5th Guards Tank Army
The 5th Guards Tank Army was a Soviet Guards armored formation which fought in many notable actions during World War II. The army was formed in February 1943; until the aftermath of the Vilnius Offensive in July 1944, it was commanded by Pavel Rotmistrov. Its organisation varied throughout its history, but in general included two or more Guards Tank Corps and one or more Guards Mechanized Corps, it was considered an elite formation. Under Red Army doctrine of deep operations, Tank Armies were to be used for large-scale exploitation of major offensives. Once a breach in enemy lines had been made by other units, the tank army would be inserted into the gap to drive deep into enemy territory, attacking rear areas and seizing major communications centers to disrupt the enemy reactions. Tank armies were expected to penetrate up to several hundred kilometers into the enemy rear. After the war, the 5th Guards Tank Army moved to the Belorussian Military District, it was downsized to division size in late 1946 and became a mechanized army in 1948.
The designation "5th Guards Tank Army" was restored in 1957. The army was taken over by the Belarus Ground Forces in June 1992 and became an army corps two months later; the 5th Guards Army Corps was disbanded in 2001. Its headquarters became the headquarters of the Belarus Ground Forces; the 5th Guards Tank Army was formed on 25 February 1943 based on a Stavka order of 10 February 1943. It was part of the Reserve of the Supreme High Command; the army included the 3rd Guards and the 29th Tank Corps, the 5th Guards Mechanized Corps, the 994th Night Bomber Aviation Regiment and other smaller units. In 1943, it played a significant role in the Battle of Kursk, being one of the formations tasked with the counterattack at the Battle of Prokhorovka. Subordinated to the Steppe Front, at Kursk the Army controlled the 18th Tank Corps, 29th Tank Corps, 2nd Tank Corps, 5th Guards Mechanised Corps plus smaller units with a total of 850 tanks. Early in 1944, it took part in the reduction of the Korsun-Cherkassy Pocket.
In June 1944, the 5th Guards Tank Army was used as the main exploitation force during the Soviet summer offensive, Operation Bagration. The formation was committed to an attack along and parallel to the main Moscow–Minsk road, following initial breakthroughs by the rifle divisions of 11th Guards Army, was instrumental in completing the encirclement and destruction of German forces at Minsk, it was employed in the third phase of Operation Bagration. High casualties in this campaign, led to the unit's commander Lieutenant-General Pavel Rotmistrov being relieved of command and replaced with Vasily Volsky. Late in 1944, the 5th Guards Tank Army was committed against 3rd Panzer Army as part of the Baltic Offensive, pushing the German forces into a pocket at Memel, it was moved south and took part in the East Prussian Operation as part of Konstantin Rokossovsky's 2nd Belorussian Front. However, by March 1945, the 5th Guards Tank Army was being drawn down, with the subordinate 10th Tank Corps moved first to direct subordination of the 3rd Belorussian Front and the STAVKA Reserve by 1 April 1945.
This left the 5th Guards Tank Army with the 29th, under its control. This reduction in strength coincided with the hospitalization of the 5th GTA's commanding general, Vasily Volsky, for tuberculosis. Volsky did not return to the army and Major General Maxim Sinenko took command from 16 March 1945 to the end of the war. After the war, Rotmistrov wrote a history of the unit, The Steel Guards. In July 1945, the army was relocated to part of the Baranovichi Military District. In February 1946, it moved to Bobruisk, after the Baranovichi and Minsk Military Districts had been combined into the Belorussian Military District; the army moved to Belarus with the 8th Guards and 29th Tank Divisions, the 8th Mechanized Division, all formed from the corps of the same numbers after the end of the war. There, the 8th Mechanized Division was transferred and the newly created 15th Guards and 12th Mechanized Divisions joined the army; the army was redesignated the 5th Guards Mechanized Army on 12 June 1946, was reduced to the mobilization 5th Guards Mechanized Division on 31 October 1946, with its divisions reduced to regiments.
