Talk:Battle of Tannenberg Line

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Just a note on geographical / ethnographic terms, etc.[edit]

Surely "Flemings" are people from Flanders, and not a relevant place name?

Add?[edit]

Could someone include this stuff from the page of Estonian museum of ocupation: http://www.okupatsioon.ee/english/overviews/walter.html

Also the 20.Waffen grenadierdivision der SS (Estonian) division before the start of the Soviet offensive on 24th July:

45th Regiment – Ostubaf Harald Riipalu

  • 1st Battalion – Hstuf Paul Maitla
  • 2nd Battalion – Hstuf Ludvig Kiisk
  • 3rd Battalion was still in the process of forming

46th Regiment – Standartenführer Juhan Tuuling

  • 1st Battalion – Hstuf Heino Rannik
  • 2nd Battalion – Stubaf Friedrich Kurg
  • 3rd Battalion – Ostuf Arseni Korp. The battalion was based on the 660th Ost Battalion.

47th Regiment – Ostubaf Paul Vent

  • 1st Battalion – Stubaf Georg Sooden. The battalion was based on the 659th Ostbattalion.
  • 2nd Battalion – Hstubaf Alfons Rebane. The battalion was based on the 658th Ostbattalion
  • 3rd Battalion – Hstuf Eduard Hints. Formed from mobilized men and was at this moment just arriving to the front.

Füsilier-Battalion – Hstuf Wallner. He was on 25th July wounded and replaced by Ostuf Oskar Ruut. The latter was killed on 3rd August and then Hstuf Hando Ruus took over. The battalion was based on the “Narva” battalion (Division “Wiking”), but was reinforced with mobilized men.

Artillery regiment – Ostubaf Aleksandr Sobolev.

On February 1, 1944 the Red Army reached the border of Estonia as a part of the great offensive which began on January 14. Field Marshal Walter Model was nominated the leader of the much-suffered Army Group North. His 18. Army had 14 dead tired battalions against the 4 corps of the Soviet 2. Striking army. The Russians crossed the river and stroke several bridgeheads. The troops landed in Meriküla. The decisive attack based on violent fire of 3000 guns and mine throwers began on February 13. On February 13 the improvised Estonian regiment "Tallinn" was let extend into Auvere (Major Richard Rubach). One Estonian battalion destroyed the landed troops (514 were executed from 525) and the remains cut to pieces the assault reached to Narva - Tallinn railway line. The situation was saved. In addition Russians brought the whole corps but in the meantime the Germans had strengthened. The Estonian division also arrived near Narva. On its way one of the battalions (I/45 Hastuf Harald Riipalu) of the division broke the Russian landed forces which had crossed the Lake Lammijärv during February 14 - 16 near Meerapalu. 2000 Russians were destroyed, much loot gained.


On February 24 (!) the counterattack of the Estonian division to break the Russian bridgeheads began. The battalion of Hastuf Rudolf Bruus (II/46) destroyed the bridgehead of Riigiküla. The battalion of Ostubaf Ain - Ervin Meri (I/46) liquidated the bigger bridgehead of Vaasa-Siivertsi-Vepsaküla, where a young Uscha Harald Nugiseks was awarded the Knights Cross as first of the Estonian soldiers. On March 6, the task was fulfilled.


The raged leadership of the Red Army draw 9 corps under Narva against 7 divisions and one brigade of Germans. On March 1, a new aggressive offensive began in the direction of Auvere. The assault was stopped by the 658th battalion of the first Estonian awarded the Knights Cross Major Alfons Rebane and by the 659th. East battalion of Captain Georg Sooden, fighting in the area of Putki-Sirgala surrounded until the counterattack of the Germans. The attacks continued. Only the lying of pressure changed. On March 17, Russians attacked in the direction of the main offensive with the forces of 20 divisions against 3 defensive, but could not break the defence no matter of the mass of the perished. Up to the end of March the Russians had run out of strength: 70,000 men had perished (on the German side 20,000). On April 7, the leadership of the Red Army ordered to go over to defence. Before that the counterattack of the Germans began. The Russian forces on the Auvere bridgehead were destroyed and the remains were let extend to Krivasoo marsh. In the battles during April Russian lost 50,000 men against 20,000 Germans. The huge battle lasted for three months, one of the greatest in the world history of war (!), cost Russians 120,000 fallen and for 40,000 Germans. The part of the Estonian army units could not play decisive part in this giant struggle but the Estonian soldier showed himself among the best volunteers of the world (German, Walloon, and Scandinavian) worthily. Russians barbarized of the defeat, organised many terrorised, bombing attacks towards the towns of Estonia in March, incl. bombing of Tallinn on March 9. In June 1944, because of the strategical problems elsewhere, 5 German incomplete divisions and the Estonian division stayed at the front of Narva, in total 27,000 men. Russians had 2 armies with 205,000 men. The superiority of the fire force was 8-, of the air force 9- and in tanks 3 times. On July 24 the Russians began an attack in the direction of Auvere to surrender the unit of the army of Narva ( III German SS-mounted corps of Obergruppenführer Felix Steiner ). They were stopped by I battalion (Stubaf Paul Maitla) of the 45 regiment (Riipalu) and the fusiliers (previous "Narva") under the leadership of Hatuf Hando Ruus ( Ruus was the only Estonian who was awarded the German Cross-in gold).


