The SS Forces under Obersturmbannführer Kurt 'Panzer' Meyer led his recon unit to drive through the Russians and form a blocking position in the southeast section of the surrounded city, around the cemetery. Meyer's men passed through the city center and held a blocking position despite being surrounded for two days, armed with the new MG 42 belt fed machine guns aided greatly in their defense, until contact was reestablished by a sister battalion commanded by Major Peiper. Lt. General Rybalko's forces in the city were composed of a Tank Brigade and NKVD security troops of his Third Tank Army. General Rybalko ordered his units to block the German units from moving through the city, establishing defense lines along the small river meandering through Kharkov. The local militias were called up to aid in the defense of the city and many were thrown piece meal against the SS units armed with new "wonder" weapons.