Sinyavino Offensive (1942)
At the same time, German forces were planning Operation Northern Light to capture the city and link up with Finnish forces. To achieve that heavy reinforcements were arriving from Sevastopol, which the German forces captured in July 1942, both sides were unaware of the others preparations, and this made the battle unfold in an unanticipated manner for both sides. The Soviet offensive began first in two stages, the Leningrad Front began the offensive on August 19 and the Volkhov Front launched the main offensive on August 27. From August 28, the German side shifted the forces which were building up for their own offensive to gradually halt the Soviet offensive, initial German counterattacks failed, but the Soviet forces could not advance either. After a ten-day stalemate, the significantly reinforced Germans launched a counterattack against the Soviet forces on September 21, after five days of heavy fighting, the German forces linked up and cut off the bulge formed by the Soviet offensive. By October 10, the front line returned to the position before this battle, heavy fighting continued until October 15, in the end, the Soviet offensive failed, but heavy casualties caused the Germans to order their forces to assume a defensive stance.
In November, the German reinforcements and other units were stripped from Army Group North to deal with the major Soviet offensive at Stalingrad, the Siege of Leningrad started in early autumn 1941. By September 8,1941, German and Finnish forces had surrounded the city, cutting off all routes to Leningrad. However the original drive on the city failed and the city was subjected to a siege, during the winter 1941–42, the city was partially supplied via the Road of Life over the frozen Lake Ladoga, which allowed the defenders to continue holding out. Soviet forces tried to lift the siege, which was causing damage to the city. The Road of Life was frequently disabled by regular German airstrikes, several smaller offensives were launched in 1942 in the region, but failed. The last offensive near Lyuban resulted in the encirclement and destruction of most of the Soviet 2nd Shock Army, the opening of a supply route to Leningrad was so important that preparations for the new operation began almost immediately after the defeat at Lyuban.
The area south of Ladoga is heavily forested with many close to the lake. This terrain hindered the mobility of artillery and vehicles, in addition the forest shielded both sides from visual observation. One of the key locations were the Sinyavino heights, which were approximately 150 metres higher than the flat terrain. The heights were one of the few dry and clear areas, the plan to capture Leningrad in summer-autumn 1942 was first outlined in the OKW directive 41 of April 5,1942. The directive stressed that the capture of Leningrad and the drive to the Caucasus in the east were the objectives in the summer campaign on the Eastern Front. During discussions with Hitler on June 30, the commander of Army Group North, Field Marshal Georg von Küchler, the redeployment was complete by July 23
A much larger pocket was simultaneously surrounded in Demyansk, about 100 km to the northeast. These were the results of German retreat following their defeat during the Battle of Moscow, at the small Kholm pocket,5,500 German soldiers held it for 105 days. The pocket was supplied by air, but was too small for planes to land, supplies had to be dropped in, among the airdropped supplies were 35 of the first 50 prototype MKb 42 rifles. The German units in the pocket were mainly part of, 218th Infantry Division Reserve-Polizei-Bataillon 65 Infanterie-Regiment 553 Parts of the 123rd Infantry Division Jagdkommando 8 III, bataillon of the Luftwaffenfeldregiment 1 German forces made three attempts to relieve the pocket, in January and May 1942. While the first two failed the third one was successful, with the German forces in the pocket reduced in number to 1,200 by then. In July 1942, the Cholm Shield was awarded to the German defenders of the pocket, upon the suggestion of Generalmajor Theodor Scherer, Scherer was personally awarded the Knights Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves by Adolf Hitler for the command of the defense of Kholm.
