History 06/02/20 “Second Stalingrad”: what Hitler’s troops, the Red Army destroyed in “Cherkasy pot”

In Soviet times, the Korsun-Shevchenko operation was mentioned in all the writings relating to this period of the great Patriotic war. Chapter dedicated to her, was in the memoirs of anyone who had something to do with the plot of the Soviet-German front. First it was described by the marshals Konev and Zhukov, to carry out the direct management. In German historiography, this operation is referred to as the Cherkassy cauldron.

she was Presented as a great success the red Army, established the name became a “second Stalingrad”. Detailed results were not married, were given only the overall figures: in the environment were about 80 thousand people, the loss amounted to 55 thousand soldiers and officers killed and wounded, more than 18 thousand prisoners. Also, it was mentioned that when trying to break through the corridor in the “pot” on the outer side, the Germans lost only killed 20 thousand soldiers and officers, 329 aircraft, more than 600 tanks. This is the official data from the Sovinformburo, which is listed in many books, in particular “Notes of the front commander” Konev or “long-range bomber” A. E. Golovanov.

it was Alleged that two army corps, consisting of nine infantry divisions of the Wehrmacht, the 5th SS Panzer division “Wiking” and the volunteer SS assault brigade “Wallonia” had ceased to exist. What “ceased to exist” — was not specified, and in Soviet times no one wondered how the same division “Viking” in March, took part in the operation to release Kovel.

that the German troops tried to escape from the boiler, the Soviet sources written, but this attempt was assessed as a complete failure, and all the troops who went on break, was defeated. In some cases, admitted that someone managed to escape, but this was only a small group, failinglarge to seep through our defenses.

In the book by G. K. Zhukov, “Memoirs and reflections” is described as: “…it was a fierce battle for the destruction of the broken columns of German troops, which were largely destroyed and captured. Only a few tanks and armored personnel carriers with generals, officers and SS men managed to escape from the environment…”.

during the Soviet period of our history, no other results were not published and were not discussed. Although in 1957 on Plenum of the Central Committee of the CPSU, where Marshal Zhukov was criticized for “Bonapartism”, and said that the results of the Korsun-Shevchenko operations are materially misstated. But this was little known, and, of course, books on the history of the war one can rewrite did not. And still these data about the losses of the Wehrmacht in the Cherkasy cauldron some historians believe to be reliable.

However, in the post-Soviet time there was a serious historical study of this operation, such as “Lost red Army’s victory” A. Ivanovsky, translations of foreign authors — for example, “Victims of victory. The Germans in Korsun “pot” G. Fogel. Available (though not translated) and the work of David Nash glanza and Douglas, devoted directly to this action. Although controversy and debate among historians is still far from complete, but the overall picture of the Korsun-Shevchenko operation now you can imagine well enough.

All in the entourage were two army corps of Germans, which had four infantry and one tank division (5th SS division “Viking”), a corpus group, an approximately equal division, and one brigade (5 brigade SS “Wallonia”). Only about 59 thousand people, more than 300 field guns and 70 tanks and assault guns. The confusion was created that in part fall into the “pot” of troops, particularly in Cabinet “B” group, there were many different parts and even compounds which in the course of the fighting has decreased significantly and were regiments and divisions in name only, having the size of company or battalion. That is in the “pot” hadis soldiers from a very large number of different parts, but really they barely had accumulated five or six divisions.

during the first half of February Soviet troops tried to destroy the encircled grouping, and the Wehrmacht carried out two operations, trying to relieve the Cherkassy cauldron. The German troops were supplied by air, was delivered more than 2000 tonnes of cargo and exported 4161 wounded.

February 17, 1944, German troops attempted to break out of the “pot”. The main blow inflicted by the SS division “Viking” and mandated the brigade “Wallonia”, which was a little less than 12 thousand troops, seven tanks, three assault guns, and twelve self-propelled howitzers. Of them broke through to 8278 people.

all in All, came from an environment of 28 767 people, and brought 7496 wounded. Subject transported by air from the “pot” saved 40 423 people. All heavy weapons had to quit. About 19 thousand were killed or captured (among them 5000 at the break), the Soviet data say about 11 thousand prisoners, and all historians agree that they are reliable. The loss of the Wehrmacht during the attempts to relieve the Cherkassy cauldron was about 10 thousand people dead and wounded, were lost about 200 tanks.

Soviet Losses are estimated at 80 thousand people, of which irrecoverable (dead, dead, and missing) amounted to 24 286 people. Losses in tanks ranges from 600 to 850. But it is difficult to assess, as there is only a total data loss of the fronts and one of the ones that are associated with the Korsun-Shevchenko operations, is not easy. According to German sources, during the fighting, the Wehrmacht had seized about 7 thousand prisoners.

overall, the Germans suffered a very serious defeat, but it does not look like a “second Stalingrad”. The fact that a large part of the surrounded German troops were able to escape, spoils the overall picture. And it is not surprising that these data about the successful withdrawal of troops of the Wehrmacht from the environment in Soviet times, was hiding.

Cyril Shishkin

© Russian Seven

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