Summer On The Static Fronts
On the Moscow Axis
Believing that the enemy would, sooner or later, seek the decision there, the Soviet leadership did not in any wise regard the central sector as secondary in the summer of 1942. General Zhukov, who had been the chief troubleshooter the summer before, stayed in command of West Front. The fronts opposite Army Group Center--Kalinin, West, and the two right wing armies of Bryansk Front--had, all told, 140 divisions to the Germans' 70.1 The Stavka held 4 field armies and the Third and Fifth Tank Armies as reserves in the Moscow area.2
The strategy of the active defense remained in effect on the Moscow axis. On 16 July, four days after the offensive north of Orel against Second Panzer Army was stopped, the Stavka instructed Zhukov and General Konev, the commander of Kalinin Front, to prepare an offensive in the Rzhev-Sychevka area. The objectives were to be to drive the enemy back to the Volga and Vazuza rivers and take Rzhev and Zubtsov.3
When Operation SEYDLlTZ ended, in the second week of July, Army Group Center, for its part, was ready to settle into a supernumerary role for the summer. HANNOVER and SEYDLITZ, by eliminating the most critical dangers to the army group's rear, had made it once more an almost credible threat to Moscow and, consequently, a bit more than a bystander in the war; but active campaigning would be out of the question at least until a partial rebuilding was accomplished in August. The armies had three operations in the paper stage of planning: DERFFLINGER, ORKAN ("tornado"), and WIRBELWIND ("whirlwind").4
DERFFLINGER, descended from the old BRUECKENSCHLAG, was to be a Ninth Army drive from the front north of Rzhev to Ostashkov. ORKAN and WIRBELWIND, as their code names suggest, were related. Both were to be conducted by Fourth and Second Panzer Armies against the Sukhimchi salient. In ORKAN, the two armies, striking from the north and the south, would eliminate the whole salient and carry the front out to Belev, Kaluga, and Yukhnov. WIRBELWIND, a considerably less ambitious alternative to ORKAN,
Rzhev and Vorya River Areas
30 July-23 September 1942
would only pinch off the western third of the salient and establish a line some miles east of Sukhinichi. Although ORKAN could have been substantially more effective than WIRBELWIND (by reopening the southwestern approaches to Moscow via Yukhnov and Kaluga), as of mid-July, barring a sudden Soviet collapse, there was almost no chance of its being attempted. Army Group Center was not likely to have enough troops or material to try anything that big. Whether DERFFLINGER could be executed was also doubtful. The buildup for it would have to come out of the forces used for WIRBELWIND, which had priority; therefore, DERFFLINGER could not start until September, which, at best, would put it uncomfortably late in the season.5
Konev was ready to start on 30 July. He had Thirtieth and Twenty-ninth Armies positioned north and northeast of Rzhev. Zhukov, who would carry the main effort and would coordinate the operations of both fronts after the offensive started, needed five more days. He had Thirty-first and Twentieth Armies in the line and 2 tank corps, 2 guards cavalry corps, and 5 cavalry divisions standing behind them. Each of the armies also had a mobile group of 3 tank brigades. Thirty-first Army was to sweep south of the Volga toward Zubtsov, where it would be able to threaten Rzhev from the southeast. Twentieth Army would bear southwest toward the Vazuza River and Sychevka.6 (Map 35.)
Ninth Army became aware of the buildups in the last week of the month. It identified several new divisions with Thirtieth Army and several more with Thirty-first Army. However, since West Front had already conducted several similar, seemingly vague, regroupments elsewhere, Ninth Army more than half suspected a deception, a Soviet counterpart to Operation KREML.7
At 0600 on 30 July, in pouring rain, after an hour-long artillery barrage accompanied by air strikes, Thirtieth Army hit Ninth Army's front on the Volga River bridgehead due north of Rzhev. By nightfall, it had broken open four miles of the line and had overrun artillery positions two miles in the rear. For the next four days, the Germans held tight to the cornerposts, the flanks of the breakthrough, and thereby prevented the attack from going deeper while they braced themselves also for the attack from the east, past Zubtsov toward Rzhev, that was now certain to come. The distances were short, on the north less than ten miles and on the east twenty-five miles, and the stakes were disproportionately high. If Rzhev fell, Army Group Center would lose the anchor of its north flank, every chance of closing the gap to Army Group North, and most, if not all, of its status as a threat to Moscow.
In the morning on 4 August, Thirty-first Army surged into and over the 161st Infantry Division on an eight-mile stretch east of Zubtsov. The breakthrough was complete almost at once.
11-24 August 1942
MACHINE-GUN NEST NORTH OF RZHEV
By dark, the only trace of the former front was occasional white flares that were sent up, here and there, over some bypassed strongpoint. During the day, Ninth Army had received two more shocks: the attack through the breech on the east was not only going toward Zubtsov but southwest toward Sychevka as well, and Fourth Shock Army appeared to be bestirring itself west of Belyy.8
It thereupon became clear to General Vietinghoff, the acting Ninth Army commander; to Field Marshal Kluge, the commander of Army Group Center, who returned from leave in Germany in the early afternoon on the 4th; and to Hitler that Ninth Army, which had no reserves of its own, could not hold Rzhev or the 175-mile northward loop of its front without early and substantial help. There was help to be had, and Hitler was more than usually quick to give it. It meant dismantling Fourth Army's force for WIRBELWIND, but Hitler did not at that point want to allow the Soviet Union a prestige victory at Rzhev. So, he released the 1st, 2d, and 5th Panzer Divisions and the 78th and 102d Infantry Divisions and instructed Kluge to see that the panzer divisions were only used in a concentrated counterattack from the south across the mouth of the West Front's breakthrough.9
The front held north of Rzhev and at Zubtsov on the 5th and 6th, but it disintegrated on the southwest, leaving a broad road open to Sychevka. To take advantage of the latter development in particular, Zhukov revised his plan. On the 6th, he secured the Stavka's permission to stop Twenty-ninth Army, which had made no progress anyway, and to leave Rzhev to the Thirtieth and Thirty-first Armies. At the same time, he shifted the weight of the operation south, putting his spare armor and cavalry, VI and VIII Tank Corps and II and VIII Guards Cavalry Corps, in with Twentieth Army. Sychevka, which had originally not been one of them, now became the first of the objectives as Twentieth Army's mobile group, VI and VIII Tank Corps, and II Guards Cavalry Corps headed toward it.10
For Kluge and Vietinghoff, there was not time to assemble the panzer divisions for a counterattack. They had to be put in frontally along the Vazuza and Gzhat rivers, ten miles west of Sychevka. Talking to Hitler's adjutant, General Schmundt, on the night of the 6th, Vietinghoff said he might be able to counterattack if he could get one fully equipped panzer division (besides those coming, which were all understrength), but the actual chance of his doing that was slight, and it disappeared entirely the next morning when VIII Guards Cavalry Corps struck south off the Twentieth Army flank.11 The reinforcements were having to be thrown into the expanding battle as fast as they arrived, and they were being set upon just as fast by waves of Soviet infantry, tanks, and cavalry.
On the 7th, Ninth Army was on the defensive everywhere and on the verge of being overwhelmed. Once more, help was to be had. Three or four panzer divisions and a couple of infantry divisions could have been extracted from Second Panzer Army's force for WIRBELWIND. During the day, Kluge went to the Wolfsschanze to get a decision--and got one that was completely different from what he had wanted or expected. As Hitler saw it, the offensive on the south flank had reached its terminal stage, and Soviet diversionary attacks could be expected everywhere. These, such as the one against Ninth Army, he said, would have to be dealt with the way the Soviet winter offensive had been, by holding fast in spite of occasional breakthroughs. The correct way to proceed, he insisted, was to get WIRBELWIND going "immediately." After it was completed, the panzer divisions could be used to clean up at Ninth Army, and then Ninth Army could go on and finish off the summer with DERFFLINGER.12 When Kluge returned to Smolensk, he brought General Model, who had been recalled from convalescent leave, with him to resume the Ninth Army command.
