I see that Mobius has posted a Russian-language PDF article describing the battle in Niemirow. I don’t read Russian (to my regret) but the maps and diagrams suggest it goes into some detail about the battle. I don’t know if Mobius or any of the guys on this forum can read Russian, but if so, this post may not provide any extra detail to what the article actually contains.
However, I have recently obtained a copy of the divisional history of 71st Infantry (“Cloverleaf”) Division [ Die 71. Infanterie-Division im Zweiten Weltkrieg 1939-1945 (Arbeitsgemeinschaft “Das Kleeblatt”: Hildesheim, 1973).] It is in German, and as I have mentioned in an earlier post, translation is a laborious exercise for me, but the result is, I believe, reasonably accurate. Given it was the division’s first major engagement in the eastern campaign, the book provides considerable detail about the battle.
I have translated the first few pages of this account. I will paraphrase some of my translation (so as to avoid the occasional sentence I had difficulty with and am not sure if I have translated accurately).
A few words about place names mentioned in the account: the main road which leaves Niemirow and turns to the north east leads to the village of Wroblaczyn, and the road leading east from Niemirow goes to Szczerzec. So, here goes [from pp.115ff]:
…By about 10:20a.m. [i.e. on 24 June 1941] 1.(Bicycle)/I.R.211 and 1.(Bicycle)/I.R.194 had taken possession of Niemirow and cleared enemy resistance in the place. At this moment there came repeated tank alarms from the front, so that the II/A.R.171 moving into position west of Niemirow took measures to defend against attacking tanks. The Pioneer Platoon of I.R.211 laid a mine barrier across the road at the edge of the woods west of Niemirow and consequently blocked traffic to the front. However, detailed visual reconnaissance was not able to identify any enemy tanks. Meanwhile the III./I.R.211 had passed through Niemirow with its leading elements in a northerly direction, and around 11:30 a.m. found itself on the march, with its leading 11. Company and two platoons of 10 Company on the road to Wroblaczyn close to Height 285, with a platoon of 10 Company at the road exit from Niemirow, with the Battalion Staff and 9 Company in the western part of Niemirow, with two (one light, one heavy) infantry gun platoons of the 13 Company under command just north of the Niemirow marketplace heading in the direction of the northern exit.
Also finding themselves in Niemirow at this time:
1. (Bicycle)/ I.R.194 with two platoons at the marketplace, with one platoon at the northern exit, 1.(Bicycle)/I.R.211 with 1st Platoon at the eastern exit, 2nd Platoons at the northern exit, and its 3rd Platoon at the market place, 4 medium [37mm] and 2 medium [50mm] anti-tank guns of the 14./I.R. 211 at the northern exit from Niemirow in positions with firing directions to the east and northeast, and Pioneer Platoon, I.R. 211 in the vicinity of the marketplace.
A medium [50mm] anti-tank gun of the 14./I.R.211 engaged, from a position 150m east of the northern exit engaged an armoured reconnaissance vehicle standing in a cornfield east of Niemirow, and some people had supposedly seen more armoured vehicles in this open area. However, at this moment, one saw only tracks in the cornfields. Around 11:40 a large Russian tank rolled down the road from Szczerzec to Niemirow. It traveled alone. The medium anti-tank guns immediately took it under fire at a range of 1km, and tank alarms were sent to the rear by means of motorcycle messengers and flare signals. All of the available anti-tanks guns – 4 light and 2 medium – at the northern exit of Niemirow would have to be brought into position to have their main firing direction to the east of Niemirow. The positions were favourable in that the tanks had not seen them and at the eastern exit they could be hit from the flanks at a range of 200m. Meanwhile, however, the first tank passed unscathed turning to the north before the marketplace, simply flattening anything which stood in its way – in defiance of a light infantry gun and a medium anti-tank gun firing heavily at close range, the tank left Niemirow in the direction of Wroblaczyn, where it ran into the attacking I./I.R.211. [The I./I.R.211 had been ordered earlier that morning to attack toward Wroblaczyn – CB] The light platoon of 14./I.R. positioned there immediately took it under fire, but without result. A gun was shifted to the south west entrance to Niemirow, when the tank turned and with undiminished speed drove back to Niemirow braving more hits. Meanwhile at a distance of 1000m about twenty heavy Russian tanks followed the first leading tank and fought their way through the fire of all available defensive weapons to the western entrance to Niemirow. Unscathed, the first ten tanks penetrated Niemirow where they fired with their cannons on the first houses and suspected anti-tank gun positions. Numerous shacks went up in flames, the first losses were suffered. As the first of the 20 panzers began to turn from the marketplace to the north, it was knocked out by an anti-tank gun at close range, but it still rolled over the anti-tank gun. This tank blocked the road to the north, so that the next tank directly following could not pass by, even though it made repeated attempts to push the knocked out tank aside. Thereupon it turned around and drove with other panzers from the marketplace to drive through Niemirow to the south. Here it was met by the heavy platoon of the 13./I.R.211. The drivers jumped from their horses and brought them to safety. The horses reared up, and the whole platoon with two guns, two ammunition wagons, three field wagons, and 32 horses were massacred in a horribly destructive fury. At this moment the tank met the “point” [“Spitze”] of the anti-tank battalion marching from the south, whose 1st Company had reached the marketplace with a platoon. Both of the other platoons followed behind.
