Day 13 - Operation Barbarossa
The leading units of Guderian's 2nd Panzer Group reached the Dnieper at Rogachev and Bykov and was engaged in bitter fighting for the river crossings. General von Knobelsdorf's 19th Panzer Division of Hoth's 4th Panzer Group crossed the Western Dvina near Disny and established a bridgehead on the eastern bank with Luftwaffe support.
The Germans immediately sent out engineering units to establish a crossing. Subsequent efforts to continue the advance were unsuccessful. Heroic resistance on the part of Colonel A. I. Zygin's 174th Rifle Division forced the Germans to halt.
Through stubborn resistance on all sectors of the front, counter-attacks and extensive redeployment, the Red Army was able to slow the enemy advance, exhausting the German forces in continual fighting, which earned valuable time for the creation of a new defensive position along the Western Dvina and Dnieper rivers. General Heinz Guderian reported to Field Marshal von Bock on 4 July 1941, that “the enemy is offering stubborn resistance. Almost all the bridges between the Berezina and Dnieper rivers have been destroyed – especially along the main roads.” Echoing Guderian's observations, the Commander of Army Group Center reported to Hitler's headquarters that “resistance in front of our advancing panzer formations is increasing in intensity.... The enemy...is offering organized and determined resistance with artillery support.”
In the area of operations of Army Group Center on this day:
On the morning of 4.7.41 at 0610 hours the Chief of Intelligence and Counterintelligence of the 9th Army prepared a morning briefing for the Chief of Staff of the 2nd Army.
1. Having crossed the Shchara river, there have been no reports of enemy resistance on the eastern bank. There is almost no contact with the enemy. In our estimation, the main incentive for enemy surrender has been our leaflets. Prisoners have been taken east of Byten, presumably belonging to the 36th Rifle Division.
2. Captured prisoners and equipment: 1916 prisoners, 31 tanks, 9 guns, 45 armoured cars, and 5 fuel tankers.
3. The army staff will be transferred to Slonim this afternoon.
4. There is no contact with the enemy.
Intelligence and Counterintelligence Section reporting to the staff of the 4th Army 04.07.41. 1545 hours:
At the present moment there is no contact with either the 2nd or 3rd Panzer Groups. Officers have been dispatched by aircraft and motor vehicles in order to establish contact. Therefore, reports concerning enemy operations will be relayed only late in the evening. The impression is forming that the encircled enemy formations are completely devoid of leadership, ammunition and food. The enemy is attempting to slip through the encirclement in groups of between 5 and 10 men, some dressed in civilian clothes. According to information supplied by a captured general staff officer, conditions within the encirclement are chaotic.
Intelligence and Counterintelligence Section reporting to the staff of the 2nd Army 04.07.41. 1630 hours:
Within the operations sector of the 2nd Army, there are only isolated enemy formations west of the Nieman river, which are offering no resistance. There is a mass of abandoned enemy equipment on the western bank of the Nieman. On the eastern side of the river, individual enemy formations have been attempting to break through to the south-east and east with weak artillery support. It was observed this morning that the enemy is attempting to break through north of Zadul'e (north-east of Stolbtsy) and west of Minsk. There is no enemy on the southern flank right up to the line Koval' – Pinsk – Slutsk. Between 0440 and 0520 hours, enemy units were observed withdrawing from Pinsk eastwards through Luninets (150 – 170 vehicles and individual groups of cavalry). A railway bridge located 18 km south of Luninets was blown up by unknown persons.
Intelligence and counterintelligence section reporting to the staff of the 2nd Panzer Group 1800 hours 04.07:
Enemy resistance has intensified within operations sector of the 2nd Panzer Group. The following formations have been recently detected on individual sectors: a) In the operations sector of the 3rd Panzer Division, near Rogachev, is the 187th Russian Rifle Division, which arrived here on 1.7 from Cherikov. b) In the operations sector of the 4th Panzer Division, south-west of Mogilev, there are weak enemy forces whose designation has still not been ascertained. Near Svisloch' is the 4th Motorised Division – this may be the 4th Tank Division which was formerly in the Bialystok area. c) In the operations sector of the XLVI Army Corps, elements belonging to formations surrounded at Bialystok have appeared: the 50th and 85th Rifle Divisions and the 7th Tank Division. d) In the operations sector of the 18th Panzer Division, the presence of the 1st Proletarian Division has been confirmed, having arrived in Orsha from Moscow. Enemy units, which have appeared east of Berizino, apparently belong to the 20th Rifle Corps. There is no continuous front and the only significant enemy resistance is being offered at the main crossings of the Dnieper and Berezina rivers. All bridges across the Dnieper and Berizina rivers have been destroyed. A bridge in the town of Borisov has been repaired.
