would rouse the Arabs from their momentary lethargy and give them new courage. It would also ease the Mufti's work of secretly organizing the Arabs against the moment when they could strike. At the same time, he could give the assurance that the Arabs would in strict discipline patiently wait for the right moment and only strike upon an order from Berlin.

With regard to the events in Iraq, the Mufti observed that the Arabs in that country certainly had by no means been incited by Germany to attack England, but solely had acted in reaction to a direct English assault upon their honor.

The Turks, he believed, would welcome the establishment of' an Arab government in the neighboring territories because they would prefer weaker Arab to strong European governments in the neighboring countries, and, being themselves a nation of 7 million, they had moreover nothing to fear from the 1.700,000 Arabs inhabiting Syria. Transjordan, Iraq. and Palestine.

France likewise would have no objections to the unification plan because she had conceded independence to Syria as early as 1936 and had given her approval to the unification of Iraq and Syria under King Faisal as early as 1933.

In these circumstances he was renewing his request that the Fuhrer make a public declaration so that the Arabs would not lose hope, which is so powerful a force in the life of nations. With such hope in their hearts the Arabs, as lie had said, were willing to wait. They were not pressing for immediate realization of their aspirations: they could easily wait half a year or a whole year. But if they were not inspired with such a hope by a declaration of this sort, it could be expected that the English would be the gainers from it.

The Fuhrer replied that Germany's fundamental attitude on these questions, as the Mufti himself had already stated. was clear. Germany stood for uncompromising war against the Jews. That naturally included active opposition to the Jewish national home in Palestine. which was nothing other than a center, in the form of a state, for the exercise of destructive influence by Jewish interests. Germany was also aware that the assertion that the Jews were carrying out the function of economic pioneers in Palestine was a lie. The work there was done only by the Arabs, not by the Jews. Germany was resolved, step by step, to ask one European nation after the other to solve its Jewish problem, and at the proper time direct a similar appeal to non-European nations as well.

Germany was at the present time engaged in a life and death struggle with two citadels of Jewish power: Great Britain and Soviet Russia. Theoretically there was a difference between England's capitalism and Soviet Russia's communism: actually, however, the Jews in both countries were pursuing a common goal. This was the decisive struggle: on the political plane, it presented itself in the main as a conflict between Germany and England, but ideologically it was a battle between National Socialism and the Jews. It went without saying that Germany would furnish positive and practical aid to the Arabs involved in the same struggle, because platonic promises were useless in a war for survival or destruction in which the Jews were able to mobilize all of England's power for their ends.

The aid to the Arabs would have to be material aid. Of how little help sympathies alone were in such a battle had been demonstrated plainly by the operation in Iraq, where circumstances had not permitted the rendering of really effective, practical aid. In spite of all the sympathies. German aid had not been sufficient and Iraq was overcome by the power of Britain, that is, the guardian of the Jews.

The Mufti could not but he aware, however. that the outcome of the struggle going on at present would also decide the fate of the Arab world. The Fuhrer therefore had to think and speak coolly and deliberately, as a rational man and primarily as a soldier, as the leader of the German and allied armies. Everything of a nature to help in this titanic battle for the common cause, and thus also for the Arabs. would have to he done. Anything, however, that might contribute to weakening the military situation must be put aside, no matter hose unpopular this move might be.

Germany was now engaged in a very severe battles to force the gateway to the northern Caucasus region. The difficulties were mainly with regard to maintaining the supply. Which was most difficult as a result of the destruction of railroads and highways as well as of the oncoming winter. If at such a moment, the Fuhrer were to raise the problem of Syria in a declaration, those elements in France which were under de Gaulle's influence would receive new strength. They would interpret the Fuhrer's declaration as an intention to break up France's colonial empire and appeal to their fellow countrymen that they should rather make common cause with the English to try to save what still could be saved. A German declaration regarding Syria would in France he understood to refer to the French colonies in general, and that would at the present time create new troubles in western Europe, which means that a portion of the German armed forces would be immobilized in the west and no longer he available for the campaign in the east.

The Fuhrer then made the following statement to the Mufti. enjoining him to lock it in the uttermost depths of his heart:

Once Germany had forced open the road to Iran and Iraq through Rostov, it would he also the beginning of the end of the British world empire. He (the Fuhrer) hoped that the coming year would make it possible for Germany to thrust open the Caucasian gate to the Middle East. For the good of their common cause. it would he better if the Arab proclamation were put off for a few more months than if Germany were to create difficulties for herself without being able thereby to help the Arabs.

