Case Blue was the German Armed Forces' name for its plan for the 1942 strategic summer offensive in southern Russia between 28 June and 24 November 1942, during World War II. The operation was a continuation of the previous year's Operation Barbarossa, intended to knock the Soviet Union out of the war, it involved a two-pronged attack: one from the Axis right flank against the oil fields of Baku, known as Operation Edelweiss, one from the left flank in the direction of Stalingrad along the Volga River, known as Operation Fischreiher. Army Group South of the German Army was divided into Army Groups A and B. Army Group A was tasked with crossing the Caucasus mountains to reach the Baku oil fields, while Army Group B protected its flanks along the Volga. Supported by 2,035 Luftwaffe aircraft and 1,934 tanks and assault guns, the 1,370,287-man Army Group South attacked on 28 June, advancing 48 kilometers on the first day and brushing aside the 1,715,000 Red Army troops opposite, who falsely expected a German offensive on Moscow after Blau commenced.
The Soviet collapse in the south allowed the Germans to capture the western part of Voronezh on 6 July and reach and cross the Don river near Stalingrad on 26 July. Army Group B's approach toward Stalingrad slowed in late July and early August owing to constant counterattacks by newly deployed Red Army reserves and overstretched German supply lines; the Germans defeated the Soviets in the Battle of Kalach and the combat shifted to the city itself in late August. Nonstop Luftwaffe airstrikes, artillery fire and street-to-street combat destroyed the city and inflicted heavy casualties on the opposing forces. After three months of battle, the Germans controlled 90% of Stalingrad on 19 November. In the south, Army Group A captured Rostov on 23 July and swept south from the Don to the Caucasus, capturing the demolished oilfields at Maikop on 9 August and Elista on 13 August near the Caspian Sea coast. Heavy Soviet resistance and the long distances from Axis sources of supply reduced the Axis offensive to local advances only and prevented the Germans from completing their strategic objective of capturing the main Caucasus oilfield at Baku.
Luftwaffe bombers destroyed the oilfields at Grozny but attacks on Baku were prevented by the insufficient range of the German fighters. The possibility that the Germans would continue to the south and east, link up with Japanese forces in India, was of great concern to the Allies. However, the Red Army defeated the Germans at Stalingrad, following Operations Uranus and Little Saturn; this defeat forced the Axis to retreat from the Caucasus. Only the Kuban region remained tentatively occupied by Axis troops. On 22 June 1941 the Wehrmacht had launched Operation Barbarossa with the intention of defeating the Soviets in a Blitzkrieg lasting only months; the Axis offensive had met with initial success and the Red Army had suffered some major defeats before halting the Axis units just short of Moscow. Although the Germans had captured vast areas of land and important industrial centers, the Soviet Union remained in the war. In the winter of 1941–42 the Soviets struck back in a series of successful counteroffensives, pushing back the German threat to Moscow.
Despite these setbacks, Hitler wanted an offensive solution, for which he required the oil resources of the Caucasus. By February 1942 the German Army High Command had begun to develop plans for a follow-up campaign to the aborted Barbarossa offensive – with the Caucasus as its principal objective. On 5 April 1942, Hitler laid out the elements of the plan now known as "Case Blue" in Führer Directive No. 41. The directive stated the main goals of the 1942 summer campaign on Germany's Eastern Front: holding attacks for Army Group Centre, the capture of Leningrad and the link-up with Finland for AG North, the capture of the Caucasus region for Army Group South; the main focus was to be the capture of the Caucasus region. The Caucasus, a large, culturally diverse region traversed by its eponymous mountains, is bounded by the Black Sea to the west and the Caspian Sea to the east; the region north of the mountains was a production center for grain and heavy farm machinery, while its two main oilfields, at Maykop, near the Black Sea, Grozny, about halfway between the Black and the Caspian Seas, produced about 10 percent of all Soviet oil.
South of the mountains lay Transcaucasia, comprising Georgia and Armenia. This industrialized and densely populated area contained some of the largest oilfields in the world. Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, was one of the richest, producing 80 percent of the Soviet Union's oil—about 24 million tons in 1942 alone; the Caucasus possessed plentiful coal and peat, as well as nonferrous and rare metals. Manganese deposits at Chiaturi, in Transcaucasia, formed the richest single source in the world, yielding 1.5 million tons of manganese ore annually, half of the Soviet Union's total production. The Kuban region of the Caucasus produced large amounts of wheat, sunflower seeds, sugar beets, all essential in the production of food; these resources were of immense importance to the German war effort. Of the three million tons of oil Germany consumed per year, 85 percent was imported from the United States and Iran; when war broke out in September 1939, the British naval blockade cut Germany off from the Americas and the Middle East, leaving the country reliant on oil-rich European countries such as Romania to supply the resource.
