Skip to comments.NAZIS TAKE BREST-LITOVSK, GAIN IN SOUTH; SOVIET CLAIMS 5,000 PRISONERS, 300 TANKS (6/24/41)
Posted on 06/24/2011 5:02:43 AM PDT by Homer_J_Simpson
my apologies in advance....I root for the allies on all other fronts..knowing in advance the outcome of it all....
On the Eastern Front... The German attacks continue to make rapid gains. In the Baltics, Kaunas is captured as is Vilna, farther east, by forces of Panzer Group 3 (left flank of Army Group Center). Farther south, the Soviet garrison of the fortress town of Brest-Litovsk, which is now far behind the front line, is assaulted by forces of German 4th Army (right flank of Army Group Center).
In Washington... At a press conference President Roosevelt announces that he intends to send aid to the USSR.
June 24th, 1941
UNITED KINGDOM: Westminster: The Foreign Secretary, Anthony Eden, announces an Anglo-Soviet mutual aid agreement.
EUROPE: Recruitment of volunteers willing to fight with Germany on the eastern front begins in Spain and Denmark.
GERMANY: Berlin: The German News Bureau announced:
An attempt by the Soviet air force on Tuesday morning to fly weak forces into East Prussia, has been frustrated by the German air defence. The enemy aircraft encountered such accurate flak fire that they were forced to turn around at once and to jettison their bombs over open country.
The German News Office announced:
Since early Monday morning the Luftwaffe has continued its successful attacks on Soviet military airfields. Large numbers of Russian aircraft were destroyed on the first day of battle, and we can now report that a great many more aircraft have been shot down on the same day.
U.S.S.R.: Vilna and Kaunas fall to the Germans on the Eastern Front while another assault is begun on the citidel of Brest Litovsk.
Vilnius and Kaunas had already been liberated by Lithuanian freedom fighters on June 23, a declaration of the restoration of the independence of Lithuania being broadcast over the radio the same day. A national government operated from June 24 to August 5 without German recognition. (Henrik Krog)
Moscow: the Headquarters of the Red Air Force reported concerning the previous days operations:
Our aerial forces have fought successfully to protect our towns and military installations. They have fought in the air and supported the counterattacks of the ground troops. In the course of the day 51 enemy aircraft were destroyed by our fighter planes and ground defenses. One enemy plane was forced to land at an airfield near Minsk.
Moscow is bombed by 100 aircraft this night.
The German embassy staff are taken to Kostroma-on-Volga where they are billeted in a workers’ rest home for five days. Before being taken across Russia to Leninakan, near the Armenian-Turkish border, and kept their while the exact procedure for the exchange of exchange of personnel is being worked out by the protecting powers and Turkey, the country of transit. (Greg Kelley, 274, pp. 337 - 338)
Soviet submarine S-3 of the Baltic Fleet is sunk by German MTBs off Steinort or mined near the Uzhava lighthouse. (Mike Yared)(146 and 147)
NORTH AFRICA: A heavy price has to be paid for the supply of besieged Tobruk by the Royal and Australian Navy ships involved. Sloop HMS Auckland escorting the petrol carrier Pass of Balmaha to Tobruk is overwhelmed by three formations of 16 Ju. 87 and is sunk 20 ENE of Tobruk at 32 15N, 24 30E. There are 162 survivors. (Alex Gordon)(108)
SYRIA: 2/14 Bn attacks hills dominating road north of Jezzine but fail with heavy losses the Senegalese defenders are well-prepared and courageous and artillery fire misses the mountain-top positions. North of Merdjayoun, Lt A. R. Cutler RAA (later VC) emplaces a field gun forward of 2/Kings Own to shell French posts at point-blank range. 16 Brit Bde is halted on advance from Damascus to Beirut by Jebel Mazar, towering 1600 feet above the road. French observers on the Jebel call in accurate CBF. At Palmyra, the Arab Nationalist leader Fawzi el Kawakji reinforced by French armoured cars captures a British supply convoy and attacks Warwickshire Yeomanry. (Michael Alexander)
COMMONWEALTH OF THE PHILIPPINES: 3rd and 20th Pursuit Squadrons shifted to Clark due to flooding at Nichols airfield, 17th to Iba for gunnery qualification. SS President Pierce arrives with 96 more pilots. (Marc Small)
U.S.A.: President Roosevelt announces his intention to send aid to the USSR.
