History 01/01/20 What prevented the red Army to defeat Hitler in 1943
the Soviet historians believed the battle of Stalingrad moment of radical change in the great Patriotic war. Strongly disagree with this, many modern historians. Of course, at Stalingrad, the Wehrmacht had inflicted a very serious defeat. But to talk about the change incorrectly. After the victory at Stalingrad all other operations for the red Army ended badly, not to mention the defeat at Kharkov.
moreover, our victory at Stalingrad, in fact, was rescued by German troops on the Eastern front from a complete rout in spring 1943.
the plan for the defeat of the Wehrmacht
in the Fall of 1942, the Soviet command had plans for the complete defeat of the German troops, by carrying out several major strategic offensive operations. The configuration of the Soviet-German front was that the German troops in most sectors of the front were in a position which allowed them to easily surround. This primarily concerned the North-West and South flanks.
the Group of armies “North” was planned to surround and destroy as a result of the operation called “the North star”, the existence of which in Soviet times was not suspected even by many historians. Considering this, as well as other operations “planetary-star series” at the Central sector of the front (the now famous “Mars”), from the perspective of today’s knowledge, we understand that they were doomed to failure. The red Army model 1942 could not yet break through the defense of the Wehrmacht, and all operations of that time ended the same way: huge losses and no significant changes. The only exception was the breakthrough of the Blockade in the winter of 1943, the cost of huge losses and inability to build on the success.
Much greater chances of victorious the implementation plans, especially with today’s perspective, was the red Army on the southern flanGE.
the Operation “Saturn”
it is believed that planning the operation “Saturn” began in December that is not quite right. The idea of the environment to break on the southern flank of the Soviet-German front German divisions appeared before the army of Paulus reached the Volga. And this is quite natural. From the positions of the Voronezh front to Rostov-on-don is only three hundred kilometers.
By the fall of the front from Stalingrad to Voronezh was occupied by Romanian, Italian and Hungarian troops. On the level of their training and armament, they are hopelessly inferior to the red Army. Even at only two or three times the advantage of the Soviet troops, the armies of satellites of Germany would be unable to hold the position. In fact, all successful offensive of the red Army in that period was only where the defense held the German allies.
the Wehrmacht simply didn’t have the strength to support the defense of their allies and keep some forces in the rear, to prevent breakthrough of Soviet forces.
it is also Important that the don steppe is a better area for a rapid breakthrough tank formations than the impenetrable swamps and forests of the Novgorod region.
If “Saturn” was held?
the Historian U. B. Ochirov, in his work “the Operation “Big Saturn”: the plan and opportunities for implementation”, and A. L. Ivanovskii in the book “the Lost victory of the red Army,” reviewed in detail the situation that could arise in the implementation of the operation “Saturn”.
the very need of encirclement of Paulus at Stalingrad is eliminated. Cutting off all communications of the German troops on the Volga and the Caucasus, the Red Army not only would have deprived them of the ability to be proactive, but also a chance to break out of the encirclement. The tank divisions in the Caucasus simply would not have enough fuel to reach Rostov, as well as Paulus.
to Prevent Soviet troops to break through to Rostov from the Germans in December was not possible. On the way the red Army would have been no troops. And it was not only about the capture of Rostov. Nothing would prevent the RedArmy to take Kharkov and the Donbass, to cross the Dnieper. Opened the road to Kiev.
the Consequences would be disastrous and would be a real radical change in the war. The loss of almost a third of its troops on the Eastern front and a quarter of all forces would have forced the Wehrmacht, at best for the Germans case, go over to the defensive, and, perhaps, just start the retreat.
Manstein wrote in his memoirs: “no matter How great was the win of the Soviet troops, still they failed to achieve a decisive victory — the destruction of the entire southern flank, we could do nothing to compensate”.
“Uranium” canceled “Saturn”
For the operation “Saturn” was intended considerable force. In the operation for the breakthrough success it was planned to use 8 tank and 5 mechanized corps. Just, given the separate tank brigades and regiments, had to be more than 1500 tanks. For comparison, in December on the Eastern front, the Wehrmacht had 1723 serviceable tank.
the Opposing forces of the 8th Italian army was not a serious force in Italian divisions were in part significantly less Soviet, but still had a significant shortage in manpower and weaponry. Armed Italians were bad, especially anti-tank and anti-aircraft artillery. The level of combat training, and motivation of the Italians also inferior to the red Army. However, it was the same with the rest of the German allies Hungary and Romania. Two German infantry divisions, reinforcing the Italians, the balance of power dramatically has not changed.
However, the Soviet high command paid more attention to the Stalingrad operation (i.e. “Uranium”) and believed that the first step is to encircle and destroy the army of Paulus. As a result, the decision operation “Saturn” was made dependent on the course of action at Stalingrad.
From the perspective of today it is difficult to judge, but according to many historians, the sad experience of the Demyansk bridgehead, strongly influenced by decision-making. And when there was fear that the Germans in the Stalingrad “cauldron” can release from the “Saturn” was abandoned in favor of the “little Saturn”. The new operation, the goal set is extremely limited: the defeat of the Italian 8th army and strike at the flank of the German group that tried to release the army of Paulus at Stalingrad. Part of the forces destined for success on the Rostov direction, in particular, the 2nd guards army was transferred to the Stalingrad front.
When 28 December, the Soviet leadership decided to go back to the original plan and to carry out the operation “Big Saturn”, it was found that not enough forces. South-West front, gave the two tank corps, and two more promised, but lacked in the first place infantry units. Tank, without infantry support could not fix on the captured lines, and gave them to the Germans.
Traditionally, it is believed that the operation “little Saturn” was successful and prevented the release the army of Paulus. But it turns out that the failure of the operation “Saturn” in her initial design saved the Germans from even greater disaster.
© Russian Seven
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