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BATTLESTORM STALINGRAD S1/E1 – The 6th Army Strikes!


It was the 21st of July 1942. Advancing eastwards
across the sweltering steppe below the Don River was Paulus’ 6th Army. Most of the
men marched on foot, but in decent weather like this, some of their motorized divisions
could drive 200km in a single day. Their aim was to cross the Don Bend, strike into the
city of Stalingrad, then move southeast to take Astrakhan. This would secure the northern
flank of the other Axis armies who were about to charge south into the Caucasus – the main
objective of the German summer offensive. Some of Paulus’ divisions were currently
tasked with guarding the army’s northern flank along the Don. This meant that the force
directed against the Soviet Stalingrad Front wasn’t his entire army. However the advancing-portion
was still a large force – consisting of 5 foot-infantry divisions, 1 panzer (or armoured)
division, and two motorized infantry divisions – totalling a huge 120,000 men, and 170 tanks,
plus more assault guns and tank destroyers as well. Contrasting this to the Soviet side, we see
a major difference in the quality of the opposing armies. With the disintegration of Soviet
forces during the initial stages of Fall Blau – the German 1942 summer offensive – several
Soviet reserve armies had been activated to defend the Stalingrad area as part of Marshal
Timoshenko’s Stalingrad Front. Two of these were the 62nd and 64th Armies, now arriving
on the western side of the great Don River with orders to stand fast to the last man
and not allow Axis forces to cross the Don. Kolpakchi’s 62nd Army quickly began forming
a bowed-line from Kletskaya on the Don to Surovikino on the Chir River, while Gordov’s
64th Army was hastily deploying south of the Chir. Various Soviet units would continue
to arrive over the next few days, hardly having enough time to do any digging-in, and those
that did arrive lacked about a third of their light and heavy machine guns as well as other
equipment. Soviet rifle divisions were meant to have
had nearly 11,000 men within them. But 19 of Stalingrad Front’s 38 divisions had fewer
than 2,500 men, 14 of which had less than 1,000, and none of the others had over 8,000.
Even if they had been at full strength, Soviet units would still be smaller than their equivalent
Axis counterparts, which started the campaign with between 14 and 16,000 men, depending
on division. So to give a more accurate representation of the various unit strengths, Soviet units
will be downgraded in size. So, for example, a Soviet division will be the size of a German
brigade, reflecting the number of men within the unit. This isn’t a perfect solution,
but as a general measure it’s a better way of representing the size differences. It’s also worth noting that these divisions
were accompanied by other units, including two naval rifle brigades, and eight officer
cadet schools. As Aleksey Isaev has pointed out – “The use of military schools testifies to
the intensity of the struggle and the critical situation in the southern sector of the front.
Only in a truly catastrophic situation does the command refuse to complete the training
of cadets as officers and throws them into battle as ordinary infantry.” 64th and 62nd Armies had a combined total
of 102,926 men at this time, supported by 332 tanks. This was versus Paulus’ attacking
force of 120,000 men and 170 panzers (not including German assault guns or tank-destroyers).
Perhaps half of these Soviet tanks were light tanks (mostly T-70s), while the majority of
the German tanks were the medium Panzer IIIs and IVs, which were much more suited to tank
vs tank combat. In addition, the Germans had ample anti-tank guns and significant infantry-anti-tank
capabilities, and air-support. Plus at this point, the Germans were experts at combined-arms
warfare, and will separate the enemy’s tanks from their infantry and anti-tank guns,
isolate them, and destroy them piecemeal. So, it’s worth keeping this in mind, that
the tank vs tank numbers alone don’t tell the full story. But the Axis did have major supply problems.
They were roughly 2,000 kilometers from Berlin, and their logistical services were completely
overwhelmed – and had been for quite some time. This was made worse locally by the transfer
of forces to Paulus’ army during the Fall Blau campaign without the necessary logistical
organization to compensate, meaning Paulus had more forces than he should have had, and
wasn’t getting any additional supplies for them. Worse, supplies that should have gone
to Paulus had actually been redirected south, leaving 6th Army even more short of badly needed supplies. So bad were the supply services, that on the
21st of July, Generalmajor Helmuth Schlömer – 3rd Motorized Division’s commander – had
to leave the entire 8th Infantry Regiment and other divisional elements behind so that
the rest of the division could be supplied with fuel in order to keep the advance going.
The other divisions were suffering similar issues, and they hadn’t even got into the
fighting yet, let alone moved into the city of Stalingrad. It’s worth keeping this in
mind as we continue this series – the Germans were continually suffering from logistical
problems throughout this campaign, which impacted their conduct of it. But despite these problems, they had orders
to advance, and that’s what they would do. Paulus’ plan of attack against the Soviet
forces ahead of him was to use two wedges of tanks to break through the Red Army defences,
get to the Don River as quickly as possible, then surround and destroy the Soviets in the
pockets west of the river. It was a bold plan for the introverted commander
of the Sixth Army, General der Panzertruppe Friedrich Wilhelm Ernst Paulus. At 52 years
of age, a capable staff officer, and a good organizer, Paulus was a quiet, but moody man,
who never lost his temper and didn’t like it when others showed their emotions. He was
reserved, tidy and always fretted over his personal appearance. His love for Beethoven
was only surpassed by his love for Adolf Hitler, whom he considered a genius and an excellent
leader for Germany. And it was this man – the man with ‘slender hands’ – who was going
to lead his army into the hell of Stalingrad. But was he even capable of getting his men
