5th Combined Arms Army
The 5th Combined Arms Red Banner Army is a Russian Ground Forces formation in the Eastern Military District. It was formed in 1939, served during the Soviet invasion of Poland that year, was deployed in the southern sector of the Soviet defences when Adolf Hitler's Operation Barbarossa began in June 1941 during World War II. In the disastrous first months of Barbarossa, the 5th Army was destroyed around Kiev. Reformed under Lelyushenko and Govorov, it played a part in the last-ditch defence of Moscow, in the string of offensive and defensive campaigns that saw the Soviet armies liberate all of Soviet territory and push west into Poland and beyond into Germany itself; the 5th Army itself only advanced as far as East Prussia before it was moved east to take part in the Soviet attack on Japan. Since 1945 under the Soviet and now Russian flag it has formed part of the Far East Military District keeping watch on the border with the People's Republic of China; as the Russian armed force shrunk it found itself part of the larger Eastern Military District in the twenty-first century.
The 5th Army was created in August 1939 in the Special Kiev Military District from the Northern Army Group. In September 1939 the 5th Army took part in the Soviet invasion of Poland, justified by the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact; the Army was placed under the command of I. G. Sovietnikov. On 22 June 1941, the 5th Army consisted of the 15th Rifle Corps, as well as the 27th Rifle Corps, the 22nd Mechanised Corps, the 2nd Fortified Region, seven artillery regiments, 2 NKVD border regiments, an engineer regiment; the Army's rifle divisions were assigned to cover the Lutsk-Rovno approaches to the Ukraine and were tasked to man the Kovel and Vladimir-Volynsk fortified districts. The Army was stationed in barracks up to forty miles from the frontier, would need three to four days to take up its positions. On 22 June, the 15th Rifle Corps managed to take its place in the line, holding the sector from Vlodava to Vladimir-Volynsk, but that same day, the southern end of the line at Vladimir-Volynsk "began to buckle in," in John Erickson's words.
The main German thrust in the sector came at the junction point between the 5th Army and its neighbour to the south, the 6th Army, both the 5th and 6th Armies committed their mechanised forces to try to stem the gap, but without success. The Commander Southwestern Front, Mikhail Kirponos, decided to halt this with an attack into the flank of Panzer Group 1 using all the available mobile forces – five mechanised corps; this was unsuccessful in the face of the thrusting German advance, lack of coordination from the various Soviet formations, acute shortage of equipment and spares, lack of proper equipment radio sets. Meanwhile General M. I. Potapov, now commanding the 5th Army, was ordered on 29 June to make another attack on Panzer Group 1's flank from the woods of Klevany. Amid these efforts, Kirponos managed to withdraw most of his Front to a new line on the old Soviet/Polish border, prevented the Germans from rupturing the Soviet defensive line; the 11th Panzer Division took Berdichev on 7 July, the juncture between the 5th and 6th Armies was broken.
The gap between the 5th and 6th Armies widened to forty miles. To remedy the situation another counterattack was ordered, Potapov, now commanding the 15th and 31st Rifle, 9th, 19th and 22nd Mechanised Corps, was directed to strike northwards from Berdichev and Lyubar. However, his forces had been badly worn down: the 9th Mechanised Corps had 64 tanks left, the 22nd less than half that number, the rifle regiments of 31st Corps had "no more than three hundred men." Potapov's force cut the Zhitomir highway and kept up the pressure for a week, afterwards remained as a thorn on the German Sixth Army's northern flank. By 7 September the 5th Army was threatened with being split in two by the Second Army coming from the east and the Sixth Army's northern outflanking of Kiev; the Stavka refused permission for the 5th Army to withdraw, as they were still hoping for results from a counterattack by the Bryansk Front. By 9 September Stalin had given authority for the 5th Army to withdraw but by it was trapped, on 20 September Potapov and his command group were taken prisoner.