The unit was expanded into the 5th Guards Mechanized Army on 28 October 1948 as Cold War tensions increased. In the early 1950s, the 22nd Mechanized Division replaced the 15th Guards. By 1955 the army numbered 1,219 tanks and self-propelled guns, including 161 IS-4, 893 T-54, sixteen T-34/85, 75 PT-76, 74 ISU-122, 24 ZSU-57 self-propelled anti-aircraft guns, 705 guns. From until the late 1980s the army's composition remained unchanged – only the mechanized divisions were redesignated in 1957. On 20 May of that year, the army was redesignated as the 5th Guards Tank Army; the 22nd Mechanized became the 36th Tank Division the 193rd in 1965, while the 12th Mechanized Division became the 5th Heavy Tank Division and was disbanded in 1960. On 21 February 1974, the army was awarded the Order of the Red Banner. In August 1979, the 84th Motor Rifle Division was attached to the army at Marina Gorka after transferring from the 28th Army; until the late 1980s, the army included three tank divisions – the 8th Guards at Marina Gorka, the 29th at Slutsk, the 193rd at Bobruisk-25.
Support units included the 302nd Anti-Aircraft
Army Group B
Army Group B was the title of three German Army Groups that saw action during World War II. Army Group B took part in Battle for France in 1940 in Belgium and the Netherlands; the second formation of Army Group B was established when Army Group South was divided for the summer offensive of 1942 on the Eastern Front. Army Group B was given the task of protecting the northern flank of Army Group A, included the 6th Army during the Battle of Stalingrad. In February 1943, Army Group B and Army Group Don were combined to create a new Army Group South. A new Army Group B was formed in northern Italy under Field Marshal Erwin Rommel in 1943 and was moved to Northern France. On 19 July 1944, Field Marshal Günther von Kluge took command from Rommel and on 17 August, Field Marshal Walter Model replaced Kluge. Army Group B participated in the Battle of Normandy. Moving to the Low Countries, Model received a shock when his HQ was located at Osterbeek close to Arnhem during the 17 September start of Operation Market Garden before the army group participated in the Battle of the Bulge.
The army group was isolated in the Ruhr Pocket in northern Germany and after being divided up into smaller and smaller sections, the final section surrendered to the Allies on 21 April 1945. Western FrontEastern FrontNorthern Italy/Northern France 12 October 1939 - 9 May 1941 General Hans von Salmuth 20 May 1941 General Hans von GreiffenbergEastern Front August 1942 - 20.5.1943 General Georg von Sodenstern Builder, Carl H. Bankes, Steven C. & Nordin Richard, Command concepts: a theory derived from the practice of command and control, RAND, Santa Monica, CA, 1999
3rd Guards Tank Army
The 3rd Guards Tank Army was a tank army established by the Soviet Union's Red Army during World War II. The 3rd Tank Army was created in 1942 and fought in the southern areas of the Soviet Union and Poland in Germany and Czechoslovakia until the defeat of Germany in 1945. Postwar, the army served as occupation troops in East Germany, went through several name changes, was deactivated in 1969; the 3rd Tank Army was formed as part of the Reserve of the Supreme High Command on the basis of the 58th Army in the Moscow Military District in May 1942. It was placed under the command of Lieutenant General Prokofy Romanenko, its initial composition was 12th and 15th Tank Corps, one motor rifle division, two rifle divisions. As part of the Soviet Western Front, the 3rd Tank Army counter-attacked the German Second Panzer Army in August 1942. Soon afterwards, in September 1942, Romanenko handed over to Colonel General Pavel Rybalko, who held command of the Army for the remainder of the war. Committed to the fighting for Kharkov in March 1943 as part of the Voronezh Front, the 3rd Tank Army was subsequently encircled and destroyed by German forces.