He (the Fuhrer) fully appreciated the eagerness of the Arabs for a public declaration of the sort requested by the Grand Mufti. But he would beg him to consider that he (the Fuhrer) himself was the Chief of State of the German Reich for five long years during which he was unable to make to his own homeland the announcement of its liberation. He had to wait with that until the announcement could be made on the basis of a situation brought about by the force of arms that the Anschluss had been carried out.

The moment that Germany's tank divisions and air squadrons had made their appearance south of the Caucasus, the public appeal requested by the Grand Mufti could go out to the Arab world.

The Grand Mufti replied that it was his view that everything would come to pass just as the Fiihrer had indicated. He was fully reassured and satisfied by the words which he had heard from the Chief of the German State. He asked, however, whether it would not be possible. secretly at least, to enter into an agreement with Germany of the kind he had just outlined for the Fuhrer.

The Fuhrer replied that he had just now given the Grand Mufti precisely that confidential declaration.

The Grand Mufti thanked him for it and stated in conclusion that he was taking his leave from the Fuhrer in full confidence and with reiterated thanks for the interest shown in the Arab cause.

Source: Walter Laqueur and Barry Rubin, ed, The Israel-Arab Reader, (New York, NY: Penguin Books, 2001).


Re: Moscow who got closer?

Post by sandeepmukherjee196 » 12 Apr 2016, 17:44

This is very interesting. I love to hear anecdotal experiences of WW II quoted from direct participants. May I ask how old was your father in 1942? Thats when presumably yr grandfather must have told him about Moscow?

Re: Moscow who got closer?

Post by sandeepmukherjee196 » 12 Apr 2016, 18:50

The following gives a rather lucid account of Das Reich's occupation of the Kryokovo - Lenino area in the last days of November and early December '41.

". 'On 30 November, after hard fighting, the 3rd Battalion [of Deutschland
Regiment] managed to capture the station and the factory in the north of
Stalino. On the previous day the regiment's 2nd and 3rd Battalions,
supported by the assault guns, "BlUcher", "LUtzow" and "Derftlinger", had
captured Kryokovo after bitter fighting against a determined enemy. Losses
to the battalions had been heavy. During the fighting the CO of 3rd
Battalion, Hauptsturmfiihrer Kroger was shot and killed by a bullet in the
head fired at close range. While "Deutschland" was consolidating on its
objectives, heavy losses of the past weeks made it imperative for 3rd Battalion
to be broken up in order to raise the strength of the other two battalions.
The survivors of 3rd Battalion were thereupon incorporated into the 1st and
2nd Battalions.
'On 2 December, the advanced guard of "Deutschland" regiment was
directly facing Lenino. After forming up on either side of the RochdestvenLenino
road the battalions moved off into the attack. In the woods to the
west of the town, both battalions had their way obstructed by strong Russian

trench systems and were soon involv

in heavy fighting. At the same time
heavy barrages of mortar fire came in and the bombs exploding in the tree
tops infiicted heavy casualties among· which were a great many officers
including the regimental commander, Schulz, and the COs of both
battalions. The regimental commander and the CO of 2nd Battalion both
refused to leave the field and led their units until nightfall. Fighting for
Lenino went on until late in the night. To begin with only certain areas could
be taken but at 2300 hrs the 2nd Battalion received orders to attack Lenino
from the west and to take it regardless of cost. The SPs went. in with No 6
Company but found the enemy had fled. He had pulled out during the night.
Lenino was taken and secured. By gaining that place we had reached an outer
suburb of Moscow - only 17 kms from the city centre. Lenino was a terminus
of the Moscow bus line. In clear. weather it would be possible to see the
towers of the Kremlin. My God, how close we were to this historic objective.
Then on 3rd December, Panzer Group 4, reported to Army Group Centre
that it no longer had the strength to maintain the offensive. The troops were
physically and mentally exhausted . Fourth Army pulled back its divisions
to their jumping-off points behind the Neva. "

It was a hair raising episode. It was touch and go. If there was one more fresh german division in reserve? Maybe one good regiment ? Just 17 Kms from the centre of Moscow !?

Re: Moscow who got closer?

Post by Art » 12 Apr 2016, 19:21

Re: Moscow who got closer?

Post by GregSingh » 13 Apr 2016, 00:46

13-years old thread resurrected!

Khimki were mentioned in almost every post-WWII book about this subject, but I've never seen any primary source confirming it.

Are Khimki now confirmed by Russian or German primary sources?

Last time I checked, German primary sources mentioned Krasnaya Polyana and Lobnya train station fully controlled in late November 1941.
There is a German 1941 sketch map showing reconnaissance patrols reaching Kyazma river, south of Krasnaya Polyana, half way to Khimki.

