History 07/01/20 Operation “Winter storm”: as collapsed last hope of Paulus

battle of Stalingrad — the turning point of world war II and a vivid example of heroism of the Soviet soldiers who stopped the German offensive. In the shadow of this battle is lost Kotel defensive operation, which the Germans call “Wintergewitter” or “Winter storm”. From 12 to 24 December, the German troops under the command of field Marshal Manstein tried to withdraw from the environment trapped in the Stalingrad grouping of Friedrich Paulus, but their plans are foiled stubborn resistance of the red army soldiers.

the forces of the parties

To save the troops Paulus, the German command had formed the army group “don”, which became the basis of the 11th army Manstein with attached remnants of the Panzer corps Wehrmacht and Romanian units. The main combat unit of the offensive was made by the 4th Panzer army Hermann Hoth and her armoured fist — the 57th corps, consisting of the 23rd (30 tanks) and 6th (200 tanks and self-propelled guns) Panzer divisions, which were considered the elite of the Wehrmacht.

According to the Sovinformburo from 25 December 1942 to the beginning of winter the number of groups of the opponent were brought up to 130 thousand people, with 650 tanks and 900 guns. Air assault was supported by 500 aircraft of the Luftwaffe. These data are confirmed by the memoirs of Marshal Manstein. To repel the offensive, the front commander General Andrei Eremenko had 115 thousand soldiers and officers, 1,100 guns, 330 tanks and 200 aircraft.

12 Dec Kotelnikov from the area South of Stalingrad Manstein launched operation “Winter storm”. For the Soviet command the enemy attack was a complete surprise. German columns advancing in the gap between the Don and Volga, along the left Bank of the don and quickly broke through the defense, weakened in the battle of Stalingrad 302 th infantry division 51 th army Trufanova.

the Battle for top-Kuma

In the first day of the offensive the Germans reached the Aksay river and 13 December crossed it, and the 6th Panzer division of Hoth took possession of the farm top-Kuma. December 14, the way the Germans blocked the 4th mechanized corps of General Volsky numbering 11 thousand soldiers and more than 100 tanks T-34 and T-70. 15 Dec corps counterattacked and inflicted significant damage. Reprisals of the Nazis peroulis skillful maneuvering and well-aimed fire from cover. Especially notable was the 55th separate tank regiment, commanded by Colonel Hazi Aslanov.

Towards evening the enemy retreated from the farm, but the Red army also suffered heavy losses. The commander of the 6th Panzer division Erhard Raus wrote that on December, 15th mechanized corps lost damaged and burnt-out 20 tanks. The Germans went on the attack on 17 December, but the housing Wolski, obtained in support of a tank regiment and a fighter artillery brigade, is again stopped them.

the Soldiers took up defensive positions on the heights, and General Raus wrote that well-camouflaged soldiers passed the advancing tanks, and then shot them from the rear anti-tank guns. About the battle the enemy commander said, “Even the Luftwaffe could not help in the fight against these invisible ghosts. Never before our tanks didn’t feel so helpless…”. Despite the tactical success, December 19 housing Wolski retreated, but fulfilled his task. They exhausted the Germans and gained time for reinforcements.

End of “Winter thunder”

on the day of the retreat of the mechanized corps Volsky at the turn of the river Myshkova took up defensive positions, soldiers of the 2nd guards army, General-Lieutenant Malinovsky. With the arrival of well-equipped and trained soldiers the end of the German operations have become a matter of time.

20 Dec Gotha troops remained to Stalingrad only 40 km, but to go ahead of the forces they had. According to the data given in the book “the Great victory on the Volga”, in the battle with the red army group Gotha has lost 60% of 230 infantry and tanks. For the rest of the cars fuel was only 30 km Correctionit the situation could blow Paulus surrounded by the city, but he did not undertake active actions.

Simultaneously on the left flank of the offensive, the red army broke through the defense of the Italian divisions, and in the evening of 20 December because of the fear of a Russian attack their positions left soldiers of the 7th Romanian division. For the Germans the situation became critical, and on 23 December, Manstein ordered to retreat, and the 2nd guards army, Malinovsky defense took the offensive. The next day guards repulsed the upper Kuma and with the support of the mechanized corps continued its advance in the direction of Kotelnikovo.

the result of the battle

According to the announcement, the Soviet information Bureau, to 25 December, the Wehrmacht was back in its position, losing battles in counter 270 tanks and 40 soldiers, of which 9,000 were killed. The red army, building on the success, continued the attack and by 31 December 1942 pushed German, Italian, and Romanian part of 100-200 km, which excluded any kind of help surrounded in the Stalingrad group.

In his memoirs, “Lost victories” the main reason for the defeat of Manstein called Hitler, who, because of his pride forbade Paulus to leave Stalingrad. Because of the stubborn resistance of the Wehrmacht suffered huge losses, and to continue the successful offensive of the troops of Manstein, you were required to regroup and time for delivery of ammunition and fuel.

Alexander Brazhnik

© Russian Seven

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