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Operation "Mars" - was it large disaster or part of the Stalingrad victory?

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  • Operation "Mars" - was it large disaster or part of the Stalingrad victory?

    "Operation "Mars" - was it large disaster or part of the Stalingrad victory?

    Orlov Alexander Sememovich,
    polkovnik,
    Doctor of History Science,
    leading research officer of Military History Institute of Ministry of Defense of Russia,
    Academician of the Russian Academy of Native Sciences

    (Part 1 of 2)

    "55-year anniversary of WWII end in Europe for some last years attracts attention of historians in many world countries. Publication of many documents, which were secret not long ago, let to increase our knowledge about many operations of Great Patriotic War, which were not described enough earlier.

    It is related and to operation "Mars" (second Rzev-Sychyovka operation (25.11 - 20.12 1942)). This operation was described very little in Soviet historiography: diversionary operation of West and Kalinin Fronts with goal to prevent transferring of German reserves from West direction in South where huge Stalingrad battle was in that time.

    But in 1999 in USA book of known American historian David Glantz who specializes in history of Great Patriotic War was published. Name of book pretends to sensation and is " Zhukov's Greatest Defeat. The Red Army's Epic Disaster in Operation Mars, 1942."

    What is conception of Glantz, which let him to give such conclusion about results of this operation? He writes that in September of 1942 Stavka of Supreme Command developed two strategic advance operations: one in West and other in South direction. Every operation had to create conditions for new operation in same direction after it's end. Both operations got code names: in West direction - "Mars", in South - "Uranus". Following, next operations got code names "Jupiter" and "Saturn" accordingly.

    Author supposes that operation "Mars" was main operation. It had be done by forces of West (commander - I.S. Konev) and Kalinin (commander - M.A. Purkaev) Fronts. G.K. Zhukov had to coordinate their efforts. In the South operation "Saturn", which was auxiliary according Glantz, had be done by forces of South-West, Don and Stalingrad Fronts. A.M.Vasilevskiy had to coordinate their efforts.

    Goal of operation "Mars" was to crush 9th German Army, which was base of Army Group "Center" in region Rzhev, Sychyovka, Olenino, Belyy. Fronts, which had to take part in operation "Uranus", had goals to encircle and to destroy German 6th Field and part of 4th Tank Armies and later, during operation "Saturn", to crush main troops of German Army Groups "A" and "B".

    It is Glantz's description of goals of these operations. Then he analyzes forces, which were used for performing of advances tasks. He writes that 6 Armies and 9 [mobile] Corpses of Red Army took part in operation "Uranus", which acted against 6th Field and 4th Tank German Armies and 3rd and 4th Romanian Armies. 6 Armies and 7 mobile Corpses took part in operation "Mars", 2/3 of German 9th Army (commander - V. Model) defended against these forces. Moreover, positions of 9th Army near Velikiye Luki were attacked by Soviet 3rd Shock Army, and 3 other Soviet Armies - 4th Shock, 43rd and 29th - provided flanks of advancing forces.

    During analyzing of Red Army forces which took part in both operations Glantz writes that in November of 1942 Soviet forces which acted against German 9th Army contained 1,890,000 men, 24,682 guns, 3375 tanks and 1170 planes. Forces which took part in operation "Uranus" contained 1,103,000 men, 15,501 guns, 1463 tanks and 1463 planes. At that, 668,000 men and 2000 tanks acted directly in "Mars" operation, 700,000 men and 1400 tanks - in "Uranus" operation.

    Than Glantz compares results of operations and gives own marks for their coordinators - Vasilevskiy and Zhukov. According his opinion, near Stalingrad Soviet troops broke frontline in places, which were defended by Romanians, and accomplished this task quickly. Before beginning of Soviet Counteroffensive most part of German tanks was destroyed in Stalingrad and German had only two tank divisions (22nd German and 1st Romanian) as reserves.

