Bad as the German situation was at Stalingrad, it could easily have been far worse. However, once Southwest, Don, and Stalingrad Fronts completed the encirclement, they devoted the greater part of their forces to fastening the grip on Sixth Army, and they virtually discontinued the offensive in the Chir River sector and against Fourth Panzer Army. By 28 November, they had concentrated 94 divisions and brigades against Sixth Army and had only 49 units opposing Fourth Panzer Army and Rumanian Third Army, no more than 20 of these actually in the line.1
On the Army Group Don front, XVII Corps held the line of the Chir in the north, and Rumanian Third Army held the rest south to the confluence of the Chir and Don. Actually, XVII Corps had most of the remaining Rumanian troops, and the only sizable German units in the line were two infantry divisions. Rumanian Third Army existed in name only; German staff officers manned its headquarters; and a scratch force of small German units held its front.2 In the Fourth Panzer Army sector, the remnants of Fourth Panzer Army and Rumanian VI and VII Corps were redesignated Armeegruppe Hoth. Under General Hoth, Headquarters, Rumanian Fourth Army, took command of the two Rumanian corps. Hoth had reported that if the Russians made anything approaching a serious effort against his Armeegruppe, they could not help but have the "greatest" success. By 27 November, Kotelnikovo was within Soviet artillery range; but Fifty-first Army was advancing cautiously; and in the last four days of the month, the first transports of German troops for a relief operation began to arrive.3
Hitler had based his decision to keep Sixth Army at Stalingrad on two assumptions: that sufficient forces to conduct a successful relief operation could be assembled and that Sixth Army could be sustained as a viable fighting force by air supply until the relief was accomplished. The air supply problem appeared to be one of simple arithmetic--matching the number of planes to the required tonnages. Such was not the case, but even if it had been, the problem would still have been beyond solution. In late November 1942, the German Air Force was undergoing its greatest strain since the start of the war. At Stalingrad and in North Africa,
it was fighting a two-front war in earnest. By the end of November, 400 combat aircraft had been transferred from the Eastern Front to North Africa, reducing the front's numerical strength by a sixth and its effective strength by nearly a third. Moreover, of 2,000 planes left on the Eastern Front, the OKW estimated that no more than 1,120 were operational on 29 November.4
General Richthofen, the commander of Fourth Air Force, reported on 25 November that he had 298 JU-52 transports; he needed 500 to supply Stalingrad. And he recommended that Sixth Army be allowed to break out, a suggestion that Hitler "rejected out of hand."5 He then began to use HE-111 twin-engine bombers as transports, which reduced the number of aircraft available for combat missions without decisively improving the air supply. In any event, even those aircraft at hand could not be made fully effective because they had to operate across enemy-held territory, through contested airspace, in uncertain weather, and without adequate ground support (particularly on the Stalingrad end of the run). On 29 November, 38 JU-52s (maximum load 1 ton per plane) and 21 HE-111s (maximum load 1,000 pounds per plane) took off. Of these, 12 JU-52s and 13 HE-111s landed inside the pocket. The following day, 30 JU-52s and 36 HE-111s landed out of 39 and 38, respectively, committed.6 At that rate, Sixth Army would have to be saved soon.
On 1 December, Army Group Don began preparing the relief, under the code name WINTERGEWITTER ("winter storm"). The main effort went to Fourth Panzer Army's LVII Panzer Corps, which, with two fresh panzer divisions (6th and 23d) then on the way, would push northeastward from the vicinity of Kotelnikovo toward Stalingrad. Rumanian VI and VII Corps would cover its flanks. For a secondary effort toward Kalach, out of a small German bridgehead on the lower Chir, Fourth Panzer Army was given XXXXVIII Panzer Corps. Headquarters, XXXXVIII Panzer Corps, left its two original divisions, 22d Panzer Division and 1st Rumanian Armored Division, in the front on the Chir and assumed command in the bridgehead of three divisions coming in--the 11th Panzer Division, 336th Infantry Division, and 7th Air Force Field Division. General Paulus, the commander of Sixth Army, was to bring together all of his armor on the southwest rim of the pocket and to be ready to strike toward LVII Panzer Corps if ordered. He was also to be prepared to break out toward Kalach but was at the same time to hold his fronts on the north and in Stalingrad. Field Marshal Manstein, commander of Army Group Don, wanted to be ready to start the relief operation anytime after daybreak on 8 December.7
Doubts and Delays
The outlook for WINTERGEWITTER was not auspicious from the first and grew less promising with each passing day. Sixth Army shifted two motorized divisions and a panzer division to the southwest as ordered, but after 2 December, Don and Stalingrad Fronts hit the pocket hard for a week and tied the three divisions down in defensive fighting.8 On 3 December, Southwest Front again became active along the Chir, in the Rumanian Third Army sector, forcing Manstein to commit the three divisions for XXXXVIII Panzer Corps there and, in effect, to drop the corps out of WINTERGEWITTER. Further, the two divisions for LVII Corps were slow in arriving, and the OKH instructed Manstein to use air force field divisions, of which he had two, for defensive missions only.
By 9 December, WINTERGEWITTER had dwindled to a two-division operation. Nevertheless, the next day, Manstein decided to go ahead, and he set the time for the morning of 12 December. Any more delay, he believed, could not be tolerated because supplies were running short and because Soviet armor had been detected moving in opposite Fourth Panzer Army. Sixth Army reported that an average of only seventy tons of supplies a day were being flown in, and rations, except for odds and ends, would run out by 19 December.9
Hitler was still confident. On 3 December, answering a gloomy Army Group Don report, he cautioned Manstein to bear in mind that Soviet divisions were always smaller and weaker than they at first appeared to be and that the Soviet commands were probably thrown off balance by their own success. A week later his confidence had grown, and concluding that the first phase of the Soviet winter offensive could be considered ended without having achieved a decisive success, he returned to the idea of retaking the line on the Don. By 10 December, he was at the point of planning to deploy the 7th and 17th Panzer Divisions on the Army Group Don left flank and to use them to spearhead an advance from the Chir to the Don. The next day he ordered Manstein to station 17th Panzer Division in the XVII Corps sector on the Chir, thereby, for the time being, ending the possibility of its being used in WINTERGEWITTER.10
WINTERGEWITTER Runs Its Course
Jumping off on time on the morning of the 12th, LVII Panzer Corps made good, though not spectacular, progress. During the afternoon situation conference at Fuehrer Headquarters, General Zeitzler, the chief of the General Staff, tried to persuade Hitler to release the 17th Panzer Division for WINTERGEWITTER, but Hitler refused because a threat appeared to be developing on the Army Group Don left flank where it joined the right of Italian
SELF-PROPELLED ASSAULT GUNS ATTACK IN OPERATION WINTERGEWITTER
Eighth Army. In the conference, he restated his position on Stalingrad, saying, "I have reached one conclusion, Zeitzler. We cannot, under any circumstances, give that [pointing to Stalingrad] up. We will not retake it. We know what that means . . . if we give that up we sacrifice the whole sense of this campaign. To imagine that I will get there again next time is insanity."11
On the second day, LVII Panzer Corps reached the Aksay River and captured a bridge at Zalivskiy; but on the Chir and at the Don-Chir bridgehead, XXXXVIII Panzer Corps barely held its own against the Fifth Tank and Fifth Shock Armies, which were trying to tighten the grip on Sixth Army by enlarging the buffer zone on the west.12 Fifth Shock Army was newly formed out of two rifle divisions and a tank corps from the Stavka reserves.13 Before 1200 Manstein told Hitler that the trouble on the Chir had eliminated every chance of XXXXVIII Panzer Corps' fleeing forces for a thrust out of the bridgehead and that without such help, LVII Panzer Corps could not get through to Sixth Army.
