Riigiküla Bridgehead Must Be Destroyed

The bridgehead over Narva river was especially feared. The enemy threatened to gather his forces on the bridgehead, which could and did easily cause a big surprise with severe consequences. The Riigiküla bridgehead was 5 or 6 kilometers north of Narva, was about 1,200 meters long and 200 to 300 meters wide on a strip of bank. It is also guessed that the bridgehead could have been 80 meters long and 500 meters wide. The Red Army had secured the bridgehead fairly well. There were concrete and steel bunkers left from the Germans, but first and foremost there were deep trenches. A large number of batteries were gathered to the Narva river's eastern bank to secure effective blocking fire if necessary. This was protected by three machine gun units and one cannon unit. More additional equipment was taken to the bridgehead during nights. All this made conquering the bridgehead very hard, direct attacks were impossible. The opponent had to reach the bridgehead's trenches somehow and kick the enemy out with fist fight.

The attack failed on February 23, although 300 meters of trenches were conquered. But still – on the Republic's anniversary, February 24, a new and decisive attack began. Two attack units were sent to the bridgehead, one from north, the other from south. The main attacking unit was the Estonian 20th SS Division's 46th Regiment's 6th company's 20-men attack unit, who "rolled up" the enemy's trenches with hand grenades. The unit's leader was SS-Oberscharführer Rein Männik. Riigiküla bridgehead was destroyed. By the end of the attack the men were exhausted. Männik was unable to move his hand, it had become stiff of throwing grenades.