    Near Rzhev defended troops were not Romanians but battle-hardened German divisions (for example, 102nd) in well prepared positions. 5th Tank Division defended positions in breakthrough direction of West Front, Model had four more divisions (1st and 9th tank, "Gross Deutschland" and 14th Motorized) in reserve. And 3 other tank divisions were ready for actions - 9th, 19th and 20th . Moreover, German intelligence knew reliable information about plans, dates and forces of West and Kalinin Fronts. All these factors were reasons of failure of "Mars" operation.

    Thus, according Glantz, two known Soviet military leaders commanded troops in different directions and got different results.

    Vasilevskiy coordinated actions of 3 Fronts, for 2.5 months successfully finished "Uranus" and "Small Saturn" (instead of "Saturn") and got excellent results with far less casualties than Zhukov and with even some less force than Zhukov. Troops under command of Zhukov could not to perform their tasks for 3 weeks and got more casualties than troops in Stalingrad advance.

    It is short description of Glantz's conception. But how does his conception compare with facts, does it confirmed by Soviet Military Archives data? Did really Soviet troops get large disaster in operation "Mars"? It is question of investigation.

    Firstly, in spite of statement of Glantz, operation "Mars" was auxiliary operation with task to provide success of operation "Uranus". And date of operation "Mars" beginning was delayed not because troops of West direction were not ready, it depended from situation in the South. Therefore this operation began on 25th of November, i.e. two days after that time when South-West and Stalingrad Fronts finished encirclement of Paulus troops. And operation "Mars" began in inauspicious weather conditions: there was powerful snowfall, aircraft couldn't operate, tanks and artillery didn't see targets. But this operation began in such conditions because it was necessary by any cost to hold main forces of Army Group "Center" and to prevent for Germans to transfer reserves from West to South direction. And even in spite of bad beginning and large casualties operation continued to the 20th of December. Why did it continue? It continued because it was necessary to deprive troops of Manstein which went to save Paulus possibility to get reserves. Manstein desperately needed in reserves and couldn't to save Paulus without reinforcements.

    So actions of Soviet troops which took part in operation "Mars" didn't let for Germans to reinforce South direction at the expense of West direction. But it was main strategic task of Stavka of Supreme Commanding. It was because German Army Group "Center" had 79 Divisions, it was 30% of all Axis divisions in Soviet-German Front or 41% of only German divisions. Operation "Uranus" was made against Army Group "B" which had the same amount of divisions, but 50 divisions were divisions of German satellites (Hungary, Romania, Italy). This difference in troop's quality predetermined different scale of success in Stalingrad steppe and Vyazma forests. And it is reason of different casualties level of Soviet troops in operations "Mars" and "Uranus". So comparisons of Glantz which were made without taking these circumstances into consideration are not correct. Also there are other errors in his book. He writes that in operation "Mars" took part 7 mobile Soviet corpses but really their amount was 5 (1st and 3rd Mechanized, 5th and 6th tank, 2nd Guardian Cavalry). And amount of directly advancing troops was far less than digits of Glantz. These troops contained 362,000 men, 1300 tanks and 3940 guns and mortars (according data from Central Archive of Ministry of Defense of Russia). First date of readiness troops for advance was 21st of October (not 12th of October like in book of Glantz). And date of operation "Mars" beginning delayed depending from date of operation "Uranus" beginning, it shows what operation was main.

    Yes, it is difficult to say that troops of West and Kalinin Fronts performed operational goals completely. Troops of West Front came into enemy positions in front of 8 km in near 10 km depth, 39th Army of Kalinin Front abolished Urdom fortified region of Rzhev prominence, 22nd Army of this Front came in depth of 16 km inside of enemy defense in region Karskaya. Troops of both Fronts couldn't to break enemy disposed in depth defense, to reach lines, which were indicated by Stavka, to encircle enemy forces, these troops got large casualties (but less than Glantz writes). Irretrievable casualties were 70,400 men, 1366 tanks (according data from Central Archive of Ministry of Defense of Russia). Yes, it was unsuccessful advance operation but it was not defeat like disasters in Crimea or Kharkov in spring of 1942, especially it is wrong to call it Zhukov's defeat, because he visited West direction only from time to time because of Stalingrad battle. And when he made sure that strategic goal - to hold near 30 enemy divisions in Rzhev direction and to compel commanding of Viermacht to reinforce Rzhev-Sychyovka beachhead by reserves of Army Group "Center" and OKH (four tank and one motorized division) - was performed, he ordered to stop unnecessary more operation "Mars".

