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
Battle of Moscow
The Battle of Moscow is the name given by Soviet historians to two periods of strategically significant fighting on a 600 km sector of the Eastern Front during World War II. It took place between October 1941 and January 1942, the Soviet defensive effort frustrated Hitlers attack on Moscow, capital of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the largest Soviet city. Moscow was one of the military and political objectives for Axis forces in their invasion of the Soviet Union. Operation Barbarossa, the German invasion plan, called for the capture of Moscow within four months, the German Army Group North moved towards Leningrad, Army Group South took control of Ukraine, and Army Group Center advanced towards Moscow. By July 1941, Army Group Center crossed the Dnieper River, in August 1941, German forces captured Smolensk, an important stronghold on the road to Moscow. At this stage, although Moscow was vulnerable, an offensive against the city would have exposed the German flanks. In part to address these risks, in part to attempt to secure Ukraines food and mineral resources, Hitler ordered the attack to turn north and south and eliminate Soviet forces at Leningrad and this delayed the German advance on Moscow.
When that advance resumed on 2 October 1941, German forces had been weakened, for Hitler, the Soviet capital was secondary, and he believed the only way to bring the Soviet Union to its knees was to defeat it economically. He felt this could be accomplished by seizing the economic resources of Ukraine east of Kiev, when Walther von Brauchitsch, Commander-in-Chief of the Army, supported a direct thrust to Moscow, he was told that only ossified brains could think of such an idea. Franz Halder, head of the Army General Staff, was convinced that a drive to seize Moscow would be victorious after the German Army inflicted enough damage on the Soviet forces. This view was shared by most within the German high command, but Hitler overruled his generals in favor of pocketing the Soviet forces around Kiev in the south, followed by the seizure of Ukraine. The move was successful, resulting in the loss of 660,000 Red Army personnel by 26 September, with the end of summer, Hitler redirected his attention to Moscow and assigned Army Group Center to this task.
The forces committed to Operation Typhoon included three infantry armies supported by three Panzer Groups and by the Luftwaffes Luftflotte 2, up to two million German troops were committed to the operation, along with 1,000 tanks and 14,000 guns. German aerial strength, had severely reduced over the summers campaign. Luftflotte 2 had only 549 serviceable machines, including 158 medium and dive-bombers and 172 fighters, the attack relied on standard blitzkrieg tactics, using Panzer groups rushing deep into Soviet formations and executing double-pincer movements, pocketing Red Army divisions and destroying them. Facing the Wehrmacht were three Soviet fronts forming a line between the cities of Vyazma and Bryansk, which barred the way to Moscow. The armies comprising these fronts had involved in heavy fighting. Still, it was a formidable concentration consisting of 1,250,000 men,1,000 tanks and 7,600 guns, the Soviet Air Force had suffered appalling losses of some 7,500 or 21,200 aircraft
Order No. 227
Order No.227 issued on July 28,1942 was an order issued by Joseph Stalin who was acting as the Peoples Commissar of Defence. It is famous for its line Not one step back, which became a slogan of Soviet resistance against the German invasion. During the first part of the Great Patriotic War, the Soviets experienced heavy losses along with mass retreat, combat goes on in region Voronej, near Don, in the south, and at the gates of the Northern Caucasus. The German invaders penetrate toward Stalingrad, to Volga and want at any cost to trap Kuban, the enemy already has captured Vorochilovgrad, Rossosh, Valuyki, Rostov on Don, half Voronej. Part of the troops of the Southern front, following the panic-mongers, have left Rostov and Novochercassk without severe resistance and without orders from Moscow and they want to justify the infamous behavior at the front. But such talk is falsehood, helpful only to our enemies, each commander, Red Army soldier and political commissar should understand that our means are not limitless.