Are stories appearing on Russian web sites about "Battle of Khimki bridge" in October(!) 1941 fairy tales?

Re: Moscow who got closer?

Post by sandeepmukherjee196 » 13 Apr 2016, 08:17

GregSingh wrote: 13-years old thread resurrected!

Khimki were mentioned in almost every post-WWII book about this subject, but I've never seen any primary source confirming it.

Are Khimki now confirmed by Russian or German primary sources?

Last time I checked, German primary sources mentioned Krasnaya Polyana and Lobnya train station fully controlled in late November 1941.
There is a German 1941 sketch map showing reconnaissance patrols reaching Kyazma river, south of Krasnaya Polyana, half way to Khimki.

Are stories appearing on Russian web sites about "Battle of Khimki bridge" in October(!) 1941 fairy tales?

Maybe cross referencing with a Russian source would help? After all if the Germans really reached Khimki at the doorsteps of Moscow, tthe Russians too would doubtless take this seriously and do something about it. And if they did something about it then that would be recorded somewhere. We have heard about the defences of the Soviet 16th Army at Khimki but Zhukov's planning for the upcoming counteroffensive seems to have added in the 20th Army in this sector.

The following are excerpts from the Zhukov papers:

Директива штаба Западного фронта командующему 1-й ударной армией № 0021 от 2 декабря 1941 г. о переходе в наступление на клинском направлении

КОМАНДАРМУ 1-й УДАРНОЙ КУЗНЕЦОВУ

Комфронтом приказал: с утра 2.12 всеми силами армии перейти с решительное наступление в общем направлении Деденево, Федоровка, южная окраина Клин.

Ближайшая задача - 2.12 освободить из окружения группу войск генерала Захарова в районе Федоровка, Каменка.

Дальнейшая задача - наступать в направлении Клин и во взаимодействии с 30-й армией справа и 20-й армией слева разбить клинско-солнечногорскую группу противника.

20-я армия наносит удар в направлении Химки, Солнечногорск.

Разгранлиния с ней - Рахманово, Черная, Каменка, Вертлинское, Мисарево (все исключительно для 1-й ударной армии).

Получение и исполнение донести.


Начальник штаба фронта
Соколовский
Казбинцев

ЦАМО, ф. 208, оп. 2513, д. 213, л. 455. Подлинник.

Директива штаба Западного фронта командующему 20-й армией № 0023 от 2 декабря 1941 г. о переходе в наступление на солнечногорском направлении

Копия: КОМАНДАРМУ 16 РОКОССОВСКОМУ

1. Дополнительно включить с 18 часов 2.12 в состав 20-й армии войска, ведущие бой на фронте - 7 гв. сд, 282 сп, 145, 24, 31-ю танковые бригады. Командарму 16 передать указанные части командарму 20.

2. Продолжая 2.12 выполнять частную операцию, с 7 часов 3.12 перейти в решительное наступление всеми силами армии в общем направлении Химки, Солнечногорск.

Ближайшая задача 20-й армии - разгромить в течение 3-6* декабря противника и овладеть Солнечногорск обходом с юго-запада и севера.

3. 2.12 провести подготовку к наступлению - организовать управление войсками, занять исходное положение, провести разведку всех видов, материально обеспечить войска для боя всем необходимым.

4. Справа - 1-я ударная армия наступает в направлении Деденево, Клин. Разгранлиния с ней - Рахманово, Черная, Каменка, Вертлинское, Мисарово.

Слева - 16-я армия будет наступать в западном направлении. Разгранлиния с ней - Супонево, Лосиноостровская, Краснооктябрьский, Верескино, Чашниково, Поварово, Пятница, Коренька.

5. С директивой ознакомить только Военный совет и начальника штаба. Исполнителям давать задания, вытекающие из настоящей директивы.


(English Translation)

Directive of Staff of the Western Front commander of the 1st Shock Army number 0021 of 2 December 1941 on the transition to the offensive on Klin direction

Army Commander 1st SHOCK Kuznetsov

Front Commander ordered: 2.12 in the morning all the army forces go to a decisive offensive in the general direction Dedenevo, Fedorovka, southern outskirts of Klin.

The immediate task - to release 2.12 of the environment group the troops of General Zakharov in Fedorovka area, Kamenka.

A further task - to advance in the direction of the wedge, and in conjunction with the 30th Army on the right and the 20th army left to break Klin-Solnechnogorsk enemy group.

20th Army strikes in the direction of Khimki , Solnechnogorsk.

