52nd Infantry Division Torino
The 52nd Infantry Division Torino was an auto-transportable infantry division of the Italian Army during World War II. The division was formed from the expansion of the Torino Brigade in June 1940, it took part in the Invasion of Yugoslavia and was sent to the Eastern front as part of the Italian Expeditionary Corps in Russia. The Division was only auto-transportable at this time which meant in practice was that an assortment of commercial vehicles with company logos intact were pressed into service, they arrived in southern Russia between July and August 1941, were subordinated to the 11th Army. On 14 August 1941, they were transferred to the control of the Tank Group 1. On 25 October 1941, Tank Group 1 was re designated as the 1st Panzer Army. Between 20 October and 2 November 1941, they were used in the assault on the city of Stalino, an important steel center in Eastern Ukraine, in occupying the neighbouring towns of Gorlowka and Rykovo, at the time named Ordzhonikidze today Yenakiieve; the commander of the Torino, General Ugo de Carolis was killed in December and was posthumously awarded the Knight's Cross by the Germans.
The Torino remained under control of 1st Panzer until 3 June 1942 when it was subordinated to 17th Army. In July 1942 they came under control of the 8th Italian Army a new force of ten Italian divisions, which formed the left flank of the German 6th Army during the Battle of Stalingrad, it suffered heavy losses in the Soviet offensive during the winter of 1942/43 and was destroyed in March 1943. Some 8,000 men of the Division were killed or missing in Russia, including 2,814 of the 51st Infantry Regiment, 2,608 of the 52nd Infantry Regiment, 1,283 of the 52nd Artillery Regiment, 483 of the 26th Mortar Battalion, 208 of the 52nd Mortar Battalion, 154 of the 52nd Transmission Company, 114 of the 171st Anti-Tank Company, 102 of the 52nd Medical Section; the surviving members, about 1,600, returned to Italy and were disbanded in September 1943. 81. Torino Infantry Regiment 82. Torino Infantry Regiment 52. Torino Artillery Regiment Anti-Aircraft Battalion 26. Mortar Battalion 52. Mortar Battalion 52.
Anti-Tank Company 171. Anti-Tank Company 52. Engineer Battalion 52. Medical Section 56. Motor Transport Section 52. Gasoline Supply Section 66. Carabinieri Section Ugo de Carolis, recipient of the German Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross Italian participation in the Eastern Front Italian Army in Russia Footnotes Citations Paoletti, Ciro. A Military History of Italy. Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 0-275-98505-9
Operation Little Saturn
Operation Saturn, revised as Operation Little Saturn, was a Red Army operation on the Eastern Front of World War II that led to battles in the North Caucasus and Donets Basin regions of the Soviet Union from December 1942 to February 1943. The success of Operation Uranus, launched on 19 November 1942, had trapped 250,000–300,000 troops of General Friedrich Paulus' German 6th Army and 4th Panzer Army in Stalingrad. To exploit this victory, the Soviet general staff planned a winter campaign of continuous and ambitious offensive operations, codenamed "Saturn". Joseph Stalin reduced his ambitious plans to a small campaign codenamed "Operation Little Saturn"; the offensive succeeded in smashing Germany's Italian and Hungarian allies, applied pressure on the over stretched German forces in Eastern Ukraine and prevented further German advances to the relief of the entrapped forces at Stalingrad. Despite these victories, the Soviets themselves became over extended, setting up the stages for the German offensives of the Third Battle of Kharkov and the Battle of Kursk.
On 17 May 1942, German Army Groups A and B launched a counteroffensive against advancing Soviet armies around the city of Kharkov, resulting in the Second Battle of Kharkov. By 6 July, General Hermann Hoth's Fourth Panzer Army had taken the city of Voronezh, threatening to collapse the Red Army's resistance. By early August, General Paul Ludwig Ewald von Kleist's First Panzer Army had reached the oil center of Maykop, 500 kilometres south of the city of Rostov, taken by the Fourth Panzer Army on 23 July; the rapid German advance threatened to cut the Soviet Union off from its southern territories, while threatening to cut the lend-lease supply lines from Persia. However, the offensive began to peter out, as the offensive's supply train struggled to keep up with the advance and spearhead units began to run low on fuel and manpower. Operation Uranus was the codename of the Soviet strategic operation in World War II which led to the encirclement of the German Sixth Army and Fourth Romanian armies, portions of the German Fourth Panzer Army.
