Soviet Operation Kutuzov and Operation Rumyantsev July – August 1943 and Soviet Lower Dnieper Offensive August – December 1943

SS-Obersturmführer Karl-Heinz Boska
Operation Rumyantsev July – August 1943
Operation Zitadelle was abandoned on July 13 1943 and the German forces fell back on the defensive. The deteriorating situation in Italy now claimed Hitler's attention, and he ordered SS-Obergruppenführer Paul Hausser´s II.SS-Panzerkorps out of the front line to hold itself in readiness for a transfer. In the end, however, only SS-Panzergrenadier-Division Leibstandarte was sent to help stabilize the situation caused by the deposal of Mussolini by the Badoglio Government and the Allied Landings in Sicily on July 10 1943, leaving SS-Panzergrenadier-Division Das Reich and Totenkopf to face the renewed Soviet onslaught. The next three months the German forces reeled back in disorder on all fronts despite desperate delaying actions by SS-Das Reich and Totenkopf and other crack units like SS-Panzergrenadier-Division Wiking and the Panzergrenadier-Division Großdeutschland (Wehrmacht). Kharkov and Kiev both fell; but in November a fresh counteroffensive, spearheaded by the Waffen-SS divisions (including the Leibstandarte SS, hastily recalled from Italy), succeeded in checking the Soviet advance. A seesaw situation developed with both sides attempting to encircle isolated groups of their opponents, sometimes successfully, at other times vainly. Credit: Osprey Publishing. Left image: a photo of Das Reich officer Karl-Heinz Boska, probably taken in connection with his promotion to SS-Obersturmführer on December 16 1943. On the morning of September 13 1943 near Bolschaja Grab, Soviet infantry mounted a large and dangerous surprise attack on Das Reich's II.Panzer-Abteilung Headquarters. the then SS-Untersturmführer Karl-Heinz Boska, rallied and led five Panzers in a ferocious counterattack that destroyed 12 anti-tank guns, two field guns and killed over 300 Russian troops, earning him an immediate recommendation for the Knight's Cross by the Divisional commander Walther Krüger. Knight's Cross holder Karl-Heinz Boska died aged 84 on October 22 2004 in Raisdorf near Kiel. Commons Bundesarchiv.

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