Since the starting date set in July for WIRBELWIND had been 7 August, Second Panzer Army was ready to begin almost "immediately." (Map 36.) Fourth Panzer Army's circumstances, on the other hand, had changed completely in the meantime, and its commander, General Heinrici, told Kluge he could
not do an operation that had been calculated to take seven or eight divisions with only two, which were all he had left. Hitler's order, however, included Fourth Army, and Kluge, therefore, insisted on at least a token thrust ten miles past its front to Mosalsk.13 Nevertheless, that converted WIRBELWIND into a one-armed envelopment and lengthened the distance Second Panzer Army would have to cover from about forty to sixty-five miles. General Schmidt, Second Panzer Army's commander, proposed to do it in two phases with four panzer and three infantry divisions. In the first, the panzer divisions, starting in pairs from the east and west sides of a twenty-mile-wide dip in the front around Ulyanovo, would traverse fifteen miles of heavily wooded territory south of the Zhizdra River, converging on the river fifteen miles south-southeast of Sukhinichi. In the second, over open ground north of the river, they would sweep north fifty miles to Mosalsk, passing Sukhinichi on the way.14
Delayed two days by rain, WIRBELWIND began on 11 August, in more rain.15 Coming from the east, 11th Panzer Division covered eight miles, about half the distance to the Zhizdra, before it was stopped just short of Ulyanovo. The two panzer divisions on the west gained about one mile. The day brought two surprises: the Russians had built fortifications at least all the way back to the river, and they were reacting with startling speed. In the late afternoon, pilots flying support missions reported columns of trucks and tanks on all the roads leading in from the north and east. The tank corps that had been used in the Orel offensive in July, and which Second Panzer Army had thought were long ago transferred out, had been refitting east of Belev and north of the Zhizdra and were being thrown into the battle. In the trench lines laced through the forest, the infantry, observing Stalin's "no step back" order, frequently fought to the last man. One panzer division managed to claw its way to the Zhizdra in another two days and to get a small bridgehead on the 14th.16
Hitler could possibly have expected WIRBELWIND to arouse enough concern over Moscow to draw Soviet attention away from the rest of the Army Group Center front. That did not happen. Zhukov, who had all of his original force for the Rzhev-Sychevka operation committed by the 9th, also put the right flank of Fifth Army, Twentieth Army's neighbor on the south, in motion east of Karmanovo. In four more days, Thirtieth Army's tanks were ranging into the municipal forest three miles northeast of Rzhev. On the 13th, in a surprise attack, Thirty-third Army broke through Third Panzer Army's right flank on the Vorya River. After that, all of Kluge's armies except Fourth Army were embroiled in desperate battles, and Fourth Army was in
some respects worse off than the others. It had to give an infantry division to Third Panzer Army on the 13th, after having sent a reinforced regiment to Ninth Army two days before. What was left of Fourth Army's force for WIRBELWIND had evaporated, and its divisions were holding from ten to fifteen miles of front apiece, hardly more than a picket line. The single bright spot in Army Group Center's picture was on Ninth Army's west front, where Fourth Shock Army had so far not managed to pull itself together enough to do anything consequential.17
Kluge spent the day on the 14th at Second Panzer Army, giving pep talks to the division commanders and privately concluding that the prospects for WIRBELWIND were too small to be worth the risks of losing Rzhev or having the enemy "chew in" deep into Third Panzer Army. Later he told General Halder, chief of the General Staff, the army group had no more reserves, and WIRBELWIND would have to be canceled to get some forces for Ninth and Third Panzer Armies. Halder, who, no doubt, knew what Hitler's reaction would be, "resisted" the thought of stopping WIRBELWIND but, at the late situation conference, persuaded Hitler to give Kluge another two divisions, 72d Infantry Division and the Grossdeutschland Division. The 72d Infantry Division, which had been scheduled to go to the Leningrad area with Eleventh Army, was just coming out of the Crimea. Grossdeutschland was at Rostov awaiting shipment to the West. Neither one could get to Smolensk in less than a week, and because of the railroads, both could not be there before the first week in September.18 Kluge once more had reserves, but they were 700 miles away.
Crisis and Recovery
Two days later, Model presented Kluge with what amounted to an ultimatum. He told Kluge that Ninth Army was just about finished and had to have three more divisions. If those could not be given, he said, the army group would have to take responsibility for what happened next and "provide detailed instructions as to how the battle is to be continued."19 Although neither could have imagined it at the time, Kluge and Model were at the psychological turning point for the summer's operations. Kluge needed to persuade Ninth Army to stay on its feet, and the army needed to believe it could. Kluge did that by offering the 72d Infantry Division and the "prospect" of another division, which Model assumed to be the Grossdeutschland Division. The Ninth Army war diary registered "new hope for the coming difficult days and weeks."20 That hope would have to go a long way. The first trainload of 72d Infantry Division troops and equipment was due in Smolensk on the 17th, but it took upwards of thirty trains to move a division. Hitler, not Kluge, controlled the Grossdeutschland Division, and Hitler wanted it to be used in WIRBELWIND.21
QUADRUPLE ANTIAIRCRAFT GUNS GUARD A BRIDGE ON THE ZHIZDRA RIVER
By the third week of the month, Army Group Center was thoroughly ensnared in three World War I-style battles of matériel. Ninth Army had suffered over 20,000 casualties as of 17 August. Third Panzer Army was fighting in trenches on the Vorya River. At the bridgehead on the Zhizdra, Second Panzer Army's tanks were boxed in by minefields. Ninth Army's cornerposts were being shaved away east of Rzhev and around Karmanovo. On the 22d, Hitler finally gave up on WIRBELWIND. He wanted then to take out two panzer divisions and, with those plus the Grossdeutschland Division, try a new, smaller WIRBELWIND northeast of Kirov, but before he could get the divisions out, Second Panzer Army was hit by furious counterattacks that forced it to evacuate the Zhizdra bridgehead on the 24th.22
According to the Soviet reckoning, the summer offensive against Army Group Center was "practically completed" by 23 August.23 In terms of tactical accomplishment, it probably was over, particularly after Zhukov's departure, three days later, removed its chief architect. Between 24 and 30 August, Third Panzer Army eliminated a breakthrough across the Vorya, and thereafter its front held. By the end of the month, Second Panzer Army's front south of the Zhizdra was solid enough that Hitler could begin to
think about taking a panzer division out there. Kalinin and West Fronts were as close to Rzhev and Sychevka as they were going to get.
As a test of endurance, however, the offensive, particularly its main component, the Rzhev-Sychevka operation, was by no means ended. On 1 September, Kluge went once again to the Fuehrer Headquarters, this time to report what Model had told him the day before: Ninth Army was at the point of having its whole front collapse. Its casualties were up to 42,000 and rising at a rate close to 2,000 a day. Hitler refused to consider shortening the front, since doing so would involve losing Rzhev. He also refused to release the Grossdeutschland Division, which was assembling at Sychevka. Grossdeutschland, he said, was "a guards division" and as such should be used only for short periods in acute crises.24 He would, he added, bring the 95th Infantry Division north from the Voronezh area in about two weeks and take 9th Panzer Division out at Second Panzer Army, but in the meantime, Ninth Army would have to get along as it was. "Someone," he concluded, "must collapse. It will not be us!"25
For a brief period, the enemy did seem to be weakening. Ninth Army registered three quiet days on 6, 7, and 8 September, the first such since 30 July. But the 9th was different. Thirtieth Army hit the Volga River bridgehead around Rzhev, and Thirty-first Army broke open six miles of front west of Zubtsov. Thirty-first Army, in particular, came on with such intensity that Model suspected Zhukov was back in command. After much back and forth telephoning, Hitler, in the afternoon, allowed the Grossdeutschland Division to be deployed between Rzhev and Zubtsov. Finally, in the evening, he turned the division over to Model's command with strict instructions that it was only to be used offensively in a counterattack.
Thirty-first Army opened the next day at 0400 with an artillery barrage that, in fact, continued all day. Grossdeutschland began its counterattack an hour and a half later and ran head-on into Soviet infantry with strong air support coming the other way. Ninth Army from then on heard about nothing but successive calamities--a regimental commander wounded, the tank battalion commander wounded, tanks lost right and left. The division, brought up on the hit-and-run tactics of the blitzkrieg, appeared to be about to wreck itself trying to negotiate a few miles of woods and swamp. Twenty-four hours later, the division's affairs were in such confusion that Model put it temporarily under the commander of the neighboring 72d Infantry Division to find out, if possible, at least what had happened. Some hours later he knew: all but five of the division's forty tanks were out of commission; the troops were suffering more from confusion than from losses; and the counterattack was beyond salvation.
At the Fuehrer Headquarters on the 13th, Model persuaded Hitler to let him have the 95th Infantry and 9th Panzer Divisions for another try when they became available. It looked as if, in the meantime, the outcome at Rzhev would hang indefinitely, as Kluge put it, on a "knife edge," but the 15th was
an astonishing and for Ninth Army a "beautiful" day. In the morning, Thirty-first Army pulled itself together to hit 72d Infantry Division with a tremendous rush of tanks and infantry. In the afternoon, one regiment, the 430th Infantry Regiment, stopped the Soviet main force, the IV Tank Corps; knocked out three dozen of its tanks; and reclosed the line. During three days of rain that followed, Thirty-first, Thirtieth, and again Fourth Shock Armies seemed to be getting poised for another onslaught, but when the rain stopped, only the Thirty-first went back on the attack, but not wholeheartedly. The artillery and air support subsided on the 22d, and two days later the infantry began breaking contact. Army Group Center had held its own through the summer--barely.26
Leningrad and Demyansk
Both sides' half-successes and near-failures of the past were tangibly evident on the fronts around the Oranienbaum pocket and Leningrad. As of July 1942, they had been stationary for almost ten months. The city was solidly in Soviet hands, and the landward approaches to it were equally under tight German control after the Volkhov pocket collapsed. The worst of the siege was over. Once navigation had resumed on Lake Ladoga in late May, boats and barges had been able to carry larger cargoes than could have been hauled across the ice in the winter. In June they had begun to evacuate women, children, old people, and some men with special skills on the return trips bringing out about a hundred thousand during the month. (Over two hundred thousand were evacuated in July and another hundred thousand in August leaving an almost exclusively male population of between seven and eight hundred thousand.)27
In June, a pipeline, laid in the lake, had gone into operation. It, henceforth, provided the troops in Leningrad and the Oranienbaum pocket with a secure motor fuel supply. Boats and barges would be able to bring in over a million tons of goods and military supplies and 290,000 military personnel during the summer. In late May, Leningrad Front had submitted a plan to lift the siege by breaking through the bottleneck east of the Neva River. The Stavka had approved the plan "in principle" but had postponed its execution because it could not then supply the required reinforcements. Leningrad and Volkhov Fronts' missions, as they entered the summer, were to improve the city's defenses and to stage limited offensives to weaken the enemy enough to prevent his mounting an assault on the city and to create the conditions for breaking the siege later.28
Army Group North's concerns were for the future more than for the present. Until frost again afforded ground conditions suitable for extensive operations, the bottleneck appeared to be securely in German hands. The bottleneck had survived the winter and would be more difficult to break in the summer; nevertheless, in so confined a space, the German defense could not
afford any mistakes. Between the bottleneck and the Volkhov River, the Pogostye salient projected to within 10 miles of Lyuban. The Russians were not likely to use it in the summer because the ground was underwater for miles around on all sides, but when winter came, it would again threaten the rear of the Eighteenth Army front around Leningrad. East and west of the salient, two small German bridgeheads on the Volkhov, at Kirishi and Gurzino, served as very exposed, and expensive, "lightning rods" for the front on the river. Farther south the Soviet Volkhov bridgehead possessed the same potential for future use by the Russians as the Pogostye salient, and each enhanced the other. South of Lake Ilmen, Sixteenth Army's anchor, Staraya Russa, was just 2 miles inside the front and the corridor to the Demyansk pocket was no more than 3 to 5 miles wide over most of its 25-mile length. From the eastern tip of the pocket the mighty Toropets bulge reached west 125 miles before it dropped off into the Army Group Center zone north of Velikiye Luki. In the summer, particularly the wet summer of 1942, either side could profitably maintain only infantry outposts in the bulge's forests and swamps--and these were all Army Group North could afford.