The operation formed part of the ongoing Battle of Stalingrad, was aimed at destroying German forces in and around Stalingrad. Planning for Operation Uranus had commenced as early as September 1942, was developed with plans to envelop and destroy German Army Group Center and German forces in the Caucasus; the Red Army took advantage of the fact that German forces in the southern Soviet Union were overstretched around Stalingrad, using weaker Romanian armies to guard their flanks. These Axis armies were deployed in open positions on the steppe and lacked heavy equipment to deal with Soviet armor. Operation Winter Storm, undertaken between 12–23 December 1942, was the German Fourth Panzer Army's attempt to relieve encircled Axis forces during the Battle of Stalingrad. In late November, the Red Army completed Operation Uranus, which resulted in the encirclement of Axis personnel in and around the city of Stalingrad. German forces within the Stalingrad Pocket and directly outside were reorganized under Army Group Don, under the command of Field Marshal Erich von Manstein.
As the Red Army continued to build strength, in an effort to allocate as many resources as possible to the eventual launch of the planned Operation Saturn, which aimed to isolate Army Group A from the rest of the German Army, the Luftwaffe had begun an attempt to supply German forces in Stalingrad through an air bridge. However, as the Luftwaffe proved incapable of carrying out its mission and it became more obvious that a successful breakout could only occur if it was launched as early as possible, Manstein decided to plan and launch a dedicated relief effort. After the defeat of the Romanian Army around Stalingrad and the successful encirclement of the German Sixth Army, Stalin started a counter-offensive nicknamed "Operation Little Saturn" in order to enlarge the area controlled by the Soviet Army in eastern Ukraine until Kharkov and Rostov. Zhukov states the South-Western Front was assigned a mission in which the 1st and 3rd Guard armies and the 5th Tank Army "were to strike out in the general direction of Morozovsk and destroy the enemy grouping in that sector."
They would be supported by the 6th Army of the Voronezh Front. The first stage — an attempt to cut off the German Army Group A in the Caucasus — had to be revised when General Erich von Manstein launched Operation Winter Storm on 12 December in an attempt to relieve the trapped armies at Stalingrad. While General Rodion Malinovsky's Soviet 2nd Guards Army blocked the German advance on Stalingrad, the modified plan Operation Little Saturn was launched on 16 December; this operation consisted of a pincer movement. General Fyodor Isidorovich Kuznetsov's 1st Guards Army and General Dmitri Danilovich Lelyushenko's 3rd Guards Army attacked from the north, encircling 130,000 soldiers of the Italian 8th Army on the Don and advancing to Millerovo; the Italians resisted the Soviet attack for nearly two weeks, although outnumbered 9 to 1 in some sectors, but with huge losses. Manstein sent the 6th Panzer Division to the Italians' aid: of the 130,000 encircled troops, only 45,000 survived after bloody fighting to join the Panzers at Chertkovo on 17 January.
To the south the advance of General Gerasimenko's 28th Army threatened to encircle the 1st Panzer Army and General Trufanov's 51st Army attacked the relief column directly. In a dar
A carabinier is in principle a soldier armed with a carbine. A carbine is a shorter version of a rifle. Carabiniers were first introduced during the Napoleonic Wars in Europe; the word is derived from the identical French word carabinier. Carabiniers were horse soldiers; the carbine was considered a more appropriate firearm for a horseman than a full-length musket, since it was lighter and easier to handle while on horseback. Light infantry sometimes carried carbines because they are less encumbering when moving especially through vegetation, but in most armies the tendency was to equip light infantry with longer-range weapons such as rifles rather than shorter-range weapons such as carbines. In Italy and Spain, carbines were considered suitable equipment for soldiers with policing roles, so the term carabinier evolved to sometimes denote gendarmes and border guards. Today, the term is used by some armies and gendarmeries. Carabiniers differed from army to army and over time, but were medium cavalry, similar in armament and tactical role to dragoons.
