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In the history of the Great Patriotic War, a small Ukrainian town of Uman is primarily associated with the tragic events of the summer of 1941, when the German environment were two dozen Soviet divisions. After nearly three years, the city once again hit the reports from the front. But now the German soldiers walked west on the snow-covered plains, and got to Uman not all. Part remained forever in the grip of the environment, closed by Korsun 1st and 2nd Ukrainian Front in January 1944 as part of the Korsun-Shevchenko operations.

Do not give respite

The outer edge of Korsun boiler tried to punch himself E. von Manstein. But neither his generalship vaunted skill or additional divisions and heavy tank battalions was not enough. Escaped only part of encirclement, and the price of this was high: German armored units were now in poor condition.

German command hoped that the thaw will give time to restore the fighting efficiency of the troops. Red Army to provide such an opportunity was not going to

Command of the Wehrmacht only hope that the thaw will allow time for the restoration of combat troops battered. Especially since the end of February, the snow began to melt quickly and the roads were impassable to anything that did not have tracks or legs.

The Soviet command knew perfectly well what the Germans expect and was not going to give them time for a break. Another attack, which later received the name of Uman-Botoşani Offensive, appointed at the very beginning of March. Heavy fighting near Korsun ended in late January, that is, Marshal Konev Ivan the preparation of the operation was only a month.

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Formally, the disposal of the 2nd Ukrainian Front Konev was three tank armies – half-formed in 1944. The actual number – about 670 serviceable machines – equal to one fully equipped Panzer Army.

In the first echelon were to operate army Bogdanov S. and P. Rotmistrov. Army Kravchenko at the initial stage of the operation remained in the second echelon. On the example of Bogdanov may be noted that the attack just two hundred tanks on the defensive line several infantry divisions, behind which there are more and tank – a hopeless case. But it is in normal conditions and in March the 44th German troops were no longer the same, that at least a year earlier.

Battle trophies

The offensive began on March 5. The first day of 2nd Panzer Army Bogdanov to brake the German defenses and went to the river Mountain Tikich – the first serious water hazard on its direction of impact. Motorized infantry on the move crossed its fords and seized a bridgehead on the other side, thus enabling sappers to build bridges to cross tanks. 5th Guards Tank Army Rotmistrov also advancing well, with moderate losses.

The next day, the situation has become more difficult, including because of the German armored counterattacks. Increased casualties, but due to heavy terrain substantial number of tanks out of order due to breakdowns. In this case, the brunt of the fighting since March 6, lay it on the shoulders of tankers and the small amount of infantry, which moved to the armor as landing or moved for armored foot. Traveled on foot and liaison officers – on areas where not enough radios or where not reach the connected planes. Meteorologists in dry weather reports reported: “passable roads even more worse.”

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In the area Mankovka town and station Potash were part of the four German armored divisions. After manshteynovskogo “head banging” on the outer ring Korsun boiler each of them consisted of very few armored vehicles, but at the end of February units were replenished tanks, brought in from Germany. They could cause serious trouble advancing Soviet troops. Fortunately, it is fighting units of these divisions went to another section of the front, so that before the armies of Konev rear left and repair units. Plus a lot of the damaged equipment, was waiting for the queue to repair or send to the rear. Counterattack read German tanks and self-propelled guns, hastily put into operation, had virtually no chance of stopping Soviet tank armies.

March 7 after a half-hour battle station Potash was repulsed by the Germans, together with a lot of destroyed tanks, prepared for shipment. Behind enemy lost and Mankovka. According to the report of Staff of the 2nd Panzer Army “In the area Mankovka and Art. Potash enemy lost 500 tanks and self-propelled guns, 10 000 cars and 37 warehouses with different military equipment “.

overtake and destroy

Loss of a huge number of material part and the collapse of the first line of defense led to the fact that the German command was nothing to stop an armored roller Soviet armies. Had to retreat (and calling a spade a spade – just skedaddle) by mudslides accursed race with the Soviet tanks.

Road to Uman has become a graveyard of scrap metal from behind a pillar of German engineering, stuck on the roadside

Meanwhile tank armies switched to “pasture” because stragglers rears. Food was completely captured, fuel – partially. Where conditions permit, ammunition for a ride to get ahead on aircraft parts. Those parts that are out of luck, used some of their tanks for the transport of shells and cartridges. In combat reports it was reported that “allocated for this purpose battle tanks driving up fuel and ammunition is very slow, ie. To. The movement is possible only in first gear” .

Dirt doing their work for the Germans slowing down the Soviet onslaught. Army Rotmistrov left without communication: dirt chained to the ground planes connected, staff had to command the troops through one single radio and hiking staff officers.

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Yet tanks went ahead. Because of the German colonies, stuck in the mud, road Potash – Uman has become a graveyard of scrap metal. March 8, 1944 to the middle of the day the army tankers Bogdanov appeared at Uman and began to surround the city. The next evening a fire fight between the Soviet tanks and the German anti-aircraft artillery was walking in the center. At the same time, “tridtsatchetvёrki” Army Rotmistrov, “ overtaking and crushing the caterpillars off-column” rushed to the southern edge of Uman. March 10 the city was taken completely.

The first stage of the operation, but the advance continued until April 17. By the end of Uman-Botoşani Offensive Soviet troops liberated the part of right-bank Moldova and Ukraine, and entered the territory of Romania.

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The authors of the text – Andrey Ulanov and Alexander Toms

Sources:

  • Documents TsAMO RF 2nd Tank and 5th Guards Tank Army.
  • Nebol’sin IV Second Guards Tank Army.

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