Situation of our forces:
On 4.7 at 1800 hours, the 3rd Panzer Division intends to go on the offensive. This morning, the leading elements of the 4th Panzer Division were located at the river Drut', halfway between Bobruisk and Mogilev. The bridge across the river has been destroyed. According to the latest information, the leading elements of the 18th Panzer Division are located at Nacha (40 km east of Borisov) and are apparently advancing with success.
Intelligence and Counterintelligence Section reporting to the staff of the 2nd Panzer Group: intercepted radio messages confirm that the 13th Army is operating in the Mogilev - Smolensk area. The army is conducting combat operations alongside the Soviet 44th Rifle Corps, which includes the 1st Proletarian Division. A report was sent by the 44th Corps to the [13th ] army staff regarding the situation: On 04.07.1941 at 0900 hours, enemy tanks attacked the infantry on the flank, causing heavy losses and forcing a withdrawal to the Mazelyanka sector (3 km north-east of Krupki). The corps is withdrawing under enemy pressure to the sector along both side of Krunki. In addition – citing the text of a radio interception: The commander of the 20th Army has arrived. The forces of the 7th Tank Corps are expected to concentrate in this sector.
Assessment: The headquarters of the 44th Rifle Corps has been detected in the woods east of Sloveni )27 km east of Krupki). In all likelihood, they have confused the 20th Army with the 20th Rifle Corps. Intelligence and Counterintelligence Section reporting to the staff of the 2nd Panzer Group 04.07.41 at 2150 hours: The enemy has been withdrawing towards the north-east and east for several days now. The enemy is surrendering in a majority of cases. Attacks, generally conducted without artillery support, have been driven off. The number of prisoners continues to grow. In the operations sector of the 12th Panzer Division, some 52,000 soldiers and 21,000 civilians of military age have been captured. The security and confinement of these prisoners remains an insoluble problem at present.
With the aim of coordinating the forces engaged in the fighting between the Berezina and Dnieper rivers, the Commander of the Western Front has subordinated all units of the 13th Army to the commander of the 20th Army, the remnants of the 4th Army and the 4th Parachute Corps are subordinated to the commander of the 20th Army.
In order to provide cover for the Mogilev sector, the front commander has assigned units of the 20th Mechanized Corps and the 4th Parachute Corps to a new defensive position behind the river Drut'.
In the operations sector of the Western Front on this day:
Operational Summary No. 18 of the Staff of the Western Front regarding combat operations of the forces of the front by 0800 hours 4 July 1941
Operational Summary No. 18 by 0800 hours 04.07.1941. Western Front Staff, Gnezdovo Stn.
Map 500 000
First. During the course of 03.07.41, the forces of the front continued to occupy the second line of defense, reinforcing it, and were engaged in fighting for the crossings of the Berezina and Drut' rivers.
Second. During the course of 03.07.41, the 13th Army continued defending the crossings of the Berezina river, with the exception of the crossings at Borisov and Chernyavka, where army units – having abandoned Borisov and Chernyavka – are attempting to contain the advance of enemy tanks and motorized infantry. A penetration made by enemy tanks near Borisov was still not eliminated by the evening of 03.07.41.
On 3.07.41, the 2nd Rifle Corps was engaged in fighting for the crossings of the Berezina river along the line Chernyavka, Berezina.
Army headquarters in Temerin.
Third. Information has not arrived regarding the operational status of units of the 3rd and 10th Armies. Measures undertaken to search for them by aircraft and through agents have not yielded results.
Fourth. Lepel' sector. On 3.07.41, enemy motorised units crossed the Berezina south-west of Lepel' and occupied Lepel' by the end of the day.
A concentration of tanks heading toward Lepel'
At 1745 hours, an enemy motorised column was heading eastward, with the head of the column at the western outskirts of Lepel'.
Fifth. During the course of 3.07.41, the 22nd Army continued fortifying its defensive position. Situation of army units unchanged. The local population along with units of the 153rd Rifle Division are preparing for the all-round defense of Vitebsk along a line extending from outside Knyazhitsa Station to Boroniki, Shapury and Vorony.
Sixth. 20th Army. Information regarding the 20th Army had still not arrived when this operational summary was being compiled. A delegate has been dispatched by aircraft.
