The Epic Lone KV1 at the Battle of Raseiniai
In the early days of World War II at the beginning of the largest invasion in history, Germany and her allies invaded the Soviet Union with over 3.8 million Soldiers. In a major battle called Raseinai, a single KV-1 advanced far beyond German positions and attacked a convoy of German supply trucks. The tank stopped on a road on soft ground and was attacked by four 50mm anti-tank guns from the 6th Panzer Division’s anti-tank division. The tank received several hits, but fired back and destroyed all four anti-tank guns. The heavy 88mm cannon of the divisional anti-aircraft battalion was moved up approximately 730 m (800 yards) behind the Soviet tank, but was destroyed by the KV1 before it was able to hit the target.
At night, German sappers tried to destroy the tank with satchel charges, but to no avail, despite possible damage to the tracks. In the early morning of June 25, German tanks fired at the KV from a nearby forest, while another 88mm cannon fired at the tank from the rear. Of the several shots fired, only two managed to penetrate the tank.
Then the German infantry approached the KV tank, which responded with machine-gun fire. As a result, the tank was hit by grenades thrown into the hatches. According to some reports, the dead crew was found and buried by the approaching German soldiers with all military honors, and according to other sources, the crew escaped from the damaged tank at night. The battle group commander of the 6th Panzer Division, General Erhard Raus, described it as a KV-1, which was damaged by several shots from an 88mm anti-tank gun fired from behind the vehicle and was distracted by a light Panzer 35 (Cz). tanks from the 65th tank battalion.
One single tank was able to cut off the supply of General Rous’s division. The crew of the KV-1 was killed by a pioneer engineering unit, which pushed grenades through two holes made by an anti-tank gun, while the tower began to move again, and the remaining five or six shells did not penetrate completely.
Apparently, the KV-1 crew was stunned by shots that hit the turret and were buried next to the tank. In 1965, the remains of the crew were exhumed and reburied at the Soviet military cemetery in Raseiniai. According to a study by Russian military historian Maxim Kolomiets, the tank could have been from the 3rd company of the 1st battalion of the 4th tank regiment, which is part of the 2nd tank division. It is impossible to identify the team because their personal documents were lost after they were buried in the forest north of Raseiniai during the retreat, possibly by German forces.