Kholm was eventually liberated by the Red Army on 21 February 1944, the unit was found to have taken part in a minimum of 5,000 executions and a large number of deportations to concentration camps. Among them was the hanging of a girl in Kholm during the siege. Germany at War,400 Years of Military History, the Second World War in the Air, The Story of Air Combat in Every Theatre of World War Two. Media related to Battle of Kholm at Wikimedia Commons
Battle of Kiev (1941)
The First Battle of Kiev was the German name for the operation that resulted in a very large encirclement of Soviet troops in the vicinity of Kiev during World War II. This encirclement is considered the largest encirclement in the history of warfare, the operation ran from 7 August to 26 September 1941 as part of Operation Barbarossa, the Axis invasion of the Soviet Union. In Soviet military history, it is referred to as the Kiev Strategic Defensive Operation, kirponos was trapped behind German lines and killed while trying to break out. The battle was a defeat for the Red Army, exceeding even the Battle of Białystok–Minsk of June–July 1941. The encirclement trapped 452,700 soldiers,2,642 guns and mortars and 64 tanks, the Southwestern Front suffered 700,544 casualties, including 616,304 killed, captured or missing during the battle. The 5th, 37th, 26th, 21st and the 38th armies, consisting of 43 divisions, were almost annihilated, like the Western Front before it, the Southwestern Front had to be recreated almost from scratch.
After the rapid progress of Army Group Centre through the sector of the Eastern front. A substantial Soviet force, nearly the entire Southwestern Front, positioned in, on 3 August, Hitler temporarily cancelled the drive on Moscow in favor of driving south and attacking Kiev in Ukraine. However, on 12 August 1941, Supplement to Directive No, the three Panzer Groups, under the control of Army Group Center, will lead the advance on Moscow. On 18 August, OKH submitted a survey to Hitler regarding the continuation of operations in the East. The paper made the case for the drive to Moscow, arguing again that Army Groups North and South were strong enough to accomplish their objectives without any assistance from Army Group Center. Pointing out that there was enough time left before winter to conduct a single decisive operation against Moscow. On 20 August, Hitler rejected the proposal based on the idea that the most important objective was to deprive the Soviets of their industrial areas, on 21 August Jodl of OKW issued a directive, which summarized Hitlers instructions, to Brauchitsch commander of the Army.
The paper reiterated that the capture of Moscow before the onset of winter was not a primary objective, Hitler referred to the Soviet forces in the salient collectively as the Russian 5th Army. Engel in his diary for 21 August 1941, simply summarized it as, Halder offered his own resignation and advised Brauchitsch to do the same. However, Brauchitsch declined, stating Hitler would not accept the gesture, Halder withdrew his offer of resignation. On 23 August, Halder convened with Bock and Guderian in Borisov, during a meeting between Guderian and Hitler, with neither Halder nor Brauchitsch present, Hitler allowed Guderian to make the case for driving on to Moscow, and rejected his argument. In point of fact Hitler had already issued the orders for the shift of Guderians panzer group to the south, Guderian returned to his panzer group and began the southern thrust in an effort to encircle the Soviet forces in the salient
Arctic naval operations of World War II
The Arctic Circle defining the midnight sun encompasses the Atlantic Ocean from the northern edge of Iceland to the Bering Strait. The area is considered part of the Battle of the Atlantic or the European Theatre of World War II. Pre-war navigation focused on fishing and the ore trade from Narvik. Soviet settlements along the coast and rivers of the Barents Sea, the Soviet Union extended the Northern Sea Route past the Taymyr Peninsula to the Bering Strait in 1935. The Winter War opened the northern flank of the front of World War II. Arctic naval presence was initially dominated by the Soviet Northern Fleet of a few destroyers with larger numbers of submarines, the success of the German invasion of Norway provided the Kriegsmarine with naval bases from which capital ships might challenge units of the Royal Navy Home Fleet. Soviet convoys hugged the coast to avoid ice while German convoys used fjords to evade Royal Navy patrols, both sides devoted continuing efforts to minelaying and minesweeping of these shallow, confined routes vulnerable to mine warfare and submarine ambushes.
