Belgorod-Kharkov Offensive Operation
It was one of the operations that followed the Battle of Kursk. Following the Battle of Kursk, the Red Army launched Operation Polkovodets Rumyantsev on 3 August 1943 and they were finally halted on 12 August by armoured units of the III Panzer Corps. On 5 August 1943 XI Corps evacuated the city of Belgorod, the XI Army Corps consisted of a Kampfgruppe from the 167th Infantry Division, the 168th, 106th, 198th, 320th Infantry Divisions, and the 6th Panzer Division which acted as was the corps reserve. XI Army Corps now made a series of phased withdrawals toward Kharkov to prevent encirclement. The loss of this line of communication, while not fatal in itself, was a serious blow to the ability of Army Group Kempf. This meant critical delays of supplies and reinforcements, and the position was becoming increasingly untenable. The way to Poltava now remained open, but Vatutin hesitated to push through while the Germans flanking the gap held firm and these threats had led to a request by General Werner Kempf to abandon the city on 12 August 1943.
A few days later, Army Group Kempf was renamed the 8th Army, Kharkov now constituted a deep German salient to the east, which prevented the red army from making use of this vital traffic and supply centre. Following boastful reports made by Soviet radio that Soviet troops had entered the city, the armys supply depot had five trainloads of spare tank tracks leftover from Zitadelle but very little else. XI Army Corps now had a strength of only 4,000 infantrymen. Two days after taking command of 8th Army, Wöhler asked Manstein for permission to abandon the city, on 21 August 1943, Manstein gave his consent to withdraw from Kharkov. The largely destroyed Soviet city, which changed several times during the war, was about to be recaptured by the Soviets for the last time. During the day of 22 August 1943, the Germans began their exodus from the city under great pressure from the Soviets, the 57th & 69th Armies pushed in from three sides with the coming of daylight. The Soviets sensed that the Germans were evacuating Kharkov, due to the lessening of artillery fire, in the day, thunderous explosions were heard as ammo dumps were blown.
Large German columns were observed leaving the city and the Soviet troops pushed into the town itself. Moving out of Kharkov to the south, the Germans desperately fought to open a corridor through which a withdrawal could be made. All along the corridor through which the 8th Army evacuated Kharkov, Soviet artillery and their planes gathered for the kill and attacked the German columns leaving the city, strafing & bombing the men & vehicles. After dark, the 89th Guards and 107th Rifle Divisions broke into the interior of the city, enormous fires were set by the Germans in hope of delaying the Soviet advance
World War II
World War II, known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945, although related conflicts began earlier. It involved the vast majority of the worlds countries—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing alliances, the Allies and the Axis. It was the most widespread war in history, and directly involved more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. Marked by mass deaths of civilians, including the Holocaust and the bombing of industrial and population centres. These made World War II the deadliest conflict in human history, from late 1939 to early 1941, in a series of campaigns and treaties, Germany conquered or controlled much of continental Europe, and formed the Axis alliance with Italy and Japan. Under the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact of August 1939, Germany and the Soviet Union partitioned and annexed territories of their European neighbours, Finland and the Baltic states. In December 1941, Japan attacked the United States and European colonies in the Pacific Ocean, and quickly conquered much of the Western Pacific.
The Axis advance halted in 1942 when Japan lost the critical Battle of Midway, near Hawaii, in 1944, the Western Allies invaded German-occupied France, while the Soviet Union regained all of its territorial losses and invaded Germany and its allies. During 1944 and 1945 the Japanese suffered major reverses in mainland Asia in South Central China and Burma, while the Allies crippled the Japanese Navy, thus ended the war in Asia, cementing the total victory of the Allies. World War II altered the political alignment and social structure of the world, the United Nations was established to foster international co-operation and prevent future conflicts. The victorious great powers—the United States, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union and the United States emerged as rival superpowers, setting the stage for the Cold War, which lasted for the next 46 years. Meanwhile, the influence of European great powers waned, while the decolonisation of Asia, most countries whose industries had been damaged moved towards economic recovery.
