Active Defense, South
In February of 1942, with the aid of an "ice bridge" over the Kerch Strait, Crimean Front had been raised to a strength of three armies. With these, General Kozlov, commander of Transcaucasus Front, resumed the offensive on 27 February. The Sevastopol Defense Region, its force increased by then to over eighty thousand men, joined in with a "demonstrative" attack by the Independent Maritime Army at the center of the fortress perimeter.1 The collapse of a Rumanian division in the German line had allowed the Russians to drive a seven-mile-deep bulge into the northern half of the front on the Isthmus of Parpach before Kozlov stopped to regroup on 3 March. He made another start on the 13th, and thereafter, in waves that rose and receded every several days, he stayed on the attack into the second week of April, coming close at times but never succeeding in breaking out of the isthmus.2
As the key to the Black Sea and bridge to the Caucasus, the Crimea figured as heavily in the Soviet plans for the spring as it had in the winter offensive, and Kozlov had close to three hundred thousand troops, not an insignificant force. In March, Mekhlis, the chief army political commissar, joined Crimean Front as the Stavka representative, and on 21 April, the Stavka created the Headquarters, North Caucasus Theater, under Marshal Budenny. Budenny assumed overall command of Crimean Front, the Sevastopol Defense Region, and all naval and air forces in the Black Sea-Caucasus area. His mission was to coordinate these forces in the projected spring offensive, and Kozlov's and Mekhlis' mission was to liberate the Crimea.3
On 23 March, at about the same time as Stalin and the Stavka were laying out the Soviet spring offensive, Hitler conferred with his senior military advisers on the Fuehrer directive he was preparing for the coming summer's operations and ordered that the first preliminary operation should be the retaking of the Kerch Peninsula.4 In fact, Hitler was merely underscoring decisions and actions already taken. In February, the OKH had earmarked the 22d Panzer Division and 28th Light Division, then being formed, for Eleventh Army, and the divisions had begun moving into the Crimea in the
middle of March.5 Throughout the winter, the cleanup on the Crimea had had first priority because it would free a whole army and because the weather could be expected to improve there earlier than elsewhere. The only question--assuming that the front would hold, which had been far from certain in February and March--had been whether to start the effort with Kerch or Sevastopol. Manstein had preferred Kerch and Bock Sevastopol. Hitler had agreed with Manstein that to confront the enemy where he was strongest was better than to have him at one's back. On 31 March, Manstein issued the Eleventh Army preliminary directive for Operation TRAPPENJAGD ("bustard hunt"), the Kerch offensive.6
Manstein's major problem was one of strength. The most he could commit to TRAPPENJAGD were five infantry divisions and one panzer division, plus two Rumanian infantry divisions and one Rumanian cavalry division. That left three German infantry divisions, one Rumanian infantry division, and one Rumanian mountain division to contain Sevastopol. The Rumanians were mostly inexperienced troops, indifferently led, and, as past experience had shown, they could be more a danger than a help.
In the three Soviet armies on the Kerch Peninsula, Forty-fourth, Forty-seventh, and Fifty-first, the Germans counted 17 rifle divisions, 2 cavalry divisions, 3 rifle brigades, and 4 tank brigades.7 The Crimean Front strength, as given by Vasilevskiy, was 21 rifle divisions. The front, according to Vasilevskiy's figures, also had superiorities over the Germans in artillery and mortars (3,577 to 2,472), tanks (347 to 180), and aircraft (400 to "up to" 400).8 The Sevastopol Defense Region had 8 divisions and 3 brigades.9
Having more troops than they could conveniently deploy in the ten-mile-wide Isthmus of Parpach, the Soviet armies could stage a defense in depth that would potentially increase in strength farther east where the peninsula widened to fifteen and twenty miles and all of their troops could be brought into play. Over the fifty-mile distance to the city of Kerch, they could force the enemy to chew his way through four prepared lines: the front; the Parpach line proper, which since the February offensive had been seven miles behind the front in the north and a mile or two to the rear on the south; the Nasyr line, which ran parallel to the Parpach line five miles to the east; and the Sultanovka line, eighteen miles west of Kerch. The strongest were the Parpach and the Sultanovka. The Parpach line was fronted by an antitank ditch that had been dug in 1941 and deepened, broadened, and rimmed with concrete emplacements during the winter. The Sultanovka followed the remains of ancient fortifications spanning the peninsula that the Germans called the "Tatar Wall" and the Russians the "Turkish Wall." (Map 22.)
The Reconquest of Kerch
8-19 May 1942
To accomplish anything at all, Manstein had to break the Parpach line and do so before Kozlov could bring his massive power to bear. On the narrow isthmus, hardly any deviation from an outright frontal attack was possible: Manstein saw just one. The Soviet Command was sensitive about its extended north flank, which could be the springboard into the Crimean mainland but which was also vulnerable. Manstein had inadvertently enhanced that concern on 20 March by putting 22d Panzer Division, which needed some seasoning, into an attack at the base of the bulge. A sudden rainstorm had deprived the division of its air support, and heavier Soviet armor had knocked out thirty-two of its tanks in the few hours before the affair was called off. During the following days, while Manstein and Bock were explaining the fiasco to Hitler, Crimean Front command had drawn its own conclusions and shifted more strength to the north flank. Manstein, therefore, had judged his chances to be improved on the extreme south, where he would have to break the Parpach line right away and where the defense was less deep. Two or three miles would bring him through the line, and thereafter, a fast turn could make the north flank a deathtrap for the Russians.10
TRAPPENJAGD was a gamble. If he had his wits about him, Kozlov could quickly bring it to a calamitous finish. For Manstein everything had to work perfectly; even then, he could not expect to do more than unhinge the Parpach line. Manstein, who was not ordinarily one to underestimate himself or his troops, told Field Marshal Bock, the commander of Army Group South, and the OKH on 2 April that the discrepancy in the forces was too great.11 The alternative was to wait
until after the middle of May when another division or two might become available for Eleventh Army. Bock wanted to go ahead in April and not give the Russians another month or more to do whatever they might have in mind.