Napoleon inherited two French carabinier regiments of heavy cavalry, which gained some prestige in his wars. In 1810, French Carabiniers were equipped like cuirassiers with helmets and breastplates, were no longer equipped with carbines; the French army has no carabinier regiments today. The British army raised regiments of carabiniers in the late 17th century; the descendants of one such regiment survived as the 3rd Carabiniers until 1971, when it was amalgamated with the Royal Scots Greys. Accordingly, no regiment bears the title today, although the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards are sub-titled "Carabiniers and Greys". Italy has a famous force of a gendarmerie known by the Italian name Carabinieri. Chile has a force of gendarme carabiniers, the Carabineros de Chile, the National Police of Colombia has mobile road-based units called Mobile Carabinier Squadrons; the Belgian Land Component includes a Regiment des Carabiniers, which saw service against the German invaders in August 1914 still dressed in its green 19th century uniform complete with a form of top hat.
The Spanish Army maintained a corps of Carabineros who served as frontier guards. This force was, disbanded following the Spanish Civil War of 1936-39 and replaced by units of the Civil Guard; the use of carabinier to refer to infantry troops comes from the French light infantry battalions of 1794, where it denoted troops of the elite company known as grenadiers in line infantry. Other infantry units with the title of carabiniers included: The military of Monaco includes an infantry unit called the Compagnie des Carabiniers du Prince, active since at least 1817. In the Imperial Russian Army during the Napoleonic wars, the sections on the right flank of yeger battalions deployed in line were called carabiniers. Quite apart from the elite yeger platoons, foot carabinier regiments existed for a brief time after 12 February 1816 when the six grenadier-yeger Regiments were renamed as carabiniers; these included the oldest regular infantry regiment in the Russian Army, the Yerivan Leib-Grenadier regiment as the former 7th Carabinier Regiment.
Foot Carabinier regiments were renamed rifles in 1857 following the Crimean War. Bavarian Volunteer Jäger Corps in 1813 The Belgian Chasseurs included an infantry Regiment des Carabiniers, which saw service against the German Army in August 1914 still dressed in its green 19th century uniform complete with a form of top hat. Following a merger in 1992, the unit became the Regiment Carabiniers Prins Boudewijn – Grenadiers. Waldeck, Lippe-Detmold, Shaumburg-Lippe contingents in the 2nd battalion, 6th Rheinbund Regiment of the Confederation of the Rhine. Nassau 2nd Light Infantry Regiment Legion Irlandaise in French service Westphalian voltigeurs-carabiniers created by Jérôme Bonaparte, after 1811 renamed Jäger Carabinier d'Elite Papal States Carabinieri indigeni formed from Italian recruits, Carabinieri esteri formed from foreign recruits Kingdom of Italy under Viceroy Eugène de Beauharnais had Velites Carabiniers of the Guard. One of the three light infantry battalions of the reorganised Royal Spanish Army in 1812 was called Carabiniers.
Although the Spanish Crown was the first to raise carbine armed cavalry regiments, the Spanish Army is not known for its cavalry carabiniers. The la Brigada de Carabineros Reales, though dressed as hussars, did however participate in several of Spain's wars, including the Peninsular War against Napoleon, where they distinguished themselves at Sepúlveda, along with the Alcántara and Montesa cavalry regiments, against Lasalle's French 10th Chasseurs à cheval and 9th Dragoons. One notable officer serving with the brigade was Carlos María de Alvear; the regiment, along with the cavalry of the Spanish Royal Guard, was reformed at Valladolid by General Gregorio García de la Cuesta by which time they were numbered scarcely more than a squadron, were given the pick of some 5,000 volunteers. They participated in the Carlist Wars, notably at Bilbao. See the separate section on the frontier guard Carabineros of the Spanish Army below; the French carabiniers are first mentioned at the battle of Neerwinden in 1693 commanded by Prince de Conti.
Although their original role was that of a mounted police similar to the Gendarmes, as combat troops they first took the form of separate companies within each cavalry regiments on 29 October 1691 under Louis XIV. Only was an independent regiment or cava
The Schutzstaffel was a major paramilitary organization under Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party in Nazi Germany, throughout German-occupied Europe during World War II. It began with a small guard unit known as the Saal-Schutz made up of NSDAP volunteers to provide security for party meetings in Munich. In 1925, Heinrich Himmler joined the unit, which had by been reformed and given its final name. Under his direction it grew from a small paramilitary formation to one of the most powerful organizations in Nazi Germany. From 1929 until the regime's collapse in 1945, the SS was the foremost agency of security and terror within Germany and German-occupied Europe; the two main constituent groups were the Allgemeine SS and Waffen-SS. The Allgemeine SS was responsible for enforcing the racial policy of Nazi Germany and general policing, whereas the Waffen-SS consisted of combat units within Nazi Germany's military. A third component of the SS, the SS-Totenkopfverbände, ran the concentration camps and extermination camps.