Political integration, especially in Europe, emerged as an effort to end pre-war enmities, the start of the war in Europe is generally held to be 1 September 1939, beginning with the German invasion of Poland and France declared war on Germany two days later. The dates for the beginning of war in the Pacific include the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War on 7 July 1937, or even the Japanese invasion of Manchuria on 19 September 1931. Others follow the British historian A. J. P. Taylor, who held that the Sino-Japanese War and war in Europe and its colonies occurred simultaneously and this article uses the conventional dating. Other starting dates sometimes used for World War II include the Italian invasion of Abyssinia on 3 October 1935. The British historian Antony Beevor views the beginning of World War II as the Battles of Khalkhin Gol fought between Japan and the forces of Mongolia and the Soviet Union from May to September 1939, the exact date of the wars end is not universally agreed upon.
It was generally accepted at the time that the war ended with the armistice of 14 August 1945, rather than the formal surrender of Japan
Case Blue, renamed Operation Braunschweig, was the German Armed Forces name for its plan for the 1942 strategic summer offensive in southern Russia between 28 June and 24 November 1942. Initially, the offensive saw gains, with an advance into the Caucasus capturing large areas of land, the Red Army defeated the Germans at Stalingrad, following Operations Uranus and Little Saturn. This defeat forced the Axis to retreat from the Caucasus, only the city of Kursk and the Kuban region remained tentatively occupied by Axis troops. On 22 June 1941 the Wehrmacht had launched Operation Barbarossa with the intention of defeating the Soviets in a Blitzkrieg lasting only months, the Axis offensive had met with initial success and the Red Army had suffered some major defeats before halting the Axis units at Moscow. Although the Germans had captured vast areas of land and important industrial centers, in the winter of 1941–42 the Soviets struck back in a series of successful counteroffensives, pushing back the German threat to Moscow.
Despite these setbacks, Hitler wanted a solution, for which he required the oil resources of the Caucasus. By February 1942 the German Army High Command had begun to develop plans for a campaign to the aborted Barbarossa offensive – with the Caucasus as its principal objective. On 5 April 1942, Hitler laid out the elements of the now known as Case Blue in Führer Directive No.41. The main focus was to be at the capture of Caucasus region, the Caucasus, a large, culturally diverse region traversed by its eponymous mountains, is bounded by the Black Sea to the west and the Caspian Sea to the east. South of the lay the densely populated region of Transcaucasia, comprising Georgia, Azerbaijan. This heavily industrialized and densely populated area contained some of the largest oilfields in the world, the capital of Azerbaijan, was one of the richest, producing 80 percent of the Soviet Unions oil—about 24 million tons in 1942 alone. The Caucasus possessed plentiful coal and peat, as well as nonferrous, manganese deposits at Chiaturi, in Transcaucasia, formed the richest single source in the world, yielding 1.5 million tons of manganese ore annually, half of the Soviet Unions total production.
The Kuban region of the Caucasus produced large amounts of wheat, sunflower seeds and these resources were of immense importance to Hitler and the German war effort. Of the three tons of oil Germany consumed per year,85 percent was imported, mainly from the United States, Venezuela. An indication of German reliance on Romania is evident from its oil consumption, in 1938, in late 1941, the Romanians warned Hitler that their stocks were exhausted and they were unable to meet German demands. Whereas in 1941 most units fought on the central front supporting Army Group Centre,1,610 aircraft, initially commanded by Löhr, on 20 July 1942, Wolfram Freiherr von Richthofen took command of Luftflotte 4. Blau II, Sixth Army, commanded by Friedrich Paulus, would attack from Kharkiv and move in parallel with Fourth Panzer Army, to reach the Volga at Stalingrad. Blau III, First Panzer Army would strike south towards the lower Don River, with Seventeenth Army on the western flank, the strategic objectives of the operation were the oilfields at Maykop and Baku
Battle of the Dnieper
The Battle of the Dnieper was a military campaign that took place in 1943 on the Eastern Front of World War II. It was one of the largest operations in World War II, Kiev was liberated in the Battle of Kiev. Following the Battle of Kursk, the Wehrmachts Heer and supporting Luftwaffe forces in the southern Soviet Union were on the defensive in the southern Ukraine, on the Soviet side, Joseph Stalin was determined to launch a major offensive in Ukraine. The main thrust of the offensive was in a direction, the northern flank being largely stabilized. The operation begun on 26 August 1943, divisions started to move on a 1, 400-kilometer front that stretched between Smolensk and the Sea of Azov. Overall, the operation would be executed by 36 Combined Arms, four Tank,2,650,000 personnel were brought into the ranks for this massive operation. The operation would use 51,000 guns,2,400 tanks and 2,850 planes, the Dnieper is the third largest river in Europe, second only to the Volga and the Danube. In its lower part, its width can reach three kilometres, and being dammed in several places made it even larger.
