April 26, 2014

Kampfgruppe Peiper extricates the 320th Infanterie-Division

In January 1943 the Soviet steamroller crushed the larger part of ArmyGroup B. The Hungarian Second Army, Italian Eighth Army and part of the German Second Army were wiped out. Armeeabteilung Lanz, a makeshift, corps sized formation, took over the defense of the area around Kharkov (Kharkiv). Southeast of Kharkov 320.Infanterie-Division was deployed along the Krassnaja (Krasna) River. At the end of January the SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Divisions “Leibstandarte” and “Das Reich”, reequipped and refitted, arrived in the Eastern Front and were subordinated to Armeeabteilung Lanz, with the order to hold Kharkov. 

Soviet thrusts, 30 January – 18 February 1943
Soviet thrusts, 30 January – 18 February 1943. 
The withdrawal of the 320th Infanterie-Division is shown in red.

April 21, 2014

Patton Unleashed

On 6 June 1944 the Allies landed successfully in Normandy. After securing the initial beach-heads the Allied Armies pushed inland to a depth varying from five to twenty miles. At the beginning of July the British Second Army occupied positions from the mouth of the Orne river to the vicinity of Caumont and the U.S. First Army from Caumont to the west coast of the Cotentin peninsula. 

Normandy front at the beginning of July
Normandy front at the beginning of July.

April 8, 2014

Operation “Wintergewitter”: Last Hope for the Sixth Army

Soviet infantry in Stalingrad

Erich von Manstein, the newly appointed  Army Group Don commander, developed a plan to rescue the encircled Sixth Army. Since withdrawal was forbidden by Hitler, an armored force had to break through the Soviet encircling forces and establish contact with Paulus’s Army. The operation to liberate Sixth Army was named “Wintergewitter” (Winter Storm).

April 1, 2014

The Cherkassy Pocket

After the battle of Kursk the Red Army was on the offensive. The Wehrmacht was retreating. By September 30, 1943 it had reached the Dnieper line. Two months later the German Army was forced to fall back. Kiev fell at 6 November. However a small portion of the Dnieper line was still held by the Germans. It stretched from Kanev (Kaniv) to Cherkassy (Cherkasy). The “Kanev salient” as it was called was the source of much concern to Army Group South. Unfortunately, Hitler believed that the salient would serve as the springboard for a grand attack against Kiev.

The battles west of Kiev
The German withdrawal created the Kanev salient, 
where XI and XLII ArmeeKorps were encircled.