The three hills run east to west. The forces were supported by the 576-strong 13th Air Army. This separation was enhanced by a personal dislike between the two commanders as well as a geographic barrier consisting of a chain of lakes which forced the armies to operate independently. [2][7] However, the following combat proved the opposite. Soviet artillery increased the intensity of its fire to 30,000 shells,[5] the German artillery answered with 10,000 rounds of its own. The Battle of Tannenberg was the first major battle of World War One, fought between Germany and Russia, who surprised everyone with its fast mobilization. In the era of the Soviet Union, losses in the Battle of Tannenberg Line were not mentioned in Soviet sources. Simultaneously, Soviet platoons were climbing up the Grenadier Hill under intensive German bombardment. To the south, the German XX Corps was able to hold around Tannenberg, while the Russian XIII Corps drove unopposed on Allenstein. The Battle of Tannenberg, also known as Second Battle of Tannenberg, was fought between Russia and Germany between 26 and 30 August 1914, the first month of World War I. [7] According to some veterans, it appeared that low-flying Soviet bombers were attempting to hit every individual German soldier jumping between craters, from time to time getting buried under the soil by the explosions of Soviet shells. ThoughtCo uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience and for our. The commander of the Army Group, Ferdinand Schörner, had repeatedly called Adolf Hitler's attention to the fact that virtually no division consisting of Germans was left at the Tannenberg Line, which was threatening to collapse. For the next day the 2nd Shock Army was reinforced with the 31st and the 82nd Tank Regiments, three howitzer brigades and nine heavy artillery regiments. The battle was held in Tannenberg, lasted 4 days, and was one of Russia’s worst defeats and was one of the most significant battles fought during WWI. ... Their were a total of 180,000 casualties for both sides. Leaving diplomatic formulation aside, Grasser announced that without immediate reinforcements, the Soviets would inevitably break through the Tannenberg Line on 29 June. Until mid-September, the front stayed quiet. Eesti mehed sõjatules, p.329. [5][10], In the afternoon of 29 July the Soviet forces made eight attempts at regaining control of the Grenadier Hill. Casualties and losses; 14,000 dead or missing 54,000 wounded or sick 68,000 casualties: 100,000 dead or missing 380,000 wounded or sick 300 tanks 230 aircraft 480,000 casualties [7] The Soviet order of battle (available data as of 28 July 1944):[5], Total: 26,850 infantrymen, 458 pieces of artillery, 112 tanks, Total: 28,000 infantrymen, 518 pieces of artillery, 174 tanks and 44 self-propelled guns, Separate Corps and Divisions (possibly subordinated to one the above-mentioned Armies):[5], Against the Soviet forces, a few tired German regiments without any reserve troops stood at their positions, battered by the Soviet artillery. Estonian State Archive, Fund 32, Catalogue 12, File 7, pp.98–101, J.Uudevald (2000). [2][7] The remnants of the I. Battalion, 3rd Estonian resisted the Soviet attacks on the southern flank. He explained it by stating the artillery fire was running late. Attacking the Russian right, they drove back elements of the VI Corps near Seeburg and Bischofstein. [27], Russian author Grigoriy F. Krivosheev, in his account "Soviet casualties and combat losses in the twentieth century", lists 665,827 casualties suffered by the Leningrad Front in 1944, 145,102 of them as dead, missing in action, or captured. [12] The Soviets were forced to retreat from the Grenadier Hill. The numbers were overwhelming; in perhaps as little as a month, the Russians could field around ten complete armies, more men than the Germans could muster on both fronts put together. The attack continued towards the summit under heavy Soviet artillery and bomber attack, getting into close combat in the Soviet positions. This led to the majority of his army being concentrated east of Tannenberg. [7] The armored forces included the brand-new IS-2 tanks with extra armor and a 122mm gun. [7] The number of Soviet casualties can only be estimated by looking at other figures. The commander of the Army Detachment "Narwa", General der Infanterie Anton Grasser, assessed the German capacity as insufficient against the Soviet attack. At Tannenberg the actual ratio of Russian to German troops was 29 to 16. Hickman, Kennedy. Moreover, the Germans captured 92,000 Russian soldiers as war prisoners. Efendiyev, who destroyed a German strongpoint on the hill. The Estonian units against them ran out of ammunition. They fought for the strategically important Narva Isthmus from 25 July–10 August 1944. While having a great psychological effect, the "Katyushas" or so-called "Stalin organs" were inaccurate, causing little damage to the well-dug-in