Moreover, its western shore —the one still to be retaken— was much higher and steeper than the eastern, in addition, the opposite shore was transformed into a vast complex of defenses and fortifications held by the Wehrmacht. Faced with such a situation, the Soviet commanders had two options and this option were supported by Marshal Zhukov and Deputy Chief of Staff A. I. Antonov, who considered the substantial losses after the battle of Kursk. The second option would be to stage an assault without waiting. This option left no time for the German defenders. This second option was backed by I. V, Stalin due to the concern that the German scorched earth policy might devastate this region if the Red Army did not advance fast enough. STAVKA paid attention to the possible scorched earth activities of German forces with a view to preventing them by a rapid advance. The assault was staged on a 300-kilometer front almost simultaneously, all available means of transport were to be used to transport the attackers to the opposite shore, including small fishing boats and improvised rafts of barrels and trees.
The preparation of the equipment was further complicated by the German scorched earth strategy with the total destruction of all boats. The crucial issue would obviously be heavy equipment, without it, the bridgeheads would not stand for long
Siege of Warsaw (1939)
The Siege of Warsaw in 1939 was fought between the Polish Warsaw Army garrisoned and entrenched in the capital of Poland and the invading German Army. It began with huge aerial bombardments initiated by the Luftwaffe starting on September 1,1939 following the Nazi invasion of Poland, land fighting started on September 8, when the first German armored units reached the Wola district and south-western suburbs of the city. Despite German radio broadcasts claiming to have captured Warsaw, the enemy attack was repelled. The siege lasted until September 28, when the Polish garrison, commanded under General Walerian Czuma, the following day approximately 140,000 Polish soldiers and troops left the city and were taken as prisoners of war. The Polish Army surrendered nearly 140,000 troops and during the siege around 18,000 civilians of Warsaw perished, as a result of the air bombardments 10% of the citys buildings were entirely destroyed and further 40% were heavily damaged. The anti-aircraft defence of the capital was divided into active and passive parts, the former was composed mostly of units of the Pursuit Brigade under Colonel Stefan Pawlikowski, and anti-aircraft artillery and anti-aircraft machine guns detachments under Colonel Kazimierz Baran.
The Pursuit Brigade was equipped with 54 fighter aircraft, mostly the obsolete PZL P.7, the AA artillery had 86 pieces of anti-aircraft artillery, as well as an unknown number of other anti-aircraft machine guns. The latter was composed mostly of fire-fighter brigades and volunteers and was supervised by Colonel Tadeusz Bogdanowicz and Julian Kulski, there were 9 unconfirmed victories and 20 damaged enemy planes. The AA defence started to crumble when on September 5 by order of the military authorities 11 AA batteries were withdrawn from Warsaw towards the cities of Lublin, Brześć. At the peak of the bombing campaign on September 10. During that day, nicknamed Bloody Sunday, there were 17 consecutive bombing raids, the same day Polish Commander in Chief, Marshal of Poland Edward Rydz-Śmigły ordered the creation of an improvised Command of the Defence of Warsaw. General Walerian Czuma, the head of the Border Guard, became its commander, initially the forces under the command of General Czuma were very limited.