Hitler was the one who supplied the final and, very likely, crucial ingredient. The winter had made him a devotee of air support, and on 13 April, he had told General Kuechler, the commander of Army Group North, that Toropets would not have been lost in January if the army group commands had understood the uses of air power. Three days later, when Manstein brought in the TRAPPENJAGD plan, he approved everything except the Luftwaffe dispositions, announcing that he would see to them in person.12 He then ordered, over OKL protests, General Richthofen's VIII Air Corps, which was being transferred from Army Group Center to support Army Group South in the summer campaign, to set up first on the Crimea and support Eleventh Army. An air corps normally provided the tactical air support for an entire army group. TRAPPENJAGD had to wait while Richthofen brought in his squadrons of Stuka bombers and fighters and a whole flak division to protect their airfields, but it was, as Manstein said, going to have "concentrated air support the like of which has never existed."13
By the turn of the month, the rasputitsa had passed out of the Crimea. Under the influence of both the sea and the mainland, the weather was changeable. Temperatures ranged from below freezing to the middle 70s, and strong winds blew clouds and showers across the peninsula. On the south coast the trees were in bloom, while upper slopes of mountains a few miles inland were still covered with snow. Bock was stirred by the contrast when he toured the Eleventh Army area at the end of April. The fronts were quiet, and the ground troops were ready on the isthmus, but VIII Air Corps was not yet fully settled. After a firsthand inspection, Bock was impressed by the "careful preparations" for the attack and uneasy about the "extraordinary risk" it would still entail.14
Manstein held his final briefing for the corps and division commanders on 2 May with Richthofen present. He described TRAPPENJAGD as a ground operation that had its main effort in the air, and he said the planes would have to "pull the infantry forward."15 X-Day was set for 5 May but had to be put off until the 8th because Richthofen was not ready. By the first week in May, a complete surprise was out of the question. The Russians had already put up placards along the front reading, "Come on. We are waiting."16
How ready the Russians might be became an ominous imponderable as X-Day approached. Bock worried about how deep their defense was echeloned and considered giving up the turn to the north. Manstein believed he had to stay with the original plan.17
GENERAL VON RICHTHOFEN (Second from right) DISCUSSES AN AIR STRIKE WITH HIS STAFF
"The enemy," he said, "is certain that we are going to attack, but he does not know where or when."18 In the confined space on the isthmus, that was a small consolation and would have been none at all without help from the other side, which Manstein, although he did not know it, was about to receive in generous measure.
The Soviet accounts agree that the attack was no surprise, even as to time. However, they give two versions of what was proposed to be done about it. Vasilevskiy says the Stavka gave Kozlov and Mekhlis a directive in the latter half of April in which it told them to discontinue preparations for the offensive and organize a "solid defense in depth" and to expect the German main effort to be against their left flank.19 The History of the Great Patriotic War states that Kozlov and Mekhlis failed to organize a defense in depth.20 The History of the Second World War, on the other hand, says that Crimean Front was ready to launch an attack of its own on the same day as the Germans but "failed to institute measures for an effective blow."21 General Armii Sergei M. Shtemenko, who was at the time a colonel in the General Staff branch
responsible for the Caucasus and the Crimea, adds that Crimean Front was deployed for an offensive on the northern half of the line--exactly as Manstein had thought it would be.22 All blame Kozlov and Mekhlis. Vasilevskiy says Kozlov, his chief of staff, his chief political officer, and Mekhlis were "manifest incompetents."23
At dark on the evening of 7 May, thirty German assault boats eased out of the mine-strewn Feodosiya harbor and steered northeast along the coast. At 2300, they stopped on the beach to take aboard a company of infantry, a heavy machine gun platoon, and an engineer platoon. Their mission was to land the troops just east of the Soviet antitank ditch at the same time the attack on the isthmus reached it, which was to be shortly after dawn. While the boats were loading in bright moonlight, a Soviet patrol vessel appeared offshore, cruising slowly, and they had to stay on the beach another hour and a half until it had passed out of sight and earshot. In the meantime, the temperature had dropped below freezing, and a strong wind had sprung up. To reach the landing point on time, the boats had to take a course that carried them out on the open sea. Designed for river crossings, they were propelled by outboard motors with straight shafts that gave them speed and maneuverability in quiet, shallow water. Against the wind and waves, two men operating each motor could barely keep the boats headed in a straight line.24
During the night of the 7th, the 170th Infantry Division took position and completed the deployment for TRAPPENJAGD. The XXX Corps, under General der Artillerie Maximilian von Fretter-Pico, then had five of the six German divisions. To hold the northern half of the isthmus front, General Matenklott's XXXXII Corps had one German and three Rumanian divisions. Three divisions, 132d and 50th Infantry and 28th Light Divisions, would make the breakthrough. When they had crossed the antitank ditch and the engineers had built causeways for the tanks, 22d Panzer Division and 170th Infantry Divison would pass through and begin the turn north. Manstein had set up as his own reserve the so-called Grodeck Brigade consisting of a Rumanian motorized regiment and two German truck-mounted infantry battalions.
When the first gray streak of light appeared in the east, at about 0315, the infantry jumped off behind a rocket and artillery barrage. In one hour, Richthofen's Stuka and fighter squadrons, waiting on the airfields in the rear, would be hitting the Parpach line. At 0400, the assault boats were lying in wait off the beach, just out of sight of land, the lead boat's radio tuned for a signal from the shore. Forty minutes later it came. The 132d Infantry Division, hugging the coast, was almost up to the antitank ditch. The boats headed in. By then fighters were giving them cover overhead. A half mile out, they met artillery and small arms fire that
sank eleven boats, but only one man was killed and three wounded. At 0600, 132d Infantry Division crossed the antitank ditch. An hour later, its neighbor on the left, 28th Light Division, which originally had a longer way to come, was fighting in the ditch. The 50th Infantry Division had the most distance to cover and the most trouble. First, its rocket projectors failed to fire because their electric ignition system broke down; then it ran into a deep minefield and, behind that, a trench line with dug-in tanks.25
The early morning was hazy; the day sunny, bright, and warm. The VIII Air Corps had complete command in the sky, and a constant stream of its planes pounded the Soviet line. Behind 132d Infantry Division, which in midmorning was fighting its way through Soviet positions east of the antitank ditch, engineers leveled enough of the ditch with explosives to get two self-propelled assault gun batteries across. The worst possible mischance could still happen, though, if the Russians recovered their balance enough to bring the attack to a stop short of the breakthrough. In a few hours, they could muster a smothering numerical superiority. At 1200, Fretter-Pico began gathering whatever reserves he could for a late-afternoon push, but an hour later they were no longer needed. The enemy was retreating ahead of 28th Light Division and 132d Infantry Division "in droves." The divisions had advanced six miles by nightfall, and the air umbrella had expanded to reach east to Kerch. The VIII Air Corps had flown over two thousand sorties and shot down eighty Soviet planes.26 Fretter-Pico ordered 22d Panzer Division to come forward during the night and asked Manstein for the Grodeck Brigade.27
In the morning, the infantry waited for an hour after dawn while the planes worked over the enemy line. The Soviet recovery overnight was less than expected, so little that in another hour or so, 132d Infantry Division appeared to have an open road to the east, maybe straight through to Kerch. Manstein wanted to stay with the planned turn to the north, but because the crossings on the antitank ditch were not wide enough or firm enough yet to take 22d Panzer Division's tanks, Fretter-Pico sent the lighter Grodeck Brigade across first. Before 1200, the brigade passed through 132d Infantry Division's line with orders to head east as far and as fast as it could. In the afternoon, 22d Panzer Division crossed the ditch and deployed alongside 28th Light Division. At 1600, with five hours of daylight left, it began to roll north. The Grodeck Brigade by then had passed the Nasyr line and was almost halfway to Kerch. If the tanks did nearly as well, they could close the pocket before dark, but the Crimea was about to live up to its reputation for changeable weather. In less than two hours, rain was pouring down on the peninsula, and everything was stopped.
