The road to Stalingrad.

Army Group South - part 2


Von Rundstedt recalled :

After accomplishing a first part of my objective,encirclement and destruction of the enemy forces west of the Dnieper, I was given my second objective. It was to advance eastwards and take Maykop and Stalingrad. We laught aloud when we received these orders...

The main objective of Army Group South was Rostov. Although Army Group South
was expected to be capable of achieving 3 objectives at once.

1) The Caucasus
2) The Crimea
3) Stalingrad

None was achieved in 1941.

The objective to capture the strategically essential oil fields of the Caucasus
(Grozny, Maykop, Bakou, ....) was to provide petroleum products for the fighting
German armies.

1)Caucasus: no further then Rostov, the 'gate' of the Caucasus.

III Panzer Corps, under von Mackensen, with 13th and 14th Panzer Division,
60th I.D. (mot) and the 'leibstanderte' captured Rostov the 20th November 1941.
But the Germans left the city the 28th November because the severance of 1st
Panzer Army by Russian counter attacks on the weak flanks of Army Group South.
6th Army was stuck in the mud and 17th Army too far back to relieve the
armoured spearhead in Rostov. Von Rundstedt asked OKH to fall back over
the Mius, 100 km (about 60 miles) west of Rostov, near Taganrog.
Because von Rundstedt ordered the evacuation of Rostov instead of holding the
city, (Hitler ordered "no retreat") von Rundstedt was replaced by Walther von Reichenau,

commander of the German 6th Army. Friedrich Paulus, Chief of
Staff of 6th Army was promoted to commander of that Army. In the afternoon
of 1st December 1942, 24 hours after von Rundstedt had been relieved of his
command, the permission was given to move back across the river Mius.
It was a first setback for the German Army during Operation Barbarossa.


Walther von Reichenau (right) 

 Friedrich Paulus

2) In the Crimea : Sevastopol still continued its resistance.

Sevastopol was captured by the Germans the 3rd of July 1942.
The German 11th Army was tied up for 230 days, trying to break through
10 miles of defended terrain.

3) Stalingrad : they only passed Kharkov, still on the west bank of the Donets.

The third objective was not reached by the German forces :
The overestimation of their own possibilities and an underestimation of the
Red Army strength.