Lõpe-Kaimri defence line

1941. aasta 16. septembril alustati seoses Saksa vägede eduka pealetungiga Muhusse ja Saaremaale rajama Lõpe –Teesü –Kaimri külade vahelisele alale kaitseliini.

On 16 September 1941, after German forces successfully invaded the islands of Muhu and Saaremaa, Soviet forces launched the construction of the Lõpe-Teesu-Kaimri defence line.

This was the third such line to be built on the isthmus, with the local populace being recruited to help with its construction. In front of it, an antitank line of concrete barriers was constructed with additional wire obstacles.

On 30 September 1941 the Red Army retreated behind the line. After two days of combat the Germans broke through their defences, and on 5 October what remained of the Red Army on the peninsula surrendered.

On 21 October 1944 German troops in Sõrve fell behind the line just as the Soviets had done three years previously. They also utilised the antitank line built in 1941, to which they added further wire obstacles and placed land mines. They called it the Leo-Riegel, meaning the Lõo Crossbar. Following a standstill lasting an entire month, the Red Army finally managed to overwhelm the Germans and break through their lines on 18 November 1944. The Soviet forces had amassed 970 howitzers and mortars, 150 tanks and self-propelled artillery and 45,000 soldiers in the fight against the two German regiment groups. Combat on the peninsula continued until 24 November 1944, when the German troops evacuated to Courland.

 

Storyteller: Fred Vendel

Related objects

Lõpe-Kaimri Antitank Line

On 16 September 1941, Soviet forces launched the construction of the Lõpe-Kaimri antitank line to halt the German advance. It runs from west to east in the southern part of the isthmus of Sõrve Peninsula, which is just 3.2 km wide at this point. Comprising two rows of concrete pyramids stretching 900 metres from Lõu Bay to the village of Teesu, the antitank line is in good condition. It is made up of two rows of pyramids standing 0.8 metres high and spaced one metre apart. Parts of the fairly well preserved antitank line have gaps in them, indicating points at which the enemy broke through. The site is easily accessible and can be clearly seen from the road running down the western side of the isthmus. The line is the site of a monument unveiled in 1969, depicting a tall concrete pyramid, which reads: “Lõpe-Kaimri antitank line, built in 1941”.