Rain continued through the night and into the forenoon on the 10th, and 22d Panzer Division's tanks only began grinding slowly through the mud in
AIMING A SIX-INCH ROCKET PROJECTOR
the afternoon. They had almost closed the pocket by dark, and by then, the Grodeck Brigade had crossed the Sultanovka line.28 In the morning on the 10th, the Stavka had ordered Crimean Front to pull its armies back to the Turkish Wall (the Sultanovka line) and defend it, but, Vasilevskiy says, the front command delayed executing the order for forty-eight hours and then failed to organize the withdrawal properly.29
The front command may have been somewhat more effective than Vasilevskiy had credited it with having been. During the night on the 10th, Fretter-Pico learned that the Russians had been manning the Nasyr line, forward of the Sultanovka, on the 9th, and the Grodeck Brigade had been lucky enough to hit a still unoccupied section on the extreme south. Consequently, he decided to send the 132d Infantry Division east the next morning along the route the brigade had taken and put the 170th Infantry Division in right behind it for a thrust to the northeast. The objectives would be to overrun the Nasyr and Sultanovka lines and get to Kerch and the coast on the Kerch Strait in time to prevent Crimean Front from organizing a beachhead defense or an evacuation.
During the morning on the 11th, 22d Panzer Division closed the pocket to the east of the Parpach line and together with 50th Infantry Division and 28th Light Division drew the ring tight. The three divisions then passed to XXXXII Corps for the mop-up, leaving XXX Corps to carry the drive east with two divisions and the Grodeck Brigade. Mud slowed all the movements and stopped the Grodeck Brigade, which was also running out of ammunition. At the day's end, the pocket was practically eliminated; 22d Panzer Division was turning east; 132d and 170th Infantry Divisions were halfway to the Sultanovka; and the Grodeck Brigade was standing off attacks on the other side of the wall with ammunition airdropped to it.
By the 12th, the Soviet commands had completely lost control of the battle. Their units, everywhere, were broken and jumbled. The 132d and 170th Infantry Divisions came within sight of the Sultanovka line during the day and crossed it early the next morning. When 22d Panzer Division passed through the infantry line several hours later, Fretter-Pico had three divisions bearing in on Kerch and the coast to
the north and south. In the afternoon on the 14th, 170th Infantry Division pushed into the city, and 132d Infantry Division brought the port under fire from the south.
According to all previous experience, the battle should have ended on the 14th or, at the latest on the 15th when Kerch and the small peninsula northeast of the city fell. Eleventh Army's last concern had been that Crimean Front would stage a Dunkirk-type evacuation across the narrow strait. That did not happen, and for the next six days, disjointed small battles continued all the way back to the Parpach line. The first Germans on the heights overlooking the coast had seen Soviet troops boarding ships offshore, but afterward, very few ships had appeared. Later the talk among the prisoners was that those who had crossed to the mainland were being "called to account" and sometimes being fired upon. The prisoners claimed to have heard a Stalin order telling them not to expect to be evacuated because there were plenty of caves and gullies on the peninsula from which to carry on the resistance.30
Manstein, nevertheless, declared TRAPPENJAGD completed on the 19th. In the next several days, the prisoner count reached 170,000.31 One Soviet account gives the number of Crimean Front troops lost in the battle as 176,000 and those evacuated as 120,000. Mekhlis lost his posts as deputy commissar for defense and as chief of the Army's Main Political Directorate and was reduced to the rank of a corps commissar. Kozlov, his chief of staff, and his chief political officer and the commanders of Forty-fourth and Forty-seventh Armies were relieved of their posts and demoted.32
The Izyum Bulge
Prospects and Problems
In early March, the Stavka asked the command of Southwestern Theater to submit its strategic and operational estimates for the coming summer. On the 22d, Marshal Timoshenko, the theater's commander, sent in a proposal for a spring-summer offensive by Bryansk, Southwest, and South Fronts. It would aim to clear the line of the Dnepr River from Gomel south to Cherkassy and would conclude with a drive across the lower Dnepr to the line Cherkassy-Pervomaysk-Nikolayev. In the first phase, to be begun in late April or early May, Southwest and South Fronts would chop off the German-held north and south cornerposts of the Izyum bulge at Balakleya and Slavyansk, and Southwest Front would then advance north out of the western end of the bulge to take Kharkov.33 Timoshenko asked for reinforcements amounting to 34 rifle divisions, 28 tank brigades, 24 artillery regiments, 756 aircraft, 200,000 bulk replacements, and "large quantities" of weapons, equipment, and motor vehicles.34
In the last week of March, Timoshenko,
Khrushchev, his member of the Military Council, and General Bagramyan, his chief of staff, went to Moscow to defend the proposal before the Stavka. The discussions appear, from Bagramyan's account, actually to have been between the three of them and Stalin with Marshal Shaposhnikov, chief of the General Staff, and General Vasilevskiy, his deputy, present. Shaposhnikov had convinced Stalin beforehand that the offensive should not be attempted on the proposed scale, and in the first conference in the Kremlin, on the night of the 27th, Stalin said he only had a few dozen divisions in the whole reserve, not nearly enough to meet the requirements of the rest of the front and also give Southwestern Theater what it wanted.35 Stalin then said that the offensive would have to be restricted to the Kharkov region.
