Elements of the ‘LAH’ Division advance towards Rostov-on-Don.
The Leibstandarte at Rostov
On 17 November 1941 the Leibstandarte, as part of III Panzer Corps, began its assault on the city in dreadful weather conditions, with heavy snow fall and plummeting temperatures. Early in the assault, a daring attack across the main railway bridge over the Don led by SS-Hauptsturmführer Heinrich Springer succeeded in capturing the bridge intact. With a small force from 3 Kompanie and some pioneers, Springer held the bridge against determined Soviet attacks to recapture it. With this vital crossing in their hands, the Germans seized the city on 20 November. For his actions Springer was decorated with the Knights Cross.
German supply lines, however, were now dangerously over-stretched and under enemy pressure. As many as 15 Soviet divisions were attempting to cut off the German spearheads. As ammunition began to run low, the Leibstandarte was forced to abandon Rostov and consolidate its positions on a shortened front, as an exceptionally severe winter began to curtail military operations.
Leibstandarte anti-tank guns in action during the advance along the Azov Sea towards Rostov, 1941.
In the first photo a 5 cm Pak 38 and in the second photo a 8.8 cm anti-tank artillery opens fire on Soviet positions.
Josef “Sepp” Dietrich awarding Iron Crosses to men of the Leibstandarte during Operation Barbarossa in 1941.
The drive east. Leibstandarte troops march in the southern sector of the Russian Front in the summer of 1941.
Leibstandarte soldiers eating their mess rations out in the open after a long advance on the Southern Front.
These soldiers belonging to the ‘LAH’ Division were photographed in the heat of battle somewhere in a Ukrainian field during Operation Barbarossa. Their vehicle is a Sd.Kfz. 6/2 armed with a 3.7cm anti-aircraft gun and equipped with an ammunition trailer that bears the ‘LAH’ Division badge.
July 9, 1941: the 11th Company of the Leibstandarte attacks on the Stalin Line in the woods north of Miropol.
The Company Chief - Hauptsturmführer Albert Frey, later winner of the Knight’s Cross with Oak Leaves, is on the left in first photo and in the foreground in the second photo (from left).
The members of the Leibstandarte shown here have been caught on camera while entering a Russian village soon after the start of Operation Barbarossa in the summer of 1941.
During the initial attack Leibstandarte was undergoing reorganisation into a division as part of the reserve of the First Panzer Army, Army Group South (Rundstedt) in the Lublin area, and as such took no part. It moved on to Ostorwiecz and finally, a week after the invasion, crossed the Vistula and headed into the western Ukraine, entering the battle attached to von Mackensen’s III Panzer Corps, itself part of von Kleist’s First Panzer Army, and which included the SS Wiking Division and the 13th and 14th Panzer Divisions.
Another Leibstandarte MG 34 on a tripod “Lafette 34” with telescopic sight in Ukraine, 1941.
A Leibstandarte Division MG 34 team in action in Ukraine during Operation Barbarossa, using a tripod “Lafette 34” with telescopic sight for long-range firing.