The Army's remnants were reorganised as the 57th Army. The army was reformed as the 3rd Guards Tank Army in May 1943, including the 9th Mechanised Corps & 12th & 15th Tank Corps. In 1943, the army took part in the Orel offensive and, assigned to the Voronezh and First Ukrainian Fronts, played a leading role in the liberation of Left Bank Ukraine. During the Orel offensive the 12th and 15th Tank Corps became the 6th and 7th Guards Tank Corps, respectively; the army was among the first Soviet troops to reach the Dnieper River in October 1943. In 1944, it fought in the Lvov-Sandomierz offensive operations; the army subsequently fought in southern Poland, in the Battle of Berlin. It overran the OKH command post at Zossen, headquarters for German Eastern Front operations, on April 21, 1945; the army drove on Prague, entering that city on May 9. Soon after the end of the war, the 6th and 7th Guards Tank Corps were converted into tank divisions with the same numbers, the 9th Mechanized Corps into the 9th Mechanized Division.
By 1946, the army had been re-designated as the 3rd Guards Mechanized Army and was headquartered in Luckenwalde, East Germany, as part of the Group of Soviet Forces in Germany. The 3rd Guards Mechanized Army was one of several Soviet armies used in the suppression of the 1953 uprising in East Germany, moving the 6th Guards Tank Division into Dessau and Wittenberg as well as the 9th Mechanized Division into Lübben and Spremberg. On 29 April 1957, the 3rd Guards Mechanized Army became the 18th Guards Army. At the same time the 14th Guards Mechanized Division became the 14th Guards Motor Rifle Division. In 1958, the 82nd Motor Rifle Division, the former 9th Mechanized Corps, was withdrawn to Slavuta in the Carpathian Military District, where it disbanded. Up to 1964 it had preserved two formations which had served with it during World War II: the 6th and 7th Guards Tank Divisions. In August 1964, the headquarters of the 18th Guards Army was relocated to Alma-Ata, where it became the operational group of the Turkestan Military District.
The 6th and 7th Guards Tank Divisions and the 14th Guards Motor Rifle Division were transferred to other units within the GSFG. The operational group was converted back into the 18th Army on 4 March 1969, but was used to activate the headquarters of the Central Asian Military District on 24 June; the 3rd Tank Army was commanded by the following officers: Lieutenant General Prokofy Romanenko Major General Pavel Rybalko The 3rd Guards Tank Army, 3rd Guards Mechanized Army, 18th Guards Army were commanded by the following officers: Lieutenant General Pavel Rybalko Lieutenant General Vasily Mitrofanov Lieutenant General Vasily Butkov Lieutenant General Viktor Obukhov Major General Sergey Sokolov Major General Georgy Anishchik Beloborodov, Afanasy, ed.. Военные кадры Советского государства в Великой Отечественной войне 1941 – 1945 гг. Moscow: Voenizdat. Bonn, Keith E. Slaughterhouse. Bedford: Aberjona Press, 2005. ISBN 0-9717650-9-X. Feskov, V. I.. I.. A.. A.. Вооруженные силы СССР после Второй Мировой войны: от Красной Армии к Советской.
Tomsk: Scientific and Technical Literature Publishing. ISBN 9785895035306. Glantz, David M. Companion to Colossus Reborn. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2005. ISBN 0-7006-1359-5. Poirier, Robert G. and Conner, Albert Z. The Red Army Order of Battle in the Great Patriotic War. Novato: Presidio Press, 1985. ISBN 0-89141-237-9. Shein, Dmitry. Танки ведет Рыбалко. Боевой путь 3-й Гвардейской танковой армии. Красная армия. Элитные войска. Moscow: Yauza/Eksmo. ISBN 978-5-699-20010-8. Zvartsev, Alexander, ed.. 3-я гвардейская танковая. Боевой путь 3-й гвардейской танк
Voronezh is a city and the administrative center of Voronezh Oblast, straddling the Voronezh River and located 12 kilometers from where it flows into the Don. The city sits on the Southeastern Railway, which connects European Russia with the Urals and Siberia, the Caucasus and Ukraine, the M4 highway, its population in 2016 was estimated to be 1,032,895. The first chronicle references to the word "Voronezh" are dated 1177, when the Ryazan prince Yaropolk, having lost the battle, fled "to Voronozh" and there was moving "from hail into hail." Modern data of archeology and history interpret Voronezh as a geographical region, which included the Voronezh river and a number of settlements. In the lower reaches of the river, an unique Slavic town-planning complex of the 8th – early 11th century was discovered, which covered the territory of the present city of Voronezh and its environs. By the 12th – 13th centuries, most of the old “hails” were desolate, but new settlements appeared upstream, closer to Ryazan.
