Tigers on the Prowl - Red Victory
Tigers on the ProwlBy Ozgur Budak
15 - 1 - 6
19 MARCH 1943, NEAR BADAYEV, SOUTH OF LAKE LADOGA, LENINGRAD FRONT: On 12 January 1943, the Soviets opened the Second Battle of Lake Ladoga with a tremendous bombardment of more than 4000 guns. When the artillery barrage stopped, the divisions of the 2nd Shock Army under Lt. Gen. W. S. Romanovski launched its attack. The combined assault by the 2nd Shock and the 67th Armies broke the German ring south of Lake Ladoga. At the beginning of March the fighting around Leningrad died down and it appeared that the Second Battle of Lake Ladoga had ended. However, on 19 March the fighting flared up as the battle entered its third phase. Holding the Leningrad Front were the divisions of L Army Korps bolstered by the Latvian and Flemish volunteers from the Waffen SS. Four Tigers led by Oberleutnant Hans Bölter of the s.Pz Abt.502, were deployed as tactical reserve behind the front line near the village of Badayev. The lines in front of them were defended by the infantry from the SS Volunteer Legion Flandern. On 19 March, 06:00hrs, Russian infantry supported by T34s launched a sudden assault on the direction of Badayev. Flemish volunteers, paralyzed under heavy artillery fire, sent frantic calls for help. Hans Bölter, one of the best tank commanders of the s.Pz Abt.502 moved his platoon towards the gun sounds.