An indication of German reliance on Romania is evident from its oil consumption.
Vasily Ivanovich Chuikov was a Soviet military officer. He was the commander of the 62nd Army during the Battle of Stalingrad. Following World War II, Chuikov was Chief of the Group of Soviet Forces in Germany, commander of the Kiev Military District, Chief of the Soviet Armed Forces and Deputy Minister of Defense, head of the Soviet Civil Defense Forces. Chuikov was twice awarded the titles Hero of the Soviet Union and was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross by the United States for his actions during the Battle of Stalingrad. In 1955, he was named a Marshal of the Soviet Union. Following his death in 1982, he was interred at the Stalingrad Memorial at the base of the Mamayev Hill, the site of heavy fighting. Born into a peasant family in the village of Serebryanye Prudy in the Tula region south of Moscow, Chuikov was the eighth of 12 children and the fifth of eight sons. At the age of 12, he left school and his family home to earn his living in a factory in Saint Petersburg, turning out spurs for cavalry officers.
Chuikov and all his brothers fought in the Russian Civil War. During the turmoil of the Russian Revolution of 1917, Chuikov became unemployed; the same year, an older brother arranged for Chuikov to be recruited into the Red Guards. The year after, in 1918, he joined the Red Army. In October 1918, Chuikov saw active service when he was sent to the Southern Front as a deputy company commander to fight against the White Army. In the spring of 1919, he became commander of the 40th Regiment, part of the 5th Army under Tukhachevsky facing the White Army under Kolchak in Siberia. Chuikov's record of service during the Civil War was distinguished. In the fighting from 1919 to 1920 he received two awards of the Order of the Red Banner for bravery and heroism, he was wounded four times—one, in Poland in 1920, left a fragment in his left arm that could not be operated on. It caused him to lose temporary use of his arm. Chuikov carried this war wound for the rest of his life, it led to septicaemia breaking out in 1981, causing a nine-month illness and his death.
He left his regiment in 1921 to continue his studies at the Frunze Military Academy, from which he graduated in 1925. On account of his excellent academic performance, Chuikov was invited to stay at the Frunze Military Academy for another year to study Chinese language and history in the Orient Studies Department. In the fall of 1926, Chuikov joined a Soviet diplomatic delegation that toured Harbin, Port Arthur, Dalian and Beijing, cities in northeastern and northern China. After completing his studies in the fall of 1927, Chuikov was dispatched to China as a military attaché. Chuikov traveled extensively in southern China and Sichuan, became fluent in Chinese, gained a deeper understanding of Chinese politics and culture. In 1929, during the China Eastern Railway Incident, Chuikov was forced to leave China after the Soviet Union broke diplomatic relations with the Republic of China on July 13. Chuikov was assigned to the newly-formed Special Red Banner Far Eastern Army in Khabarovsk and worked on military intelligence, reporting to Vasily Blyukher, the commander of the Far Eastern Army.
The Soviet Far Eastern Army defeated the Northeastern Army of Zhang Xueliang, Chuikov participated in negotiations that restored Soviet control of the China Eastern Railway. Chuikov commanded the 4th Army in the Soviet invasion of Poland in 1939, he commanded the 9th Army in the Russo-Finnish War of 1940. He was sent to China as an adviser to Chiang Kai-shek. In May 1942, the USSR recalled him. According to Chuikov's memoirs, his recall was due to Nationalist China claiming that the USSR was providing military aid as part of an attempt to draw the USSR into the Second Sino-Japanese War. On returning to Moscow, Chuikov was placed in command of the 64th Army, on the west bank of the Don River; the 64th Army took part in the fighting withdrawal to Stalingrad, shortly before the Battle of Stalingrad itself began, Chuikov was made commanding general of the more important weak 62nd Army, to hold Stalingrad itself, with the 64th on its southern flank. It was at Stalingrad that Chuikov developed the important tactic of "hugging the enemy", by which Soviet soldiers kept the German army so close to them as to minimize the airpower enjoyed by the Wehrmacht.