In another night meeting on the 28th Stalin and Shaposhnikov reviewed the first plan for a Kharkov offensive and required that it be reworked to limit it exclusively to the Kharkov area and to reduce the number of units requested from the reserves.36 What had been proposed was apparently an offensive by Southwest and South Fronts similar to the first phase of the original plan plus participation by Bryansk Front.
On the night of the 30th, Stalin accepted a proposal to develop an operation that could be executed with provision from the reserves of 10 rifle divisions, 26 tank brigades, 10 artillery regiments, and enough replacements to bring Southwest and South Fronts up to 80 percent of authorized strengths. The idea was to have Southwest Front, alone, take Kharkov and thereby set the stage for a subsequent thrust with South Front to Dnepropetrovsk.37
Timoshenko took command of Southwest Front in person on 8 April, and on the 10th, he turned in a plan for a two-pronged attack on Kharkov. One, the main drive, was to go out of the northwest corner of the Izyum bulge, the other out of the smaller Volchansk salient. The Stavka approved this proposal.38 Shaposhnikov, Vasilevskiy says, pointed out the risks of launching an offensive out of a pocket like the Izyum bulge, but Timoshenko convinced Stalin that the operation would be a "complete success."39 Moskalenko, who saw the decision from the point of view of an army commander (Thirty-eighth), says the Stavka made a mistake in approving the plan, but it did so at the "insistence" of the theater command.40
The plan, as written on 10 April and issued in final form on the 28th, projected not only the liberation of Kharkov but an extensive encirclement that would trap most of German Sixth Army. The attack from the Volchansk salient would go due west and be spearheaded by Twenty-eighth Army, a new army with 4 rifle divisions from the Stavka reserves. It would be under Ryabyshev, an experienced general, who had successfully commanded Fifty-seventh Army during the winter offensive, and it would be supported on its flanks by elements of Twenty-first and
TANKMEN FLUSH OUT SOVIET SOLDIERS AFTER THE BATTLE
Thirty-eighth Armies. The main thrust, out of the Izyum bulge, was assigned to Sixth Army, under General Leytenant A. M. Gorodnyanskov, and the "Bobkin Group," under General Mayor L. V. Bobkin. The attack was to be made in two stages: the first, to break through the enemy's first and second defense lines and destroy his tactical reserves and the second, to smash the enemy's operational reserves and complete the encirclement. For the attack, Sixth Army and the Bobkin Group, between them, would have 10 rifle and 3 cavalry divisions, 11 tank brigades, and 2 motorized rifle brigades. To make the breakthrough on a fifteen-mile front, Sixth Army had 8 rifle divisions, 4 tank brigades, and 14 regiments of supporting artillery. The Bobkin Group was a newly formed mobile operational group composed of 2 rifle divisions, a cavalry corps, and a tank brigade. Its commander had successfully led a similar group in the Thirty-eighth Army area during the winter. Timoshenko had 560 tanks for the first stage and 269 more to be put in during the second. He held as the reserve of the front a cavalry corps, 2 rifle divisions, and an independent tank brigade, which, according to Moskalenko, had about a hundred tanks. He also had close at hand the Ninth and Fifth-seventh Armies of South Front and, potentially available, South Front's reserve of a tank corps and 7 rifle divisions.41
In the meantime, Army Group South also had had its eyes on the Izyum bulge. A situation estimate Bock sent to the OKH on 10 March specified that the bulge would have to be wiped out as soon as the rasputitsa passed, because, otherwise, the Russians would use it as a springboard for an attack on Kharkov and because the army group could not keep on defending the extra length of front. Getting rid of the bulge was essential to the army group's summer operations. Bock asked for two fresh divisions for Seventeenth Army and two for Sixth Army.42
On 25 March, Army Group South had issued a directive for Operation FRIDERICUS. In concept, FRIDERICUS was simple enough, a matter of two thrusts, one from the north, the other from the south, meeting at Izyum. But the staff work had brought to light an irritating complication: owing to the lie of the front in relation to the Donets River, the best route for the thrust from the north was east of the Donets, straight along the Kharkov-Izyum road, which, however, would be wide open to attack on the east. Sixth Army, already having two exposed fronts, would be hard put to hold a third. To avoid this problem, the FRIDERICUS directive put the Sixth Army thrust west of the Donets, which would give it the protection of the river but which would also be awkward because of a double bend in the river. Because the river's protection would be greatest during the time of high water, the starting date was set for 22 April.43
Army Group South had given FRIDERICUS a name and an existence on paper. From there on, the operation acquired a life of its own. First off, it spawned a second version, FRIDERICUS II, after Hitler and Halder, chief of the General Staff, objected to the army group's choice and wanted the Sixth Army effort east of the Donets. Bock, in turn, complained that FRIDERICUS II was based on "all kinds of assumptions but not a single fact" and was convinced that the only practicable version was the army group's own, which became FRIDERICUS I.44 When either could start depended on the weather and on the railroads that were already laboring at capacity under the weight of traffic for the coming summer campaign. The OKH released two new infantry divisions for FRIDERICUS in early April, but it could only deliver them by rail as far as Rovno and Grodno in Poland, and they had to make their way east another 500 miles by road. On 24 April, two days after the original starting date for the operation, Bock and Hitler were still debating the deployment.45
Finally, on 30 April, Bock issued a directive for FRIDERICUS II. It was "born in severe pain," he remarked, and "on the whole not pretty" but it was also unalterable because of the Fuehrer's insistence.46 Setting the time for "probably" 18 May took another week.47 While Army Group South's reinforcements came forward slowly, the rivers were subsiding, the roads were becoming
passible, and the Russians were stirring ominously in the northwest corner of the Izyum bulge and in the Volchansk salient. Hitler and Halder, who had done the same with earlier reports of similar Russian activity, dismissed the idea of an attack toward Kharkov, although, as the weather and condition of the ground improved, Halder did so "with less conviction than before."48
The Drive on Kharkov
On the morning of 12 May, Soviet Sixth Army, the Bobkin Group, and Twenty-eighth Army went over to the offensive, therewith opening what was going to be the Soviet battle of World War II that generated the most long-lasting controversy. While Stalin lived, it would be made to disappear from history. In the 1950s, it would be resurrected as a chief exhibit in the de-Stalinization campaign; and in the late 1960s, it would be turned against Stalin's critic and successor, Nikita Khrushchev. Consequently, as seen from the Soviet side, the battle appears in several versions, all, to some extent, tailored to purposes other than purely historical.