to the city in the first place? 22nd of July 1942. A sweltering 53 degrees
celsius. The mobile force of Paulus’ 6th Army was 14th Panzer Corps, commanded by General
der Infanterie Gustav Anton von Wietersheim. This consisted of 3rd Motorized, 60th Motorized
and 16th Panzer Divisions. Moving from Bokovskaia, 3rd and 60th Motorized Divisions reached Kletskaya
by nightfall, flanked by the 100th Jäger and 113th Infantry Divisions of Heitz’s
8th Army Corps. A Jäger or Hunter Division is meant to be
a light-but-fast-moving infantry division with fewer infantry regiments and lighter
artillery than a regular infantry division. The idea being that you can move quicker
with less infantry and with lighter artillery. But Sanne’s 100th Jäger Division actually
had a new third regiment attached to it. This was Pavičić’s 369th Reinforced (Croatian)
Infantry Regiment, also known as, the Croatian Legion. So, while 100th Jäger Division did
have lighter artillery, it wasn’t a weak division by any stretch of the imagination. Generalmajor Hans-Valentin Hube and his 16th
Panzer Division were further south. They were supported on the right by the 297th and 71st
Infantry Divisions of 51st Army Corps. These crossed the Chir River and continued east
towards the Soviet defensive lines. In preparation for the fighting ahead, 16th Panzer Division
split into four combat groups. One of them was Kampfgruppe Lattmann, which was partly
comprised of von Strachwitz’s 1st Panzer Battalion from 2nd Panzer Regiment, and three
other battalions. This was the same unforgettable Hyacinth Graf Strachwitz von Groß-Zauche
und Camminetz who would later command the Großdeutchland Regiment, take part in the
Battle of Kursk, and take part in Operation Doppelkopf – the semi-successful rescue operation
to free Army Group North from it’s pocket in the northern Baltics prior to the Courland
Pocket. At the same time as 16th Panzer Division was
forming Kampfgruppen, so too was Kohlermann’s 60th Motorized (Danzig) Division. Due to fuel
shortages, and the need to get to the Don in good time, it was decided to create a divisional
combat group. This group – which I’m going to refer to as ‘Kampfgruppe 60’ – consisted
of Höhn’s 160th Panzer Battalion, the 160th Motorcycle Battalion and one battalion of
infantry. At this stage of the war, the German motorized divisions were equipped with one panzer battalion each, providing an armoured-spearhead and, in theory, making the motorized divisions
almost as powerful as a regular panzer division. There were discussions going on at the time
about whether diluting the panzer strength amongst the motorized divisions like this
was right or wrong, but the main thing to note is that both 3rd and 60th Motorized Divisions
were equipped with panzers at this time. Currently, Höhn’s 160th Panzer Battalion had 54 panzers,
and 3rd Motorized Division’s 103rd Panzer Battalion had 43 Panzers. Hube’s 16th Panzer
Division had about 70 panzers, bringing Paulus’s and Wietersheim’s total number of tanks
to about 170. Above them flew the fighter aircraft and Ju
87 Stuka dive bombers of Generaloberst Wolfram Freiherr von Richthofen’s Luftflotte 4.
Richthofen was the cousin of Manfred von Richthofen – the Red Baron from the First World War – and
had actually served in the same squadron with him. He had extensive experience in the Luftwaffe,
having commanded units in Spain, Poland and France. On this day, Italian fighters from
21st Gruppo escorted Richthofen’s Stukas, freeing up the German Bf 109s to deal with
the Soviet Il-2s, Yaks and Lend-Lease Hurricanes of Khriukin’s 8th Air Army. Back on the ground, the consequences of Timoshenko’s
failures during Fall Blau (as well as other times during the war so far), led Stalin to
replace him on this day. Vasily Gordov was made the Stalingrad Front’s commander, leaving
the 64th Army in the hands of Vasily Ivanovich Chuikov. Chuikov was an energetic but ruthless commander
who had, under Stalin’s orders, willingly executed his own officers during his command
of the 9th Army in the Winter War. He had also seen action in Poland, but had not, until
now, led forces against the Germans. The Stavka thought he was an untested and unknown general,
which he was, but Chuikov was about to become the central character in this battle – perhaps
the most important Soviet commander during the Stalingrad Campaign. However, the replacement
of commanders at this critical moment caused confusion for the Soviet troops under the
64th Army, and Chuikov barely had time to react to the events which were rapidly unfolding. I’d like to give a special thanks to Historian
Anton Joly who helped with the research for this series. Check out his YouTube channel,
Stalingrad Battle Data, link in the description. One of Hitler’s goals during his rise to
power was to make Germany self-sufficient in resources, because he rejected the idea
of trading with “international Jewish finance” – as he referred to it. He believed that if
Germany kept trading her industrial goods in exchange for food from un-industrialized
nations, they would be able to industrialize, cease trading their food, and cause Germany
to starve in turn. Hitler feared that this starvation would be exploited by the Jews,
who would usher in a Marxist Revolution, and end the Aryan race and all of civilization.
So, to stop this, Hitler aimed to make Germany self-sufficient in resources. And in order
to become Autarkic, Hitler would conquer the lands of the east, enslave their peoples,
and extract the food and oil that the industrial German heartland needed to prosper. But until this happened, the Third Reich would
suffer. The food crisis was severe. Germans had seen their food rations decreased in the
May of 1941. Belgian miners had gone on strike during the winter of 1940 in protest over
their inadequate food supplies, and Belgian prisoners inside goals were on 1,550 calories
a day, which was why they started to die of starvation in 1942. Reacting to the shortage,
the Germans confiscated food from continental Europe, starving the Greeks, the Ukranians,
and a million and a half Soviet prisoners of war in 1941. Hitler was adamant that everyone
else would starve first before a single German went hungry. Of course, the food crisis was made worse
by the oil crisis. In 1941, with the British blockade on the go, Germany was in an oil