Seventh. The 21st Army continues to regroup and is occupying a defensive position along the eastern bank of the Dnieper river on a line running from outside Mogilev to Loyev. The enemy is conducting reconnaissance with small groups of tanks in front of the army's position, in the sectors of Protochno, Vyaz'ma, Rogachev, Zhlobin and Rechitsa.
The 45th Rifle Corps is engaged in defensive efforts on the following line:
187th Rifle Division – from outside Buinichi to Gadilovich; 148th Rifle Division – information has not been received. Corps headquarters located in the woods 0.5 km south of Druzhba.
In the sector of the 45th Rifle Corps, on 3.07.42 at 1300 hours, a forward detachment of the 187th Rifle Division was engaged in fighting near Chigirinka with a reinforced enemy reconnaissance detachment consisting of some 30 tanks, 100 motorcyclist and a regiment of infantry, supported by 25 to 30 guns. Between 1300 and 1900 hours, the forward detachment was pushed back by the enemy, who captured the river crossing at Chigirinka. At 1900 hours, a counterattack by our forward detachments threw the enemy back behind the river Drut'. The position of the forward detachment of the 187th Rifle Division has been restored.
The enemy lost some 30 men killed. Our losses were 2 dead, 6 wounded.
The 63rd Rifle Corps, which is continuing to fortify its defensive position, has regrouped, concentrating its forces on right flank.
The 167th Rifle Division, 1st and 2nd Divisions of the 503rd Field Artillery Regiment, and a sapper company of the 53rd Rifle Division are occupying positions in the area of Rogachev, extending from outside of Tsuper to Maiskii.
The 117th Rifle Division is located in the sector of Tsuper and Zhlobin, and along the eastern bank of the Dnieper river up to Smychek, Kryvsk, Pirevichi and Chernaya Virnya.
The 66th Rifle Corps has finished assembling its forces in the Gomel' area and is being reinforced with men, equipment and munitions.
The 232nd Rifle Division has concentrated in a small wood west of Gomel' and is organizing an anti-tank defense along a line running from Kostyukovka to outside of Pribor, to the mouth of Uza river and the town of Gomel'.
The 154th Rifle Division has finished assembling its forces in the woods south and south-east of Novobelits and is organizing an anti-tank defense on a line running along the river Sozh from the outskirts of Gomel' to Skitok, Klimovka and Larishchevo.
Corps headquarters located in Gomel'.
Chief of Staff of the Western Front
(signature of the chief of staff missing on the document)
Chief of the Operations Section of the Staff
of the Western Front
In order to halt the German advance, the forces of the Western Front switched to a new defensive tactic, using a line-to-line defense. During the night, units would be removed from an occupied position and withdrawn to a new one, where they would dig in and engage enemy forces once more. The Germans would halt, regroup, summon artillery and air support, and then resume their attack against Soviet forces. The Red Army forces would then withdraw under enemy pressure to the next position and the entire operation would begin again. Such tactics strongly reduced the pace of the German advance.
Intelligence Summary No. 18 of the Staff of the Western Front regarding enemy combat operations by 2200 hours 04 July 1941
Reconnaissance Summary No. 18 by 2200 04.07.41. Staff of the Western Front Smolensk
Map 500 000
First. During the course of 3-4 July, the enemy continued to concentrate motorized units in the Lepel', Borisov and Bobruisk sectors. The main enemy grouping is on the Lepel' sector, where he has concentrated some two panzer and one or two motorized divisions belonging to the 39th Panzer Corps (7th and 20th Panzer Divisions). On the Borisov sector, there are between one and two panzer divisions, one being the 19th Panzer Division and one a motorized division. On the Bobruisk sector the enemy has concentrated up to one panzer and one motorized division.
Second. On the Dvinsk sector (North West Front) some three enemy infantry divisions are in operation: the 226th Infantry Division is located west of the Dvinsk – Rezekne railway line, the 28th Infantry Division is east of the railway line, in the Rezekne sector, and the 3rd Infantry Division is in the Kraslava sector.
According to information obtained from prisoners, the 226th and 3rd Infantry Divisions have been transferred from Occupied France. The 3rd Infantry Division consists of the 8th, 29th and 50th Infantry Regiments and the 3rd Artillery Regiment.
There is a concentration of tanks in the Nestanoviche area.