By both the Soviet and German accounts, the beginning was spectacular, in its impact, not a far second to the Moscow counterattack. The Soviet histories maintain that their initial advantage was not great. The Short History gives a 3:2 advantage in infantry and 2:1 in tanks at the points where the attacks were made. The History of the Second World War indicates an overall Southwest Front superiority of 1.51:1 in troops and 2:1 in tanks but says the tanks were mostly light models.49 The actual advantages could have been much greater, at least so it appeared to the Germans. Sixth Army reported being hit by twelve rifle divisions and 300 tanks in the first waves. Veteran troops, who had fought through the winter, were overawed by the masses of armor rolling in on them that morning.50 Bock told Halder Sixth Army was fighting "for its life."51
Heaviest hit on the first day was Sixth Army's VIII Corps in the northwestern corner of the Izyum bulge. Against it, Soviet Sixth Army drove due north toward Kharkov, while the Bobkin Group pushed west and northwest to get the army elbow room on its left flank. Twenty-eighth Army's attack out of the Volchansk salient was less powerful but more dangerous because it had the shorter distance to go. (Map 23.) Before 1200, all three attacks had cracked the German lines, and by evening, Twenty-eighth Army's tanks were ranging to within eleven miles of Kharkov. After persuading Halder that these were not mere "cosmetic flaws," Bock released the 23d Panzer Division and 71st and 113th Infantry Divisions to General Paulus, the commander of Sixth Army. They were to have been Sixth Army's spearhead force for FRIDERICUS.52
In two days, the Soviet armies opened broad gaps south and northeast of Kharkov, and the Bobkin Group drove VIII Corps away from its contact with the Armeegruppe Kleist and back against the Berestovaya River. While
The Soviet Offensive
12-19 May 1942
Paulus positioned the three divisions and elements of the 3d Panzer and 305th Infantry Divisions to parry the thrusts at Kharkov, Generaloberst Alexander Loehr, the Luftwaffe commander for the Army Group South zone, began shifting ground support units from Richthofen's VIII Air Corps north from the Crimea. The attack had come just at the time Soviet resistance was beginning to collapse on the Kerch Peninsula, and the VIII Air Corps units, added to those of IV Air Corps already operating around Kharkov and the Izyum bulge, would create in some days' time an extraordinarily powerful concentration of air support. By nightfall on the 13th, a ten-mile-wide gap had opened on the VIII Corps left flank southwest of Zmiyev. On its right flank, Soviet cavalry was probing westward toward Krasnograd through an even wider gap. The only obstacle in Twenty-eighth Army's way on the Volchansk-Kharkov road was a party of Germans surrounded in the village of Ternovaya. On the 14th, it was time for Bock and his Soviet counterpart, Timoshenko, to make big decisions.
Timoshenko still had the tanks for the second stage. By the 14th, even though the breakthroughs had been achieved, Timoshenko did not put the armor in. The History of the Second World War says that the front and theater command did not take advantage of the favorable situation existing on 14 May and did not put in the mobile forces to complete the encirclement.53 The History of the Great Patriotic War and the Popular Scientific Sketch maintain that Timoshenko was "misled" by mistaken intelligence reports of strong enemy armor being concentrated near Zmiyev and, therefore, delayed committing the tanks.54 Bagramyan says that the "moment" had arrived, on the 14th, when Twenty-eighth Army should have committed its mobile groups, but the army staff's "poor organization" prevented that. He also says Southwest Front sent a report to the Stavka on the night of the 14th in which it described its successes but pointed out, as well, that two enemy panzer divisions still constituted "a serious impediment" to the advance on Kharkov.55 The Short History implies that the front command could not make up its mind, waited for "a more favorable moment," and, so, missed the chance.56 Moskalenko also maintains that the trouble was with the front command's indecision.57
Bock, of course, unaware of the help he was getting from the other side, had two choices on the 14th: he could act directly to save Sixth Army from an expensive trouncing, or he could try to accomplish the same effect and possibly more--while also risking two failures--by going ahead with FRIDERICUS. The circumstances were as peculiar as any in the war. No matter how successful the Kharkov battle was, it was going to be a dead end for the Russians. The Army Group South rear area, particularly the Kharkov region, was beginning to fill up with divisions for the summer offensive, more than enough to guarantee the strategic initiative. On the other hand, those divisions were under OKH control. Bock apparently did not even know where
T-34 TANK CREWS BRUSH UP ON TACTICS
all of them were or what their states of readiness were, and Hitler, who was having to painstakingly husband his manpower for the summer, was not disposed to release them. Consequently, the battle would have to be fought practically, if somewhat artificially, in the hand-to-mouth style of the winter.
From General Kleist, Bock learned that Seventeenth Army probably could carry out the southern half of FRIDERICUS. Doing so would narrow the mouth of the Izyum bulge to about twenty miles. But Kleist did not believe he could go any farther, and if his advance fell short, it would not have any effect at all. As an alternative, Kleist thought he could scrape together three or four divisions for a counterattack off the Armeegruppe left flank across the rear of the Bobkin Group and Soviet Sixth Army. Bock inclined toward the first possibility but felt compelled by prudence to recommend the second to Hitler. Having done this, he remarked to his chief of staff, "Now the Fuehrer will order the big solution [FRIDERICUS]. The laurels will go to the Supreme Command and we will have to be content with what is left." As expected, Hitler did promptly order the big solution, which Bock then said he could "approach cheerfully," particularly since Hitler had also undertaken to send out of the Crimea "every aircraft that can possibly be spared."58
The German Counteroffensive
17-28 May 1942
On the morning of the 17th, Timoshenko committed his second-stage forces, and Kleist began FRIDERICUS. Timoshenko was playing primarily his two biggest trumps, XXI and XXIII Tank Corps, which had been waiting behind Sixth Army. They were going in, however, after the first-stage attack had crested and was beginning to subside.59 Nevertheless, during the day, in 90° F. heat, the Soviet tanks drove five miles deep into the loosely patched VIII Corps line south of Kharkov. (Map 24.)
