German Summer Offensive of 1942
The plan for the
1942 offensive (Operation Blue) took no account whatsoever
of the principles of the armoured idea. Indeed, steps were taken
to guard against
their use. On this point, Hitler's Directive #41 was quite
specific. The Furher stated :
"It must not happen that, by advancing too quickly and too
far, the armoured and
motorised formations lose connection with the infantry following
them or that
they lose the opportunity of supporting the hard-pressed,
by direct attacks on the rear of the encircled Russian
With this, OKH was in full agreement. Encirclement was to
and here the Army leaders were more sceptical, not in the grand,
Hitler believed that "Experience has sufficietly shown that
the Russians are not very
vulnerable to large operational encircling movements. It is
therefore of decisive
importance that individual breaches of the front should take the
form of close
pincer movements. We must avoid closing the pincers too late,
thus giving the
enemy the possibility of avoiding destruction.
Therefor, instead of there being one massive encirclement of all
the Soviet troops
within the bend of the Don, as might be attempted the previous
year, Hitler envisaged,
two, to be undertaken by three separate attacks."
At the beginning
of the offensive there were 74 divisions, of which 54 were
6 Hungarian, 8 Roumanian and 6 Italian. Of these, 9 were panzer
and seven motorised
infantry ( 2 of them Waffen SS ).
The first phase
of the offensive, code-named, Blue I, was to consist of an
2nd Army, 2nd Hungarian Army and 4th Panzer Army from the area
of Kursk eastwards
to the east bank of the Don (Voronezh). There, the infantry
would consolidate the
front, while 4th Panzer Army moved south, along the river.
attack, Blue II, would take place two days after the first from
Kharkov area, 6th Army would move east, almost to the Don, where
it would turn
south - eastwards on the right flank of 4th Panzer Army.
The third trust,
Blue III, would begin a few days later from the area around
whence 1st Panzer Army, 17th Army and 8th Italian Army would
move along the lower
Don to Rostov and Stalingrad.
Operation Blue - 28th June 1942.
Von Weichs 2nd
Army and the Hungarian second Army with 4th Panzer Army moved
in the direction of Voronezh. 24th Panzer Division crossed the
Tim river and Ksjen river
and is running straight to Voronezh. The Soviet Command beliefs
that Moscow is still
encirclement was completed at Star Oksol. The Soviet resistance
At the village of
Jefrossinowka, on their way to Voronezh, units of the 24th
Division are ready to attack the 40th Russian Army. But the
staff of the 40th Russian
Army has left, leaving the Army behind.
of operation Blue for 6th Army and the XXXXth Panzer Corps. They
moved in the direction of Voronezh and are attacking the Soviet
front. 24th Panzer
Division is half way to Voronezh. A big counterattack, led by
Fedorenko (head of the Panzer Units) against Hoth's 4th
Panzer Army, is a complete
envelopment was completed at Star Oksol.
company of the motortised infantery regiment Grossdeutshland
mainbridge over the Don direction Voronezh. German engineers
provided the destruction
of the bridge. The German 6th Army hooks up with the 4th Panzer
Army northeast of
reach the Don on either side of Voronezh.
The Soviets create a new "Voronezh Front" to cope with
the situation, under General
Vatutin. Russian resistance is patchy and disorganized as the
Germans thunder on.
The German 4th
Panzer Army is managed to reach Boguchar. 150 miles-240 Km south
of Voronezh and 200 miles from Stalingrad.
directing Hoth to move south, to help Kleist's attack on Rostov
area, instead of south-east along the Don and orders one Panzer
Corps to execute
a short encircling movement in conjunction with 1st Panzer Army
in the area of
Kamensk-Shakhtinskij. This is the first modification of the
plan, a desperate attempt
to cut off the retreating enemy. But von Bock has already
ordered the Panzer Corps
south-east, along the Don, and so, by the time it returns back
and meets up with von
Kleist's forward units, only 14.000 enemy soldiers are taking in
(9th July 1942)
The diversion of
Hoth's 4th Panzer Army from the Stalingrad area to the lower Don
area was a fatal mistake.
The 4th Panzer
Army was advancing on my left. It could have taken Stalingrad
without a fight, at the end of July, but was diverted to the
south to help me crossing
the Don. I did not needs it's aid, and merely congested the
roads I was using.
When it turned north again, a fortnight later, the Russians
had gathered just
sufficient forces at Stalingrad to check it.
continue to roll in Russia, gaining ground against feeble
there are few prisoners, and the only captured items are flags
vehicles. Up to now, for the 'Blue' campaign only some 130.000
had been captured and it was obivious that most were escaping
accros the Don.
The Soviet army is retreating in good order.
The other armies
could not make progress against Stalingrad in the absence of
4th Panzer Army. The 2nd Army was occupied with Soviet
Voronezh, the 2nd Hungarian Army was defending 100 miles-160 km
of front along the
Don between Voronezh and Pavlosk, and the 6th Army was left to
cover the flank from
Pavlosk and at the same time, advance 250 miles-400 km into the
Don bend to
Stalingrad. It was a task beyond its resources, even when 8th
Italian Army arrived to
take over the sector of the front south-east of Pavlovsk.
breaks through the Voronezh defense line and cross to the east
of the Don.
On 13th July
Hitler fired Field Marshall von Bock, apparrently because he did
to share the glory of victory with anyone, and he refused to let
the general staff be
mentioned in articles of his victories. Von Bock is also fired
because his failure on the
9th of July.( some sources says that he's fired the 14th of
Von Bock was replaced by von Weichs.
The 1st Panzer
Army drove 250 miles from its starting line and captured Rostov
changed plans, he transferred Manstein's five divisions from the
the Leningrad front instead of the Caucasus, assuming that the
Russian were almost
Once his forces
had reached Rostov, Hitler decided to split his troops so that
could both invade the rest of the Caucasus and take the
important industrial city
of Stalingrad on the Volga River, 220 miles northeast of Rostov.
Army Group South
was divided in two parts. Army Groups A and B. In the north,
Army Group B,
(Stalingrad) commanded by von Weichs. In the south, List
commanded Army Group A
(Caucasus). Hitler's generals are stunned.
This decision was
to have fatal consequences for the Germans, since they lacked
the resources to successfully take and hold both of these
continuation of the Summer Offensive, Operation Blue which had
redesignated 'Operation Brunswick', the Fuhrer issued
Directive #45 of 23 July.
you want to see a good map of the German summeroffensive click