Additional subdivisions of the SS included the Sicherheitsdienst organizations. They were tasked with the detection of actual or potential enemies of the Nazi state, the neutralization of any opposition, policing the German people for their commitment to Nazi ideology, providing domestic and foreign intelligence; the SS was the organization most responsible for the genocidal killing of an estimated 5.5 to 6 million Jews and millions of other victims in the Holocaust. Members of all of its branches committed war crimes and crimes against humanity during World War II; the SS was involved in commercial enterprises and exploited concentration camp inmates as slave labor. After Nazi Germany's defeat, the SS and the NSDAP were judged by the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg to be criminal organizations. Ernst Kaltenbrunner, the highest-ranking surviving SS main department chief, was found guilty of crimes against humanity at the Nuremberg trials and hanged in 1946. By 1923, the Nazi Party led by Adolf Hitler had created a small volunteer guard unit known as the Saal-Schutz to provide security at their meetings in Munich.
The same year, Hitler ordered the formation of a small bodyguard unit dedicated to his personal service. He wished it to be separate from the "suspect mass" of the party, including the paramilitary Sturmabteilung, which he did not trust; the new formation was designated the Stabswache. The unit was composed of eight men, commanded by Julius Schreck and Joseph Berchtold, was modeled after the Erhardt Naval Brigade, a Freikorps of the time; the unit was renamed Stoßtrupp in May 1923. The Stoßtrupp was abolished after the failed 1923 Beer Hall Putsch, an attempt by the NSDAP to seize power in Munich. In 1925, Hitler ordered Schreck to organize the Schutzkommando, it was tasked with providing personal protection for Hitler at NSDAP events. That same year, the Schutzkommando was expanded to a national organization and renamed successively the Sturmstaffel, the Schutzstaffel; the SS marked its foundation on 9 November 1925. The new SS was to provide protection for NSDAP leaders throughout Germany. Hitler's personal SS protection unit was enlarged to include combat units.
Schreck, a founding member of the SA and a close confidant of Hitler, became the first SS chief in March 1925. On 15 April 1926, Joseph Berchtold succeeded him as chief of the SS. Berchtold changed the title of the office to Reichsführer-SS. Berchtold was considered more dynamic than his predecessor, but became frustrated by the authority the SA had over the SS; this led to him transferring leadership of the SS to his deputy, Erhard Heiden, on 1 March 1927. Under Heiden's leadership, a stricter code of discipline was enforced than would have been tolerated in the SA. Between 1925 and 1929, the SS was considered to be a small Gruppe of the SA. Except in the Munich area, the SS was unable to maintain any momentum in its membership numbers, which declined from 1,000 to 280 as the SA continued its rapid growth; as Heiden attempted to keep the SS from dissolving, Heinrich Himmler became his deputy in September 1927. Himmler displayed good organizational abilities compared to Heiden; the SS established a number of Gaus.
The SS-Gaus consisted of SS-Gau Berlin, SS-Gau Berlin Brandenburg, SS-Gau Franken, SS-Gau Niederbayern, SS-Gau Rheinland-Süd, SS-Gau Sachsen. With Hitler's approval, Himmler assumed the position of Reichsführer-SS in January 1929. There are differing accounts of the reason for Heiden's dismissal from his position as head of the SS; the party announced that it was for "family reasons." Under Himmler, the SS gained a larger foothold. He considered the SS an elite, ideologically driven National Socialist organization, a "conflation of Teutonic knights, the Jesuits, Japanese Samurai", his ultimate aim was to turn the SS into the most powerful organization in Germany and most influential branch of the party. He expanded the SS to 3,000 members in his first year as its leader. In 1929, the SS-Hauptamt was expanded and reorganized into five main offices dealing with general administration, finance and race matters. At the same time, the SS-Gaus were expanded into three SS-Oberführerbereiche areas, namely the SS-Oberführerbereich Ost, SS-Oberführerbereich
Eastern Front (World War II)
The Eastern Front of World War II was a theatre of conflict between the European Axis powers and co-belligerent Finland against the Soviet Union and other Allies, which encompassed Central Europe, Eastern Europe, Northeast Europe, Southeast Europe from 22 June 1941 to 9 May 1945. It has been known as the Great Patriotic War in the former Soviet Union and modern Russia, while in Germany it was called the Eastern Front, or the German-Soviet War by outside parties; the battles on the Eastern Front of the Second World War constituted the largest military confrontation in history. They were characterized by unprecedented ferocity, wholesale destruction, mass deportations, immense loss of life due to combat, exposure and massacres; the Eastern Front, as the site of nearly all extermination camps, death marches and the majority of pogroms, was central to the Holocaust. Of the estimated 70-85 million deaths attributed to World War II, over 30 million, the majority of them civilian, occurred on the Eastern Front.