Chuikov had witnessed firsthand the blitzkrieg tactics the Wehrmacht had used to sweep across the Russian steppe, so he used the Germans' carpet-bombing of the city to draw panzer units into the rubble and chaos, where their progress was impeded. Here they could be destroyed with Molotov cocktails, Antitank Rifles, Soviet artillery operating at close range; this tactic rendered the German Luftwaffe ineffective, since Stuka dive-bombers could not attack Red Army positions without endangering their own forces. After the victory at Stalingrad, the 62nd Army was redesignated the Soviet 8th Guards Army. Chuikov commanded the 8th Guards as part of 1st Belorussian Front and led its advance through Poland heading the Soviet offensive which conquered Berlin while the Allied forces were wiping out what was left in Southern and Western Germany in April/May 1945. Chuikov's advance through Poland was characterized by massive advances across difficult terrain. On 1 May 1945, who commanded his army operating in central Berlin, was the first Allied officer to learn about Adolf Hitler's suicide, being informed by General Hans Krebs who had come to Chuikov's headquarters under a white flag.
He accepted the surrender of
Western Front (Soviet Union)
The Western Front was a front of the Red Army, one of the Red Army Fronts during World War II. The Western Front was created on 22 June 1941 from the Western Special Military District; the first Front Commander was Dmitry Pavlov. The western boundary of the Front in June 1941 was 470 km long, from the southern border of Lithuania to the Pripyat River and the town of Włodawa, it connected with the adjacent North-Western Front, which extended from the Lithuanian border to the Baltic Sea, the Southwestern Front in the Ukraine. The 1939 partition of Poland according to the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact established a new western border with no permanent defense installations, the army deployment within the Front created weak flanks. At the outbreak of war with Germany, the Western Special Military District was, in accordance with Soviet pre-war planning converted into the Western Front, under the District's commander, Army General Dmitry Grigorevich Pavlov; the main forces of the Western Front were concentrated forward along the frontier, organized in three armies.
To defend the Białystok salient, the front fielded the 10th Army, under Lieutenant General Konstantin Dmitrievich Golubev, supported by the 6th Mechanized Corps and 13th Mechanised Corps, under Major Generals Mikhail Georgievich Khatskilevich and Petr Nikolaevich Akhliustin. On 10th Army's left flank was 4th Army, under Lieutenant General Aleksander Andreevich Korobkov, supported by the 14th Mechanised Corps, under Major General Stepan Ilich Oborin. To the rear were 13th Army, under Lieutenant General Petr Mikhailovich Filatov; this army existed as a headquarters unit only, with no assigned combat forces. Among forces of Frontal designation were the 2nd Rifle Corps, 21st Rifle Corps, 44th Rifle Corps, 47th Rifle Corps, 50th Rifle Division, 4th Airborne Corps commanded by Aleksei Semenovich Zhadov at Minsk, the 58th, 61st, 63rd, 64th and 65th Fortified Regions. Mechanised forces in reserve included the 20th Mechanized Corps under Major General Andrei Grigorevich Nikitin at Minsk and the 17th Mechanized Corps, under Major General Mikhail Petrovich Petrov further forward at Slonim.
Altogether, on 22 June the Western Special Military District fielded 671,165 men, 14,171 guns and mortars, 2,900 tanks and 1,812 combat aircraft. The Western Front was on the main axis of attack by the German Army Group Centre, commanded by Field Marshal Fedor von Bock. German plans for Operation Barbarossa called for Army Group Centre's Second Panzer Group, under Colonel General Heinz Guderian, to attack south of Brest, advance through Slonim and Baranovichi, turning north-east towards Minsk where it would be met by Colonel General Hermann Hoth's Third Panzer Group, which would attack Vilnius, to the north of the Białystok salient, turn south-east. In addition to the two panzer groups. Army Group Centre included Field Marshal Günther von Kluge's Fourth Army and Colonel General Adolf Strauss' Ninth Army. Air support was provided by Field Marshal Albert Kesselring's Luftflotte 2 which contained more than half the German aircraft committed to the attack on the Soviet Union; the war started disastrously for the Western Front with the Battle of Białystok-Minsk.