    At the same time it is useful to accentuate that unsuccessful results of advancing operation are explained in many respects by exactly that strategic goals of Stavka didn't exclude possibility of failure of performing of operational goals by West and Kalinin Fronts during operation "Mars".

    Really, date of operation "Mars" beginning delayed for more than one month time in spite of the fact that troops were concentrated and were under intense spying of German intelligence Before beginning of advance enemy knew (from words of POWs and turncoats) about places of advance, Soviet forces and their approximate formations and plans.

    To be continiued...

  • #2
    Continue

    (Part 2 of 2)

    And what is more, Pavel Sudoplatov, one of famous Soviet intelligence leaders during WWII [Chief of 4th department of NKVD (intelligence) - remark of Andrey], writes that Soviet commanding wanted to be well-provided for preventing transferring of German reserves from West direction to South direction. For that Soviet commanding used "double"-spy (German spy in USSR, who was used by Soviet intelligence) Alexander Demianov for sending for Viermacht commanding "information" that Red Army will begin main advance in Rzhev region on November, 15th. (According memoirs of Pavel Sudoplatov "Intelligence and Kremlin", M, 1966, p.187-188) Draw attention that it is the same data which Glantz found in German archives and used as base for his book! So Stavka sacrificed operational success in West direction to strategic success in South direction! As result huge strategic advance of Soviet troops in Stalingrad direction was completely unexpected for Viermacht: elementt of surprise was achieved. General Iodl wrote: "We completely didn't know about power of Russian troops in this region. It was quiet part of frontline and suddenly we got here power blow, which had decisive significance."

    But even and in Rzhev direction, in spite of many imperfections of "Mars" operation, Soviet troops caused sensitive casualties to opposite German troops. German historian Brent Vicker speaks that "Casualties of Germans in Rzhev direction were huge".

    Here are real data about "Mars" operation. Of course, every historian has right in own explanation of historical events. But his books have to be based on reliable facts, exact digits, unbiased appraisal. Book of Glantz is disputable from this point of view."

    (translated in English by Andrey)

    Original in Russian:
    http://www.a2.ru/~historia/archive/04-00/orlov.htm

    AMVAS: see also
    http://www.tellur.ru/~historia/archive/04-00/orlov.htm

    Here is also that part of memoirs of Soviet intelligence leader Sudoplatov P.A. "Special operations. Lubyanka and Kremlin. 1930-50th years " which related to operation “Mars”.

    Some auxiliary data was not translated, in some cases I used own small phrases instead of large parts of original text.

    "Strategic radio game “Monastery” with German intelligence

    Most important radio game was “Monastery”. Firstly, operation “Monastery” was provided by our group and Secret-Political Department of NKVD, then from July of 1941 we cooperated with GRU [Main Intelligence Department (Military intelligence of Ministry of Defense) – remark of Andrey]. Operation “Monastery” had task to penetrate in operating in territory of USSR spy net of Abver. For this purpose we made pro-German anti-Soviet organization which tried to find connection with German high commanding. In spite of repressions of 20th and 30th many representatives of Russian aristocracy were alive but all they were under observation and some of them became our important agents and noses…

    Our agent Alexander Demianov was born in noble family, some his relatives took part in Civil War in anti-Communist side, other were known by some famous anti-Soviet leaders.