For many years, the hypothesis of the Soviet historian Vladimir Zagorovsky dominated: he produced the toponym "Voronezh" from the hypothetical Slavic personal name Voroneg. This man gave the name of a small town in the Chernigov Principality. In the XI or XII centuries, the settlers were able to "transfer" this name to the Don region, where they named the second city Voronezh, the river got its name from the city. However, now many researchers criticize the hypothesis, since in reality neither the name of Voroneg nor the second city was revealed, the names of Russian cities repeated the names of the rivers, but not vice versa; the linguistic comparative analysis of the name "Voronezh" was carried out by the Khovansky Foundation in 2009. There is an indication of the place names of many countries in Eurasia, which may be not only similar in sound, but united by common Indo-European languages: Varanasi, Verona, etc. A comprehensive scientific analysis was conducted in 2015–2016 by the historian Pavel Popov.
His conclusion: "Voronezh" is a probable Slavic macrotoponym associated with outstanding signs of nature, has a root voron- in the meaning of "black, dark" and the suffix -ezh. It was not “transferred” and in the 8th - 9th centuries it marked a vast territory covered with black forests - from the mouth of the Voronezh river to the Voronozhsky annalistic forests in the middle and upper reaches of the river, in the west to the Don; the historian believes that the main "city" of the early town-planning complex could repeat the name of the region – Voronezh. Now the hillfort is located in the administrative part of the modern city, in the Voronezh upland oak forest; this is one of Europe's largest ancient Slavic hillforts, the area of which – more than 9 hectares – 13 times the area of the main settlement in Kiev before the baptism of Rus. Folk etymology claims the name comes from combining the Russian words for raven and hedgehog into Воронеж. According to this explanation two Slavic tribes named after the animals used this combination to name the river which in turn provided the name for a settlement.
There is not believed to be any scientific support for this explanation. In the 16th century, the Middle Don basin, including the Voronezh river, was conquered by Muscovy from the Nogai Horde, the current city of Voronezh was established in 1585 by Feodor I as a fort protecting the Muravsky Trail trade route against the raids of the Nogai and Crimean Tatars; the city was named after the river. In the 17th century, Voronezh evolved into a sizable town. Weronecz is shown on the Worona river in Resania in Joan Blaeu's map of 1645. Peter the Great built a dockyard in Voronezh where the Azov Flotilla was constructed for the Azov campaigns in 1695 and 1696; this fleet, the first built in Russia, included the first Russian ship of the line, Goto Predestinatsia. The Orthodox diocese of Voronezh was instituted in 1682 and its first bishop, Mitrofan of Voronezh, was proclaimed the town's patron saint. Owing to the Voronezh Admiralty Wharf, for a short time, Voronezh became the largest city of South Russia and the economic center of a large and fertile region.
In 1711, it was made the seat of the Azov Governorate, which morphed into the Voronezh Governorate. In the 19th century, Voronezh was a center of the Central Black Earth Region. Manufacturing industry as well as bread, cattle and the hair trade developed in the town. A railway connected Voronezh with Moscow in 1868 and Rostov-on-Don in 1871. During World War II, Voronezh was the scene of fierce fighting between Russian and combined Axis troops; the Germans used it as a staging area for their attack on Stalingrad, made it a key crossing point on the Don River. In June 1941, two BM-13 artillery installations were built at the Voronezh excavator factory. In July, the construction of Katyushas was rationalized so that their manufacture became easier and the time of volley repetition was shortened from five minutes to fifteen seconds. More than 300 BM-13 units manufactured in Voronezh were used in a counterattack near Moscow in December 1941. In October 22, 1941, the advance of the German troops prompted the establishment of a defense committee in the city.