The German Ninth and Fourth Armies of Army Group Centre penetrated the border north and south of the Białystok salient. The Front's tanks and aviation at airfields were annihilated by German air strikes. Soviet command and control suffered complete breakdown, worst hit was 4th Army which failed to establish communications both with headquarters above and below it. Attempts to launch a counter-attack with 10th Army on 23 June were unsuccessful; that same day the German Third Panzer Group captured Vilnius after outflanking 3rd Army. On 24 June Pavlov again attempted to organize a counter-attack, assigning his deputy Lieutenant General Ivan Vasilevich Boldin the command of 6th and 11th Mechanized Corps and 6th Cavalry Corps, commanded by Major General Ivan Semenovich Nikitin. With this mobile force Boldin was to attack northward from the Białystok region towards Grodno to prevent encirclement of Soviet forces in the salient; this attempted counter-attack was fruitless. Without any interference from Soviet fighters, Fliegerkorps VIII's close support aircraft were able to break the backbone of Western Front's counter-attack at Grodno.
6th Cavalry Corps was so badly mauled by this aerial onslaught against its columns that it was unable to deploy for attack. Jagdgeschwader 53's Hermann Neuhoff recalled: "We found the main roads in the area congested with Russian vehicles of all kinds, but no fighter opposition & little flak. We caused terrible destruction on the ground. Everything was ablaze by the time we turned for home." This air operation continued until nightfall on 24th June, resulting in 105 Tanks destroyed by German aircraft. Successful attacks were made by the Dornier 17's of KG 2. In effect Pavlov's counter-attack was routed. Of 6th Mechanized Corps' 1212 tanks, only about 200 reached their assembly areas due to air attacks and mechanical breakdowns, they ran out of fuel by the end of the day; the same fate awaited the 243 tanks of 11th Mechanized Corps, ordered to attack towards Grodno on 25 Ju
Northern Front (Soviet Union)
The Northern Front was a front of the Red Army during the Second World War. The Northern Front was created on June 1941 from the Leningrad Military District, its primary goal was the defense of the Kola Peninsula and the northern shores of the Gulf of Finland. On August 23, 1941, the Front's forces were divided into the Leningrad Front. Lieutenant General Markian M. Popov commanded the Front for the three months of its existence; the Front's major force structure was based on the 7th Army, 14th Army, 23rd Armies and the Leningrad People's Opolcheniye Army. Other forces included four Rifle Corps, two Mechanized Corps, seventeen Rifle Divisions, four Tank Divisions, two Motor Rifle Divisions, eight artillery regiments of the Reserve of Highest Command, eight Aviation Divisions, seven Fortified Regions, one Fortified Position, thirteen machinegun battalions; the formations of the Northern Front included the following subunits: 14th Army with its commander, General Lieutenant Frolov Valerian Alexandrovich, responsible for the Defence Sector No.1 which extended from the coast of the Barents Sea to include the entire Kola Peninsula and in particular the Murmansk to Kandalaksha railway.
14th Rifle Division defending the Petsamo sector 42nd Rifle Corps 104th Rifle Division 122nd Rifle Division 52nd Rifle Division 1st Tank Division 104 Gun Artillery Regiment of the Reserve of Highest Command 23rd Murmansk Fortified Region 35th, 100th, 82nd, 72nd and 101st Border Guard Detachments 1st Mixed Air DivisionNorthern Fleet commanded by Admiral Arseniy Golovko and its coast defence and naval aviation units. Separate 7th Army with its commander Lieutenant General Filip D. Garelenko responsible for the Defence Sector No.2 covering the longest sector of the Front between the Kola Peninsula and Lake Ladoga, in particular having the responsibility at once for the gap between the Ladoga and Onega lakes, the possible land assault to cut off Arkhangelsk. In fact the Stavka had determined the Army had four sectors in its responsibility.54th Rifle Division 71st Rifle Division 168th Rifle Division 237th Rifle Division 541 Howitzer Artillery Regiment of the Reserve of Highest Command 26th Sortavala Fortified Region 1st, 73rd, 80th and 3rd Border Guard Detachments 55th Mixed Air Division 153rd Fighter Aviation Regiment 72nd Bomber Aviation Regiment 23rd Army named for the Kirovsky District 76th Latvian Separate Rifle regiment on the 14 September.
