Friday 3 October 2014

Flak vs KV

The following is a part of a debriefing of a KV-1 radio operator of the 86th Independent Tank Battalion of the 55th Army on the Leningrad Front, whose unit came under fire from the then unidentified high caliber guns.

"On September 18th, 1941, our crew, composed of the tank commander and company commander Lieutenant P.P. Ivanov, gun commander Senior Sergeant E.E. Ivanov, mechanic-driver Senior Sergeant B. Minevich, loader Sergeant A. Zibin...moved out from Kupchino to complete our mission in the direction of Moskovskaya Slavyanka-Pushkin, for cooperation with the 2nd battalion of the 142nd Infantry Regiment.

At 17:00-18:00, a messenger came from the HQ to the commander, with orders to enter the battle, and our four tanks (one from the 84th OTB) drove on the highway to Novaya village. In the middle of the highway, we turned left and drove into a village, I don't know what it was called. From the western part of the village, 200-250 meters away, a high caliber gun opened fire on us, likely larger than 76 mm. We were hit 3-4 times (this was likely a whole battery, judging by how fast they fired). The 4th or 5th shot hit the driver's viewport, and knocked it through, cracked the driver's head open, and the shell ignited, first a red fire, then a bright white. I started opening the hatch, the tank commander was crawling towards me. I barely managed to open the hatch (the turret was turned to the left), and jumped out of the 20-25 cm opening, into a roadsided ditch. Smoke and vapour was coming out of our vehicle."

Iam-Krasnoyarsk, the mastermind behind the largest collection of KV photographs I am aware of, has a photo of these KV tanks.

The writing on the side of the right KV isn't a patriotic slogan, commonly seen on tanks of that era, but German writing, claiming the kill for Heeres Flak Abt. 280.

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