The road to Stalingrad.

Army Group South - part 3


Walther Von Reichenau, Commander of Army Group South, died from a stroke
the 17th January 1942. Fieldmarshall Fedor von Bock became his successor and
returned* to the front to take up command of Army Group South.

Fedor von Bock

The German Army in the East 1942

The German Field Army in the spring and early summer of 1942 was in
sorry shape. An OKH report, dated 30 March, indicated that of a total
of 162 combat divisions facing the Red Army, only eight were
available for any mission, three were capable of offensive operations
after a period of rest, forty-seven were ready for limited offensive
operations, seventy-three were suited for defence, and twenty-nine for
limited defensive operations. Two were not in a condition for any
commitment to battle whatsoever. Of sixteen Panzer Divisions in the
East, only 140 seviceable tanks were available between them.
Few divisions were more than 20% mobile. It was a situation which
Halder was correct in describing as "disastrous".

Time was not to improve matters greatly; the German Army was never
to recover from its reverse in 1941. Althought it increased its strength
by twenty-three divisions, from 203 in June 1941 to 226 by July 1942,
owing to its high losses in that period, 367.000 killed, 50.000 missing,
its total manpower grew but little, from 3.800.000 to 3.948.000 men.
This was not sufficient to cope with its widening responsibilities in the
four corners of Europe and North Africa. The result was that there was
a decrease of 359.000 in the number of men available for the Eastern
front. Thus, at the opening of the 1942 summer campaign, 2.847.000
German soldiers were in the Soviet Union.

On 18 December 1941 von Bock, suffering from a bad stomach, left Army Group Center
and was succeeded by von Kluge.