deficit of epic proportions. The European Axis consumed 9,558,000 tons more oil than
it produced. This was so bad, that if there had been a second Romania supplying Germany
oil in 1941, that still wouldn’t have been enough to meet her demands. Worse, fuel shortages led to the decline of
harvest yields – because tractors need fuel to operate – further deepening the food crisis.
Even transporting the food they had to where it was needed became problematic. “…thousands of litres of milk went to
waste in the French countryside every day, because no petrol was available to ensure
regular collections.” By December 1940, the Kriegsmarine was operating
at fifty-percent of its oil requirements. And the German Army gave serious consideration
to a partial demotorization of its units. This is despite the fact that the army was
mostly horse-powered anyway, with only a handful of motorized and armoured ‘panzer’ units
in operation. Their logistics were already so miserable as a result of the oil crisis
and the large distances, that in order to relieve the strain on transportation and ease
the food crisis, German divisions were ordered to live off the land as they marched east.
This in turn led to the pillage and plunder of farms and cities in the occupied territories. “Soldiers did not just take turnips and
onions from the fields, they raided almost every allotment or kitchen garden that they
passed. Chickens, ducks and geese were the favourite spoils of war because they were
so portable and easy to prepare for the pot. Clemens Podewils, a war correspondent attached
to the Sixth Army, described in his diary the arrival of a combat group [from 16th Panzer
Division] in one village on 30 June following a sharp skirmish. ‘Black figures jump down
from tanks and half-tracks. Suddenly a great execution is carried out. The poultry, with
bloody ruffs and beating their wings in a paroxysm, was carried back to the vehicles.
The men jumped back on board, the tank tracks ground the soil, and the vehicles moved on
again.’” Civilians who were deemed useful to the Germans
were granted a food ration consisting of just 1,200 calories per day, and their dependants
850. That’s not enough to survive on. Jews were given 420 calories – basically nothing.
Many more people in the towns and cities were simply starved. In Kiev in 1942, the Germans
began confiscating all the food, and prevented food coming into the city, leading to a decrease
in the population by 315,000 by October 1943. 150,000 of Kharkov’s 450,000 people would
die of starvation by the end of 1942. Others were shipped to the slave labour camps of
the Reich, to work to death, again on starvation rations. This was why Hitler was heading east – Germany
needed the oil of the Caucasus. “If I do not get the oil of Maikop and Grozny,
then I must end the war.” Barbarossa – the invasion of the Soviet Union
in 1941 – had been launched with three Army Groups – North, Centre and South. This had
failed to achieve victory, and had cost the German Army severely in manpower and material.
For 1942, there was only enough oil, manpower and material to launch one Army Group forwards,
and so Army Group South was reinforced. The plan – Fall Blau – ordered the securing
of the northern flank along the Don and Volga Rivers, before driving south to seize the
oilfields and farmlands of the Caucasus. And this was what Paulus’ 6th Army was doing
now – advancing east to secure the northern flank in preparation for the drive south.
The city of Stalingrad wasn’t important at this stage, not even to Hitler. Its capture
was only to help secure the flank along the Volga, nothing more. However, on the 23rd of July 1942, the window
for operational success was closing. Logistics were breaking down. Stocks of fuel were running
low, and as we have already seen the troops were suffering from petrol shortages. If Germany
didn’t get oil soon, she would no longer be able to wage the war of movement she needed
to wage in order to win the war. And she would lose the static-attritional war which would
follow. Blau had also seen the disintegration of the Red Army in the south, giving the impression
that the Soviets were on their last legs and were incapable of stopping the mighty German
Wehrmacht from achieving victory. Hitler and the Army High Command had believed
they had just witnessed the Red Army collapse. Now, in Hitler’s mind, the only thing stopping
the Germans from getting to Astrakhan was the terrain and the fuel gauge. He concludes
that the Soviets will not be able to create a viable defensive position west of the Volga
River. Because of this, Hitler decides that now was
the time to roll the dice once more. Rather than strike East to Astrakhan first, form
a northern blocking line, then strike south to the Caucasus oil fields, Hitler instructs
Army Group B to strike towards Astrakhan while Army Group A moves south into the Caucasus.
This was his Führer Directive Number 45 – arguably the event that loses Hitler the entire 1942
campaign. Including the Voronezh area, this order basically splits two half-army-groups
over three strategic axis at the same time. This was a big gamble, but Hitler feels that
there’s no alternative. As part of this order, he sends 4 armies south
in Army Group A. 1st and 4th Panzer Armies, 17th Army and the Romanian 3rd Army. Army
Group B would consist of the German 2nd, Hungarian 2nd, Italian 8th, and the German 6th Armies.
6th Army was also ordered – for the first time – to actually take the city of Stalingrad,
for an eventual thrust on Astrakhan. Hitler thinks the Soviets have been defeated,
and decides now is the right time to dilute his forces in the hope that they can get the
oil he desperately needs. But he has misjudged the military situation. In reality, instead
of defeated remnants, Paulus’ 6th Army is now left alone to face the undefeated and
quite powerful Red Army forces of Gordov’s Stalingrad Front. Another special thanks goes to Terri Young,
the Graphic Designer who created the detailed maps used throughout this series. Check out
her website, terriyoungdesigns.co.uk link in the description. In the scorching heat of the 23rd of July,
Paulus’ mobile divisions advanced towards Kolpakchi’s embryonic lines. Schlömer’s
division, supported by parts of Sanne’s and Kohlermann’s divisions, took Kletskaya
at 0900 hours after a brief battle with the separated battalions of the Soviet 427th Rifle