In the disastrous battle, the German forces encircled forces from the 5th, 21st, 26th, 37th Armies, captured Kiev, claimed 665,000 prisoners. The 5th Army was re-raised for the second time in October 1941, under the command of Dmitri Lelyushenko, as part of the Soviet Western Front. Recent sources give the actual re-raising date as 11 October 1941, it included two three tank brigades. At the Battle at Borodino Field, on a former Napoleonic battlefield, the first elements of the reforming Army to arrive at the front—two regiments of the Soviet 32nd Rifle Division and the 18th and 19th Tank Brigades—attempted to halt the German 10th Panzer Division and Das Reich divisions which were striking for Mozhaisk. Lelyuschenko was wounded and General L. A. Govorov took over. What thin reserves there were ran out, Mozhaisk fell on 18 October; that year the Army took part in the Klin-Solnechogorsk offensive operation. On 15 November, another German strike toward Moscow opened, but while
Tver is a city and the administrative centre of Tver Oblast, Russia. Population: 414,606. Located 180 kilometres northwest of Moscow, Tver was the capital of a powerful medieval state and a model provincial town in the Russian Empire, with a population of 60,000 on 14 January 1913, it is situated at the confluence of the Tvertsa Rivers. The city was known as Kalinin from 1931 to 1990; the city is where three rivers meet, splitting the town into northern and southern parts by the Volga River, divided again into quarters by the Tvertsa River, which splits the left bank into east and west halves, the Tmaka River which does the same along the southern bank. Tver's foundation year is accepted to be 1135, although there is no universal agreement on this date and some estimates place it as late as the second half of the 13th century; the name of the city is of Finish origin Tiheverä. A minor settlement of Novgorodian traders, it passed to the Grand Prince of Vladimir in 1209. In 1246, Alexander Nevsky granted it to his younger brother Yaroslav Yaroslavich, from whom a dynasty of local princes descended.
Four of them were killed by the Golden Horde and were proclaimed saints by the Russian Orthodox church. A land of woods and bogs, the Principality of Tver was transformed into one of the richest and most populous Russian states; as the area was hardly accessible for Tatar raids, there was a great influx of population from the devastated south. By the end of the century, it was ready to vie with Moscow for supremacy in Russia. Both Tver and Moscow were young cities, so the outcome of their rivalry was far from being certain. Mikhail, the Grand Prince of Tver, who ascended the throne of Vladimir in 1305, was one of the most beloved of medieval Russian rulers, his policy of open conflict with the Golden Horde led to his assassination there in 1318. His son Dmitry "the Terrible Eyes" succeeded him, concluding an alliance with the mighty Grand Duchy of Lithuania, managed to raise Tver's prestige higher. Exasperated by Dmitry's influence, Prince Ivan Kalita of the Grand Duchy of Moscow engineered his murder by the Mongols in 1326.
On hearing the news of this crime, the city revolted against the Horde. The Horde joined its forces with brutally repressed the rebellion. Many citizens were enslaved or deported; this was the fatal blow to Tver's aspirations for supremacy in Russia. In the second half of the 14th century, Tver was further weakened by dynastic struggles between its princes. Two senior branches of the ruling house, those of Kashin and Kholmsky, asserted their claims to the grand ducal throne; the claimers were backed up by Moscow and settled at the Moscow Kremlin court. During the Great Feudal War in the Grand Duchy of Moscow, Tver once again rose to prominence and concluded defensive alliances with Lithuania, Novgorod and the Golden Horde. Grand Prince Boris of Tver sent one of his men, Afanasy Nikitin, to search for gold and diamonds as far as India. Nikitin's travelogue, describing his journey from 1466 to 1472, is the first firsthand account of India by a European. A monument to Nikitin was opened on the Volga embankment in 1955.
On 12 September 1485, the forces of Ivan the Great seized the city. The principality was given as an appanage to Ivan's grandson, only to be abolished several decades later. Last scions of the ruling dynasty were executed by Ivan the Terrible during the Oprichnina. At that turbulent time, Tver was ruled by a former khan of Kasimov; the only remnant of his ephemeral reign is a graceful tent-like church in the village of Kushalino, 28 kilometers northeast of Tver. The city's decline was not irrevocable, however. With the foundation of St. Petersburg, Tver gained importance as a principal station on the highway en route from Moscow, it was much visited by Russian royalty and nobility traveling from the old capital to the new one and back. In the course of the administrative reform carried out in 1708 by Peter the Great, Tver was included into Ingermanlandia Governorate. In 1727 it was transferred to the newly established Novgorod Governorate. In 1775, Tver Viceroyalty was formed from the lands which belonged to Moscow and Novgorod Governorates, the whole area was transferred to Tver Viceroyalty, which in 1796 was transformed to Tver Governorate.