German convoys were typically screened by minesweepers and submarine chasers while Soviet convoys were protected by minesweeping trawlers. A branch of the Pacific Route began carrying Lend-Lease goods through the Bering Strait to the Soviet Arctic coast in June,1942. The number of cargo ship voyages along this route was 23 in 1942,32 in 1943,34 in 1944. Total westbound tonnage through the Bering Strait was 452,393 in comparison to 3,964,231 tons of North American wartime goods sent across the Atlantic to Soviet Arctic ports. A large portion of the Arctic route tonnage was fuel for Siberian airfields on the Alaska-Siberia air route,6 September 1939, Bremen was the first of 18 German merchant ships to take refuge in Murmansk after avoiding British naval patrols in the Atlantic. 30 November 1939, The Winter War offensive against Petsamo was supported by Soviet Northern Fleet destroyers Kuibishev, Karl Liebknecht, April 1940, Operation Weserübung included an invasion of Narvik by troops embarked aboard ten Kriegsmarine destroyers.
4 May 1940, The Polish destroyer Grom was sunk off Narvik by a KG100 bomber,21 May 1940, HMS Effingham was scuttled after grounding on a shallow pinnacle off Narvik. 9 July 1940, Raider Komet sailed north from Bergen and waited near Novaya Zemlya until 13 August 1940 for ice conditions to allow passage through the Matochkin Strait into the Kara Sea. Komet proceeded east with the assistance of three Soviet icebreakers to enter the Pacific Ocean through the Bering Strait on 5 September 1940, Soviet submarine Shch-423 made a similar trip from Murmansk to Vladivostok from 5 August to 17 October. 25 July 1940, Admiral Hipper sailed for a two-week Arctic patrol,25 August 1940, HMS Norfolk and HMAS Australia sailed for a five-day patrol to Bear Island. 16 October 1940, HMS Furious launched an airstrike against the Tromsø seaplane base,4 March 1941, HMS Edinburgh and Nigeria covered the Operation Claymore raid on Lofoten
Siege of Odessa (1941)
Odessa was a port on the Black Sea in the Ukrainian SSR. On 22 June 1941, the Axis powers invaded the Soviet Union, in August, Odessa became a target of the Romanian 4th Army and elements of the German 11th Army. Romanian forces suffered 93,000 casualties, against Red Army casualties estimated to be between 41,000 and 60,000. On 27 July 1941, Hitler sent a letter to General Ion Antonescu in which he recognised the Romanian administration of the territory between the Dniester and the Bug rivers, the Romanian Third Army had already crossed the Dniester on 17 July. On 8 August, the Romanian General Staff issued the Operative Directive No.31 instructing the 4th Army to occupy Odessa off the march and it was thought that the city garrison, which was heavily outnumbered, would surrender quickly. Odessa was heavily fortified by three lines and, thanks to the presence of the Soviet Black Sea Fleet, could not be completely surrounded. The first line was 80 km long and situated 25–30 km from the city, the second and main line of defense was situated 6–8 km from the city and was about 30 km long.
The third and last line of defense was organized inside the city itself, the Red Army had 34,500 men and 240 artillery pieces in the area. Air support was provided by the 69 IAP, two squadrons and one bomber squadron. Later, other fighters joined the defenders, as did an Il-2 squadron, the defense of Odessa lasted 73 days from 5 August to 16 October 1941. On 10 August, in the sector of the 3rd Corps, in the sector of the 5th Corps, the 1st Armored Division broke through Odessas first line of defense. That evening, the Romanian division reached the line of defense. The 1st Cavalry Brigade took Severinovka and joined the 1st Armored Division, at the same time, the 10th Dorobanţi Regiment overran the Soviet forces at Lozovaya. The 4th Army gradually closed the circle around Odessa, but the offensive was stopped by Antonescu on 13 August to strengthen the line west of the Hadjibey bank. The offensive resumed on 16 August, as Romanian troops attacked along the entire line, the Soviet forces put up a stubborn resistance, launching repeated counter-attacks and taking heavy casualties.