FRIDERICUS was light on reserves but had powerful air support. The 22d Panzer Division, coming from the Crimea, probably would not arrive in time to count, but IV Air Corps, with the reinforcements from VIII Air Corps, had an imposing assemblage of fighter, Stuka, and bomber squadrons, all of which were able to take to the air when the day dawned bright and clear. The surprise was complete on the Soviet side and almost as great on the German--at how fast the Soviet Ninth Army collapsed. By sundown on that shimmeringly hot day, supported "most effectively by the Luftwaffe," III Panzer Corps had gone fifteen miles to Barvenkovo, and the Seventeenth Army left flank divisions had covered sixteen or seventeen miles, more than two-thirds of the distance to Izyum.60
During the day, the commander of South Front, General Malinovskiy, lost contact with the Ninth Army headquarters and with reinforcements he was trying to deploy south of Izyum. Bagramyan says that Malinovskiy had made two "errors" beforehand: he had put part of his reserves into the line on the south, and he and the army command had failed to set up a sufficiently solid defense.61 According to the Popular Scientific Sketch, "The Ninth Army troops were not prepared to ward off the enemy blow."62
The 17th and the 18th were days of rising crisis for the Soviet Command--and of decisions made and not made that would remain in dispute decades later. The History of the Great Patriotic War passes over the events of the 17th in a single sentence confirming the German breakthrough. Bagramyan indicates that on that day, both the theater command and the Stavka believed South Front's right flank could be strengthened enough to master the crisis. Timoshenko, he says, ordered Gorodnyanskov to take out XXIII Tank Corps and get it to Fifty-seventh Army by the night of the 18th for a counterattack toward Barvenkovo, and the Stavka released two rifle divisions and two tank brigades from its reserves. The Short History maintains, however, that since the Stavka reserves could not have arrived in less than three days, Timoshenko should have stopped Sixth Army and shifted all of its offensive strength to the south. The acting chief of the General Staff, Vasilevskiy, the Short History says (as he does also), proposed doing that, but Stalin refused after the Military Council of the Southwestern Theater (Timoshenko, Khrushchev, and Bagramyan) told him it could continue the offensive and stop
the German attack.63 The Popular Scientific Sketch states, "The Supreme Commander let the Military Council of the Southwest Front [also Timoshenko, Khrushchev, and Bagramyan] persuade him that to continue the offensive was necessary and feasible and rejected the General Staff's arguments for breaking off the operation."64
On the 18th, lighter by a tank corps, Timoshenko's armor rolled against Sixth Army again. In places, the tanks broke through, but where they did, the Germans counterattacked, and at day's end, the front stood about where it had in the morning.65 FRIDERICUS, meanwhile, almost became a rout. South Front, Ninth Army, and the latter's neighbor, Fifty-seventh Army, failed again to put together a cohesive defense. Against confused resistance, Seventeenth Army and III Panzer Corps fanned out and cleared the line of the Donets River north to Izyum and west to the mouth of the Bereka River.
The History of the Great Patriotic War and Bagramyan depict the 18th as the crucial day. The history states that Khrushchev, in his capacity as the member (political) of the Military Council of the theater and front, contacted Stalin and proposed to stop the offensive immediately and redeploy Sixth Army's and the Bobkin Group's forces to counter FRIDERICUS, but "the Stavka insisted on the execution of its previous orders."66 Khrushchev told the Twentieth Party Congress, in February 1956, that he had talked to Vasilevskiy and indirectly, through Malenkov, a member of the State Defense Committee, to Stalin by telephone. Vasilevskiy, in Khrushchev's version, refused to take up the matter of stopping the offensive with Stalin. Stalin would not talk on the telephone but had Malenkov give the answer, "Let everything remain as it is."67
Bagramyan says he had concluded, on the night of the 17th, that the offensive would have to be stopped and the mass of its forces shifted to the Barvenkovo area, but he had not succeeded in convincing Timoshenko of "the urgent necessity to take that cardinal decision." In fact, he says, on the morning of the 18th, Timoshenko told Stalin there was no need to take forces from Sixth Army or the Bobkin Group to beat off the German attack. Bagramyan, by his account, then initiated an appeal to Stalin through Khrushchev, but Stalin declined to reverse Timoshenko's decision.68
Vasilevskiy says he informed Stalin of the worsening situation in the Barvenkovo-Izyum area on the morning of the 18th. In writing his memoirs, Vasilevskiy remembered talking to Khrushchev by telephone, "either on the 18th or 19th," in approximately the sense Khrushchev described, except that he told Khrushchev he could not go to Stalin again with a proposal that contradicted what the military council of the theater was reporting.69 According to the Short History, Vasilevskiy made another attempt to get Stalin to
PAK 40, 75-MM. ANTITANK GUN CREW ON THE WATCH
stop the offensive on the 18th and was turned down after Stalin again consulted Timoshenko.70 To this Zhukov adds, "The version about the military council of the theater sending alarming reports to Stalin is not true. I maintain this because I was present in person when Stalin spoke over the telephone."71
No matter where the responsibility rested, with Stalin, with the military council of the theater, with Timoshenko, or with all three, Southwest Front had indeed been kept on the offensive south of Kharkov too long. Because it had, the trap that was about to be sprung was going to be in good part one of the Russians' own making. Bock conferred with Kleist at the latter's headquarters in Stalino on the 18th. In the midst of an almost unbelievable success, the two were worried. When they reached Izyum and the mouth of the Bereka, which they were likely to do within hours, the FRIDERICUS forces would have gone as far north as Kleist had figured they could go; but so far, they had failed to accomplish their main mission, which was to draw Southwest Front away from Sixth Army. The Russians had not reacted at all. The next stage, as planned, would be to turn III Panzer Corps due west along the south side of the Bereka behind Fifty-seventh Army, but that hardly seemed likely to produce an
effect that the more threatening northward thrust had failed to achieve. Before Bock departed, Kleist offered to try to have III Panzer Corps take a bridgehead north of the Bereka from which it could advance northwest in case the Russians, as it seemed they very likely would, proved insensitive to the push to the west.72
