History 24/01/20 Battle Shopchina: why is it called “Caucasian Prokhorovka”
the Fighting in the Caucasus during the great Patriotic war was of great importance. If successful, Germany could access oil fields, and oil (or rather the lack of its own production) was the weak point of the Third Reich. The Soviet Union, having lost the main source of oil, would be in an extremely difficult position. There were many other factors that also were important.
nevertheless, until now, this great battle is poorly lit. In Soviet times, the descriptions were mainly based on the book by A. A. Grechko “Battle for the Caucasus”. Modern historians, which, though not constrain the scope of censorship is also not very much pay attention to this subject, especially in terms of military action. And if about the actions of the red Army, now information has become much larger, the Wehrmacht is described in the spirit of Soviet times.
Armada Tank of the Wehrmacht in the Caucasus
Originally in the Caucasus was aimed two German Panzer army, the 1st and 4th. But then the 4th army was deployed on the Stalingrad direction.
Tank army — it sounds like a very menacing and impressive. According to German standards — it was really a lot, but much less than trying to show the Soviet historians. It is believed that on 25 July in the Caucasus 1,130 tanks from the 31st of July (when left 4th Panzer army) were 700.
However, even in the beginning of July in the division, which operated in the Caucasus, there were 590 tanks, and that number only decreased.
Already on the 31st of July to 3rd of a tank left 109 of 164, and in the SS division “Viking” 34 the tank 53. The number of tanks was varied in both directions, since faulty tanks were repaired and again put into operation.
To the beginning of operations on the Grozny-Mozdok and Nalchik direction in part of the 3rd, 13th and 23rd Panzer divissia and the SS division “Viking” remained 220 serviceable tanks. It looked like the whole tank “Armada” of the Germans, which was to win for the Third Reich Grozny and Baku oil. We should not think that the German military leaders were greedy, they simply were no more. On the entire Eastern front to the 1st of September 1942 the Germans had 1700 serviceable tanks, but fierce fighting at Stalingrad and Rzhev, and in the North-West.
However, in the Caucasus and Soviet troops had a shortage of everything, including the tanks.
So, on the 15th of July, the entire southern front was only 267 tanks (55 KV), and the beginning of August the troops of the Northern group of the Transcaucasian front had 220 tanks.
on the one hand, it’s easy to explain — the troops in the Caucasus was effectively cut off from the rest of the country. But it is worth remembering that the Caucasus has gone through Iran, one of the main channels of delivery of goods under lend-lease.
“Stuart”, “Grants” and “Valentayny” with red stars
One of the consequences of the seizure of the Caucasus by the Wehrmacht (except oil) could be a violation of the supply of goods under lend-lease through the middle East. Of course, the tanks, for example, was delivered to the Northern route, but he was much more dangerous and not all convoys it came.
the Fact that the supply of lend-lease tanks went through Iran is a completely natural presence in parts of the North Caucasian and Transcaucasian fronts a much larger number of American and British tanks than on other fronts.
So in the Northern group of the Transcaucasian front to the beginning of the German offensive, the Soviet machine was only in the 52nd tank brigade (10 KV, 20 T-34’s and 16 T-60) and the 44th separate tank battalion (3 KV, 7 T-34 4 BT-7). In 249-m 258 m, 263-m and 75-mm separate tank battalions were armed with tanks MK-3 and M-3, only 33 and 82 respectively.
as the fighting in parts, did the recharge, and, except for a small number of renovated Soviet vehicles, it was all busthe cue or American tanks.
you need to clarify or remind you that under Soviet designation MK-3 in the red army used British tank Tank, Infantry, Mk.III Valentine, as MK-2 marked English Tank, Infantry, Mk.II Matilda, M-3s is an American Medium Tank M3, and M-3 is the American Light tank M3. American tanks also widely known under the names “Grant” and “Stuart”, who gave them in the UK, where these tanks are also used extensively. In the Caucasus other than English MC-2 and MC-3, and American M-3 and M-3s were still relatively many T-26 and BT. As well as readily used captured German machine.
“the Caucasian Prokhorovka”
the Key moment in the attempts of the Wehrmacht to break into the Caucasus and became the Malgobek battle, or as it was officially referred to as Mozdok-Malgobek defensive operation. It was attended on the German side the 3rd, 13th and 23rd Panzer divisions, the SS division “Viking”, 111-I and 370 th infantry division. On the Soviet side was the 9th and 37th army, the individual units. Only 11 infantry divisions, 8 infantry and 1 armored brigades, 3 independent tank battalion. Just from both sides were involved in up to four tanks.
the Fate of the battle decided the battle, which occurred on 28 September 1942 at the village Shopsin, which historian T. Matiev called “Caucasian Prokhorovka”.
As he writes in his work “the Tank battle at Shopchina. Caucasian Prokhorovka” Stanislav Chernikov from the German side participated units of the division “Viking”, at that time had 48 tanks (5 Pz.Kpfw. II, 34 Pz.Kpfw. III and 9 Pz.Kpfw. IV) and 10 assault guns. Perhaps the author is wrong, and we are talking about self-propelled anti-tank installation “Marder”, which had 6 units.
the Soviet side in the battle was attended by 57 infantry and 52nd tank brigades, 863 th fighter antitank artillery regiment, with support from army artillery.
In the 52nd tank brigade on the 27th of September there were 30 tanks: 5 KV, 2 The t-34, 13 T-60, 8 M-3, 1 MK-3 1 T-4. The last is of captured German Pz.Kpfw. IV.
the Soviet command took advantage of the terrain in the narrowest part of the gorge was arranged three ambushes (one after another) of tanks, anti-tank artillery and infantry. In the first of the line was light tanks, the second they stepped up, “thirty”, the last line kept the heavy KV. The Germans had started the offensive fell into the trap and suffered heavy losses.
the Precise loss of the division “Viking” is not known, it is indicated that out of order until half of all tanks.
According to Soviet sources, was destroyed 54 German tank, but according to the same data and in the attack was attended by 120 tanks. Soviet losses amounted to 15 tanks, 9 of them were burned, the rest evacuated.
it is Worth noting (for the evaluation of enemy forces), and according to German reports they were attacked by more than 80 Soviet tanks, while 52 brigade was only 30 cars.
In the Malgobek battle of the offensive of the 1st Panzer army of the Wehrmacht was stopped, the Germans had suffered too much loss. By the end of October in the four divisions were 157 combat-ready tanks.
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