The territory of the Soviet state is not a desert, but people - workers, intelligentsia, our fathers, wives, children. After the loss of Ukraine, Baltic republics, Donetzk and we have lost more than 70 million people, more than 800 million pounds of bread annually and more than 10 million tons of metal annually. Now we do not have predominance over the Germans in human reserves, to retreat further - means to waste ourselves and to waste at the same time our Motherland. This leads to the conclusion, it is time to finish retreating, such should now be our main slogan. It goes on to state that The Supreme General Headquarters of the Red Army commands,1 and this order is to be read in all companies, cavalry squadrons, squadrons and headquarters. No commander had the right to retreat without an order, anyone who did so was subject to a military tribunal of the corresponding seniority level. Order No.227 established that each front must create one to three battalions of up to 800 middle-ranking commanders and high-ranking commanders accused of disciplinary problems.
Penal battalions were sent to the most dangerous sections of the front lines, each front had to create penal companies for privates and NCOs. By the end of 1942 there were 24,993 troops serving in penal battalions, which increased to 177,694 in 1943. The number decreased over the two years to 143,457 and 81,766 soldiers in 1944 and 1945, respectively. The total of Red Army personnel sentenced by court was 994,300, Not included are 212,400 deserters, who were not found and escaped the custody of the military districts. The order directed that each army must create blocking detachments that would capture or shoot cowards, both measures were cited in the preamble of the order as having been successfully used by the Germans during their winter retreat
The operation formed part of the ongoing Battle of Stalingrad, and was aimed at destroying German forces in and around Stalingrad. Planning for Operation Uranus had commenced in September 1942, and was developed simultaneously with plans to envelop and destroy German Army Group Center and these Axis armies lacked heavy equipment to deal with Soviet armor. The situation was exacerbated by the German decision to relocate several mechanized divisions from the Soviet Union to Western Europe, units in the area were depleted after months of fighting, especially those which took part in the fighting in Stalingrad. In comparison, the Red Army deployed over one million personnel for the purpose of beginning the offensive in, Soviet troop movements were not without problems, due to the difficulties of concealing their build-up, and to Soviet units commonly arriving late due to logistical issues. Operation Uranus was first postponed from 8 to 17 November, to 19 November, at 07,20 Moscow time on 19 November, Soviet forces on the northern flank of the Axis forces at Stalingrad began their offensive, forces in the south began on 20 November.
By late 22 November Soviet forces linked up at the town of Kalach, instead of attempting to break out of the encirclement, German dictator Adolf Hitler decided to keep Axis forces in Stalingrad and resupply them by air. In the meantime and German commanders began to plan their next movements, on 28 June 1942, the Wehrmacht began its offensive against Soviet forces opposite of Army Group South, codenamed Case Blue. After breaking through Red Army forces by 13 July, German forces encircled and captured the city of Rostov. The responsibility to take Stalingrad was given to the Sixth Army, the following day, the Battle of Stalingrad began when vanguards of the Sixth Army penetrated the suburbs of the city. By November the Sixth Army had occupied most of Stalingrad, pushing the defending Red Army to the banks of the Volga River, the German command was intent upon finalizing its capture of Stalingrad. Ultimately, command of Soviet efforts to relieve Stalingrad was put under the leadership of General Aleksandr Vasilevsky, Operation Uranus involved the use of large Soviet mechanized and infantry forces to encircle German and other Axis forces directly around Stalingrad.
For example, in early July the Sixth Army was defending a 160-kilometer line, Army Group B had the 48th Panzer Corps, which had the strength of a weakened panzer division, and a single infantry division as reserves. For the most part the German flanks were held by arriving non-German Axis armies, while German forces were used to spearhead continued operations in Stalingrad, their 37-millimeter PaK anti-tank guns were antiquated and they were largely short of ammunition. Only after repeated requests did the Germans send the Romanian units 75-millimeter PaK guns, the Italians and Hungarians were positioned at the Don west of the Third Romanian Army, but the German commanders did not hold in high regard the capability of those units to fight. The Sixth Army had suffered casualties during the fighting in the city of Stalingrad proper. In some cases, such as that of the 22nd Panzer Division, German formations were overextended along large stretches of front, the XI Army Corps, for example, had to defend a front around 100 kilometers long.