    Alexander Demianov was forced to become NKVD agent in 1929 as result of NKVD action. His task was to define of connections between remaining in USSR noblemen with foreign anti-Soviet emigration and to prevent terrorist acts…

    He became electrical engineer in Moscow film studio and became well known in cultural elite of Moscow…

    In the end officials of German embassy and agents of Abver became to be interested by Alexander Demianov…

    In the beginning of war Demianov had 10-year experience of work as NKVD agent. At that he took part in serious counter-intelligence operations when he had to contact with people who didn’t hide their anti-Soviet view…

    In July of 1941 Gorlinskiy, Chief of Secret-Political Department of NKVD, and me asked for Beriya to use Demianov for making of operation “Monastery” in enemy rear. For trustworthiness in operation “Monastery” also took part poet Sadovskiy, sculptor Sidorov, which learned in Germany in past and were known for German secret services…

    We wanted to make active pro-German underground organization “Throne”, which could offer for German high command it’s help if leaders of this organization will get posts in new anti-Communist organization in occupied territories. We hoped to define German agents in USSR and to penetrate in German spy net in USSR… Operations “Throne” and “Monastery” are classic examples of high level professional work, these operations are descript in manuals and are teach in special schools, of course without remarks on real names of agents who took part in these operations.

    Radio game which firstly was planned for defining of people who collaborates with Germans actually developed into opposition between NKVD and Abver.

    After careful training Demianov (“Goene”) crossed frontline in December of 1941 as representative of pro-German anti-Soviet organization “Throne”. Local Abver group didn’t believed him (during crossing of frontline Demianov successfully went through minefield which was unknown for him). After many examinations and even false shooting they sent Demianov in higher level Abver group in Smolensk. Germans inquired about Demianov in Russian emigration and also knew that he was known for German Intelligence when he lived in Moscow before war. Germans believed for him and gave code-name “Max”.

    Demianov finished school of Abver and got mission: to live in Moscow and to make spy net with purposes – to penetrate in Staffs of Red Army and to organize sabotage in railroads.

    In February of 1942 Demianov made parachute jump in Soviet territory together with two other German agents. Alexander quickly accustomed himself to duty of chief of Abver operations in Moscow. Both his assistants were arrested soon. Germans began to send couriers for connection with “Max”. We made most part of these couriers by “double”-agents, some ones were arrested. In all we detained more than 50 agents of Abver who were sent for connection…

    We let for some Abver agents especially from former Baltic states to return in Abver headquarters on conditions that they will report about successful work of German spy net in Moscow…

    Demianov “became” junior signal officer in General Staff of Red Army… With time operation became important channel of misinformation. Radio game with Abver became more intense…

    Demianov could create image than his group made sabotage in railroad near Gorkiy. For confirming sabotage and trust for Demianov we organized some messages in newspapers about sabotage in railroads.

    In German archives operation “Monastery” has name “Case of agent “Max”. In his memoirs “Service" Gelen writes about large significance of agent “Max” who was main source of strategic military information about plans of Soviet High Commanding for the most difficult years of war. He even reproaches Viermacht commanding which ignored timely coming radio messages of “Max” from Moscow about Counter Offensive of Soviet troops. American intelligence didn’t believe for Gelen and in some articles directly said that German intelligence was victim of NKVD operations. But Gelen continued to contend that work of “Max” was example of one of most excellent operations of Abver during war.

    Chief of Intelligence of SD Valter Shellenberg writes in his memoirs that source which was close to Rokossovskiy gave important information. In that time “Max” was signal-officer in staff of Rokossovskiy who was commander of Byelorussian Front. According Shellenberg officer who was close to Rokosovskiy had anti-Soviet view and hated Stalin because this officer was victim of repressions in 30th and was in prison for two years.

    Commanding of Abver supposed that "Max" was important and reliable spy - he got German "Iron Cross with swords", we rewarded his with "Order of Red Star"...

    From German archives data we knew that commanding of Viermacht made some fateful mistakes partly as result of complete trust to information of Abver, which was obtained from sources in Soviet High Commanding. Misinformation, which was transmitted by "Goene" - "Max", was prepared in Operational Department of General Staff with help of one of his leaders, Shtemenko. Then this misinformation was made agree in Intelligence Department of General Staff and transmitted to NKVD for providing of convincing circumstances. According Shtemenko plans, important operations of Red Army really were made in 1942-43 in those places, where "Goene" - "Max" "predicted" these operations for Germans, but these operations had diversionary, auxiliary significance.

