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The Caucasus July 1942- Jan 1943

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  • #16
    I agree, I read some of it- the text is rather clunky. Maps are substandard and need to be consulted elsewhere. Detailed but strange to follow, IMHO.

    Originally posted by Artyom_A View Post
    Somewhat fragmented and lacking general perspective. Also to much focus on SS Wiking. .
    Zhitomir-Berdichev, West of Kiev: 24 Dec 1943-31 Jan 1944
    Stalin's Favorite: The Combat History of the 2nd Guards Tank Army
    Barbarossa Derailed I & II
    Battle of Kalinin October 1941

    Comment


    • #17
      If Army Group South had skipped the oil fields and Stalingrad, and headed North to outflank Moscow and combine the German armor into a schwerpunkt (as per German military doctrine, not Hitler doctrine), instead of dispersing their forces, they MIGHT have accomplished their objective of winning the war.


      Hitler won WWII for the Allies.
      Battles are dangerous affairs... Wang Hsi

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      • #18
        Originally posted by Pirate-Drakk View Post
        If Army Group South had skipped the oil fields and Stalingrad, and headed North to outflank Moscow and combine the German armor into a schwerpunkt (as per German military doctrine, not Hitler doctrine), instead of dispersing their forces, they MIGHT have accomplished their objective of winning the war.


        Hitler won WWII for the Allies.
        Instead, he put the Zulus in at halfback instead of on the wing and left the unicorn in goal. Totally inexcusable.

        Comment


        • #19
          Originally posted by Cult Icon View Post
          The drive to the mountain ranges was actually tank country. (500 tanks were used- 13.Pz, 3.Pz, 23.Pz, 5.SS 'W', etc.)

          Beyond that it was up to light infantry, which the axis (with a major Romanian contingent) did not have enough of.

          .
          Yes, i don't see how few more inf div at Grozny would have done better. And what after ? Baku still be far. And supplies ?
          They fought hard to reach the black sea at Tuapse without any result exepted lossing infantry in close combat ... alike a Stalingrad in the woods and in the hills !

          Comment


          • #20
            Soviet strength in the region only had a serious uptick in Nov/Dec. Prior to that, they were operating under quite similar constraints as the axis forces. The rest are what-ifs. "If AGS (AGA/AGB) was larger and better equipped..."

            I don't think the problem was getting there- the problem was consolidating and then fighting off the soviet winter-counteroffensive, which would be aimed at the logistical hub of Rostov.

            Originally posted by grosnain View Post
            Yes, i don't see how few more inf div at Grozny would have done better. And what after ? Baku still be far. And supplies ?
            They fought hard to reach the black sea at Tuapse without any result exepted lossing infantry in close combat ... alike a Stalingrad in the woods and in the hills !
            Zhitomir-Berdichev, West of Kiev: 24 Dec 1943-31 Jan 1944
            Stalin's Favorite: The Combat History of the 2nd Guards Tank Army
            Barbarossa Derailed I & II
            Battle of Kalinin October 1941

            Comment


            • #21
              Originally posted by Cult Icon View Post
              I don't think the problem was getting there- the problem was consolidating and then fighting off the soviet winter-counteroffensive, which would be aimed at the logistical hub of Rostov.
              The railroad bridge at Rostov is actually the key. The Germans depended on rail for transport and logistical supplies and almost everything for the Caucuses went over that bridge.

              It should be fairly straightforward for someone to calculate the maximum force that can be supplied across that one bridge.

              Comment


              • #22
                ^
                Yes, I would say that there should be an extensive infrastructure project done when Rostov was cleared to expand capacity (similar to what the Soviets worked on to expand capacity for Uranus/soviet winter counteroffensive) plus additional transport columns.

                there would still need pressure put towards the Stalingrad and Voronzeth Axis though, in order to draw soviet forces away from the Rostov axis.

                What stands out is the bad logistics on both sides- even with this shortcoming, the axis still inflicted 4 to 1 losses while they were there.

                From Forcyck's summary:

                Logistical support
                Heeresgruppe A crossed the Don on a logistical shoestring and conducted the
                campaign with inadequate supplies – particularly of fuel – for the duration.
                Heeresgruppe A’s logistical lifeline depended entirely upon a single rail line: the
                track running from Rostov to Armavir and Pyatigorsk. Once the bridges over
                the Don were repaired, the German Reichsbahn was able to push trains fairly far
                down the track, but the tonnages delivered were grossly inadequate for the task.
                In August, the fuel shortage brought von Kleist’s 1. Panzerarmee pursuit to an
                abrupt halt short of the Terek River and even in early September, 1. Panzerarmee
                was only receiving 130–230 tons of supplies every other day. Although the
                amount of fuel delivered into the theatre was just enough to satisfy minimum
                needs, it was insufficient to conduct sustained offensive operations. German
                doctrine stipulated that units needed to stockpile fuel amounting to 4.0 VS
                (Verbrauchssatz – the load of fuel required to move all vehicles in a unit 100km)
                for an offensive, but on the Terek River III Panzerkorps only had 0.5 VS and the
                XXXX Panzerkorps had 0.8 VS – adequate only for defensive operations.
                Nor could air- or sea-lift make up the German logistical deficiencies. By
                mid-September 1942, the Kriegsmarine was able to establish a sea supply
                route from the Crimea to the small port of Anapa, but this was barely
                sufficient even to meet part of AOK 17’s needs. The Luftwaffe also provided
                occasional logistical support in the Caucasus, but the Stalingrad airlift
                diverted most resources northward until the Heeresgruppe A retreat began.
                Zhitomir-Berdichev, West of Kiev: 24 Dec 1943-31 Jan 1944
                Stalin's Favorite: The Combat History of the 2nd Guards Tank Army
                Barbarossa Derailed I & II
                Battle of Kalinin October 1941

                Comment


                • #23
                  Some old notes that I've been digging up (from Stalingrad Trilogy):

                  Axis summer offensive until Dec 1942 inflicts 1,586,100 million casualties including around 887,000 permanent losses. Of these, 373,000 are from the Caucasus. VVS loses around 3,500 aircraft.

                  up to mid-Nov, AGB Axis forces takes 200,000 casualties (130,000 in 6.AOK, 4.PzA) with 30,000 by Romanian 3.A/4.A and 40,000 in the 2.AOK/2.A (Hungarian).

                  Against AGB, Soviets lose 4,862 tanks, Germans lost around 700.

                  Germans lost around 300 tanks in the Caucasus. AGN/AGC lose 600 tanks.

                  The personnel damage inflicted by AGS is similar to AGS in Barbarossa except with lower equipment losses. It is far less than the damage inflicted by AGC in Barbarossa.

                  Pre-Uranus: 6.AOK's (14.Pz, 16.Pz, and 24.Pz) have around 150 operable tanks. AGS's PzD have 35-40 panzers each.
                  The dramatically changing losses is very interesting- it can be attributed to the offensive maneuver warfare, and then the end.

                  I will look out to see if the losses of AGA has the same pattern. I know that that a disproportionate bulk of the soviet losses were in Aug-Sept 1942 and then axis losses rocketed in the retreat.

                  It is interesting that the casualty ratio dramatically shifts in favor of the Soviets in the 'switch' stage. From Case blue to pre-Uranus the loss ratio is 6.5:1 (Soviets: Axis)

                  In Stalingrad itself, the loss ratio is 3:1 (Soviets:Germans)


                  In the next phase of the Stalingrad campaign (Attacks against Axis Allies, other German armies, Uranus to Stalingrad end), the casualties even out to around 1:1. The Axis lose double the men of the prior phase.

                  The losses of Soviets:Germans reverses in Operation Ring to 1:4.

                  2.7 million Axis and Soviet casualties combined.
                  IIRC it was ~1 million Axis casualties and 1.7 Soviet
                  Last edited by Cult Icon; 07 Nov 15, 22:04.
                  Zhitomir-Berdichev, West of Kiev: 24 Dec 1943-31 Jan 1944
                  Stalin's Favorite: The Combat History of the 2nd Guards Tank Army
                  Barbarossa Derailed I & II
                  Battle of Kalinin October 1941

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Sean's file on the ragtag 23. Panzer-Division after its refitting in preparation for OP Winterstorm.

                    This was one of the Pz divisions that fought the caucasus campaign.

                    Zhitomir-Berdichev, West of Kiev: 24 Dec 1943-31 Jan 1944
                    Stalin's Favorite: The Combat History of the 2nd Guards Tank Army
                    Barbarossa Derailed I & II
                    Battle of Kalinin October 1941

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      In the Caucasus and the Oil, supply shortages for 40.PzK are noted in early August 1942. That's 5 weeks into the summer offensive and should be considered the rough beginning of a growing trend for the Caucasus.
                      Zhitomir-Berdichev, West of Kiev: 24 Dec 1943-31 Jan 1944
                      Stalin's Favorite: The Combat History of the 2nd Guards Tank Army
                      Barbarossa Derailed I & II
                      Battle of Kalinin October 1941

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Notes I made (jan 2015).

                        "To the Gates of Stalingrad" and "Armageddon at Stalingrad" have an informative, although too short, operational history of the Caucasus.

                        AGA accomplished more than typically believed. It has good success against Soviet forces until August 15th and succeed in inflicting high losses. Then their offensive actions become limited by logistics and the main effort at Stalingrad along with soviet diversionary operations in the North and Center. As the month comes to a close, several strong divisions leave the Caucasus to be shifted elsewhere and the German force the Caucasus shrinks. Their offensive operations become constrained, limited in the forces that can move, and based around stockpiling supplies, and waiting until they are sufficient.