Manstein asked for 17th Panzer Division, to take over the attack from the
bridgehead, and for 16th Motorized Infantry Divison (then stationed at Elista, between the Army Group Don and Army Group A flanks) to reinforce LVII Panzer Corps. Hitler released the 17th Panzer Division but not the 16th Motorized Infantry Division. The decision about 17th Panzer Division was made easier by a growing impression in the OKH that the Russians were only simulating a buildup on the Army Group Don left flank.14
For another four days, WINTERGEWITTER went ahead without gathering enough momentum to ensure an early success. On the 14th, however, the part of the Don-Chir bridgehead east of the Don had to be evacuated. The attack out of the bridgehead would have been abandoned in any case, since 17th Panzer Division was having to be sent to LVII Panzer Corps. On the 17th and 18th, LVII Panzer Corps, increased to three divisions by 17th Panzer Division, became tied down in fighting around Kumskiy, halfway between the Askay and Mishkova rivers.
On the 19th, LVII Panzer Corps shook itself loose and drove to the Mishkova, thirty-five miles from the pocket. Manstein, however, told Hitler that LVII Panzer Corps, because of its own losses and stiffening enemy resistance, probably could not get through to Sixth Army and certainly could not open a permanent corridor to the pocket. He had, he added, sent his intelligence officer into the pocket, and he had reported that Sixth Army only had rations for another three days. Consequently, Manstein said, he believed the only answer was to order Sixth Army to break out, gradually pulling back its fronts on the north and in Stalingrad as it pushed toward LVII Panzer Corps on the south. That, he maintained, would at least save most of the troops and whatever equipment could still be hauled.15
To Paulus, Manstein sent notice to get ready for Operation DONNERSCHLAG ("thunderbolt"), which would be the breakout. The army's mission, Manstein said, would have to include an initial push to the Mishkova. There, after contact with LVII Corps was made, truck convoys, which were bringing up 3,000 tons of supplies behind the corps, would be sluiced through to the pocket. Subsequently, Sixth Army, taking along what equipment it could, would evacuate the pocket and withdraw southwestward. Paulus was to get ready but was not to start until ordered.16
Hitler, encouraged by LVII Panzer Corps' getting to the Mishkova, refused to approve DONNERSCHLAG. Instead, he ordered the SS Viking Division transferred from Army Group A to Fourth Panzer Army. Sixth Army, he insisted, was to stay put until firm contact was established with LVII Corps and a complete, orderly withdrawal could be undertaken. In the meantime, enough supplies were to be flown in, particularly of motor fuel, to give the army thirty miles' mobility. (Hitler had heard
that the army had only enough fuel to go eighteen miles.)17
On the 21st, after LVII Panzer Corps had failed to get beyond the Mishkova in two more days of fighting, Generalmajor Friedrich Schulz, Manstein's chief of staff, conferred with General Schmidt, Paulus' chief of staff, by means of a newly installed high-frequency telecommunications system. Schulz asked whether Sixth Army could execute DONNERSCHLAG. The operation had not been approved, he added, but Manstein wanted to be ready to go ahead as soon as possible because of the unlikelihood of LVII Panzer Corps' getting any closer to the pocket. Schmidt replied that the army could start on 24 December, but he did not believe it could continue to hold the pocket for any length of time thereafter if the first losses were heavy. If Stalingrad were to be held, he said, it would be better to fly in supplies and replacements, in which case the army could defend itself indefinitely. In the case of DONNERSCHLAG, he and Paulus thought the chances for success would be better if the evacuation followed immediately upon the breakout, but they regarded evacuation, under any circumstances, as an act of desperation to be avoided until it became absolutely necessary.18 The conference ended on that indeterminate note.
Manstein transmitted the results of the exchange to the OKH. He could give no assurance, he added, that if Sixth Army held out, contact with LVII Panzer Corps could be reestablished, since further substantial gains by the panzer corps were not to be expected.19 In effect WINTERGEWITTER had failed, and both Manstein and Paulus had sidestepped the responsibility for DONNERSCHLAG, which neither could legally order without Hitler's approval. Later in the day, on the 21st, Hitler talked at length with the chiefs of the Army and Air Force General Staffs, but to those present, "the Fuehrer seemed no longer capable of making a decision."20
Sixth Army Isolated
After it turned over the Stalingrad sector to Army Group Don, Army Group B had just one function--to protect the rear of its neighbors to the south, Army Groups Don and A. On the critical 200-mile stretch of the Don from Voronezh downstream to Veshenskaya, that function fell to the Hungarian Second Army and Italian Eighth Army. How well they might be expected to perform under attack was predictable because the Rumanians had been considered the best of the German allies.
A glance at the map (Map 44) reveals how vulnerable Army Groups Don and A were and how much their existences depended on the few rail-lines that reached into the steppe east of the Dnepr, the Donets, and the Don. The crucial points on these lines were the river crossings. Everything going east out of the Dnepr bend depended on the bridges at Dnepropetrovsk and
Zaporozhye. The distance from Dnepropetrovsk to the Soviet line at Novaya Kalitva, in the center of the Italian Eighth Army sector, was 250 miles, while from Dnepropetrovsk to the Army Group Don front on the Chir River was 330 miles; to the left flank of Army Group A, 580 miles. But the Russians did not need to strike as far west as Dnepropetrovsk. On the left flank of Army Group Don they were within 80 miles of three Donets crossings: Voroshilovgrad, Kamensk-Shakhtinskiy, and Belokalitvenskaya. A 150-mile march from the left flank of Army Group Don would take them all the way to Rostov. Both Army Group A and Fourth Panzer Army were tied to the railroad through Rostov, and the Army Group A left flank was 350 miles and the Fourth Panzer Army right flank 220 miles from Rostov.
SATURN and KOLTSO
The anomalies of the German situation, of course, did not go unnoticed on the Soviet side, and on the night of 23 November, Stalin instructed General Vasilevskiy, chief of the General Staff, to work up a plan for an offensive by Southwest Front, under General Vatutin, and the Voronezh Front, left wing, under General Golikov, "in the general direction of Millerovo and Rostov."21 Apparently Stalin also talked to General Moskalenko, commander of First Guards Army, that same night about something possibly even bigger, an offensive to liberate Kharkov and the Don Basin. In the last week of the month, Vasilevskiy and General Voronov, who would be coordinating the operation as Stavka representatives, worked on the plan with the front commanders, Vatutin and Golikov. General Zhukov, first deputy commissar for defense, who had gone to Kalinin and West Fronts to take charge of MARS, nevertheless, stayed in close touch with Stalin and Vasilevskiy.22
On 2 December, Stalin and the Stavka approved the plan as Operation SATURN and set the readiness date as 10 December. The objectives were to encircle Italian Eighth Army and the Army Group Don elements inside the Don bend and, by taking Rostov and the line of the lower Don, to cut off Fourth Panzer Army and Army Group A. On the right, Southwest Front's First Guards and Third Guards Armies, the latter to be formed by dividing First Guards Army and adding rifle divisions and a mechanized corps from the reserves, would break through the Italian Eighth Army's left flank near Boguchar, head almost due south to Millerovo, cross the Donets at Kamensk-Shakhtinskiy, and continue south to Rostov. On their right, Voronezh Front's Sixth Army would provide flank cover and strike toward Voroshilovgrad. To form the second arm of the envelopment, Fifth Tank Army would break through across the Chir and run along the right side of the lower Don to Rostov.23
In Moscow, on 4 December, Stalin and Vasilevskiy decided also to finish off Sixth Army, and Stalin gave the operation
the code name KOLTSO ("ring"). The object would be to split the pocket on an east-west axis and then wipe out the two parts in succession. The main effort would be a thrust through the pocket from the west by Don Front, which would be given Second Guards Army from the Stavka reserves and would be ready to start by the 18th. In the same meeting, Stalin and Vasilevskiy decided to strengthen Southwest Front's left flank for SATURN by putting in Fifth Shock Army. Zhukov indicated that he had devised the general scheme for KOLTSO and had proposed it to Stalin on 29 November.24
SATURN had not started, and KOLTSO was not ready when Manstein began WINTERGEWITTER. By Rokossovskiy's account, Vasilevskiy was at Headquarters, Don Front, on the morning of 12 December and, immediately after news of the German attack came in, telephoned Stalin to ask for and get Second Guards Army transferred to Stalingrad Front.25 Vasilevskiy says he did not make the request until later in the day and did not get the Stavka's decision until that night.26 In any event, the loss of Second Guards Army put KOLTSO in abeyance.
