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Rshew/Rzhev field burial question
Old 05-11-2019, 07:24 AM   #1
SprogCollector
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Default Rshew/Rzhev field burial question

Hoping some folks here are more familiar with the Rshew area battles than I am.
I'm researching one of my relatives who was KIA in November 1942 at Fedjajkowo with end note commenting "Rakitino/Rshew".

Does anyone know where Rakitino or Fedjajkowo are, in the context of close by Rshew? I've looked over the Mapster maps for the area (you can already see missing towns between the 1942 and 1943 versions of the Rshew maps).

I found several Rakitino's on various Oblasts but they are hundreds of km away from Rzhev -- so I am presuming these are the wrong towns.

Fedjajkowo has been a blank. I did find a Fedjakowo (minus the 'j' before the 'k') -- but it's well east of Moscow and pretty sure the Germans didn't get that far east.

Suggestions?

Thanks
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Old 05-11-2019, 01:15 PM   #2
Archi
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Hello !

You encountered the same problems, that I always find difficult in finding locations in Russia, Lithuania etc.
Also the transcription may vary (Orel, Orjol, etc...).

It would be helpful, if you could give his unit (Rgt., division etc.).
Also a scan of the WP entry might be helpful, as these names are sometimes difficult to read.

There is a Rakitino, ~ 30km S of Rshew, see scan. (It might be designated as Rakitinya on Google maps).
To decide, whether this could be a possible solution, we would need to know the unit.

Best regards,

Archi
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File Type: jpg Rshew_area_map_01a.jpg (252.6 KB, 90 views)
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Old 05-11-2019, 03:59 PM   #3
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Hi Archi,
Thanks for your reoly. After culling tgru mapster, I was able to locate Fedjajkowo. It's slightly east of Rakitino on the north side of the river. I coukdn't find it on the 1:300,000 maps but did find it on google. The Russian spelling is Fedyaykovo
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Old 05-13-2019, 11:29 AM   #4
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I don't know the unit my relative served in. Honestly, didn't even know he existed until a few years ago. Found a potential casualty listing on the Volksbund site but, at the time, didn't have enough info to know if he was a high-probability match. I've learned some info in the intervening years that the likelihood of this being the correct person is fairly high.

On Archi's map, Fedjajkowo would be just west of the rail line running across the Osuga river -- on the north side of the river. (slightly east, and at the very bottom of the map from Ratkino that he's circled)

I'm not familiar with Operation Mars but maps showing the opening attacks suggest the Soviet 20th Army and 6th Tank Corps would attack due west from their positions in Pechora. This would be the bend in the river just south of Osuga and my assumption is the Soviets would seize the rail lines running to Rshew.

XXXIX PanzerKorps would have been directly in their path and XXVII Armee Korps was positioned just west of Osuga. So, assuming my relative was with a subunit of one of these organizations.



Last edited by SprogCollector; 05-13-2019 at 11:35 AM.
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Old 05-15-2019, 08:10 AM   #5
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Traded a few private messages and it was suggested I add the limited information I have.

I had very little factual info to start my search. My aunt's first husband was Rudolf Paul. I have his Sparbuch (bank book) which has entries from 1937 until July 1942. At issuance, his profession is listed as steinsetzer (stone setter/paver). His listed address is Bruchstr 186 in Beelitz.

I also have documents showing her marriage to her second husband (my uncle) in Wien in 1948. That document lists her name as Julianna PAUL.

I have a second document showing the birth of their daughter in March 1940 in Beelitz.

My cousin was 2 years old when her father was KIA and she doesn't know that much about him. Her mother told her that Rudolf Paul was 8-10 years older than her mother and that he was killed in Russia in 1942. Survivng PAUL family members resided in Beelitz in the postwar years but that it was very limited. Beelitz was located in the former DDR.

Volksbund lists 49 Rudolf PAULs. 5 are from WW1. Two list hometowns as Beelitz. The rest had no hometown listed.

Volksbund entry:
Surname:Paul
Forename:Rudolf
Rank:Obergefreiter
Date of birth:17.09.1912
Place of birth:Beelitz/M.
Date of death/becoming missing:27.11.1942
Place of death/becoming missing: Fedjajkowo

Rudolf Paul has not yet been transferred to a military cemetery set up by the Volksbund.

Denkmal.org looks like it pulled the info from the same source but had the added bit: Kriegsgrab bei Rakitino / Rshew - Rußland

So, I'm trying to determine where he was interred. Fedjajkowo is a few km south of Osuga and several km east of Rakitino. Both are about 30km south of Rshew.

Also trying to back into his probable unit. 102nd ID was HQ'd in Osuga so my presumption is that he was part of this unit. I don't know which of the Regiments/Battalions/Companies were positioned at Fedjajkowo.

I also am pretty clueless on how casualties were processed? Operation Mars was a Soviet failure and the Fedjajkowo/Osuga area remained in German control until March -- 4 months later.

Would bodies be trucked 30km to the existing Wehrmacht cemetary in Rzhev? The Volksbund note indicates his remains were not in the Rshew cemetary.

Rakitinya (Rakitono) and Fedyaykovo (Fedjajkowo) are very small villages -- central streets with less than 20 houses on each. Unknown if there are/were any field cemetaries at either. Same for Osuga although with 102nd ID headquartered here, would there be a field cemetary?

I'm in the process of requesting any service records from the Bundesarchiv. This under the provision that I've actually identified the correct person.

I'm looking for a wartime map of the Osuga area -- preferably something in the 1:50,000 or 1:100,000 scale. I was able to download the 1:300,000 Rshew map from mapster but it's lacking a lot of detail for the Osuga/Rakitino/Fedjajkowo area.

Last edited by SprogCollector; 05-15-2019 at 08:24 AM.
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Old 05-17-2019, 08:54 PM   #6
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Hello !

I think you did a very good job analyzing the few facts available .

There is a book by David Glantz, Shukov's Greatest Defeat, which covers the battles in that area in great detail.
Below, you will find two maps from that book :
The first map shows the actions from 25. - 27.11.42, the second one the situation on the 28th, November.

The small village Miasishchewo in the center of the maps, S of Osuga and near the river Osuga is immediately N of Fedyaykovo.
http://wikimapia.org/#lang=de&lat=56...BE%D0%B2%D0%BE
On the 27.11.42, this was certainly a combat area, so it is possible, that this is the place where Rudolf Paul was KIA.

Regarding the other questions :
As you can see from both maps, the situation was very complicated. On the 28th, Nov., there is the II. Btl. of IR 430 (129. ID)
in that area. But there are also elements, from 9. Pz.Div., 5. Pz.Div. 1. Pz.Div. and 78. Sturm-Div.
In addition to that, as this was an emergency situation, your relative could also have been affiliated to a rearward unit or even
a Luftwaffen unit, which often formed Alarm-Kompanien in this kind of situations.

Therefore, the only thing to do to get some reliable info on the unit he served in, is to ask the WASt for his service records.
The book by Glantz should give a good overview on the actions at that time in general.

Regarding the cemetary questions :
I do not know enough to answer this. I don't think there was enough time to transfer his body in November/December due to the
circumstances.
What happened later, I do not know. I only remind you that at that time it were extreme winter conditions, whith heavy snowfall.

Best regards,

Archi
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File Type: jpg Glantz_map_25_27_Nov_1942_5_PzDiv_01x.jpg (140.7 KB, 19 views)
File Type: jpg Glantz_map_28_Nov_small.jpg (193.4 KB, 19 views)
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