After quickly making ready to fire, the armoured vehicle was taken under fire by more barrels and knocked out after a brief exchange of fire. Several tanks of the heaviest design, braving the intense fire, succeeded in breaking through to capture the southern exit, where they encountered the barrels of the 2./Pz.Jg.Abt. and were knocked out. Several headed off the road and bogged down in meadowland. The Pioneer Platoon of I.R.211, in cooperation with the anti-tank gunners, was able to place concentrated charges on some of the tanks. In this way 10 Russian tanks were knocked out in Niemirow. The crews of the burning tanks attempted to escape, but almost without exception they were shot or taken prisoner.
Meanwhile, since the commencement of the attack, at the northern exit of Niemirow, the 1st Ordnance Officer of the Division, with the battery commander of the 4./A.R.171 and the company commander of the 1.(Bicycle)/I.R.194 had prepared the defence of the north east edge of Niemirow with all available weapons and soldiers. They found there a light infantry gun, 4 light and one medium anti-tank guns, one platoon of the 10./I.R.211, one platoon of the 1.(Bicycle)/I.R.211, the bulk [? – “Masse”] of the 1.(Bicycle)/I.R. 211, with their weapons. With machineguns, anti-tank rifles and machine pistols the almost-overwhelmed group fired at the heavy Russian tanks advancing in dense columns. Around noon, they eventually succeeded in putting a tank out of action, so that it lay across the street and burned. The following tank drove up and had to halt. With precise shots and with intensive fire to the flank of the nearest tanks to the south were brought to a halt and set ablaze. Eight to ten Russian tanks stood burning in front of Niemirow in complete confusion, a shocking, but for the battling troops, uplifting scene. Every soldier now had unshaken confidence that further attacks could be expected. There was barely time for that thought, when a second wave of about 12 tanks turned north off the road east of Niemirow, and attempted to attack the northern entrance to Niemirow. They fired wildly from many barrels. Niemirow was burning in many places. The inhabitants were still sitting in their houses, and some perished miserably. At short ranges the tanks in the cornfields at the north east edge of Niemirow were set ablaze by the deployment of all weapons. The crews fled and sought to reach the wood which lay to their rear. Only a few tanks were able to turn about and reach safety. After a short breathing space – the battle had already lasted over an hour – after the already greatly intermixed units were re-ordered and all available ammunition brought up, a new Russian tank attack deployed with about 10 vehicles out of the patch of woods 1km northeast of Niemirow, with the objective of pushing past Niemirow in a westerly direction. Behind them followed Russian infantry in separate detachments up to platoon strength, without heavy weapons. With machine guns and mortars these weak Russian forces were very quickly brought to a halt. They remained lying about 500m from Niemirow. The tanks suffered the same fate as their comrades before them. Either they became stuck in the open area or they were set ablaze. So there stood in the open terrain northeast of Niemirow about ten burning tanks, which exploded one after the other due to burning ammunition. Now for the first time some artillery fire was deployed, a forward artillery observer reported to the northern exit of Niemirow. The attacking Russian infantry were reduced to remnants by well laid artillery fire.
By 1.15pm, all corners of Niemirow were burning. In and about the village stood approximately 35 burning Russian tanks. The isolated crews of the tanks made the village unsafe in some places. A burning tank knocked out an hour earlier wounded two anti-tank gunners. The CO of the III./I.R.211 arrived around 1.30p.m. at the northern exit of Niemirow and took over the infantry defence of the village, with the 1.(Bicycle) Companies of I.R.194 and I.R.211 under command. Anti-tank security was transferred to the commander of the anti-tank battalion, who laid out in the village an anti-tank defence in echelon with part of one company pushed out north of Niemirow.
The above is what I have been able to translate so far. If people are interested, the divisional history has a couple more pages giving an account of the mid-late afternoon fighting on 24 June, and also a brief after action report by the 171st Anti-Tank Battalion. I can translate them if people want, but it will probably take me a couple of days.