The evacuation of Narva was organised and settled on the line of "Tannenberg" in Sinimäed. There were unimaginable hard battles from July 26 - August 10; the regiment of Riipalu defended where the key point lay on Grenadiers which. On July 29, the uplands were lost but fighting against overwhelming majority, Estonians took the uplands back on the next day. There was a Russian division against each Estonian battalion here; still the enemy was destroyed. In the 109 corps of army 255 men survived.102 Russian tanks were destroyed. Riipalu and Maitla were awarded the Knights Cross. On August 10, the command of the red Army stopped the attacks having lost 11 divisions and 2 brigades. By their own data, 12,000 Russians fell in Sinimäed.

1. The proposed info on battalions is too much detail, considering, there were 49 battalions involved on the "Narwa" side.
2. The scope of the article does not cover events before the end of July, so only the last para could be useful.
3. Which pieces of information from the last passage quoted from Walter do you think is missing from the article? --Jaan Pärn (talk) 16:16, 12 April 2010 (UTC)

Name[edit]

Per our naming guidelines, article should have ONE name, not two. As such I think Battle of Narva (1944) would be best? -- Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus | talk  18:56, 17 May 2007 (UTC)

agree, not that it has 2 names , this article basically covers not only the Battle of Narva and "Tannenbergstellung" but the whole events of the Soviets return to Estonia during the WWII all the way up to Courland. It needs renaming and splitting up into sections and then separate articles regarding each battle...Also, this article has obviously been written by a Dutch guy and more relevant to SS Division Nederland . Is talking about "foreign troops" mostly about the Dutch at the same time completely missing the fact that the Battle of Narva and "Tannenbergstellung" AKA "Sinimägede lahingud" was a last stand in 1944 for thousands of Estonians that had returned from Finnish Army and others that had responded to a general mobilization call made by the last legitimate prime minister of the republic of Estonia in exile to defend Estonia against falling under the Soviet domination once again....etc. Estonians had no interest to serve the germane cause though. As it appears the Germans even had a unit standing by: Apart from the Red Army, the Brigade now also feared actions from their Estonian fellow soldiers. The Estonian volunteers wanted to defend their own country against the Red Army, of course, but now that the German armed forces were pulling back closer and closer to Germany itself, the Estonians were no longer prepared to follow the Brigade. The multinational thought had disappeared and the Commander of the Brigade, Wagner, even kept a Company in reserve to act against the Estonians if necessary, http://www.waffen-ss.nl/nedgesch-e.php --Termer 08:47, 29 June 2007 (UTC)

PS. "Fighting Around Riga" has also no relevance really unless in case it would belong to the history of SS Division Nederland

Hello, in English this battle is called 'Tannenberg Line', I'm going to create a new name for this and move it.--Termer 01:25, 5 July 2007 (UTC)

Then the name should be Battle of the Tannenberg Line. We don't put 2 or more names in our article titles.--Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk 17:39, 12 August 2008 (UTC)
I agree, perhaps even shorter "Battle of Tannenberg Line" Erikupoeg (talk) 21:00, 12 August 2008 (UTC)
Whatever happened to the seeking of consensus and requesting moves?--mrg3105 (comms) ♠♥♦♣ 05:22, 19 August 2008 (UTC)