By comparison with the previous two days, the Armeegruppe Kleist almost stood still on the 19th. The III Panzer Corps was wheeling to the west. It did, though, send 14th Panzer Division over the Bereka to take Petrovskoye. The distance gained was only about five miles, but it deprived Southwest Front of a Donets crossing and narrowed the mouth of the Izyum bulge to fifteen miles. During the day, Southwest Front finally did begin to react. The pressure on VIII Corps, strong in the morning, became disjointed by midmorning. In the afternoon, air reconnaissance detected an increase in road traffic away from the VIII Corps front to the southeast, and at the end of the day, Sixth Army reported, "The enemy's offensive strength has cracked. The breakthrough to Kharkov is therewith prevented."73
In the evening on the 19th, an order went out to Soviet Sixth Army and the Bobkin Group to stop the offensive and redeploy to the southeast. The History of the Great Patriotic War implies that Timoshenko had to give the order on his own responsibility and only later received the Stavka's approval.74 The History of the Second World War, the Short History, and Vasilevskiy present the decision, made "at last," as having been entirely up to the theater command.75 Bagramyan says, "the commanding general, Southwestern Theater, did not make the belated decision to stop the offensive until the latter half of the day on the 19th. . . ."76
Coming when it did, the most significant effect of Timoshenko's decision was probably to hasten the destruction of the Soviet forces in the Izyum bulge. Relieved of their concern over what might happen to Sixth Army, Hitler and Bock conferred by telephone on the night of the 19th and quickly agreed it would now be a good idea to try to accomplish the whole original FRIDERICUS by having the Armeegruppe Kleist go the rest of the way from Petrovskoye to the Sixth Army line at Balakleya. As soon as they had finished Bock called Kleist's chief of staff, gave him the gist of what he had talked about with Hitler, and said he wanted Protopopovka, the next Donets crossing north of Petrovskoye, taken "under all circumstances and as soon as in any way possible."77
The 14th Panzer Division took Protopopovka on the 20th, which reduced the mouth of the bulge between there and Balakleya to twelve miles. The bridgehead was then eight miles deep but only a mile or two across. The III Panzer Corps main force, still on the westward orientation, gained almost twelve miles, however, with disappointing results. The object was to smash Fifty-seventh Army in the western end of
the bulge, but the outer ring of front there was held by Rumanian divisions, and they showed little determination and less enthusiasm. One of the Rumanian division commanders had sent himself home on leave when he heard the attack was about to start. Having an alternative that he also preferred, Kleist began turning the 16th Panzer Division, 60th Motorized Division, and 1st Mountain Division around after dark and sending them into the Bereka bridgehead behind 14th Panzer Division. On Bock's urging, Paulus agreed to shift the 3d and 23d Panzer Divisions south from the Volchansk salient and thus partially to reconstitute his former FRIDERICUS force.78 Bock observed, " . . . tonight, I have given orders aimed at completely sealing off the Izyum bulge. Now everything will turn out well after all!"79
On the 21st, 14th Panzer was the only division on the offensive. It jumped north four miles, reducing the distance to Balakleya to eight miles. The next day, 16th Panzer Division and 60th Motorized Division struck out northwestward from Petrovskoye, and 14th Panzer Division continued north. Well before dark, 14th Panzer had contact with Sixth Army at Balakleya. Early the next morning, 23d Panzer Division met 16th Panzer Division ten miles west of Balakleya. With that, 14th Panzer Division's narrow bridgehead was converted into a ten-mile-wide barrier across the mouth of the bulge.
On the west and south, the Soviet fronts were collapsing inward. In two more days, the Sixth and Fifty-seventh Armies, the Bobkin Group, and the remnants of Ninth Army were piled against the III Panzer Corps line. An attempt at a breakout on the afternoon of the 25th carried almost to Petrovskoye. Another, the next morning, several miles to the north, came within four miles of succeeding. By afternoon on the 26th, all that was left was a ten-by-two-mile pocket in the Bereka Valley. From a hill south of Lozovenka, Bock could see over almost the whole of it. "An overpowering picture," he said, as shells exploded in the cloud of smoke hanging in the valley, and 23d Panzer Division and 1st Mountain Division troops, still on the attack, pushed past crowds of prisoners streaming out of the pocket.80
The battle ended in bright sunshine on the morning of the 28th. After they finished counting, which took some more days, Armeegruppe Kleist and Sixth Army found they had captured 240,000 prisoners, over 1,200 tanks, and 2,600 artillery pieces.81 Seventeenth Army, which had taken over the front on the Donets, observed "with astonishment" that during the whole ten-day battle, virtually no relief had been attempted from the east.82 According to Shtemenko, Stalin had told Timoshenko and Khrushchev, "Battles must be won not with numbers but by skill. If you do not learn to direct your troops better, all the armaments the country can produce will not be enough for you."83
1. Vaneyev, Geroicheskaya obarona, pp. 208-11.
2. Manstein, Verlorene Siege, pp. 250-53.
3. VOV, p. 143f; IVMV, vol. V, p. 114.
4. Halder Diary, vol. III, 23 Mar 42, p. 417.
5. Bock Diary, Osten II, 16 Mar 42. The 1942 "light" divisions, of which the 28th Light Division was one, were light infantry divisions. They were later renamed "Jaeger" divisions. See Manstein, Verlorene Siege, p. 253.
6. Friedrich Wilhelm Hauck, MS P-114c, Die Operationen der deutschen Heeresgruppen an der Ostfront 1941 bis 1945, Suedliches Gebiet, Teil II, p. 42, CMH files; O.B. der II. Armee, Operationsabsichten, 31.3.42, AOK 11 22279/23 file.
7. Der O.B. der II. Armee, an Soldaten der Krim-Armee, 19.5.42, AOK 11 28654/4 file.
8. Vasilevskiy, Delo, p. 208.
9. Vaneyev, Geriocheskaya oborona, p. 208.
10. 22. Pz. Div., Ia Nr. 227/42, Bericht ueber den Angriff auf Korpetch am 20.3.42, AOK 11 22279/23 file; O.B. der II. Armee, Operationsabsichten, 31.3.42, AOK 11 22279/23 file.
11. Bock Diary, Osten II, 2 Apr 42.
12. OKW, Stellv. WFSt, Kriegsgeschichtliche Abteilung Kriegstagebuch, 1.4.-30.6.42, 16 Apr 42, I.M.T. 1807 file.
13. XXX A.K., Ia Kriegstagebuch, 1.-20.5.42, 1 May 42, XXX A.K. 21753/1 file.
14. Bock Diary, Osten II, 28 Apr 42.
15. XXX A.K., Ia Kriegstagebuch, 1.-20.5.42, 2 May 42, XXX A.K. 21753/1 file.
16. Bock Diary, Osten II, 5 May 42.
18. AOK 11, Ia Aktennotiz fuer K.T.B. ueber Besprechung am 5.5.42, AOK 1128654/3 file.
19. Vasilevskiy, Delo, pp. 208, 210.
20. IVOVSS, vol. II, p. 405.
21. IVMV, vol. V, p. 123.
22. S. M. Shtemenko, The Soviet General Staff at War, 1941-1945 (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1970), p. 53.