Tver was the center of Tverskoy Uyezd. Following a devastating fire of 1763, the city was rebuilt in a Neoclassical style. Under Catherine the Great, the central part was reconstructed. Crumbling medieval buildings were replaced with imposing Neoclassical structures; the most important of these are the Travel Palace of the Empress, the Ascension church. In 1809 a committee was set up on the improvement of the city, where he worked the famous architect of the capital Rossi, his projects include Cathedral of Christ, houses on the waterfront and city center. He rebuilt Travel Palace. At this time, in the city lived a sister of Alexander I, Catherine Pavlovna, married to the governor of Tver, which turned the Palace into one of the centers of social life of the country and fashionable literary salon, where going to the high society of Tver and, visited by many prominent people from Moscow and St. Petersburg. Writer and historian Nikolay Karamzin read here Emperor Alexander excerpts from his "History".
In the palace of the Prince of Persia took Khozrev Mirz
Bely, Tver Oblast
Bely is a town and the administrative center of Belsky District in Tver Oblast, located on the Obsha River. Population: 3,772 ; the name of the town means "white" in Russian, although it is unknown how or why this name originated. The fortress of Bely is first mentioned in a chronicle in 1350, since it was conquered by the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, it was located on the border between Lithuanian and Russian lands, intermittently changed affiliation between Lithuania and the Grand Duchy of Moscow. In the 15th century, it became the seat of the Belsky branch of the ruling House of Gediminas; the town was overrun by the Grand Duchy of Moscow in 1503. Three years Muscovites built a formidable castle, which the Lithuanians laid a siege to in 1508; the town was again subordinated to the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth between 1618 and 1654, after which it went under Moscow. In the course of the administrative reform carried out in 1708 by Peter the Great, Bely became the center of Belsky Uyezd of Smolensk Governorate and remained there until 1929, with the exception of the brief periods between 1713 and 1726, when it belonged to Riga Governorate, between 1775 and 1796, when Smolensk Governorate was transformed into Smolensk Viceroyalty.
On 12 July 1929, governorates and uyezds were abolished, Belsky District with the administrative center in the Bely was established. It belonged to Rzhev Okrug of Western Oblast. On August 1, 1930 the okrugs were abolished, the districts were subordinated directly to the oblast. On 29 January 1935 Kalinin Oblast was established, Belsky District was transferred to Kalinin Oblast. During World War II, in 1941—1943, the district was occupied by German troops, Bely was damaged. On August 22, 1944, the district was transferred to newly established Velikiye Luki Oblast. On October 2, 1957, Velikiye Luki Oblast was abolished, Belsky District was transferred back to Kalinin Oblast. On February 13, 1963 the district was merged into Nelidovsky District. In 1990, Kalinin Oblast was renamed Tver Oblast. Within the framework of administrative divisions, Bely serves as the administrative center of Belsky District; as an administrative division, it is incorporated within Belsky District as Bely Urban Settlement.
As a municipal division, this administrative unit has urban settlement status and is a part of Belsky Municipal District. There are enterprises of food industries located in Bely. A paved road connecting Nelidovo and Smolensk via Dukhovshchina passes Bely. There are local roads; the closest railway stations are in Nelidovo and Vladimirsky Tupik (the terminus of a railway which branches off in Safonovo from the line connecting Moscow and Smolensk. Bely contains five cultural heritage monuments of federal significance and additionally sixty-five objects classified as cultural and historical heritage of local significance; the federally protected monuments are archeological sites related to the old town of Bely. There is a local museum in Bely, founded in 1925. Законодательное Собрание Тверской области. Закон №34-ЗО от 17 апреля 2006 г. «Об административно-территориальном устройстве Тверской области», в ред. Закона №66-ЗО от 1 октября 2014 г. «О внесении изменения в статью 18 Закона Тверской области "Об административно-территориальном устройстве Тверской области"».
Вступил в силу со дня официального опубликования. Опубликован: "Тверские ведомости", №17, 19 апреля 2006 г.. Законодательное Собрание Тверской области. Закон №19-ЗО от 28 февраля 2005 г. «Об установлении границ муниципальных образований, входящих в состав территории муниципального образования Тверской области "Бельский район", и наделении их статусом городского, сельского поселения», в ред. Закона №56-ЗО от 13 июля 2009 г «О внесении изменений в Приложение №1к Закону Тверской области "Об установлении границ муниципальных образований, входящих в состав территории муниципального образования Тверской области "Бельский район", и наделении их статусом городского, сельского поселения"». Вступил в силу со дня официального опубликования. Опубликован: "Тверские ведомости", №10, 11–17 марта 2005 г.. Законодательное Собрание Тверской области. Закон №4-ЗО от 18 января 2005 г. «Об установлении границ муниципальных образований Тверской области и наделении их статусом городских округов, муниципальных районов», в ред.
