The miserable stalemate of the Rasputitsa on the Northwest Front was broken with the first hard frosts of winter. This offensive had been expected for some time, but the ferocity of the assault caught the German line by surprise, and soon reports of heavy fighting were flooding in to X, II and VIII Infantry Korps Headquarters in volumes that told of an assault along the whole defensive line north of VYSHNY VOLOCHYOK Вышний Волочек.
126 Infantry Division* fought off attacks from militia troops identified as belonging to 30 Rifle Division supporting the northern flank of 31 Rifle Division. The Soviets had blocked the north-south railway from MOSCOW to LENINGRAD, and repeated counterattacks had failed to dislodge them in the previous month.
12** and 32*** Infantry Divisions came under heavy pressure that the whole of X and VIII Korps Artillery could not relieve. These positions began to crumble as 34 Rifle Division penetrated the forests in front of them.
To be continued …
*126 Infantry Division was commanded by the newly promoted commander of its 422 Infantry Regiment – Maj Gen Hopper.
** 12th Infantry Division distinguished itself in Poland and France.
*** 32nd Infantry Division was known as the Löwe (Lion) division and also had an excellent reputation.