On the night of the 13th, according to Vasilevskiy, the Stavka made "the very important decision" to reduce SATURN.27 Zhukov says that he and Vasilevskiy and the General Staff had already decided for a "smaller SATURN" at the end of November, when he had also told Stalin to expect a German attack toward the Stalingrad pocket from the Kotelnikovo area.28 In any event, SATURN became MALYY SATURN ("small SATURN"). Instead of going south on the line Millerovo-Kamensk-Shakhtinskiy-Rostov, the right arm of the envelopment would bear southeast inside the Don bend; and the left arm, instead of going southwest, would go west. The two would meet near Tatsinskaya and Morozovsk.29 The changes in direction reduced the projected depth of the advance by half.
The conversion to MALYY SATURN may also have, in part, been the result of a mood of caution induced by events elsewhere. West Front and Kalinin Front began MARS on the morning of 25 November. In its initial phase the offensive repeated the pattern at Stalingrad, with massive thrusts from the east and the west to pinch off the Rzhev salient. MARS, however, had to do with the battle-tested German Ninth Army. After Twentieth Army, carrying the main effort in the West Front sector on the east face of the salient, lost more than half its tanks by committing them piecemeal in trying to get a breakthrough, one panzer corps handled the defense there with ease.30 Kalinin Front's attacks on the west, south of Belyy and along the Luchesa River, went better and achieved depths of twenty and ten miles respectively; but a Ninth Army counterattack on 7 December turned the break-in south of Belyy into a pocket, in which the Germans eventually counted 15,000 Soviet
A COLUMN OF T-34 TANKS IN OPERATION MALYY SATURN
dead and 5,000 prisoners. On 11 December, West Front launched a second attempt during the first two days of which Ninth Army counted 295 Soviet tanks knocked out. On the 13th and 14th, MARS slackened rapidly, leaving only the penetration along the Luchesa River to be fought over into the new year.31
MALYY SATURN Begins
On 16 December, Sixth Army, under General Leytenant F. M. Kharitonov, and First Guards Army, under General Kuznetsov, broke into the Italian Eighth Army's line on the Don east of Novaya Kalitva. The next day, Third Guards Army, under General Leytenant D. D. Lelyushenko, joined them to extend the push downstream along the river.32 By the third day, all three armies had broken through, and on the 20th, the Celere and Sforzesca Divisions on the Italian Eighth Army right flank collapsed, carrying with them two Rumanian divisions on the left flank of Army Group Don. In four days, Southwest Front had ripped open a 100-mile-wide hole.33 (Map 43.)
For the Germans, the problem now
16 December 1942-19 January 1943
was somehow to screen the deep northern flank of Army Group Don. Fifth Tank Army had not managed to get its share of MALYY SATURN going, but a single envelopment could be just as bad as a double one. The OKH transferred a corps headquarters, commanded by General Fretter-Pico, from Army Group North to take over the Army Group B right flank as Armeeabteilung Fretter-Pico. It gave the Armeeabteilung one fresh infantry division, the headquarters and elements of 3d Mountain Division, and remnants of a weak German corps that had been stationed as a backstop behind the Italians. With them, Fretter-Pico was to protect the Donets bridges at Voroshilovgrad and Kamensk-Shakhtinskiy (which were open, even though the Russians were, for the moment, not aiming toward them) and somehow stretch a line east of the Donets to tie in with Army Group Don.
On the 23d, Manstein told Hitler that he would have to take at least one division, perhaps two, away for LVII Panzer Corps to cover Army Group Don's left flank. Doing so, he added, would mean giving up the idea of relieving Sixth Army anytime soon and would necessitate long-term air supply for the army. Paulus needed 550 tons a day, but Richthofen believed 200 tons were the most that could be delivered. If, as it appeared, air supply could not be guaranteed, Manstein saw a breakout as the only solution despite the risk. The appearance of Soviet reinforcements (Second Guards Army) along the Mishkova, he pointed out, meant that the Russians would soon be going over to the offensive there also, which would be extremely dangerous since Fourth Panzer Army was having to rely on Rumanian troops to cover its flanks.34
Hitler's decision, which was, in fact, no decision at all, came early the next morning. He authorized Manstein to transfer "elements" of LVII Panzer Corps to the army group left flank to protect the air bases at Morozovsk and Tatsinskaya, which were essential for Sixth Army's air supply. But LVII Panzer Corps was to stay on the Mishkova until the advance to Stalingrad could be resumed. As if it would make all the difference, he informed Manstein that one battalion of Tiger tanks being sent to the army group by railroad would cross into Russia near Brest Litovsk during the day.35
Sixth Army's Last Chance
A month is a long time to an encircled army. Its moral and physical sustenance reduced, it begins to wither. Most dramatically and dismayingly affected are the men themselves. In 1941 the Germans had noticed, and then forgotten, that large numbers of Russians captured in the great encirclements died suddenly without detectable symptoms. In December 1942, the same sort of deaths began to be reported in the Stalingrad pocket. A pathologist flown in to perform autopsies in secret discovered that undernourishment, exhaustion, and exposure had caused the complete loss of fatty tissue, changes in the internal organs and bone marrow, and, as the apparent direct cause of these deaths, a
shrinking of the heart except for the right ventricle, which was greatly enlarged. Such heart damage, in normal medical practice, had been regarded as a condition that chiefly affected the aged; among the soldiers at Stalingrad, as the days passed, it was observed to be common in both the dead and the living.36 In the Stalingrad pocket death was no novelty. Sixth Army had lost 28,000 men between 22 November and 23 December.
On 18 December, the army reported a ration strength of 246,000, including 13,000 Rumanians, 19,300 Russian auxiliaries, and 6,000 wounded; but these numbers were far from representing its effective combat strength.37 Already in mid-October, the army had reported that it was reduced to a front-line infantry strength of 66,500. By 21 December, it had only 25,000 infantry.38 Service troops were converted to infantry, but experience showed that even under the exceptional conditions of an encirclement, such conversions were not easy to accomplish or especially worthwhile in terms of combat effectiveness.
At the end of the first month, the hard winter had not yet set in. The temperature lingered close to freezing--some days above, some below. Cold days were likely to be clear with only occasional snow or wind. Warmer days brought clouds, fog, light rain, snow, and, always when there were two or three such days in succession, mud. Not as extreme as it might have been, the weather, nevertheless, was not easily borne by soldiers who were inadequately sheltered and clothed and were living on slender rations of bread, soup, and occasional horse meat.39 The instability of the weather also affected the airlift. In the early winter, continental and maritime air masses met over the region of the lower Don and Volga, producing not only frequent and rapid changes in the weather but great variations within relatively short distances. Consequently, when the skies over the air bases at Tatsinskaya and Morozovsk were clear, the Stalingrad pocket was sometimes buried in fog.
The relief attempt had failed. That another could be made or that Sixth Army could survive until then was becoming more doubtful every day. On the afternoon of 23 December, Manstein called for a conference via teletype with Paulus. He asked Paulus to consider whether, if no other course remained open, the breakout (which by then was assumed automatically to include the evacuation) could be executed provided limited quantities of motor fuel and rations could be flown in during the next few days. Paulus replied that the breakout had become more difficult because the Russians had strengthened their line, but if an attempt were to be made, it was better done right away than later. Then he asked, "Do you empower me to begin the preparations? Once begun, they cannot be reversed."