NORDLICHT and Other Operations
Like Army Group Center, Army Group North was assigned a secondary role for the summer, but with a difference: it had a prospective strategic mission. Under Directive 41 (of 5 April 1942), it was to finish off Leningrad, establish land contact with the Finnish Army on the Isthmus of Karelia, and occupy Ingermanland (the area of the Oranienbaum pocket) "as soon as the [enemy] situation in the enveloped areas or the availability of otherwise sufficient forces permits."29 Although its execution was deferred, in Hitler's thinking the mission was much more than one of opportunity. His concern went back to the fall of 1941 and particularly to the failure in December to get contact with the Finns on the Svir River after which Marshal Mannerheim, the Finnish Army's commander in chief, had made it clear that the Finnish forces would not take the offensive anywhere until they were at least relieved of the necessity for holding a front north of Leningrad. In the early winter, on Hitler's orders, Army Group North had devised a plan, code-named NORDLICHT ("aurora borealis"), to take Leningrad. Overwhelmed by its subsequent troubles, the army group had not taken the plan beyond the paper stage, but, for Hitler at least, it had continued to hold top priority as Directive 41 had demonstrated. One thing was certain: barring a near-total Soviet collapse, Leningrad, which during the winter had achieved heroic stature worldwide, was not going to come cheap. NORDLICHT, in the summer of 1942, was therefore going to be a major operation and would require substantially greater resources than Army Group North had or had any near prospect of getting. (Map 37.)
On 30 June, at the Wolfsschanze, General Kuechler, the commander of Army Group North, briefed Hitler on
Army Group North
the operations aside from NORDLICHT that the army group might undertake after it had rested its units and received its scheduled troop and equipment replacements. He listed five possibilities: a joint attack with Army Group Center to Ostashkov (BRUECKENSCHLAG); expansion of the corridor to the Demyansk pocket; elimination of the Volkhov bridgehead and/or the Pogostye salient; and occupation of Ingermanland. He rated three of these--the Demyansk corridor, the Pogostye pocket, and the Ostashkov operation--as "urgent."30
Kuechler returned to his own headquarters on 1 July and put his staff to work on two operations, SCHLINGPFLANZE ("vine") and MOORBRAND ("moor fire"). SCHLINGPFLANZE, which was to widen the corridor to the Demyansk pocket on its north side, was to come first because II Corps in the pocket still could not get along without air supply. Aside from being exposed to enemy fire from two sides, the lanes the Germans had hacked through the corridor were underwater whenever it rained and muddy all the time. MOORBRAND would pinch off the Pogostye salient and so, Kuechler believed, "constrict" the Soviet options for deployment between the Volkhov River and Lake Ladoga. Hitler had liked the idea because, while the terrain generally was unsuitable for motor vehicles of any description, the German tanks might be able to run on the railroad embankment that conveniently crossed the base of the salient.31
On 2 July, the OKH let Army Group North know a special artillery reconnaissance group was being sent to check the ground between the Leningrad front and the Oranienbaum pocket for emplacement of very heavy artillery. Hitler was going to have DORA, which had finished its work at Sevastopol, transferred north for use against Kronshtadt, the Soviet naval fortress on Kotlin Island in the Gulf of Finland.32 Kronshtadt, with a ring of forts on surrounding small islands and three miles of water separating it from the mainland, was a worthy companion piece to Sevastopol. In the next two weeks, Hitler added to DORA, the GAMMA and KARL batteries, the other siege artillery from Sevastopol, and four batteries ranging in caliber from 240- to 400-mm. that had not been at Sevastopol. All, including DORA, for which a five-mile railroad spur would have to be built, were to be emplaced by the last week in August. Because so much artillery would not achieve tactical profits worth the cost of the ammunition by shelling Kronshtadt alone, most of it was to be sited to fire on targets in the Oranienbaum pocket as well. Eighteenth Army then also began planning an infantry operation against the pocket under the code name BETTELSTAB ("beggar's staff").33
Before Eighteenth Army and Army Group North completed their first estimates for BETTELSTAB, Hitler's attention was turning toward Leningrad. In a teletyped message to the OKH Operations Branch on 18 July, he announced
that Operation BLUECHER, the attack across the Kerch Strait, would be canceled as soon as the Don was crossed and the break into the Caucasus region from the north was assured. The German divisions thereby released would be transferred out of Eleventh Army and sent north to take Leningrad. He made the decision final in Directive 45 of 23 July. Army Group North would get five divisions from Eleventh Army in addition to the heavy artillery already on the way and would be ready by early September to take Leningrad.34 Two days before, in Directive 44, he had ordered Twentieth Mountain Army to get ready for a thrust together with the Finns to the Murmansk Railroad, on the assumption that "Leningrad will be taken at the latest in September and Finnish forces will be released (from the front on the Isthmus of Karelia)."35 First given the code name FEUERZAUBER ("fire magic"), the operation against Leningrad was changed after a week to NORDLICHT for correspondence above the Eighteenth Army level and GEORG ("George") within the army.36
Hitler next instructed Kuechler to go through the docket of local operations, SCHLINGPFLANZE, MOORBRAND, and BETTELSTAB, in "short order" and have them out of the way by the beginning of September.37 The army group knew from the outset, as Hitler in all likelihood also did, that anything of the sort was out of the question in the allotted time because troops, tanks, artillery, ammunition, and especially air support could not be mustered for more than one operation at a time. As it turned out, NORDLICHT in part afforded and in part compelled the solution. BETTELSTAB had from the first not raised real enthusiasm in the army group, and since it could probably be done more easily after NORDLICHT than before, it was postponed. On the other hand, the army group regarded SCHLINGPFLANZE and MOORBRAND as more vital to its survival in the approaching winter than NORDLICHT. But NORDLICHT was more important to Hitler and, presumably, to German grand strategy. When the early estimates showed that Eighteenth Army would in no way have enough strength to do MOORBRAND and NORDLICHT, even if one were done before the other, Kuechler "with a heavy heart" canceled MOORBRAND. Which left SCHLINGPFLANZE.38
SCHLINGPFLANZE, besides being the sole survivor of the so-called local operations, was also the only one of the three that was anywhere near ready to execute. Sixteenth Army, under General Busch, had positioned the troops for it in mid-July and had been set to start on the 19th when bad flying weather and Soviet attacks on the II Corps perimeter forced successive postponements. Later, a lingering spell of heavy rain flooded the entire area between the pocket and the main front.
At the turn of the month, Kuechler and Busch were waiting for three or four dry days but were almost at the point of starting SCHLINGPFLANZE regardless of the weather because II Corps was as badly off as it had been in the height of the winter. The corridor was underwater, and the airlift was only getting in 30 to 40 percent of the daily supply requirements. On 4 August, however, SCHLINGPFLANZE had another setback when all of the ground support and fighter aircraft assigned for it were flown out to help Ninth Army at Rzhev.39
At Fuehrer Headquarters
Four days later, Hitler summoned Kuechler to the Werwolf to review SCHLINGPFLANZE and NORDLICHT. He opened the conference with a surprise twist, something he liked to do to put the generals off balance and himself in control of the discussion. He told Kuechler that Army Group North would be getting the first of the new Tiger tanks and proposed putting some of them into the Kirishi bridgehead. A few of the Tigers, he implied, ought to be able to hold the bridgehead practically by themselves. When Kuechler pointed out that the army group had no means of getting the sixty-tonners across the Volkhov River, he suggested using them in SCHLINGPFLANZE, which Kuechler noncommittally agreed "would be easier to do than at Kirishi." Later, in private, Field Marshal Keitel, chief, OKW, told Kuechler that the Tigers were not yet off the assembly line, and he had better not count on having them in time for SCHLINGPFLANZE.
Turning to the agenda, Hitler told Kuechler the aircraft transferred out of his area would stay with Ninth Army until the crisis at Rzhev had been overcome and would then be used to support Second Panzer Army's Operation WIRBELWIND, which would mean SCHLINGPFLANZE could not start before 20 August. He asked Kuechler how much time he would need for SCHLINGPFLANZE. Kuechler said fourteen days. Hitler then asked when NORDLICHT, which would follow SCHLINGPFLANZE, would be completed, and Kuechler said at the end of October. Hitler said that was too late because NORDLICHT was itself not a terminal operation but a preliminary to the operation against the Murmansk Railroad that would have to be done before winter. He wondered, he added, why Army Group North was "insisting" on aiming SCHLINGPFLANZE north of the Demyansk corridor when the enemy was less strong on the south side. He remembered that there had been a supply road on the south during the winter. Such a road indeed had existed, Kuechler replied, but it had been made of logs, sawdust, and ice and had long since melted and floated away. The only actual road on either side of the corridor was the Staraya Russa-Demyansk road on the north, and, he pointed out, taking it was essential also to the defense of Staraya Russa.
