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First shots on June 22nd- Molotov line

Article about: Hello guys On this 80th anniversary of the begeaning of the war on Eastern Front let me take you to the places where very first shots of this war were fired and first men were killed. After

  1. #1

    Default First shots on June 22nd- Molotov line

    Hello guys
    On this 80th anniversary of the begeaning of the war on Eastern Front let me take you to the places where very first shots of this war were fired and first men were killed.

    After September 17th 1939, anection of Poland and later Baltic states recent Soviet border fortifications line-Stalin line has remained far behind new state borders. No one trusted good Intentions of Hitler and sudden friendship with worst enemies of nazists- communists.
    Despite fact that Nazi Germany started invasion of Poland, major of former Polish territory fell in Soviet hands attached to Belarusian SSR and Ukrainian SSR. By official Soviet propaganda "march through Poland" was liberation of peasants of Belarus and Ukraine from pressure of Polish landlords. Matter was that in large piece of this land no Belarusian of Ukrainian minority had lived- and about these areas I'll tell you today.

    My objective of documenting trips were two fortified points of Zambrów fortified region- 64 Zambrovskyi ukreplyonyi rayon- fortified point Szulborze and fortified point Prosienica.
    These laying in Masovian voivodship (central Poland) fortified point which build has started in late spring of 1940 were one of the most finished and equiped by June 22nd 1941.
    Problem of Molotov line was fact that big majority of bunkers and shelters were not armed, not equiped with internal gear and lacked armor plates.
    But these two fortified points became real obstacle for advancing Germans in first hours of the war on Eastern Front.

    Early hours of June 22nd

    For the last days infantry divisions of 10th army were preparing mostly finished bunkers- digging anti-tank ditches, trenched and preparing wood-ground type shelters. Artillery was undergoing training at Czerwony Bór training ground.

    Shortly after midnight reports started reaching regimental, divisional and army headquarters.
    -Germand are gathering troops and tanks in vicinity of Małkini (border town which eastern outskirts were in Soviet hands) and Ostrów Mazowiecka (about 5km west from state border)
    staff reply: "wait"
    -Germans are gathering pontoons and infantry on western bank of Bug.
    That was 3 a.m. when 10th army staff gave an order-"open secret packets. Fulfill orders geaven in them. Battalion and regiment commanders-move to the commanding posts. That's an official alarm"
    Too late.
    However, some commanders feeling that that's not another German provocation not obeying orders from higher level did what they felt. Colonel Zashibalov- commander of 86th rifle div ordered his regiments shortly after midnight to take combat positions.
    By 3:00 fortifications of Skłody, Prosienica and Szulborze fortified points were manned by 12th OPAB- separate machine guns and artillery battalion belonging to 64th fortified region.
    By 3:15 German artillery opened fire.

    By 10:00 infantry from German infanterie regiment 19 reached fortifications of Szulborze. One battalion attacked fortifications from the south and one from east while battalion from infanterie regiment took village Szulborze but fight was not over yet, cut off bunker crews were still fighting. Fight for bunkers of FP Szulborze lasted till evening of June 23rd. pulled up German pioneers used explosive charges, the same as used for destroying Eben-Emael armored turrets and flame throwers. They also used tactic of throwing grenades through ventilation but this gave poor effect. Soviet bunker went silent for a while and when Germans, sure that crew was dead they were opening fire once again. Artillery was not effective.

    So let me show you one of these silent witnesses of these dramatic days today and rest in coming days

    Bunker- double decker- two decks for personell and third was technical deck- gasoline tank, sewers, etc.
    Armament:
    -45mm M1934 AT gun
    -two heavy Maxim HMGs

    Bunker, as most of Molotov line fortification was blown up by pioneers advancing behind first line troops to prevent recapturing by Soviets in case of counterattack. However, excpet that bunker has hunders of small arms and artillery hits, area of 45mm gun placement was literally massacred by hits. This bunker was one of fully equiped, interesting fact is that AT gun armor shield is still there and bears interesting marks of combat.
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture First shots on June 22nd- Molotov line   First shots on June 22nd- Molotov line  

    First shots on June 22nd- Molotov line   First shots on June 22nd- Molotov line  


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  3. #2

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    You can see how explosion literally opened this bunker giving a good view though all decks and at gun placement.
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture First shots on June 22nd- Molotov line   First shots on June 22nd- Molotov line  

    First shots on June 22nd- Molotov line  

  4. #3

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    Details of roof (it was just ripped off during explosion) and details fo 45mm M1934 gun placement with very interesting detail- sing that this gun was a real salt in German eye- trace of 75mm shell which first concrete wall, bounced making trace in armor shield of a gun. Surely, this bunker was one of these which defended probably till late hours of June 23rd.

    More to come
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture First shots on June 22nd- Molotov line   First shots on June 22nd- Molotov line  

    First shots on June 22nd- Molotov line  

  5. #4

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    Excelent idea!

    Santi

  6. #5

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    Bunker #2 of fortified point Szulborze- another manned by troops of 12th OPAB on June 22nd.
    This one is guarding Warsaw-Białystok railway west of train station Szulborze.

    Armament- three 45mm M1934 guns, one DP28 in removable mount.

    This one has suffered much more destruction than previous one, only external walls are partially standing, entrance and gun placements are devastated, interior is unreadable.
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture First shots on June 22nd- Molotov line   First shots on June 22nd- Molotov line  

    First shots on June 22nd- Molotov line   First shots on June 22nd- Molotov line  


  7. #6

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    Guarding hole next to non existing entrance with place for ventilation pipe next to it.
    Piece of wall with gun placement for DP28.
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture First shots on June 22nd- Molotov line   First shots on June 22nd- Molotov line  


  8. #7
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    Thanks for sharing. This is one of my favourite topics.

    There are many similar bunkers in Ukraine I have been lucky enough to visit.

    Some have relatively extensive linking tunnels that are still open to those who know where to find the entrance!

  9. #8

    Default

    A very interesting report Marinecollector42.

    The Germans did not have it all their own way. Perhaps you find this interesting. A casualty card from Franz Stadler one of many who did not see the end of June 22 1941.

    First shots on June 22nd- Molotov line

    Killed at the "bunkerline Szulborze Wielkie". According to the VDK database his remains are still to be located and laid to rest.
    Last edited by BlackCat1982; 06-30-2021 at 03:27 PM. Reason: further data

  10. #9

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    Alois Häuser was an Infanterie Regiment 19 casualty west of Szulborze;

    First shots on June 22nd- Molotov line

  11. #10

    Default

    Awesome! Thanks you sharing that. All of German fallen were burried in war cementries but Soviets didn’t had that luck, also many POWs ended up in anti tank ditches or duguots for future shelters, such places were marked after the war with markers with Red stars.

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