[ENG SUBS] Sinimäed 5/6 (The Blue Hills) WW2 Estonian SS Legion


Uploaded by Eestimaaks on 19.09.2010

Transcript:
especially the artillery fire.
They made a hell of a noise at first and then tried to take us ny storm.
When the attack was not successful, they repeated it up to 20 times,
always in the same place and each time without success.
Human lives had no meaning at all for our commanders.
We were told to close the frontline but we were closed ourselves.
One man is killed, another takes his place.
The other side is also bleeding ot.
Trains full of new boys are taken to the hell of Blue Hills.
When the reinforcements came
and the 5th, 6th and 7th companies were formed again,
l was given command of the 7th company.
We had 17 old soldiers left in our company. 17!
The rest were new young men.
And their fighting experience was none too great.
Otherwise they're nice Estonian boys but all of them die within three days,
however hard l try to cover them.
lt's a completely shitty feeling.
There's no escape. Tanks were constantly firing at the trenches
and everyone who got out was killed.
We returned fire. We thought that was the end.
You cannot fight tanks with rifles and machine guns.
We were scared.
lt kills your memory and feelings and you become numb.
You don't want to live or die either.
You become so tired that yo no longer think or see anything.
Problems like "will l be killed'' or 'what's happening back home''
do not concern you any longer.
lt seemed that this wold end the attack
and the whole Estonia, our homeland, wold be lost together with our lives.
The field where the last surviving men were dg up,
was holding the whole country alive.
lnstead of writing about birds, bees and big love,
Dad had quite crtly written in one of his letters
that he didn't have time to write
and that there was nowhere to retreat because back there was only Estonia.
By the end of July Marshal Govorov had gathered all his troops to Blue Hills.
Lives were no longer conted. This had to be the decisive attack.
July 29 was the toughest day.
General Govorov and Starikov sent their last reserves into the offensibe
from 1 1 infantry divisions and 6 remaining tank brigades.
At noon on July 29 the Red Army attacks from the centre
with 20,000 men and 100 tanks.
They manage to conquer Grenadier Hill.
The battle of Ble Hills seems lost.
But Steiner has another ace in his pocket.
The tank unit of Albert Kausch this far hidden by the third hill.
Kausch was the only well-preserved unit,
as well as Maitla's battalion that formed part of it.
They were like David against Goliath.
They prepared themselves for the attack and counterattack.
They were very experienced.
They were very exact.
Kausch rolled out his tanks when Russians were already celebrating.
They had used up their ammunition.
Tanks cleaned the hill of Russian armored vehicles.
lt was infantry's turn then.
Paul Maitla was given the impossible task of taking back the hill.
Maitla only had three battered companies.
There were no men. They had fallen.
Maitla called up everyone he could get.
There wasn"t a single full unit left.
There was chaos.
l kept watch over my boys. Everyone was moving.
They opened fire from the hill.
We crossed the last bit of grassland as quickly as we could.
Before reaching the Russian trenches we hoorayed and opened fire while running.
Katyushas were constantly shooting at us and low-flying planes shelled us.
We made progress in hand to hand combat.
We threw grenades into trenches and then jumped into them.
Another grenade, anotherjump, then open fire.
When we were close to the summit, they started to throw down hand grenades.
l managed to throw nack two grenades, l couldn't reach the third one.
l threw myself down and rolled away.
We attacked from behind the third hill towards Grenadier Hill.
There may have been 20 of us.
Once we were towards the summit, everyone was hooraying.
Russians were taken by surprise and that's why they fled Grenadier Hill.
lt was a complete mixtre of men.
lt made no difference who was Norwegian or Flemish
or what sort of men there were.
Everyone had the same aim: to hold on.
We had to remain on the spot and stay there.
Paul Maitla was decorated with the Knight's Cross
for the decisive attack that stopped the Red Army.
But the battles were far from over.
Red Army desperately tried to take back the hill.
There were 8 counterattacks on the same day.
By the evening just 26 of Maitla's men remained.
They tried to keep attacking.
On August 1 , 2, 5, even on Augst 12.
But the sharpness and power of the attacks was gone.
Our men were also completely worn ot.
Just a little bit more and we would have fallen.
But they were also completely wasted.
Red Army commanders understood in early August
that they wouldn't be able to get to Tallinn from there.
Red Army losses were huge. 150,000 men during two weeks of battles.
On the other side the losses were just as horrendous.
ln the North Estonian soil by the sea
tens of thousands of men and thousands of tons of steel
lie buried since the summer of 1944.
While the Eastern Front was blocked at Blue Hills,
the Red Army manages to push forward by 1 ,000 kilometres in the south.
They now plan to occupy Estonia from the southeast.
Finally the reserve Estonian unit in the Soviet army is allowed to battle.
We"re back in Estonia. The nature is just divine.
Nearly all of the houses are untouched. Rye has been harvested.
Wheat is still in the fields, vegetable gardens are full.
But no people. There's not a soul in sight.
Nobody at all.
At the same time, in August 1944,
nearly 3,000 Estonians get back to Estonia from the Finnish army.
Finland is ready to surrender.
Mannerheim has thanked the men and sent them back home.
Unfortunately without weapons.
l was convinced at the time that Germany had lost the war.
That the only thing left to do was to kill as many Russians as possible
and to follow them to the grave.
That there was no hope of Estonia's independence for the next ten years.
Hitler wanted to hold on to Estonia
because he wanted to keep in touch with the Finns.
He said: ''We must keep Estonia, in order not to lose contact with Finns."'
But after the Finns surrendered, there was no point to being in Estonia.
Some of those who returned from Finland were thrown to fight against
the invading Red Army in South Estonia.
Paul Maitla is organising the defence there. He is seriously wounded.
Mom heard that Dad was wounded
and she and grandma waited for the hospital train for the whole day.
She could be with Dad for a few hours
until the wounded were taken from the train to the boat.