The German Charge d’Affaires in Washington sends a note to the U.S. Undersecretary of State regarding the sinking of the U.S. merchant ship SS Robin Moor by a German submarine on 21 May 1941. He writes, “I have the honor to advise you that I do not find myself in a position to pass on...the text of a message to Congress from the President of the United States for the information of my government.” The text of the message was the speech that President Roosevelt delivered to Congress on 20 June 1941. (Jack McKillop)
In baseball, the New York Yankees begin a three game series against the St. Louis Browns in Yankee Stadium, New York City. Joe DiMaggio is hitless until the 8th inning when he singles against Browns pitcher Bob Muncrief thus extending DiMaggio’s hitting streak to 36-games. Browns’ manager Luke Sewell asks Muncrief why he didn’t walk DiMaggio in the eighth to end the streak. Said Muncrief: “That wouldn’t have been fair, to him or to me. Hell, he’s the greatest ballplayer I’ve ever seen.” The Yankees won the game 9-1. (Jack McKillop)
Minesweeper USS Sheldrake laid down. (Dave Shirlaw)
Day 663 June 24, 1941 Partial
Soviet submarine S-3, although under repair and unable to dive, attempts to escape from the Latvian port of Libau but is sunk by German motor torpedo boats S-60 and S-35 using 20mm cannon, hand grenades and depth charges. 2 other Soviet submarines (M-71 and M-80) and destroyer Lenin are also scuttled at Libau.
All day, German and Italian bombers attack British sloop HMS Auckland and Australian sloop HMAS Parramatta, escorting tanker Pass of Balmaha from Alexandria to Tobruk with 750 tons of aviation fuel. At 5.36 PM, HMS Auckland is hit by a bomb which destroys her stern and then capsizes (38 killed). 162 crew are rescued from the water by HMAS Parramatta, under continued dive bomb attack, before HMS Auckland explodes and sinks. Pass of Balmaha is damaged by near-misses and towed into Tobruk by Australian destroyer HMAS Waterhen.
There was also the following message from the blogspot guy.
I have thoroughly enjoyed the last 662 days of posting a daily record of WWII from 70 years ago. Unfortunately, the time commitment is just too great for me to keep up with all the events in so many theatres as the war picks up pace.
I will create an entry for each date to provide a framework to fill in details later. I will no longer post a detailed update every day, although I will do this as often as I can. Some days, however, there will be no information posted. I know this will disappoint many of you who appreciate the daily posts and it will be frustrating to see blank entries or empty dates. For this I apologise.
I am not giving up on this project completely, only delaying it. I intend to return to this later, when I have more time on my hands. Also, I will continue reading and writing (at least in note form) so there will be some framework for a future effort. I will also use the time to find grant funding to give this daily history a permanent website rather than using Facebook and blogger.
Finally, thank you all for your support over the last 644 days. I hope together we can continue following the events of WWII.
Please feel free to record your thoughts using comments to this post.
Posted by WWII at 70 at 12:45 PM
No need to apologize, I get mixed feelings as well....
Thank YOU, Homer. You’ve done an OUTSTANDING job! See you on the road to Moscow...
Thank you very much for posting these threads. Keep up the great work!
It’s really a product of growing up during the Cold War I think. I also have a lot of difficulty rooting for the Soviets in this fight against the Germans. But when I think about it, I grew up in a world where West Germany was a strong ally and the Soviets were seen as the greatest threat.
I have no such difficulty, since my father was part of Armee Group North and one of my Unkles survived Stalingrad.
I went through the nuclear attack drills back in grade school where we got under the desk to escape the blast of a Russian A-Bomb, but I dont feel any rooting interest for either side in this campaign. I would compare it to a dog fight staged as entertainment by the kind of people who do that.
