The Nazis had a pact with the Soviet Union during World War II. Neither country would attack the other. However, on June 22, 1941, Germany decided they had other plans.
Tanks were sent into a Lithuanian town on the 23rd. The small town put up a big fight. The Soviets moved to defend it with Kliment-Voroshilov tanks. These tanks could hold the line no matter what the Germans did. That didn’t mean the Nazis didn’t try, though. They used tanks, artillery, anti-aircraft guns, and bombs to no avail.
German infantry and tanks made their way into the city, but a single KV tank came out and stopped in the middle of the road. It stayed there all day long until it began shooting Nazi tanks and machine guns.
Twelve trucks were taken down, and the Germans could not defeat it. Finally, they tried satchel charges, but those failed too. Colonel Erhard Raus wrote that even an 88-mm anti-aircraft gun couldn’t pierce the tank’s armor.
The KV defended itself from the Germans throughout the night and the following day. The Soviet tank took out many German machine guns, but finally, the Nazis were able to get through.
Going Down Swinging
Grenades were thrown down the hatch, and took out the crew. Even though they broke through, the tank delayed them for 22 hours.
The Germans wanted to annihilate the Red Army. They thought Russians were subhuman and the Eastern Front battles were brutal. Neither side handled the prisoners and dead with any regard.
But, when it came to the tank crew, the Germans pulled the crew members out and buried them in the woods. Colonel Raus wrote, “I am deeply shocked by this heroism; we buried them with full military honors. They fought to the last breath.”
The Russians do not know why the tank stopped on the road. But many suspect that it ran out of gas and decided to battle as long as it could.