    Sometimes misinformation had strategic significance. So, on 4th of November "Goene" - "Max" reported that Red Army will begin advance on 15th of November not in Stalingrad direction but in North Caucasus and Rzhev directions. Germans waited advance in Rzhev and repelled it. But encirclement of Paulus troops in Stalingrad was complete surprise for Germans.

    Zhukov didn't know about this intelligence operation and paid expensive cost for it - thousands and thousands of our soldiers were killed during Rzhev advance under command of Zhukov. Zhukov writes in his memoirs that result of advance was unsuccessful. But he didn't know (and never knew about it later) that Germans were warned about our advance in Rzhev direction and sent in that region large amount of troops...

    Part of our information which we sent on Berlin returned for us from Germans (and from West Allied intelligence sources which also got this information from Germans). In many cases we checked this information and knew that it was our own misinformation which “Goene” - “Max” sent for Germans."

    (Translated in English (with some changings) by Andrey)

    Original in Russian:
    http://militera.lib.ru/memo/russian/...tov_pa/06.html


    Comment


    • #3
      A good article...
      I'll upload this later directly on the site...
      If you fire a rifle at the past, the future will fire a cannon at you.....

      Comment


      • #4
        Yes, it's an interesting article but...

        1) I see no "fact" in any of this article.

        2) I do see an attack on Glanz work which appears to be primarily driven by the desire to cast Mars as a strategic "victory" of sorts, and also to somewhat excuse Zhukov from any responsibility.

        I was a little amused to read the words "Of course, every historian has right in own explanation of historical events. But his books have to be based on reliable facts, exact digits, unbiased appraisal." especially given the lack of "fact" in the article.

        The points raised in the article may be true. If so, that's great. But, I have no idea after reading it. I am also a little concerned about the appearance of a motive for the article. History designed to provide a point is usually not good history.

        I guess we may never know unless the sources used for this article are ever published. It would be interesting to see if Glanz himself has a response.

        Comment


        • #5
          quite interesting.

          The strategic goal is very smart. I think the point that is arguable is whether the high casualty of Red Army necessary or not... hard to say... But nevertheless, Russia was the side who could afford it.
          Attn to ALL my opponents:

          If you sent me your turn and after 24 hours, you still did not get anything from me, please be sure to post in the forum to ask for what is going on.

          Remember, I ALWAYS reply within 24 hours, even if I do NOT have time to play my turn, in which case I will at least send you email to tell you that I will have to play it later, but I DO receive your turn.

          Comment


          • #6
            To DingBat

            If you want more details, look my translation of another article in my "Battle" section. It's partly based on the same literatire sources as D. Glantz's one, but there the athor makes somewhat different conclusions
            If you fire a rifle at the past, the future will fire a cannon at you.....

            Comment


            • #7
              I've read this before, and it just proves nothing. Anyone can write these articles whenever they disagree with professional historians.

              Note that 'professional historians' are not always right, but not until some other professional writes as comprehensive history about the operation, and proves that Glantz was wrong, I don't doubt his research results. Criticism from Zhukov-fanboys isn't just enough, y'know.
              “To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just so long as it is needed…” -1984 about the Big Lie

              Comment


              • #8
                Do note that I don't consider old-school Russian history writers to be historians at all. They were, and still are only tools of their government. I sincerely hope that new generations will change this.
                “To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just so long as it is needed…” -1984 about the Big Lie

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Sheik Yerbouti
                  Do note that I don't consider old-school Russian history writers to be historians at all. They were, and still are only tools of their government. I sincerely hope that new generations will change this.
                  Do you suppose that ALL what was written in USSR is false only because it was written in USSR?

                  I am representative of new generation of people who interesting of history of WWII !!!!- :-).

                  And I do not speak that Soviet generals were best and didn't make mistakes.

