Demjansk Battle Shield
Demjansk Battle Shield. Instituted on 25th April 1943 to the Army and Waffen S.S. defenders of the small town of Demjansk in Russia. Antique silvered finish. Complete with steel backing plate. Complete with steel backing plate . Cloth backing not supplied with this shield.
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On February 8th 1942, the Russians encircled the 2nd Army Corp in the small town of Demjansk, located in the northern section of the Russian front about 100 miles north-east of Cholm. Trapped in the pocket were the 12th, 30th, 32nd, 223rd and 290th Heer Infantry Divisions, as well as the 3rd SS "Totenkopf" Division. There were also RAD, Police, Todt organization, and other auxiliary units who were trapped and assisted in the battle. Their commander was General der Infanterie Graf Brockdordd-Ahlefeldt.
Ordered to resist, the garrison was extensively and appropriately supplied by the Luftwaffe. During their besiegement the group offered the Russians stiff and determined resistance, tying up three Soviet Armies (composed of 18 Infantry Divisions and three brigades) for the length of 14 months. The battle group was able to break out of the siege on the 21st of April, but the battle had taken a toll. Out of the approximately 100,000 men trapped there were 3,335 never returned, and over 10,000 were wounded. However, their heroic struggle had denied the Soviet High Command of numerous units at a critical moment, units that would have otherwise been used elsewhere in the Eastern front.
Even thought they were no longer trapped, fighting in the area continued until October of 1942. For his excellence in command in the particularly fierce fighting of his elite unit, Totenkopf commander SS Obergruppenfuhrer und General der Waffen SS Theodor Eike was awarded the Oak Leaves to the Knights Cross (88th) on May 20th, 1942.