After the Soviet Woronesh Front had overrun the 8. Italienische Armee and pressed through the big gap at the Don bend [großer Donbogen] their advancing troops threatened the rear of all the german troops in the South sector of the front. The German side hadn’t any reserves to stop this drive. One measure of the OKH to stabilize the front with reinforcements was the order to immediately form a so-called “Einsatzverband Lehrtruppe” from training units of the weapon schools at home. Shortly thereafter, on 21 December 1942, this ad-hoc unit was designated Lehr-Regiment 901 (mot) [abbr. : LR 901].
Personal and equipment was recruited from : I.(Gren) from II./Inf.Lehr.Rgt. – II.(Pz.Gren) from II./Pz.Lehr.Rgt. – III.(Pz.Jg) from III./Pz.Lehr.Rgt. – Stug.Bttr 901 = ex 8./Art.Lehr.Rgt. 2 .
Many of the officers and NCOs had combat experience at the Eastern Front and the appointment of the commanding officer fell onto Oberst Georg Scholze, Kdr. Infanterie-Lehr-Regiment Döberitz, who had combat experience with Lehrtruppen from a similar command the year before, when leading II./Inf.Rgt. (mot) 900 from the first stages of “Barabarossa” on to the gates of Moscow and during the fierce winter fightings 1941/42.

On 21 December 1942, 22.00 hours, the first transport train left Wünsdorf for Starobjelsk. With arrival, LR 901 was subordinated to 19. Panzer-Division which had been transfered before from the central sector to the spot also. The first and major task was to build a bridgehead appr. 50km eastwards Starobjelsk around the center “Straßenkreuz Strelzowka” [road crossing] to avoid the further Soviet advance to the South and to cut off their supply lines. A second task was to ensure the retreat of backfighting but not destroyed own troops like 298. Infanterie-Division (Gruppe Göller) and still operational Italian troops (Gruppe Tyroller). Kampfgruppe Bruns (Pz.Gren.Rgt. 74) of 19. Pz.Div., strenghened through the parts of LR 901 which had arrived already and supported by III./Pz.Art.Rgt. 19, was able to take the Strelzowka road crossing on 29 December 1942.

With the beginning of january 1943 Oberst Scholze (LR 901) was overtaking the defense of this bridgehead. On 16 January 1943 Grp. Göller and Grp. Tyroller finally reached the HKL [Hauptkampflinie (frontline)]. Now it was possible and useful to give up the weak positions at the bridgehead and the tactical retreat towards Belowodsk began, for LR 901 during the night of 19/20 January 1943. The new task was to defend Starobjelsk including the airfield Polowichino 6km south of the town. The frontline of appr. 13,5km was to hold with strong points (5 Kpn) only. A massive Soviet attack from the south, south-east and the east, but especially from the north against the neighbour there, the 298. Inf.Div. did create such a pressure on the positions that a retreat was inevitable.
19. Pz.Div. and LR 901, now subordinated to Heeresgruppe Don (GFM von Manstein) were ordered on 23 January 1943 “den Feind, hinhaltend kämpfend, vorwärts des Donez aufzuhalten” [stop the enemy north and east of the Donez by forward defense]. The next days, LR 901 moved back towards the Donez and was ordered on 30 Jan to take a defensive position on the westbank of the river and the “Abschnitt” Nishneje.
The next day, operation “Galopp”, the attack of the 1st Soviet Guards Army on the Donez bassin started, resulting in crisis situations all around the German positions, pushing back westwards the defending LR 901 also. During the night of 10/11 February 1943 first LR 901 was able to hold a new HKL along the railroad track Gorskoje-Lokutowka. The Soviet advance was stopped and the situation changed to a static warfare for several weeks.
At this stage LR 901 had contributed its successful part to the main strategic success of now Heeresgruppe Süd (former HGr. Don) [GFM von Manstein], to stop the Soviet attack and to built a new frontline in sight of the Donez and to have a prepared base for a counter-attack, which finally enabled the operation to regain the Donez region and Charkow (16 March 1943).
LR 901 took part in the counter-attack since 2 March 1943, was taking back the Donez in the area between Toschkowa and Nishneje and reached Priwolnoje finally against heavy resistance. After that LR 901 was taken back to Artemowsk for refitting. There all vehicles and heavy weapons were handed over to 19. Pz.Div. The task of the Rgt. was fulfilled and had ended and the transport to the home garrisons started on 10 April 1943. Back home, the former LR 901 was restructured Panzergrenadier-Versuchs-Regiment 901 in summer 1943.

Commanders

Oberst Georg Scholze (21 Dec 1942 – April 1943)

Area of operations

Eastern Front, south sector (Dec 1942 - April 1943)

Holders of high awards

Holders of the German Cross in Gold (3)
- Brombach, Paul, 02.04.1943, Oberfeldwebel, 2./Lehr-Rgt. 901
- Guercke, Wolff-Rüdiger, 02.04.1943, Oberleutnant, 7./Lehr-Rgt. 901
- Oventrop, Julius, 29.10.1943, Oberleutnant, Lehr-Rgt. 901
Holders of the Honor Roll Clasp of the Heer (1)
- Pieper, Willi, 17.03.1943, Oberfeldwebel, 6./Lehr-Rgt. 901
Holders of the Knight's Cross (2)
- Müller, Alfred, 20.02.1943, Hauptmann, Chef Stug.Lehr-Bttr 901
- Scholze, Georg 17.02.1943 Oberst Kdr Lehr-Rgt 901 (mot)

Order of battle

Stab
- Pionierzug
- Nachrichtenzug
I.(Gren-)Bataillon (Hptm Uthe – Kurt or Konrad ?? )
- 1. – 4. Kp [LKW]
- leichter Infanteriegeschütz-Zug
II.(Pz.Gren-)Bataillon (Major Christian Kübler)
- 5. – 8. Kp [SPW , Sd.Kfz. 251 ; dabei: Sd.Kfz. 251/9 „Kanonenwagen“, 7,5cm KwK L/24]
- 2 x leichter Infanteriegeschütz-Zug
III.(Pz.Jg-)Bataillon [Hptm Klein]
- 9. – 10. Kp [Panzerjäger (mot.Zg.) , je 12x 7,5cm Pak40]
- Nachrichtenzug
Sturmgeschütz-Batterie 901 [Hptm Alfred Müller]

Sources used

Helmut Ritgen - Lehr-Regiment 901 (mot) am Donez 1943 (article in Deutsches Soldatenjahrbuch 1986, pp 250-255)
Dr. Rolf Hinze - 19. Infanterie- und Panzer-Division: Divisionsgeschichte aus der Sicht eines Artilleristen (pp 425-441)
Georg Tessin - Verbände und Truppen der deutschen Wehrmacht 1939-1945

Reference material on this unit

Helmut Ritgen - Lehr-Regiment 901 (mot) am Donez 1943 (article in Deutsches Soldatenjahrbuch 1986, pp 250-255)

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