                  It looks like your position is following - if anybody speaks bad words about Zhukov so he is representative of new generation of Russians who are free from Soviet propaganda, if anybody speaks good words about Zhukov so he is victim of Soviet propaganda or Russian nationalist...

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by DingBat
                    It would be interesting to see if Glanz himself has a response.
                    I am not familiar with so Great men. Ask Glantz to answer if you know his e-mail.

                    I shall answer more some later.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      About large scale diversionary action.

                      I recalled one example of such Allied actions in WWII.

                      It was in June-July of 1944 in Normandy.

                      I read memoirs of Bradley. He writes that success of operation "Cobra" (large decisive breakthrough of US troops in south direction from west part of beachead) was provided by diversionary actions of British troops under command of Montgomery in region Caen in East part of beachead. Task of Montgomery was to hold main German forces and mobile troops in Caen region. British and Canadien soldiers died in attacks against well fortified German positions in Caen region for success of US breakthrough. These attacks had no chances on strategic success because Germans had powerful tank reserves in the rear of frontline but these soldiers who died in Caen provided strategic success of Allied troops in other place.

                      It is very like with operation "Mars".

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by DingBat
                        Yes, it's an interesting article but...

                        1) I see no "fact" in any of this article.

                        2) I do see an attack on Glanz work which appears to be primarily driven by the desire to cast Mars as a strategic "victory" of sorts, and also to somewhat excuse Zhukov from any responsibility.

                        I was a little amused to read the words "Of course, every historian has right in own explanation of historical events. But his books have to be based on reliable facts, exact digits, unbiased appraisal." especially given the lack of "fact" in the article.

                        The points raised in the article may be true. If so, that's great. But, I have no idea after reading it. I am also a little concerned about the appearance of a motive for the article. History designed to provide a point is usually not good history.

                        I guess we may never know unless the sources used for this article are ever published. It would be interesting to see if Glanz himself has a response.
                        Firstly, this article is too small for many data and facts.

                        Secondly, it is other explanation of facts which are known so there is no possibility to repeat known facts.

                        Thirdly, there is one really sensation fact which I marked out. Soviet Supreme Command used Soviet intelligence for saying for Germans ALL necessary for Germans data (TRUE DATA!!!) about operation "Mars" together with strategic misinformation that "Mars" was main operation. IT has to be sensation for you. Only CRAZY commander (but we speak about Soviet Supreme Command, so it was group of high scale commanders including personally Stalin) will voluntary say for enemy true data about his main operation - ;-). How can you explain it?

                        If to speak about analyze of article and data.

                        Main words of Glantz - "Mars" was main operation. But what is base of his words? His words are based on strategic misinformation which Soviet Supreme Commanding sent for Germans. He became last victim of this misinformation.

                        OK, let's forget about Glantz and to think as Soviet commanders. We have two possible directions of advance.

                        South
                        - large amount of Germans in the far West part of prominence (directly in Stalingrad).
                        - Flanks are long, have no fortifications and secured by bad troops of German satellites.
                        - Relief (steppe) is very comfortable for mobile actions.
                        - Germans practically have no mobile reserves for counterattack.
                        - in case of success complete destruction of Stalingrad troops is very possible
                        - In case of later success (liberation of Rostov) there is possibility to cut off all troops in Caucasus, it will be huge disaster for Germans, all South flank of German troops could be broken (Manstein really saved Germany from huge disaster in winter 1942-43)
                        - And element of surprise is provided, Germans do not wait advance in this direction.
                        - Stalingrad is very important point

                        West
                        - relief (forests) is very difficult for mobile action and for advance
                        - German positions are well fortified
                        - Germans have more mobile reserves in rear, enough for effective counterattacks
                        - places of advance are secured by good German troops
                        - directly Rzhev is not too important point relatively with Stalingrad, in case of success it is possible to speak only about removal of possible threat for Moscow (goals of South direction are more and more attractive)
                        - there is no element of surprise, German intelligence has information about preparing of advance,
                        - Soviet troops advanced in this direction in spring, summer and early autumn of 1942, Germans are waiting continuation of attacks and later, Germans became accustomed to the Soviet attacks in one place again and again until Germans will nit retreat,
                        - in case of success Germans very possibly will have time to retreat in rear, so encirclement is possible but in less scale than in Stalingrad region,
                        - Soviet troops tried to advance in West direction in spring, summer and early autumn, they had very high casualties and had no success, there is no base to suppose that new advance will be more successful than past advances in this direction.