Manstein replied, "That authority I cannot give today. I am hoping for a decision tomorrow. The essential point
is do you consider the army capable of forcing its way through to Hoth if supplies for a longer period cannot be assured?" Paulus answered, "In that case, there is nothing else to be done." He added that he thought the army would need at least six days to get ready and 300,000 more gallons of motor fuel plus 500 tons of rations before it could attempt to break out.40
Within the hour, Manstein dispatched a situation estimate to Hitler in which he outlined three possibilities: (1) leave Sixth Army where it was and assure a daily air supply of a minimum of 500 tons; (2) order Paulus to break out, taking the risk that the army might not get through; (3) transfer the 16th Motorized Infantry Division and two panzer divisions from First Panzer Army immediately to enable Fourth Panzer Army to resume the advance toward Stalingrad.41 Again, Hitler could not make up his mind and countered with a series of questions. Was a breakout actually possible, and would it succeed? When could it start? How long could Paulus stay in the pocket, given the current level of supplies or, perhaps, "somewhat" increased air supply? When could the relief operation be resumed if Manstein were given both the SS Viking Division and 7th Panzer Division? Did Manstein think the Russians would soon be stopped by their own fuel and supply shortages? Would Manstein "welcome" being given command of Army Group A as well as Don?42
Manstein answered that the breakout could begin, as reported, in six days. Nobody could predict whether it would succeed or not, and the only way to secure a moderate degree of assurance of its success would be to transfer two more panzer divisions from First Panzer Army. The SS Viking Division and 7th Panzer Division would be needed on the army group left flank when they arrived. There were no reasons to think the Russians were going to run out of supplies. As far as Manstein's also taking command of Army Group A was concerned, nobody would "welcome" it in the existing circumstances, but it was unavoidable. Even so, it appeared that for Sixth Army, and possibly Army Groups Don and A as well, all subsequent decisions would come too late. Manstein concluded, "I ask that it be considered how the battle would develop if we commanded on the other side."43
Operations Order No. 2
On 24 December, First Guards Army pushed a spearhead through to Tatsinskaya, and Third Guards Army came within artillery range of Morozovsk. That same day, Second Guards Army, General Malinovskiy commanding, forced LVII Panzer Corps back to the Aksay River.44 To hold the air-supply base for Sixth Army at Morozovsk and recapture the one at Tatsinskaya, Manstein had to take the 11th Panzer Division from Fourth Panzer Army. Out of the staff of XVII Corps, he created the
Headquarters, Armeeabteilung Hollidt, under General der Infanterie Karl Hollidt, the XVII Corps commander, and gave it command of the whole north front. Manstein sent the Headquarters, Rumanian Third Army, behind the Donets to collect Rumanian stragglers and to start building defenses downstream from Kamensk-Shakhtinskiy.45
To get a respite at Tatsinskaya and Morozovsk, Manstein had been forced to reduce Fourth Panzer Army's effective strength by a third; nevertheless, Hitler still hoped to bring in the SS Viking Division and 7th Panzer Division in time to restart the advance toward Stalingrad. Manstein's situation report of 25 December demonstrated how slight that hope actually was. In a few days, he said, Fifty-first and Second Guards Armies would attempt to encircle Fourth Panzer Army on the Aksay River. Nothing could be expected of the Rumanian VI and VII Corps, and the two divisions of LVII Panzer Corps could muster no more than nineteen tanks between them. If Sixth Army were not to be abandoned entirely at Stalingrad, a panzer corps (two divisions) and an infantry division would have to be shifted from Army Group A to Fourth Panzer Army, and at least one infantry division would have to be added on the Army Group Don left flank.46
The next two days proved that Manstein was by no means painting too dark a picture. On the 26th, Paulus reported that casualties, cold (the temperature that day was -15° F.), and hunger had so sapped his army's strength that it could not execute the breakout and evacuation unless a supply corridor to the pocket were opened first. The next day, Rumanian VII Corps, on LVII Panzer Corps' east flank, collapsed and fell into a disorganized retreat. After that, the best Hoth, commander of Fourth Panzer Army, thought he could do was to take LVII Panzer Corps back to Kotelnikovo and, maybe, make another temporary stand there.47
Hitler, however, was still looking for a cheap way out, and on the 27th, he ordered Army Groups Don and A to hold where they were while Army Group B, to protect the rear of Don, retook the line of the Rossosh-Millerovo railroad. Army Group A, he told Manstein, could not spare any divisions, and Army Group Don would have to make do with the SS Viking and 7th Panzer Divisions and the battalion of Tiger tanks.48 Manstein protested that Fourth Panzer Army's two panzer divisions and the 16th Motorized Infantry Division faced a total of forty-three enemy units (divisions, brigades, and tank, cavalry, and mechanized corps) while First Panzer Army, in a well-constructed line, was opposed by only an equal number of enemy units, and Seventeenth Army had to deal with no more than twenty-four Soviet
units. He was convinced, he wrote, that events would compel a shift of forces from A to Don. The sooner the decision was made, the less costly it would be in the long run.49
Hitler countered with Operations Order No. 2. Under it, Army Group A, holding its line on the Black Sea coast and in the Caucasus, was to swing its left flank back by stages to Salsk, where it would be able to take over its own flank defense. Fourth Panzer Army, if forced, could fall back to the line Tsimlyanskiy-Salsk. To coordinate these movements, Manstein would assume command at a time to be decided by himself. Hitler ignored an earlier contention of Manstein's that his taking control of Army Group A would be worthwhile only if it included his having full operational freedom.50
The last days of the year brought another crisis. On the afternoon of 28 December, Hoth had to rescue LVII Panzer Corps by allowing it to withdraw past Kotelnikovo to the Sal River. That opened up the left bank of the Don to Rostov and exposed the deep right flank of Armeeabteilung Hollidt, and the next day, the Russians pushed out of a small bridgehead they held near Potemkinskaya. Hollidt then had to shift the 11th Panzer Division to Tsimlyanskiy, seventy miles downstream on the Don, to block their advance toward Rostov. Hitler, in consequence, ordered the 7th Panzer Division to be held at Rostov for a possible last-ditch defense of the city.51
On the 28th, Manstein had told Hitler that Fourth Panzer Army was no longer capable of holding a broad front south of the Don and that the Armeeabteilung Hollidt line could be penetrated from the north or south at anytime. He said he intended to turn Fourth Panzer Army east south of the Sal River to protect the rear of Army Group A, taking the chance that the Russians might cut through to Rostov between the Sal and Don. Armeeabteilung Hollidt would have to be pulled back, possibly to a line slightly forward of the Donets, more likely to the river itself.52
Sixth Army Destroyed
On New Year's Eve, Manstein told Paulus that Army Group Don's primary objective was to liberate Sixth Army, but the army would have to hold out in the pocket a while longer. Hitler, he said, had ordered Reichsmarschall Goering, commander in chief, air force, to raise the air supply to at least 300 tons a day.53 Whether he knew it or not, Manstein had said farewell to Sixth Army. Army Group Don would henceforth be fighting for its own life.
To the Manich and the Donets
When they reached the general line Millerovo-Tatsinskaya-Morozovsk on
24 December, Sixth, First Guards, and Third Guards Armies had essentially completed their share of MALYY SATURN, and Second Guards and Fifty-first Armies on taking Kotelnikovo, which they did on the morning of 29 December, had wiped out the last of WINTERGEWITTER. By then, Zhukov was back in Moscow working with Stalin on plans for a general offensive similar to the one in the previous winter.54 The orders for the first phase in the south went out on the night of 31 December. In what Vasilevskiy refers to as Operation DON, Stalingrad Front (renamed South Front as of 1 January) was required to leave behind its three armies on the Stalingrad pocket and strike toward Salsk and along the south side of the Don toward Rostov with Second Guards, Fifty-first, and Twenty-eighth Armies (the latter being brought in from the east into the area north of Elista). Fifth Shock Army, which would be attached to South Front, would run along the north side of the Don toward Rostov. Southwest Front would take Morozovsk and Tatsinskaya and veer its armies west to and across the Donets to execute what Zhukov refers to as "Bigger SATURN." On 29 December, Zhukov had also instructed Transcaucasus Front to prepare to strike out of the area between Novorossiysk and Tuapse to Krasnodar, Tikhoretsk, and Rostov.55 If all of the operations worked, the Soviet forces would have cleared the Donets Basin west to the line of Slavyansk-Mariupol and encircled Fourth Panzer, Seventeenth, and First Panzer Armies.
