Raseiniai KV

Article

July 6, 2022

"Raseiniai KV" - Soviet heavy tank KV-1 from the 4th tank regiment of the 2nd tank division, on the afternoon of June 24, 1941, entered into battle near Raseiniai with the forces of the battle group of Colonel Erhard Raus (group "Raus") from 6- 1st Panzer Division of the Wehrmacht. The confrontation between the tank and the German troops, which became one of the episodes of the Raseiniai battle, lasted more than 20 hours; the crew of the combat vehicle managed to block the Routh group, which numbered about 2000-3500 people. On the morning of June 25, 1941, German artillery managed to disable the tank, and its crew died. According to the memoirs of Colonel Raus, the German soldiers were deeply shocked by the heroism of the Soviet tankers, and therefore buried the bodies of the dead with military honors. In 1965, the remains of the crew members were reburied at the military cemetery in Raseiniai; To date, the name of only one of the participants in that battle is known - Pavel Yegorovich Ershov.

Historical context

On June 22, 1941, the Great Patriotic War began: the troops of Nazi Germany and its European allies, in violation of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, invaded the territory of the USSR. The powerful blow of the enemy forces, characterized by the rapid advance of his tank and motorized formations, disrupted the control of the Red Army troops, which, during heavy battles, were forced to retreat farther and farther from the state border. On the afternoon of June 23, 1941, the forces of the 6th Panzer Division of the Wehrmacht captured the city of Raseiniai, after which they continued the offensive along two roads with two battle groups. One of the groups was led by Colonel Erhard Raus (Group Raus), the other was led by Lieutenant Colonel Erich von Seckendorf (Group von Seckendorf). Both groups soon managed to take bridgeheads on the northern bank of the Dubysa River (about 8 kilometers relative to each other). On the morning of June 24, the forces of the 2nd Panzer Division (division commander Major General E. N. Solyankin) approached the Raseiniai area and attacked the positions of the von Seckendorf group from the march. German troops first encountered Soviet heavy KV tanks, which were at the disposal of the division; in the documents of the 6th Panzer Division of the Wehrmacht, these vehicles were described as follows: “52-ton new tanks, type not determined