Seems like a consensus to me unless you have any objections? --Termer (talk) 05:46, 19 August 2008 (UTC)
PS. although , I've already addressed it above as well, considering the content of the article, what takes us all the way from Narva to Courland, the 1944 WWII Baltic campaign or something would be more appropriate. So its a question should this article be cleaned up so that it would be about the Tannenberg Line?--Termer (talk) 05:46, 19 August 2008 (UTC)

I agree, in the context of the Battle of Tannenberg Line the retreat to Courland excluded a large share of the troops fighting on Tannenberg Line and is more of aftermath. 07:06, 19 August 2008 (UTC)

Globalization tag[edit]

From the edit summaries, I'm guessing that the point of the globalization tag is that the editor wants to see more information about the Soviets in the article. If you can address this issue, please do. Also, whenever you place a tag like this, it's very helpful to other editors if you leave a note on a talk page to explain your concerns, in as much detail as you can. Thanks, WhatamIdoing (talk) 21:27, 4 March 2008 (UTC)

The Globalization tag never made much sense since there are Russians sources listed at the references section.--Termer (talk) 02:58, 22 October 2008 (UTC)
I have to agree. I recall the tag was first placed some time ago when the article was primarily based on German sources. Since the Russian sources have been added, now Estonian sources. So this tag doesn't really make sense. Martintg (talk) 10:34, 3 November 2008 (UTC)
That's correct, but yesterday, User:Illythr placed the globalization tag again. The contents of the three Battle of Narva articles have been contested by him and User:Paul Siebert at Talk:Battle of Narva (1944). Perhaps you get yourself through their rather ignorant accusations (like: "As the details are not in the major Western history books, the significance of the combat is probably an exaggeration" or "The ratio of 1/10 of the German casualties to the Soviet is exaggerated," without putting forward any suggestions for the correct numbers. You may have some arguments to put forward over there. Could do good for the articles. --Erikupoeg (talk) 11:06, 3 November 2008 (UTC)
Ah yes, the shining spirit of friendly collaboration is practically bursting through all cracks here! :-D So far, we have a single Estonian scholar talking about both the great significance of the battle and using a rather peculiar method of estimating Soviet losses to support his POV. Western historians barely mention the whole thing at all (according to the same Estonian scholar). Besides, it's the German name of a German campaign written from a German point of view (brave German armies resisting the Red Tide to the last, leaving only after getting tired of the slaughter...). The Estonian scholar has adopted the German point of view, but the articles never mention that this is Estonian or German historiography, hence the tag. Anyways, better keep the discussion in one place. --Illythr (talk) 12:06, 3 November 2008 (UTC)
The "collaboration" with you has provided nothing constructive yet. The article uses 33 American, Estonian, German and Soviet sources. Mainly it is based on Soviet and German battle diaries, with some support of Estonian memoirs. Your accusations will remain hollow, until you deliver a contesting view on the campaign around Narva and in Vaivara Parish, 2 Feb - 19 Sept 1944. --Erikupoeg (talk) 12:56, 3 November 2008 (UTC)

Aftermath section[edit]

Is it really necessary to have identical "Aftermath" sections in Battle of Narva (1944), Battle for Narva Bridgehead and Battle of Tannenberg Line? I think it is enough to have it in Battle of Narva (1944), since it is the main article and Battle for Narva Bridgehead and Battle of Tannenberg Line are sub articles. Martintg (talk) 01:38, 22 October 2008 (UTC)

Agree, lets make the Battle of Narva (1944) a true main article. So that the Bridgehead and Tannenberg Line can concentrate on actual military operations.--Termer (talk) 01:41, 22 October 2008 (UTC)

Okay, I've cleaned up both articles. Martintg (talk) 02:20, 22 October 2008 (UTC)

Soviet strength 200,000?[edit]

Where such a number came from? According to the order of battle section 2nd chock army and 8th army amounted ~55000 men totally plus 6 rifle division plus a rifle corps - not an overwhelming superiority for the army attacking strongly fortified positions...--Paul Siebert (talk) 23:43, 3 November 2008 (UTC)