2nd Division of People's Opolcheniye named for the Moskovsky District battalion of the Military-Political Border Guard School named for Voroshilov 519th Corps Artillery Regiment of Reserve of Highest Command Tank battalion of the Armoured Course for Enhancement of Command Staff 3rd Division of People's Opolcheniye named for the Frunzensky District (commander 1st Guards Division of People's Opolcheniye formed in the Kuybishev District 2nd Guards Division of People's Opolcheniye formed in the Sverdlovsk District tank battalion of the Leningrad garrison 4th Light Division of People's Opolcheniye named for the Dzerzhinsky District Separate battalion of Special Purpose 3rd Guards Division of People's Opolcheniye formed in the Petrograd District 4th Guards Division of People's Opolcheniye (Russi
51st Army (Russia)
The 51st Army was a field army of the Red Army that saw action against the Germans in World War II on both the southern and northern sectors of the front. The army participated in the Battle of the Kerch Peninsula between December 1941 and January 1942; the army fought in the Battle of Stalingrad during the winter of 1942–43, helping to defeat German relief attempts. From late 1944 to the end of the war, the army fought in the final cutting-off of German forces in the Courland area next to the Baltic. Inactivated in 1945, the army was activated again in 1977 to secure the Kuril Islands. Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the army continued in existence as a component of the Russian Ground Forces; the army was active during two periods from 1941 until 1997. The Army was ordered formed on 14 August 1941 in the Crimea based on the 9th Rifle Corps and other units as the 51st Independent Army under Colonel General F. I. Kuznetsov, with the task of guarding the Crimean Peninsula. Pavel Batov was appointed as his deputy.
Professor John Erickson in The Road to Stalingrad describes Stalin's rationale for the formation of the Army during a 12 August session within the Stavka war room: Stalin and the Stavka had concluded from the German moves underway at the time that a strike on the Crimea was and thus the formation of an Independent Army in the Crimea had been decided upon. Thus Kuznetsov was summoned, after a discussion, he was sent south to take up his new command; the army's initial forces included the 9th Rifle Corps, the 271st and 276th Rifle Divisions, the 40th, 42nd and 48th Cavalry Divisions, the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th irregularly formed Crimean Rifle divisions and a number of smaller units. However, due to what Erickson describes as Kuznetsov's'sticking blindly to the prewar plan', which anticipated a seaborne assault, leaving the Perekop and Sivash approaches too thinly held, Erich von Manstein, leading the German assault, was able to push past the defenses. Therefore, the Stavka ordered. In November the army was evacuated from the Taman Peninsula and it joined the Transcaucasian Front.
The army participated in the Kerch-Feodosiya landing operation in December 1941 – January 1942 alongside the 44th Army. 51st Army was planned to be the Kerch arm of the assault, but delays caused by bad weather and a schedule change prompted by renewed German attacks on Sevastopol resulted in 51st Army troops being landed at Capes Sjuk and Chroni during the night of 26–27 December 1941. The 44th and 51st Armies formed the Crimean Front under General Dmitri T. Kozlov, formally established on 28 January 1942, which hammered at Von Manstein's Eleventh Army. On 1 February 1942, 51st Army comprised the 138th and 302nd Mountain Rifle Divisions, the 224th, 390th, 396th Rifle Divisions, the 12th Rifle Brigade, 83rd Naval Infantry Brigade, 105th Separate Mountain Rifle Regiment, 55th Tank Brigade, 229th Separate Tank Battalion, artillery units, other support units. A German offensive was launched against the Front on 8 May 1942. Army commander Lieutenant General Vladimir Nikolayevich Lvov was killed by bomb fragments on 11 May while changing his command post.
The offensive concluded around 18 May 1942 with the near complete destruction of Soviet defending forces, which Erickson attributes to bickering between Kozlov and the Front commissar, Lev Mekhlis, a trail of incompetent actions. Three armies, 21 divisions, 176,000 men, 347 tanks, nearly 3,500 guns were lost; the remains of the force were evacuated. After the evacuation 51st Army joined the North Caucasian Front at Kuban. In July, Marshal Budenny received orders to combine the Southern Front and North Caucasian Front into a single formation retaining the title of North Caucasian Front, 51st Army joined the'Don group' of that front under General Lieutenant Rodion Malinovsky, along with the 12th Army and the 37th Army. On 22 July, army commander Major general Nikolai Trufanov was relieved of command; as part of the Stalingrad Front briefly with the Southeast Front, back with the Stalingrad Front it took part in the Battle of Stalingrad. On 31 July when it came under Stalingrad Front control it was so worn down by its previous rough handling that it was only 3,000 men strong.
