General of Panzer Troops Friedrich Paulus's Sixth Army and Colonel General Hermann Hoth's Fourth Panzer Army spent September of 1942 battering the Soviet Southeastern Front's 62nd Army (commanded by Lieutenant General Anton Ivanovich Lopatin until relieved in mid-September by Lieutenant General Vasilii Ivanovich Chuikov) back into Stalingrad and to toward the Volga River. The initial German plan for taking Stalingrad had been for the XIV Panzer Corps to penetrate south along the Volga from where it had reached Stalingrad's northern suburbs late in the day on August 23rd.
During the summer of 1942 Hitler and OKH had split Germany's Army Group South in two. Army Group A represented the linchpin of the German strategic effort. Army Group A's objectives included the Maikop oil fields (captured during August, albeit after being thoroughly demolished), the Grozny oil refineries, and the Baku oil fields. Together, these oil fields and refineries constituted the overwhelming majority of the Soviet Union's sources of oil.
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.
Over the past month we have looked at four major Soviet offensives launched against the German Sixth Army's northern flank as it attempted to clear the Soviet 62nd Army from Stalingrad (pictured in the image to the right). In particular, the Red Army's First Kotluban offensive had an enormous impact on events inside the city. As bad as the Second through Fourth Kotluban offensive's went for the Soviet Don Front's army's they also would impact not only the fighting within Stalingrad, but the German perception of the threat to Sixth Army posed by Army Group B's overextended front.
Last month I began an in-depth look at what was happening outside Stalingrad while what has become one of the most remembered battles of the Second World War was waged in the streets and ruins of the city. I started with a look at the Soviet Stalingrad Front's First Kotluban Offensive during the first week of September 1942. This offensive was directed against the German Sixth Army's VIII Army Corps (384th and 76th Infantry Divisions) and XIV Panzer Corps (the 16th Panzer Division and 3rd and 60th Motorized Divisions) .
Most commentators like to point out that the attack failed miserably.
Seventy-four years ago one of the Second World War's most important battles raged in the Russian city of Stalingrad. That fighting still attracts the attention of history enthusiasts to this day, but what is often forgotten is that what was happening outside Stalingrad had an enormous impact on events inside the city.
General of Panzer Troops Friedrich Paulus's Sixth Army and Colonel General Hermann Hoth's Fourth Panzer Army spent September of 1942 battering the Soviet Southeastern Front's 62nd (commanded by Lieutenant General Anton Ivanovich Lopatin until relieved in mid-September by
On November 23,1942, and following the November 19, 1942 beginning of Operation Uranus, the spearheads from the Soviet Southwest and Stalingrad fronts, met at Kalach to Stalingrad’s west. They had cut off the entire German 6th Army and part of the 4th Panzer Army in a massive pocket. Following a belated and thwarted German relief effort the final role for the formerly proud and merciless 6th Army was to tie down the Soviet armies around Stalingrad as German Army Group A completed its withdrawal from the Caucusus.