German troops. Casualties. Among the Soviet tank commanders, starshina S.F. In the attack of 29 July, 225 men survived of the Soviet 109th Rifle Corps carrying the main weight of the assault. A series of follow-up battles … This is a sub-article to Battle of Narva (1944). [5] At the nine kilometre long segment of the front, 1,913 assault guns were collected, making it 300 guns per kilometer. The battle resulted in the almost complete destruction of the Russian Second Army. Lavreshin of the 937th Rifle Regiment, who had been marching ahead of his troops with a red flag in his hands, erected it at the summit. [5], The Soviet Marshal Leonid Govorov considered the Tannenberg Line as the key position of Army Group North and concentrated the best forces of the Leningrad Front. Of the 120th Rifle Division, 1,808 men were lost; killed or wounde… In Estonian) In: Mart Tamberg (Comp.). [7] The number of Soviet casualties can only be estimated by looking at other figures. Dubbing the engagement the Battle of Tannenberg, in vindication of the Teutonic Knight's 1410 defeat on the same ground by a Polish and Lithuanian army, Hindenburg succeeded in ending … In recent years, Russian authors have published some figures but not for the whole course of the battle. By the night of 28 July the battle had subsided. The formations of Gruppenführer Felix Steiner's III SS Panzer Corps halted their withdrawal and moved into defensive positions on the hills. EVTÜ, Saku, A.Aasmaa (1999). After Russian victories at Stallupönen and Gumbinnen, a panicked Prittwitz ordered the abandonment of East Prussia and a retreat to the Vistula River (Map). Due to I Corps' delays, it was XVII Corps which opened the main battle on August 26. The defenders used this respite to rotate several exhausted units out of the line for a few days for rest and refit, and to strengthen their positions. The latter suffered heavy losses but regrouped and cut the Norwegians off at the east side of the hill. However, the main weight of the impending attack tended to be at the Grenadier Hill once more. [7], By noon on 29 July Soviet forces had almost seized control of the Tannenberg Line. Waffen-SS forces included 24 volunteer infantry battalions from the SS Division Nordland, the SS Division Langemarck, the SS Division Nederland, and the Walloon Legion. [25], In the evening of 29 July, the Army Detachment Narwa counted 113–120 Soviet tanks destroyed, almost half of them in the battles of 29 July. [7][20], In a similar fashion, the Soviets made two more attacks on 3 August. To the south, General Alexander Samsonov's Second Army trailed behind, not reaching the border until August 20. The men of Nederland who survived the artillery bombardment, retreated down the slopes of the Grenadier Hill pursued by the Soviet units. Battle of Tannenberg, (August 26–30, 1914), World War I battle fought at Tannenberg, in what is now northeastern Poland, that ended in a German victory over the Russians. [2][7] Grasser's conclusion was short:[2][7]. The Battle of Tannenberg Line (German: Die Schlacht um die Tannenbergstellung; Russian: Битва за линию «Танненберг») or the Battle of the Blue Hills (Estonian: Sinimägede lahing) was a military engagement between the German Army Detachment Narwa and the Soviet Leningrad Front. In the era of the Soviet Union, losses in the Battle of Tannenberg Line were not mentioned in Soviet sources. German forces withdrew quickly towards the Latvian border. [2][7], After the German counterattack the tactical situation at the Tannenberg Line remained unclear. The 110th Rifle Corps assaulting the Grenadier Hill found themselves in the middle of cross-fire from the remnants of the I.Battalion, 2nd Estonian Regiment. At the Battle of Tannenberg itself the German army lost only 10,000 men but inflicted 170,000 casualties on the Russians. [4], The principle of the Soviet attack in the Sinimäed was an overwhelming frontal shock, with only a few of the attackers presumed to have reached the target. [7] As the commanders of the rifle corps erroneously reported to army headquarters on the capture of the Grenadier Hill, the artillery fire was lifted. [4][11] The remnants of the German advance guard were destroyed. Hickman, Kennedy. 