Закона №65-ЗО от 24 июля 2012 г. «О внесении изменения в статью 2 Закона Тверской области "Об установлении границ муниципальных образований Тверской области и наделении их статусом городских округов, муниципальных районов"». Вступил в силу через десять дней после официального опубликования. Опубликован: "Тверские ведомости", №3, 21–27 января 2005 г. (Legislative Assembly of T
World War II
World War II known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries; the major participants threw their entire economic and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China, it included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, the only use of nuclear weapons in war. Japan, which aimed to dominate Asia and the Pacific, was at war with China by 1937, though neither side had declared war on the other. World War II is said to have begun on 1 September 1939, with the invasion of Poland by Germany and subsequent declarations of war on Germany by France and the United Kingdom.
From late 1939 to early 1941, in a series of campaigns and treaties, Germany conquered or controlled much of continental Europe, 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. Following the onset of campaigns in North Africa and East Africa, the fall of France in mid 1940, the war continued between the European Axis powers and the British Empire. War in the Balkans, the aerial Battle of Britain, the Blitz, the long Battle of the Atlantic followed. On 22 June 1941, the European Axis powers launched an invasion of the Soviet Union, opening the largest land theatre of war in history; this Eastern Front trapped most crucially the German Wehrmacht, into a war of attrition. In December 1941, Japan launched a surprise attack on the United States as well as European colonies in the Pacific. Following an immediate U. S. declaration of war against Japan, supported by one from Great Britain, the European Axis powers declared war on the U.
S. in solidarity with their Japanese ally. Rapid Japanese conquests over much of the Western Pacific ensued, perceived by many in Asia as liberation from Western dominance and resulting in the support of several armies from defeated territories; the Axis advance in the Pacific halted in 1942. Key setbacks in 1943, which included a series of German defeats on the Eastern Front, the Allied invasions of Sicily and Italy, Allied victories in the Pacific, cost the Axis its initiative and forced it into strategic retreat on all fronts. In 1944, the Western Allies invaded German-occupied France, while the Soviet Union regained its territorial losses and turned toward Germany and its allies. During 1944 and 1945 the Japanese suffered major reverses in mainland Asia in Central China, South China and Burma, while the Allies crippled the Japanese Navy and captured key Western Pacific islands; the war in Europe concluded with an invasion of Germany by the Western Allies and the Soviet Union, culminating in the capture of Berlin by Soviet troops, the suicide of Adolf Hitler and the German unconditional surrender on 8 May 1945.
Following the Potsdam Declaration by the Allies on 26 July 1945 and the refusal of Japan to surrender under its terms, the United States dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on 6 and 9 August respectively. With an invasion of the Japanese archipelago imminent, the possibility of additional atomic bombings, the Soviet entry into the war against Japan and its invasion of Manchuria, Japan announced its intention to surrender on 15 August 1945, cementing total victory in Asia for the Allies. Tribunals were set up by fiat by the Allies and war crimes trials were conducted in the wake of the war both against the Germans and the Japanese. World War II changed the political social structure of the globe; the United Nations was established to foster international co-operation and prevent future conflicts. The Soviet Union and United States emerged as rival superpowers, setting the stage for the nearly half-century long Cold War. In the wake of European devastation, the influence of its great powers waned, triggering the decolonisation of Africa and Asia.
Most countries whose industries had been damaged moved towards economic expansion. Political integration in Europe, emerged as an effort to end pre-war enmities and create a common identity; the start of the war in Europe is held to be 1 September 1939, beginning with the German invasion of Poland. The dates for the beginning of war in the Pacific include the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War on 7 July 1937, or 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 and the two wars merged in 1941; 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 fo
4th Army (Soviet Union)
The 4th Army was a Soviet field army of World War II that served on the Eastern front of World War II and in the Caucasus during the Cold War. It was disbanded after the fall of the Soviet Union, with its divisions being withdrawn to Russia and disbanded; the Fourth Army was created in August 1939 in the Belorussian Special Military District from the Bobruisk Army Group as an independent army. In September 1939, the Fourth Army took part in the Soviet invasion of Poland commanded by the future Marshal of Soviet Union V. I. Chuykov, the defender of Stalingrad, its order of battle in that operation is listed here. Elements of the army 4th Battalion, 29th Light Tank Brigade, took part in the German–Soviet military parade in Brest-Litovsk on September 22, 1939; when the German invasion of the Soviet Union commenced on 22 June 1941, the Army was part of the Western Front and had the 28th Rifle Corps, 14th Mechanised Corps, 49th and 75th Rifle Divisions, as well as the 62nd Fortified Region. General Colonel Pavlov, Commander of the Western Front, had decided to redeploy some of 4th Army’s troops early in 1941, John Erickson wrote that 12th Rifle Division was accordingly moved into Brest, HQ 14th Mechanised Corps to Kobrin, which in Erickson’s words, ‘deprived 4th Army of its reserve and its second echelon.’It should be understood that John Erickson was writing in the pre-1990 period when formation designations could be unclear, sometimes to the point of deliberate deception.