I get wary whenever I see a pit bull in my neighborhood. Most of the ones I see serve as dangerous accessories for gang-banger wannabes who shouldnt own a dog at all. But if I were to witness a staged fight between two of these creatures I would feel deeply sad for the dogs, and revulsion at the spectacle, and intense anger at the people who caused it. But I would not pick one and hope for it to destroy the other.
It strikes me that the battle that began on June 22, 1941 was the worst man-made disaster in history. Despite what my tagline says I dont believe the regular people of the Soviet Union and Germany deserved that fate. Perhaps the most important lesson to be learned from the history of the twentieth century is that socialism causes human suffering. WWII on the eastern front may be the most exterme example of this.
If I've read your post correctly it will be up to others on this thread to start sharing the immense load that you were carrying pretty much alone.
I guess we will see what we will see but we all owe you a debt of thanks, anyway.
You are quite welcome, PzLdr. Wow - I feel like I have been awarded the Iron Cross.
See you on the road to Moscow...
I have a feeling it will be a long and grueling road.
It is whoever has been doing the posts at blogspot that is taking a break from posting. I Homer is not going anywhere. There's a war on, you know.
Within a day or two of the occupation, several enlisted men in a bakers company of the Wehrmacht Sixteenth Army encountered what was probably the first pogrom in Kaunas when they joined a crowd of people gathered in a square somewhere in the center of the town.
We were quartered in an old Russian barracks, a sergeant recalled, and immediately started to make bread for the troops. I think it must have been one day after we had arrived in Kovno that I was informed by a driver in my unit that Jews were being beaten to death in a nearby square. Upon hearing this I went to the said square [with] other members of our unit. On the cobbled square, lined with houses and opening onto a park, the sergeant saw civilians, some in shirtsleeves beating other civilians to death with iron bars. He heard someone say that these were Jews who had swindled the Lithuanians before the Germans had arrived. The bystanders were mostly German soldiers. The sergeant questioned those nearest him, who told him that the victims were being beaten to satisfy a personal desire for vengeance. His account continues:
"When I reached the square there were about fifteen to twenty bodies lying there. These were then cleared away by the Lithuanians and the pools of blood were washed away with water from a hose . I saw the Lithuanians take hold of the bodies by their hands and legs and drag them away. Afterwards another group of offenders was herded and pushed onto the square and without further ado simply beaten to death by the civilians armed with iron bars. I watched as a group of offenders were beaten to death and then had to look away because I could not watch any longer. These actions seemed extremely cruel and brutal . The Lithuanian civilians could be heard shouting out their approval and goading the men on."
A bakers company grenadier remembered asking a medical-corps sergeant beside him why these people were being beaten to death in such a cruel manner.
The sergeant told him that they were all Jews who had been apprehended by Lithuanians in the city and had been brought to this square. The killings were carried out by recently released Lithuanian convicts. The SS had released violent criminals from prison, that is, and put them to work murdering Jewish victims to make the pogrom look spontaneous. The corporal counted five men wielding crowbars and about fifteen dead or seriously injured people collapsed on the cobblestones. Another enlisted man noticed that there were men guarding the square wearing armbands and [carrying] carbines, and the grenadier identified them as some members of the Lithuanian Freikorpsthat is, irregulars. The irregulars were feeding victims to the killers, moving in and out of the square with more Jews who were likewise beaten to death by the convicts. In the ten minutes the grenadier could bear to watch he witnessed the beating to death of some ten to fifteen Jews. All the victims were men.
A similar scene confronted a colonel who was adjutant to the staff of Army Group North on his arrival in Kaunas on the morning of 27 June 1941. He passed a filling station surrounded by a dense crowd and noticed women in the crowd who had lifted up their children or stood them on chairs or boxes so that they could see better. He thought he must be witnessing a victory celebration or some type of sporting event because of the cheering, clapping and laughter that kept breaking out. But when he asked what was happening, he was told that the Death-dealer of Kovno was at work and that this was where collaborators and traitors were finally meted out their rightful punishment! He moved closer and witnessed probably the most frightful event that I had seen during the course of two world wars:
On the concrete forecourt of the petrol station a blond man of medium height, aged about twenty-five, stood leaning on a wooden club, resting. The club was as thick as his arm and came up to his chest. At his feet lay about fifteen to twenty dead or dying people. Water flowed continuously from a hose washing blood away into the drainage gully. Just a few steps behind this man some twenty men, guarded by armed civilians, stood waiting for their cruel execution in silent submission. In response to a cursory wave the next man stepped forward silently and was then beaten to death with the wooden club in the most bestial manner, each blow accompanied by enthusiastic shouts from the audience.
