|Part of the Eastern Front of World War II|
|Commanders and leaders|
|Theodor Scherer||Nikolai Vatutin|
5,500 18 mortars10 anti tank guns
33rd rifle division 391st rifle division20 tanks
|Casualties and losses|
1,500 dead2,000 wounded
The Kholm Pocket (German: Kessel von Cholm; Russian: Холмский котёл) was the name given for the encirclement of German troops by the Red Army around Kholm south of Leningrad, during World War II on the Eastern Front, from 23 January 1942 until 5 May 1942. A much larger pocket was simultaneously surrounded in Demyansk, about 100 km (62 mi) to the northeast. These were the results of German retreat following their defeat during the Battle of Moscow.
The air supply of Kholm and Demyansk, while successful, led to an overconfidence in the German High Command in regard to the Luftwaffe's ability to air supply encircled forces which would lead to disastrous consequences at the Battle of Stalingrad in late 1942 and early 1943.
At the small Kholm pocket, 5,500 German soldiers held it for 105 days. The pocket was supplied by air, but was too small for planes to land; therefore, supplies had to be dropped in and recovered by the German defenders. Among the airdropped supplies were 35 of the first 50 prototype MKb 42(H) rifles.
The German units in the pocket were mainly part of:
- 218th Infantry Division
- Reserve-Polizei-Bataillon 65
- Infanterie-Regiment 553 (of the 329th Infantry Division)
- Parts of the 123rd Infantry Division
- Jagdkommando 8
- III. Bataillon of the Luftwaffenfeldregiment 1
German forces made three attempts to relieve the pocket, in January, March and May 1942. While the first two failed the third one was successful, with the German forces in the pocket reduced in number to 1,200 by then.
Kholm was eventually liberated by the Red Army on 21 February 1944.
Members of the Reserve-Polizei-Bataillon 65, a police unit from Gelsenkirchen, were questioned after the war by the state prosecuter in Dortmund for their involvement in ethnic cleansing in Eastern Europe. The unit was found to have taken part in a minimum of 5,000 executions and a large number of deportations to concentration camps. Among them was also the hanging of a young girl in Kholm during the siege.
Soldiers preparing to board a Gotha Go 242 glider, Kholm
- Zabecki, p. 695–696
- Bourne, p. 155–156
- Rottman, Gordon. The AK-47: Kalashnikov-series assault rifles. Osprey Publishing. p. 9. ISBN 978-1-84908-835-0.
- Kholm Shield (in German) www.lexikon-der-wehrmacht.de, accessed: 16 December 2011
- Reserve-Polizeibataillon 65 (mot) (in German) www.gelsenzentrum.de, accessed: 16 December 2011
- Zabecki, David (2014). Germany at War: 400 Years of Military History. Santa Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO. ISBN 1598849808.
- Bourne, Merfyn (2013). The Second World War in the Air: The Story of Air Combat in Every Theatre of World War Two. United Kingdom: Troubador Publishing. ISBN 1780884419.
- Media related to Battle of Kholm at Wikimedia Commons