Battle of Prokhorovka
The Battle of Prokhorovka was fought on 12 July 1943 near Prokhorovka, 87 kilometres southeast of Kursk in the Soviet Union, during the Second World War. Taking place on the Eastern Front, the engagement was part of the wider Battle of Kursk, occurred when the 5th Guards Tank Army of the Soviet Red Army attacked the II SS-Panzer Corps of the German Wehrmacht in one of the largest tank battles in military history. In April 1943, the German leadership began preparing for Operation Citadel, with the objective of enveloping and destroying the Soviet forces in the Kursk salient, by attacking and breaking through the base of the salient from north and south simultaneously; the German offensive was delayed several times due to the vacillation of the leadership and the addition of more forces and new equipment. The Soviet high command, had learned of the German intentions, therefore used the delay to prepare a series of defensive belts along the routes of the planned German offensive; the Soviet leadership massed several armies deep behind their defences as the Stavka Reserve.
This army group, the Steppe Front, was to launch counteroffensives once the German strength had dissipated. The 5th Guards Tank Army was the primary armoured formation of the Steppe Front. On 5 July 1943 the Wehrmacht launched its offensive. On the northern side of the salient, the German forces bogged down within four days. On the southern side, the German 4th Panzer Army, with Army Detachment Kempf on its eastern flank, attacked the Soviet defences of the Voronezh Front, they made steady progress through the Soviet defensive lines. After a week of fighting, the Soviets launched their counteroffensives – Operation Kutuzov on the northern side and a coinciding one on the southern side. On the southern side of the salient near Prokhorovka, the 5th Guards Tank Army engaged the II SS-Panzer Corps of the 4th Panzer Army, resulting in a large clash of armour; the 5th Guards Tank Army suffered significant losses in the attack, but succeeded in preventing the Wehrmacht from capturing Prokhorovka and breaking through the third defensive belt – the last fortified one.
The German high command, unable to accomplish its objective, cancelled Operation Citadel and began redeploying its forces to deal with new pressing developments elsewhere. The Red Army went on a general offensive, conducting Operation Polkovodets Rumyantsev on the southern side and continuing Operation Kutuzov on the northern side; the Soviet Union thus seized the strategic initiative on the Eastern Front, which it was to hold for the rest of the war. After the conclusion of the battle for the Donets, as the spring rasputitsa season came to an end in 1943, both the German and Soviet commands considered their plans for future operations; the Soviet premier Joseph Stalin and some senior Soviet officers wanted to seize the initiative first and attack the German forces inside the Soviet Union, but they were convinced by a number of key commanders, including the Deputy Supreme Commander Georgy Zhukov, to assume a defensive posture instead. This would allow the German side to weaken themselves in attacking prepared positions, after which the Soviet forces would be able to respond with a counter-offensive.
Strategic discussions occurred on the German side, with Field Marshal Erich von Manstein arguing for a mobile defence that would give up terrain and allow the Soviet units to advance, while the German forces launched a series of sharp counterattacks against their flanks to inflict heavy attrition. But for political reasons, German Chancellor Adolf Hitler insisted that the German forces go on the offensive, choosing the Kursk salient for the attack. On 15 April 1943 he authorised preparations for Unternehmen Zitadelle; the German offensive plan envisioned an assault at the base of the Kursk salient from both the north and south, with the intent of enveloping and destroying the Soviet forces in the salient. The two spearheads were to meet near Kursk. From the south, the XLVIII Panzer Corps and General Paul Hausser's II SS-Panzer Corps, forming the left and right wings of the 4th Panzer Army commanded by Colonel General Hermann Hoth, would drive northward; the III Panzer Corps of Army Detachment Kempf was to protect Hoth's right flank.