For his part, Hitler ignored Manstein's report of 28 December and, on New Year's Day, announced in a supplement to Operations Order No. 2 that he was going to send the Grossdeutschland Division in addition to the SS divisions Adolf Hitler and Das Reich and the 7th SS Division to relieve Stalingrad. Army Groups B and Don were to hang on to the most favorable positions for the jump-off. All the provisions of Operations Order No. 2, in which he had directed Hollidt not to withdraw any farther than to the line Morozovsk-Tsimlyanskiy were to remain in effect.56
Even Hitler did not expect the divisions for the relief to be deployed before mid-February. To imagine that fate and the Russians would allow the Germans that much time was pure self-deception. However, although what might come next, as Manstein had said, could easily be imagined, very little had been done by the turn of the year to improve the German position. The withdrawals Hitler had approved were piecemeal, and he still talked in terms of "definitive" lines and was beginning to lose himself in nebulous plans for a counteroffensive. The decision to bend back the left flank of Army Group A was a significant step, but after Hitler had issued the order for it he showed no desire to see it executed quickly and, on the contrary, seemed to welcome delays.
On 2 January, in a dispatch to Zeitzler, Manstein pointed out that although it could have been seen as soon as Sixth Army was encircled that the
Russians were developing a major offensive on the south flank of the Eastern Front and might strike in the rear of Army Group A, the OKH (Hitler) had done nothing until the last few days about evacuating the wounded and the heavy equipment from the Caucasus. The consequences of that neglect would be either to slow Army Group A's movements or to force a sacrifice of large quantities of equipment. Because the OKH was controlling all the substantial shifts of Army Group A's forces, Manstein added, no purpose would be served by his taking over Army Group A. Since the OKH had also ordered the divisions intended for Fourth Panzer Army--the 7th and 11th Panzer Divisions--sent elsewhere, all he could do to protect Army Group A was to order Hoth to hold out as long as he could keep his flanks free. Army Group A would have to speed up its withdrawal and take a hand in defending its rear by transferring a corps to Salsk.57 Unlike some that had gone before, this communication did have at least one effect: Hitler did not again mention Manstein's taking command of Army Group A.
In the first week of the new year, as First and Third Guards and Fifth Tank Armies bore in on it from the north and east, the Armeeabteilung Hollidt began a hectic ninety-mile retreat to the Donets. On 3 January, the Armeeabteilung Fretter-Pico warned that the 304th Infantry Division, which had been deployed to keep touch with Hollidt's left flank, could not be depended upon. It lacked training and combat experience and could panic easily.58 Since it was then known that Vatutin had massed two tank corps east of the Fretter-Pico-Hollidt boundary for a probable attack toward the Donets crossing at Belokalitvenskaya, Hitler had to release the 4th Panzer Division on 4 January to prevent a breakthrough. On the 5th, having retreated forty miles in six days, Hollidt gave up Morozovsk, the air base closest to Stalingrad. The next day, Hitler tried to call a halt "for the sake of morale and to conserve the strength of the troops"; but with the Russians probing across the Don in the south and threatening to advance down the Donets from the north, Hollidt had no chance to stay in any line east of the Donets for more than a few days.59
On the other side of the Don, Fourth Panzer Army ranged its two panzer divisions and the SS Viking Division along the Kuberle River, which flowed into the Sal from the south. In the gap between the Don and the Sal, the III Guards Tank Corps pushed downstream along the south bank of the Don and, at the end of the first week in January, sent reconnaissance patrols to within twenty miles of Rostov. Hitler urged Manstein to commit the Tiger tanks, which he predicted would be able to destroy the whole tank corps; but when the Tigers went into action, which was the first combat experience for their crews, they failed to live up to Hitler's notice. They claimed to have knocked out eighteen enemy tanks, but of the twenty Tigers in the battalion, half
SOVIET INFANTRY ON THE MARCH TOWARD THE DONETS RIVER
were damaged. Hoth reported that the crews needed more training and experience.60
When a mechanized corps and a guards rifle corps began making their way around Fourth Panzer Army's north flank, Hitler, on 6 January, had to let Manstein take the 16th Motorized Infantry Division away from Elista. Manstein warned that the division could do no more than stabilize the Fourth Panzer Army line temporarily, and protesting that everything was expected of Army Group Don while nothing was possible for Army Group A, he again asked for a corps from Army Group A.61
In the second week of January, even though new trouble was developing in the north against Hungarian Second Army, the fronts of the two southern army groups began to assume some coherence.62 Armeeabteilung Hollidt, shifting its panzer divisions back and forth to counter threats from the north and the south, continued its march to the Donets, and Hitler allowed Fourth Panzer Army to swing back to a line facing north along the Manich Canal.63
First Panzer Army, though slowed by its heavy equipment and by what Manstein, at least, considered exaggerated worries about what the Russians might do, gradually narrowed the gap between the army groups.
By the end of the third week in the month, Armeeabteilung Fretter-Pico, after having extricated some fourteen thousand of its troops from an encirclement near Millerovo, was in a line behind the Donets. Armeeabteilung Hollidt likewise had gained the slight protection of the frozen river. On the Manich Canal, between the Don and Prolyetarskaya, Fourth Panzer Army had set up a strongpoint defense, and First Panzer Army had extended its left flank north to tie into Fourth Panzer Army east of Salsk.64 At the closest point, Armeeabteilung Hollidt was 165 miles from the Stalingrad pocket, and Fourth Panzer Army was 190 miles from it, but by then for Sixth Army, the distances, no matter what they were, no longer made a difference.
The Stalingrad Ring
During the year-end planning for Operation DON and the enlarged SATURN, the Stavka also revived Operation KOLTSO for action against the Stalingrad pocket. After Stalingrad Front relinquished three of its armies for Operation DON on 1 January, General Rokossovskiy's Don Front controlled the entire perimeter of the pocket with seven armies, 281,000 troops.65 General Voronov took over as Stavka representative with Don Front. Since Rokossovskiy would not have a fresh mobile force, such as Second Guards Army had been, the KOLTSO plan had to be revised. The initial objective was still to split the pocket on a west-east line, but it would be done by stages instead of in a single sweep and would be directed more against the weaker western and southern faces of the pocket. In the first stage, Sixty-fifth Army would carry the main effort with a thrust from the northwest to the southeast toward Karpovskaya Station. In the second stage, Twenty-first Army would take over and lead a drive to Voroponovo Station, and in the third, five armies would storm in from the northwest, west, and southwest aiming to split what was left of the pocket by making contact in Stalingrad with Sixty-second Army.66 KOLTSO, originally scheduled to begin on 6 January and to take seven days, was postponed to the 10th. In the meantime, Rokossovskiy sent Paulus a surrender ultimatum, which was rejected.67
By the beginning of the year, Sixth Army at Stalingrad was dying a lingering death from starvation and exhaustion. Between 1 and 23 December,
supplies airlifted in had averaged 90 tons a day and on only one day, 7 December, did they reach the army's daily minimum requirement of 300 tons. In the first three weeks of January, the average was 120 tons a day, but that was still far short.68
Nevertheless, Sixth Army was not yet totally at the Russians' mercy. All of Don Front's armies had been in constant action a long time, and losses, the weather, hunger, and fatigue had also taken their toll of them. In fact, Sixth Army had some advantages. One was that the pocket encompassed nearly all of the built-up areas in and around Stalingrad; consequently, the German troops had some shelter and could obtain wood for fuel from demolished buildings, while the Russians had none. The Germans also had the advantage of field fortifications they had built during the siege and, particularly, of the Soviet defense lines constructed in the summer. Between the lines, the terrain was generally flat and treeless but cut by deep balkas ("gullies"), which favored the defense.