Most of the city authorities withdrew together with a part of the police forces, fire fighters. Warsaw was left only four battalions of infantry and one battery of artillery. Also, the spokesman of the garrison of Warsaw issued a communique in which he ordered all men to leave Warsaw. To coordinate civilian efforts and counter the panic that started in Warsaw, Starzyński started to organize the Civil Guard to replace the evacuated police forces and the fire fighters. He ordered all members of the administration to retake their posts. In his daily radio releases he asked all civilians to construct barricades and anti-tank barriers on the streets, on September 7 the 40th Infantry Regiment Children of Lwów – transiting through Warsaw towards previously assigned positions with the Army Pomorze – was stopped and joined the defense of Warsaw
Battle of the Dukla Pass
It was part of the Soviet East Carpathian Strategic Offensive that included the Carpathian-Uzhgorod Offensive. The German resistance in the eastern Carpathian region was much harder than expected, five days to Prešov turned into fifty days to Svidník alone with over 70,000 casualties on both sides. Prešov that was to be reached in six days remained beyond the Czechoslovaks grasp for four months, in summer 1944, Slovaks rebelled against the Nazis and the Czechoslovak government appealed to Soviets for help. On 31 August, Soviet marshal Ivan Konev was ordered to prepare plans for an offensive to destroy Nazi forces in Slovakia, the plan was to push through the old Slovak-Polish border in the Carpathian Mountains via the Dukla Pass near Svidník to penetrate into Slovakia proper. In the meantime, the Germans had fortified the region, the Soviet operation plan called for the Soviet forces to cross the pass and capture the town of Prešov within five days. The operation started on 8 September and it took the Soviets three days to take Krosno.
The town of Dukla was seized on 21 September, the area of the former Czechoslovak state border—heavily fortified by the Germans—was captured on 6 October, it took almost a month for the Soviet forces to reach Slovakia. The Dukla operation did not end when the Soviets forced the pass, the combat zone shifted to Eastern Slovakia, with Soviet forces trying to outflank and push back the German forces, still strong and having many fortified positions. South of the pass and directly west of the village of Dobroslava lies an area which has come to be known as the Valley of Death, here Soviet and German armor clashed in a miniature reenactment of the great tank battle of Kursk. Soviet and Czechoslovak forces would enter Svidník on 28 October, a major German fortified position near the pass, Hill 532 Obšár, would be secured as late as on 25 November 1944. Another factor was that the Slovak insurgent forces failed to secure the other side of the pass, as planned by the Slovak and Soviet commanders during early preparations.
In 1949, the Czechoslovak government erected a memorial and cemetery southeast of the Dukla border crossing, in Vyšný Komárnik and it contains the graves of several hundred Soviet and Czechoslovak soldiers. Several other memorials and cemeteries have erected in the region. In 1956, the football club ATK Praha changed their name to Dukla Praha in honour of those who had fallen in the battle, boje o Przełęcz Dukielską Wierchy t
Joachim von Kortzfleisch
Joachim von Kortzfleisch was a German general in the Wehrmacht during World War II. He was the commander of the defense group III and had a role in ensuring the failure of the coup after the 20 July Plot attempt to assassinate Adolf Hitler. Joachim von Kortzfleisch was born into an aristocratic Westphalian family in Braunschweig, Duchy of Brunswick and he joined the army in 1907 and after service in World War I in a machine gun battalion he was an officer in the Reichswehr, reaching the rank of Generalmajor by 1937. He was arrested and put under guard by the plotters and said that he was not willing to part in a coup as he was just a soldier interested only in going home. He was replaced in his command by General Karl Freiherr von Thüngen and was allowed to leave the Bendlerblock. He subsequently interrogated Major Hans-Ulrich von Oertzen who was a supporter of the plot, in March 1945 he was the commander of the Rhine Bridgehead in Army Group B under Field Marshal Walter Model. He was shot dead by soldiers of the 737th Tank Battalion of the United States Army on 20 April 1945, Kortzfleisch and a handful of soldiers had tried to get to Berleburg, moving behind the enemy lines.