After remarking that he would "feel better" about SCHLINGPFLANZE if the Tigers could be worked into it, Hitler turned to NORDLICHT. The object, he said, was to destroy Leningrad totally. General Jodl, chief, OKW Operations Staff, who was present, added that this was necessary because the Finns regarded the city "as a heavy burden on
their future." The job, Hitler observed, could be compared to the one recently finished at Sevastopol, but it would not be nearly as difficult. For one thing, the area was smaller. For another, at Sevastopol the terrain was rugged and the fortifications exceedingly strong while Leningrad lay on flat land and was not nearly as well fortified. "The whole thing at Leningrad," he asserted, "must actually be done with simple mass of matériel." Jodl at one point asked whether it might not be well to put Field Marshal Manstein (Eleventh Army), the recent victor of Sevastopol, in command of the operation, but Hitler, Kuechler noted, "did not take that up."
When Kuechler countered that "in the last analysis" the operation would have to have adequate infantry, the conference reached what he and Hitler had both known all along was its real nub.40 The army group had asked for 4 more divisions, 3 infantry and 1 panzer, before NORDLICHT started and either a constant flow of replacements or 2 to 3 more divisions to be supplied later.41 Hitler maintained that the army group's estimates were too high. Anyway, he continued, he could not give what he did not have, and he had no more divisions. That was why he had provided the artillery--"in a mass greater than any since the Battle of Verdun in the World War"--a thousand pieces to the enemy's less than five hundred. The thing to do would be to drop hundreds of thousands of incendiary bombs. "If the city really burns, no defender will be able to hold out there."42
After returning to his own headquarters, Kuechler reexamined NORDLICHT. From Eighteenth Army's commander, General Lindemann, he learned that to get even two divisions out of its existing resources the army would have to give up the Kirishi and Gruzino bridgeheads, which would weaken its hold on the Volkhov line and the Pogostye salient. Lindemann also told him that the number of artillery pieces was not going to be 1,000 but exactly 598.43 On the 14th, apparently for the first time, Kuechler went out to look at Leningrad. From the Alexander Tower, on the northern outskirts of Pushkin, the highest point on the front, he saw clumps and masses of concrete and stone factories and apartment buildings. "These," he concluded, "one can presume will only be in small measure vulnerable to fire."44
A Mission for Manstein
Meanwhile, SCHLINGPFLANZE was waiting on its air support. Finally, on the 16th, Colonel Heusinger, the OKH operations chief, told Kuechler's chief of staff not to expect the planes in less than another eight to ten days or more and to remember that Hitler was "holding
onto NORDLICHT hard as iron." "We must now," Heusinger added, "make some very sober calculations." In the next day or two, he went on, Halder was going to propose evacuating the Demyansk pocket. If that failed, as it most likely would, Army Group North was going to have to do whatever it could "in the few good weeks left" to prevent an "untenable situation" when the fall rains and winter came. A day later, Kuechler canceled SCHLINGPFLANZE and substituted WINKELRIED, an operation to widen the Demyansk corridor on the south. On the 21st, Halder called, on Hitler's behalf, to ask Kuechler whether he could come to the Fuehrer Headquarters two days later to report on WINKELRIED and NORDLICHT. He had also just heard, to his surprise he said, that Manstein would be put in command of NORDLICHT.
At the Werwolf, Hitler greeted Kuechler with the remark that "a stone" had fallen from his heart when he heard the army group was turning away from SCHLINGPFLANZE. He said he had "always regarded it as an extraordinarily difficult operation," and he added that Kuechler should be careful not to try to go too far south with WINKELRIED. Time was important. The Finnish Army's chief of staff and operations chief were coming the next day, and he wanted to give them a firm commitment on NORDLICHT, which he again characterized as an easy repeat of Sevastopol. When Kuechler brought out aerial photographs showing countless solid blocks of buildings still standing in Leningrad, Hitler admitted to being "impressed." But he had the answer: he was sending General Richthofen, commander of Fourth Air Force who was known as the master air commander, to conduct the air support. That was why, he added, almost as an afterthought, he was giving Manstein command of NORDLICHT. Manstein and Richthofen had developed an "ideal collaboration" at Sevastopol.45
A day later, Hitler gave Manstein his mission, which he was to execute in any way he saw fit provided he accomplished two things: made contact with the Finns and "leveled Leningrad to the ground." As NORDLICHT commander, Manstein would be independent of Army Group North and would come directly under the OKH. Hitler also told Manstein he could expect some help from the Finns, and the next day Hitler secured a promise from the Finnish Chief of Staff, Jalkavaenkenraali ("Lieutenant General") Erik Heinrichs, to have the Finnish Isthmus Front assist NORDLICHT with artillery and a feigned attack.46 Manstein would have liked a great deal more help from the Finns, but Hitler had in fact gotten all that he could and possibly more than he had expected. Hitler knew from long experience that Mannerheim was exceedingly skittish about involving his forces in a direct attack on Leningrad.47
Meretskov at the Bottleneck
Seemingly, the Russians were going to allow Army Group North enough
time to itself to get NORDLICHT off the map tables and onto the ground. Northwest and Volkhov Fronts were busy through the summer gnawing at the Demyansk pocket and the Volkhov line, and Sixteenth and Eighteenth Armies were taking more casualties and heavier drains on their equipment and ammunition stocks than they could readily afford, but nothing big appeared to be in the making.
The appearance was deceptive. Volkhov Front, under General Meretskov, had been working in elaborate secrecy since early July on an offensive to break the Leningrad blockade at the bottleneck and, as the History of the Second World War puts it, "deal the enemy a preemptive blow in the Leningrad sector."48 To do the job, Meretskov had Eighth Army, the IV Guards Rifle Corps, and Second Shock Army, which was in the process of being reconstituted. Leningrad Front had set up several divisions with artillery that would join in from the west as the Neva Group. By the last week in August, Meretskov had a 3:1 superiority in troops, 4:1 in tanks, and 2:1 in artillery and mortars; but, by his account, he did not know about the German buildup for NORDLICHT.49
Meretskov proposed to smash the whole 7-mile bottleneck front north of the Mga-Volkhov railroad, take the Sinyavino Heights, and finish at the Neva bend west of Mga near the Village of Otradnoye. (Map 38.) The distances were not great: 4 miles to the Sinyavino Heights; another 6 from there west to the Neva; and, at the base of the bottleneck, 15 miles from the front to Otradnoye. The terrain was another matter altogether. The entire area was a patchwork of woods, swamps, and peat bogs. Large stretches were underwater, and the water table was so close to the surface nearly everywhere that fortifications had to be built above ground, which complicated the defense but also made it impossible for an attacker to dig foxholes or trenches. The only really dry ground was on the Sinyavino Heights, which rose to a maximum of 150 feet and afforded unimpeded observation for miles in all directions. Meretskov expected his assets to be superiority in numbers and material, surprise, and speed; he hoped to have joined hands with Leningrad Front on the Neva in two or three days, before the Germans could bring in reinforcements. For a high-speed operation, however, the Soviet plans were cumbersome. Volkhov Front's force was split into three echelons, which would have to be committed separately; and the Stavka, remembering bad experiences it had with coordinated operations by the two fronts in the winter, ordered the Neva Group not to make its bid until after Volkhov Front had made a clear breakthrough.50
Full-fledged surprise was going to be all but impossible to attain, and this, although Meretskov does not mention it, was Volkhov Front's number one problem. The Germans had worked on their defenses in the bottleneck for almost a year, and they knew exactly what the consequences of a lapse could be. During the summer, Hitler had constantly kept an eye on the bottleneck as a likely spot for Stalin to try
The MGA Bottleneck
27 August-25 September 1942
for a prestige victory to offset the defeats in the south. He told Kuechler in the conference on 23 August that the Russians would launch "rabid attacks . . . above all against the Mga bottleneck" as soon as they caught wind of NORDLICHT. He advised Kuechler on that occasion to put the Tigers in behind the front. "Then," he said, "nothing can happen; they are unassailable and can smash any enemy tank attack."51
Nevertheless, Meretskov did achieve some surprise. From the second week of August on, the OKH and the army group became more and more convinced that an attack would take place
at the bottleneck, and even though they exchanged information almost daily, they could not reach conclusions as to when it would come or how strong it would be. The pattern of the buildup was more vague--deliberately so according to Meretskov--than they were accustomed to seeing, and the Kirishi bridgehead and Pogostye actually appeared to be more likely places for something big to happen. On the 23d, XXVI Corps, which was holding the bottleneck with 227th Infantry Division north of the Mga-Volkhov railroad and 223d Infantry Division south of the railroad and which had 12th Panzer Division in reserve at Mga, asked for another infantry division to put into the bottleneck. Four days later, early on the morning of the 27th, the OKH alerted Kuechler to increasing signs of an attack at the bottleneck, and told him to move in the 170th Infantry Division, one of the Crimean divisions standing by for NORDLICHT. Kuechler confirmed that he would do so and added that he would also put in the Tigers, several of which were reportedly aboard a train near Pskov.52