                        The Soviets are similarly constrained by poor logistics, and very often the Germans actually have more tanks than they do. The battles are small compared to the drama up north with both sides not committing much in the way of forces.

                        The terrain favors defense, and both sides can commit fewer forces to hold the line than typical. But sides have less forces than is optimal for attacking the theater. Many of the ops. are surgical in nature, relying on maneuver and craftiness.

                        This was a theater that required more in the way of various types of special forces working together (eg. Brandenburgers, cavalry, Jager, Mountain, mechanized/armor) and much larger numbers of infantry on both sides.

                        Kleist's Nov offensive is finally defeated 72 KM from Grozny with 13.Pz getting badly beaten by a counterstroke by 10 RC and 11 GRC, reinforced with 4 brigades of tanks. Glantz says: serious lack of infantry impaired Kleist's operation.
                        Zhitomir-Berdichev, West of Kiev: 24 Dec 1943-31 Jan 1944
                        Stalin's Favorite: The Combat History of the 2nd Guards Tank Army
                        Barbarossa Derailed I & II
                        Battle of Kalinin October 1941

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          The osprey booklets: The Caucasus 1942-43: Kleist's Race for Oil , and Behind Soviet Lines - Hitler's Brandenburgers capture the Maikop Oilfields 1942 (Raid) are clearly influenced by "Caucasus and the Oil".

                          I definitely recommend this book, warts and all. It is bizarre and is about a quixotic military adventure into the mountains with a strange cast of indigenous characters. The use of google maps/google can show the strange places the forces fought over.

                          Zhitomir-Berdichev, West of Kiev: 24 Dec 1943-31 Jan 1944
                          Stalin's Favorite: The Combat History of the 2nd Guards Tank Army
                          Barbarossa Derailed I & II
                          Battle of Kalinin October 1941

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            I've just finished the Russian Military Chronicles On the Kuban Bridgehead, which follows the action of the North Caucasus Front as it tries to clear the Axis forces from the Lower Kuban and the Taman Peninsula during the period 1 Jan - 1 Sept 1943. Very interesting, with a lot of hard fought battles. Mostly the focus was on the Soviet armour and it relied only on Soviet/Russian archive sources. Good read, but in Russian. Excellent maps.

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                            • #29
                              ^
                              Sounds interesting- another forgotten campaign (in english). I have seen a german newsreel about that region and they depict light infantry in the swamp. The Caucasus and the Oil covers the earlier incursion into the region.

                              Wasn't the film Cross of Iron based on that region?

                              + of interest is the german infantry composition in the offensive: many Jager divisions, pz/pzg/slovak mobile and mountain divisions were the core of the assault. There is also a sizable romanian mountain infantry contingent and also help from Cossack Calvary units.

                              Basically they used a lot of their best infantry units here.

                              From other sources, the Jager division was smaller division (Inf R only 6 battalions) that was however, fighter for fighter better equipped than an infantry division.

                              The supply columns and artillery regiments were motorized and there were additional signals and heavy weapon companies attached to each inf battalion. The artillery used more mobile models and the additional heavy weapon company gave an extra 8 x 75mm Infantry guns per Jager battalion.

                              Ostentatiously the Jager infantry were supposed to be better trained, more physically fit attack oriented troops designed for close combat and use in difficult, hilly and mountainous terrain & urban areas.

                              In the Halder war diary, he notes the activation of Jager divisions for the caucasus in the fall of 1941.
                              Zhitomir-Berdichev, West of Kiev: 24 Dec 1943-31 Jan 1944
                              Stalin's Favorite: The Combat History of the 2nd Guards Tank Army
                              Barbarossa Derailed I & II
                              Battle of Kalinin October 1941

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                -The offensive has the highest level of air support in the summer of 42', which drops off as other fronts draw resources. Units in the mountains get support from air recon.

                                -An example cited of a Jager division getting its vehicles and howitzers exchanged for pack animals and mountain guns.

                                -The 1st and 4th Mountain divisions converge on the Elbrus. The infiltration and attacks cleared out various mountain passes on their way there. To scale the Elbrus, it is necessary to clear the "Elbrus house"-a hotel with a meteorological station. Soviet mountain troops are also there. With two entire mountain divisions converging on the Elbrus, the Soviets agree with the germans to leave the area.

                                A company of the best mountaineers are chosen to scale the peaks and two companies are assigned for the house.

                                On 21 August, 1942 the Nazi flag is planted on top on Mount Elbrus. It is also filmed, and media stories/newreels are made for the occasion.
                                Zhitomir-Berdichev, West of Kiev: 24 Dec 1943-31 Jan 1944
                                Stalin's Favorite: The Combat History of the 2nd Guards Tank Army
                                Barbarossa Derailed I & II
                                Battle of Kalinin October 1941

                                Comment

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