The Royal Romanian Air Force actively supported the troops, disrupting Soviet naval traffic to and from Odessa. In support of the offensive, the Romanian Navy dispatched motor torpedo boats to the recently occupied port of Ochakiv. During the night of 18 August, the torpedo boats NMS Viscolul and NMS Vijelia attacked a Soviet supply convoy South of Odessa
Nazi Germany is the common English name for the period in German history from 1933 to 1945, when Germany was governed by a dictatorship under the control of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party. Under Hitlers rule, Germany was transformed into a fascist state in which the Nazi Party took totalitarian control over all aspects of life. The official name of the state was Deutsches Reich from 1933 to 1943, the period is known under the names the Third Reich and the National Socialist Period. The Nazi regime came to an end after the Allied Powers defeated Germany in May 1945, Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany by the President of the Weimar Republic Paul von Hindenburg on 30 January 1933. The Nazi Party began to eliminate all opposition and consolidate its power. Hindenburg died on 2 August 1934, and Hitler became dictator of Germany by merging the powers and offices of the Chancellery, a national referendum held 19 August 1934 confirmed Hitler as sole Führer of Germany. All power was centralised in Hitlers person, and his word became above all laws, the government was not a coordinated, co-operating body, but a collection of factions struggling for power and Hitlers favour.
In the midst of the Great Depression, the Nazis restored economic stability and ended mass unemployment using heavy military spending, extensive public works were undertaken, including the construction of Autobahnen. The return to economic stability boosted the regimes popularity, especially antisemitism, was a central feature of the regime. The Germanic peoples were considered by the Nazis to be the purest branch of the Aryan race, millions of Jews and other peoples deemed undesirable by the state were murdered in the Holocaust. Opposition to Hitlers rule was ruthlessly suppressed, members of the liberal and communist opposition were killed, imprisoned, or exiled. The Christian churches were oppressed, with many leaders imprisoned, education focused on racial biology, population policy, and fitness for military service. Career and educational opportunities for women were curtailed and tourism were organised via the Strength Through Joy program, and the 1936 Summer Olympics showcased the Third Reich on the international stage.
Propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels made effective use of film, mass rallies, the government controlled artistic expression, promoting specific art forms and banning or discouraging others. Beginning in the late 1930s, Nazi Germany made increasingly aggressive territorial demands and it seized Austria and Czechoslovakia in 1938 and 1939. Hitler made a pact with Joseph Stalin and invaded Poland in September 1939. In alliance with Italy and smaller Axis powers, Germany conquered most of Europe by 1940, reichskommissariats took control of conquered areas, and a German administration was established in what was left of Poland. Jews and others deemed undesirable were imprisoned, murdered in Nazi concentration camps and extermination camps, following the German invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941, the tide gradually turned against the Nazis, who suffered major military defeats in 1943
Sea of Azov
The Sea of Azov is a sea in Eastern Europe. To the south it is linked by the narrow Strait of Kerch to the Black Sea, the sea is bounded in the north by mainland Ukraine, in the east by Russia, and in the west by the Crimean Peninsula. The Don and Kuban are the rivers that flow into it. The Sea of Azov is the shallowest sea in the world, there is a constant outflow of water from the Sea of Azov to the Black Sea. The sea is affected by the inflow of numerous rivers, which bring sand and shells, which in turn form numerous bays, limans. Because of these deposits, the sea bottom is relatively smooth, due to the river inflow, water in the sea has low salinity and a high amount of biomass that affects the water colour. Abundant plankton results in high fish productivity. The sea shores and spits are low, they are rich in vegetation, the name likely derives from the settlement of an area around Azov, whose name comes from the Kipchak Turkish asak or azaq. A Russian folk etymology, instead derives it from an eponymous Cuman prince named Azum or Asuf, a formerly common spelling of the name in English was the Sea of Azoff, which is closer to the Russian pronunciation.