                        It is VERY strange to know this data and to choose West direction. Anyone who understands in strategy and will think about it will see that South direction is more and more attractive as main advance direction.

                        Only real thick-headed commanders without any strategic mind and understanding of real capabilities of troops in different directions will choose West direction as main direction for advance.

                        Soviet Supreme Command was not so bad to choose West direction as main advance direction.

                        And fact of strategic misinformation that "Mars" operation was main one confirmed truth that "Mars" operation was NOT main operation.

                        Soviet troops had high casualties... Only really hard attacks could to prove for very good and experienced German generals that these attacks are real attacks in main advance direction. And Zhukov understood it and sent troops in new and new attacks.

                        And when you recall casualties, you have to count practically only irretrievable casualties (70,400 men). Most part of wounded soldiers returned in troops for some months. As I know many soldiers of Red Army had 2, 3 and more wounds, it was not like US army where (as I know) most part of wounded soldiers was sent in USA and didn't take part in combats more. So digit of 70,400 lost soldiers was not too large digit for providing of great victory in other direction.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Andrey
                          [B]

                          Main words of Glantz - "Mars" was main operation. But what is base of his words?
                          I can't speak for Glantz, but I think this might have something to do with it.

                          Soviet strength assigned to Ops Uranus & Mars

                          MARS *: 2 352 tanks
                          43.5 Rifle Divs
                          51 Mobile Bdes
                          59 Artillery Rgts

                          URANUS *: 1 560 tanks
                          34.5 Rifle Divs
                          37.5 Mobile Bdes
                          54 Artillery Rgts

                          *all data based on Soviet archives


                          It's easy to see from the the above which was the stronger force.


                          The Soviet Archives(according to Glantz) show that another 1265 tanks & 65 Rifle Divs were slated for later commitment to Operation Jupiter.
                          They also show that 1218 tanks & another 53.5 Rifle Divs were alloted to Saturn.

                          I ask you this Andrey.

                          If Mars was only a deception operation, why was there almost 1000 more tanks assigned to operations against AGC ?
                          If Uranus was the only major effort and a breakthrough was expected in the south, would not the Stavka have wanted the bulk of their mobile forces there ?
                          The assigned forces for Jupiter and Saturn combined would surely have succeeded in trapping all German forces in the Caucasus.
                          Scientists have announced they've discovered a cure for apathy. However no one has shown the slightest bit of interest !!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Tigersqn
                            I can't speak for Glantz, but I think this might have something to do with it.

                            Soviet strength assigned to Ops Uranus & Mars

                            MARS *: 2 352 tanks
                            43.5 Rifle Divs
                            51 Mobile Bdes
                            59 Artillery Rgts

                            URANUS *: 1 560 tanks
                            34.5 Rifle Divs
                            37.5 Mobile Bdes
                            54 Artillery Rgts

                            *all data based on Soviet archives


                            It's easy to see from the the above which was the stronger force.


                            The Soviet Archives(according to Glantz) show that another 1265 tanks & 65 Rifle Divs were slated for later commitment to Operation Jupiter.
                            They also show that 1218 tanks & another 53.5 Rifle Divs were alloted to Saturn.

                            I ask you this Andrey.

                            If Mars was only a deception operation, why was there almost 1000 more tanks assigned to operations against AGC ?
                            If Uranus was the only major effort and a breakthrough was expected in the south, would not the Stavka have wanted the bulk of their mobile forces there ?
                            The assigned forces for Jupiter and Saturn combined would surely have succeeded in trapping all German forces in the Caucasus.
                            1. I do not know sources your digits. I personally am not specialist in this question but in article official Soviet Military historian gives OTHER digits on base of Soviet Military Archives (I suppose that he has more possibility to see Soviet Archives)

                            But even if your digits are correct...