It was attacked on the same day by the 4th Panzer Army, able to break through. During Operation Uranus, the counterattack from Stalingrad, the 4th Mechanized Corps began its attack from the 51st Army's sector. In early December, 51st Army was deployed to cover the Kotelnikovo approaches against German relief attempts by the LVII. Panzerkorps. On 24–25 December 1942, the commander of 51st Army, Major-General N. I. Trufanov, organized a local offensive operation on the right flank with the forces of three rifle divisions, moved to the north bank of the Aksav River, on the eve of the Kotelnikovo offensive operation, which defeated the German efforts made as part of Operation Winter Storm to relieve the Sixth Army in Stalingrad. On 30 January 1943, the Luftwaffe's Kampfgeschwader 51 destroyed the 51st Army's Headquarters, near Salsk. Dropping 100 – 250 kg bombs, a wave of Junkers Ju 88s and Heinkel He 111s destroyed the communications center, working offices of the chief-of-staff, the operational headquarters and the offices of the operational duty officer.
Up to 20 buildings and personnel billets were destroyed. Casualties among personnel were very high. After Janua
Andrey Ivanovich Yeryomenko was a Soviet general during World War II and, subsequently, a Marshal of the Soviet Union. Born in Markivka in Kharkov Governorate to a peasant family, Yeryomenko was drafted into the Imperial Army in 1913, serving on the Southwest and Romanian Fronts during World War I, he joined the Red Army in 1918. He attended the Leningrad Cavalry School and the Frunze Military Academy, graduating in 1935. In addition to his education, he was appointed to command of a regiment of cavalry in Dec. 1929 a division in 1937, the 6th Cavalry Corps in 1938. On Sept. 17, 1939, Yeryomenko led his 6th Cavalry Corps into eastern Poland as part of the operations agreed to between Germany and the Soviet Union under the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact. In general, this Soviet operation was not efficiently organized. Yeryomenko was forced to request an emergency airlift of fuel so as to continue his advance. Despite these difficulties, the Corps kept moving, Yeryomenko earned the nickname "the Russian Guderian".
Yeryomenko was given command of the prestigious 1st Red Banner Far Eastern Army, deep in eastern Siberia, where he was serving at the outbreak of Operation Barbarossa on June 22, 1941. Eight days after the invasion began, Yeryomenko was recalled to Moscow, where he was made the Acting Commander of the Soviet Western Front, two days after its original commander, General of the Army Dmitri Pavlov, was dismissed for incompetence. Yeryomenko was thrust into a precarious position; the Nazi Blitzkrieg approach to warfare dominated the Western Front, but Yeryomenko motivated the remaining troops, halted the German offensive just outside Smolensk. During this vicious defensive Battle of Smolensk, Yeryomenko was wounded; because of his injuries, he was transferred to the newly created Bryansk Front. In late August, Yeryomenko was ordered to launch counter-offensive operations along the Bryansk Front against Guderian's Second Panzer Group as it began to move south to trap Kirponos' Southwestern Front around Kiev.
Stavka Stalin and Shaposhnikov, seemed convinced that Yeryomenko could block or distract Guderian's drive and save Kiev from encirclement. The counter-offensive failed to accomplish its objectives despite a valiant effort, leaving Bryansk Front weakened. In October the Germans launched Operation Typhoon, an offensive aimed at capturing Moscow. Most of Yeryomenko's weakened forces were encircled by Oct. 8 although small units managed to escape for days or weeks following. On Oct. 13, Yeryomenko was once again wounded, this time severely. He was evacuated to a military hospital in Moscow. In January 1942, Yeryomenko was appointed commander of the 4th Shock Army, part of the Northwestern Front. During the Soviet Winter Counteroffensive, Yeryomenko's army was part of the successful Toropets–Kholm Offensive, which liberated Toropets and much of the surrounding region, helping to create the Rzhev Salient, which became a major battlefield over the next 15 months. On Jan. 20, 1942, Yeryomenko was again wounded, this time in one leg, when German planes bombed his headquarters.
Yeryomenko refused to evacuate to a hospital. Yeryomenko's performance in the winter offensives restored Stalin's confidence, he was given command of the Southeastern Front, on Aug. 1, 1942, where he proceeded to launch powerful counterattacks against the German offensive into the Caucasus, Fall Blau. Yeryomenko and Commissar Nikita Khrushchev planned the defense of Stalingrad, rallying and re-organizing men and equipment falling back to the city from the Don River and the steppes to the west; when one of his subordinates, Gen. Anton Lopatin, doubted if his 62nd Army would be able to defend Stalingrad, Yeryomenko replaced him with Lt. Gen. Vasily Chuikov as Army commander on Sept. 11, 1942. Chuikov and the 62nd Army went on to prove themselves as the defenders of the city, confirming Yeryomenko's judgement. On Sept. 28, the Southeastern Front was renamed the Stalingrad Front. During Operation Uranus, November 1942, Yeryomenko's forces helped to surround the German 6th Army from the south, linking up with the northern penetration at Kalach-na-Donu.