In antiquity, the sea was known as the Maeotis Swamp from the marshlands to its northeast. It remains unclear whether it was named for the nearby Maeotians or if that name was applied broadly to various peoples who happened to live beside it. Other names included Lake Maeotis or Maeotius, the Maeotium or Maeotic Sea, the Cimmerian or Scythican Swamps, the Maeotians themselves were said by Pliny to call the sea Temarenda or Temerinda, meaning Mother of Waters. The medieval Russians knew it as the Sea of Surozh after the adjacent city now known as Sudak and it was known in Ottoman Turkish as the Balük-Denis from its high productivity. There are traces of Neolithic settlement in the now covered by the sea. In 1997, William Ryan and Walter Pitman of Columbia University published a theory that a flood through the Bosporus occurred in ancient times. Subsequent work has been both to support and to discredit this theory, and archaeologists still debate it. This has led some to associate this catastrophe with prehistoric flood myths, the Maeotian marshes around the mouth of the Tanais River were famous in antiquity, as they served as an important check on the migration of nomadic people from the Eurasian steppelands.
The Maeotians themselves lived by fishing and farming, but were avid warriors able to defend themselves against invaders
Gerd von Rundstedt
Karl Rudolf Gerd von Rundstedt was a Field Marshal in the Wehrmacht of Nazi Germany during World War II. Born into a Prussian family with a military tradition, Rundstedt entered the Prussian Army in 1892. During World War I, he served mainly as a staff officer, in the inter-war years, he continued his military career, reaching the rank of Colonel General before retiring in 1938. He was recalled at the beginning of World War II as commander of Army Group South in the invasion of Poland and he commanded Army Group A during the Battle of France, and was promoted to the rank of Field Marshal in 1940. He was relieved of command in December 1941, but was recalled in 1942, Rundstedt was aware of the various plots to depose Hitler, but refused to support them. After the war, he was charged with war crimes, but did not face due to his age. He was released in 1949, and died in 1953, Gerd von Rundstedt was born in Aschersleben, north of Halle in Prussian Saxony. He was the eldest son of Gerd Arnold Konrad von Rundstedt, the Rundstedts are an old Junker family that traced its origins to the 12th century and classed as members of the Uradel, or old nobility, although they held no titles and were not wealthy.
Virtually all the Rundstedt men since the time of Frederick the Great had served in the Prussian Army, Rundstedts mother, Adelheid Fischer, was of Huguenot descent. He was the eldest of four brothers, all of whom became Army officers, Rundstedts education followed the path ordained for Prussian military families, the junior cadet college at Diez, near Koblenz, the military academy at Lichterfelde in Berlin. Unable to meet the cost of joining a regiment, Rundstedt joined the 83rd Infantry Regiment in March 1892 as a cadet officer. The regiment was based at Kassel in Hesse-Kassel, which he came to regard as his home town and he undertook further training at the military college at Hannover, before being commissioned as a lieutenant in June 1893. He made an impression on his superiors. In 1896 he was regimental adjutant, and in 1903 he was sent to the prestigious War Academy in Berlin for a three-year staff officer training course. At the end of his course Rundstedt was described as an able officer.
Well suited for the General Staff and he married Luise “Bila” von Goetz in January 1902 and their only child, Hans Gerd von Rundstedt, was born in January 1903. Rundstedt joined the General Staff of the German Army in April 1907 serving there until July 1914 and this division was part of XI Corps, which in turn was part of General Alexander von Klucks First Army. Rundstedt served as 22nd Divisions chief of staff during the invasion of Belgium, in December 1914, suffering from a lung ailment, he was promoted to Major and transferred to the military government of Antwerp
Erich von Manstein
Fritz Erich Georg Eduard von Lewinski, known as Erich von Manstein, was a German commander of the Wehrmacht, Nazi Germanys armed forces during the Second World War. He attained the rank of field marshal and he rose to the rank of captain by the end of the war and was active in the inter-war period helping Germany rebuild her armed forces. In September 1939, during the invasion of Poland at the beginning of the Second World War, adolf Hitler chose Mansteins strategy for the invasion of France of May 1940, a plan refined by Franz Halder and other members of the OKH. Attaining the rank of general at the end of the campaign, he was active in the invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941 and the Siege of Sevastopol and he participated in the Siege of Leningrad. Germanys fortunes in the war began to take a turn in 1942, especially in the catastrophic Battle of Stalingrad. He was one of the commanders at the Battle of Kursk. His ongoing disagreements with Hitler over the conduct of the war led to his dismissal in March 1944 and he never obtained another command and was taken prisoner by the British in August 1945, several months after Germanys defeat.