The 4th Panzer Army and Army Detachment Kempf were under Army Group South, commanded by Manstein. Air support over the southern portion of the offensive was provided by Colonel General Otto Deßloch's Luftflotte 4 and its major air formation, the 8th Air Corps; the German offensive slated to commence in the beginning of May, was postponed several times as the German leadership reconsidered and vacillated over its prospects, as well as to bring forward more units and equipment. The Soviet leadership, through their intelligence agencies and foreign sources, learned about the German intentions, therefore the multiple delays by the German high command, OKW, allowed them a great deal of time to prepare their defences. Employing defence in depth, they constructed a series of defensive lines to wear down the attacking panzer formations. Three belts made up of extensive minefields, anti-tank ditches, anti-tank gun emplacements were created; the Voronezh Front, commanded by General Nikolai Vatutin, defended the southern face of the salient.
The Steppe Front, commanded by Colonel General Ivan Konev, formed the strategic reserve. It was to be held back east of the salient; this formation included Lieutenant General Alexei Zhadov's 5th Guards Army and Lieutenant General Pavel Rotmistrov's 5th Guards Tank Army. The Wehrmacht met heavy resistance. There were far more
Army Group Centre
Army Group Centre was the name of two distinct strategic German Army Groups that fought on the Eastern Front in World War II. The first Army Group Centre was created on 22 June 1941, as one of three German Army formations assigned to the invasion of the Soviet Union. On 25 January 1945, after it was encircled in the Königsberg pocket, Army Group Centre was renamed Army Group North, Army Group A became Army Group Centre; the latter formation retained its name until the end of the war in Europe. The commander in chief on the formation of the Army Group Centre was Fedor von Bock. Army Group HQ troops537th Signals Regiment 537th Signals Regiment Panzer Group 2 XXIV Panzer Corps 1st Cav. Div. 3rd Pz, 4th Pz. 10th Mot. Div. 267th IDXLVI Panzer Corps SS "Das Reich" Div. 10th Pz. Inf. Reg. "Gross Deutschland"XLVII Panzer Corps 17th Pz, 18th Pz, 29th Mot. Div. 167th IDXII Army Corps 31st ID, 34th ID, 45th ID 255th ID Panzer Group 3 V Army Corps 5th ID, 35th IDVI Army Corps 6th ID, 26th IDXXXIX Panzer Corps 7th Pz, 20th Pz, 14th Mot.
Div. 20th Mot. Div. LVII Panzer Corps 12th Pz, 18th Pz, 19th Pz4th Army VII Army Corps 7th ID, 23rd ID, 258th ID, 268th ID, 221st Sec. Div. IX Army Corps 137th ID, 263rd ID, 292nd IDXIII Army Corps 17th ID, 78th IDXLIII Army Corps 131st ID, 134th ID, 252nd ID 286th ID 9th Army VIII Army Corps 8th ID, 28th ID, 161st IDXX Army Corps 162nd ID, 256th IDXLII Army Corps 87th ID, 102nd ID, 129th ID 403rd Sec. Div. On 22 June 1941, Nazi Germany and its Axis allies launched their surprise offensive into the Soviet Union, their armies, totaling over three million men, were to advance in three geographical directions. Army Group Centre's initial strategic goal was to defeat the Soviet armies in Belarus and occupy Smolensk. To accomplish this, the army group planned for a rapid advance using Blitzkrieg operational methods for which purpose it commanded two panzer groups rather than one. A quick and decisive victory over the Soviet Union was expected by mid-November; the Army Group's other operational missions were to support the army groups on its northern and southern flanks, the army group boundary for the being the Pripyat River.
