Operation Wintergewitter

This article is about Operation Wintergewitter - Eastern Front. For Operation Wintergewitter - Italian Front, see Operation Wintergewitter (Winter Storm) - Italian Front.




Operation Winter Storm (German Unternehmen Wintergewitter) was the German Fourth Panzer Army's attempt to relieve the German Sixth Army from encirclement during the Battle of Stalingrad during World War II. The operation commenced on 12 December 1942 and was able to advance just halfway to its objective before a Soviet outflanking move further to the north forced the relief force to break off and withdraw, condemning the Sixth Army to defeat and capture.

The surrounding of the German Sixth Army by Soviet forces in Operation Uranus had pushed the main body of the Wehrmacht's Army Group South back by sixty to eighty miles. While Fourth Panzer Army's XLVIII Panzer Corps established a line on the Chir River, its southern wing had been shattered and only skeleton forces managed to prevent the Soviet 51st Army from breaking into Kotelnikovo, a railhead eighty miles south of Stalingrad, by turning them away at Pakhlebin a couple of miles to the north of that town. Therefore any relief attempt depended on gathering armored forces from elsewhere. The freshest of the troops chosen was the 6th Panzer Division, then refitting in France after nine months on the Eastern Front. From Army Group Center came the 17th Panzer Division from the Zhizdra front, and from Army Group A in the Caucasus came the 23rd Panzer Division, recovering from the narrowly averted disaster before Orzhonikidze. These three divisions constituted the LVII Panzer Corps.

Where to launch the relief attempt was key. The bridgehead over the Don at Verkhne-Chirskaya was physically closest to Stalingrad, but the Russians saw this coming and made sure this bridgehead was knocked out before the anticipated German reinforcements could be assembled. In any case the Don was insufficiently frozen for troops to cross safely — the weather in late November and early December 1942 ranged intermittently from snow to heavy rain.

Instead LVII Panzer Corps was assembled at Kotelnikovo. With 6th Panzer in the middle, 17th Panzer to its left and 23rd Panzer to its right, plus the remnants of the Romanian Fourth Army holding the thinly-manned flanks facing the Kalmyk steppes, the offensive began on 12 December. Two rivers lay in the force's path — the Aksai River and the Myshkova River. The force made good progress at first, reaching and crossing the Aksai by the end of the first day but being drawn into heavy fighting at The 8th of March collective farm at Verkhne-Kumsky, and around the railway ganger's hut immediately to the north of the Aksai's banks. The relief force ground towards the Myshkova, using up precious time, but could not cross. In Stalingrad itself, General Friedrich Paulus dithered as to whether to instruct his exhausted and freezing troops to break out to the south, where they would join with Hoth's panzer force at Abganerovo and together withdraw to Kotelnikovo. Without a direct order from Adolf Hitler, he could not make the decision. Obsessed with not withdrawing from where his forces had set foot, Hitler did not give that order, and Paulus stayed put. Whether his fuel- and food-lacking forces could have gotten themselves out of Stalingrad at all, by then is open to question.

As the relief force made its thrust, Soviet Marshal Georgy Zhukov hit the Axis front line further to the north. The Italian Eighth Army on the middle Don was suffering the same effects of the cold weather, and its initially stubborn resistance was eventually overcome by the T-34s that came crashing through their positions on 16 December. Having brushed aside the Italian forces, Zhukov added insult to injury by making for Tatsinskaya, the air base closest to Stalingrad and from which the Luftwaffe had been embarking on the hopelessly ambitious task of supplying half a million fighting men in uncertain weather. On Christmas Day the Soviet tanks drove through snowstorms to the airfield and roamed about for hours, blowing away the German transport planes at their leisure.

Seeing that this force was swinging to the left in order to come down behind the German relief army, Erich von Manstein had to detach the 6th Panzer Division from the Myshkova and rushed it to the Italians' aid, saving the position there for the moment but dooming the relief attempt. Accordingly, the Soviet 51st Army then attacked the relief force anew, driving it back to and beyond Kotelnikovo by 29 December and now threatening both Rostov and the entire Army Group A of 400,000 men still bottled up on the Terek River in the Caucasus. Hitler made the decision to pull this Army Group out altogether, consigning the 6th Army at Stalingrad to its fate.

Popular Culture

Soviet Union[1]

 Polish Secret State
 Polish Armed Forces in the East
 Romania (from 1944)
 Bulgaria (from 1944) Germany[2]
Italy (to 1943)
Romania (to 1944)
Finland (to 1944)
Hungary
Slovakia
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United States: 114,000 casualties[1]
British Commonwealth: 198,000 casualties[2]
Total: 92,000 KIA & MIA, 220,000 WIA & POW 47,873 KIA
97,154 MIA & POWs
163,600 WIA [3]



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Soviet Union[1]

 Polish Secret State
 Polish Armed Forces in the East
 Romania (from 1944)
 Bulgaria (from 1944) Germany[2]
Italy (to 1943)
Romania (to 1944)
Finland (to 1944)
Hungary
Slovakia
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(German estimate):

1,750,000 killed in combat operations by end of 1941
[3]


(Soviet estimate):

