RUSSIA, 7 November 1941: The first attack by the 74th Division was repelled
in a furious battle, in which the Russians lost an entire battalion
and a dozen tanks. Working all night, the Pasubio soldiers set
up strong defensive positions in the conquered town. Under cover
of darkness, recon teams were sent to identify the main Soviet
attack route. A massive troop concentration, the size of at least
two Battalions, made it clear that the main thrust would come
from the east. Yet the possibility of flanking attacks from other
directions could not be discarded. Between the Colonna Chiaramonti
and the following Italian forces there was nothing but no mans
land. The encirclement of Nikitovka was only a matter of hours.
Exactly at 0600 hours, with admirable punctuality, an artillery
barrage announced the incoming attack. The Russians first wave
was made up of shock troops with substantial armor support, smashing
like an iron fist into the entrenched Italians. Personally led
by Colonel Epifanio Chiaramonti, the soldiers of 79th and 80th
Roma Battalions stood their ground, recklessly defending and counterattacking.
The battle soon turned into a chaos of bayonets, grenades and
point blank shooting. By now, despite desperate efforts, the Italian
lines began to weaken. The Russians, with perfect timing, decided
it was time to hit one of the exposed flanks. Now virtually encircled,
the Italians reacted with unexpected violence. It was clear that
losing this battle would mean the annihilation of the Colonna
another new edition with the emphasis on NEW. And that means a
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