Kamenetz-Podolsk boiler: as the beetles tried to destroy the army of Manstein

History 14/01/20 Kamenetz-Podolsk boiler: as the beetles tried to destroy the army of Manstein

of Course, there is no “second” and “third” Stalingrad, it’s all very conditional. And, by and large, it’s not just that, officially, some operations were not called so. And because the success at Stalingrad failed to repeat that success. Although it was the Soviet time did not write.

“the Second Stalingrad”

Before talking about the “third Stalingrad”, because it is necessary to understand what constitutes the second.

And the second in Soviet times it was considered to be the Korsun-Shevchenko boiler, or in the German version, the boiler in Cherkasy. In Soviet times it was possible to read about the huge number destroyed in the boiler of divisions, tens of thousands killed and taken prisoner by the Nazis. Casually mentioned that it seems like a few tanks with the authorities broke out of the boiler, but it was presented as something insignificant.

Today we know that the boiler broke and was taken out in the air a little more than forty thousand people, and total losses in this operation German troops made up about 19 thousand in killed and prisoners. Despite the fact that Soviet losses were much more.

Therefore, to compare the Korsun-Shevchenko operation with the victory at Stalingrad as something difficult. The battle of Stalingrad and the fact stands out that the Germans made a real “pot” from which to get out one could not.

Kamenetz-Podolsk boiler

After the Korsun-Shevchenko operation, the Soviet command, despite the thaw, had planned a major new offensive. The current configuration allowed the offensive forces of the two fronts and cut the front of army group “South” (later the “Northern Ukraine”), opening the way into Hungary and Romania.

the 1st Ukrainian front under the command of Marshal Zhukov conducted the Proskurov-Chernovtsy offensive operation, dealing the main blow at the junction of the 1st and 4th tank armies. Accessoriesblow was applied at the junction of the 1st Panzer army with the 8th field.

the 2nd Ukrainian front under the command of Marshal I. S. Konev conducted Uman-Botosanci offensive against the 8th German army.

Soviet troops had an overwhelming advantage in manpower and technology to the beginning of the offensive. In the composition of the 1st Ukrainian front had 56 infantry and 6 cavalry divisions, 4 artillery divisions, 8 tank and 3 mechanized corps and 4 independent armored brigades, 12 air divisions (not counting the night bombers), and many of the individual parts. According to Soviet data, the front had in its composition 1400 tanks and 480 planes. And we must remember that after the beginning of the operation the front got a third account Panzer army. It was the 1st tank army of General Guderian in which there were 246 of “thirty.”

the 2nd Ukrainian front was a bit smaller and it is composed of 59 infantry and 3 cavalry divisions, 6 armored and 4 mechanized corps, 4 separate tank and self-propelled artillery brigades, 2 artillery and 11 aviation divisions, a total of 670 tanks and 550 aircraft.

At the same time, the troops suffered severe losses in previous battles and have not had time to grow.

So, Alexander Polishchuk in his “Assault guns vs tank Bogdanov” gives the composition of the 2nd Panzer army to the beginning of the operation. On the 4th of March the army had only 122 T-34, 32 IP-1, 20 “Valentine”, 5 SU-152, 18 SU-85 and 43 SU-76. 120 cars were in repair. However, the Germans had only two brigades of assault guns, which were 30 and 22 cars.

Opposing our troops, the 1st Panzer army of the Wehrmacht had in its composition of 23 divisions, 10 tank, 1 motorized, 11 infantry and 1 artillery, all badly mauled and had half laid “bayonets”. Just to 300-350 serviceable tanks and assault guns, according to Soviet intelligence.

the Troops of the 1st and 2nd Ukrainian fronts were able to crack the German defenses and enter in the Progap tank army. In the area of Kamenetz-Podolsk in the environment were a significant part of the troops of the 1st Panzer army of the Wehrmacht. As written in the book of G. K. Zhukov, “Memoirs and reflections”: “By the end of March enemy group in the amount of 21 divisions including ten Panzer, one motorized, one artillery, were surrounded.”

At the same time Hitler first categorically did not give permission for the withdrawal of troops, and then to break them from the environment. He announced surrounded Tarnopol (now Ternopil) fortress and ordered him to be kept at any cost.

Why didn’t the “third Stalingrad”?

After the Soviet troops surrounded a considerable part of the German 1st Panzer army activity dropped sharply. How it explains itself Marshal Zhukov “… our troops was extremely weakened by the previous battles and could not support vigorous action for dismemberment and destruction of the encircled group of the enemy.”

the German command took advantage of that. Commander of army group “Northern Ukraine”, field Marshal Manstein was able to convince Hitler to give permission for the breakthrough of forces from “boiler”. For this part of the 4th army that were transferred to the 2nd SS Panzer corps (9th and 10th SS Panzer division), which gave it the 100-th huntsman and 367 th infantry division.

the Soviet intelligence was unable to discover the cooking of the Germans inside the boiler and from the outside. In the result, the main forces of Soviet troops were deployed in the southern part of the boiler, where it is expected the breakthrough of the Germans. But the Germans broke through to the West.

March 27, forces of the SS divisions “Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler” and “Reich” was dealt a sudden blow. The offensive developed successfully, and once this success has been, advancing towards the outside of the ring hit the 2nd tank corps of the SS. The Soviet armies were crushed, the front is broken and the division of the 1st Panzer army out of the environment.

it is Worth noting that surrounded by the Kamianets-Podilskyi was eight divisions, not 21 as written in the Soviet sources.

Iteckie troops in this operation suffered huge losses, accurate data about which is still there. The garrison of Tarnopol, who have not given permission to break and are unable to release from the outside, were completely destroyed or captured (about 12,000 people). It is interesting that Manstein for this operation was awarded the swords to the Knight’s cross, but was removed from command of army group, whom he saved from a complete rout.

Despite the fact that the German army nothing could be saved, we have to admit that in the spring of 1944 another “third Stalingrad” failed.

Cyril Shishkin

© Russian Seven

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