Kharkov: March 15 – 16 1943

Battle hardened Waffen-SS Panzergrenadiers
The Soviets rushed reinforcements, including a tank brigade and an élite brigade of NKVD security troops, into the city. On March 14 1943 elements of the 17th NKVD Regiment and the 19th Rifle Division, reinforced by a dozen or so tanks, occupied the tractor factory complex southeast of Kharkov. Early in the morning of March 15 1943, Regiment Deutschland's 2nd battalion of SS-Panzergrenadier-Division Das Reich, under command of SS-Sturmbannführer Hans Bissinger led the attack on the entrenched NKVD troops and concealed T-34s. The fighting continued until after the darkness fell. On March 16 1943, SS-Standartenführer Otto Kumm's Regiment Der Führer's 3rd battalion of the Das Reich, arrived and began a final attack to clear the last Soviet troops out of the factory. By mid-morning, the NKVD troops and surviving Soviet infantry abandoned Kharkov and withdrew to the south and east. Image: Waffen-SS Panzergrenadiers outside the tractor factory gates in March 15 – 16 1943. Commons: Bundesarchiv.

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