365 pieces of heavy artillery were aimed at the Grenadier Hill and 200 at the Sirgala hamlet in the south segment. The start of the campaign went well for Russia. [4] The rest of the Soviet rifle corps lost their capacity for further attacks. The Estonians counterattacked and cleared the hill. In addition, it required the southern portion of the Königsberg defenses to be left unmanned. The 109th Rifle Division attacked Nederland, which was covering the hill from the north. (Looking Back. Of the 120th Rifle Division, 1,808 men were lost; killed or wounde… [11] In the same attack, the German forces lost 600 men. The Soviet attacks from 4 to 6 August were weaker; on 4 August, eleven tanks were destroyed, and seven more on 5 August. [2][7] Soviet infantry started climbing up the Grenadier Hill. Unable to hold the force, the German units withdrew towards the northwest while the incomplete II Army Corps was left to stall the Soviet attack. [7][16] Units of the Soviet 8th Army advanced in the forests of the southern section of the front. The 117th Rifle Corps stood ready to break through the last of the German defenses. Through the day on the 28th, German forces continued to drive back the Russian flanks and the true danger of the situation began to dawn on Samsonov. By the end of the Battle of Tannenberg, the Russian Empire had over 30,000 casualties. He took lead of the war of the battle of Tannenberg. [7] With artillery fire preventing reinforcements being sent in from the German rear, the Soviet 8th Army went on the attack and drove a wedge into the north flank of the 11th Infantry Division. [5] On 10 August, the war council of the Leningrad Front ordered the termination of the offensive and switch strictly to defense. Eventually the attack was repelled by German hand grenades. [7], The Soviet tanks besieged the Grenadier Hill and kept circling it, all the while firing away at the defenders. [4] The Leningrad Front tried to shift the center of weight southwards. The heights have steep slopes and rise 20–50 m above the surrounding land. Behind them at the summit of the Grenadier Hill stood Nederland. [7] The small number of German Junkers Ju 87 dive bombers and shortage of aircraft fuel gave the Soviets massive air superiority. The Battle of Tannenberg was a decisive engagement between the Russian Empire and the German Empire in the first days of World War I.It was fought by the Russian First and Second Armies and the German Eighth Army between 17 August and 2 September 1914. [7] After the counterattack, only one German Panther tank remained unscathed. When a Soviet tank squadron arrived, the German attack collapsed. This was followed by Soviet bombers trying to hit the last of the German troops, ducking down in their trenches. [7] The 2nd Estonian Regiment was virtually lost and the Nordland Division a shadow of its former self. In total, over 50,000 Russian soldiers were killed and some 92,000 taken as prisoners in the Battle of Tannenbergnamed thus by the Germans in vengeful remembrance of the village, where in 1410 the Poles had defeated the Teutonic Knights. Anticipating a major attack, Steiner ordered the heavy weapons of the SS-Panzergrenadier Regiment Norge and the Danmark Regiment to be pulled together into two shock units. The platoon commanded by Lt. Lapshin broke through to the top of the Grenadier Hill. Arriving on August 23, Hindenburg and Ludendorff reviewed and immediately implemented Hoffmann's plan. Võitluse Teedel Nr.1, 20th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS (1st Estonian), 4th SS Volunteer Panzergrenadier Brigade Nederland, 11th SS Volunteer Panzergrenadier Division Nordland, 4th SS Volunteer Panzergrenadier Brigade Netherlands, Estonian International Commission for the Investigation of Crimes Against Humanity, Treaty on the Final Settlement with Respect to Germany, Rape during the Soviet occupation of Poland, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Battle_of_Tannenberg_Line&oldid=998160439, Articles containing Russian-language text, Articles containing Estonian-language text, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, 109th Rifle Corps – Maj. Gen. Ivan Alferov, 124th Rifle Corps – Col. Mikhail Papchenko, 21st Engineers Brigade – Lt. Col. Vasilkov, 112th Rifle Corps – Maj. Gen. Filipp Solovev, 117th Rifle Corps – Maj. Gen. Vasili Trubachev, 4th SS Panzergrenadier Regiment De Ruyter, The battle is featured in the 2015 Estonian war drama, This page was last edited on 4 January 2021, at 03:01. The Soviet Air Force and artillery covered the German positions with bombs and shells, destroying most of the forest on the hills. Dubbing the engagement the Battle of Tannenberg, in vindication of the Teutonic Knight's 1410 defeat on the same ground by a Polish and Lithuanian army, Hindenburg succeeded in ending the Russian threat to East Prussia and Silesia. [5] For the attack on 29 July, Govorov concentrated all of the capable Soviet units, consisting of 11 divisions and six tank regiments. ThoughtCo. The battle took place near … Battle of Tannenberg was fought between Russia and Germany from 26–30 August 1914 Only 5 days! Concerned that the Russian VI Corps was making a flanking march, Hindenburg ordered General Hermann von François' I Corps to begin their attack on August 25. However, I think this at first glance makes it look that no other were killed apart from the knights, and in turn gives an unfair picture of the battle. Some of the Estonian formations now began to attack the retreating Germans, attempting to secure supplies and weapons to continue a guerrilla war as the Forest Brothers against the Soviet occupation. With the seizure of the Orphanage Hill, the Soviet 201st and the 256th Rifle Divisions were exhausted, as the 109th Rifle Division continued to press towards the Grenadier Hill alone. [8][28] Added to the men missing in action, the number of irrecoverable casualties in the period is approximately 2,500. The commissar made serious charges against the commanders of the units and claimed in his report that they were very drunk while attempting to command the attacks. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/world-war-i-battle-of-tannenberg-2361396. [2][13][14], Reluctant to admit the catastrophe in his report to the Soviet High Command on 30 July, the Political Commissar of the Soviet 2nd Army falsely promised that the Grenadier Hill was still in the possession of the Soviet 109th Rifle Corps. These calls had no effect, as Hitler's response remained to stand or die. Bernard Montgomery would later write that “Tannenberg was the most brilliant tactical feat of the 1914/18 war” (1968, p.468). The battle resulted in a stalemate as both Russian and German armies suffered heavy losses. The Allied battle plan prior to the war had been based on France and the United Kingdom halting the German armies in the West while the huge Russian armies could be organized and brought to the Eastern front. The Nederland Brigade was reduced to the size of a regiment, while the two regiments of the Langemarck Sturmbrigade each had the strength of a reinforced company. [11], Steiner had one more battalion to spare – the 1st Battalion, Waffen Grenadier Regiment 45 Estland (1st Estonian) which had been spared from the previous counterattacks because of the scarcity of able-bodied men. The Soviets attacked the II. The Battle of Masurian Lakes occured as the Germans pursued the retreating Russian force inflicting another 125,000 casualties while once again only losing 10,000 of their own men. B. Russia was decisively victorious, capturing more than 50,000 German troops and halting their advance. Or the Russian front ... or the Eastern Front So many … 3, Unpublished reports of the Estonian Operation of the 2nd Shock Army, July–September 1944. [7] At a point occupied by the German 11th Infantry Division near the borough of Sirgala in the south, the Soviet tanks aimed to break through. The battle also marked the debut of General Paul von Hindenburg and his chief of staff, General Erich Ludendorff, as a highly effective duo on the battlefield. The fire caused heavy casualties, while a part of the defenders left their positions. One of the few battles of maneuver from a conflict best known for static trench warfare, Tannenberg saw German forces in the east effectively destroy General Alexander Samsonov's Russian Second Army. This plan was risky as any turn south by Rennenkampf's First Army would endanger the German left. [4] The Soviets reduced their operations to patrol activities with occasional attacks. Palavad päevad Sinimägedes (Hot Days at Sinimäed Hills. [4], There is no complete overview of the order of the Soviet forces or the detachment sizes in the Battle of Tannenberg Line. The gradual decrease in the number of shells fired by the Soviet artillery (9,000 rounds on 30 July) was evidence of the weakening of the Soviet attacks. [19] When the artillery barrage ended, the freshly drafted II.Battalion, Waffen-Grenadier Regiment der SS 46 (2nd Estonian) returned fire after inflicting severe casualties on the assaulting Soviets and counterattacked, reclaiming the Grenadier Hill. This was resisted by François as his artillery had not arrived. The small German grenadier units were moved into the trenches. While the bulk of this strength was to be directed south against Austria-Hungary, who were fighting a largely one-front war, the First and Second Armies were deployed north to invade East Prussia. This remained the westernmost point the Soviet armed forces reached in Northeast Estonia until late September 1944. With this information in hand, he proposed shifting the German I Corps south by train to the far left of Samsonov's line, while the XVII Corps and I Reserve Corps were moved to oppose the Russian right. The strategic aim of the Soviet Estonian Operation was to reoccupy Estonia as a favorable base for the invasions of Finland and East Prussia. The Soviets started searching the bunkers for documents and prisoners. [7] The German order of battle (as of 28 July 1944) was:[5], Army Detachment Narwa – General of the Infantry Anton Grasser, Total: 22,250 troops[1] deployed in 25 Estonian and 24 German, Dutch, Danish, Flemish, Italian, Norwegian and Walloon battalions[5], On 26 July, pursuing the withdrawing Germans, the Soviet attack fell onto the Tannenberg Line before the vastly outnumbered Army Detachment Narwa had dug in. I Corps was moving by the rail line, and Ludendorf had previously counter-ordered it further east, at Deutsch-Eylau, where it could support the right of XX Corps. 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