The Red Army allocated an estimated 1,100,000 personnel,804 tanks,13,400 artillery pieces and over 1,000 aircraft for the upcoming offensive. Across the Third Romanian Army, the Soviets placed the redeployed 5th Tank Army, as well as the 21st and 65th Armies, in order to penetrate, in total, the Soviets had amassed 11 armies and various independent tank brigades and corps
Battle of Rzhev, Summer 1942
The Battle of Rzhev in the Summer of 1942 was part of a series of battles that lasted 15 months in the center of the Eastern Front. It is known in Soviet history of World War II as the First Rzhev–Sychyovka Offensive Operation, however, it is widely documented that the fighting continued undiminished into September and did not finally cease until the beginning of October 1942. Rzhev lies 140 miles west of Moscow and was captured by the German Wehrmacht in Operation Typhoon in the autumn of 1941, when the Soviet counteroffensive drove them back, Rzhev became a cornerstone of the Germans defense. By the summer of 1942, the city stood at the apogee of a salient that protruded from the front lines, the attack would fall upon one of their main opponents of the winter battles, General Walter Models 9th Army, which occupied the majority of the Rzhev salient. The two-month struggle left an impression on the Soviet soldiers who took part. The Red Army suffered massive casualties for little gain during the fighting, earning the battle the sobriquet Rzhev meat grinder, although the offensive failed, Zhukov was given another chance to crush the Rzhev salient soon afterwards.
The closing stages of the Battle of Moscow saw the formation of the Rzhev salient, the Soviet counter-offensive had driven the Wehrmacht from the outskirts of Moscow back more than 100 miles, and had penetrated Army Group Centres front in numerous places. Rzhev, a crossroads and vital rail junction straddling the Volga. It was the town of note for many miles and gave the 9th Army something to hang on to, in what otherwise seemed a wilderness of forest. The salients existence was threatened at the moment of its creation. The Soviet counter-attack had run out of steam and the Germans recovered enough to mount several operations to clear up their rear area and he commanded 10th Army and Army Group C in Italy. General of Panzer Troops Walter Model had commanded 3rd Panzer division at the start of Operation Barbarossa and he had shown great resolve in the defensive winter battles, and was promoted to 9th Army commander on 12 January 1942. He proved to be a soldier and a defensive specialist. Respected by Hitler, his continued to rise, becoming a field marshal in March 1944.
He became a troubleshooter, commanding the Leningrad Front in the autumn, Zhukov remained in the central sector, and he argued in the spring of 1942 that the Moscow axis was the most critical and that Army Group Center posed the greatest threat to the Soviet Union. To him, the German forces at Rzhev represented a dagger pointed at Moscow, Zhukov convinced Stalin to give him the extra forces he needed. He commanded Western Fronts attacks until, in the part of August. Later, he continued to hold the highest commands in the Soviet Army, colonel-General Ivan Konev began the war against Germany commanding the 19th Army, which become encircled around Vitebsk in the first weeks of the conflict
1942 in fine arts of the Soviet Union
The year 1942 was marked by many events that left an imprint on the history of Soviet and Russian Fine Arts. January 1 — Exhibition «Landscape of our Motherland» was opened in the Central Exhibition Hall in Moscow, exhibited 188 works of painting and agraphics of 88 authors. The participants were Pyotr Konchalovsky, Nikolay Krymov, Alexander Osmerkin, Konstantin Yuon, january 2 — «The First Exhibition of works by Leningrad artists during the Great Patriotic War» was opened in the Leningrad Union of Artists. In August, the exhibition was shown in Moscow, the participants were Ivan Bilibin, Vladimir Konashevich, Aleksandr Laktionov, Vladimir Lebedev, Vsevolod Lyshev, Yaroslav Nikolaev, and other important Leningrad artists. January 29 — Vladimir Grinberg, Russian Soviet painter, graphic artist, died of hunger in blockade Leningrad. February 2 — David Zagoskin, Russian Soviet painter, graphic artist, died of hunger in blockade Leningrad. February 5 — Karev Alexei, Russian Soviet painter, graphic artist, died of hunger in blockade Leningrad.