While Kuechler and the OKH were thus engaged, Meretskov's first echelon, Eighth Army, was opening the offensive. Shortly before 1200 on the 27th, Lindemann reported attacks along the whole front north of the railroad. At one point twenty tanks had broken in, but no main effort could be detected. The situation was still much the same at nightfall, and XXVI Corps had not detected any units other than ones it had previously identified and had been ready to handle. Kuechler's main concern was for the NORDLICHT timetable. He told Schmundt, "When the Russian attacks he keeps at it for weeks on end; consequently, substantial quantities of infantry and ammunition may become tied up in a direction that was not provided for in the army group's program."53
The next morning at 0900, Kuechler and Manstein had their first meeting, and Kuechler was pleased to hear that Manstein believed taking Leningrad would be every bit as hard a proposition as Army Group North had claimed it was. In his experience, Manstein said, he had not found the Russians susceptible to "terrorization" by bombing and shelling, and he thought it would be simpler just to seal the city off "and let the defenders and inhabitants starve."54 While the field marshals were talking, XXVI Corps reported a break-in two-thirds of a mile deep on the bottleneck between the Sinyavino Heights and the railroad. A battalion commander had lost his nerve and ordered a retreat. When the rest of the day brought evidence of several previously unidentified Soviet divisions in and around the break-in area, Kuechler ordered the 5th Mountain Division and 28th Jaeger Division out of the NORDLICHT staging area to Mga. At the day's end, Hitler, who was "exceedingly agitated over the situation at XXVI Corps," diverted the 3d Mountain Division, which was at sea in the Baltic on the way from Norway to Finland, to Reval to be attached to Eighteenth Army.55
Eighth Army deepened the break-in to
A TIGER TANK WAITS FOR A TOW
three miles on the third day, almost to the Sinyavino Heights, and on the next, Kuechler committed the Tigers. He had four, but two broke down on the roads. Kuechler also went out to see for himself what was going on at XXVI Corps and reported to the OKH that he "had no particularly bad impression of the situation" but the fighting would "drag on for some time." On the 31st, Lindemann pronounced the crisis passed and the break-in contained.56 At the same time on the other side of the front Meretskov was ordering in his second echelon, IV Guards Rifle Corps.57
Manstein at the Bottleneck
For the next several days, XXVI Corps felt the presence of IV Guards Rifle Corps, not in a heavy onslaught, but as a steady, stubborn infiltration through the woods and swamps south and west of the Sinyavino Heights. On 3 September, the Neva Group joined the battle briefly with attempts to cross the Neva in several places. These were beaten off so thoroughly by artillery and air strikes that the Neva Group lost most of its crossing equipment.58 By the end of the day on the 4th, IV Guards Rifle Corps, in the woods southwest of the Sinyavino Heights, had deepened the penetration to almost
five miles and was two-thirds of the way across the bottleneck. But XXVI Corps, troubled mostly by the terrain and thick forest growth that limited visibility to fifty feet or less, believed it had the push contained. Hitler, however, was "exasperated." Army Group North, he said, had four NORDLICHT divisions tied up in the bottleneck and still was not able to bring the enemy to a stop, and that showed a lack of purposeful leadership.59 By telephone, he told Manstein to take command in the bottleneck, where he said there had been "atrocious developments," and to "restore the situation offensively." Headquarters, Eleventh Army, was to come directly under the OKH, and Manstein was to "report immediately failures on the part of any commanders."60
The XXVI Corps had been right. The Soviet advance was stopped on 4 September, and Meretskov could not get it going again even though he put in his third echelon, Second Shock Army, on the 5th. On the 9th and 10th, XXVI Corps handily beat off attacks by the Neva Group from the west and Second Shock Army on the east.61 Nevertheless, the Soviet offensive was having one very considerable success: it was badly scrambling the timetables for NORDLICHT and WINKELRIED. NORDLICHT could not begin until the bottleneck was secure, and WINKELRIED had to wait until the air support could be shifted from the bottleneck. Hitler had already put off the operation against the Murmansk Railroad until the winter. The latter decision removed one source of time pressure on NORDLICHT and WINKELRIED but not another, namely, the approach of the fall rainy season.62
The last Soviet efforts to get the offensive going again gave Manstein what he thought might be an opportunity for a surprise, and on the 10th, he put the 24th and 170th Infantry Divisions and the 12th Panzer Division into a thrust northward from the southeastern corner of the breakthrough to close the gap behind the Russians. The infantry started at 0800 and were stopped almost at once by shattering artillery and mortar fire. In the afternoon, another try, this time also using the 12th Panzer Division, ended as quickly as the first when the infantry was once more pinned down by the enemy artillery and mortars, and the tanks ran into minefields. The next day, while the infantry was fighting off counterattacks, Manstein canceled the attack and ordered reconnaissance to locate the enemy strongpoints so that they could be picked off one by one. To Keitel, he said he was going to have to knock out the enemy artillery first and then go over to set-piece attacks from the north and the south.63
Manstein was ready to make another attempt on the 18th but then had to wait three more days because of rain and fog. The rain did not make much
difference to the infantry, because the ground was permanently sodden anyway, but the airplanes, which would be flying in close support, needed good visibility. In the meantime, artillery and Stukas had worked over the Soviet artillery emplacements. Manstein had four divisions at the ready: on the north, under XXVI Corps, the 121st Infantry Division and on the south, under XXX Corps, the 24th, 132d, and 170th Infantry Divisions. The objective for both thrusts was the village of Gaitolovo, which lay about midway in the mouth of the bulge astride the main--in fact the only--Soviet supply road. The start this time was good. The artillery and the Stukas had done their work well. By nightfall on the second day, 22 September, one regiment of the 132d Infantry Division was just two-thirds of a mile short of reaching Gaitolovo from the south. Having ample reason now to remember what had happened to Second Shock Army in the spring, the Russians fought furiously to hold Gaitolovo, but 121st Infantry Division was at the northern edge of the village on the 24th, and the two groups joined the next day. The bulge had become a pocket.64
While Manstein was engaged in the bottleneck, Kuechler raised the question with Halder of what to do about the Demyansk pocket. The season was getting late and soon would be too late even for WINKELRIED. With or without WINKELRIED, Kuechler maintained that the pocket would be horrendously difficult to hold through another winter. Since the Ostashkov operation (to close the gap to Army Group Center) could certainly not be done in 1942, and he knew of no plan to do it in the coming year, he "suggested" it might be better to forget about WINKELRIED and evacuate the pocket. Halder replied that the pocket had to be held because it was "the sole solution" to the problem of the Toropets bulge and because, "The Fuehrer completely rejects the idea of evacuating II Corps."65 Thereupon, Kuechler and Busch became desperate to get WINKELRIED going before the weather, which was beginning to turn, ruled it out altogether. Expecting Manstein's success at the bottleneck to release the air support, Kuechler, on the 24th, Set WINKELRIED for either the 26th or 27th, depending on the weather and the speed with which the planes could be redeployed. When the OKH advised him, on the 26th, that the Luftwaffe high command had ordered half the planes to stay with Eleventh Army until the envelopment at Gaitolovo was "one hundred percent secure," Kuechler decided to go ahead with WINKELRIED the next day anyway.66 (Map 39.)
After a whole summer's preparations, first for SCHLINGPFLANZE and then for WINKELRIED, Sixteenth Army hardly expected to achieve a surprise, but it did. The 5th Jaeger Division and 126th Infantry Division, striking out of the east face of the pocket, encircled the 1st Guards Rifle Division east of the Lovat River in five days, thereby completing WINKELRIED-OST ("east"). Because the divisions did not have means
Operations SCHLINGPFLANZE and WINKELRIED
27 September-9 October 1942
to cross the Lovat, 5th Jaeger Division then had to be drawn north and sluiced through the corridor to the west side of the river where it was joined by the SS Totenkopf Division, which after a winter and a summer in the pocket was reduced to 350 effectives, and the Air Force Field Division "Meindle," a half-dozen battalions of surplus Luftwaffe personnel being used as infantry. These began WINKELRIED-WEST on 7 October and completed it in three days.67 The corridor then was ten miles wide at its narrowest point.