On the morning of 10 January, Rokossovskiy was with General Batov, commander of Sixty-fifth Army, at the latter's command post when Sixty-fifth, Twenty-first, and Twenty-fourth Armies began KOLTSO against the western "nose" of the pocket.69 The first day brought gains of two or three miles, which was disappointing for Rokossovskiy but dismaying for Paulus. In the night, Paulus reported that after the day's fighting there was no longer any prospect of holding out until mid-February; relief would have to come much sooner; the promised quantity of supplies would have to be delivered; and replacement battalions would have to be flown in at once.70
The Germans managed to prevent an outright breakthrough in the next two days by maneuvering back nineteen miles to the line of the Rossoshka River. (Map 44.) When they reached the Rossoshka on the night of the 12th, the Soviet armies, which had kept the offensive going night and day, completed the first stage of KOLTSO, but they faced, next, on the river, what had been the original outer ring of the Stalingrad defenses. On the 13th and 14th, Rokossovskiy regrouped to shift the main effort to Twenty-first Army, which would be heading due west toward Voroponovo Station while Sixty-fifth Army aimed past Pitomnik.71
After Sixty-fifth and Twenty-first Armies, joined on the north by Twenty-fourth Army and on the south by Fifty-seventh and Sixty-fourth Armies, cracked the Rossoshka line on 15 January and after repeated pleas from Paulus, Hitler appointed Generalfeldmarschall Erhard Milch to direct the air supply for Sixth Army. In the appointment, Hitler gave Milch authority to issue orders to all branches of the Wehrmacht and, for the first time, established a command powerful enough to override all other claims on planes, fuel, and ground crews and to organize the air supply on the scale which had been promised for Stalingrad.72 Daylight
10 January-2 February 1943
landings in the pocket were becoming exceedingly dangerous, and in another four days, Southwest Front would take the air base at Tatsinskaya, forcing the planes to shift to fields at Rostov and Novocherkassk, over two hundred miles from the pocket.
Early on the 16th, Sixth Army lost Pitomnik, the better of its two airfields in the pocket. Six of fourteen fighters based there took off under fire. Five attempted to land and crashed on the airstrip at Gumrak, which was still in Sixth Army's hands. The pilot of the sixth flew out to the west, thus ending the fighter defense over the pocket. On the 17th, Fourth Air Force for a time also suspended landings at Gumrak after a pilot mistakenly reported the troops were retreating past it.73
Don Front completed the second stages of KOLTSO on the 17th, reaching a line running from Voroponovo Station northwest to Rossoshka. The area of the pocket had been reduced by about two-thirds, but the seven days allotted to KOLTSO were used up. Sixth Army, moreover, had once more managed to hold its front together and was now, on the south, occupying the original main Stalingrad defense line. Something had gone wrong. Sbornik Nomer 6 and Rokossovskiy put the
blame on faulty intelligence. Don Front, they said, had gone into the offensive believing Paulus had eighty to eighty-five thousand troops, but it turned out he had closer to two hundred thousand.74 For four days after the 17th, Rokossovskiy again regrouped. During the pause, Paulus reported, on the 20th, that the "fortress" could not hold out more than a few days longer. In some sectors, he said, the defenders had all been wiped out, and the enemy could march through the front "at will."75
The final stage of KOLTSO began on 22 January. Fifty-seventh Army's infantry, pressing in from the southwest on a three-mile-wide front along the railroad, broke through at Voroponovo Station and marched east into Stalingrad with battle flags flying. To close the gap this time was impossible. Ammunition had run out on that stretch of the front, and neither troops nor ammunition could be brought in from other sectors.
That night, Paulus radioed to Hitler via the OKH:
Rations exhausted. Over 12,000 unattended wounded in the pocket. What orders should I give to troops who have no more ammunition and are subjected to mass attacks supported by heavy artillery fire? The quickest decision is necessary since disintegration is already starting in some places. Confidence in the leadership still exists, however.76
Surrender is out of the question.
The troops will defend themselves to the last. If possible, the size of the fortress is to be reduced so that it can be held by the troops still capable of fighting.
The courage and endurance of the fortress have made it possible to establish a new front and begin preparing a counteroperation. Thereby, Sixth Army has made an historic contribution to Germany's greatest struggle.77
As the front fell back from the west, the inner city, which after months of bombardment had the appearance of a landscape in hell, became a scene of fantastic horror. Sixth Army reported twenty thousand uncared-for wounded and an equal number of starving, freezing, and unarmed stragglers. Those who could took shelter in the basements of the ruins, where tons of rubble overhead provided protection against a constant rain of artillery shells. There, in darkness and cold, the sick, the mad, the dead, and the dying crowded together, those who could move daring not to for fear of losing their places.78 Over the tallest of the ruins in the center of the city, Sixth Army ran out the Reich battle flag, "in order to fight the last battle under this symbol."79
On 26 January, Sixty-second Army took Mamai Hill, and tanks of Twenty-first Army, coming from the west, linked up there to split the pocket in two.80 Thereafter, XI Corps formed a perimeter around the tractor works on the northern edge of the city while Sixth
SIXTH ARMY SURVIVORS MARCH OUT OF STALINGRAD UNDER GUARD
Army headquarters and LI and VIII Corps and XIV Panzer Corps dug in around and northwest of the main railroad station. The IV Panzer Corps, which had been holding the south front, was destroyed on that day by a Soviet push across the Tsaritsa River from the south. Sixth Army, by then, had asked the air force to drop only food: ammunition was not needed, there were too few guns.81
Sixth Army stopped issuing rations to the wounded on 28 January to preserve the strength of the fighting troops. That day the main theme of the midnight situation conference at the Fuehrer Headquarters was Hitler's desire to have "a" Sixth Army reconstituted quickly, using as many survivors of the original army as could be found.82
By 29 January, the south pocket was split, leaving Paulus, his staff, and a small assortment of troops in an enclave in the south and the remnants of LI and VIII Corps in the north. The XIV Panzer Corps ceased to exist on that day. During the night, ten small groups departed in a forlorn attempt to make their way out to the west across almost two hundred miles of enemy territory. By the next night, LI and
VIII Corps had been pushed into a small area around a former Soviet Army engineer barracks, where they surrendered the following morning. Sixth Army headquarters was inside a 300-yard perimeter around the Red Square held by the survivors of the 194th Grenadier Regiment.83
At 0615 on the morning of 31 January, the radio operator at Sixth Army headquarters in the basement of the Univermag ("department store") on Red Square sent the following message: "Russians are at the door. We are preparing to destroy [the radio equipment]." An hour later, the last transmission from Sixth Army came through: "We are destroying [the equipment]."84 Paulus surrendered himself, his staff, and those troops with him but refused to give an order to XI Corps to do the same.85 Promoted to field marshal just the day before, he became the first German officer of that rank ever to have been taken prisoner. Hitler, who had expected the promotion to lead Paulus to a different choice, declared, "Paulus did an about-face on the threshold of immortality."86
In the pocket around the tractor works, 33,000 men of XI Corps, under General der Infanterie Karl Strecker, fought on for another forty-eight hours. On 1 February, Hitler called on the corps to fight to the last man, saying, "Every day, every hour that is won benefits the rest of the front decisively."87 At 0840 the next morning, Army Group Don received the last message from Strecker:
XI Corps, with its six divisions, has done its duty to the last.
Long live the Fuehrer!
Long live Germany!--Strecker88
In the Stalingrad pocket the Germans lost somewhat over two hundred thousand men. The exact total was apparently never determined. During the fighting, 30,000 wounded were flown out.89 The Soviet accounts state that 147,000 German dead were counted on the battlefield and 91,000 Germans were taken prisoner, including 24 generals and 2,500 officers of lesser rank.90 The Soviet Union has not released figures on its own losses in the Stalingrad battle. However, if the casualties given for two units, III Cavalry and VIII Cavalry Corps--36 percent and 45 percent, respectively, from 19 November to 2 December--are in any way representative, the Soviet losses must also have been substantial. An impression of the magnitude of Operation KOLTSO can be derived from Don Front's ammunition expenditure between 10 January and 2 February 1943: 911,000 artillery rounds of calibers up to 152-mm., 990,000 mortar shells, and 24,000,000 machine gun and rifle rounds.91
As Hitler frequently stated, Sixth Army had performed a service at a critical time by tying down several hundred
thousand Soviet troops; on the other hand, it was a service performed for the wrong reasons. Hitler did not, in the first place, keep Sixth Army at Stalingrad for even so modestly valid a purpose. He was concerned entirely with preserving an appearance of success for a campaign he already knew had failed. At the last, having kept what was happening at Stalingrad from the German public until after KOLTSO began, he had nothing better in mind than that he believed a fight to the last man would be less damaging to the national morale and his own image than a surrender.92 Certainly one can imagine a less disastrous development of the battle on the southern flank of the Eastern Front for Germany if Sixth Army had been allowed to get its twenty divisions away from Stalingrad in time.
