Last week I examined the U-boat war in the Arctic. This week I'd like to turn your attention roughly 2,000 miles to the south. There in the Black Sea, the Soviet Navy faced off against the Axis powers in a poorly understood war that nevertheless featured: amphibious landings, to big-gun fire support for ground forces, convoys, sea-control, sea-denial, anti-ship, ASW, mine, and submarine warfare.
In this article we shall look at the battle beneath the waves. More specifically, how the Germans employed U-boats in the Black Sea, and to what extent those U-boats proved effective - or not.
By September 26, 1942 the German Sixth Army had taken the bulk of Stalingrad's southern and central sectors. Though the 62nd Army stood nearly as strong on September 26th in terms of personnel as it had two weeks prior it's tank strength had dropped considerably from where it had once been. For instance, the primary armored reinforcements sent into the city consisted of light tanks that failed to replace the much more valuable T-34 medium tanks and KV-series heavy tanks lost in the September fighting. In short, the 62nd Army was in trouble.
Late in August of 1942 the German Sixth Army bore down on Stalingrad. The German commander, General Freidrich Paulus, had much to contemplate regarding how he would approach the task of seizing the city that would become the bane of his existence and end his military career in catastrophic fashion. Stalingrad sprawled down the broad Volga River's western bank in a long (at over 25 miles) strip of land. Problematically for it's defenders, the Volga's western bank rose significantly higher than it's east bank.
In recent weeks I have been examining the Soviet offensives launched against the German Sixth Army's flanks as it pounded it's way into Stalingrad. However, there is one important point that needs to be stressed. The First Kotluban offensive of September 1942 was far from the first Soviet effort to throw back Sixth Army from Stalingrad. In fact, from the very first day that Sixth Army's spearheads reached the Volga River they were under near continuous attack.
On August 23, 1942 Sixth Army's XIV Panzer Corps exploded from its bridgehead over the Don River.
When most people think of the Red Army circa 1942 they imagine a war machine on the rise, and blessed with fleets of wordclass T-34 medium tanks. On the one hand it's true that by the spring of 1942 Soviet tank factories cranked out far more T-34's than they had during the nadir of Soviet fortunes late in 1941. But, for a number of reasons (including both T-34 losses at the front as well as the decision to parcel out T-34's in independent tank brigades versus concentrating them in the Tank Corps) there were never enough of these reliable, well armed armored fighting vehicles to go around.
The Michigan War Studies Review (MiWSR) has just published my latest book review. It is of David Stahel's The Battle for Moscow, and unfortunately it is a work that I cannot recommend. This is only the second time I have had to publish a negative review with the MiWSR. Readers will quickly see why.
It is patently obvious that Stahel's latest work is more interested in pushing an agenda. It does not measure up to the findings of countless other military historians in regards to why Germany failed to take Moscow late in 1941.
I have previously written about the circumstances surrounding the Red Army's spring 1944 siege of Tarnapol, as well as a general overview of the siege. Here I would like to delve deeper into the composition of the beseiged garrison, and the German relief effort's operations - using Schwere Panzerjager-Abteilung 653's employment in the relief force to help explain why the Germans failed.
During the March-April 1944 offensive launched by Marshal of the Soviet Union Georgy Zhukov's 1st Ukrainian Front (see the previous article in this series for more) an amalgation of German units caught up in
Early in December 1941 German led Axis forces had driven to the gates of Moscow. However, the Red Army counter-attacked their overextended enemy. Soviet armies drove the Wehrmacht and its Axis allies back across the entirety of the front, and put the nail in Operation Barbarossa's coffin. Nevertheless, by early in January 1942 most of the initial Soviet counterstrokes had fizzled to a halt, and for good reason.
In just over six months of warfare the Soviet Union had lost control over 40 percent of its population, a third of its heavy industry, and staggering military losses reaching nearly 5
We have a new poll up. For those of you who have read my book it is no mystery that armored warfare is by far my favorite aspect of the Second World War. In particular, my research and interests are overwhelmingly directed at the great armored clashes of the German-Soviet 1941-1945 war. As such, I am looking forward to your responses to our new poll question.
There were obviously a number of different tank models deployed by the Red Army and Wehrmacht during Nazi Germany's June 1941 invasion of the Soviet Union; named Operation Barbarossa.