23. Vasilevskiy, Delo, p. 209.
24. Sturmbootkommando 902, Angriff auf Parpatsch-Stellung, 9.5.42, AOK 11 28654/3.
25. XXX A.K., Ia Kriegstagebuch, 1.-20.5.42, 8 May 42, XXX A.K. 21753/1 file.
26. Flivo AOK 11, Tagesabschlussmeldung VIII Flieger Korps, 9.5.42, AOK 11 28654/3 file.
27. XXX A.K., Ia Kriegstagebuch, 1.1.-20.5.42, 8 May 42, XXX A.K. 21753/1 file.
28. Ibid., 9 and 10 May 42.
29. Vasilevskiy, Delo, p. 209.
30. XXX A.K., Ia Kriegstagebuch, 1.1.-20.5.42, 11-20 May 42, XXX A.K. 21753/1 file.
31. XXXXII A.K., Ia Kriegstagebuch Nr. 5, 18 May 42, XXXXII A.K. 29071/1 file; Der O.B. der 11. Armee, an Soldaten der Krim-Armee, 19.5.42, AOK 11 28654/4 file; Bock Diary, Osten II, 24 May 42.
32. IVOV, p. 144; IVOVSS, vol. II, p. 406.
33. Bagramyan, Tak shli my k pobede, p. 48; IVMV, vol. V, p. 126f; Vasilevskiy, Delo, p. 212; IVOVSS, vol. II, p. 411.
34. Bagramyan, Tak shli my k pobede, p. 54.
35. Vasilevskiy, Delo, p. 212; Bagramyan, Tak shli my k pobede, p. 60.
36. Bagramyan, Tak shli my k pobede, p. 62. See also VOV (Kratkaya Istoriya), p. 161f.
37. Bagramyan, Tak shli my k pobede, p. 66; IVMV, vol. V, p. 127.
38. Bagramyan, Tak shli my k pobede, p. 212.
39. Vasilevskiy, Delo, p. 213.
40. Moskalenko, Na yugo-zapadnom napravlenii, p. 213.
41. Ibid., pp. 182-84; Bagramyan, Tak shli my k pobede, pp. 69, 71-74, 84; IVMV, vol. V, p. 127.
42. Bock Diary, Osten II, 10 Mar 42.
43. Obkdo. d. H. Gr. Sued, Ia Nr. 585/42, Weisung Nr. 1 fuer den Angriff "Fridericus," 25.3.42, Pz. AOK 1 25179/3 file.
44. Bock Diary. Osten II, 31 Mar 42.
45. Ibid., 24 Apr 42.
46. Ibid., 30 Apr 42; Obkdo. d. H. Gr. Sued, Ia Nr. 946/42, Weisung Nr. 2 fuer den Angriff "Fridericus," 30.4.42, Pz. AOK 1 25179/3 file.
47. AOK 17, Ia Nr. 33/42, Befehl fuer Angriff "Fridericus," 8.5.42, Pz. AOK 127179/3 file.
48. Bock Diary, Osten II, 25 Apr and 5 May 42.
49. VOV (Kratkaya Istoriya), p. 162: IVMV, vol. V, p. 128.
50. AOK 6, Ia Kriegstagebuch Nr. 11, 12 May 42, AOK 6 22391/1 file.
51. Bock Diary, Osten II, 12 May 42.
52. Ibid., 12 May 42.
53. IVMV, vol. V, p. 129.
54. IVOVSS, vol. II, p. 413; VOV, p. 140.
55. Bagramyan, Tak shli my k pobede, pp. 95-97.
56. VOV (Kratkaya Istoriya), p. 162.
57. Moskalenko, Na yugo-zapadnom napravlenii, p. 247.
58. Bock Diary, Osten II, 14 May 42.
59. Moskalenko, Na yugo-zapadnom napravlenii, p. 201; IVMV, vol. V, p. 129.
60. Pz. A0K 1, Ia Kriegstagebuch Nr. 8, 17 May 42, Pz. AOK 1 24906 file; AOK 17, Ia Kriegstagebuch Nr. 3, 17 May 42, AOK 17 24411/1 file.
61. Bagramyan, Tak shli my k pobede, p. 106f.
62. VOV, p. 141.
63. IVOVSS, vol. II, p. 413; Bagramyan, Tak shli my k pobede, p. 115; VOV (Kratkaya Istoriya), p. 163. See also Vasilevskiy, Delo, p. 214.
64. VOV, p. 141.
65. AOK 6, Ia Kriegstagebuch Nr. 11, 13 May 42, AOK 6 22391/1 file.
66. IVOVSS, vol. II, p. 414.
67. Congressional Record, 4 Jun 1956.
68. Bagramyan, Tak shli my k pobede, p. 116f.
69. Vasilevskiy, Delo, p. 214.
70. VOV (Kratkaya Istoriya), p. 164.
71. Zhukov, Memoirs, p. 368.
72. Pz. AOK 1, Ia Kriegstagebuch Nr. 8, 18 May 42, Pz. AOK 1 24906 file.
73. AOK 6, Ia Kriegstagebuch Nr. 11, 19 May 42, AOK 6 22391 file.
74. IVOVSS, vol. II, p. 414.
75. IVMV, vol. V, p. 130; VOV (Kratkaya Istoriya), p. 164; Vasilevskiy, Delo, p. 214.
76. Bagramyan, Tak shli my k pobede, p. 119.
77. Bock Diary, Osten II, 19 May 42.
78. Pz. AOK 1, Ia Kriegstagebuch Nr. 8, 20 May 42, Pz. AOK 1 24906 file; AOK 6, Ia Kriegstagebuch Nr. 11, 20 May 42, AOK 6 22391 file.
79. Bock Diary, Osten II, 20 May 42.
80. Ibid., 26 May 42; Pz. AOK 1, Ia Vernichtungsschlacht im Donezbogen westl. Izyum, Pz. AOK 1 75119/6 file.
81. Pz. AOK 1, Ia, Vernichtungsschlact im Donezbogen westl. Izyum, Pz. AOK 1 75119/6 file; AOK 6, Ia Sondermeldung, 30.5.42, AOK 6 22391/7 file.
82. AOK 17, Ia Kriegstagebuch Nr. 3, 28 May 42, AOK 17 24411/1 file.
83. Shtemenko, Soviet General Staff, p. 56.