Battle of Libau, June 1941.

Discussion in 'The Eastern Front' started by Owen, Jan 26, 2007.

  1. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    As the Eastern Front is so huge, I thought I'd zoom in on a smaller part of it.
    My Latvian friend lives in Liepaja, know then as Libau.
    Reading in Barbarossa to Berlin Vol 1 by Brian Taylor I've come up with this.
    24th June 1941
    At Libau the 67th Rifle Division bloodily repulsed its (18th Army) XXVI Korps after a direct assault upon the town. Quickly investing the garrison, the Germans continued their advance.

    25th June 1941
    Along the Baltic coast the 291st Division was involved in further heavy fighting with 67th Rifle Division around Libau. The main part of the Korp continued its advance inland towards Riga as the 291st threw siege lines around the port.

    26th June 1941
    The 18th army was involved in further bitter fighting at Libau and inland along the road to Riga.
    Elements of XXVI Korp had driven deep into the Soviet flank and were advancing along the Libau-Riga road ...

    27th June 1941
    ....but elemnets were still held up at Libau. Repeated attacks were repelled and artillery bombardment failed to dislodge the garrison.

    29th June 1941.
    ..after a bitter battle, the 291st Infantry Division finally captured Libau.

    291 ID were 18th Army reserve, whose task was to clear the Baltic states of Soviet forces and support the left wing of the panzers as they marched the more direct route to Leningrad.

    I see co-incidentally,one of their Divisional; signs was the Elk I used as an avatar.
    Feldgrau :: 291.Infanterie-Division

    Anyone have further info to add on the battle for Libau?
    Maps , photos , etc
    What about the Red Army 67th Rifle Div?
    They sound a tough unit, any info on them?


    just to add something.The killing fields of Skede
    The first SS Einsatzgruppen arrived on the very first day of the Nazi occupation (29 June 1941), killed a number of Jews and recruited volunteers for the Latvian "Self-Defense" unit. The latter promptly began to arrest Jews, especially members of the Workers Party, and took them to the Womens Prison which became a torture chamber and holding pen for the doomed. Some 47 Jews were shot by the Einsatzgruppen on 3 July 1941 and from then on mass executions became commonplace.
  2. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

  3. PeterG

    PeterG Senior Member

    John Erickson has thisOn 26th June, Admiral N.G. Kuznetsov ordered the withdrawal of naval units from Libau, Windau and the Riga bases; Libau was already blockaded from landward, though an attempt to rush the base on 25 June failed; Soviet marines and units of the 67th Rifle Division, as if to show that all on the North-Western Front was not hopeless, fought tenaciously, even pressing their attackers back; units of the 291st East Prussian Division had to blast the defenders with howitzers and mortars before the base fell on 29 June. (Vol. 1, The Road to Stalingrad, page 144)
  4. AMVAS

    AMVAS Senior Member

    Well... I can remember one interesting episode.
    The battery of 305mm railroad guns TM-III-12 managed to escape from Libava just before Germans blocked it. On its way to Riga it received order to return. After their echelones were turned 180 deg. it was found this order to be German falsificate. It was close to be captured by Germans, but again managed to turn its echelones back to the East and luckily escape from German trap.

    TM-III-12 photos


    More photos of it here:
    Armchair Gallery - Central Museum of the Great Patriotic War

  5. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Thanks to link from GH's Prussia site I found this.
    Liepaja Navy Harbor

    Some intersting photos I'd not seen before.
  6. Gerard

    Gerard Seelow/Prora

    They are interesting and look at those fortifications!!
  7. Gerard

    Gerard Seelow/Prora

    Uniform page 1
    Scroll down to the Baltic Area and you will find an illustration showing a sapper from the 67th Rifle Division.

    There are references to it appearing at Kursk following a quick google search so it either survived or was reconstituted if it was destroyed.

    I found this reference to the battle at the following link : The Soviet Navy in the Great Patriotic War (60th anniversary of victory in the Great Patriotic War). - HighBeam Encyclopedia

    As early as June 22, 1941, the 67th division of the Land Forces and the Baltic Fleet's Libava base determined the main positions and drew up a plan using antiaircraft and shore artillery to support division units during their defense of the city. On June 22, the Libava naval base commander deployed on sea approaches to Libava three small (M-79, M-81 and M-83) and one large (L-3) submarines, which were due to patrol the area and defend the flank of the Land Forces against attacks from the sea.
    Escorted by two small hunter-killers, Kuibyshev and Uritsky, two NF destroyers, sailed to Motovsky Gulf on June 29, and for three hours shelled German troops in the isthmus area on Sredny Peninsula, thus disrupting an attack that was in preparation.
  8. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Hot air manufacturer

    All very interesting, thank you.
  9. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

  10. AMVAS

    AMVAS Senior Member

  11. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Saw that too, Alex.
    This picture is interesting.
    Latvian troops in German made vehicles.

    Infantry of the 24th rifle (Latvian) Corp is on German Henshell - 33G1 trucks on the parade. Riga, 7th of November, 1940
  12. AMVAS

    AMVAS Senior Member

    Saw that too, Alex.
    This picture is interesting.
    Latvian troops in German made vehicles.

    Infantry of the 24th rifle (Latvian) Corp is on German Henshell - 33G1 trucks on the parade. Riga, 7th of November, 1940

    Yes, I know this photo...
  13. Gerard

    Gerard Seelow/Prora

    Owen was this before the occupation by Soviet Union?? Sorry but I cant remember when USSR took over the Baltic states.
  14. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    After, Soviets moved in June 17th 1940.
    Follow link from Alex's post and there are
    BT-7 tanks of the 27th armored brigade are on the parade. Riga, 7th of November, 1940
    on the same parade
  15. AMVAS

    AMVAS Senior Member

    Owen was this before the occupation by Soviet Union?? Sorry but I cant remember when USSR took over the Baltic states.

    When Baltic states were included in the USSR their armies were transformed into so called "territorial" corps. This photo shows troops of one of those corps on parade...
  16. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Does anyone know how many Latvians fought in the Red Army and how many in the German Forces?
    Found this,Occupation of Latvia by Nazi Germany - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    In violation of international rights, both Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union unlawfully conscripted Latvia's inhabitants in their armed forces. During World War II more than 200,000 Latvian soldiers ended up in the rank and file of both occupation forces; approximately half of them (100,000) were killed on the battlefield.
  17. Gerard

    Gerard Seelow/Prora

    I dont know but I have heard stories of untis of the Einsatzgruppen being made up of recruits from the Baltic states. And if I am correct the clearing of Jews in Riga were carried out by the local populace whilst the Germans stood back and watched. This is not a judgement on these peoples merely of an affirmation that there were some who were in the employ of the Reich.

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