26 December 2013

Oberst Walther von Hünersdorff Discussing Strategy

Image size: 1600 x 1061 pixel. 575 KB
Date: January 1943
Place: Novo Marjewka, Soviet Union
Photographer: Helmut Ritgen

Oberst Walther von Hünersdorff (right), Kommandeur Panzer-Regiment 11 / 6.Panzer-Division - and of the division from 7 February 1943 to 14 July 1943 - holds a front-line orders group during a January 1943 attack on the Soviet position known as "Rabbit Farm". During the costly fighting between the Don and the Donets that winter Von Hünersdorff commanded Kampfgruppe (armoured battle-group) of 6. and 7. Panzer-Division and Army reserve assault artillery units. Not satisfied with their victory at Stalingrad, the Soviets plunged southwestward in an attempt to cut off Heeresgruppe A (Army Group A) in the Caucasus and collapse the entire German southern wing on the Ostfront, perhaps ending the war in early 1943. But German Field Marshal Erich von Manstein implemented a bold plan to first slow and then reverse the Soviet thrust. In two brutal battles in January at Tatsinskaya and Novo Marjewka the 6. Panzer-Division succeeded in stopping the Soviet thrust between the Don and Donets Rivers. Later, the depleted division still played a key role in the counteroffensive that re- took Kharkov in March.

Helmut Ritgen photo collection
Book "The 6th Panzer Division: 1937-45" by Oberst a.D. Helmut Ritgen

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