History 22/01/20 “Kharkov disaster”: how Hitler last defeated the Red Army

Unofficially, 1942 is considered in the history of the great Patriotic war training, and the most bloody “lesson” of this period was offensive at Kharkov, which has led to catastrophe.

the Plans and forces of the parties

to Recapture Kharkov, the Red army tried in 1941. City have not been released, but the onset was formed the 100-kilometer wedge, resting in the German positions, and was named “barvenkovsky ledge”. At the end of March 1942 the commander-in-chief, southwestern direction, Semyon Timoshenko, a member of the military Council, Nikita Khrushchev and the chief of staff Manoogian offered Rate to hold the offensive and liberate Kharkov, and then to build on this success and to clear the enemy from all the Left Bank of Ukraine.

Stalin believed the West front is more important, but still accepted the proposal of the generals, however limited the scale of the operation only with the capture of Kharkov. For a future offensive was concentrated 640 thousand, with 13 thousand guns and mortars, and 1,200 tanks. Air support was provided by more than 1 thousand.

the leadership of the Wehrmacht, in turn, was going to cut off “barvenkovsky ledge”, which in the Kharkov region were concentrated 250-strong group under the guidance of experienced commanders Kleist, Hoth, Paulus and von Bock. Infantry supported by thousands of tanks and aircraft. There was a numerical superiority in artillery.

the Red army is advancing

Early on the morning of may 12, 1942 after an hour artillery barrage simultaneously in North and South Soviet soldiers went on the attack. After breaking the first line of defense the soldiers ran into the second turn, take which turned out to be more complicated. By the end of the first day of the Northern group moved on average of 4-10 km and 12-15 km. South on the next day the Germans counterattacked in the North and drove the Soviet part, and a day later took the initiative in the air.

may 14, in the sky over Kharkiv were German aces 4 air fleet, which caused great damage to the attackers. In the fighting was attended by the son of General Friedrich Paulus — Ernst Alexander, who later wrote that the Russian commanders used tanks completely illiterate. Soviet armor huge masses were in the wilderness, and turned into an excellent target for artillery and dive bombers.

Despite all the difficulties and tremendous losses, the Soviet Marines stubbornly continued to attack and besiege the enemy. By the evening of 14 may, the front breakthrough has expanded to 55 km and advanced deep into the German defense by 20-50 km. were Completely broken 512 and 208th regiments of the 62nd infantry division of the Wehrmacht. Ceased to exist four separate battalions and 454-I, security division. Suffered heavy losses, ten enemy divisions and the 108th division of the Hungarians.

the German counterattack

the Germans waited and struck when the offensive of Soviet troops due to casualties began to slow down. On 17 may, the group Kleist, which had 150 tanks, and in addition to German infantry units of the Italian and Romanian connections, attacked from the village of Petrovka on Barvenkovo from the city of Slavyansk to the village of Dolganka and, despite desperate resistance, quickly broke through the front. Air counter-attack was supported by 400 aircraft of the Luftwaffe, which managed to destroy a Soviet node, which communication between the Soviet forces was broken.

Just entered the office of the chief of staff Vasilevsky asked Stalin to stop the offensive, but the commander in chief listened to Timoshenko and Khrushchev, claimed that the situation is under control.

the Trap had shut

may 22 Paulus forces of two Panzer divisions struck from the North and joined Kleist in the area Blakley. As a result, may 26, thousands of Soviet group was surrounded in the space of 15 km2. The Soviet troops tried to break out of lovears, but artillery and aircraft, the Germans stopped the flow of infantry, which, according to the memoirs of a German major General Lanza, was huge. May 25 and 26, left the remains of the tank brigades of the southwestern front, and on the night of 27 may broke 6600 6 fighters and 57 armies and the remnants of the 266 rifle division.

Commander of the German military commander Ewald Kleist wrote: “the battlefield is everywhere, as far as the eye, the ground was covered with corpses of men and horses, and so tightly that it was difficult to find a place for the passage of the car”. The losses were enormous, and from the environment were only a tenth of the trapped Soviet units.

Irrevocable losses of the red army amounted to 280 thousand soldiers and officers. Killed the Deputy commander of the southwestern front, Lieutenant-General Fyodor Kostenko and 6 the commander of the army Lieutenant General spirit of Gorodnya. Casualties among generals was huge — Pali Lieutenant-General Kuzma Podlas, major General Andrii Anisov, Fedor Painters, Leonid Bobkin, Philip Matakin, Zaki Catlin, Ilya Vasilyev and many other military leaders. The loss of tanks was almost 1,300 vehicles. The Germans and their allies lost in killed 32 thousand soldiers and officers.

Alexander Brazhnik

© Russian Seven

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