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PostPosted: Wed Aug 05, 2009 1:30 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 20, 2009 11:09 am
Posts: 6
Hi,

I wonder how many forum members here from Europe will participate or know at all about military history days and reenactment battle in Estonia, August of 21-22? It will be in town called Valga (old and wartime name is Walk in german). This town is in South-Estonia.
There will be Estonian reenactment club Frontline but I know there will be some clubs from Latvia, Russia, Poland and Ukraine? Surely someone from those clubs are also members of this forum? :)
Theme for the battle is "South-Estonia 1944".
Besides various period vechiles such as trucks or motorcycles there will probably be a tank and one aircraft involved.

I give some historical background on the battles which took place here. I've been interested in the subject as I live here myself. Battles here took place in August-September. There has been a very little written about these fights compared to Sinimaed at Narwa.
By August 1944 German troops had retreated to defensive line "Marienburg", which was constructed already since May 1944. To the left flank of it was lake Pskov, it then went along Optjoki river and finally on it's right flank was marsh of Lielaisi, south of Gulbene.

This defensive line was broken through in August and troops of Soviet 67th Army, 1st Shock Army and 54th Army advanced onwards. Breakthrough was achieved on 10th of August but it took Red Army until 19th of September to reach and capture Valga, where another defensive line "Walk" was built. It was probably less than 200km between Pskov and Valga and if you compare other advances during operation Bagration then you can guess there was heavy fighting involved. Eventhough russians did not gather such massive troops concentration for this sector and germans did not have at first serious defenses here after "Marienburg" line was lost.

Quite a few german and russian soldiers received highest awards for the bravery here. Sadly many thousands lost their lives.
Some of the German units who fought here:
87. Infantry division
21. ID
61. ID, 176. regiment
132. ID, 436. regiment
12. Luftwaffe FD

And famous men involved in the battles:
Leon Degrelle (around Tartu area)
Rudel with his stukas (briefly)
von Strachwitz of Pz.Verb.Strachwitz (he actually was injured seriously before the battle so he did no lead it)

Toivo


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2009 10:48 am 
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Joined: Mon Jul 20, 2009 11:09 am
Posts: 6
Some corrections and additional information.

Clubs which participate in the battle:
Russia St-Peterburg, Moskva
Belorussia Minsk, Gomel
Latvia - Riga
and of course Estonia - Frontline.

Battle theme more specific - Valgamaa 1944 (county, capital is Valga).

Also present club reenacting the Great Northern War, Priobrezenski polk.

More history:
According to Russian sources Red Army massed 250000 troops against Germans in their offense in South-Estonia. It's hard to say what were their total losses, but here are a few pictures of one Soviet grave and monument at one small village, Restu. 800 names.

Image

Image

Image

Image

According to German source (reports of XXVIII.A.K) Russians lost a lot of armor. Terrain (a lot of hills, forest, marshy ground) forced Russians to use their armor only as support to infantry, breakthrough of large armored spearhead wasn't possible. Terrain did favor defenders generally, as it seems to be it was relatively easy to delay Soviet advance with light forces.

To those who understand German, you can read these reports here:

http://www.militaar.net/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=17224

Toivo


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