[Civil Affairs] Platoon Drill Able 27/01/2016
This is the interview of Obergefreiter Friedrich Lengfeld after the battle of Butovo. Interview done by Karl Lotto.
1942 August 23rd Karl Lotto
I asked Friedrich Lengfeld if I was allowed to interview him after the battle of Butovo. Seeing as I was in the hospital as well I might as well still do my work as a reporter. He was more than happy to help me out. Friedrich Lengfeld was one of the wounded who came back after a battle for a small town named Butovo.
Obergefreiter Friedrich Lengfeld from the First Platoon, Second Squad aka "Hellhounds" interview at the field hospital: Feldlazarett Battle of Butovo.
It was the 20th of August, 1942. I and the rest of the 29th were on the road to Penza to relieve the soldiers of the 100th Jager Division. We were on the road when our unit commander Leutnant Wilhelm Keitel got the order to take a small town called Butovo. Our scout reported that it was a small force of no more than 10. He gave the order to our platoon commander, Feldwebel Wilhelm Ahrens, to clear out the small town and, after capturing it, get in contact with the unit command for further orders. The rest of the unit, 2nd and 3rd platoon, would keep moving to Penza.
So after hearing the order we moved of the main road towards the small town of Butovo.
When we were on the road our squad leader, Unteroffizier Hermann Ammer, told us that Butovo was a very strong defensive position with a tree line surrounding it and an open field between the tree line and the town itself with very little cover and that when our troops advance our troops being the 100th Jagers they just went past the town and set up a patrol around it and kept shelling it for only have a day. But that shelling was from a 54cm Mörser Loki, though, so that it was for only have is understandable. Anyway after about 2 hours we got to the edge of the forest. We unloaded the trucks of our 4th squad. They would guard the trucks and the rest of us would move up to the village.
We got into the forest moving north towards the village. About 20 meters from the inner edge of the forest, in a depression, we set up a radio and command post. Sadly we did not have any artillery of any kind, not even a mortar. After about 5 minutes we went to the inner edge of the forest and got our briefing. Squad 1 would go to the west side of the village and get to some kind of a apartment and from there on move up at the west side of the road moving through the village, cleaning out all the buildings on their way and firing into the church on the east side.
My squad, squad 2 that is, and squad 3 would move into the eastern part of the village and go around the church and attack it from the eastern and northern side. Then our squad leader gave us a attack plan. Quite a good one, actually.
The plan was to send out groups of 3. We had 12 people so we had 4 groups. The first group would get to a slight depression with a hill with the rest of us covering their advance. Then the second group would do the same. Then the 3rd group, then my group, then 4th would move up with the rest of the squad towards the village. We got into our position with our groups stretched up towards the east. I was behind a hill with a bush on top of it. It looked like a good shooting position for me and the rest of my group were pretty much next to me. We were ready to go when our platoon commander shouted "Attack man forwards" while blowing on his whistle.
I got into the bush looking at the church and I saw a static MG, one of those old maxim machine guns. I saw something move very slightly so I quickly squeezed the trigger and shot at it. The shot landed on target and a blood spatter appeared on the wall behind the gun. Group 1 and 2 were already behind the hill. Seeing that group 1 did not take any fire, group 2 just moved up with them. Squad 3 got into a ditch and took some very light rifle fire. Then our SL ordered group 3 to advance as well. When group 3 got to the hill squad 3 just advanced so our squad leader ordered us all to move up to the edge of the village. We pretty much bum-rushed to the edge. We were grouped at the edge of the village so we went back into squad formation.
Squad 3 was already to the east side of the church meanwhile squad 1 was making slow progress because apparently the majority of the enemies were on the west side of the road. We were about to go to the north side of the church when an enemy rifleman shot at us pinning us down. Then one of us who I can't remember threw a grenade into the church killing the rifleman. I took the moment and got into a bunch line behind the church. Another rifleman of my squad was moving behind me but then he got cut down by a PPSh. Apparently a few Russians came back to the church so I sneaked up to the side of the church in the bushes. I crawled out of the bushes with my rifle raised. loaded and ready. I saw 2 Russians. One of them was behind a corner and had a PPSh. The second one was looking through a window with an SVT. He looked quite high-ranking so I pulled the trigger and he went down. The first one, the one with the PPSh, turned towards me but did not see me. I think I shot at him but I missed. This time he did spot me. I shot at him again but he did not go down. He raised his PPSh but then one of the riflemen from squad 3 shot him in the head.
I didn't even have time to recover when a 3rd Russian bum-rushed the church. I quickly shot him but I did not have time to aim properly so I hit him in the lower leg he kept going and got in cover and just as he got into cover a grenade followed him in. The grenade exploded and killed him.
After finally being able to recover I heard some shuffling in the bushes so I stood up and to my horror a Russian commander was crawling next to me just a meter and he was not crawling towards me. He did not even see me so I raised my rifle took my time to aim and click. Out of ammo. The Russian, visibly shocked, looked at me stood up very quickly. I in the meantime tried to reload my gun when bang and everything went black. I woke up on a makeshift hospital bed in a camp. I had this sharp ringing in my ear. I also was unable to see clearly. Oh and don't mention the headache. Our platoon medic came and said that I had a concussion. I responded with "I hadn't noticed yet". He also brought with him my helmet. The bullet from the Russian just hit my helmet on the side and bounced off.
He told me that I had to be moved to a hospital at this point. The headache was becoming unbearable so I said with a faint and awkward voice "But there are no Russians to fight there". He responded "I heard they have night bombings sometimes" and I responded with "Oh good at least it won't be boring".
I asked him if we won the battle the he responded with "What do you think?" and I said "Umm yeah, nevermind. You have something for my headache?" and he said "Yeah I'm going to get some morphine I'll be right back".
He injected me with morphine and told me that I would be transferred in a couple of hours.
So that's how I ended up here. That should give you something to write about.
Written by: PFC de Crom
Edited by: T/5 Dethfield and PFC Langford
Approved by: CoCA and Bn. S3