All formations have a nominal strength, but during war time casualties are replaced with new conscripts. For example a Soviet report of the Leningrad Front in July 1944 reported "In the ranks of the 2nd Shock Army, 46,385 men started crossing Narva river on July 25th. Out of them, a few thousand remained fit for combat on August 1st". Huge losses, but the Soviets were able to replace their men, the Germans couldn't. It was a grinding war of attrition, that is why Germany lost the war. Martintg (talk) 05:21, 4 November 2008 (UTC)
The Soviet strength does lack a citation. It may be correct, but it was presented here before I started contributing to the article. At the same time, the "Estonia in 1940-1945" expresses concern, that the Soviet order of battle is kept in secrecy up to date, so it's unlikely to come across an official number of overall Soviet strength around Narva. The numbers listed in the "Orders of Battle" account for the attacking forces at the given date, not for the whole number of forces ready for combat in the battlefront area. I am also concerned about the number of German forces presented in the infobox, as it lacks a citation and is probably and is probably an overestimation at least for July 29. --Erikupoeg (talk) 09:58, 4 November 2008 (UTC)

The map[edit]

Congratulations on a brilliant job! There are just a few things that I suggest to change. First, the name of the hill "Tornimägi" is not readable under a line marking the position of the front. Second, the current versions of the articles use the name "Grenaderimägi" for the middle hill, which is named "Põrguhauamägi" on the map. What do you suggest we do with this mismatch? --Erikupoeg (talk) 12:11, 13 November 2008 (UTC)

Thanks! I'll fix that line. I don't know the history of the names Grenaderimägi/Põrguhauamägi, was there a name change before/after the battle? Martintg (talk) 17:39, 13 November 2008 (UTC)
They are rather parrallel names, both are used by the local people. Estonian geographic sources tend to use "Põrguhauamägi". German history sources "Grenadierhöhe" and Estonian historians "Grenaderimägi".
There's a bit similar problem with "Pargimägi"/"Lastekodumägi", which is "Pargimägi" in Estonian geographic resources, "Kinderheimhöhe" in German history and "Lastekodumägi" in Estonian history sources. The map is a bit unclear about it, too, using "Pargimägi ehk Lastekodumägi" ("ehk" means "or" in Estonian). I guess any usage is fine, as long as it's concistent. We need to change either the names on the map or in the texts, whichever is easier.
One more remark about the map - the Tallinn highway (bold purple line) was not there in 1944. The thin red line running between the hills was the highway at the time, which clarifies, why the hills were so strategically important. I know, it's part of the background data, which are hard to modify, but perhaps a comment in the caption could state something like "Front line positions at the background of the modern road network". --Erikupoeg (talk) 09:16, 14 November 2008 (UTC)
Okay, I've updated the image, removing part of the modern road and putting the correct names in place. Martintg (talk) 08:59, 15 November 2008 (UTC)

Attack of Soviet main forces, Laar, etc.[edit]

I am very suspicious about that fragment: "The principle of the Soviet attack was an overwhelming frontal shock, with only few of the attackers presumed to reach the target.[4] The advancing masses were dulled by a double portion of spirits and closely watched by the Soviet machine-gunners behind them, shooting the withdrawing individuals.[4] With the artillery fire preventing any reinforcements sent in from the German rear, the Soviet 8th Army went on attack and wedged in the north flank of the East Prussian 11th Division."
The reasons of my doubts are as follows:

  • Although the Order No. 227 required to create barrier troops, they were used during 1941-1942 only, and only during a defense, and only at places where the situation was dramatic. I know no sources other that Laar that mention the use of the barrier troops behind advancing Red Army troops, especially in 1944. By that moment the Soviets had already scored their the most decisive victories, so they simply didn't need to use a barrier troops to rise a morale.

...unless they actually needed a decisive victory in Narva. Keep in mind, that Tallinn was the first Baltic harbour, conquered by the Soviets in 1944. --Erikupoeg (talk) 10:16, 5 December 2008 (UTC)

  • The story about spirit also needs an independent confirmation (by the way, as far as I know, the symmetrical stories about a crowd of drunk SS soldiers attacking the Soviets with Schmeisers is a popular Soviet myth. In reality, they, of course, weren't drunk and they didn't use a submachine guns en masse, and those guns weren't designed by Schmeiser, by the way).
  • In addition, this piece of text looks like it describes the Soviet tactics in general. I am not sure Laar to be too reputable military historian to be able to discuss the Soviet tactics as whole, so I think the independent confirmation is needed. Or the fragment should be rewritten to make clear that Laar wrote about this concrete attack (although, as far as I understand, the major sources he used were memoirs of German or Estonian soldiers, and they are reliable in the same extent as the Soviet fairy tails about "drunk SS-mans" do).

