ϟϟ-Division „Wiking“ and the recapture of Rostov-on-Don

Wiking Panzer Commander
SS-Aufklärungs-Abteilung 5
On July 24 1942 German troops captured Rostov-on-Don and SS-Division Wiking rolled through the city, which was still in death throes, opening the Caucasus region of southern Soviet Union and the oil fields beyond at Maikop. It had been a daring but successful operation that had brought the fall of Rostov. The Soviets had expected an attack, but not the way it was conducted. The defenders were from the 18th and 56th Armies of the Soviet Union's Red Army. The Russians conducted a fighting withdrawal and avoiding giving the Germans the large bags of prisoners their more rigid defense had led to in 1941. The main German effort was a hook from the north by General Ewald von Kleist's first Panzer group, with the 17.Armee taking a more direct route at the city from the west. The outer hook got there first, and was led by the 14. and 22.Panzer-Divisions, joined soon after by SS-Divison Wiking. Note that Wiking was already a Panzergrenadier division in effect at this point, as it had a 50+ tank panzer battalion plus a StuG battalion organic. A company of the tanks were Panzer IV longs, another III longs and another's worth were just Pz IIs. 14.Panzer-Division bypassed the city after the first day or two of the fighting, 22.Panzer-Division was involved longer, and Wiking was clearing it block by block for days. 17.Armee arrived in time to participate in the street fighting phase. The 100.Jäger-Division was one of its formations involved. The division got a reputation as street fighting experts there, and carried it to Stalingrad later in the campaign. The German assault had taken the Soviets completely by surprise. Top image: an unidentified Tank commander of SS-Divison Wiking. Bottom image: SS-Aufklärungs-Abteilung 5 of the Wiking moving up to secure a town in Southeast of Ukraine 1942. The vehicle is a Leichter Panzerspahwagen (Sd Kfz 221) which was a light armored car. Credit: JasonC from the Battlefront Community. Fair use.

No comments:

Post a Comment