The Panzer Count's Ostfront

A Combat Mission Scenario Series

A CMBB combat history of the career of the legendary German tank commander Hyazinth Graf (Count) Strachwitz von Groß-Zauche und Camminetz from 1941 to 1945.

Researched and created for CMBB by Charlie Meconis and George McEwan.

Blowtorchscenarios.com proudly introduces our second CMBB series, “The Panzer Count's Ostfront,” following our series on Jochen Peiper's Kharkov 1942-43 campaign. As always our aim is to present interesting scenarios with as much historical accuracy as possible.

“The Panzer Count”, of course, is the legendary German tank commander Hyazinth Graf (Count) Strachwitz von Groß-Zauche und Camminetz, who survived the war as a Generalleutnant of the Reserve and holder of the Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds, Germany's highest award. We have chosen to focus on another German commander for the same reasons we focused on Peiper: the availability of information, not any political or national agenda. As with our Peiper series, we are devoting great effort to presenting the Soviet side with as much authenticity and detail as possible.

With the exception of a brief period with the Panzer Lehr Division after D-Day, Graf Strachwitz spent the entire war from June 22, 1941 to the end on the Ostfront, from the outskirts of Rostov in the south in 1941 to the Narva front in Estonia in the north in 1944. Rising from a panzer battalion commander at the outset of Operation Barbarossa to the commander of a division-sized unit named after him in 1944, he played a cutting edge role in many of the most famous tank engagements of the war—Dubno, Kharkov (twice), Kalach, Stalingrad, Kursk and the desperate pocket battles of the last years of the war.

In this series we will try to present a cross-section of his Ostfront battles from 1941 to 1945. We have chosen those battles which, in our opinion, best characterize his military genius while offering interesting and reasonably balanced challenges.

The story of the Panzer Count is a fascinating one in several aspects. While leading his outstanding military career, as a nobleman and devout Catholic he was no Nazi and became involved in the anti-Hitler resistance.

Unfortunately the only biography was done in 1962, is out of print (but sometime available on E-bay), and was not held in high regard by the Count himself, despite his participation, nor by his family, friends and comrades. Furthermore, the records of the Count's service are scattered and piecemeal because he served with several units (which is a story in itself).

There are only two brief accounts of his life currently in print: Appendix 1 in Hans-Joachim Jung's "The History of Panzerregiment “Grossdeutschland” (J.J. Fedorowicz Publishing, 2000) and pages 349-351 in Florian Berger's "Mit Eichenlaub und Schwerten", also available online.

For those who want more information about Strachwitz beyond that contained in our briefings, click on this link.

The following are the actions we have recreated for CMBB charting the Count's combat career. Each file contains a historical background account (which contain spoilers), a command map and a short biography of the Panzer Count.

Strachwitz at Dubno 1941

On the 28 th June 1941 the panzer kampfgruppe from 16 th Panzer Division under Major Hyazinth Graf (Count) Strachwitz clashes with a specially formed “Mobile Group” under Brigade Commissar N. K. Popel from 8 th Mechanized Corps near the town of Dubno during the opening stages of ‘Barbarossa'.

Strachwitz at Kalach August 1942

Kampfgruppe Strachwitz leads the summer drive on Stalingrad and fights a classic tank battle as it tries to seize a crossing over the Don river at Kalach. The Panzer Count won the Oakleaves to the Knight's Cross.

Strachwitz at Kharkov 1943

Panzerregiment Strachwitz spearheads von Manstein's counteroffensive west of Kharkov against two Guards Tank Corps. The Panzer Count was awarded the Swords to the Knight's Cross.

Strachwitz at Kursk

Panzergruppe Strachwitz spearheads the attack on the Soviet fortified village of Novossolevka during Operation Citadel.

Operation Strachwitz with Carius at Narva 1944

The Panzer Count and the Tiger ace Otto Carius combine to defeat a Red Army attempt to outflank the Narva defense line in Estonia. The Panzer Count won the Diamonds.

Strachwitz's Last Blitzkreig 1944

Panzerverbände Strachwitz breaks through to the encircled Army Group North at Tukkum near Riga.

Götterdämerung in Silesia 1945

General Rybalko's 3rd Guards Tank Army has turned 90 degrees to the south and cut off German forces fleeing from the disaster at the Vistula. Elements of his 9th Mechanized Corps have already overrun a majestic estate. It is Strachwitz' ancestral home, Groß Stein. The German High Command desperately scrambles to send forces to hold—or blow-- the key bridge at the Oder river town of Krappitz. Strachwitz, still recuperating from a terrible vehicle accident in the Fall, has risen from his hospital bed on crutches and assembled a force of volunteers.