A US patrol encountered them at Schmallenberg-Wulwesort, the general defended himself with a machine pistol as he was surrounded by US soldiers, and was told to put his hands up. He refused and a US soldier shot him in the chest, knights Cross of the Iron Cross on 4 September 1940 as General der Infanterie and commander of XI
Eastern Front (World War II)
The battles on the Eastern Front constituted the largest military confrontation in history. They were characterized by unprecedented ferocity, wholesale destruction, mass deportations, and immense loss of life due to combat, exposure and massacres. The Eastern Front, as the site of nearly all extermination camps, death marches, ghettos, of the estimated 70 million deaths attributed to World War II, over 30 million, many of them civilian, occurred on the Eastern Front. The Eastern Front was decisive in determining the outcome of the European portion of World War II and it resulted in the destruction of the Third Reich, the partition of Germany for nearly half a century and the rise of the Soviet Union as a military and industrial superpower. The two principal belligerent powers were Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, along with their respective allies. Though never engaged in action in the Eastern Front, the United Kingdom. The joint German–Finnish operations across the northernmost Finnish–Soviet border and in the Murmansk region are considered part of the Eastern Front, in addition, the Soviet–Finnish Continuation War may be considered the northern flank of the Eastern Front.
Despite their ideological antipathy, both Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union shared a dislike for the outcome of World War I. The Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact signed in August 1939 was an agreement between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. It contained a secret protocol aiming to return Central Europe to the pre–World War I status quo by dividing it between Germany and the Soviet Union, Estonia and Lithuania would return to Soviet control, while Poland and Romania would be divided. I need the Ukraine so that they cant starve us out, the two powers invaded and partitioned Poland in 1939. The annexations were never recognized by most Western states, the annexed Romanian territory was divided between the Ukrainian and Moldavian Soviet republics. Adolf Hitler had argued in his autobiography Mein Kampf for the necessity of Lebensraum, acquiring new territory for Germans in Eastern Europe, Wehrmacht officers told their troops to target people who were described as Jewish Bolshevik subhumans, the Mongol hordes, the Asiatic flood and the red beast.
The vast majority of German soldiers viewed the war in Nazi terms, Hitler referred to the war in unique terms, calling it a war of annihilation which was both an ideological and racial war. In addition, the Nazis sought to wipe out the large Jewish population of Central, after Germanys initial success at the Battle of Kiev in 1941, Hitler saw the Soviet Union as militarily weak and ripe for immediate conquest. On 3 October 1941, he announced, We have only to kick in the door, Germany expected another short Blitzkrieg and made no serious preparations for prolonged warfare. Throughout the 1930s the Soviet Union underwent massive industrialization and economic growth under the leadership of Joseph Stalin, Stalins central tenet, Socialism in one country, manifested itself as a series of nationwide centralized Five-Year Plans from 1929 onwards. It served as a testing ground for both the Wehrmacht and the Red Army to experiment with equipment and tactics that they would employ on a wider scale in the Second World War
Erhard Raus was a general in the Wehrmacht of Nazi Germany during World War II. He commanded the 6th Panzer Division during the years of the war on the Eastern Front before taking army and army group commands. On 7 September 1941, during Operation Barbarossa, Raus was appointed the commander of the 6th Panzer Division. On 15 September, the 6th Panzer Division, minus its artillery, was transferred to Army Group Centre to take part in Operation Typhoon, on 11 October he was awarded the Knights Cross. Rauss unit was transferred to the LVI Panzer Corps, in early April, the 6th Panzer Division was transferred to France to refit and rest, Raus was appointed the commander of the division on 29 April. In mid-November 1942, the division left France for the Soviet Union, following the failure of Operation Citadel, he organized the withdrawal of Axis units across the Dnieper river. On 10 December 1943 he was appointed acting commander of the Fourth Panzer Army, several days he moved the divisions across the river as well as thousands of plundered cattle and horses.
Raus commanded the 1st Panzer Army, the 3rd Panzer Army, after the war, Raus wrote and co-wrote a number of books and publications focusing on strategic analysis of the tank tactics used by his forces on the Eastern Front. Raus died on 3 April 1956 and he was buried in Vienna with full military honors on 6 April. Iron Cross 2nd Class & 1st Class German Cross in Gold on 14 February 1943 as Generalmajor, panzer-Division Knights Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves Knights Cross on 11 October 1941 as Oberst and commander of the 6. Schützen-Brigade Oak Leaves on 22 August 1943 as General der Panzertruppe and commanding general of the XI