Third. On the Lepel' sector, the enemy is operating with a strength of some two panzer divisions and between one or two motorized divisions and by the evening of 4.07.41 its leading elements had reached the line Diena – Orekhovo – Lepel', with the main forces in the area of Lepel', Glubokoe, Dolgovino and Dokshitsy.
At 1100 hours 3.07.41 - a tank column extending from Voloki back to Begoml'.
On the morning of 4.07.41 Lepel' was captured by enemy motorized units.
At 0550 hours 4.07.41 – a tank column extending from Glubokoe back to Postavy.
06.04.07.41 – column of tanks extending from Pyshno back to Dolgovino (Presumably this is the same column mentioned on 03.07.41).
According to information received from radio intelligence, the enemy conducted active radio reconnaissance between 0500 and 0800 hours in the Polotsk and Velike Luki sectors. Reconnaissance was conducted primarily along primary and secondary roads and railways as well as airfields.
There were one and two engined aircraft at the airfield in Simtse. ME-109 aircraft patrolled over the airfield.
At 1700 hours 02.07.41 Lepel' was subjected to enemy bombing.
At 1330 hours 04.07.41Velikie Luki and Idritsa were bombed. Two enemy aircraft were shot down.
(R)(obtained by means of radio intelligence). In the sectors of Glubokoe, Lepel' and Dokshitsy, three radio transmitters have been detected, which serve divisional staffs and which maintain contact between them.
Fourth. On the Borisov sector, the enemy, operating in the strength of up to one panzer and one motorized division had by the evening of 04.07.41 fought to a line running along the river Berezina, to Loshnitsa (10 km eat of Borisov), Chernyavak and further along the western bank of the Berezina.
During the course of 03.07.41, the 4th Panzer Regiment and one motorized regiment with air support attacked the 1st Motorized Rifle Division in the Borisov – Loshnitsa sector on a line running from Pupeliche to Negnovichi.
By 1800 hours the attack was beaten off.
The 4th Motorized Division is operating in the Borisov sector. According to information supplied by a prisoner, it is operating under the command of the IV Army Corps.
Between Chernyavka and Brodet, our forces on 03.07.41 destroyed 17 enemy tanks and two companies of motorized infantry.
(A) Between 0200 and 1800 hours 03.07.41the following columns were observed moving from the west and south-west.
1. A motorised column extending from Glubokoe back to Dunilovichi
2. A tank column extending from Glubokoe back to Kurilovichi.
3. A motorised column extending from Glubokoe back to Porplische.
4. A motorised column moving in the direction of stn. Kurlevshchizna.
5. A tank column under cover of ME-109 aircraft moving from Plissa to stn. Zyabki.
6. An enemy motorized column extending from Koshary back to Bortniki.
7. A large concentration of vehicles – in the area of Logoisk.
8. A column of some 100 tanks near Bortniki.
9. [A column - JP]heading from Logoisk to Pleshchenitsy in the direction of Rogachev.
A column of tanks heading towards Rogachev from Bortniki, Barsuki
At 0500 hours 04.07.41 a group of bombers bombed the aerodrome at Mogilev.
(R) In the Osipovichi, Cherven', Smilovichi sectors, three radio transmitters have been detected, serving divisional staffs.
At 1100 hours. 04.07.41 A radio transmitter was discovered in the Pleshchenitsy sector, providing corps – division communications.
At 1114 hours, a radio transmitter was detected in the Borisov sector.
There is a large concentration of tanks in the Borisov sector.
Fifth. On the Bobruisk sector, the enemy is drawing its forces up to the river Drut'. There are some 300 enemy tanks located in the center of Slutsk which have no fuel.
Conclusion: The information presented in Intelligence Summary No. 16 regarding the rapid concentration of enemy forces in the Lepel', Borisov and Bobruisk sectors is being confirmed.
In order to establish the composition of those forces operating before the front, air reconnaissance will be sent out from the morning of 05.07.41.
1. The identification of the enemy grouping operating on the Lepel', Borisov and Bobruisk sectors.
2. The approach of reserves to the areas of Minsk, Glubokoe, Logoisk and Bobruisk.
Chief of Staff of the Western Front
Chief of the Intelligence Section of Staff
The main forces of the German 4th Panzer Group began amassing on the banks of the Western Dvina and the Dnieper rivers. The command of Army Group Center was then faced with a question – continue the offensive with motorized forces or await the arrival of the main infantry forces, which had now been freed from combat operations around Minsk. Soviet defenses along this position were very weak, which spoke in favour of a quick German offensive.
