Shortly after midnight assault groups moved as quietly as possible into the machinery halls of “Red Barrikady”. The pioneers were burdened with satchel charges, explosives, machine gun belts, tons of hand grenades and additional pioneer equipment like large wire cutters, ignition boxes and flame-throwers. All were quiet and they knew exactly where to position themselves. These hardened veterans had done this over and over before. Some of the hard nerved even smoked in anticipation of the soon to start bombardment. As Hauptmann Rettenmaier of 578. Grenadier Regiment remembers, they were confident that they would throw the Russians into the Volga. He commented to his troops that the Russians fight here harder than in other cities, they answer “We saw worse in Rostov and Voronezh!” Even Rettenmaier himself thought that this operation might just succeed.
Suddenly an explosion was heard from a neighbouring room. One of the pioneers had stepped on a Soviet land mine. He and 18 of his comrades had died before the operation was even underway. They didn’t have much time to think about what happened, it was 0330 hours and the German artillery had begun an immense, not seen for a long time, artillery barrage on the Soviet positions of 138th Rifle Division. All the artillery of LI Armeekorps fired on a thin line 3000 meters wide right before the pioneers’ eyes. The earth shook under the massive pounding of the German artillery fist.
The Soviets answered with a barrage of their own. General Voronov immediately ordered all available batteries on the eastern Volga bank to counter the bombardment…. In the morning at 0630 hours, during the bombardment, von Richthofen’s Stukas managed to hit the chimneys of “Red Barrikady” directly and levelled them. This robs the Soviets of their superb artillery observation posts and some very good sniping positions….
Finally Kampfgruppe 578 arrived, and the combined two-side attack routed the Soviet snipers. When the Germans advanced and took the few surrendering, frightened and shocked Soviet prisoners, the building was already ablaze and started to crumble into debris.
Further advance towards the Volga bank was abandoned, since the Soviets, 768th Rifle Regiment and 42nd Rifle Brigabe had taken up positions and dug in only 200 meters from the Volga bank. After what they just experienced, they were still willing to defend to the last bullet and man.
Even the Germans were worn out and decided to regroup for the next day.