July 1941 order of battle 3rd Panzer Group, 9th Army, 4th Army, 2nd Panzer Group, z. Vfg. 2nd ArmyAugust 1941 order of battle 3rd Panzer Group, 9th Army, 2nd Army, Army Group Guderian September 1941 order of battle 3rd Panzer Group, 9th Army, 4th Army, 2nd Panzer Group, 2nd ArmyBitter fighting in the Battle of Smolensk as well as the Lötzen decision delayed the German advance for two months. The advance of Army Group Centre was further delayed as Hitler ordered a postponement of the offensive against Moscow in order to conquer Ukraine first. October 1941 detailed order of battle2nd Army LIII Army Corps 56th ID, 31st ID, 167th IDLXIII Army Corps 52nd ID, 131st IDXIII Army Corps 260th ID, 17th ID Reserve: 112th ID2nd Panzer Army XXXIV Army Corps 45th ID, 134th IDXXXV Army Corps 95th ID, 296th ID, 262nd ID, 293rd IDXLVIII Panzer Corps 9th Pz, 16th Mot. Div. 25th Mot. Div. XXIV Panzer Corps 3rd Pz, 4th Pz, 10th Mot. Div. XLVII Panzer Corps 17th Pz, 18th Pz, 29th Mot. Div.4th Army VII Army Corps 197th ID, 7th ID, 23rd ID, 267th IDXX Army Corps 268th ID, 15th, 78th IDIX Army Corps 137th ID, 263rd ID, 183rd ID, 292nd IDPanzer Group 4, Subordinated to 4th ArmyXII Army Corps 34th ID, 98th IDXL Army Corps 10th Pz, 2nd Pz, 258th IDXLVI Panzer Corps 5th Bz, 11th Pz, 252nd ID LVII Panzer Corps 20th Pz, SS "Das Reich" Mot.
Div. 3rd Mot. Div. 9th Army XXVII Army Corps 255th ID, 162nd ID, 86th IDV Army Corps 5th ID, 35th ID, 106th ID, 129th IDVIII Army Corps 8th ID, 28th ID, 87th IDXXIII Army Corps 251st ID, 102nd ID, 256th ID, 206th ID 161st ID Panzer Group 3, Subordinated to 9th ArmyLVI Panzer Corps 6th Pz, 7th Pz, 14th Mot. Div. XLI Panzer Corps 1st Pz, 36th Mot. Div. VI Army Corps 110th ID, 26th ID, 6th IDNovember 1941 order of battle 2nd Panzer Army, 3rd Panzer Group, 2nd Army, 4th Army, 9th ArmyThe commander in chief as of 19 December 1941 was Günther von Kluge. 1942 opened for Army Group Centre with continuing attacks from Soviet forces around Rzhev. The German Ninth Army was able to repel these attacks and stabilise its front, despite continuing large-scale partisan activity in its rear areas. Meanwhile, the German strategic focus on the Eastern Front shifted to southwestern Russia, with the launching of Operation Blue in June; this operation, aimed at the oilfields in the southwestern Caucasus, involved Army Group South alone, with the other German army groups giving up troops and equipment for the offensive.
Despite the focus on the south, Army Group Centre continued to see fierce fighting throughout the year. While the Soviet attacks in early 1942 had not driven the Germans back, they had resulted in several Red Army units being trapped behind German lines. Eliminating the pockets took until July, the same month in which the Soviets made another attempt to break through the army group's front; the largest Soviet operation in the army group's sector that year, Operation Mars, took place in November. It was launched concurrently with Opera
Operation Star or Operation Zvezda was a Red Army offensive on the Eastern Front of World War II begun on 2 February 1943. The attack was the responsibility of the Voronezh Front under the command of Filipp Golikov, its main objectives were the cities of Kursk. While successful in capturing both cities, the Soviets overextended themselves, allowing German Field Marshal Erich von Manstein to launch a counteroffensive and inflict a defeat on the Soviets in the Third Battle of Kharkov. Case Blue Operation Gallop