Regiment. They then headed south. 160th Panzer Battalion led the way for Kampfgruppe 60,
which pierced the enemy lines at 1000 hours. But stubborn Soviet resistance slowed their
attack down, so 103rd Panzer Battalion was ordered to veer west to help them out. This would hopefully catch the enemy ahead of Kampfgruppe 60 in the flank. Skornyakov’s 40th Tank Brigade responded
by counterattacking 103rd Panzer Battalion – part of which (Haen’s 1st Company) was
caught in a gully and attacked on all sides. Then, when Skornyakov’s brigade attempted
to outflank 103rd Panzer Battalion, 160th Panzer Battalion from 60th Motorized Division
appeared and hit them hard. In this meeting engagement, the Soviet tanks got pummelled.
The Germans counted 21 Soviet T-34s and KV tanks destroyed in this action south of Platonov.
It’s not clear how many German tanks were knocked out, but there was only a handful
of casualties in this action for both panzer battalions. Meanwhile, the forward unit of Utvenko’s
33rd Guards Rifle Division – 84th Guards Rifle Regiment – were hit by 16th Panzer Division
and, despite stubborn resistance by their anti-tank gunners, were compelled to fall
back. Hube’s panzers reached the area ten kilometers from Kolpakchi’s main defences
along the Dobraia River. Volkhin’s 147th Rifle Division also reported it’s forward
units were engaged against motorcycle infantry from Pfeffer’s 297th Infantry Division. Clearly,
Kolpakchi’s right wing was smashed, but he tried to make the most of it by not reporting
at first that Zakharchenko’s 192nd Rifle Division was withdrawing. When he did report
it later that evening, he made sure to mention that it was alright because his 40th Tank
Brigade was striking back. Of course, this counter-attack had already failed, but there
was no need to admit that to the higher ups at this time. In the air, six unescorted Ju-87 Stuka dive
bombers were set upon by five Yak-7Bs – a new Soviet aircraft design. Where the German
or Italian fighter escorts had got to is not clear, but the inexperienced and ill-trained
crews of the Soviet aircraft had a difficult time of it as it was. The Soviet flight leader
had to attack the same bomber eighteen times in order to bring it down, and his own aircraft
had so many holes in it that he had to make a forced landing himself. It was no wonder
that the German pilots felt so superior to their Soviet counterparts. It was now that Hitler realised that the 6th
Army required more armour support if it was to take Stalingrad on the march. He therefore
assigned Langermann’s 24th Panzer Corps to Paulus’ army. This consisted of just
one division, but it was an important one: Hauenschild’s 24th Panzer Division. This
had initially been the 1st Cavalry Division before it was converted to a panzer division.
This was why it had the leaping-horsemen symbol as its logo. But don’t be fooled by their
previous role – this was an elite division with experienced men within it, and we’ll
be seeing this unit a lot during this series. And Halder, Chief of the General Staff for
the Army High Command, is not happy with this move. Calling it a “diversion” of resources
to Sixth Army – “Führer situation conference: In consequence
of the concentration of army ordered by the Führer on the 17th of July over my opposition,
and the diversion of 24th Panzer Division to Sixth Army, directed by him on the 21st
of July, it is becoming obvious even to the layman that the Rostov area is crammed with
armour which has nothing to do, while the critical outer wing of Tsimlyanskaya is starving
for it. I warned emphatically against both these developments. “Now that the result is so palpable, he
explodes in a fit of insane rage and hurls the gravest reproaches against the General
Staff. “This chronic tendency to underrate enemy
capabilities is gradually assuming grotesque proportions and develops into a positive danger.
The situation is getting more and more intolerable. There is no room for any serious work. This
so-called leadership is characterized by a pathological reacting to the impressions of
the moment and a total lack of any understanding of the command machinery and its possibilities.” Fall Blau wasn’t going so well. But it would
be a mistake to say that Paulus didn’t need 24th Panzer Division right now; 6th Army was
going to need all the help it could get, and even Halder didn’t realise that at this
stage. So, with this additional tank support, Paulus
decided to revise his plan of attack. Wietersheim’s 14th Panzer Corps and Heitz’s 8th Army Corps
would attack from the north towards the Don River at Kalach. At the same time, 24th Panzer
Division, with 51st Army Corps’ three infantry divisions, would strike through 64th Army’s
lines south of the Chir river, and advance to Kalach as well. These two moves would encircle
the Soviet 62nd and 64th Armies west of the Don, and allow Paulus to crush them completely.
At which point there would be nothing left to stop 6th Army from taking Stalingrad on
the march. With an attack about to hit them, 64th Army
was hastily digging into its new positions. However, apart from Sazhin’s 229th Rifle
Division, which had relieved the 196th Rifle Division and now occupied their trenches,
the rest of the units in 64th Army found nothing but open ground on which to prepare their
defences. Essentially, they weren’t ready at all for the incoming Axis attack. And worse, their new commander was in trouble.
Chuikov was flying over the battlefield this day in an unarmed reconnaissance biplane,
when a German Ju-88 appeared in the sky. Guns fired. Chuikov’s pilot tried to find
some cover in a village or a wood – but the steppe was barren. After several more bursts,
Chuikov’s biplane was hit. It fell from the sky. And when the machine impacted the ground,
it tore in half and burst into flames. Luckily, Chuikov and his pilot were thrown out of their
aircraft on impact with the ground just as the fire started. Somehow they both walked
away with only minor bruising. The reason why they survived was probably because they
were flying so close to the ground in a slow moving aircraft that the impact wasn’t so
fast. But either way, it was certainly a close call for General Chuikov. 24th of July 1942. Marching forwards, 297th
and 71st Infantry Divisions of General der Artillerie Walther von Seydlitz-Kurzbach’s