802,191 killed .
2,335,482 missing/captured.[4] Parameter not given Error...
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Battle of the Baltic concerns the German and Soviet battle for the control of the Baltic sea during World War II.
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Continuation War (Finnish: Jatkosota, Swedish: Fortsättningskriget), was fought between Finland and the Soviet Union during World War II.
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Red Army:
332,059 KIA
24,324 non-combat dead
111,142 missing
16,470 civilians
1 million civilians from starvation

Leningrad and Baltics 1941 - 1944
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Battle of Sevastopol was fought from October 30, 1941 to July 4, 1942 between German forces and the USSR over the main Soviet naval base on the Black Sea during World War II. It is notable in the way that the Germans used many of their heavy (200-800mm range) mortars in the battle.
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As of October 1:
1,000,000 men,
1,700 tanks,
14,000 guns,
950 planes[1] As of October 1:
1,250,000 men,
1,000 tanks,
7,600 guns,
677 planes[2]
Casualties
248,000–400,000(see §7) 650,000–1,280,000
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Rzhev Battles (Ржевская битва) is a general term for a series of World War II offensives launched during January 8, 1942—March 22, 1943 by Soviet forces in the general directions of Rzhev, Sychevka
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Second Battle of Kharkov was a battle fought from 12 May to 28 May 1942, on the Eastern Front during World War II. After a successful winter counteroffensive that repulsed German troops from Moscow but also depleted the Red Army's reserves, the Kharkov offensive was a new Soviet
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Case Blue (German: Fall Blau) was the German Wehrmacht's codename for the 1942 summer offensive. It led to the Battle of Voronezh, Battle of Stalingrad, and the Battle of the Caucasus.
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Battle of Stalingrad was a battle between Germany and its allies and the Soviet Union for the Soviet city of Stalingrad (today known as Volgograd) that took place between August 21 1942 and February 2 1943, as part of World War II.
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Battle of Velikiye Luki took place between the forces of Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, and occurred in and around the Russian city of Velikiye Luki during the winter of 1942-1943.
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Second Rzhev-Sychevka Offensive (codenamed Operation Mars) was a strategic offensive launched by Soviet forces against German forces during World War II. It took place between 25 November-December, 1942 in a salient in the vicinity of Moscow.
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German Kursk :July 4 – July 20, 1943
Soviet Kursk : July 4 – August 23, 1943
Location Coordinates:
Kursk, USSR

Result Decisive Soviet strategic victory

Combatants

Nazi Germany

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Battle of Smolensk (7 August 1943 – 2 October 1943), also known as Operation Suvorov, was a major World War II offensive by the Red Army in western Russia. Staged almost simultaneously with the Battle of the Dnieper, the offensive lasted 2 months and was led by
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Battle of The Lower Dnieper
Part of the Eastern Front of World War II

Soviet soldiers crossing the Dnieper on improvised rafts.

Date 24 August, 1943 — 23 December, 1943
Location Dnieper river, USSR

Result Decisive Soviet Victory

Combatants
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Second Battle of Kiev
Part of the Eastern Front of World War II

Date November, 1943 — December, 1943
Location Kiev, USSR

Result Capture of Kiev by the Soviet Union, heavy casualties inflicted by the German forces

Combatants
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Battle of the Korsun-Cherkassy Pocket took place in the winter of 1944. The battle was fought on the Eastern Front between the forces of the German Army Group South and the Soviet 1st Ukrainian and 2nd Ukrainian Fronts.
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Battle of the Kamenets-Podolsky Pocket, also known as Hube's Pocket, was a battle on the Eastern Front of World War II. In March 1944 two Soviet fronts encircled Generaloberst Hans-Valentin Hube's 1st Panzer Army north of the Dniestr river.
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Baltic Offensive, also formally referred to as the Baltic Strategic Offensive Operation[1][2][3][4] as it was called by the Red Army who undertook it, denotes the battle between the German Wehrmacht and the Red Army in the Baltic
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Operation Bagration (Russian: Oперация Багратион, Operatsiya Bagration) was the codename for the Soviet Belorussian Offensive
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Lvov-Sandomierz Offensive[1] was the general attack by Soviet forces to clear the Germans from Ukraine and Eastern Poland. Launched in mid July 1944, in just under one months fighting, the Soviets achieved their objective.
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Lublin‐Brest Offensive (Russian: Люблин‐Брестская операция
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Battle of the Romania 1944 denotes combat operations usually referred to as 'Jassy–Kishinev Operation' (Russian: Ясско-Кишинёвская
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Budapest Offensive was the general attack by Soviet forces to clear Germans and their allies from the territory of Hungary. The offensive lasted from 29 October 1944 till the fall of Budapest on 13 February 1945.
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eastern front during january and february according to the OKW:
377,000 killed;
334, 000 wounded and
292,000 missing;
total 1.103,000 [2]

Soviets claimes:

695,000 enemy killed and
86,000 enemy captured 13,476 killed and missing;
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The East Prussian Offensive was an offensive by the Red Army in its fight against the German Wehrmacht on the Eastern Front (World War II). It lasted from 13 January 1945 to 25 April 1945. The Battle of Königsberg was part of the offensive.
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The East Pomeranian Offensive was an offensive by the Red Army in its fight against the German Wehrmacht on the Eastern Front (World War II). It lasted from 10 February 1945 to 4 April 1945.
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