His sentence of eighteen years in prison was reduced to twelve. As a military advisor to the West German government in the mid-1950s, Manstein died in Munich in 1973. Manstein was born Fritz Erich Georg Eduard von Lewinski in Berlin, the son of a Prussian aristocrat and artillery general, Eduard von Lewinski. His fathers family had Kashubian ancestry and was entitled to use the Brochwicz coat of arms, Hedwig von Sperling, Helenes younger sister, was married to Lieutenant General Georg von Manstein, the couple was unable to have children, so they adopted Erich. They had previously adopted Erichs cousin Martha, the daughter of Helenes, Mansteins biological and adoptive fathers were both Prussian generals, as were his mothers brother and both his grandfathers. Sixteen relatives on each side of his family were military officers, Paul von Hindenburg, the future Generalfeldmarschall and President of Germany, was his uncle, Hindenburgs wife, was the sister of Hedwig and Helene. Manstein attended the Imperial Lyzeum, a Catholic Gymnasium in Strasbourg, in March 1906, after six years in the cadet corps in Plön and Groß-Lichterfelde, he was commissioned into the Third Foot Guards Regiment as an ensign.
He was promoted to lieutenant in January 1907 and in October 1913 began the three-year officer training programme at the Prussian War Academy. However, Manstein only completed the first year of the programme and he never completed the remainder of his general staff officer training. During the First World War, Manstein served on both the German Western and Eastern Fronts, at the beginning of the war he was promoted to lieutenant and participated in the invasion of Belgium with the 2nd Guard Reserve Infantry Regiment. In August 1914 he took part in the capture of Namur, in September, Mansteins unit was one of two transferred to East Prussia and attached to the Eighth Army, commanded by Hindenburg
Battle of the Kerch Peninsula
It was launched on 8 May 1942 and concluded around 18 May 1942 with the near complete destruction of the Soviet defending forces. The Red Army lost over 170,000 men killed or taken prisoner, the operation was one of the battles immediately preceding the German summer offensive, and its successful conclusion enabled the Axis to end the siege of Sevastopol in the following months. Some groups of Soviet survivors refused to surrender and fought on for many months, many of these soldiers were occupying the caves along with many civilians, who had fled the city of Kerch. On 26 December 1941, the Soviets landed on Kerch, and on 30 December executed another landing near Feodosiya with the 44th, the operation was to drive to Sevastopol and relieve the garrison, now encircled by the German 11th Army. The 46th Infantry Division, under Generalleutnant Kurt Himer, was the division in a position to be able to block the Soviet advance. Manstein believed it could contain the landing, but the Soviets consolidated their bridgeheads, Manstein diverted the XXX Corps to support XLII Corps, forming a new front at Feodosiya.
They succeeded in sealing off the Soviet armies in the Kerch peninsula, the Soviet landings had saved Sevastopol and seized the initiative. The Germans lost 8,595 between 17 and 31 December, the Soviets lost 7,000 killed and another 20,000 as prisoners of war. To slow the Soviet build-up, Alexander Löhrs Luftflotte 4 was sent to the region to interdict shipping, the 7,500 long tons transport Emba was severely damaged on 29 January. Still, the Luftwaffe failed to prevent the transport of 100,000 men, at Sevastopol,764 short tons of fuel,1,700 short tons of supplies were sent to the port. On 13 February, the cruiser Komintern and destroyer Shaumyan brought in 1,034 soldiers and 200 tons of supplies, the cruiser Krasny Krym and destroyer Dzerzhinskiy brought in a further 1,075 men on 14 February. The next day, the minesweeper T410 brought in 650 and evacuated 152, on 17 February, the transport Belostok brought in 871 men. The Black Sea Fleet regularly shelled German positions on the coast, the Luftwaffe increased its pressure, dispatching KG27, KG55, and KG100 to bomb the ports at Anapa and Novorossiysk on the Caucasian Black Sea coast.