Mop-up at Gaitolovo
Meanwhile, Manstein had finished at the bottleneck, though not quite as quickly as he might have expected. For three days, beginning on 26 September, the Neva Group had made its strongest effort yet to cross the Neva and had taken three small bridgeheads opposite Dubrovka. The bridgeheads for a time raised a possibility of the German east front's breaking open just when the west front was closed, but after the Neva Group failed to expand them by the 29th, Manstein began mopping up the Gaitolovo pocket. The battle ended on 2 October. It had cost the Volkhov and Leningrad Fronts over
twelve thousand men who were taken prisoner and an estimated three times as many wounded or killed, but it had also not come cheaply for the Germans who took over twenty-six thousand casualties. Several of the NORDLICHT divisions were "burned out," battle weary and weakened by losses. Manstein thought he could begin NORDLICHT in three weeks if he had to, but such an order was not likely to come.68
The Far North
In late April 1942, a day before the Soviet spring offensive against Army of Lapland began, General Dietl, the army's commander, had informed his superior headquarters, the OKW, that since the reinforcements allotted to him during the winter most likely would not all be delivered for another four or five months, he considered offensive operations by his army ruled out for the coming summer. A month later, in its directive on Army of Lapland operations in the summer, the OKW accepted his estimate and set only two specific tasks for his army: to reestablish a solid line east of Kestenga and then to transfer as many troops as could be spared from there to the Mountain Corps Norway. The Army of Lapland main effort, henceforth, would be in the Mountain Corps Norway sector, where the primary mission would be defense against possible United States-British invasion attempts. The OKW also stated that it considered the Rybachiy Peninsula very important to the conduct of the war in the far north (because, in Soviet hands, it impeded access to Pechenga and was a lingering threat to the rear of the Litsa River line) and instructed Dietl to make preparations for taking the peninsula. Since the OKW could not foresee the time when the troop and supply situations would permit anything of that sort, however, the date was left open--possibly to be in the late summer of 1942 or the late winter of 1942-1943.69
The OKW's concern over Allied landings, which was, in fact, mostly Hitler's, was exaggerated but not an absolute delusion. Early in the year, to satisfy in some measure the Soviet call for a second front, the British had put forward a plan known as Project SLEDGEHAMMER in which they envisioned large-scale raids along the coast of Europe from northern Norway to the Bay of Biscay. In the spring, SLEDGEHAMMER had evolved into a proposed cross-Channel operation, and Prime Minister Churchill had presented Operation JUPITER as an alternative. In JUPITER, Churchill envisioned landings at Pechenga and at Banak, the latter in northern Norway, as means of operating in direct conjunction with the Russians and of eliminating German air and naval bases that endangered Allied convoys on the arctic route. JUPITER aroused little enthusiasm among Churchill's own military advisers and none at all on the part
of the Americans, but Churchill kept it alive in the Allied high councils.70
When Hitler made his surprise birthday visit to Mannerheim on 4 June, which, incidentally, caused the Finns some anxiety and provoked a breach in consular relations between the United States and Finland, he conferred with Dietl, who told him that Army of Lapland would not have enough strength to take the Rybachiy Peninsula or to hold it if, by a stroke of luck, it were taken. Nevertheless, Hitler, unwilling to give up the effort, ordered Dietl to carry on the preparations and assured him that the weakness on the ground could be compensated for in the air. To General Stumpff, the Fifth Air Force commander, he then issued an order to ready the ground installations in northern Norway and Finland for "very strong forces."71
In June, it appeared that Army of Lapland's next mission would be to occupy the Rybachiy Peninsula, and the plans were then given the code name WIESENGRUND ("meadow land"). Since Mannerheim was about to take over the Ukhta sector, which would release 7th Mountain Division, the troop problem appeared to be solved. In the first week of July, however, the OKW informed Dietl that 7th Mountain Division could not be transferred to the Pechenga area because it was impossible to bring up enough supplies to maintain another full strength division there. The OKW proposed instead to send "in the long run" enough "static" troops (that is, without horses or motor vehicles) to relieve 6th Mountain Division on the Litsa and to free it and 2d Mountain Division for WIESENGRUND. Dietl promptly protested that the Litsa line was no place for scantily equipped, third-rate troops, and WIESENGRUND was then shelved.72
After the Russians fell back from Kestenga, in late May, the front in Finland became quiet. In June, Army of Lapland set up five recently received fortress battalions on the coast, and during July and August it pushed work on coast artillery, emplacing twenty-one batteries in the zone between Tana Fiord and Pechenga Bay. In the late summer, Headquarters, 210th Infantry Division, was brought in to command the fortress battalions and the coast artillery. In the meantime, Army of Lapland had been redesignated Twentieth Mountain Army. In July, XVIII Mountain Corps had staged a small attack to recover a hill off its left flank that had been left in Soviet hands when General Siilasvuo, commander of III Corps, had stopped his unit's operations. Otherwise, throughout the summer, the Germans and Russians both contented themselves with harassment, which for the most part took the form of starting forest fires in each other's areas. White phosphorus shells easily ignited the evergreen trees, and the fires occasionally burned across minefields or threatened installations.73
The one summer's operation that came near having strategic significance was Operation KLABAUTERMANN
LOOKOUT NEAR KESTENGA
("hobgoblin"), which the German Navy and Air Force conducted from Finnish bases on the shore of Lake Ladoga. The idea of using small boats to interdict Soviet traffic on the lake had occurred to Hitler in the fall of 1941, too late to be put into effect. It was revived in the spring of 1942 when the Leningrad evacuation began. Hitler was concerned at the time that Leningrad would be completely evacuated; in which case, the northern flank would lose its importance to the Soviet Union and large numbers of troops could be shifted to the south to oppose Operation BLAU. Consequently, he had ordered the Soviet boat traffic on the lake to be "combated with all means."74
The German Navy brought German and Italian PT boats into action on the lake in early July. The Luftwaffe had its craft, Siebel-ferries, ready a month later. The Siebel-ferries were twin hulled, powered by airplane engines, and armed with antiaircraft guns. The invention of a Luftwaffe colonel, they had originally been built for the invasion of England. Both the navy and the air force claimed the overall command and so further impaired an operation that was already hampered by lack of air cover and the hazards of navigation on the lake that was studded with shoals and rocky outcroppings. Soviet
accounts claim a victory for the Soviet Navy, which had its own armed vessels on the lake. The Germans regarded KLABAUTERMANN as an enterprise that was foundering under the weight of its technical and command problems long before it was abandoned, which was done on 6 November when the lake began to freeze.75
The Murmansk Railroad
Having a division to spare as a result of Operation WIESENGRUND's being canceled, Dietl returned to the idea of a double thrust to the Murmansk Railroad--by XXXVI Mountain Corps to Kandalaksha and by the Finnish Army to Belomorsk. In conferences, on 8 and 9 July, with General Erfurth, the OKW representative at Mannerheim's headquarters, and with Jodl, on the 13th, the project was further developed, and after Jodl carried it back to Fuehrer Headquarters, Hitler gave it his approval in Directive 44 of 21 July 1942. Twentieth Mountain Army was to prepare to take Kandalaksha in the fall and was assured that Leningrad would be taken in September at the latest to free the required Finnish forces and that 5th Mountain Division, which had been diverted to Army Group North in the winter and was still there, would be shipped to Finland by the end of September. To the Kandalaksha-Belomorsk operation, Hitler assigned the code name LACHSFANG ("salmon catch").76
No doubt, Hitler would have issued the directive for LACHSFANG soon, in any case, to cap off the victory he believed was developing in the south and to isolate the Soviet Union in its defeat. He knew the Americans and British were opening an alternative route to the Soviet Union through the Persian Gulf and Iran, but he expected to be able to close it as well and had Manstein in mind for the mission.77
The XXXVI Mountain Corps began its planning for LACHSFANG on 22 July. Success, it believed, hinged on two requirements, a fast breakthrough on the Verman River line and, subsequently, a quick thrust to Kandalaksha before the enemy could make another stand. The corps expected to have 80,000 troops, twice as many as it had employed in the summer of 1941; and Fifth Air Force agreed to provide 60 Stukas, 9 fighters, and 9 bombers, more planes than had been available for the whole Army of Norway operations in the previous summer. Time was a critical element. If necessary, operations could be continued until 1 December, but they would be impossible thereafter because of deep snow and extremely short periods of daylight. The late winter, mid-March to mid-April, would afford a second opportunity but a considerably less favorable one because the German troops were not trained for winter operations in the Arctic. The XXXVI Mountain Corps believed it would need four weeks for LACHSFANG and wanted to time the operation to end in mid-November, since by then the length of daylight would be less than seven hours, and in succeeding weeks,
this amount would decrease by an hour a week.78
At Mannerheim's headquarters, Erfurth sounded out the Finnish reaction to LACHSFANG. In Directive 44, Hitler had described a companion Finnish thrust to Belomorsk as "desirable." Dietl and General Weisenberger, the commander of XXXVI Mountain Corps, regarded one as indispensable. Mannerheim's chief of staff, General Heinrichs, indicated that the Finnish attitude was "positive," but Leningrad would have to be taken first. The Finnish Command, he added, also regarded it "as necessary" that the left flank of Army Group North be advanced east to the middle Svir.79 The Germans had expected the first condition but not the second. At the OKH they told Mannerheim's representative, Keneraaliluutnanti ("Major General") Paavo Talvela, that if the marshal insisted on the latter condition as a prerequisite, LACHSFANG would have to be dropped. This then became the subject of Heinrich's August visit to the Werwolf. In the talks there, Heinrichs exchanged a Finnish agreement to go ahead with LACHSFANG for a German promise to have Army Group North schedule an advance to the Svir River as its next assignment--after it had taken Leningrad. The Finns proposed to commit eight infantry divisions and an armored division in the Belomorsk operation. For them also, time was critical. Four of the divisions would have to come from the Isthmus Front north of Leningrad, and because of poor roads, their redeployment could not be accomplished in less than three or four weeks after Leningrad fell.80
By itself LACHSFANG looked good; however, it depended on NORDLICHT, and NORDLICHT, as has been seen, was an uncertain enterprise. The German part of LACHSFANG also depended on XXXVI Mountain Corps' getting 5th Mountain Division, which would have had to leave Army Group North by 15 August to reach the front in Finland on time. But Kuechler insisted that Army Group North could not execute NORDLICHT and defend the rest of its front if it had to release the division, and Hitler, finally, on 15 August, decided to leave 5th Mountain Division with Army Group North and send 3d Mountain Division to Finland instead. When 3d Mountain Division had to be diverted to Army Group North during the battle for the bottleneck, Hitler drew the one conclusion left to him and, on 1 September, canceled LACHSFANG for 1942.81
The Arctic Convoys
Early in June, German agents in Iceland reported Convoy PQ-17 forming off the southwest coast of Iceland. Having that much lead time and twenty-four hours of daylight in the Arctic to assure good reconnaissance and air support, the German Navy
undertook another try at getting its heavy ships into action. Luetzow, Scheer, and six destroyers went to Alta Fiord, at the northernmost tip of Norway, and Tirpitz, Hipper, and six destroyers took up station in West Fiord, somewhat to the south on the Atlantic side of the peninsula. After PQ-17 left Iceland, on 27 June, the navy learned that, aside from cruisers and destroyers, the convoy also had a remote escort of two battleships and an aircraft carrier. (They were U.S.S. Washington, H.M.S. Duke of York, and the British carrier Victorious.) The Naval Staff then changed the deployment and ordered all the ships to Alta Fiord, where German air superiority would be sure to be sufficient to drive off the battleships and carrier.82
As PQ- 17 approached the Spitzbergen-Bear Island passage, the time for the ships to set out had come, but the Naval Staff worried about the remote escort, and on 4 July, it concluded that a strike would be impossible. The next day, however, its confidence revived, when not only the battleships and the carrier but also the cruisers--there were seven in the escort--were sighted steering west.83 They were under orders, of which the Germans, of course, were not aware, not to advance into the zone of German air dominance east of Bear Island.84 Admiral Raeder, commander in chief of the German Navy, and the Naval Staff then decided to let the ships sail, but Hitler strongly enjoined Generaladmiral ("Admiral") Rolf Carls, the commanding admiral, North, not to let them engage the convoy unless the carrier could be located and eliminated first. At 1500 on the 5th, Tirpitz, Scheer, and eight destroyers put out from Alta Fiord. Luetzow and four destroyers stayed behind because they had damaged their bottoms on the trip from West Fiord.