Razgranliniya it - Rakhmanov, Black, Kamenka, Vertlinskoe, Misarevo (all exclusively for the 1st Shock Army).

Preparation and execution to deliver.


Chief of Staff of the Front
Sokolovsky
Kazbintsev

CAMD, p. 208, op. 2513, d. 213, l. 455. Original.

Directive of Staff of the Western Front commander of the 20th army number 0023 of 2 December 1941 on the transition to the offensive in the direction of Solnechnogorsk

Cc: 16 commanders Rokossovsky

1. Add the 2.12 to the 18 hours of the 20 th Army troops leading the fight at the front - 7 Guards. sd, sp 282, 145, 24, 31 Panzer Brigade. 16 commanders of the army commander to transfer these 20.

2. Continuing to perform individual operations 2.12, 3.12 to 7:00 to go in the decisive attack all military forces in the general direction of Khimki , Solnechnogorsk.

The immediate task of the 20th Army - to defeat within 3-6 On December the enemy and seize Solnechnogorsk detour from the south-west and north.

3. 2.12 to prepare for the offensive - to organize command and control, to take a starting position, to carry out the exploration of all kinds of material to provide troops to fight with everything necessary.

4. On the right - 1st Shock Army comes in the direction Dedenevo Wedge. Razgranliniya it - Rakhmanov, Black, Kamenka, Vertlinskoe, Misarovo.

On the left - the 16th Army will advance to the west. Razgranliniya it - Suponevo, Losinoostrovskaya, Krasnooktyabrsky, Vereskino, Chashnikovo, Povarovo, Friday, Koren'kov.

5. Directive to introduce only the Military Council and Chief of Staff. Singer giving tasks arising from this Directive.


So there certainly was major action in the Khimki area. And Khimki is no doubt close to the borders of Moscow, a few KMs (8 KM ?), as the crow flies, as per this battle map in Russian. Though the driving distance today via motorable roads is upwards of 20 Km I am told.

Now lets see if we can find anything from the German side about the exploits of the 62 Panzer Pionier battailon or a narrative combining both versions, German and Russian :


( Excerpts from : Главная » Книги » Kershaw Robert » War Without Garlands: Operation Barbarossa 1941-1942 » Страница 126)
at Khimki
". The closest finger niggling at the Russian defences on the outskirts of the city was the 2nd (Vienna) Panzer Division. Its antitank battalion was becoming increasingly dismayed at the ineffectiveness of its 37mm guns against the increasing numbers of Soviet T-34s its battle groups were encountering as they advanced south-eastwards along the Solnechnogorsk–Moscow road. A lucky shot striking the machine gun aperture of a T-34 from only 10m during an attack at Turicina had set one tank ablaze. It suicidally carried on to crush its 37mm assailant. At Strelino four English ‘Matilda’ tanks were despatched by Panzer Regiment 3. They had all been recently manufactured and had ‘September 1941’ stamped on their engine plates – an indication of Allied resolve and urgency to stem the Axis advance. On 28 November American tank types were knocked out. As the Kampfgruppe ‘Decker’ rolled into Oserezkoje on 1 December soldiers remarked on the appearance of Moscow Omnibus line stops. A combat group of Panzers, infantry, artillery and engineers commanded by Oberst Rodt of the 304th Regiment occupied the three villages of Krassnaya Polyana, Putschki and Katjuschki on 30 November. Another battalion (the IInd) from the same regiment under Major Reichmann secured Gorki, nearby. A small salient had been driven into the area of Sixteenth Soviet Army, 17km from the outskirts of Moscow and only 27km from the Kremlin.(8)

They had been preceded, unknown to themselves, the previous day by motorcycle patrols from Panzer Pionier Battalion 62. Temperatures had now risen slightly to 0°C, which produced light wet snow and patchy fog. Utilising these conditions, General Hoepner commanding Panzergruppe 4 detached these motorcyclists from 2nd Panzer Division and ordered them forward to raid the railway station at Lobnya and conduct a fighting reconnaissance south of it. In one of those bizarre episodes of war, as the Russians fell back from Solnechnogorsk and the 2nd Panzer Division pushed its battle groups south-eastwards in search of an unopposed route into Moscow, the motorcycle raid found it. Hunched behind their BMWs and machine-gun-mounted sidecars, the force thrust forward, encountering no opposition until it reached Khimki, a small river port in the north-west suburbs of Moscow. They were within 8km of the city and 20km of the Kremlin, only a short drive away, a distance that could be covered in minutes. Panic ensued among the startled local inhabitants. ‘The Germans are in Khimki!’ was the cry. The motorcycle detachment, having had no substantial contact with Soviet troops, feeling vulnerable at the depth of their incursion and seeing the obvious agitation they had caused, turned back.
They needed to report this unopposed thoroughfare. Support would not be at hand if they drove into resistance and, feeling over-extended, they retraced their route. Incredibly the unit drove back through the German lines without a shot being fired.(9)