According to Sharp the 12th Rifle Division was identified by the Germans on the Western Front, but the unit was assigned to the Far East for the entire war. The formation that appears to have been moved into Brest Fortress was 42nd Rifle Division. Facing the 4th Army across the Bug River was deployed the German Fourth Army, with twelve infantry divisions and a cavalry division, as well as Panzer Group 2; some units faced several difficulties. A. Khorobkov, the army commander, saw his officers on 10 June, General Major Stepan Oborin, 14th Mechanised Corps commander, emphasized that more than half his soldiers were untrained recruits, that his artillery had received guns for which there was no ammunition, that he only had enough lorries to make a quarter of the corps mobile – the rest would have to march. On the eve of the attack, 4th Army suffered, as did many Soviet formations, from German communication sabotage. Units lost telephone connections, electrical power, the Brest Fortress lost its water supply.
From about 5 am on 22 June fierce fighting began around the Brest fortress, but the seven battalions around the fortress, from 28th Rifle Corps, were undermanned and slow off the mark to man the defences. Despite these deficiencies the final German reduction of the fortress took some time in the face of determined Soviet resistance. By 1600 hours on 22 June, 4th Army HQ was back at Zapruda, whereupon Front HQ ordered that 14th Mechanised Corps be launched in an attack to clear Brest and reach the frontier line; however the Army staff felt the plan had no chance of success, so it proved. Three days Western Front ordered a general withdrawal to try to keep the frontier armies out of threatened German encirclement. Further instructions came through from Pavlov after a chance meeting the same day; however the Slutsk fortified district, as the district commander reminded Khorobkov, had long ago been instructed to dispatch all its weapons to the Brest fortress. The planned defence was thus non-existent, Slutsk fell on 27 June.
The Army took part in the defenses of the area around Babruysk. At the end of July 1941, the Fourth Army began to dissolve; the Fourth Army's staff members were absorbed into the general staff of the Central Front, the troops were absorbed into other armies. Source:Commander Lieutenant General Alexander A. Korobkov 28th Rifle Corps - Major General V. S. Popov 6th Rifle Division - Col. M. A. Popsiu-Shapko 42nd Rifle Division - Maj. Gen. I. S. Lazarenko 49th Rifle Division - Col. C. F. Vasil’ev 75th Rifle Division - Col. Nedwigin 14th Mechanized Corps - Major General S. I. Oborin 22nd Tank Division - Mj. Gen. V. P. Puganov 30th Tank Division - Col. Semen Bogdanov 205th Motor Rifle Division - Col. F. F. KudjurovOrder of Battle for Operation Barbarossa At the end of September 1941, the Fourth Army was formed for the second time, retaining its Independent status until December while remaining in the Reserve of the Supreme High Command; the field staffs of the 52nd and 54th Armies were used to fill the command contingent of the Army.
The new formation was made up of the 285th, 292nd, 311th Rifle Divisions along with the 27th Cavalry Division, a Tank brigade, the 2nd Reserve aviation group, other artillery and support units. The Fourth Army participated in the defense and attack of Tikhvin from October to December 1941. On December 17, 1941, the Fourth Army was allocated to the Volkhov Front. From January 1942 to November 1943, the Fourth Army fought on the front in Volkhov and Leningrad while doing many rear-area duties. Unlike in other parts of the Eastern Front, the Red Army was not making significant gains in
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Operation Mars known as the Second Rzhev-Sychevka Offensive Operation, was the codename for an offensive launched by Soviet forces against German forces during World War II. It took place between 25 November and 20 December 1942 around the Rzhev salient in the vicinity of Moscow; the offensive was a joint operation of the Soviet Western Front and Kalinin Front coordinated by Georgy Zhukov. The offensive was one in a series of bloody engagements collectively known in Soviet and Russian histories as the Battles of Rzhev, which occurred near Rzhev and Vyazma between January 1942 and March 1943; the battles became known as the "Rzhev meat grinder" for their huge losses on the Soviet side. For many years they were relegated to a footnote in Soviet military history. In Operation Mars, planned to commence in late October, forces of the Kalinin and Western Fronts would encircle and destroy the powerful German Ninth Army in the Rzhev salient; the basic plan of the offensive was to launch multiple, coordinated thrusts from all sides of the salient, resulting in the destruction of the Ninth Army.