51st Army Corps, assisted later in the day by 24th Panzer Division when it got to the
front, attacked eastward along both banks of the Chir. There was no defence in depth
in the 64th Army area, so shattered forward units roamed around, confused and disheartened,
whilst the Luftwaffe circled overhead, happily dropping their bombs on them, without mercy.
These forward units scarpered back to 64th Army’s main line, which the German divisions
now closed up to. In response, Chuikov ordered his newly arriving units – Sologub’s 112th
Rifle Division, and the 66th Naval Rifle and 137th Tank Brigades – into the Nizhne-Chirskaya
area to form some sort of defence in depth. “The initiative lay in the hands of the
enemy, who, it must be said, had prepared for this offensive thoroughly. The 64th Army
had only just consolidated this line of defence, was without well-equipped positions, and without
well-organized transport of military stores and rations. The Army’s rear stretched as
far back as Tula.” The bulk of 16th Panzer and 113th Infantry
Divisions smashed through 62nd Army’s center, and pushed Kolpakchi’s forces back another
15km towards the Don. To the north, 3rd and 60th Motorized Divisions
cut through the remaining defences of 192nd Rifle Division, who’s headquarters had been
overrun, and began to advance southeast. But fuel was short, so only the best vehicles
in Kampfgruppe 60 got some. And 3rd Motorized Division had practically ran out of fuel by
this point, only having enough for a small combat spearhead. Leaving elements behind
to wait for fuel, these kampfgruppen wheeled south at noon, with 3rd Motorized Division’s
spearhead taking the village of Buzinovka. Here they repulsed enemy tanks which were
trying to breakthrough to the north. Despite the fuel issues and the resistance, Kampfgruppe
60 reached the village of Osinovskiy that evening. Elements of Schlömer’s spearhead
went even further and arrived at Lipo-Logovskiy. They had gone 50 miles, and Schlömer’s
division was now less than 10 kilometers from Kalach. Effectively, these two divisions had
thrust a long shadowed spear of armour and motorized infantry running from Kletskaia
to the Don. By the evening, Wietersheim’s 14th Panzer
Corps, with 113th Infantry Division’s help, had encircled a third of Kolpakchi’s army
on the high ground east of Perelazovskii. Colonel Konstantin Zhuravlev, from 62nd Army’s
command, was flown into the pocket to take overall charge of the units inside, which
included almost all of Utvenko’s 33rd Guards Rifle Division, all of Koyda’s 184th Rifle
Division, Skornyakov’s 40th Tank Brigade and 644th Tank Battalion. Most of 192nd Rifle
Division was inside the pocket as well because their rifle regiments had withdrawn south
rather than to the area east of Kletskaya, where their overrun headquarters had fled
to. And the headquarters of the 184th Rifle Division had also been overrun, leaving the
pocket without a central headquarters or chain of command to lead it. Zhuravlev would have
his work cut out for him. However, the pocket wasn’t fully closed, due to the fact that
most of Wietersheim’s units were so crippled by fuel shortages that they couldn’t actually
reach the required areas in order to solidify the ring. To the south, 181st and 147th Rifle Divisions
managed to hold the center of the front against the Austrian 44th Infantry Division’s attacks.
And Colonel Tanaschishin’s 13nd Tank Corps had also been thrown in to battle Hube’s
panzers. But these actions weren’t enough to excuse the fact that the Axis had clearly
smashed the Soviet defences. Kolpakchi was even compelled to admit to his superiors that
he didn’t know where most of his units were, since he had lost communications with them.
Clearly, the situation was once-again slipping beyond the control of the Red Army. Both Gordov and Vasilevsky could see that
62nd and 64th Armies needed support. Vasilevskii therefore proposed to Stalin that they mount
a counter-attack with two new armies – the 1st and 4th Tank Armies – which were moving
to the area. At first, Stalin was reluctant to commit to this counter-attack, but Vasilevskii
managed to persuade him, and it seems that from that moment onwards Stalin was determined
to mount the attack. The appropriate orders were therefore issued to 1st and 4th Tank
Armies – and the tables were about to be turned against the 6th Army. 25th of July 1942. In the north, the Kampfgruppen
from 3rd and 60th Motorized Divisions had to syphon fuel from some panzers in order
to keep the others going. But going they did, with both Kampfgruppen advancing south towards
Kalach. 3rd Motorized Division’s artillery fired
on the wooden Kalach bridge. But despite some direct hits, it held. 88 millimeter flak guns
were set up in support of Fau’s 53rd Motorcycle Battalion, which also fired at Soviet reinforcements
moving across the river. One of those reinforcing units was Lebedenko’s 55th Tank Brigade.
In fact, Lebedenko’s own tank almost went into the water as a result of the German fire. But Lebedenko had successfully crossed the
bridge, as had Lebedev’s 56th Tank Brigade. Both of these units were from Rodin’s 28th
Tank Corps, itself the first unit to arrive from Major-General Moskalenko’s 1st Tank
Army. Such was the desperation to reinforce 64th and 62nd Armies at the Don Bend that
the third part of Rodin’s corps hadn’t yet arrived, and not all of the first two
parts had arrived either. While these units crossed over the Don, Kampfgruppe
60 captured the hamlet of Lozhki, and to the Soviets it looked like it might reach Kalach.
So Kolpakchi ordered that Rodin’s 28th Tank Corps mount a counterattack to smash 14th
Panzer Corps’ spearhead. General Pushkin, Deputy Front commander, also ordered an attack
towards the village of Lozhki. When asked if the tanks would have artillery support,
Pushkin replied – “Very little. In fact, there won’t be
any.” However, Rodin (of 28th Tank Corps) decided
that the overall situation was so critical that he had no choice but to commit his troops
piecemeal against the 3rd and 60th Motorized Divisions’ forward units. Thus, Lebedenko’s
and Lebedev’s tank brigades attacked northwards – a wall of Soviet steel aiming to shatter
the German spear. Would they succeed? Will the Germans have the strength to stop them?
We’ll find out next time. Thanks for watching, bye for now.

