Peninsila - Operation Trappenjagd
8th May 1942
Soviet armies with seventeen rifle divisions, two cavalry
rifle brigades and four tank brigades barricaded the narrow,
Parpach Isthmus, the acces road from the Crimea to the Kerch
Kerch on the other hand was a springboard across to the eastern
Black Sea coast
and thus to the approaches to the Caucasus. Each kilometer of
this vital bridge
was defended by about 10.000 Soviet soldiers, ten men to every
When one is facing an enemy three times as strong in a clever
one can only prevail with courage and cunning. And Manstein
based his plan on a
By May 16 three
Soviet armies, 170.000 soldiers had been smashed in eight days
by a half-dozen German divisions. Before them lay the sea, the
Straits of Kerch,
and beyond, not twenty kilometers away, the shore of the Taman
the approach to Asia, the entrance to the Caucasus. Manstein's
kicked open the backdoor to Stalin's oil paradise.
Battle South of Kharkov - Operation Fredericus
17th May 1942
Summer Campaign had taken place, 6th Army of Paulus and
1st Panzer Army of
had been captured the Sovjet Balakleya-Izyum
salient near Kharkov. 1250 tanks and 2026 gunswere destroyed.
The Soviets losing 239.000 men as prisoner alone and the Germans
a valuable area from which to begin the new offensive. The
an attack towards Kharkov on the 12th May 1942, pre-empting a
strike code-named 'Fredericus' in the same area by six days.
OKH commanded to start 'Fredericus', one day earlier, as planned
(17th instead of 18th May 1942).
A counter-attack, not defence, was believed to be the best
It was by the 22nd the enemy was encircled between von Kleist's
Paulus' armies and a great victory was achieved.
Ewald von Kleist
After Kerch and
Kharkov the German eastern army showed itself to be once
again at the peak of it superior strenght. Within three weeks
soldiers taken prison, 3159 guns and 1508 tanks destroyed or
Victory dominated the minds of the soldiers and the Wehrmacht
It certainly was amazing. But forgotten was the terrible winter
spectre of defeat.
5rd June 1942
On June 5,
Richthofen's units were taken off against Sevastopol. The great
twenty-seven day battle against the strongest fortress in the
world had begun.
The VIII Fliegerkorps flew 1.000, 1.500 or 2.000 sorties daily.
The German term
for this non-stop air battle was "rollender Einsatz",
or attack in waves.
While the deadly rain of bombs fell from the sky above
guns of every caliber hammered the enemy's system positions. The
sought out the enemy's emplaced batteries and fired round after
the embrasures and armored cupolas of the concrete gun
It was a murderous overture. Never during the second world war,
nor after Sevastopol, was such a concentration of artillery
forces employed on
the German side. On July 3 it was over. Sevastopol, the
in the world had fallen. On the desolate battlefield lay
thousands of dead as well
467 guns, 758 mortars and 155 anti-tank and anti-aicraft guns.
90.000 Red Army soldiers went into captivity.
After his victory
Erich von Manstein was promoted Fieldmarshall.
Manstein's 11th Army was now free for the big plan, for the
which was just geting under way against Stalingrad and the
On June 22
General Eberhard von Mackensen, son of Fieldmarshall von
had begun a "preparatory" operation. In combination
with elements of the First Panzer
Army he won jumping-off positions for the Sixth Army in the
Kupyansk area with a
small, successful battle of encirclement. The result was 24.000
prisoners and the
capture of territory across the Donets as far as the lower
The springboards for the launch into adventure of Operation Blue
had thus been won.
Now they couldn't swith the intermeshed gearing og the great
endangering everything. The fired-up machine had to run. X-Day
for Army Group
Weichs on the northern wing was June 28, for Sixth Army with
XXXX Panzer Corps
German divisions had no way of knowing that this success,
achieved through command skill and bravery, had opened the door
to a sad fate :