Three hours after leaving Alta Fiord, Generaladmiral Otto Schniewind, in command aboard Tirpitz, knew his ships had been sighted when his radio monitors intercepted a message sent in the clear by a Soviet submarine.85 An hour later, a British aircraft on patrol off North Cape reported a second sighting. Both messages were picked up in Berlin, where Raeder was torn for another hour between his desire to see the ships score a success against the convoy, which he knew by then was scattered and defenseless southeast of Spitzbergen, and his duty to respect Hitler's--not to mention his own--concern for their safety. (The British Naval Staff had ordered the convoy to scatter at the time the cruiser force turned back.) At 2100, Raeder ordered Schniewind, through Carls, to break off the mission and return to base. Having second thoughts later, Raeder concluded that to attack convoys was made excessively difficult by Hitler's insistence on avoiding risks to the big ships. PQ-17, he concluded, had offered an opportunity that had not occurred before and was not likely to
THE CRUISER KOELN ON STATION IN ALTA FIORD
come again; therefore, it was probable that the big ships would never be used against the convoys.86
But Fifth Air Force did not share the navy's doubts and troubles. It was in a position to hit PQ-17 with devastating power. By the time the convoy departed from Iceland, Stumpff had assembled, in the vicinity of North Cape, 103 twin-engine JU-88 bombers, 42 HE-111 torpedo-bombers, 15 floatplane torpedo-bombers, 30 Stukas, and 74 long-range reconnaissance planes, a total of 264 aircraft.87 On 2 July, the reconnaissance planes determined the position and course of PQ-17, and on the 4th the bombers and torpedo-planes began the attack, claiming four sinkings in the first strike. During the day, they saw the remote escort and the cruisers turn back; and they saw the destroyers in the escort go off as well. (The commander of the destroyers, expecting "to see the cruisers open fire and the enemy's masts appear on the horizon at any moment," had decided, without orders, to support the cruisers.)88 Thereafter, PQ-17 was left only with what protection two submarines and a few trawlers could give it, and Fifth Air Force hunted down the merchant ships
almost at leisure. When it was over, the Germans believed they had sunk every last ship. In fact, eleven of thirty-six merchant ships in PQ-17 did reach Soviet ports, but three of those were almost to the point of sinking.89
The PQ-17 disaster led the British Admiralty to propose stopping the convoys until winter again brought the cover of darkness, but Stalin, who regarded any losses his allies might suffer in bringing aid to the Soviet Union as perfectly acceptable, protested violently.90 As a compromise, after an interval of nearly two months, PQ-18 sailed in early September. The Germans were ready. Fifth Air Force had raised its HE-111 torpedo-bomber strength to ninety-two planes, and the navy had a dozen submarines stationed in northern Norway. Raeder and the Naval Staff struggled once more with their concerns about the surface ships and finally alerted Tirpitz, Scheer, Hipper, and the light cruiser Koeln for a sortie against either PQ-18 or QP-14, which was expected to be coming west at about the same time. The hitch again was an aircraft carrier in the escort, on this occasion, the U.S.-built, British-manned escort carrier Avenger. To get rid of the carrier, the navy organized seven submarines into a special group, Traegertod ("carrier's death"), and Fifth Air Force agreed to direct a strong part of its effort against the carrier.
On 13 September, as PQ-18 entered the Spitzbergen-Bear Island passage, a submarine fired two torpedoes at Avenger and missed. On the same day, Fifth Air Force began its attack with a strike by fifty-six bombers. The bombers could not approach the carrier that had its own aircraft defending it and that had the support of the antiaircraft cruiser Scylla. The German pilots also found it difficult to get at the merchant ships because they maintained a tight formation inside a screen of twelve destroyers. On the 14th, fifty-four bombers tried again, and from then on the attacks continued until the 19th. PQ-18 fared better than its predecessor but, nevertheless, lost thirteen out of forty ships. The price was also high for Fifth Air Force, which lost twenty bombers in the first two strikes. When the carrier continued on past Spitzbergen with PQ-18 and then picked up QP-14 on the return trip, the navy abandoned the sortie by the surface ships. In fact, it instructed the submarines as well to avoid QP-14 since experience with PQ-18 had shown that attacks on a convoy with surface and air protection were too risky.91
After PQ-18 put in at Arkhangelsk, thus mollifying Stalin for the time being, the convoys were again suspended. Shipping requirements for the North African invasion, which came in November, helped to justify the suspension, in Western Allied if not in Soviet eyes. The North African landings also had a significant impact on the anticonvoy forces. All of Fifth Air Force's HE-111 torpedo-bombers and most of its JU-88s had to be transferred to the Mediterranean, leaving
only the floatplanes, some Stukas, and the long-range reconnaissance units in the north.92 With the winter's darkness setting in and the conditions for air operations becoming poor, the immediate effect of the loss was not significant. What was important was that the German Luftwaffe would never again be able to muster similar strength in the Arctic.
1. IVMV, (vol. V, p. 242) states that the German divisions, however, were "almost twice" the strength of Soviet divisions. Army Group Center's seventy divisions included two Hungarian divisions (used for rear area security) and five German security divisions. See OKW, KTB, vol. II, p. 1374.
2. IVMV, vol. V, p. 243. The headquarters and staff of Fifth Tank Army reverted to the reserve in late July, and the army was rebuilt with results that will be observed later. See Rokossovskiy, Soldier's Duty, p. 122.
3. IVMV, vol. V, p. 244.
4. Georg von Derfflinger was a Prussian field marshal of the seventeenth century.
5. AOK 9, Ia Kriegstagebuch Nr. 6, 1-20 Jul 42, AOK 9 31624/1 file; AOK 4, Ia Kriegstagebuch Nr. 13, 1-31 Jul 42, AOK 4 24336/1 file; Pz. AOK 2, Ia Kriegstagebuch Nr. 2, Teil IV, 1-31 Jul 42, Pz. AOK 2 28499/4 file.
6. IVMV, vol. V, p. 245.
7. OKH, GenStdH, Fremde Heere Ost, Kurze Beurteilungen der Frindlage, 23-29 Jul 42, H 23/198 file; AOK 9, Ia Kriegstagebuch Nr. 6, 29 Jul 42, AOK 9 31624/1 file.
8. AOK 9, Ia Kriegstagebuch Nr. 6, 30 Jul-4 Aug 42, AOK 9 31624/1 file; IVMV, vol. V, p. 245.
9. AOK 9, Ia Kriegstagebuch Nr. 6, 4 Aug 42, AOK 9 31624/1 file.
10. IVMV, vol. V, pp. 245-47.
11. AOK 9, Ia Kriegstagebuch Nr. 6, 6 Aug 42, AOK 9 31624/1 file; IVMV, vol. V, map 15.
12. Der O.B. tier H. Gr. Mitte, Ia Nr. 6200/42, Der Fuehrer hat sich entschlossen, 8.8.42, Pz. AOK 2 28499/42 file.
13. AOK 4, Ia Kriegstagebuch Nr. 13, 8 Aug 42, AOK 4 24336/1 file.
14. Pz. AOK 2, Ia Nr. 85/42, Befehl fuer die Operation "WIRBELWIND" 10.8.42, Pz. AOK 2 28499/49 file.
15. Rain affected all operations in the central sector during the summer. The pattern was one of localized sudden downpours and cloudbursts that rolled haphazardly over the landscape leaving flooded roads and mud behind them.
16. Pz. AOK 2, Ia Nr. 92/42, Beurtelung der Lage am 22.8.42, Pz. AOK 2 28499/48 file; Pz. AOK 2, Ia Kriegstagebuch Nr. 2, Teil IV, 11-14 Aug 42, Pz. AOK 28499/4 file.
17. IVMV, vol. V, p. 247; AOK 9, Ia Kriegstagebuch Nr. 6, 13-14 Aug 42, AOK 9 31624/1 file; AOK 4, Ia Kriegstagebuch Nr. 13, 13-14 Aug 42, AOK 4 24336 file.
18. Greiner, Oberste Wehrmachtfuehrung, p. 401; AOK 4, Ia Kriegstagebuch Nr. 14, 14 Aug 42, AOK 4 26937 file.
19. AOK 9, Ia Kriegstagebuch Nr. 6, 16 Aug 42, AOK 9 31624/1 file.
20. Ibid., 16 Aug 42.
21. Greiner, Oberste Wehrmachtfuehrung, p. 403.
22. Pz. AOK 2, Ia Nr. 2, Teil IV, 22-24 Aug 42, Pz. AOK 28499/4 file.
23. IVMV, vol. V, p. 248.
24. General Halder's Daily Notes, vol. II, 1 Sep 42, EAP 21-g-16/4/0 file.
25. AOK 9, Ia Kriegstagebuch Nr. 6, 1 Sep 42, AOK 9 31624/1 file.
26. Ibid., 6-24 Sep 42.
27. V. M. Kovalchuk, Leningrad i bolshaya zemlya (Leningrad: Izdatelstvo "Nauka," 1975), pp. 210, 262. IVMV (vol. V, p. 235) gives the total number of persons evacuated between 29 June 1941 and 1 April 1943 as 1.75 million.
28. IVMV, vol. V, p. 235f.
29. Der Fuehrer and Oberste Befehlshaber der Wehrmacht, OKW, WFSt Nr. 55616/42, Weisung 41, 5.4.42, German High Level Directives, CMH files.
30. OKW, Stellv. WFSt, Kriegsgeschichtliche Abteilung, Kriegstagebuch, 1.4.-30.6.42, 30 June 42, I.M.T. 1807 file.
31. H. Gr. Nord, Ia Kriegstagebuch, 1.-31.7.42, 1 Jul 42, H. Gr. Nord 75128/12 file.
32. OKH, GenStdH, Op. Abt. (III) Nr. 429456/42, Zufuehrung des Dora-Geraets zu H. Gr. Nord, 2.7.42, H. Gr. Nord 75129/62 file.