Tony wyaad

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52 COMMENTS

  1. TIK Posted on October 7, 2019 at 3:31 pm

    History has been made today! If you like history, be sure to give the video a thumbs up!

    As regular viewers will see, I do cover some parts in this video that I've mentioned in other videos. I'm assuming the viewer is new to my channel, and I'm bringing them up to speed. However, I've tried to present these parts a little differently so that regular viewers are getting additional information.

    EDIT: Lots of people are commenting about the 53 degrees temperature on the 22nd of July 1942, saying it's too high. I've double checked, and Beevor definitely says 53 degrees in the sun on Page 87 of my edition of his "Stalingrad" book. He's quoting from Helmuth Groscurth, chief of staff of XI Army Corps, who recorded that temperature. It could still be a false reading, or Beevor/Groscurth may have got the numbers wrong, but that's what it says. See my Addendum video which discusses this https://youtu.be/9p_5viY7V4s

    Some of you may have noticed that I’ve released this video half an hour earlier than usual (at 1630 hours rather than 1700 hours). The reason why I decided to do that is to emphasize the fact that this battle started earlier than many of the books and authors of this battle like to start it. For example, Wikipedia currently says that the Battle of Stalingrad started on the 23rd of August 1942. Well, once again, Wikipedia is wrong. The city fighting may have started then, and the German generals wanted to push the date back to then to push their narrative that this period of the battle wasn’t important, but the Battle of Stalingrad actually started in late July. Some Russian authors say it started as early as the 16th of July, but I’m starting it on the 21st which is roughly when the main fighting got going. The reason the German generals pushed it back into August will become blatantly clear in the first three videos of this series.

    Also, without Glantz & House’s “Stalingrad” series of books, a video on this period of the battle would be impossible to create because (again) many authors miss this period of the fighting out. Glantz and House do not miss this period of the battle out. So if you’re looking for a great book to read about Stalingrad in even more detail than I can present in the videos, I’d highly recommend Glantz & House's "Stalingrad" book. If you’re not reading Glantz, you’re doing it wrong!

    A big thanks goes to Historian Anton Joly, who helped with the research for this series – check out his YouTube channel “Stalingrad Battle Data” (link in the description)!

