Stug Brigade 191 - The Buffalo Brigade
In Action in the Balkans, Greece and from Moscow to Kursk and Sevastopol
StuG III Brigade 191, 1940–1945: The Buffalo Brigade in Action in the Balkans, Greece and from Moscow to Kursk and Sevastopol, has been published in English for the first time, in 2021. This is a unit history with a difference. Oberleutnant Bruno Bork served with the brigade until being seriously wounded in 1943. It was after the war that he completed his history by combining official accounts and reports with the results of interviews of members of the unit - so it contains many personal accounts and anecdotes alongside a complete chronological history. First published in Germany 1977 it was only after Bork’s death in 1996 that over 100 images of the unit became available. these have been augmented with a good selection of maps.
Assault guns were not not part of the Panzerwaffe - the tank arm- but instead were under the Wehrmacht artillery. They were originally used as close support for the infantry but became more important in the general anti-tank role. The following excerpt takes up the story at the beginning of December 1941 when in the space of a few days the last efforts to press on to Moscow were abandoned - and German troops just began a battle to survive the Russian winter.
X-Day was 1 December at 0650 hrs and began with the usual exchange of fire at the Nara bridge. It passed off relatively quickly and smoothly, and even a not very deep zone of bunkers was eclipsed after a short, violent battle. The fighting spirit of the Russian infantry was not broken, only a few bunker crews gave in without a fight and most of them defended resolutely to the end (as per the report of 258 Inf.Div.).
The advance now got under way. The StuG encountered no problems up to a certain point. The Division reported:
Thanks to the rapid pace of the StuGs, our foremost elements reached the village of Malyic Sxemyonychi by 1045 hrs. Up to that point we had only stopped once when some heavy tanks appeared east of the village and attempted to halt our advance. With the special assistance of the StuGs we succeeded in destroying three tanks including a T-34 without loss to ourselves. The T-34 resisted until hit by the eighteenth round of AP fired by the StuGs.