The Eastern Front was decisive in determining the outcome in the European theatre of operations in World War II serving as the main reason for the defeat of Nazi Germany and the Axis nations. The two principal belligerent powers were Germany and the Soviet Union, along with their respective allies. Though never engaged in military action in the Eastern Front, the United States and the United Kingdom both provided substantial material aid in the form of the Lend-Lease to the Soviet Union; 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. Germany and the Soviet Union remained unsatisfied with the outcome of World War I. Soviet Russia had lost substantial territory in Eastern Europe as a result of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, where the Bolsheviks in Petrograd conceded to German demands and ceded control of Poland, Estonia, Latvia and other areas, to the Central Powers.
Subsequently, when Germany in its turn surrendered to the Allies and these territories were liberated under the terms of the Paris Peace Conference of 1919 at Versailles, Soviet Russia was in the midst of a civil war and the Allies did not recognize the Bolshevik government, so no Soviet Russian representation attended. Adolf Hitler had declared his intention to invade the Soviet Union on 11 August 1939 to Carl Jacob Burckhardt, League of Nations Commissioner, by saying: Everything I undertake is directed against the Russians. If the West is too stupid and blind to grasp this I shall be compelled to come to an agreement with the Russians, beat the West and after their defeat turn against the Soviet Union with all my forces. I need the Ukraine as happened in the last war; the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact signed in August 1939 was a non-aggression agreement between 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.
Finland, Estonia and Lithuania would return to the Soviet control, while Poland and Romania would be divided. The Eastern Front was made possible by the German–Soviet Border and Commercial Agreement in which the Soviet Union gave Germany the resources necessary to launch military operations in Eastern Europe. On 1 September 1939 Germany invaded Poland, starting World War II. On 17 September, the Soviet Union invaded Eastern Poland, and, as a result, Poland was partitioned among Germany, the Soviet Union and Lithuania. Soon after that, the Soviet Union demanded significant territorial concessions from Finland, after Finland rejected Soviet demands, the Soviet Union attacked Finland on 30 November 1939 in what became known as the Winter War – a bitter conflict that resulted in a peace treaty on 13 March 1940, with Finland maintaining its independence but losing its eastern parts in Karelia. In June 1940 the Soviet Union illegally annexed the three Baltic states; the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact ostensibly provided security to the Soviets in the occupation both of the Baltics and of the north and northeastern regions of Romania, although Hitler, in announcing the invasion of the Soviet Union, cited the Soviet annexations of Baltic and Romanian territory as having violated Germany's understanding of the Pact.
Moscow partitioned the annexed Romanian territory 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, in particular in Russia, he envisaged settling Germans there, as according to Nazi ideology the Germanic people constituted the "master race", while exterminating or deporting most of the existing inhabitants to Siberia and using the remainder as slave labour. Hitler as early as 1917 had referred to the Russians as inferior, believing that the Bolshevik Revolution had put the Jews in power over the mass of Slavs, who were, in Hitler's opinion, incapable of ruling themselves but instead being ruled by Jewish masters; the Nazi leadership, saw the war against the Soviet Union as a struggle between the ideologies of Nazism and Jewish Bolshevism, ensuring territorial expansion for the Germanic Übermensch, who according to Nazi ideology were the Aryan Herrenvolk, at the expense of
Battle of Stalingrad
The Battle of Stalingrad was the largest confrontation of World War II, in which Germany and its allies fought the Soviet Union for control of the city of Stalingrad in Southern Russia. Marked by fierce close quarters combat and direct assaults on civilians in air raids, it was the largest and bloodiest battle in the history of warfare. After their defeat at Stalingrad, the German High Command had to withdraw vast military forces from the Western Front to replace their losses; the German offensive to capture Stalingrad began in August 1942, using the 6th Army and elements of the 4th Panzer Army. The attack was supported by intensive Luftwaffe bombing; the fighting degenerated into house-to-house fighting. By mid-November 1942, the Germans had pushed the Soviet defenders back at great cost into narrow zones along the west bank of the Volga River. On 19 November 1942, the Red Army launched Operation Uranus, a two-pronged attack targeting the weaker Romanian and Hungarian armies protecting the German 6th Army's flanks.