    Another big thanks goes to my current Patrons, and my previous ones, who have supported me since 2017 which was when I first started doing the research for this Stalingrad series. Many many books have been purchased with their support, and the research is well over 400,000 words (I lost count). If you would like to see your name in the future videos of this series, please support my channel and make these videos happen. You can support me here https://www.patreon.com/TIKhistory or https://www.subscribestar.com/tikhistory

    The first Season of this series will be three episodes (including this one), and the next two videos will be released on the 21st of October 2019 and the 4th of November 2019. After Season 1 I will then break from releasing Stalingrad videos to prepare for Season 2.

    All sources relating to Stalingrad are listed in the “specific Battlestorm Stalingrad bibliography” link in the description!

    Thanks for watching, bye for now!

    Reply
  2. Hanhwe Kim Posted on October 13, 2019 at 11:47 pm

    Yay! Thank you TIK!

    Reply
  3. Douglas Strother Posted on October 14, 2019 at 12:40 am

    Check out "The Great Patriotic War" by Star Media (English subtitles)
    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCuSx-lf2ft7hPceGVNHybOw/featured?disable_polymer=1

    They used to have an English-dubbed version, but I can no longer find it.

    Reply
  4. Douglas Strother Posted on October 14, 2019 at 12:46 am

    53°C = 127°F!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DpktBGInl60

    Reply
  5. Scrat335 Posted on October 14, 2019 at 3:08 am

    Thank you Too. Great work.

    Reply
  6. FlyingRazzo Posted on October 14, 2019 at 8:13 am

    Dat tense ending!

    Reply
  7. AMS Fountain Posted on October 14, 2019 at 9:41 am

    Shouldn`t have the russians put their defensive positions at the Don River?

    Reply
  8. Haruspex Augur Posted on October 14, 2019 at 12:34 pm

    WE NEED A VIDEO ON OPERATION UNTHINKABLE

    Reply
  9. Alejandro Ramirez Posted on October 14, 2019 at 5:01 pm

    Dam I got here one week late

    Reply
  10. Marty Dowey Posted on October 14, 2019 at 5:06 pm

    At 9:56 of the video you remarked that the temperature was 53 degrees C. That's 127.4 degrees F and it seemed a bit warm to me so I googled it to find the all time record temperature for all of Russia was 44C(111F). Perhaps your source was mistaken or I could be incorrect.

    Reply
  11. StarlightEater Posted on October 14, 2019 at 5:34 pm

    Wow, 18 attack runs.

    He was persistent at least?

    Reply
  12. Schneeflocke Posted on October 14, 2019 at 6:31 pm

    Oh boy oh boy oh boy! I'm so excited to see another flawless german victory! Man, this will be so great! 🙂

    Reply
  13. Schneeflocke Posted on October 14, 2019 at 7:09 pm

    One Question: what should Hitler have done? More reinforcements for Army Group South? But the Center needed the soldiers for the Battles in Sevastopol. And adding more tanks wont work either if you cant supply the tanks already assigned.
    Basically there was no other way it seems. So, ultimately the focus on Moscow 1941 was the failure that led to this miserable position.

    Reply
  14. Tinus Pannier Posted on October 14, 2019 at 8:02 pm

    Is there any chance we can acces this beautiful map?

    Reply
  15. James Heap Posted on October 14, 2019 at 8:03 pm

    9:54 you say that on 22nd July it was a sweltering 53 degrees Celsius. This is one degree below the world record temperature, and way higher than the highest temperature ever recorded in the USSR. Great video but this mistake jumped out at me. 🙂

    Reply
  16. forAll Posted on October 14, 2019 at 8:52 pm

    you have really outdone yourself on this one. just amazing

    Reply
  17. Adam S. Posted on October 14, 2019 at 9:49 pm

    TIK, wonderful work as always. But your names pronounciation is atrocious. Not a criticism. However, if you think you'd like to work on that I can definitely help there. Let me know and we'll work something out.

    Reply
  18. Allan Lindsay Posted on October 14, 2019 at 9:52 pm

    This presentation should be the recipient of major awards. Your ability to deal and with the swathe of information and make it interesting is nothing short astounding, your wonderful delivery helps in this of course. Thank you.

    Reply
  19. Godd Howard Posted on October 14, 2019 at 10:40 pm

    Damn, if only the Germans took the city
    The war would have been over by Christmas I bet

    Reply
  20. SpringHeeledJack Posted on October 15, 2019 at 1:36 am

    This is the best content on YouTube

    Reply
  21. AIF_Infantrymen Posted on October 15, 2019 at 1:37 am

    i had a good laugh at the speech bubble at 30:52

    Reply
  22. Ronnie Jones Posted on October 15, 2019 at 2:07 am

    Here's something to watch that's forbidden by our captors: "Europa the Last Battle" at archive-dot-org. Entire documentary censored/banned on YT. The victors write the history

    Reply
  23. J. Stronsky Posted on October 15, 2019 at 3:46 am

    4:39 Using sailors and officer cadets on the front line as regular infantry because you're that desperate!
    That blew my mind. You're right, it shows you how dire the situation was for the Soviets.

    Reply
  24. Spiraling69 Posted on October 15, 2019 at 10:05 am

    Wunderbar! I highly recommend "Into Oblivion Kharkov To Stalingrad: The Story Of Pionier-Bataillon 305." Gives an intimate look at a unit of Germany's 305th ID during Blau and Stalingrad.