The offensive would tie down German units and prevent them from being moved south. The Kalinin and Western Fronts were directed by Stalin and Zhukov "to crush the Rzhev-Sychovka-Olenino-Bely enemy grouping." The Western Front was to "take Sychovka no than the 15th December." The Kalinin Front's 39th and 22nd armies were to take Olenino by 16 Bely by 20 Dec.. Operation Mars was to be followed soon there after by Operation Jupiter, to commence two to three weeks later; the Western Front's powerful 5th and 33rd armies, supported by 3rd Guards Tank Army, would attack along the Moscow-Vyazma highway axis, link up with the victorious Mars force, envelop and destroy all German forces east of Smolensk. Once resistance around Vyazma was neutralized, the 9th and 10th Tank Corps and the 3rd Tank Army would penetrate deeper into the rear of Army Group Centre; the offensive was launched in the early hours of 25 November 1942. It got off as fog and snowy weather grounded the planned air support, it greatly reduced the effect of the massive artillery barrages preceding the main attacks, as it made it impossible for the forward artillery observers to adjust fire and observe the results.
The northern thrust made little progress. The eastern attack across the frozen Vazuza river ground forward; the two western thrusts made deeper penetrations around the key town of Belyi. Still, the progress was nowhere near; the German defenders fought stubbornly, clinging to their strong-points, which were centered on many of the small villages dotting the area. In some cases, the German strong-points remained manned for a time after the Soviets advanced past them, creating more problems for the Red Army in their rear areas. Despite repeated, persistent Soviet attacks, small-arms fire and pre-planned artillery concentrations cut down the attacking infantry. Soviet tanks were picked off by anti-tank guns, the few German tanks, in close combat with infantry; the relative lack of initial success compounded the Soviet problems. The minor penetrations and the resulting small bridgeheads made it difficult to bring forward reinforcements and follow-up forces artillery so critical for reducing the German strong-points.
The Germans reacted by shifting units within the salient against the points of the Soviet advance and pinching off their spearheads. With limited reserves and reinforcement unlikely due to Soviet offensives elsewhere, the Ninth Army was placed under great pressure; the shifting of German forces, coupled with Soviet losses and supply difficulties, allowed the German forces to gain the upper hand. Their lines held, much of the lost ground was retaken; the counterattacks against the Belyi and the Vazuza thrusts resulted in several thousand soldiers being trapped behind German lines. A few of these would manage to break through to Soviet lines, some after fighting in the German rear for weeks. All vehicles and heavy weapons had to be left behind. Though the Germans were not able to remove Soviet forces from the Luchesa valley in the northwest of the salient, this was of little significance since the Soviets there were unable to press their attack through the difficult terrain. "The Western Front failed to penetrate enemy defences", according to Zhukov.
The Germans were able to hit the flank of the Kalinin trapped Maj.-Gen. M. D. Solomatin's Mechanized Corps for three days. Operation Mars was a military failure, the Soviets were unable to accomplish any of their objectives. However, in the aftermath of Operation Mars General Von Kluge recommended the salient be abandoned to economize on manpower and to assume more defensible positions. Hitler refused, his denial of a major withdrawal in the winter of 1941–42 had stabilized the army when it was on the edge of a collapse. Subsequently, he was less willing to heed the advice of his commanders. In addition he was unwilling to give up any ground he had won, saw usefulness in retaining the jump off point for a future thrust upon Moscow. However, in the Spring of 1943 his desire to move back onto the offensive made him more receptive to withdrawing forces from the salient to free up manpower. A staged withdrawal was begun at the beginning of March 1943. By the 23rd of that month the withdrawal was complete.
Historian A. V. Isayev has pointed out that together with influences on other sectors during the winter of 1942, Operation Mars had an effect upon the strategic situation in 1943. In the plan for the large offensive at Kursk in July 1943, the Ger