A military photographer who photographed the scene (and who identified the murder weapon as an iron crowbar) nearly had his camera confiscated by a hovering SS officer, indicating just how spontaneous these early public massacres were. Bystanders he questioned claimed that the death-dealers parents had been taken from their beds two days earlier and immediately shotpresumably by departing NKVDbecause they were suspected of being nationalists, and this was the young mans revenge. The death-dealer, the photographer adds, within three-quarters of an hour
had beaten to death the entire group of forty-five to fifty people in this way, after which the young man put the crowbar to one side, fetched an accordion and went and stood on the mountain of corpses and played the Lithuanian national anthem.
At Rasyeinyai the division was hit by a counterattack by the 2nd Soviet Tank Division equipped with heavy KV-I and KV-2 tanks.
Armed respectively with a 76.2mm gun and a 152mm howitzer, these tanks had armor proof against anti-tank weapons up to 75mm calibre. The prototypes had been tried out during the Russo-Finnish War, and about 500 had been built by the outbreak of war with Germany; despite this, their existence was unknown to the Panzerwaffe, to whom they came as a considerable shock.
In an effort to stop these monsters two Panzer battalions and the anti-tank battalion concentrated their fire, but without effect. Fortunately the Russian tanks were poorly led and their fire was very inaccurate; some even closed with the German tanks and rammed them.
They were generally vulnerable to the German 88mm flak-gun, and some success was also achieved by rather desperate measures such as concentrating MG fire on the vision devices and turret rings to blind the crew and jam the turret race, and attacking their vulnerable points in close combat with petrol cans, grenades and high-explosive engineer charges.
That day changed the character of tank warfare, as the KV represented a wholly new level of armament, armor protection and weight.
German tanks had hitherto been intended mainly to fight enemy infantry and their supporting arms. From now on the main threat was the enemy tank itself, and the need to 'kill' it at as great a range as possible led to the design of longer-barreled guns of larger calibre. Tank guns of less than 75mm became more or less useless; and until HEAT ammunition was supplied in 1942 the L/24 75mm gun of the PzKpfw IV, with its low muzzle velocity of 385ms, was generally ineffective against the new Russian vehicles.
snapshot of a roadside conference between elements of 1st and 6th Panzer Divisions during the advance on Leningrad, 1941. The SdK.fz 221 and (background) 261 armoured cars belong to the reconnaissance battalion of 1st pz.Div.; Oberstleutnant Siebert, CO of 2nd Bn., 11th pz.Regt. briefs a despatch rider
In a village outside Bialystok, Polish peasants greet German troops entering their village-June 24th
Scene in eastern Poland-late June
German traffic jam-June 25-Army Group South
Shocked Russian troops surrender on second day of war near Kobrin
I look forward to this more than ever now that Barbarossa is on. Every day for a long time is going to be damn fun reading.
I also at first thought the post was talking about you, Homer, and suddenly I felt like an addict who wasn't going to get his daily fix!
Then I re-read and thought, naw, no way, Homer's still going to be here for us.
Whew! Thanks again!
Thanks for your brilliant analysis, Homer.
I think you are spot on.
Like some other posters, all of my ancestors emigrated from what later became Germany, and I lived there for many years -- during the Cold War.
So my sympathies go naturally to Germans.
However, I never forget that there were specific reasons why each of many ancestors left Germany -- German behavior which grew and blossomed during the Second World War, especially, into stark raving mass insanity.
Historical psychologists, sociologists & other scholars try to explain why, and all of that is important.
But for those of us who know and love Germans, it's the same feeling we might have towards a close relative who suffered serious mental deterioration.
They needed help, but first they had to be stopped from damaging themselves and others.
Keep in mind, at this stage what the Nazis are invading is occupied Poland, and not the Soviet Union proper.
I appreciate that.
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