1. Sbornik, Nomer 6.
2. Der O.B. der H. Gr. B, Ia Nr. 4200/42, an den Fuehrer und Oberbefehlshaber des Heeres, 26.11.42, H. Gr. Don 39694/3b file.
3. Pz. AOK 4, Ia Kriegstagebuch Nr. 5, Teil III, 24-30 Nov 42, Pz. AOK 4 28183/1 file.
4. British Air Ministry Pamphlet 248, p. 182; Greiner Diary Notes, 29 Nov 42, C-065q CMH file.
5. Greiner Diary Notes, 25 Nov 42, C-065q CMH file.
6. See Kehrig, Stalingrad, pp. 283-98. OKH, GenStdH, Gen. Qu., Abt. I, Qu. 1 Nr 1/8807/42, an H. Gr. Don, 26.11.42; H. Gr. Don, Einsatz Luftwaffe, 29.11.42 and H. Gr. Don, Einsatz der Flugzeuge zur Versorgung der 6. Armee am 30.11.42, H. Gr. Don 39694/3b file.
7. Ob. Kdo. der H. Gr. Don, Ia Nr. 0343/42, Weisung Nr. 1 fuer Operation "WINTERGEWITTER," 1.12.42, H. Gr. Don 39694/3b file.
8. AOK 6, Ia, Notizen zur Beurteilung der Lage 6. Armee, 7.12.42, H. Gr. Don 39694/4 file; Platonov, Vtoraya Mirovaya Voyna, p. 391.
9. Ob. Kdo. der H. Gr. Don, Ia Nr. 0356/42, an OKH, Chef GenStdH, 10. 12.42, H. Gr. Don 39694/4 file; AOK 6, Ia Nr. 4727/42, an H. Gr. Don, 11.12.42, H. Gr. Don 39694/4 file.
10. Anna 7851, Bezug: H. Gr. Don, Ia Nr. 0341/42, H. Gr. Don 39694/3b file; Greiner Diary Notes, 10 Dec 42, C-065q CMH file; OKH, GenStdH, Op. Abt. Nr. 1014/42, an H. Gr. Don, 11.12.42, H. Gr. Don 39694/4 file.
11. Stenogr. Dienst on F.H. Qu., Lagebesprechung vom 12.12.42, CMH files.
12. [General Staff of the Red Army], Sbornik materialov po izucheniiu opyta voyny Nomer 8, Aug-Oct 43; Pz. AOK 4, Ia Kriegstagebuch Nr. 5, Teil III, 13 Dec 42, Pz. AOK 4 28183/1 file.
13. Vasilevskiy, Delo, p. 264f.
14. O.B. der H. Gr. Don, Ia Nr. 259/42, an Chef des Generalstabes, OKH, 13.12.42, H. Gr. Don 39694/4 file; Greiner Diary Notes, 13 Dec 42, C-065q CMH file.
15. O.B. der H. Gr. Don, Ia Nr. 0368/42, an Chef des Generalstabes des Heeres zur sofortigen Vorlage beim Fuehrer, 19.12.42, H. Gr. Don 39694/5 file. See also Kehrig, Stalingrad, pp. 390-93.
16. Ob. Kdo. H. Gr. Don, Ia Nr. 0369/42, an 6. Armee, 19.12.42, H. Gr. Don 39694/5 file.
17. Greiner Diary Notes, 19 Dec 42, C-065q CMH file.
18. FS-Gespraech Gen. Schmidt- Gen. Schulz, 21.12,42, AOK 6 75107/2 file.
19. O.B. d. H. Gr. Don, Ia Nr. 0372/42, zu Fernspruch OKH, Op. Abt. Nr. 521021/42, 21.12.42, H. Gr. Don 39694/5 file.
20. Greiner Diary Notes, 21 Dec 42, C-065q CMH file.
21. Vasilevskiy, "Delo," p. 252.
22. Moskalenko, Na Yugo-zapadnom napravlenii, p. 357; Vasilevskiy, "Delo," pp. 255-57; Zhukov, Memoirs, p. 412. See also Moskalenko, Na Yugo-zapadnom napravlenii, pp. 360-65.
23. VOV, p. 178; Vasilevskiy, "Delo," pp. 256f, 258; IVMV, vol. VI, p. 63 and map 2; Sbornik, Nomer 8; D. D. Lelyushenko, Moskva-Stalingrad-Berlin-Praga (Moscow: Izdatelstvo "Nauka," 1970), p. 134.
24. Vasilevskiy, "Delo," p. 264; IVMV, vol. VI, p. 64; Zhukov, Memoirs, p. 412.
25. Rokossovskiy, Soldier's Duty, p. 152.
26. Vasilevskiy, "Delo," p. 270f.
27. Ibid., p. 272.
28. Zhukov, Memoirs, p. 413.
29. Sbornik, Nomer 8; Samsonov, Stalingradskaya bitva, pp. 470-72; Lelyushenko, Moskva, pp. 134-36.
30. [General Staff of the Red Army], Sbornik materialov po izucheniiu opyta voyny, Nomer 9, 1944.
31. AOK 9, Fuehrungsabteilung, Kriegstagebuch, Band 3, 1-16 Dec 42, AOK 9 31624/3 file.
32. Samsonov, Stalingradskaya bitva, p. 472. See also Lelyushenko, Moskva, p. 139.
33. Kriegstagebuch des deutschen Generals beim ital. AOK 8 v. 11.7.42-31.1.43, 15-20 Dec 42, AOK 8 36188/1 file; H. Gr. Don, Ia, Lage H. Gr. Don, 19-21.1.43, H. Gr. Don 39694/16 file.
34. O. B. d. H. Gr. Don, Ia Nr. 0374/42, an Chef des GenStdH, 22.12.42, H. Gr. Don 39694/5 file.
35. OKH, GenStdH, Op. Abt. (I S/B) Nr. 421026/42, an Generalfeldmarschall von Manstein, 23.12.42, H. Gr. Don 39694/5 file.
36. Hans Dibold, Arzt in Stalingrad (Salzburg: O. Mueller, 1949), p. 18.
37. The figures are from Helmut Arntz, "Die Wende des Krieges in Stalingrad," a manuscript apparently written late in the war from official German records.
38. Schroeter, Stalingrad, p. 208; Kehrig, Stalingrad, p. 407.
39. Hauck, MS P-114c, vol. IV, table Xa.
40. FS-Gespraech, Gen. Feldmarschall von Manstein an Gen. Obst. Paulus, 23.12.42, AOK 6 75107/5 file.
41. Manstein, an Chef Gen. Stab, Antwort auf heutige Anfrage, 23.12.42, H. Gr. Don 39694/5 file.
42. OKH, GenStdH, Op. Abt. Nr. 421030/42, an H. Gr. Don, 24.12.42, H. Gr. Don 39694/5 file.
43. O.B. d. H. Gr. Don, Ia Nr. 0376/42, an Chef des GenStdH, 24.12.42, H. Gr. Don 39694/6 file.
44. VOV, pp. 183-87. See also Samsonov, Stalingradskaya bitva, pp. 478-80 and Lelyushenko, Moskva, p. 147.
45. H. Gr. Don, Ia, Lage H. Gr. Don 22 27.12.42, H. Gr. Don 39694/16 file.
46. OKH, GenStdH, Op. Abt. 421030/42, an H. Gr. Don, 24.12.42, H. Gr. Don 39694/6 file; O.B. d. H. Gr. Don, Ia Nr. 378/42, an Chef d. GenStdH, 25.12.42, H. Gr. Don 39694/6 file.
47. AOK 6, Ia Nr. 6010/42, an O.B. H. Gr. Don, 26.12.42, H. Gr. Don 39694/6 file; Pz. AOK 4, Ia Kriegstagebuch Nr. 5, Teil III, 27 Dec 42, Pz. AOK 4 28183/1 file.
