The Final Battle of Königsberg

Posted: August 15, 2010 in World War 2

Gun Fire From All Sides

At about 2am, we drew up with the reinforced 192nd on our right & the remnants of the 171st on our left. Before us lay a railway cutting the line from Central to North Station. We quickly overran the Russian outposts, & advanced into the cemetery. Here we ran into our first bit of trouble. Fire from all sides, together with salvos from “Stalin organs” rained down on us. What with barbed wire fences & so many paths, we found it extremely difficult to make our way across this terrain. Our only guide was a Russian loudspeaker van to our right, which kept pouring a stream of propaganda into the night… After clearing the fence at the edge of the cemetery, we kept to the left. Here we separated from Major Harmann, who took his gunners straight on. After some time; however, he realized that there was no escaping in that direction, & he returned to Königsberg.

Suddenly we found ourselves on Holsteiner Dam, on the banks of the Pregel. It had grown damnably light, but we had no choice, & so on we went along the Dam in a westerly direction. There were still some 40-50 of us. Many had been lost in the cemetery. We went past Russian-occupied houses unnoticed, but then our scouts were spotted near the granaries. All hell was let loose in no time at all. They fired at us from every window & from the opposite bank of the river, as well. Firing back in all directions, we withdrew to the edge of the granaries, & then turned off to the right. We dared not continue along the Dam, for meanwhile the whole area had been alerted & we could not possibly get by. It was 5am now & visibility was fairly good despite the morning mists.

Crossing the flooded marsh area between Moditten & Gross-Holstein, we managed to break through during the night of April 9th, after hiding in the marshes throughout the day. Nearby, there was another group of some 20 men with a few officers of the 171st Regiment, together with several men from the 548th Volks-Grenadiers who had gone into action just before we did. Their attempt to break out had failed; only a few isolated groups & light guns had got through. Major-General Sudau had fallen soon after the attack near the Luisen Kirche.

During the day, we could see a dying city, veiled in smoke & fire, into which the fiery trails of the heavy guns tore fresh wounds time & again. From isolated spots we could still hear the clacking of odd machine guns, until finally the last sounds of battle were stilled. At dusk, there were only the black clouds & the uncanny red glow of the smoke rising over the dead city…

Major Lewinski, 192nd Grenadier Regiment, reporting on an attempt to break out of Königsberg during April 8th-10th, 1945

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