German General Erich von Manstein soon attempted to counterattack the Soviet forces and break through the line to relieve the surrounded Germans. Yeryomenko repelled the attack with the forces of the 2nd Guards Army along their fall-back positions on the Myshkova River. On January 1, 1943, the Stalingrad Front was renamed Southern Front. After the end of the winter offensive, in March 1943, Yeryomenko was transferred north to the Kalinin Front, which remained quiet until September, when Yeryomenko launched a small, but successful offensive. In December, Yeryomenko was once again sent south, this time to take command of the Separate Coastal Army, put together to retake Crimea, accomplished with assistance from Fyodor Tolbukhin's 4th Ukrainian Front. In April, Yeryomenko once again was sent to command the 2nd Baltic Front. During the summer campaign, 2nd Baltic was successful in crushing German opposition, was able to capture Riga, helping to bottle up some 30 German divisions in Latvia. On March 26, 1945, Yeryomenko was transferred to the command of the 4th Ukrainian Front, the unit he controlled until the end of the war.
Fourth Ukrainian was positioned in
62nd Army (Soviet Union)
The 62nd Order of Lenin Army was a field army established by the Soviet Union's Red Army during the Second World War. Formed as the 7th Reserve Army as part of the Reserve of the Supreme High Command in May 1942, the formation was designated as the 62nd Army the following month. After an epic combat performance in the Battle of Stalingrad, the 62nd Army was granted Guards status and renamed the 8th Guards Army in April 1943; the 7th Reserve Army was formed 28 May 1942 as part of the Stavka Reserve. Within one month, this force had been redesignated the 62nd Army. From mid August 1942 until late January 1943, the 62nd Army, under the command of General Vasily Chuikov, fought in the Battle of Stalingrad. 62nd Army conducted an epic defense of the city against repeated and desperate attacks by the German 6th Army. The Army, along with the 64th Army, was operating under the Soviet Stalingrad Front. After the German assault at Stalingrad had come to utter disaster, the 62nd Army was uniquely awarded the Order of Lenin, granted Guards status as the 8th Guards Army.
On 13 September 1942 the Army composition was: 33rd, 35th Guards, 87th, 98th, 112th, 131st, 196th, 229th, 244th, 315th, 399th Rifle Divisions 10th, 38th, 42nd, 115th, 124th, 129th, 149th Rifle Brigades post 9-27-1942 193rd Rifle Division 23rd Tank Corps 20th Tank Destroyer Brigade 115th Fortified Region twelve artillery and mortar regiments On 1 November 1942 during the height of the Battle of Stalingrad, the 62nd Army commanded the 13th, 37th, 39th Guards Rifle Divisions, the 45th, 95th, 112th, 138th, 193rd, 284th and 308th Rifle Divisions, the 42nd, 92nd, 115th, 124th, 149th, 160th Rifle Brigades, the 84th Tank and 2nd Motor Rifle Brigades, the 115th Fortified Region, 20 regiments of howitzer, antitank, mortar and anti-aircraft artillery among other support units. Many of these formations were burnt-out shells by the end of the Battle of Stalingrad, with many formations reduced to less than 5% of its original manpower. On 16 April 1943, the 62nd Army became the 8th Guards Army. Jul 1942 to Aug 1942: Major General V. Ia.
Kolpakchi Aug 1942 to Sep 1942: Lieutenant General A. I. Lopatin Sep 1942 to Apr 1943: Lieutenant General V. I. Chuikov Bonn, Keith E. ed.. Slaughterhouse: The Handbook of the Eastern Front. Bedford, Pennsylvania: Aberjona Press. ISBN 9780971765092. Erickson, John; the Road to Stalingrad. London: Cassell Military Paperbacks. ISBN 9780304365418. Glantz, David M. Companion to Colossus Reborn. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas. ISBN 0-7006-1359-5. Poirier, Robert G.. The Red Army Order of Battle in the Great Patriotic War. Novato: Presidio Press. ISBN 0-89141-237-9