Friday, April 22, 2011

Enemy Elite Friday: Max Zastrow (Austria)

"At the start of February 1944 the Soviets succeeded in penetrating the lines of a weak friendly flanking screen using their own numerically superior forces in an attack from the direction of Schazilki.  They also created a bridgehead on the northern bank of the Beresina river.  Thus, on the 06.02.1944, a friendly assault troop operation was set into motion.  The objective of this attack was to recapture the main trench position of the enemy bridgehead (located along a strongly fortified railroad embankment), which would remove the danger of this bridgehead being used as a viable base for future Soviet offensive operations.  During the course of this attack the assault troop to which Gefreiter Zastrow belonged came under coordinated fire by all weapons of the foremost Bolshevik bunkers and MG nests. Then, at the decisive moment, Gefreiter Zastrow’s flamethrower malfunctioned.  In this critical moment for the whole assault troop, Gefreiter Zastrow decided to toss aside his flamethrower and eliminate a commanding enemy MG position with a box of grenades that he dragged up to throwing range.  A heavy firefight followed, and although he himself became wounded in the process he managed to eliminate this Bolshevik MG nest with 16 hand grenades.  He then went into position once again and eliminated a neighboring enemy strong point with well-directed rifle fire (despite coming under heavy fire himself once again).  By doing so he facilitated the approach of his assault troop against an enemy bunker, and once it had been stormed the final attack objective was attained.  The independent and fearless intervention of Gefreiter Zastrow on this day was decisive for the success that was achieved."  from his Knight's Cross to the Iron Cross citation, awarded on March 6, 1944 as Gefreiter of the 2. / Pioniere-Battalion 81 / 45.Infanterie-Division.
Another bold enemy elite, 

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