48. OKH, GenStdH, Op. Abt. (I S/B) Nr. 421033/42 an den O.B. d. H. Gr. Don, 27.12.42 and OKH, GenStdH, Op. Abt. Nr. 321034/42, Weisung fuer die weitere Kampffuehrung, 27.12.42, H. Gr. Don 39694/6 file.
49. O.B. d. H. Gr. Don, Ia Nr. 0384/42, an Chef des GenStdH, 27.12.42, H. Gr. Don 39694/6 file.
50. OKH, GenStdH, Op. Abt. Nr. 421042/42, Operationsbefehl Nr. 2, 28.12.42, H. Gr. Don 39694/6 file; O.B. d. H. Gr. Don, Ia Nr. 0376/42, an Chef des Generalstabes zu Fernspruch vom 24.12.42, H. Gr. Don 39694/6 file.
51. Pz. AOK 4, Ia Kriegstagebuch Nr. 5, Teil III, 28-31 Dec 42, Pz. AOK 4 28183/1 file; H. Gr. Don, Lage H. Gr. Don, 28-31.12.42, H. Gr. Don 39694/16 file; OKH, GenStdH, Op. Abt. (I S/B) Nr. 1959/42, Einzelanordnungen des Fuehrers Nr. 79, 30.12.42, H. Gr. Don 36964/6 file.
52. O.B. d. H. Gr. Don, Ia Nr. 0394/42, an OKH, Chef des Generalstabes, 31.12.42, H. Gr. Don 39694/6 file.
53. O.B. d. H. Gr. Don, Ia Nr. 0396/42, an AOK 6, 31.12.42, H. Gr. Don 39694/6 file.
54. VOV, p. 186f. See IVMV, vol. VI, p. 91 and map 5.
55. Vasilevskiy, "Delo," p. 287; IVMV, vol. VI, pp. 72, 92 and maps 5 and 7; Zhukov, Memoirs, p. 418; Grechko, Gody voyny, p. 405.
56. OKH, GenStdH, Op. Abt. (I S/B) Nr. 421052/42, Ergaenzung zum Operationsbefehl Nr. 2, 1.1.43, H. Gr. Don 39694/6 file.
57. O.B. der H. Gr. Don, Ia Nr. 0399/42, an Chef des Generalstabes des Heeres, 2.1.43, H. Gr. Don 39694/6 file.
58. A. Abt. Fretter-Pico, Ia Kriegstagebuch, 18.12.42-2.2.43, 3 Jan 43, A. Abt. Fretter-Pico 31783/1 file.
59. OKH, GenStdH, Op. Abt. Nr. 171/43, an H. Gr. Don, 6.1.43, H. Gr. Don 39694/7 file.
60. OKH, GenStdH, OP. Abt. Nr. 233/43, an O.B. der H. Gr. Don, 6.1.43 and Pz. A OK 4, Ia, Erfolgsmeldung Tiger-Panzer, 7.1.43, H. Gr. Don 39694/7 file.
61. OKH, GenStdH, Op. Abt. Nr. 249/43, an H. Gr. Don, 6.1.43, H. Gr. Don 39694/7 file; O.B. der H. Gr. Don, Ia Nr. 0402/43, an Chef GenStdH, 7.1.43, H. Gr. Don 39694/7 file.
62. See Ziemke, Stalingrad to Berlin, pp. 81-84.
63. OKH, GenStdH, Op. Abt. (I S/B) Nr. 430028/43, H. Gr. Don 39694/7 file.
64. A. Abt. Fretter-Pico, Ia Kriegstagebuch, 18.12.42-2.2.43, 14-18 Jan 43, A. Abt. Fretter-Pico 31783/1 file; H. Gr. Don, Ia, Lage H. Gr. Don, 15.-19.1.43, H. Gr. Don 39694/7 file.
65. Sbornik, Nomer 6; IVMV, vol. VI, p. 76 gives the Don Front strength as 212,000 and Sixth Army's as 250,000. IVMV gives the weapons' strengths as 6,860 (Soviet) and 4,130 (German) artillery pieces, 257 (Soviet) and 300 (German) tanks, and 300 (Soviet) and 100 (German) combat aircraft. Sbornik Nomer 6 gives them as 6,200 (Soviet) and 3,770 (German) artillery pieces, 1,800 (Soviet) and 250 (German) tanks, 13,700 (Soviet) and 7,300 (German) machine guns, and 18,000 (Soviet) and 9,400 (German) motor vehicles. The Sbornik adds that the figures on German equipment probably include pieces knocked out or otherwise rendered unusable before the final battle began. Sixth Army reported a strength of about one hundred tanks as of early December.
66. IVMV, vol. VI, p. 75.
67. Sbornik, Nomer 6; IVMV, vol. VI, pp. 75-77; Rokossovskiy, Soldier's Duty, pp. 157-65.
68. Tageseinsatz der Luftflotte 4, 1.-23.12.42, H. Gr. Don 30694/3b-5 file.
69. Rokossovskiy, Soldier's Duty, p. 166.
70. AOK, Ia, an H. Gr. Don O.B., 10.1.43, H. Gr. Don 39694/7 file.
71. Kehrig, Stalingrad, pp. 506-11; IVMV, vol. V, map 11; Rokossovskiy, Soldier's Duty, p. 167.
72. Der Fuehrer, OKW, WFSt Nr. 00284/43, 15.1.43, H. Gr. Don 39694/8 file.
73. Schroeter, Stalingrad, p. 166; Fernspruch von Luftflotte 4, Ia, 17.1.43, H. Gr. Don 39694/8 file.
74. IVMV, vol. VI, p. 78; Sbornik, Nomer 6; Rokossovskiy, Soldier's Duty, p. 168.
75. OKH, GenStdH, Chef des GenStdH, Nr. 38/43, an O.B. d., H. Gr. Don 39694/8 file.
76. O. B. AOK 6, an Gen. Zeitzler zur Weitergabe an den Fuehrer und H. Gr. Don, 22.1.43, H. Gr. Don 39694/9 file.
77. H. Gr. Don, Ia, Abschrift von Funkspruch an 6. Armee zur Vorlage an Herrn Generalfeldmarschall von Manstein, 22.1.43, H. Gr. Don 39694/9 file.
78. H. Gr. Don, Ia, Tagesmeldung, 24.1.43, H. Gr. Don 39694/9 file.
79. H. Gr. Don, Ia, Morgenmeldung, 25.1.43, H. Gr. Don 39694/9 file.
80. IVMV, vol. VI, p. 79; VOV, p. 189f.
81. AOK 6, Ia, an H. Gr. Don ueber OKH, 26.1.43, H. Gr. Don 39694/9 file; AOK 6, Chef, an H. Gr. Don, 25.1.43, H. Gr. Don 39694/9 file.
82. AOK 6, Ia, an H. Gr. Don ueber OKH, 28.1.43 and AOK 6, Ia, an H. Gr. Don, 30.1.43, H. Gr. Don 39694/10 file; Greiner, Oberste Wehrmachtfuehrung, p. 69.
83. AOK 6, Ia, an H. Gr. Don, 29.1.43 and AOK 6, an H. Gr. Don, 30.1.43, H. Gr. Don 36964/9 file.
84. AOK 6, Ia, an H. Gr. Don, 31.1.43, 0615 and AOK 6, Ia, an H. Gr. Don, 31.1.43, 0714, H. Gr. Don 39694/10 file.
85. Rokossovskiy, Soldier's Duty, p. 171.
86. Arntz, "Die Wende des Krieges."
87. OKH, GenStdH, Op. Abt. (I S/B) Nr. 1433/43, an Gen. Kdo. XI A.K., 1.2.43, H. Gr. Don 39694/10 file.
88. XI A.K., an H. Gr. Don, Ia, 2.2.43, 0840, H. Gr. 36964/10 file.
89. Arntz, "Die Wende des Krieges."
90. IVOVSS, vol. III, p. 62; VOV, p. 190; VOV (Kratkaya Istoriya), p. 223.
91. Sbornik, Nomer 9.
92. See Domarus, Hitler, vol. II, p. 1973.