The Axis forces on the flanks were overrun and the 6th Army was cut off and surrounded in the Stalingrad area. Adolf Hitler ordered that the army make no attempt to break out. Heavy fighting continued for another two months. By the beginning of February 1943, the Axis forces in Stalingrad had exhausted their ammunition and food; the remaining units of the 6th Army surrendered. The battle lasted one week and three days. By the spring of 1942, despite the failure of Operation Barbarossa to decisively defeat the Soviet Union in a single campaign, the Wehrmacht had captured vast expanses of territory, including Ukraine and the Baltic republics. Elsewhere, the war had been progressing well: the U-boat offensive in the Atlantic had been successful and Erwin Rommel had just captured Tobruk. In the east, they had stabilized their front in a line running from Leningrad in the north to Rostov in the south. There were a number of salients, but these were not threatening. Hitler was confident that he could master the Red Army after the winter of 1942, because though Army Group Centre had suffered heavy losses west of Moscow the previous winter, 65% of its infantry had not been engaged and had been rested and re-equipped.
Neither Army Group North nor Army Group South had been hard pressed over the winter. Stalin was expecting the main thrust of the German summer attacks to be directed against Moscow again. With the initial operations being successful, the Germans decided that their summer campaign in 1942 would be directed at the southern parts of the Soviet Union; the initial objectives in the region around Stalingrad were the destruction of the industrial capacity of the city and the deployment of forces to block the Volga River. The river was the Caspian Sea to central Russia, its capture would disrupt commercial river traffic. The Germans cut the pipeline from the oilfields; the capture of Stalingrad would make the delivery of Lend Lease supplies via the Persian Corridor much more difficult. On 23 July 1942, Hitler rewrote the operational objectives for the 1942 campaign expanding them to include the occupation of the city of Stalingrad. Both sides began to attach propaganda value to the city, based on it bearing the name of the leader of the Soviet Union.
Hitler proclaimed that after Stalingrad's capture, its male citizens were to be killed and all women and children were to be deported because its population was "thoroughly communistic" and "especially dangerous". It was assumed that the fall of the city would firmly secure the northern and western flanks of the German armies as they advanced on Baku, with the aim of securing these strategic petroleum resources for Germany; the expansion of objectives was a significant factor in Germany's failure at Stalingrad, caused by German overconfidence and an underestimation of Soviet reserves. The Soviets realized, they ordered that anyone strong enough to hold a rifle be sent to fight. If I do not get the oil of Maikop and Grozny I must finish this war. Army Group South was selected for a sprint forward through the southern Russian steppes into the Caucasus to capture the vital Soviet oil fields there; the planned summer offensive, code-named Fall Blau, was to include the German 6th, 17th, 4th Panzer and 1st Panzer Armies.
Army Group South had overrun the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1941. Poised in Eastern Ukraine, it was to spearhead the offensive. Hitler intervened, ordering the Army Group to split in two. Army Group South, under the command of Wilhelm List, was to continue advancing south towards the Caucasus as planned with the 17th Army and First Panzer Army. Army Group South, including Friedrich Paulus's 6th Army and Hermann Hoth's 4th Panzer Army, was to move east towards the Volga and Stalingrad. Army Group B was commanded by Field Marshal Fedor von Bock and by General Maximilian von Weichs; the start of Case Blue had been planned for late May 1942. However, a number of German and Romanian units that were to take part in Blau were besieging Sevastopol on the Crimean Peninsula. Delays in ending the siege pushed back the start date for Blau several times, the city did not fall until early July. Operation Fridericus I by the Germans against the "Isium bulge", pinched off the Soviet
Hand-to-hand combat is a physical confrontation between two or more persons at short range that does not involve the use of ranged weapons. While the phrase "hand-to-hand" appears to refer to unarmed combat, the term is generic and may include use of melee weapons such as knives, batons, spears, or improvised weapons such as entrenching tools. While the term hand-to-hand combat referred principally to engagements by combatants on the battlefield, it can refer to any personal physical engagement by two or more people, including law enforcement officers and criminals. Combat within close quarters is termed close combat or close-quarters combat, it may include lethal and non-lethal weapons and methods depending upon the restrictions imposed by civilian law, military rules of engagement, or ethical codes. Close combat using firearms or other distance weapons by military combatants at the tactical level is modernly referred to as close quarter battle; the United States Army uses the term combatives to describe various military fighting systems used in hand-to-hand combat training, systems which may incorporate eclectic techniques from several different martial arts and combat sports.
