Reichenau, Commander of Army Group South, died from a stroke
the 17th January 1942. Fieldmarshall Fedor von Bock became his
returned* to the front to take up command of Army Group South.
Fedor von Bock
The German Army
in the East 1942
Field Army in the spring and early summer of 1942 was in
sorry shape. An OKH report, dated 30 March, indicated that of
of 162 combat divisions facing the Red Army, only eight were
available for any mission, three were capable of offensive
after a period of rest, forty-seven were ready for limited
operations, seventy-three were suited for defence, and
limited defensive operations. Two were not in a condition for
commitment to battle whatsoever. Of sixteen Panzer Divisions
East, only 140 seviceable tanks were available between them.
Few divisions were more than 20% mobile. It was a situation
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
by twenty-three divisions, from 203 in June 1941 to 226 by
owing to its high losses in that period, 367.000 killed,
its total manpower grew but little, from 3.800.000 to
This was not sufficient to cope with its widening
responsibilities in the
four corners of Europe and North Africa. The result was that
a decrease of 359.000 in the number of men available for the
front. Thus, at the opening of the 1942 summer campaign,
German soldiers were in the Soviet Union.
On 18 December
1941 von Bock, suffering from a bad stomach, left Army Group
and was succeeded by von Kluge.