On 20 February, the 1,900 long tons transport Kommunist was sunk by KG100, Manstein was unwilling to surrender the initiative, and ordered counterattacks which recaptured Feodosiya in January 1942. The German 11th Army lacked the strength to destroy the 44th and 51st Army in the Kerch Peninsula, the Stavka created the Crimean Front under Lieutenant General Dimitri Kozlov on 28 January to coordinate operations. Kozlov began a series of offensives in February and April, petrovs Coastal Army supported the operations on 26 February, inflicting 1,200 casualties while losing 2,500 in return. The spring thaw arrived in early May, and both sides prepared for the battle that would decide the campaign, the Luftwaffe had flown in the specialist torpedo bomber unit KG26. On 1/2 March 1942, it damaged the 2,434 long tons steamer Fabritsius which was damaged, the 4,629 long tons oil tanker Kuybyshev was damaged on 3 March south of Kerch, which deprived the defenders of much fuel
Battle of Stalingrad
Marked by fierce close quarters combat and direct assaults on civilians by air raids, it is often regarded as one of the single largest and bloodiest battles in the history of warfare. German forces never regained the initiative in the East and withdrew a vast military force from the West to replace their losses, the German offensive to capture Stalingrad began in August 1942, using the German 6th Army and elements of the 4th Panzer Army. The attack was supported by intensive Luftwaffe bombing that reduced much of the city to rubble, the fighting degenerated into house-to-house fighting, and both sides poured reinforcements into the city. By mid-November 1942, the Germans had pushed the Soviet defenders back at great cost into narrow zones along the west bank of the Volga River. On 19 November 1942, the Red Army launched Operation Uranus, the Axis forces on the flanks were overrun and the 6th Army was cut off and surrounded in the Stalingrad area. Adolf Hitler ordered that the stay in Stalingrad and make no attempt to break out, attempts were made to supply the army by air.
Heavy fighting continued for two months. By the beginning of February 1943, the Axis forces in Stalingrad had exhausted their ammunition, the remaining units of the 6th Army surrendered. The battle lasted five months, one week, and three days, the war had been progressing well, the U-boat offensive in the Atlantic had been very successful and Rommel had just captured Tobruk. In the east, they had stabilized their front in a running from Leningrad in the north to Rostov in the south. There were a number of salients, but these were not particularly threatening, neither Army Group North nor Army Group South had been particularly hard pressed over the winter. Stalin was expecting the main thrust of the German summer attacks to be directed against Moscow again, with the initial operations being very successful, the Germans decided that their summer campaign in 1942 would be directed at the southern parts of the Soviet Union. The initial objectives in the region around Stalingrad were the destruction of the capacity of the city.
The river was a key route from the Caucasus and the Caspian Sea to central Russia and its capture would disrupt commercial river traffic. The Germans cut the pipeline from the oilfields when they captured Rostov on 23 July, the capture of Stalingrad would make the delivery of Lend Lease supplies via the Persian Corridor much more difficult. On 23 July 1942, Hitler personally rewrote the operational objectives for the 1942 campaign, both sides began to attach propaganda value to the city based on it bearing the name of the leader of the Soviet Union. The expansion of objectives was a significant factor in Germanys failure at Stalingrad, caused by German overconfidence, the Soviets realized that they were under tremendous constraints of time and resources and ordered that anyone strong enough to hold a rifle be sent to fight. If I do not get the oil of Maikop and Grozny I must finish this war, Army Group South was selected for a sprint forward through the southern Russian steppes into the Caucasus to capture the vital Soviet oil fields there