    Reply
  25. MrMykse Posted on October 15, 2019 at 11:20 am

    Thank you TIK, I rarely comment on any of the youtube channels, but I feel like I have to because I loved the first episode and I can't wait for your next one, especially after Crusader and Market Garden both of whom were also superb. Thank you for doing this

    Reply
  26. Michael Stark Posted on October 15, 2019 at 1:25 pm

    You cannot stop now arghhhhhhhhh I want more. I hate cliffhangers
    BTW This is best and most detailed history that can be found. TIK is best history channel in the entire existence.

    Reply
  27. Michael Stark Posted on October 15, 2019 at 1:26 pm

    Also congrats on crossing 100k You deserve several million subs

    Reply
  28. Bacchus Beast Posted on October 15, 2019 at 1:48 pm

    Captivating Work as always!! When will Part 2 deploy???

    Reply
  29. TocTeplv Posted on October 15, 2019 at 2:04 pm

    Even Shakespeare was used as a source. Respec

    Reply
  30. Lenon Nitcher Gore Posted on October 15, 2019 at 3:42 pm

    La Hoz y el Martillo le patearon el popó a la svastika!!! Punto final!!!

    Reply
  31. branilav vasic Posted on October 15, 2019 at 4:48 pm

    6:54 What the hell happened here?

    Reply
  32. ftffighter Posted on October 15, 2019 at 5:03 pm

    OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG IT….IS…HERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply
  33. Warspite Posted on October 15, 2019 at 5:59 pm

    And so it begins. Loved the Crusader series, and can’t wait for Part 2. A minor mistake when quoting Halder, though. You say he warned “empathically” against the transfer of units, whereas the quote provided claims he warned “emphatically”.

    Reply
  34. Jesus Jimenez Posted on October 15, 2019 at 7:27 pm

    Thanks for sharing, just finished watching all the 6 plus hours of the Courland pocket and it was very informative with the mild signs of humor. thanks again.

    Reply
  35. Hussien Shehata Posted on October 15, 2019 at 9:15 pm

    my favorite historian talks about my favorite battle

    Reply
  36. Ninja Engine Posted on October 15, 2019 at 9:35 pm

    Fuck yes!!!

    Reply
  37. BlackMan614 Posted on October 15, 2019 at 11:38 pm

    What I have yet to understand… if Paulus was an accomplished staff officer w/ background in logistics there seemed to be no indication he attempted to alleviate the supply difficulties by being pragmatic about armor thrusts or conversation techniques.

    Reply
  38. George Doolittle Posted on October 16, 2019 at 1:11 am

    the original goal was not Stalingrad actually…and the attack was in fact the biggest counteroffensive in military History as Paulus had prognosticated upon arrival for implementation of Case Blue. there was a massive secondary operation underway in Crimea as well(Operation Bustard Hunt) which became the staging area for the secondary thrust into the Caucuses and denying oil to the USSR as the objective. The first assault was a massive battle at Vorenehz which is well shown on your map.

    Reply
  39. Jose Antonio Vega Ruiz Posted on October 16, 2019 at 2:07 am

    Impressive, I even bought a Tiger I Ferdinand Proche edition 1:72 scale from kursk batttle

    Reply
  40. Вячеслав Скопюк Posted on October 16, 2019 at 2:36 am

    at last

    Reply
  41. Alexander2471994 Posted on October 16, 2019 at 5:44 am

    You say rodin 28th tank corp but in the map is the 28th tank division. I do not think you are "downgrading" by 1 the soviet units so… was it a division or a corp?

    Reply
  42. Matt Posted on October 16, 2019 at 6:50 am

    what tank destrpyers are you refering to on the german side, panzer 4s were the biggest tank they took in that i am aware of

    Reply
  43. dont tread Posted on October 16, 2019 at 7:32 am

    Im rock hard right now

    Reply
  44. botiboy Posted on October 16, 2019 at 8:19 am

    I am crying literally now. Thank you!

    Reply
  45. Tracchofyre Posted on October 16, 2019 at 10:07 am

    The specialist for unusual and disregarded battles concentrates on one of the most infamous battles of all! Nuff said! Great video as usual!

    Reply
  46. Random Nepali Posted on October 16, 2019 at 2:14 pm

    Ost Wars Episode V: Halder's Mistakes Strike Again (Post-Barbarossa Boogaloo)

    Reply
  47. DoktorPaj Posted on October 16, 2019 at 2:52 pm

    Hey TIK!
    Do you plan on doing a playthrough of The Bloody First, now that it is out?

    Reply
  48. RumbaRumbaRumba Posted on October 16, 2019 at 9:32 pm

    Great work thanks

    Reply
  49. Roland Kleinhenz Posted on October 16, 2019 at 10:29 pm

    my uncle was there with infantry regiment 261 of 113th infantry division

    Reply
  50. Andrew L Posted on October 17, 2019 at 6:02 am

    24:30
    Finally the moment i've been waiting for. The infamous "Stalingrad didn't matter……………………to hitler at this time" comment that triggered people who took it entirely out of context bahahahhahah. Man I love this channel. keep up the good work Tik.

    Reply
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