Pieper at Jeremejewka - Red Victory
Pieper at JeremejewkaBy Ozgur Budak
18 - 4 - 7
18 FEBRUARY 1943, JEREMEJEWKA, 30KM EAST OF KRASNOGRAD: After the failure of the German attempt to re-join the encircled Sixth Army in Stalingrad, a Russian offensive on 2,000 Km long line followed in January 1943. The entire front between the Orel River and the Black Sea was active, while the critical sector was the Stalingrad corridor and the Caucasian German Armies. Strong Russian formations attempted to cut the key city of Kharkov and disrupt the German communications between Army Group Center and South. Although being in crisis against irresistible enemy waves, von Manstein started to prepare a counteroffensive based on the principles of mobile warfare. On February 16th, Vatutin took Kharkov and sent two armies towards Krasnograd with a left hook; unaware of the powerful forces ready to envelope him. On February 17th, von Manstein was able to say that his preparations had finished and he was ready to begin the operation. The SS Panzerkorps was sent to Krasnograd to assault Vatutin's flank. Sepp Dietrich divided the 1st SS Panzergrenadier Division "Leibstandarte Adolph Hitler" into three powerful Kampfgruppe: KG Wunsche under Major Max Wunsche; KG Meyer under Major Kurt Meyer and KG Peiper under Major Jochen Peiper. LSSAH's initial task was to capture certain villages to be used as observation & jumping points for the upcoming counterattack. The village of Jeremejewka located 30 km East of Krasnograd, was one of the key objectives overlooking the flanks of the advancing Soviet 3rd Tank Army. On 18 February 1943; flanked by Meyer's Aufklarung Abteilung; Kampfgruppe Peiper left Ziglerowka for Jeremejewka . Peiper encountered an enemy recon element in the village. Always a daring and aggressive commander; he launched an immediate attack to capture the positions before Russians find time to react.