                            2. Main task of operation "Mars" was to prevent transfering of troops from Center to Soutn.

                            If Stavka sent all mobile troops in the South Germans (they were not idiots) sent also their troops (not only mobile, experienced infantry also) from Center to the South.

                            In 1942 German mobile forces were more effective than Soviet, I remember that even one tank division of Bulk was very effective in actions against of advancing Soviet troops.

                            So it was more effective for Soviet commanding to use part of mobile forces in the Center and to fight against Romanians, Hungarians and Italians in the South than to move all forces in the South and to fight in that direction with more and more high effective German troops.

                            Got had 2-4 divisions (as I remember), Hitler promised for Manstein to send him tank division from France (!!!). And in this time some tank and motorized divisions (including famous "Gross Deutschland") were some hundreds of kilometres to the north from Manstein, in reserve of Army Group "Center".

                            Imagine, that Got got additional 4 tank divisions from "Center" Army Group. In this case he could to breakthrough in Stalingrad and to save Paulus...

                            And I read that Manstein ordered for Got to retreat because Red Army made large breakthrough of Axis positions (against Italians) in other direction and were coming in rear of German troops in the South.

                            Imagine that Manstein had more troops for abolishing this breakthrough or instead of Italians Red Army advanced against experienced German divisions transeferring from Army Group "Center"...

                            For example, what is better to fight with 40% of forces against 20% of most bad enemy units or with 100% of forces against 100% of enemy forces including elite units?

                            3. There was question of troops concentration. Soviet beachheads in South were not ready to get twice more troops with leaving without detection. Element of surprise could be lost.

                            4. German intelligence looked at the Soviet mobile troops. It found it in West direction amnd made all eforts in West direction so troops in South directions were not detected.

                            5. According strategic misinformation that "Mars" operation was main operation powerful mobile troops had to take part in this advance. Germans were not idiots and could to check fact that mobile troops which has to take part in advance there are in positions according plans of operation "Mars" which they had. Any difference between real troops disposition (and actions) and plans of "Mars" operation (which Germans had) could be reason for doubts in truth of plans of "Mars" operation.

                            Any transferring of Soviet mobile troops during operation "Mars" from West direction in the South could to show for Germans that operation "Mars" is aborted and "Uranus" became main operation.
                            In this case Germans also could to transfer their troops to the South.

                            6. In any case amount of Soviet troops in "Uranus" operation was enough for destruction of Paulus troops in Stalingrad. It was huge success for Red Army even if to forget about strategic success in Stalingrad (liberation of huge territory) and to speak only about troops destruction.

                            And only good actions of Manstein saved Germans from more large disaster.

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                            • #15
                              And Glantz used term "Epic Disaster" when he speaks about results of "Mars" operation for Red Army.

                              It means for me "Very Huge Disaster".

                              But...

                              Let's recall about some (only some examples) other battles (all digits from memory, so I can to make mistakes)

                              Kiev, 1941 (600,000 only POWS (!!!)), Viermacht advanced in South.

                              Vyazma, October of 1941 (600,000 only POWs(!!!)), road to Moscow is opened.

                              Kharkov, May of 1942 (280,000 only POWs (!!!)), southern forces of Red Army lost practically all tanks and are weak directly before operation "Blau", it is one of reasons of German successful advance of Stalingrad and Caucasus.

                              Kerch, May of 1942 (200,000 only POWs (!!!)), fate of Crimea and Sevastopol was decided in this battle, later Germans sent troops from Crimea in Stalingrad and Caucasus.

                              It is not all and here are real disasters.

                              Against a background of these disasters operational unsuccess in Rzhev direction (with only 100,000 irretrievable casualties) in operation "Mars" even can not be called as disaster, it was onlu unsuccessful advance.

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