Not surprisingly a flurry of activity resulted on the Russian side. Soviet General Konstantin Rokossovsky, whose Sixteenth Army was located just west of Moscow, received an unwelcome reminder of Stalin’s resolve. He said:

‘Comrade Stalin called me during the night. The situation was pretty difficult and our units had already fallen back in a number of areas. We knew that the Commander-in-Chief would give us such a dressing down we would feel sick. So I picked up the receiver with the special line with some trepidation. He asked me one question “Are you aware, comrade Rokossovsky, that the enemy has occupied Krassnaya Polyana, and do you realise that if Krassnaya Polyana is occupied it means that the Germans can bombard any part of the city of Moscow?”’(10)"


Battle map of the salients closest to Moscow

So Khimki it was ? Unless there emerge other claims of German troops closer to Moscow?


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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. owen says:
7 Oct 2011 03:11:23 AM

Photo is okay,,nothing great,there are alot better out there then this

2. Bill says:
28 Dec 2014 05:38:19 PM

I don't think so. I think its a great photograph This is a fine study of the Desert Fox, a General Officer in the field dirty, tired leading his troops.
In my four years in the US Army 1966 - 1970 two of them in Vietnam, I never ever saw a General Officer leading the troops. the one time I did, they wore the cleanest uniform and didn't look like the Hollywoood image of a General at all. I held more respect for my Captain.

3. Bill says:
3 Feb 2015 03:39:35 PM

Rommel with his troops somewhere between Tobruk and Sidi Omar November 1942. What was Rommel's ride that day. From the above file photograph, it could be either a Kraftfahrzeug 15 (Mercedes-Benz
340) or a Krastfahrzeug 11 (Auto-Union/Horch Type 830).
Both cars looked very similar, and both had spare tires on each front fender but photo shows tire missing. I'm gonna take a guess its a Mercedes 340, because of the cooling louvers on the side of the hood.

4. Bill says:
26 Oct 2015 12:11:56 PM

Rommel used different types of command cars a headquarters company could have as many as one hundred different types of vehicles.

DESERT COLD: HELLMUT WHERE'S THE COFFEE!

Why the heavy clothes if your in the desert? it can get cold in the desert, and during the winter months temperatures can drop to 10 Celsius /50 degrees.

All visitor submitted comments are opinions of those making the submissions and do not reflect views of WW2DB.


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Re: A view on why Britsh tanks were so inferior.

Post by phylo_roadking » 08 Nov 2013, 21:02

We don't know any more details of that engagement at the moment some real digging might be interesting - to whit, what the British knew prior to the attack I.E. what they planned on the basis of what intelligence - or was it simply an "encounter" battle with 22nd Armd. blundering into the Italian A/T? screnn.

It could for instance be that based on limited intelligence (I.E. they didn't know about the tanks in the vicinity) that charging the Italian guns - closing the range fast, covering the ground fast, would give the Italians a minimum firing opportunity. and thus a very limited time to cause casualties. (David Fletcher wrote an article in CMV on British tankers being trained to fire on the move for the first 3-4 years of the war. and was it actually THAT much of a tactical faux-pas to charge directly at A/T guns at speed when your gunners were trained to fire accurately DURING such a charge?)

Or they could have just blundered into them

Re: A view on why Britsh tanks were so inferior.

Post by Don Juan » 08 Nov 2013, 21:13

The point is that when you operate a combined arms system, you have artillery and infantry attached to your armoured brigade, and they are trained to work in co-operation with one another, so that whatever situation they find themselves confronting, they have a greater number of tactical options open to them.

The point French is making here is not about whether 22 AB had to charge the guns or not, but that they couldn't hold the gains they made because they had no infantry working with them, ergo a potential bag of Italian prisoners that had offered to surrender returned to being enemy combatants.

Re: A view on why Britsh tanks were so inferior.

Post by phylo_roadking » 08 Nov 2013, 21:35

But what was the potential gain from this engagement - prisoners taken. or A/T guns destoyed? Italian prisoners were, after all, rather common by 1941.

Don't I seem to remember a pic of a large column of Italian POWS being escorted by a Matilda II.

(I still don't understand why they didn't just drive over said A/T guns and mangle them, or dent them a little at pointblank range with solid shot? Did they really, honestly just leave them sitting there. )


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