The German Command made the decision to attack, without awaiting for the arrival of the infantry, and began drawing up its forces as quickly as possible.
Lieutenant-General F. A. Yershakov's 22nd Army had already succeeded in deploying its forces on the Western Dvina – Dnieper line, while the forces of Lieutenant-General Konev's 19th Army were concentrating in the Vitebsk - Smolensk area, and the forces Lieutenant-General P. A. Kurochkin in the Vitebsk – Orsha sector. Lieutenant-General M. F. Lukin's 16th Army was concentrated in the Smolensk area as army reserve.
Directive No. 16 of the Military Council of the Western Front from 4 July 1941 for the defense of forces of the front on the line Polotsk, rivers Western Dvina and Dnieper and preparations for a counterattack by the 7th and 5th Mechanized Corps in the sector/direction Ostrovno, Senno
Directive No. 14. Western Front Staff. Gnezdovo. 04.07.1941 23:15 hours
Map 500 000
First. On the Lepel' sector, the enemy is amassing some two panzer and one or two motorized divisions for a further advance in the general direction of Vitebsk or Porkhov.
Second. The Western Front must firmly defend the position of the Polotsk fortified area, the Western Dvina line, the towns of Senno and Orsha, and the further along the Dnieper river, and not allow the enemy to break through to the north and east.
Third. The 22nd Army – minus the 128th and 153rd Division – is to firmly defend the Polotsk fortified area and the Western Dvina line up to and including Beshenkovich and not allow the enemy to reach the right bank of the Dvina. The bridge at Beshenkovich is to be burned.
Boundary from the left: Velizh, (excl.) Vitebsk, Beshenkovich, Lepel'.
Fourth. The 20th Army, consisting of the 61st Rifle Corps (110th, 172nd Rifle Divisions), 69th Rifle Corps (73rd, 229th and 233rd Rifle Divisions), 18th, 53rd, 128th and 153rd Rifle Divisions, and 7th and 5th Mechanized Corps, is to create a strong anti-tank defense along the line running from Beshenkovichi to Senno, Mon'kovo, Orsho and Shklov, with the Senno area having been reinforced with a tank battalion, including five KV tanks. The 229th Rifle Division to take up position on a line running from outside Senno to Mon'kovo.
To prepare for a counterattack by the 7th and 5th Mechanized Corps in the Ostrovno and Senno sectors with air support, for which the 7th Mechanized Corps is to concentrate in the Liozno area and the 5th Mechanized Corps in the area of Devino, Staiki stn., and Orekhovsk. 7th Mechanized Corps to pursue a line in the direction of Kamen' and Kublichi, and the 5th Mechanized Corps in the direction of Lepel'.
The 1st Motorized Rifle Division, reinforced by a tank regiment, is to launch an attack against Borisov, with the goal of capturing the crossing on the Berezina river. Upon success on the part of the mechanized corps, an attack is to be pursued in the direction of Dokshchitsy.
Command headquarters of the 20th Army in Kluykovka.
Boundary from the left: Pochinok, Shklov, Cherven'.
Fifth. The 21st Army in its present complement is to firmly defend the position along the river Dnieper. During the night of 4-5.07.41, detachments are to conduct bold operations in Bobruisk sector, destroying isolated groups of enemy tanks and motorized infantry east of Bobruisk, blow up all bridges and burn the woods in the area of enemy tank operations.
Sixth. Air forces. The 23rd Combined Air Division is to be transferred to the authority of the commander of the 20th Army for direct air support of the forces in the field:
1. The enemy is to be prevented from crossing forces over to the right bank of the Western Dvina and breaking through to Orsha;
2. During the night of 4-5.07.41 the woods in the area of Lepel', Glubokoe and Dokshchitsy are to be burned.
Commander of the Forces of the Western Front Marshal of the Soviet Union Timoshenko
Member of the Military Council of the Western Front L. Mekhlis
Chief of Staff of the Western Front Lieutenant-General Malandin
After having escaped from encirclement, the command staff of the 4th Army provided a written report to the Political Propaganda Department [UPP – JP] of the Western Front regarding the situation of staff documents. We will cite one of these rare documents concerned with such an accounting.
To the Chief of the UPP Western Front, Divisional Commissar com[rade] Lestev.
