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ended with the fall of 1942. 6th Army under General Paulus ‘nibbled’ Soviet defenses at Stalingrad, Berlin persistently demanded to eliminate the remnants of resistance. November 18 suspected whether someone from the officers and men of Paulus that just a few hours in dozens of kilometers away will be decided their fate and the fate of the city on the Volga? Unlikely. Meanwhile, the shock troops of the Southwestern and Stalingrad Fronts already prepared to throw.

Before the onset
In the building of the 5th Panzer Army – main trump card of the Southwestern Front – number of technology bears little resemblance to staff numbers. For example, in the 119th Tank Brigade was 39 tanks instead of relying 63

In Soviet headquarters that night much more nervous. Setting this scale was conducted for the first time since the war began. In addition, still at Stalingrad attack attempts to turn around comes only big losses – for example, in the summer fighting Soviet 4th Panzer Army a few weeks, “Stoch” so that became the object of a grim joke: “ we have “chetyrёhtankovaya” army – it has only 4 tanks “.

At this time, for the offensive again gathered everything they could. But in late fall the hardest of the 42nd year of the “only” found not so much. Even in cases of the 5th Panzer Army – the trump card of the Southwestern Front – number of technology bears little resemblance to staff numbers. For example, in the 119th Tank Brigade including 39 tanks instead of 63, which relied on the state.

Special doubt (as it turned out later, it is quite reasonable) is the presence and condition of vehicles – trucks supply, which had gone to feed into the breach tanks.


On the other end of the future mites, where they were supposed to attack mechanized corps Stalingrad Front, also enough problems. “Preparedness tank units to conduct combat, except 90 and 235 MAF (armored brigades. – Approx. Ed.) was low. Tank driver had a small practice driving, and most of them in combat tanks did not drive and did not participate in the fighting. Gunners almost a little shot. Motorized infantry was ill prepared to conduct offensive operations, and units for lack of time tactically were badly united. “

He hoped that the Germans were far from those that were in the summer or early fall. In addition, the first blow was to come not by German troops …

Ticks are closed

At dawn on November 19 volleys of cannon and fire arrows “Katyusha” hit the 3-position nd Romanian Army. After the artillery barrage on the attack went infantry, and the front of the Romanians began to spread quickly to shreds. Tank Corps joined the case later in the afternoon. Quickly breaking the lumps of the Romanian defense bronechasti moved on.


own losses on the first day were relatively small. True, the “distinguished” one of the battalions of the 159th Tank Brigade. Received at 12:00 order to change the route of attack, he deviated from the direction proven exploration and patrols, and went straight into a minefield. In itself, this was not a disaster – especially at such an event on the tanks drove two platoons of sappers with mine detectors. Wrong Kombat: when two advanced “tridtsatchetvёrki” stepped on mines, he decided that he came under fire tanks or artillery. Battalion went forward at high speed. The result – in just a few minutes down out of ten T-34. Losses on mines looked annoying but relatively small problem on the general background of a successful breakthrough. The main thing – for most of the first day of the offensive 5th Panzer Army successfully go forward.

Only in the late evening, Soviet tanks ran into serious resistance at the farm of Ust-Medveditsa. According to the report team, defended the farm “German infantry battalion that served squads for the Romanian troops, and the remains of departed Romanian troops” . In fact, the battle is behind the Romanians entered the German 22th Panzer Division.

Whether it’s a full-blooded compound, a counter-attack could jeopardize the entire Soviet plan. Fortunately, with the German division defenders of Stalingrad thoroughly “removed chips”, so that combat-ready tanks, it was about three dozen. Already on November 20 by the middle of the day, two Soviet tank brigades knocked the Germans out of the Ust-Medveditsa, capturing at this “a lot of cars, motorcycles, 2 grocery store and warehouse of spare parts” [1,999,020]. The Germans retreated to the heights south of the farm and were fixed there. Attempt to attack them head cost in another burnt tank and two padded. After that, the command of the 5th Panzer Army sent in circumvention of the German centers of resistance.

November 20 went on the offensive and Stalingrad Front. Own Panzer Army it did not get – here entourage had to close the 4th and 13th Mechanized Corps. They are relatively easily passed through the flimsy “fence” Rumanian divisions, 4th Corps even went into a clean break. But the “devil’s dozen” in the numbering of the other body was unhappy. Firstly, to meet them popped up from the reserve German Motorized Division. Secondly, the same situation as when the war machines were in error on an enemy minefield and suffered significant losses.

But most Soviet tanks went deeper into the German rear.

B the best traditions of the Blitzkrieg

There came the riskiest time of surgery. Took the lead tanks, infantry divisions finished the last pockets of the Romanian defense and so far behind. All legs limp supply: as mentioned above, before the onset of trucks is not enough. Tanks were like snails that “all his are with you.” For example, in the 117th Tank Brigade, each fighting vehicle was carrying 150 rounds, of which one hundred stacked in the housing, and the rest were placed in boxes on the wings of the tanks. Some machines are carried on more armor and 200-liter barrels of fuel.

That felt tankers going into battle on the machines outside festooned with shells and barrels of fuel, the report 117- Brigade eloquently silent

But these “individual stocks” might not be enough for the entire operation. Our tankers greatly helped the Germans themselves – or rather, their logistical warehouses. Captured food and especially gasoline allowed to upload trucks going to the front, the most necessary – shells. In addition, for the transport of supplies to allocate a portion of machinery mechanized infantry battalion. A fighters put on a landing tanks.

Who knows how things would go, bear in this moment the possibility of Paulus or German commanders from the outside environment of the future to throw in a fresh tank unit. Fortunately, the 6th Panzer Division, which the Germans threw from France to the point of the crisis was still far away.


At dawn on November 22, advance units of the Soviet 26th Tank Corps came to the bridge over the Don near the town of Kalach. Capture passed in the best traditions of German troops in the summer of 41-th. When dawn through dusk silhouettes stood out Soviet tanks guarding the bridge just did not have time to realize that here, in the rear, there was an enemy. Undermine the bridge or to resist the Germans could not, and valuable crossing into the hands of the Red Army without a fight.

On the following day he was taken and Kalac. At this point, around the 26th Tank Corps of the 160 on the move was only 35 tanks – barely half the regular number of teams! But in spite of that, his task completed tankers.

On the same day, the 4th Mechanized Corps of the Stalingrad Front captured the city Soviet. And here trophies were German tank storage and logistics property. But the main thing – at the same time was cut railway, on which there was a provision of the 6th German Army.

November 23 at 16:00 tanks of the 4th Mechanized Corps of the Stalingrad Front met with units of the 26th Panzer Corps Southwestern front. Ring isolated, cut off Paulus escape routes. Began a two-month agony of German troops surrounded the city on the Volga.

Lyricist – Andrey Ulanov

Andrey Ulanov – historian, author of books and articles on the history of the Great Patriotic War. The most famous work – “Procedures in armor” and “The first T-34” (with Dmitry Shein). He is currently working on a book about Soviet infantry anti-tank weapons in the Great Patriotic War and combat use of T-34 tanks in 1942.

Also read on Warspot.ru: “Armor in the ruins of Stalingrad” .

  • TsAMO the Russian Federation, in particular Fund 3398 (1st Tank Corps), opis 1 (Operations Division).
  • Isaev. A. Unknown Stalingrad.
  • Adam. B. The disaster on the Volga.
  • Mellenthin FV Tank Battles 1939-1945 .: Battle use of tanks in World War II.

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