33. H. Gr. Nord, Ia Kriegstagebuch, 1.-31.7.42, 11-22 Jul 42, H. Gr. Nord 75128/12 file.
34. OKW, WFSt, Op. Nr. 551261/42, an GenStdH, Op. Abt. 18.7.42, H 22/215 file; OKW, WFSt, Op. Nr. 551288/42, Weisung Nr. 45, Fuer die Fortsetzung der Operation "Braunschweig," 23.7.42, German High Level Directives, CMH files.
35. OKW, WFSt, Op. Nr. 551275/42, Weisung Nr. 44, 21.7.42, German High Level Directives, CMH files.
36. OKH, GenStdH, Op. Abt. Nr. 420550/42, an H. Gr. Nord, 2.8.42, H. Gr. Nord 75129/55 file.
37. OKH, GenStdH, Op. Abt. Nr. 420550/42, an H. Gr. Nord, 24.7.42, H. Gr. Nord 75129/55 file.
38. H. Gr. Nord, Ia Kriegstagebuch, 1.-31.7.42, 24 Jul-3 Aug 42, H. Gr. Nord 75128/12 file.
39. Ibid., 30 Jul-4 Aug 42.
40. H. Gr. Nord, Ia Kriegstagebuch, 1.-31.8.42, 8 Aug 42, H. Gr. Nord 75128/13 file.
41. H. Gr. Nord, Ia Nr. 55/42, an OKH, GenStdH, Op. Abt., 26.7.42, H. Gr. Nord 75129/55 file.
42. H. Gr. Nord, Ia Kriegstagebuch, 1.-31.8.42, 8 Aug 42, H. Gr. Nord 75128/13 file.
43. AOK 18, Ia Nr 48/42, an H. Gr. Nord, 9.8.42, H. Gr. Nord 75129/55 file. The figures on artillery vary. Kuechler later used the number 800. Apparently the numbers depended on how much of the front was being talked about: Leningrad only; Leningrad and the bottleneck; or Leningrad, the bottleneck, and the Oranienbaum pocket. Some of the heaviest pieces, DORA for instance, were considered not to have any worthwhile targets in Leningrad.
44. H. Gr. Nord, Ia Kriegstagebuch, 1.-31.8.42, 14 Aug 42, H. Gr. Nord 75128/13 file.
45. Ibid., 18-23 Aug 42.
46. Greiner, Oberste Wehrmachtfuehrung, p. 406; Greiner Diary Notes, 25 Aug 42, C-065q CMH file.
47. Mannerheim maintained that he accepted command of the Finnish Army in 1941 on the condition that he never be required to lead an offensive against Leningrad because he did not want to lend credence to a long-standing Soviet claim that an independent Finland was a manifest threat to the second city of the Soviet Union. Mannerheim, Erinnerungen, p. 454.
48. IVMV, vol. V, p. 238.
49. Meretskov, Serving the People, pp. 224-26.
50. Ibid., pp. 224-31.
51. H. Gr. Nord, Ia Kriegstagebuch, 1.-31.8.42, 23 Aug 42, H. Gr. Nord 75128/13 file.
52. Ibid., 23-27 Aug 42.
53. Ibid., 27 Aug 42.
54. Ibid., 28 Aug 42.
55. Ibid.; Greiner Diary Notes, 28 Aug 42, C-065q CMH file.
56. H. Gr. Nord, Ia Kriegstagebuch, 1.-31.8.42, 29-31 Aug 42, H. Gr. Nord 75128/13 file.
57. Meretskov, Serving the People, p. 234.
58. Ibid., p. 235.
59. The divisions were 5th Mountain Division, 28th Jaeger Division, 170th Infantry Division, and 24th Infantry Division. The 24th Infantry Division went into the bottleneck on 4 September.
60. Greiner Diary Notes, 4 Sep 42, C-065q CMH file; AOK 11, Ia Kriegstagebuch Nr. 2, 4 Sep 42, AOK 11 33167/1 file.
61. Meretskov, Serving the People, p. 235; AOK 11, Ia Kriegstagebuch Nr. 2, 9-10 Sep 42, AOK 1133167/1 file.
62. H. Gr. Nord, Ia Kriegstagebuch, 1.-30.9.42, 1 Sep 42, H. Gr. Nord 75128/14 file.
63. AOK 11, Ia Kriegstagebuch Nr. 2, 10-11 Sep 42, AOK 11 33167/1 file.
64. Ibid., 11-25 Sep 42.
65. H. Gr. Nord, Ia Kriegstagebuch, 1.-30.9.42, 14 and 23 Sep 42, H. Gr. Nord 75128/14 file.
66. Ibid., 24-26 Sep 42.
67. AOK 16, Ia Kriegstagebuch, Band II, 27-30 Sep 42, AOK 16 36588/2 file; AOK 16, Ia Kriegstagebuch, Band III, 1-10 Oct 42, AOK 16 36588/3 file.
68. AOK 11, Ia Kriegstagebuch Nr. 2, 26 Sep-2 Oct 42, AOK 11 33167/1 file.
69. OKW, Stellv. WFSt, Kriegsgeschichtliche Abteilung, Kriegstagebuch, 1.4.-30.6.42, 23 Apr and 16 May 42, I.M.T. 1807 file; OKW, WFSt, Op. Nr. 55798/42, Weisung fuer die weitere Kampffuehrung des AOK Lappland, 16.5.42, AOK 20 27253/6 file.
70. Churchill, Hinge of Fate, pp. 256, 323, 350, 448, 477; Matloff and Snell, Strategic Planning, pp. 100, 189, 235, 244.
71. OKW WFSt, Kriegsgeschichtliche Abteilung, Kriegstagebuch 1.4.-30.6.42, 5 jun 42, I.M.T. 1807 file.
72. (Geb.) AOK 20, Ia Nr. 1405/42, an Geb.-Korps Norwegen, 3.7.42, AOK 20 27252/8 file.
73. AOK Lappland, Ia Kriegstagebuch Nr. 2, AOK 20 27252/2 file; (Geb.) AOK 20, Ia Kriegstagebuch, Band III, 1 Sep 42, AOK 20 27252/3 file.
74. OKW, WFSt, Kriegsgeschichtliche Abteilung, Kriegstagebuch, 1.4.-30.6.42, 26 May 42, I.M.T 1807 file.
75. Ziemke, Northern Theater, p. 231; Kovalchuk, Leningrad, pp. 273-84.
76. OKW, WFSt, Op. Nr. 551275/42, Weisung Nr. 44, 21.7.42, German High Level Directives, CMH files.
77. General Halder's Daily Notes, vol. II, 19 Aug 42, EAP 21-g-16/4/0 file.
78. XXXIII (Geb.) A.K., Fuehrungsabteilung, Kriegstagebuch und Anlagen zu "LACHSFANG," 22 Jul 42, XXXVI A.K. 29155/1, file; XXXVI (Geb.) A.K., Qu., Unterlagen fuer "LACHSFANG," 1.8.42, XXXVI A.K. 29155/2 file.
79. Der Kdr. d. Verb. Stab Nord, Nr. 46/42, Kampffuehrung in Nordfinnland, 2.8.42, H 22/227 file.
80. OKH, GenStdH, Op. Abt. IN, Operationen gegen die Murmanbahn, 5.8.42, H 22/227 file; Greiner Diary Notes, 25 Aug 42, C-065q CMH file; OKW, WFSt, 0p. (H) Nr. 55139/42, Abschrift von Fernschreiben Gen. Erfurth, 10.8.42, OKW 119 file.
81. H. Gr. Nord, Ia Kriegstagebuch, 1.-31.8.42, 10 Aug 42, H. Gr. Nord 75128/13 file; OKW, WFSt, 0p. Nr. 002820/42, 15.8.42, German High Level Directives, CMH files; H. Gr. Nord, Ia Kriegstagebuch, 1.-30.9.42, 1 Sep 42, H. Gr. Nord 75128/14 file.
82. Naval War Diary, vol. 35, pp. 36, 57. For U.S. and British dispositions with regard to PQ-17, see Morison, Battle of the Atlantic, p. 180f and Roskill, War at Sea, vol. II, p. 136.
83. Naval War Diary, vol. 35, p. 70.
84. Roskill, War at Sea, vol. II, p. 135. IVMV (vol. V, p. 261) maintains that the escort would have been adequate to assure safe passage for PQ-17, but the convoy was being used merely as bait to lure out the Tirpitz, and "the British Admiralty . . . regarded the security of the convoy as a secondary mission."
85. Naval War Diary, vol. 35, pp. 70-72. See also Fuehrer Conferences, 1942, pp. 86, 91-93.
86. Roskill, War at Sea, vol. II, p. 139; Irving, The Destruction of Convoy PQ-17, pp. 163-66; Naval War Diary, vol. 35, p. 97.
87. British Air Ministry Pamphlet 248, p. 114.
88. Roskill, War at Sea, vol. II, p. 141; Morison, Battle of the Atlantic, p. 185.
89. Generalmajor a. D. Hans-Detlev Herhudt von Rohden, Die Kampffuehrung der Luftflotte 5 in Norwegen, 1942, Rohden 4376-4408 file; Roskill, War at Sea, vol. II, p. 143; Irving, Convoy PQ-17, p. 287.
90. Churchill, Hinge of Fate, pp. 269-73. See also IVMV, vol. V, p. 262 and IVOVSS, vol. II, p. 468f.
91. Roskill, War at Sea, vol. II, pp. 278-86; Morison, Battle of the Atlantic, pp. 360-65; British Air Ministry Pamphlet 248, p. 115; Naval War Diary, vol. 37, pp. 143, 153, 176, 212, 224.
92. Roskill, War at Sea, vol. II, p. 288; IVMV, vol. V, p. 262; British Air Ministry Pamphlet 248, p. 115.