February 7 — Ivan Bilibin, Russian Soviet painter, graphic artist, died of hunger in blockade Leningrad. February 9 — Nikolai Bublikov, Russian Soviet marine painter, died of hunger in blockade Leningrad. February 19 — Vasily Fyodorov, Russian Soviet painter, died of hunger in blockade Leningrad. February 23 — Alexei Pochtenny, Russian Soviet painter and graphic artist, died of hunger in blockade Leningrad. February 25 — Alexander Savinov, Russian Soviet painter, graphic artist, died of hunger in blockade Leningrad. October 18 — Mikhail Nesterov, Russian Soviet painter, Honored Art worker of Russian Federation, december 29 — Nikolai Radlov, Russian Soviet artist and art critic. Dmitry Kiplik, Russian Soviet painter and art educator, List of Russian artists List of painters of Leningrad Union of Artists Saint Petersburg Union of Artists Russian culture Каталог выставки Пейзаж нашей родины. Выставка Работы московских художников в дни Великой Отечественной войны, Выставка Работы ленинградских художников в дни Великой Отечественной войны.
Комитет по делам искусств при СНК СССР,1943, Artists of Peoples of the USSR. Artists of Peoples of the USSR, Directory of Members of Union of Artists of USSR. Directory of Members of the Leningrad branch of the Union of Artists of Russian Federation, Artists of Peoples of the USSR
The Continuation War consisted of hostilities between Finland and the Soviet Union from 1941 to 1944. The Continuation War began shortly after the end of the Winter War, in the Soviet Union, the war was considered part of the Great Patriotic War. Germany regarded its operations in the region as part of its war efforts on the Eastern Front. Acts of war between the Soviet Union and Finland recommenced on 22 June 1941, the day Germany launched its invasion of the Soviet Union, open warfare began with a Soviet air offensive on 25 June. Subsequent Finnish operations undid its post-Winter War concessions to the Soviet Union on the Karelian Isthmus and Ladoga Karelia, on the Karelian Isthmus, the Finns halted their offensive 30 km from Leningrad, at the pre-World War II border between the Soviet Union and Finland. Finnish forces did not participate in the siege of Leningrad directly, in 1944, Soviet air forces conducted air raids on Helsinki and other major Finnish cities. A ceasefire ended hostilities on 5 September and was followed by the Moscow Armistice on 19 September, the 1947 Paris peace treaty concluded the war formally.
Finland ceded Pechengsky District to the Soviets, leased Porkkala peninsula to them, shortly afterward, Germany invaded Poland and as a result the United Kingdom and France declared war against Germany. The Soviet Union invaded eastern Poland on 17 September, Moscow demanded that the Baltic states allow the establishment of Soviet military bases and the stationing of troops on their soil. The Baltic governments accepted these ultimatums, signing corresponding agreements in September and October 1939, the Finnish government refused, and the Red Army attacked Finland on 30 November 1939. Condemnation of the Soviets by the League of Nations and by all over the world had no effect on Soviet policy. International help for Finland was planned, but very little actual help materialized, the Moscow Peace Treaty, which was signed on 12 March 1940, ended the Winter War. By the terms of the treaty, Finland lost one eleventh of its national territory, Finland had avoided having the Soviet Union annex the whole country.
Finlands foreign policy had been based on multilateral guarantees for support from the League of Nations, Finnish public opinion favored the reconquest of Finnish Karelia. Finlands government declared the countrys defense to be its first priority, Finland purchased and received donations of war material during and immediately after the Winter War. On Finlands southern frontier the Soviet Union had acquired a base in Hanko near the capital Helsinki. Finland had to resettle some 420,000 evacuees from the lost territories, to ensure the supply of food, it was necessary to clear new land for the evacuees to cultivate. This was facilitated by the Rapid Settlement Act, the Finnish leadership wanted to preserve the spirit of unanimity that was commonly felt throughout the country during the Winter War
Lyuban Offensive Operation
Lyuban Operation was an offensive operation conducted by the Volkhov Front of the Red Army with the goal of relieving Leningrad. The offensive used no tanks because of the terrain, therefore it was down to the infantry, the Soviets attacked but they were under intense fire from formidable German defensive positions, and the Soviets lacked proper artillery support on the German positions. The offensive had stalled and the Soviets were up to the defensive. Field Marshal Georg von Küchler, counterattacked with an operation called Wild Beast and it was destroyed in June 1942 and its commander Andrey Vlasov was taken captive