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Kholm Pocket
Part of World War II
Kessel von Cholm - Karte.png
Date23 January-5 May 1942
LocationKholm, Russia
Result German defensive success
Belligerents
 Nazi Germany  Soviet Union
Commanders and leaders
Nazi Germany Theodor Scherer Soviet Union ?
Strength
5,500 unknown
Casualties and losses
unknown unknown



The Kholm Pocket (German language: Kessel von Cholm; Russian: Холмский котёл) was the name given for the encirclement of German troops by the Red Army around Kholm south of Leningrad, during World War II on the Eastern Front, from 23 January 1942 until 5 May 1942. A much larger pocket was simultaneously surrounded in Demyansk, about 100 km (62 mi) to the northeast. These were the results of German retreat following their defeat during the Battle of Moscow.[1]

At the small Kholm pocket, 5,500 German soldiers held out for 105 days.[2] The pocket was supplied by air, but was too small for planes to land; therefore, supplies had to be dropped in and recovered by the German defenders.[3]

The puzzled together German units trapped at Kholm were mainly part of:[4]

  • 218th Infantry Division
  • Reserve-Polizei-Bataillon 65
  • Infanterie-Regiment 553 (of the 329th Infantry Division)
  • Parts of the 123rd Infantry Division
  • Jagdkommando 8
  • III. Bataillon of the Luftwaffenfeldregiment 1

Hauptmann Albert Biecker was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on 20 March 1942 for his command of the defence of the GPU-ruin in the pocket. Biecker was killed in action five weeks later in Cholm, four days before the pocket was relieved by German forces.[3] In July 1942, the Kholm Shield was awarded to the German defenders of the pocket, upon the suggestion of Generalmajor Theodor Scherer, similar to the Demyansk Shield.[4]

Scherer was personally awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves by Adolf Hitler for the command of the defense of Kholm.[4]

Kholm was eventually liberated by the Red Army on 21 February 1944.

Members of the Reserve-Polizei-Bataillon 65, a police unit from Gelsenkirchen, were questioned after the war by the state prosecuter in Dortmund for their involvement in ethnic cleansing in Eastern Europe. The unit was found to have taken part in a minimum of 5,000 executions and a large number of deportations to concentration camps. Among them was also the hanging of a young girl in Kholm during the siege.[5]

Gallery

References

  1. Carel, p. 25
  2. Carel, p. 251
  3. 3.0 3.1 Carel, p. 253
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Kholm Shield (German) www.lexikon-der-wehrmacht.de, accessed: 16 December 2011
  5. Reserve-Polizeibataillon 65 (mot) (German) www.gelsenzentrum.de, accessed: 16 December 2011

Sources

  • Paul Carell, Unternehmen Barbarossa im Bild, (German) published: 1967, publisher: Verlag Ullstein, ISBN 3-7766-1709-8

Further reading

  • Richard Muck, Kampfgruppe Scherer–105 Tage im Kessel, (German) published: 1943, reprinted: 2007, publisher: Arndt Verlag, ISBN 978-3-88741-091-9
  • Jason D Mark (2011). "Besieged:The Epic Battle for Cholm". Leaping Horseman Books. ISBN 978-0-9751076-9-0.

External links

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