Hand-to-hand combat is the most ancient form of fighting known. A majority of cultures have their own particular histories related to close combat, their own methods of practice. There are many varieties including boxing and wrestling. Other variations include the gladiator spectacles of ancient Rome and medieval tournament events such as jousting. Military organizations have always taught some sort of unarmed combat for conditioning and as a supplement to armed combat. Soldiers in China were trained in unarmed combat as early as the Zhou Dynasty. Despite major technological changes such as the use of gunpowder, the machine gun in the Russo-Japanese War and the trench warfare of World War I, hand-to-hand fighting methods such as bayonet remained common in modern military training, though the importance of formal training declined after 1918. By 1944 some German rifles were being produced without bayonet lugs. Close Quarters Combat, or World War II combatives, was codified by William Ewart Fairbairn and Eric Anthony Sykes.
Known for their eponymous Fairbairn-Sykes fighting knife and Sykes had worked in the Shanghai Municipal Police of the International Settlement of Shanghai in the 1920s acknowledged as the most dangerous port city in the world due to a heavy opium trade run by organized crime. CQC was derived from a mixture of judo, boxing and street fighting. After the May Thirtieth Movement riots, which resulted in a police massacre, Fairbairn was charged with developing an auxiliary squad for riot control and aggressive policing. After absorbing the most appropriate elements from a variety of martial-arts experts, from China and elsewhere, he condensed these arts into a practical combat system he called Defendu, he and his police team went on to field-test these skills on the streets of Shanghai. The aim of his combat system was to be as brutally effective as possible, it was a system that, unlike traditional Eastern martial-arts that required years of intensive training, could be digested by recruits quickly.
The method incorporated training in point shooting and gun combat techniques, as well as the effective use of more ad hoc weapons such as chairs or table legs. During the Second World War, Fairbairn was brought back to Britain, after demonstrating the effectiveness of his techniques, was recruited to train the British commandos in his combat method. During this period, he expanded his'Shanghai Method' into the'Silent Killing Close Quarters Combat method' for military application; this became standard combat training for all British Special Operations personnel. He designed the pioneering Fairbairn-Sykes fighting knife, adopted for use by British and American Special Forces. In 1942, he published a textbook for close quarters combat training called Get Tough. U. S. Army officers Rex Applegate and Anthony Biddle were taught Fairbairn's methods at a training facility in Scotland, adopted the program for the training of OSS operatives at a newly opened camp near Lake Ontario in Canada. Applegate published his work in 1943, called Get Killed.
During the war, training was provided to British Commandos, the Devil's Brigade, OSS, U. S. Army Rangers and Marine Raiders. Other combat systems designed for military combat were introduced elsewhere, including European Unifight, Soviet/Russian Sambo, Army hand-to-hand fight, Chinese military Sanshou/Sanda, Israeli Kapap and Krav Maga; the prevalence and style of hand-to-hand combat training changes based on perceived need. Elite units such as special forces and commando units tend to place higher emphasis on hand-to-hand combat training. Although hand-to-hand fighting was accorded less importance in major militaries after World War II, insurgency conflicts such as the Vietnam War, low intensity conflict and urban warfare have prompted many armies to pay more attention to this form of combat; when such fighting includes firearms designed for close-in fighting, it is referred to as Close Quarters Battle at the platoon or squad level, or Military Operations on Urban Terrain at higher tactical levels.
In 2002, the U. S. Army adopted the Modern Army Combatives hand-to-hand combat training program with the publish