On 4 July 1941, units of the 4th Army reached a new deployment area for receiving reinforcements of men and material. The administrative staff of the 28th Rifle Corps is located at an area 10 km west of the settlement of Krasnaya Gora. The 55th Rifle Division is located in an area 2 – 3 km from the village of Kamenka, the 42nd RD is located in the area of Gorki, and the 6th RD in the area of Krasnopol'e. The process of bringing the units up to strength in both men and equipment is proceeding at an extremely slow pace. For example, the 6th RD has 910 men at present, comprising 815 soldiers, 129 NCOs and 272 junior and senior officers. The division is understrength by a total of 13781 men, comprising 10096 soldiers, 1954 NCOs and 731 junior and senior officers. The 55th RD has at present 378 officers, 475 NCOs, 6841 soldiers, 1602 NCOs and 682 junior and senior officers [there is an error here - either in the original document or in the book version - JP]. Total understrength comprises 11068 men.
Units of the 6th RD currently possess 764 rifles, 10 PPD submachine guns, 52 TT pistols, 2 heavy machine guns, and 3 light machine guns.
The 55th RD has 1204 rifles, 467 revolvers, 23 light machine guns, 30 heavy machine guns, 1 gun and 1 T-38 tank.
The situation is especially bad in regards the organization of the artillery regiments. Not only are weapons and equipment lacking, but also personnel. Among corps units, the 455th Corps Artillery Regiment has not started reforming due to a lack of personnel. The selection and drawing up of smaller units is being conducted by the political staff.
Kursk and Moscow AKT
4 July 1941. Novozybkov. In view of the military situation, the Chief of the UPP 4th Army, Brigade Commissar com. Rozhkov authorized a committee, comprising the Secretary of the Military Council of the 4th Army, com. Intendent 1st Class A. V. Litvinko, representative of the 3rd Section, 4th Army Staff – comrade Vinogradskii, and chief of the General Unit of the UPP 4th Army, com. Intendent 2nd Class A. I. Nikitin, to undertake the burning of secret and top secret documents according to the enclosed list.
Enclosed list on five pages
Concerning which the present document has been drawn up in single copy
C [omrade] /Intendant 1st Class Litvinko
c [omrade]/Intendant 2nd Class Nikitin
How many such documents were burned, buried in iron boxes or sunk in reservoirs, in order to prevent them falling into enemy hands, and how many fell to the enemy is impossible to calculate. In 1990, search parties, which the present author, dug up an iron box. As it turned out, this box belonged to one of the units which had become encircled in the area of Krasniy Kholm, near Vyaz'ma. In the box were found monetary transfers from and to the front, several stamps and some personal letters. From these transfers, it was possible to find several persons, who had sent them.
In all forward sectors of the front, security battalions – strybki [JP] – were formed in order to assist the authorities in maintaining order in populated centers, secure railway bridges and junctions, detain suspicious persons arriving from enemy occupied territory, and uncover deserters, signalmen, and parachutists, and for the training scout and saboteur groups for operations in the enemy rear.
On 2 July 1941, report number 48/3 was prepared by the UNKVD BSSR Vitebsk Province and the NKGB BSSR regarding the state of the security battalions. Twenty six battalions had been formed across the administrative region, consisting of 3528 persons, of which 3029 persons were armed with rifles, 15 with machine guns and 137 with revolvers. By 3 July 1941 inclusive, some 143 persons had been detained by the security battalions. These included 4 German pilots, 4 deserters from Red Army units, 42 escaped convicts, 82 persons fleeing from enemy-held territory and 11 other suspicious persons. In order to detain saboteurs and suspicious persons, 7 pickets of 2 – 3 armed soldiers were drafted from the security battalions and posted at the ways in and out of Vitebsk on a daily basis, while 25 teams of two armed men each patrolled the streets of Vitebsk. On 2 July 1941, troops from the Liozny security battalion, under the command of battalion commander comrade Gutnikov, along with troops from military unit 413 brought down an enemy aircraft with rifle and machine gun fire. The airplane landed on the territory of the Lenin Collective Farm of the Vydreya Village Soviet. All four pilots were killed; pistols and maps were recovered. In order to increase the effectiveness of the security battalions in the Vitebsk region, instructional seminars are being conducted in four groups between 2 – 4 July for all security battalion commanders, according to a plan being carried out by the Operations Section NKVD-NKGB BSSR and the head security battalion of the UNKVD.
Chief UNKVD BSSR Vitebsk Province, 2nd Lieutenant of State Security Motavkin
Chief Officer Operations Section NKVD – NKGB, 1st Lieutenant of State Security Ovchinnikov