Yeah, it should be removed until independent confirmation --Erikupoeg (talk) 10:16, 5 December 2008 (UTC)

  • As I pointed at the Battle of Narva talk page, I see a serious flaw in the Laar's approach to calculate Soviet losses (I provided needed explanations for that). I have a feeling that Laar has a strong tendency to exaggerate the efficiency of the Estonian SS troops during the Battle of Narva: they appeared to inflict much greater losses on the Soviets than the highly motivated Germans did during the Battle of Smolensk (1943), or very highly motivated and skilled Finns (who are ethnically close to the Estonians, by the way) did during the Vyborg–Petrozavodsk Offensive.

More Estonian and German sources present the number of Soviet casualties as 100,000 - 200,000, but these are not included as based on no calculations. Do you propose to remove 179,000 as the number of casualties and replace it with a question mark? --Erikupoeg (talk) 10:16, 5 December 2008 (UTC)

Based on all said above I conclude that the extensive use of Laar in this and related articles is not acceptable. The article should use more Western and (reliable) Soviet sources, and some claims from the Laar's book that look dubious should be removed, or re-phrased.
--Paul Siebert (talk) 15:08, 4 December 2008 (UTC) Keep pointing out the concrete dubious claims and we'll keep working on them. --Erikupoeg (talk) 10:16, 5 December 2008 (UTC)

Cannot agree with your explanation of the necessity to use the barrier troops. The major flaw of your explanation is that you present the battle of Tannenberg line as something outstanding if not unique. Despite its extreme strategic importance, the Battle of Narva wasn't the key and decisive battle of WWII, therefore, it is unclear why did the Soviet revived there the tool they hadn't used since 1942. They didn't use it at Kursk, Smolensk, Leningrad etc, why do you think the Battle of Narva was more important?
My another point is that the Soviets stopped using the barrier troops because this measure simply proved to be unefficient, especially during offensive. That is why the order 227 had been canceled soon, and even before that it was not generally observed. See, for instance: Ivan's War: Life and Death in the Red Army, 1939-1945. By Catherine Merridale. Published by Macmillan, 2006. ISBN 0805074554, 9780805074550, page 159.
Therefore, I conclude that the cited peice of the Laar's book is an attempt to create a new Estonian mythology (in contrast to the old Soviet one). I think removal of all mentioning of the barrier troops would add credibility to the article.
--Paul Siebert (talk) 06:09, 7 December 2008 (UTC)

Alright, I'll remove the claims until further evidence comes up. --Erikupoeg (talk) 10:03, 7 December 2008 (UTC)

Estonian EstimateS????[edit]

Wikipedia wants to embarras itself that much???

Let me guess...estonian anti-soviet/russian propaganda? AS usual. When will wiki stop embarasing itself that much?

99.231.50.118 (talk) 02:55, 14 January 2009 (UTC)Pavel Golikov.

In actuality, it really looks a little bit awkward. Such a formula create an impression that the Estonians did these estimations during or right after the battle, and that they acted as an independent force. To my opinion, the "contemporary indirect estimate" would be better, because this estimete is really contemporary and really indirect. "Estonian" is redundant, because the science (including the historical science) is an international phenomenon. The fact that this estimate was done by the Estonian historian is hardly relevant, although I would trust the Russian numbers more (in case if they will become available in future).
--Paul Siebert (talk) 03:49, 14 January 2009 (UTC)
I think "Indirect estimate" is redundant on its own, akin to "approximation of an approximation". Additionally, parties to a conflict often tend to overestimate enemy losses. Because of this, I would favor attributing such estimations directly, if they are done by Soviet or German (or in this case, Estonian) authors. Only when both sides agree on a figure should it be presented without attribution. This seems to have been partially bypassed by a convention that provides "own" losses without attribution unless these are disputed. But since we have an "enemy losses" situation here, I'd rather leave the attribution in. --Illythr (talk) 15:01, 14 January 2009 (UTC)

Documentary film[edit]

While generally I support adding relevant links of films, books, web pages to the article, I do not support linking the film under http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4YDKa70x1YY proposed by DJ Sturm. A large chunk of the film is clearly not original footage but a staged act. You can tell only by the soil - the setup for the staged part is a sandy hill (probably a dune or a kame). The Sinimäed hills are solid pieces of limestone with virtually no sand on top. The surroundings are a limestone plain with no sand on it either. --Erikupoeg (talk) 15:10, 23 January 2009 (UTC)